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Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Sierra Nevada Celebration AleSierra Nevada Celebration Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

7,695 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7,695
Reviews: 3,154
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 11.54%
Wants: 191
Gots: 413 | FT: 3
Brewed by:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American IPA |  6.80% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
Fresh Hop Ale; no spices.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 11-02-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 7,695 | Reviews: 3,154 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BigRedN


4.47/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2005 Edition.

Appearance: Poured from the 12 oz stubby bottle into my pint glass a coppery color. Somewhat thin 1/4 white head forms then fades to a cloud and ring around the glass. Some lacing, not really sheets but some stringers and splotches.

Smell: The smell of this beer is as good as previous editions I have had. Burst of fresh hops on the nose. Predominately piney, a little earthy and herbal scents mixed in for good measure. Well hopped.

Taste: I brace myself for the blast of hops. There is a definite bitterness brought on by the hops, but also a subtle bready malt backing to hold this one in balance. The finish is like drinking a forest. Pine lingers at the back of my throat.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, light carbonations. Lively bitter hops. This beer also hides its higher alcohol content (6.8% according to the bottle) very well, alcohol is not present.

Drinkability: Another fine year for Celebration. Nicely hopped, seeems similar to previous years, except this year I was not as impressed by the appearance. Still, a very drinkable beer and a 6-pack is a must buy every year.

Serving type: bottle

12-14-2005 04:01:44 | More by BigRedN
Photo of Hunter


3.1/5  rDev -25.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Hard pour yields a thick head of dense bubbles atop a light amber brew with brisk carbonation. Good head retention, some lacing.

Aroma: As hoppy as SN Pale Ale. Malt is in there somewhere, but it definitely takes a back seat to the grassy hop overtones. Not bad, if hops are your thing.
Taste: I admit, I have no idea how this tastes any different than their pale ale. Maybe they just upped the ABV? Sharp notes of hops, citrus, and pepper, with an almost too-sharp hop bite in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Light and bracing.

Drinkability: Certainly no less drinkable than their Pale, but points are lost for lack of originality.

Serving type: bottle

12-14-2005 00:49:06 | More by Hunter
Photo of Prufrock


3.3/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

bottle poured into a pilsner.

slightly hazy copper with a half inch of foamy white head. little lacing.

smells like hops and hops; herbs and grapefruit rinds. malty sweetness peeks through as the beer warms.

light-medium mouthfeel. a touch of caramel up front, but washed over with an herbal bitterness that dominates the aftertaste.

overall a nice IPA, but i'm not sure what makes this a "Celebration" ale or why there's a snow-covered house on the bottle. seems more fit for summer.

Serving type: bottle

12-13-2005 06:22:36 | More by Prufrock
Photo of arizcards


4.35/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a 6 pack of the 2005 edition at AJ's for $8.99 today...have to try one today!

This brew pours a nice copper color with a beautiful fluffy white head leaving substantial lacing in my glass. Nose is citrusy and slightly malty. Taste is a wonderful blend of malts and hops, reminds me a bit of the ESB style of beer as opposed to a winter seasonal. Mouthfeel is good as this is extremely lively on the palate and adequately full. Overall drinkability is very good. This is one of my favorite winter seasonal beers in which all hopheads must try!

Serving type: bottle

12-13-2005 00:41:55 | More by arizcards
Photo of riversider76

New York

4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a rich amber with a fluffy head and lots of lacing.Aroma is piney, smells like Christmas! Taste is of pine and citrus. Strong flavor with a bitter,but good edge. I'm glad I tried this beer. If you like Ale, this has got to be one of the very best!

Serving type: bottle

12-12-2005 18:26:03 | More by riversider76
Photo of HogHill


4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a copper color with an off-white two finger creamy head in a Harpoon IPA pint glass.

A very juicy hop aroma, no doubt this one is brewed with high alpha acid hops.

Flavor is primarily a big grapefruit juiciness from the hops, and a bitter crisp finish. I think it nicely balanced though, doesn't quite go into the double IPA range. Feels medium bodied.

I always make sure to pick up a few six packs of Celebration each winter. The fact that it is seasonal makes it bit more special even though it's not so hard to find.

Serving type: bottle

12-11-2005 22:29:08 | More by HogHill
Photo of Domingo


4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Wow. Not what I expected at all! Ordered at Old Chicago as "the beer or the month." The bottle implied it was a winter seasonal...so I expected a spicy brown ale or something similar. Not the case AT ALL! As it turns out, this is a kick ass IPA.
Color is a reddish brown mahogany.
While expecting a sour sweetness and spice, the immdiate smell that hits you when you take a whiff is nothing but pure hops! Reminds me a little of Hop Devil or DFH's 90.
Flavor is hops with a little malty sweetness in the finish. Again, not what I expected, but a great experience.
Mouthfeel is solid. Just the right amout of carbonation and "thickness."
Has a little bit of an alcohol kick (I was following up a 3-4% brew with this, so it was exaggerated to me) but not too extreme.
A great IPA. Not sure what the availability on this is as it's a seasonal, but it's up there with Stone, Victory, and DFH as far as IPA's go.
Great beer!

2006 Edit: Now that I knew what to expect, this brew wasn't quick such a sudden surprise...but I like it even more. This is really an EXCELLENT beer and one I wish was year-round.

Serving type: bottle

12-11-2005 19:17:46 | More by Domingo
Photo of sinistrsam


4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This winter seasonal had about a half-inch white foamy head, atop a medium-colored amber body. It left good retention on the glass.
Hoppy nose, and definitely some mild spice, but the taste is what really impressed me. Dry hop-bitterness to begin, wheat, malt and spice faded into a rather pleasant sweet, warming aftertaste. Balanced very well, it was clean and refreshing while being a good winter warmer. Overall a very good brew.

Serving type: on-tap

12-11-2005 17:29:50 | More by sinistrsam
Photo of BamaScholar


4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

the 2005 batch:

pours the truest amber ever, clear. meringue-colored head and bubbles don't last but lacing is good.

hop goodness and piney spruce come through on the nose. also a *slight* molasses sweetness. very clean and direct.

this is an excellent tasting brew. i'm not sure i experienced the nirvana of some past vintages but excellent hop bite with a tingle of maltiness. full-bodied, for its color and style, but not overly so. there is even a bitterness, like a black licorice aftertaste, hanging on at the end, but not in an unpleasant way.

i had another, and another, as testament to this creation. could it have more malt balance? yeah, except it wouldn't stay true to the style. i look forward to trying future versions to compare. glad i found the last sixer at frugal macdougal's...

Serving type: bottle

12-11-2005 05:02:59 | More by BamaScholar
Photo of arguemaniac


4.25/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep, orange-amber color with a frothy orange-tinged white head. Massive citrus hop aroma. While the palate is also dominated by hops, it’s a little more complex and includes not only citrus (grapefruit, to be exact) hop flavor, but to a lesser extent pine and floral hops as well. There is some very mild caramel and grain too, but those sweet, malty flavors are pretty much eclipsed by the robust hop profile. Mouthfeel is smooth with very active carbonation.

While IPA’s are, in my opinion, inherently unbalanced, that would be my only complaint about this beer. Otherwise, it’s outstanding! Highly recommended!

Serving type: bottle

12-10-2005 06:32:37 | More by arguemaniac
Photo of MarineHokie


3.95/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Golden with orange/red highlights and, one finger rocky white head, Good lacing.

S - Piney, bready goodness.

T - Crisp bitterness, followed quickly by bready malt sweetness, finishes with piney bitterness.

M - Medium body, crisp carbonated mouthfeel. I'd love to try a cask version.

D - Immensly drinkable, killer APA.

Serving type: bottle

12-10-2005 06:24:43 | More by MarineHokie
Photo of boatyard

New Jersey

4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

this beer is a swwetheart of a brew. it has a nice amber color when poured, and leaves a nice white head. and it smells great too. starts with a real nice floral taste, the gets a little piney, and then bang like a grapefruit just popped inb your mouth. really great beer fro the boys at sierra nevada. go out and buy some.

Serving type: bottle

12-10-2005 01:23:28 | More by boatyard
Photo of Frozensoul327


4.4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Another winner from Sierra Nevada. Poured out to a burned amber ornage color with a wonderfully full head of foam. Medium level of carbonation. Smell is very hoppy, with indications of spices and sweetness toward the finish. Nice. Taste is very enjoyable; hops dominate with notes of smooth malt, floral elements, and some controlled citrus character. Very nice. Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy, a unique but desireable characteristic for an IPA. Drinkability is very good. I could enjoy this regularly on the change up from my typical winter bocks and stouts. Recommended.

Serving type: bottle

12-09-2005 23:44:32 | More by Frozensoul327
Photo of haggis


4.28/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Now this is a nice drop. Quality ale with a full body, good bite but isn't too busy on flavour or taste like some other winter brews. I've had it on tap and in a bottle. I have enjoyed it everytime. It's not a session ale, but if you are looking for 3-4 brews and this is available, don't think twice.

Serving type: on-tap

12-09-2005 23:13:01 | More by haggis
Photo of Shultzerdugen


4.25/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. brown bottle.

Pours coppery/orange with an egg shell tinted head with good retention.

The nose is big time grapefruit. More so than I've experienced with almost any other brew. The malt base is bready and lightly sweet.

Medium bodied with an oily mouth coating and a crisp carbonation. Again, the taste of the hops is uncanny in its resemblance to grapefruit. Malts add roundness and depth; sweet and bready. Hard to find the booze in this one.

Why doesn't SN put this stuff out year round? I would buy it year round!

Serving type: bottle

12-09-2005 01:47:10 | More by Shultzerdugen
Photo of NClifestyle

North Carolina

4.2/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

this is the holiday beer for those hop heads who get left out every year. a winter warmer for the hop crowd.
pours up a bright, clear, orange/ruby color with off-white big bubbles of foam, chunky lumps are on top of the beer for the duration.
smell of cirtus, spice, some cinnamon malts in there for good measure.
taste is like sierra nevada on a hop kick with added malt. like sa pale ale with a bunch more malt, a boost of hop, and some spices thrown in to give it a wonderful taste.
mouthfeel is tingly, bubbles everywhere, some burn in the middle, somewhat medium to less than than.
drinkability? very! i could drink this all night until someone reminds me that i want a winter warmer closer to a stout/porter/strong ale, then i switch.


Serving type: bottle

12-08-2005 04:20:17 | More by NClifestyle
Photo of ahking


3.55/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This is nice IPA from Sierra Nevada that is a nice alternative to their standard IPA. A bit dryer and tad spicier. Hops are right there on the tip of your tongue tasting as citrusy as ever. Slightly toasted and a bit caramelly (at least more so than the standard IPA). Nice amber with very foamy white head. If poured well, the head will stand like sea foam and last the entire time.

Also, I found a 2002 version of this beer in my basement. The biggest difference is a pronounced caramel malt flavor. This beer did not cellar so well as there a bevy of off flavors (or at least flavors I don't tend to like). Also pours quite hazy as expected.

Serving type: bottle

12-06-2005 03:01:44 | More by ahking
Photo of marksto


4.65/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This one is always the highlight of the holiday beer season for me - a true classic. It's never easy to find in this neck of the woods (Tampa Bay) - this year the search was made more pleasant by the excellent price ($29 a case) at the new Total Wine store.

A somewhat atypical holiday brew in that it doesn't feature any spices, herbs, or other unusual ingredients; this one lets the hops do all the talking. A big, woody, pine-tinged hop nose gives way to an explosion of classic american hop character typified by citrus/grapefruit essences; and it's all backed up by a sturdy malt backbone. It's an absolute must-have for any lover of american hops and what they can do in a beer.

Now, if only I could find some on tap someplace....

Serving type: bottle

12-06-2005 00:10:15 | More by marksto
Photo of LordChesterfield


3.93/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Wow good beer. Certainly better than the other christmas Ales I've had, and different in that this is an American IPA. As such, hops is th name of the game with this one, it pours a dark orange with a red tint and a noticable chill haze. I think all beer that can tansmit light throught them should have a chill haze, it makes them look more tasty. At first I didn't even notice the hops but on the second sip it was obvious, not overly but quite present and very distinct. It's very complex with a heavy hopping that isn't too heavy and the hops are quite delecate. You can even smell the hops before you take a sip which tells you you're in for something interesting. Great winter brew. (recent observation: very drunk)

Serving type: bottle

12-05-2005 06:30:20 | More by LordChesterfield
Photo of medic25


4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a stein, pours a copper-brown color, fairly clear with a short-lived white head. Hoppy aroma. Taste is pretty much dominated by hops (not that that's a bad thing). I was taken aback on my first sip. I hadn't read the reviews, and was actually expecting a "winter warmer" type of beer, not a potent IPA. Goes down fairly smoothly, although I could see a non-hop head getting sick of it after a couple.

Serving type: bottle

12-05-2005 03:24:49 | More by medic25
Photo of ChiSox05


4.25/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served on-tap @ the MGM poker room in Las Vegas, oh what a treat.

An off-white head with traces of bronze 3/4" thick. Color has oranges, browns and garnet red. At first looked like bourbon with the head of a beer or dark iced tea, but upon closer inspection colors become more complex between ambers and reds. Looks clear, clean and very appetizing. Clinging lace draped around the pint glass after every sip.

Hop aroma is #1 with some a sweet caramel malt background. Hops are orange citrus, grapefruit, faint green apple and maybe slight tropical or peach scents.

Flavor is fruity and hoopy. Begins with the citric fruity hop flavor and a noticeable hop bitterness that is well balanced by a helping of sweet malt, warm alcohol and faint pine. Aftertaste is slightly metallic then turns to a long lasting taste of roasty malt while acidic, fruity hops remain present.

Carbonation remained active in each pint, coming out after held in the mouth. While easy to sip and mostly smooth, I was aware I was drinking it each sip (if that makes any sense). Alcohol is noticeable but not at all offensive, in fact blends well with the malt and hops. Has an aftertaste and leaves bright, tingling feeling on palate.

Drinkability is nearly perfect, my favorite winter offering. If you can get to LV, go to the MGM, sit in the poker room or sports book and try not to lose your ass while knocking these back. I just cannot get enough of this stuff, I wish they produced it year round. Thank you beer gods, casino gods, or whoever decided to get hook it up for the poker players!

Serving type: on-tap

12-05-2005 03:02:55 | More by ChiSox05
Photo of jdhilt

New Hampshire

2.83/5  rDev -32%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a three-fingered cream head that fades slowly leaving a good lace. Clear amber color. Hoppy, floral nose. Medium carbonation and medium bodied. Starts sweet and spicey but the hops kick in as expected with a bitter finish. $7.99 for a 6-pak of 12oz from Market Basket Concord, NH.

Serving type: bottle

12-04-2005 23:33:43 | More by jdhilt
Photo of IntriqKen


4.15/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Pours a bright clear orange-amber with very little head, but lacing stays throughout the brew painting the side of the glass wonderfully thoughout the drink.
Slight hoppy citrus smell.
Taste is bright with moderately intense hoppiness in the vein of a good IPA with tingle of tiny carbonation and alcohol as it goes down.
Definate grapefruit citrus brightness with citrus aftertaste.
This is not at all what I expect from a holiday seasonal brew...expecting something more in the vein of a bock, red, porter, or stout, however it is a very refreshing change for the season. the higher alcohol is definately warming on a winters day without sacrificing the thirstquenching dry brightness you might be accostomed to from your summer brews.

Serving type: bottle

12-04-2005 22:04:38 | More by IntriqKen
Photo of pgroove

New York

4.4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This beer is a true holiday treat. It differs from other holiday beers because it doesn't have any of that spice nonsense, but focuses more on a strong, warming brew.

It's a hop-lover's paradise, from the moment it's aroma flows to your nose until the last drop is swallowed. While the hops are pronounced and intense, they are not overly dominating which provides a nice counter-balance to the maltiness from the high alc %.

It's seasonally available on tap as well, and makes a fine "black and tan" when mixed with Guinness.

Serving type: bottle

12-03-2005 02:16:47 | More by pgroove
Photo of nathanho


4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

We just finished a six pack of this stuff and both roundly enjoyed it. I stole the last one tonight and the wife was disappointed to say the least. I've tried several seasonal beers this fall and this one is by far the most compelling and drinkable. Better than Snow Plow, Jubelale, Wassail, Sam Smith, etc...

4's across the board. Nice amber orange color, ample head. Smells great, very citrusy. Taste is excellent with the right amount of bite...satifying lingering flavor. Mouthfeel is delectible. Definitely a session beer for me.

Serving type: bottle

12-02-2005 04:57:57 | More by nathanho
Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 7,695 ratings.