1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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.
BA SCORE
93
outstanding

7,819 Ratings
THE BROS
96
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7,819
Reviews: 3,154
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 11.54%
Wants: 199
Gots: 459 | 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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 7,819 | Reviews: 3,154 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ITK4ever
4.22/5  rDev +1.4%

I don't understand why this a winter release. To me, take off the blasted holiday scene and sell it year-round like the PA. This is a great session beer and drinking them is like eating candy. Pours a terrific amber color into a pint glass. A pretty pour....balanced head, nice lacing. Piny, citrusy hops hit first and the beer tastes as good as it smells. Piny citrusy...could be the perfect AIPA. Balanced beautifully.

They only thing bad about it is SN may as well put Santa on the label.

ITK4ever, Apr 28, 2006
Photo of Hautacam
3.53/5  rDev -15.1%

Cloudy amber....foamy head drops to a film quickly.
Smells strongly of aromatic piney hops.
Taste is very tangy, citrusy hops balanced with a smooth semi-sweet toasty malt. Alcohol hint as it warms up. Hoppy aftertaste.
Medium mouthfeel, medium carbonation.
All in all , a good brew..could have more tha one.

Hautacam, Apr 25, 2006
Photo of objectivemonkey
4.55/5  rDev +9.4%

I broke out my 2002 vintage last night. No special occasion, just itchin to drink it. But man was it worth the wait. Pours much hazier than a fresh one, but still retains its head and lacing. Nose grew more delicous than ever, the hops toned down, with ripe fruits and a sweet, caramel maltiness that hides the alcohol in there. Hops have mellowed down in taste too, replaced by a deliciously smooth caramel malt, and is just a beautiful ride. But it still retains some of that signature hop profile that Celebration is good for. I'm definitely glad I started keeping a few Celebrations in the cellar each year.

objectivemonkey, Apr 17, 2006
Photo of plaid75
4.53/5  rDev +8.9%

I am reviewing the 2005 edition, as I just finished off the last of my stockpile.

This beer pours a nice amber shade with a nice foamy head. There is average head retention and lacing. This beer is nicely hopped and very aromatic.

The taste is very complex and different food pairings reveal different flavors. This beer is suprisingly drinkable considering its spiciness and ABV.

Up there with Mendocino as one of the best winter seasonals.

My only complaint would be its limited release. It becomes very difficult to find toward the end of January.

plaid75, Apr 15, 2006
Photo of jhollick
4.15/5  rDev -0.2%

Presentation - 12 oz. bottle, served chilled. 2005 edition.

Appearance - Reddish orange with beatiful billowing white head. The head piles up around an inch, and leaves a thick trail behind. The whole scene reminds me of winter.

Smell - Cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, banana, and other spices my nose cannot identify. There is also a noticable hop aroma wafting around. Something tells me I'm in for something a bit out of the ordinary for winter warmer beers.

Mouthfeel - Nothing too out of the ordinary here. Appropriate carbonation level and enough heft to keep it from feeling watery. Hops coat the mouth a bit, but nothing overwhelming.

Taste - As I suspected, this beer is hoppier than other winter beers I have come across. The aforementioned spices make a brief appearance, but they quickly give way to the hops. The hops are pretty strong, but not overpowering, and somehow the beer stays smooth. The malts do just enough to keep those crazy hops in line. A very interesting flavor with a dry finish.

Drinkability - Woo woo! After this review, I finished 3 more out of the six pack and wondered why I couldn't see straight. Riiight...its the 6.8% alcohol. Seriously, that should be in big script, because I would have never known if I hadn't started buzzing very quickly.

Overall - A winter brew for hopheads! Not that this can only be enjoyed by hopheads. Even though the hops are the strongest flavor, they don't overwhelm, and the beer has a very quenching character. It had me reaching for more and more. Too bad this is only a seasonal. I could see myself reaching for this on a chilly summer's evening as well. Alas, winter 2k6 isn't that far off...

jhollick, Apr 06, 2006
Photo of Metalmonk
4.15/5  rDev -0.2%

2005 edition

Pours a creamy brownish-white head that retains well. Great reddish-brown body, leaning toward the red. Good active carbonation and cool splotchy lacing.

Herbal hops aroma out front, with a slightly sweet character that reminds me of cherries soaked in a brown sugar glaze.

Taste is pretty close to the regular S.N. Pale Ale, adding a fruitier aspect and slightly creamy mouthfeel. Piney hops out front, just a bit sharp but thirst-quenching and drinkable. Aftertaste is a steely grapefruit wang that sticks around awhile.

A satisfactory and hoppier take on their everyday (and very good) Pale Ale. There are better holiday ales, but the lower ABV (by holiday ale standards) makes it a good alternative if you're not looking to get blitzed 'n' bleary-eyed over the holidays.

Metalmonk, Apr 04, 2006
Photo of grub
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%

2005 edition

pours a nice golden colour, with a thick golden head that lingers through to the end of the glass and leaves plenty of lacing.

the aroma is malty and lightly hoppy. slightly lager-y aroma too.

taste is slightly malty, with a strong but very smooth bitterness. the lager flavour is there too, but mellow. if the lable didn't say "ale" i'd swear it was fermented with a lager yeast. the alcohol is not noticeable at all.

the body is good. it's got a nice full body.

overall it's a really interesting beer. full bodied, but light and with a very lager-like feel. definitely quite enjoyable.

grub, Mar 31, 2006
Photo of jamesdergen
4.45/5  rDev +7%

Appearance: Pours a reddish, caramel color with a great chunky beige head that sticks around for most of the brew.

Smell: Huge floral hop aroma, very piney as well.

Taste: Big and hoppy but super-smooth! A floral hoppy attack up front that is backed by a huge caramel malt backbone. This 2002 edition has mellowed out a lot, but lost some of its hop edge.

Mouthfeel: Ultra smooth despite the hoppiness and light to medium bodied. Lightly carbonated.

Drinkability: I wish I would have picked up another one of these! Very drinkable, smooth and well-balanced.

Picked up this 2002 edition at Blue Max last week and it did not disappoint. I would have liked a more edgy hop bite, but the smoothness is unlike any other IPA I've tried.

jamesdergen, Mar 24, 2006
Photo of drugsbunny
4.9/5  rDev +17.8%

This is the perfect beer. Color, head, taste... everything. I even like the fact I have to wait until Winter to enjoy this wonderful ale. Perfect hop character, wonderful Cascade aroma. I could drink this forever. I can't wait to find this on tap somewhere.

drugsbunny, Mar 21, 2006
Photo of ReDave
3.9/5  rDev -6.3%

Very nice, always glad to accept a Celebration ale! Great hoppiness, nice color and aroma. Nicely balanced. Not like some "holiday" beers that are nutmeggy or the like, this is like a darker richer version of their pale ale. bigger, but not sure i'd call it an IPA.

ReDave, Mar 20, 2006
Photo of BiltmoreShores
3.93/5  rDev -5.5%

I'm lucky enough to have a tap system at my home and I've been enjoying tap beer now for over a year on this unit. I picked up a keg of Celebration Ale in January and enjoyed many wintery nights with friends while consuming mass quantities.

First off, this beer pours real nice and smooth from the tap. Little head and scenty aroma. It just seems to smell like you've just lit the fire on a winter night. Dark amber color in the glass, the first taste is a bit strong, but the second is delicious.

After a couple, the 6.8% ABV becomes obvious and you can either sit back and relax or ride the wave. I've done both on several occasions, however, this beer for me is a sit back and relax type of brew. I found that its much more enjoyable to hang back with a couple than pound this beer.

In summary, I love it in small quantities, but overdose can release undesirable effects.

BiltmoreShores, Mar 17, 2006
Photo of normZurawski
3.95/5  rDev -5%

This is fine, this is good. I'm not an immense fan of the American IPA, contrary to the tastes of an enormous subset of the people who drink craft beer. But it does have its moments. I don't think it compares well to the Troegs Nugget Nectar nor the Three Floyds Alpha King. But it's a good beer all in all.

I gave the smell a good-plus because it's a got a nice aroma that probably supercedes its taste a bit. I gave the mouthfeel and drinkability a good-minus because it's a tad too bitter for me. The taste is good, though it does leave an extremely long hop/bitter taste lingering in the mouth that doesn't do much good for this beer. I'm not sold on its outstanding classification on the site. But to each his own.

normZurawski, Mar 17, 2006
Photo of paulfear
3.98/5  rDev -4.3%

poured a nice deep amber color with a very thick fluffy head. it had a strong aroma of hops and floral qualities. i found it to be rather mild the first time i drank it, but when i sat down to review it i thought it had a sharper bite to it with hints of floral and hops flavors. i almost think it had a slight berry taste to it. mouthfeel was of a medium body with smooth consistancy.

paulfear, Mar 12, 2006
Photo of jameaterblues
4.05/5  rDev -2.6%

This beer pours a very dark amber color, with a slight reddish tint. The head is a creamy white color...it was very thick at first, but dissipated quickly....a fine lace of cream colored bubbles remain around the glass.

The smell is what I consider to be the 'Sierra' smell....strong cascade hops. very dank and spicy.

This beer tastes like a stronger version of the pale ale. The hops hit the tongue and never leave(this is a good thing since I have started to love hops)....Almost like a mild IPA, but has the slight spice, and maybe some herbs, of a winter warmer(no spice added, just the slightly spiced taste). A nice bitter dry finish.

Mouthfeel/drinkablity: If you are a fan of Sierra Nevada already this is a great beer. I think that sierra nevada has a very distinct flavor going on and this appears to be due to their hops. I will have no problem finishing the rest of these....I find it is wonderful...I'm glad I got to try it before it is gone for the season.

jameaterblues, Mar 11, 2006
Photo of joeyels
4/5  rDev -3.8%

2005 Edition

Dark copper or light amber in color depending how the light hits it. Tiny bubbles rushing to the top of a thin 1/4" beige head, light lacing throughout the entire glass. Subtle aroma, very balanced with hops and malt. Taste is hoppy, feels like a mix of pine and citrus on the back end, but very balanced with sweetened malt. Very smooth, crisp finish, perfect feel on the palate, extremely well carbonated. Wonderful balance of flavors, not too subtle yet not too overpowering. Delicious.

joeyels, Mar 07, 2006
Photo of timtheenchanta
4.18/5  rDev +0.5%

Hazy orange glow emitted from this beer. Medium head with little retention but good thin webby lacing.

Citrus hops with sweet pale malt smell.

Lots of hop oil flavor. Citrus hops and pale malt. Great IPA with plenty of delicious hoppiness. Hop dryness leaves me wanting more.

timtheenchanta, Mar 07, 2006
Photo of wl0307
4.47/5  rDev +7.5%

<2007 Vintage>
BB 08/10/2008, served slightly chilled in a large tulip-shaped wine glass.
A: dark amber hue, coming with creamy off-white head with o.k. retention, on top of very decent-looking, gentle carbonation.
S: a little musk, Fuggle-like fragrance, and the smell of "old kitchen-cloth" (quite typical in many English Pale Ales) come as surprising plus to the original mixture of peachy+piney+fat-grapefruity hops in this fantastic ale; this year’s vintage seems to feature less malts and the fragrant hops come more pronounced and intense than the 2005 Vintage that I can recall… Complex and super-enjoyable!
T: grapefruit-zesty, tannic-bitter as well as deliciously and yet also soothingly malty upfront… the piney hoppiness is rather light, being slightly spicy in the middle, then the citric hop bitterness expand towards the wings and rear of the tongue with a lychee-like fruity undertone. The finish is proudly bitter, but quite rounded and not harsh at all, with a wee bit of alc. felt in the very end.
M&D: fantastic mouthfeel, with lots and lots of soothing carbonation to carry through the weight of hop bitterness; this vintage tastes slightly different from my last bottle (2005 vintage), with a slightly more hop-dominated theme. No matter what the subtle differences are, I just love every vintage of this truly delicious festive IPA!

<2005 Vintage>
BB 21/10/06, served slightly chilled in a large tulip-shaped wine glass.
A: light copperish hue, coming with a medium-thick, 2cm off-white creamy head with good retention and uneven sheets of lacing; lively carbonation, but not too fizzy.
S: barley candy and a raw-grainy hint of sweet calcium-pill (for children) upfront; deeply sweet flowery fragrance with lots of stimulating pollens, like orange blossoms, plus cherry and apple flavouring, honey, sweetened citrus peel... plus a dense aroma from fruit and flower esters sustaining firmly in the background. Oily and flowery hoppyness threads through all elements of the aroma. Very nice, even more complex than the 2004 version, or maybe I've gained more experience to appreciate a good brew like this??
T: extremely creamy-textured semi-sweet fruity palate with fat maltiness lubricates the palate, preparing it for a quiet but colourful hoppy attack--grapefruit peel, lychee, cherry skins, flowery, orange seeds, plus an increasingly bitter hoppy aftertaste with plenty of tannins at the back... The flavour outperforms the aroma in terms of depth and complexity by a margin, and really is penetrating just like a colourful American IPA should be. Superbly lingering bitterness and dancing hops on the palate.
M&D: full flavoured and very approachable due to its creamy texture; again, the 2005 version is another successful brew proving the consistency of the brewery's artistic skills. Incredibly juicy and exceptionally delicious American IPA. Can't wait to try the 2006 vintage~~

wl0307, Mar 07, 2006
Photo of brentk56
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%

Appearance: Pours a clear amber color with a lovely head that leaves plenty of lacing

Smell: Wonderful citrus orange aroma

Taste: Although this beer is very hoppy, it has a nice caramel malt backbone that supports the citrusy hop flavors; it gives you a nice sweetness up front alongside a long bitter flavor, with a floral aftertaste

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with plenty of carbonation

Drinkability: One of my favorite IPAs, this one has a great hoppy taste and is extremely well-balanced

brentk56, Mar 07, 2006
Photo of barleyman
4.43/5  rDev +6.5%

I have enjoyed the SNCA for over 10 years now.This, the 2005 edition, is poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a straight sided pint glass. A clear, mahogany beer, with very little dark khaki head, leaves a little Brussels lace down the glass.The smell is of hops, wonderful hops, with some malt as well. The taste is of hops as well, along with raisins and clove. Thanks goes out to Fritz, for this wonderful product. The mouthfeel is of balance, like no other, tis perfect. With a balance like this, the drinkability is near everyday levels.

Lord take me now,

barleyman

barleyman, Mar 06, 2006
Photo of Manosbeeroffate
4.03/5  rDev -3.1%

2005 Edition. I found this lone 6-pack at Shaw's in Concord NH, so I decided to bring it home. Pours a orange/yellow color. Smell is a bit like fruit. Taste is a nice malt flavor with lots of citrusy hops flavor. Mouthfeel is very nice.Overall another winner from SN, hope I can find it again very soon.

Manosbeeroffate, Mar 06, 2006
Photo of Billolick
4.6/5  rDev +10.6%

2000 vintage Celebration ale, from Sierra Nevada

I was lucky enough to find a sixer of this stunning beer from the 2000 vintage at Route 59 Beverages in Nyack NY. With a full five years in the bottle, this one now is a soft dark auburn stunner. Smooth mouthfeel, nose of subtle brandy and piney hops. Mouthfeel is pure velvet. Notes of smokey brandy, pine sap, vanilla and rum soaked blondies, yum. A few years in the bottle and the flavors are soft, balanced and meshed. Put Celebration away for a few years and you will have some wonderful, soft and smooth stuff.

Billolick, Mar 05, 2006
Photo of kgotcher
4.2/5  rDev +1%

So first off I'ma bit confused if this is IPA or Double IPA or American Strong Ale. Says IPA on the BA style but I've reviewed other beers just like that that were IIPA or Strong Ale or Winter warmers.

Anyway, this pours nice rich orange amber color with thin head and nice lacings. Smell is sweet malt with Christmas tree hops. Mouthfeel is smooth and syrupy with a bitter finish. Very hoppy with a good amount of carbonation.

Taste is amber malt with northwest hops. Earthy and citrusy hops rule over a sweet syrupy malt and a slight nutty flavor. Leans toward hop flavor in the end with overpowering finishing hops.

A nice beer, pretty drinkable for the style with lots of flavor. If anything a bit too hoppy, but that's typical SN for you.

kgotcher, Mar 05, 2006
Photo of rhoadsrage
4.05/5  rDev -2.6%

( Served in an American pint glass)

A- This beer has a light golden orange body that is crystal clear. There is a good strong carbonation of tiny bubbles and a thin creamy white head.

S- The smell of green hops with a pineapple note and a hint of grass is supported by a lightly toasted and caramel malt note.

T- The grapefruit hops come through and appear a bit more bitter with the slight sweetness of the malt. This really makes the hops stand out nicely. This beer finishes with a green bitter hops flavor and a note of spicy in the hops.

M- This beer has a medium-full mouthfeel with a nice creamy texture.

D- The hops are really enhanced by the malt but this beer is still very drinkable.

rhoadsrage, Mar 04, 2006
Photo of Tupperwolf
4.18/5  rDev +0.5%

Here's a little story about Celebration Ale.

One day, I was driving down a street just a few blocks from my home in San Diego. I was following a white Toyota Celica being driven by a woman who appeared to be around 65 years of age. She slowed, turned on her turn signal, and used her remote to open her garage door. As I slowed behind her, I looked into her garage and was surprised to see an entire wall of the garage stacked with box after box of Celebration - probably 15-20 cases of it. Since then, I've wondered if it was really good enough to warrant stocking up to that level for your family.

Pouring this into a standard pint glass reveals a fairly standard IPA - red-amber, with rising bubbles and a rocky, fluffy eggshell head. This is a bit more hazy than a standard IPA, however, a slight cloudiness that could just be chill haze. The head leaves an amazing lacing across the entire glass, from top to bottom, that I can't help but wonder is caused by an extremely clean glass or a slightly dirty glass. It is a wall of thick, bubbly lace that looks like styrofoam.

Smell - slight spruce-tip winter-ale spiciness in the beginning, and it's all hop from there. This is one hoppy winter bomb, floral and citrusy.

The taste echoes the flavor rather well - It begins with a caramelly malt that continues to a sprucey, spicy winter warmer flavor, and is almost immediately overwhelmed by sweet, sweet oily hops. Yum yum. Citrusy and oily, the hops are well balanced.

Smooth mouthfeel, very slight carbonation, oily hop finish, nearly clean at the end after swallowing.

Pretty good. Definitely drinkable. Hell, I had four in a row.

Tupperwolf, Feb 27, 2006
Photo of scottoale
4.93/5  rDev +18.5%

One of my top 5 favorites for nearly 2 decades, I thoroughly enjoy this American IPA which IMO is just as much a strong ale. Really, really tasty stuff no matter how you look at it!

It pours a medium amber-gold with an outstanding almond colored head. The head is thick and frothy, lasting the entire time of consumption, with a nice sticky lacing trailing every sip. The bottle-conditioned carbonation is perfact and consistant, year after year.

Ah, the smell. Very piney fresh hop nose with floral, malty into citrus like finish. They should make air fresheners and perfumes using this fragrance.

Tastes just like it smells with a rich, full body that makes this a gourmet meal of a beer. Full of hoppy, malty mouthfilling goodness that hides the alcohol all to well. Must drink more! One helluva American IPA indeed, and a very well balanced one.

I truly can say nothing bad about this beer, even though it's filling, I can drink this strong ale into eternity...I recommend that you do the same...Cheers!

scottoale, Feb 26, 2006
Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 7,819 ratings.