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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.

8,555 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 8,555
Reviews: 3,225
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 11.54%
Wants: 261
Gots: 747 | 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: 8,555 | Reviews: 3,225 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of bc2208
2.23/5  rDev -46.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1.5

I had a hard time with this beer.

Appearance: Nice golden-reddish color. Pour produces a decent head, but it dissipates quickly.

Smell: Fruity, hoppy smell.

Taste: I don't know what to say. My first reaction was good - up front it is fruity and floral and quite pleasant. Unfortunately, there's a lingering aftertaste that sticks to the sides of my mouth. It might be cinnamon, but it's really just medicinal. I wanted to like this beer, but I had a hard time finishing it.

Drinkability: Don't know if I'll be drinking the 5 I have left over.

bc2208, Dec 15, 2008
Photo of aforbes10
3.33/5  rDev -20%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Sixer from a liquor store in Dixon, CA. Pours a hazy brownish red with a short white head and sticky lacing. Caramel malt and slightly stale hop odor. Flavor is a big blast of bitter, lemony hops and sweet, biscuity malt. Bitterness lingers for a long time. Kind of sticky mouthfeel. Drinks ok, but a little boring. I've liked Celebration a lot in the past, especially on draft, but something about this year's batch or the bottling or something just isn't all that great.

aforbes10, Dec 15, 2008
Photo of beer2day
4.48/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

My favorite beer of the season. Tasting a cellared 07 vs an 08.

08 might be a tad bit darker than the 07, but not by much. 07 produced more head, as could well be expected.

07 slightly nosier, both with a citrusy aroma.

07 hits harder and finishes stronger. This beer did very well in the cellar. The 08 is very good, just not as flavorful as the 07.

beer2day, Dec 14, 2008
Photo of philbe311
3.63/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Nice color... A redish orangish amber... Slight white head quickly fades... Minimal lacing... Coats glass well... Highly translucent and refractive...

S - Mandarin oranges... Piney hop resins... Earthy tones... Lime... Subtle hints of malt...

T - Hops... Bread crust... Faint hints of spiciness... Slightly burnt taste... The initial tastes compliment each other well then the hops really comeback and become overly aggressive as part of the aftertaste...

M - Dry... Light to medium bodied... Mild carbonation... Crisp...

D - In my mind this is a one trick brew... Hops and lots of them being the trick... Looks great but proceeds to disappoints in all other facets... Lack complexity and isn't balanced...

philbe311, Dec 14, 2008
Photo of BeerRican
4.03/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I also am a first timer for this and any holiday brew. I was very much drawn to it in my grocery store cooler. I like everything by Sierra Nevada, why not Celebration Ale?

Well I must say that it is unique, curious, but impressive. Much different than I expected, but inviting and left me wanting to take another sip to analize it further.

The color is an awesome bronze with an amber touch. It is clear with a pretty white head and nice lacing.

The smell is a pleasant citrus, hops, and spicy blend that made me stick my nose deeper in my pint glass.

The taste is great, great mouthfeel, questionable aftertaste. A bit bitter for my tastebuds. Good amount of carbination.

Celebration Ale definetly tastes like winter in a bottle. I look forward to drinking my next bottle.


BeerRican, Dec 14, 2008
Photo of TheycallmeTim
3.78/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into an American pint glass.

A--Pours a clear shiny penny body with a two finger egg-nog colored (for the holidays) dense foamy head. Head retention is first-rate, and the lacing is predominant. Actually looks like a slightly darker pumpkin ale, like Smutty's.

S--Doesn't smell like it, though! This is almost all honey and hops to me, specifically tropical fruit like pineapple and mango, rather than the more citrusy nuggetjuicebomb that is their Harvest Wet Hop. Sweet and biting on the nostrils at the same time.

T--Last description fits the flavor profile as well. Plenty bitter, with a definite Cascade hop presence that keeps your tongue (happily) dry with pine mixed with candied dried pineapple. The real story to me here, though, is the richness of the malt--this has roasty flavor behind the hops that's like whole wheat toast with honey on it. It's hard to discern but you can capture it at the very beginning of the sip, before the hop flume ride commences. The depth of the malt character makes this a standout winter beer to me, like a beefy, harvest IPA.

M&D--Mouthfeel on SN beers is insanely good. I don't think I've scored one below a 4.5. Keep em comin' in that dept. My only gripe is the alcohol level, which keeps my ability to drink vast quantities at a minimum, which keeps me sad...

A great representative of the dry biting windy winters of parts of California and the west in general. Great stuff!

TheycallmeTim, Dec 13, 2008
Photo of DefenCorps
4.03/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2008 release into my Sam Smith nonic pint

A: Clear copper colored pour with a gorgeous off white head with great retention. As the head slowly recedes, it leaves a trail of sticky lace. Awesome

S: On the nose, this beer is a solid pine assault with some citrus. Mild malt presence in the back. Very hop driven, though, with pine, orange rind, candied pineapple and the like. Cascade presence is noticeable

T: Up front is an aggressive pine bitterness along with a sharp, earthy citrus bitterness. Malt is pretty nonexistent with a mild sweet component. In the battle between flavor and bittering hops, this leans heavily towards the bittering end and if that's your thing, this beer is quite stellar. On the finish is more orange zest bitterness. Awesome

M: Light on the palate with lively carbonation, this one's solid. The bitterness is high and enjoyable

D: I've drunk a bunch of this and enjoyed it every single time. The high bitterness might make it difficult for me to drink a sixer but a bottle or two? No problem!

DefenCorps, Dec 13, 2008
Photo of kaseydad
3.58/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I bought a case of this from Costco for $22 so I definitely can't complain about the price per beer. Every year I try to like this beer more and more, but the taste seems to stay the same year after year. Some variation would be nice in my opinion.

It is a great looking beer and I like the change to the bottle..using more burgandy (red) on the label. Feels more like X-mas. The hoppy taste and sharp bite always seems a little harsh to my palate though I love IPA's, Double IPA's, etc. A fingers width of foam is present which quickly disappears but leaves some nice lacing on the glass. Taste seems the same as I mentioned earlier. Hoppy, citrus and piney is the aroma I pick up. The 6.8% alchohol is masked well and it's easy to go through a few of these at on seating. It is also a nice cold weather beer.

For the price it can't be beat and compared to a lot of the X-mas beers, this is one of the better ones. A nice effort from SN and I will buy it again next winter and hope I get something new from it. Can't wait for Bigfoot!

kaseydad, Dec 13, 2008
Photo of HeyItsChili
3.9/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a clear amber with a very thin, creamy, tan head.

S - Citrusy, malty, brown sugar.

T - Very hoppy. Everything up front is hops, with some malt and spices mellowing out the finish. Maybe some caramel flavor too, there's definitely something sweet.

M - Crisp and medium bodied.

D - Very drinkable. The crispness of the hops is balanced out by the time you get to the finish, with a nice warm spiciness that enhances but not overpowers.

HeyItsChili, Dec 13, 2008
Photo of Aenema
3.7/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5


Appearance - Pours clear amber with moderate to high carbonation, yeast flecks and an initial quarter/half inch head, quickly reducing to a thin film. 4
Smell - Smell is mostly floral hops 3
Taste - The hops have certainly mellowed a fair bit, but the beer is well-balanced a mix of bitter hops and complex malts. 4
Mouthfeel - Very smooth with a crisp finish. 4
Drinkability - Enjoyable to drink, but at this point not a beer I would have more than two of in one sitting. 3.5
Overall - Still a good beer, but not one that I will let age any longer.

Aenema, Dec 13, 2008
Photo of xfactor9600
4.68/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - amber color with a thick foam that dissipates slowly.

S - A deep citrus aroma.

T - Both Bitter and sweet all in the same sip.

M - Carbomtion was excellent and just right.

D - My first year catching this beer. I can't believe i've held off this long.

Serving type: bottle

xfactor9600, Dec 13, 2008
Photo of djeffbee
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours a deep amber color with a two finger off white head that's initially about an inch but falls to about one. Sitcky llace clings to the glass.

S - Citrusy hops, grapefruit, and dominate with caramel malts.

T - Sweet, yet spicy with an awesome bitterness that lasts

M - Medium-bodied, carbonation level is perfect to balance the bitter finish...

D - An excellent brew. I look forward to this one every year.

djeffbee, Dec 13, 2008
Photo of JRed
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Light amber in color with big, white, frothy head that leaves lacing all around. A delicious scent of citrus and hops floats around the beer, a very inviting aroma. A doughy, chewy taste reminiscent of biscuits with great hop attack to follow. A dab of pepper and spice...and BAM! the concoction is finished. A crisp dry aftertaste leaves the palate wanting more and I concede to the demand.

JRed, Dec 13, 2008
Photo of Morbo
4.43/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A somewhat aggressive pour yields a frothy two finger off white head atop a beautiful crystal clear coppery-orange body. There is so much lacing you could count my sips, like growth rings on a tree.

And a mighty tree it is, the nose exudes resinous pine. In the background there is some citrus, mostly grapefruit but I'm getting sweet and juicy tangerine as well.

There is a hint of sweet caramel on the tip of the tongue and then the hops takeover. Grapefruit dominates with pine playing second fiddle, basically the reverse of the nose. Finishes moderately bitter with some spiciness and floral accents.

Medium in body and carbonation with a nice creamy mouthfeel and long oily finish.

This one is very hoppy, but not abrasively so. There is just enough caramel maltiness to keep the bitterness in check. For a hoppy IPA coming in at almost 7% abv this is extremely sessionable, I could drink it all night. For me this years Celebration Ale belongs to the highest tier of IPAs, its release makes Chicago winter a bit more tolerable.

Morbo, Dec 12, 2008
Photo of HappyBivouac
4.75/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured into a glass mug from a 12 oz. bottle. 2008 batch.

a- Just wanna make a note that this stuff is absolutely gorgeous through the bottle. Hold the bottle up to a light before opening.

Pours a slightly hazy amber orange with a massive creamy/frothy head. This is a very delicious-looking beer.

s- smell is huge pine and a little bit of fruit and spices. some citrus character comes through slightly.

t- initially I'm surprised by the massive hop flavor. Tastes floral/piney throughout, but some nice bready malts, hint of sweetness and wintery spice to balance. Finish is a pleasant lingering pine taste and bread dough. Alcohol beautifully masked. Man, this is so good.

m- goes down smoother than any pale ale I've had. Carbonation is nice and subtle. Maybe just a tad too watery.

d- well, this is it folks. I admit I've been a malts guy through and through up until now. This is the beer the opened my eyes. Give me 6, please.

Absolutely phenomenal beer. I will be buying more of this and hopefully sharing with the family over the holidays.

HappyBivouac, Dec 12, 2008
Photo of Brianmerrilyn
4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I tried out a sample of this at Skibbo's on East Tremont.

A: Poured dark orange brown with a frothy tan head and thick lacing and excellent retention.

S: The nose is a sharp pine coupled with a light citrus before hopps come to town ending with the malt to prove Sierra Nevada can balance 'em well.

T: Spritely noble hop entrance added with malt to be a smooth delivery. Pine and lemon come through in the aftertaste.

M: Medium moving to large and again excellent retention.

D: After hearing friends form Florida to Philly speak of Celebration Ale in the same week, I was glad to try this one out. A more genteel IPA but nevertheless perfectly balanced, throughly enjoyable and something I'll pick up a sixer of next time.

Brianmerrilyn, Dec 12, 2008
Photo of mwa423
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a very attractive light amber with a thick head and lacing that went all the way down the glass. Strong hop aroma/citrus.

Fantastic IPA flavor, with a strong bite and aftertaste! The only reason it doesn't get 5 is that I have had better so I know improvement is possible, but not by anything but the absolute best.

The strong hop flavor is great but it could have been just me but while I enjoyed it it hit the stomach kind of rough.

Overall, I doubt you could find a better beer that is as easy to find across the U.S. Shame that this is a seasonal and they don't make this year round.

mwa423, Dec 12, 2008
Photo of Dirty1
4.28/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I bought a six pack of this last night and poured one into a pint glass. I was pretty stoked to try this after hearing it talked about whith alot of love. This was the 2008 Celebration.

A- Poured an orange copper color with a really nice 2 finger cream head that lasted about half the glass. It had a nice cloud of sediment that kind of floated in the middle untill it finally settled to the bottom. Nice haevy lace rings to the bottom.

S- First smell is of fresh hops. Nice citrus smell of grapefruits with a floral piney smell. I could also detect some malt and a light grassy note.

T- Very citrus with alot of grapefruit and lemons. It also had heavy floral pine note with hints of toasted malts and white pepper. Not much alcohol bite as expected, but a very balanced flavor with a slight bitter after taste. Over all impression was of fresh hops.

M- It had a very nice rich mouthfeel that worked well with the amount of carbonation it had.

D- I loved it! I could drink several of these at one session. I have heard the 2008 is less hoppy than the past years and if thats the case I would love to find a 2007! I will definatly seek this out a season long. Its a nice alternative to the winter spiced beers. Cheers!

Dirty1, Dec 12, 2008
Photo of yossarian14
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this at The Hawthorne Hotel in Salem. They had it on tap in The Tavern. I have already had this year's Celebration (in a bottle)and as usual I'm a fan, but it is very different out of the tap.

The aroma is awesome. Big hit of fresh piney hops with some citrus and floral as well. At first I thought, this isn't the same beer I had in the bottle, but the spices come through in the taste without losing any of that fresh raw hop flavor. This is a winter warmer for the hopheads. The cinnamon and other festive spices play second fiddle to the hops but the flavor and aroma are BIG. I thoroughly enjoyed the one I had, but I did actually only have one.

Get a case to share during the holidays, but get out there and try a draft, I think you'll notice a big difference

yossarian14, Dec 11, 2008
Photo of BigJim5021
3.9/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

For whatever reason, I've never had Celebration Ale until this year. I've been missing out on a damn good IPA.

Pours a crystal-clear copper with a rocky off-white head. Settles into a permanent ring with an assload of lacing.

The smell is muted. I can tell that there's some piny hops to be found within, they just aren't too strong on the nose.

The taste is damn good. There's nothing muted about the piny hop bitterness in the flavor of CA. There's a small hint of caramel malt sweetness to be found behind the heaping helping of hops. Delicious.

Mouthfeel is essentially what to expect from the style. It's not as creamy as a Two-Hearted or Stone, but it does have a good, crisp finish with hearty dryness.

Drinkability is supremely high. This might be tops among all seasonal brews for me thus far. Quality stuff.

BigJim5021, Dec 11, 2008
Photo of wescj
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

Color is a deep ruby red copper. Half inch of white, frothy head, with nice retention and good, sticky lace.

Smells of piney hops and citrus. The hops are somewhat abrasive- but in the good way of knowing the taste is going to be bold.

Taste is mostly piney/citrusy hops mentioned in the aroma. Also, some floral notes shining through. Bitter, oily aftertaste. Awesome.

Smooth and well carbonated, leaving a rough and hoppy feeling in the mouth.

Drinkable if you're into hops. Great IPA, all around

wescj, Dec 11, 2008
Photo of cottonkoozie
4.75/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - Good head off color head and retention, lacing. Nice reddish color. Only reason its not a 5 for me is that the head could have been thicker.

S - Great smell, very balanced, pronounced hops with balancing malts. Smells great.

T - Taste is not disappointing at all. Good balance, strong ipa hops, good malt backbone. Would have liked a spicy kick, but instead very smooth finishing, which is still good.

M - Great mouthfeel for an IPA, clean and full.

D - Keep em coming!

Another great IPA. I'm really falling in love with this style. Great seasonal brew, but i could drink it year round. Second beer I have tried from sierra nevada, and I have loved both.

cottonkoozie, Dec 11, 2008
Photo of nasty15108
4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle (2008) into a pint glass.

A - Poured copper with a head of tan foam. Soapy lacing and good carbontaion theoughout.

S - Slight maltiness with the fresh aroma of pine and grapefruit.

T - More of the same. Finishes off bitter and slightly dry with a bit of alcohol warmth.

MF&D - Medium bodied and slightly oily. What you would expect from a SN product.

nasty15108, Dec 11, 2008
Photo of GbVDave
4.13/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a 20oz imperial pint.

2008 version.

A: Pours an oh so slightly hazy coppery/ruby-orange color with a thick and pillowy khaki colored head that retains for ages and leaves a beautiful mess of lace in the glass.

S: Nice blend of sweet tropical fruit and pine bough. Along for the ride is some sweet caramel malt, toasted malt, and a hint of sweet & tart apple.

T: Here the piney hoppiness takes the reigns and is followed closely by a bit of pineapple, aspirin, toasty malt, caramel, and a touch of lemon during the finish.

M: Very sticky and oily. Resinous hops tear it up with dry malt, sweet malt, and some lingering spiciness.

D: This was my first Celebration Ale in at least 10 years and it tastes much better than I remember. Good show!

GbVDave, Dec 11, 2008
Photo of VaTechHopHead
3.83/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured a very nice deep orange/brown with visible sediments of the good stuff a.k.a. yeast. It had a very nice off white head which stayed throughout the glass with very nice lace. Pretty much what a beer should look like.

S - Obviously hops are the predominant scent upon first smell with the same aroma of SN's pale ale but a little bit sweeter due to the different hop variety. Other than hops there isn't much there...maybe a little caramel-ish in the background.

T - Same thing here, hops up front at first due to the dry-hopping but they dilute quickly to a nice subtle fruity/sweet flavor, quite the nice transition. Great carbonation as well, not too much and not too little.

M/D - Very easy to drink if you enjoy hops and a semi-complex flavors. A little higher in alcohol than SN's other offerings so watch out...a sixer is all you need!

VaTechHopHead, Dec 10, 2008
Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 8,555 ratings.