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Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Sierra Nevada Celebration AleSierra Nevada Celebration Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

9,190 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 9,190
Reviews: 3,324
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 11.81%
Wants: 284
Gots: 1,128 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American IPA |  6.80% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 11-02-2001

Fresh Hop Ale; no spices.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 9,190 | Reviews: 3,324 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Frosty80
3.46/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Color: hazy caramel

Smell: some citrusy/grapefruit hops and a clean malt aroma. well balanced. so much so everything is pretty much canceled out.

Taste: again hops and malt are in harmony. nothing really stands out. if they were aiming for that ultimate balance in a brew, they came goddam close. slightly dry finish with a minor bitterness that doesnt stick around too long

Mouthfeel: moderate carbonation. light-med body

Notes: this is a perfectly balanced IPA. nice, easy aromatics and taste. well rounded. nothing dominates, but then again it loses some complexity. NOT the Celebration i remember and reviewed in the past

Photo of lovindahops
4.05/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2010 Celebration. An iconic representation of craft beer

A- a clear reddish amber with a great head of foam that has fantastic lacing along the sides. The carbonation dances throughout the glass with the head of foam is completely rocky

S- the hops are no doubt the main feature of celebration. Pine and tropic themes at the same time. The malt is established with some caramel too. There is even an abundance of pineapple right at the end. Freshness is the key to this!

T- the same hops dominate the taste of the brew. Very bitter in the beginning and very bitter in the end. In between is some grapefruit and earthy elements to keep the bitterness in check. Some sweetness is involved as the malt component as well. The alcohol does happen to take a swing at you as well

M- very creamy and smooth. It's good

D- Celebration is smooth fresh drinakable stuff. The bitterness keeps it lively and not absolutely slam dunk drinkable. Still very good!

Photo of beercat11
3.53/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Picked up a 12 pack of this years batch. I have enjoyed this beer for many years but I must say that last year and this years version are not up to par as in previous years. Not sure why but the flavors are off from what I remember. Its still good as most brews from SN but too close to some of their other offerings such as the Pale Ale and Torpedo. It just doesn't stand out like it used to. The hop bitterness is there but it seems as though they are using different flavoring hops then they used to. My friends have also noticed this. Maybe SN is getting too big and loosing touch with the importance of consistency.

Photo of soze47
4.21/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Here is a 2010 Entry. I love this beer and think it is heavenly that is so available and so cheap during the holiday season.

Appearance: Golden orange in color. The body is very clear with a lot of carbonation bubbles. A big head on a somewhat subtle pour.

Aroma: Very balanced aroma. Earthiness hops and malt balance quite a bit. Not quite grassy or floral, this has a hop forward presence is nicely balanced by a rich malty smoothness.

Taste: Hop forward, but not aggressively bitter. Very herbal and spicy hops play well with a substantial malt back. Malt provides body and balance, but not sweetness.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and somewhat thick going in, but it definitely goes down as a light bodied offering.

Drinkability: Highly drinkable and pleasant. There is a substantial taste that is at once complex, but not demanding of your palette.

Overall: Very tasty and another success from Sierra Nevada.

Photo of nickhiller
3.91/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: dark amber-ish brown, almost like a cherrywood color with a thick one finger head that settles to an eighth of an inch around the edges. Really good lacing.

S: a surprising amount of malt for a beer that is so hoppy, sweet even, a little vanilla, fruit.

T: fruity hops, some melon, sweet malt. Finish is pretty intensely bitter and warming, perfect for a cold winter night.

M: medium body, medium carbonation, with a very dry finish.

D: delicious. Really one of the best winter ales around, even if it's not technically a winter warmer. I'm interested by the contrast between the sweet fruity nose and the dry bitter taste. I can, and will, drink many more of these.

Photo of MbpBugeye
4.13/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Late night review, done on my phone under the cover of darkness and a Seinfeld dvd for the 100th time.

A- Quite a nice looking beer. Foam and lacing come in surplus, they are supported by an orange-copper colored ale. Its on the darker side of ipa.

S- So far I haven't been awfully impressed with fresh hop ales, but I think I can trust Sierra to show me the way. The malt base its noted with faint cracker dryness. The real star of the show is a citrusy hopping. The fresh hops lend a fleshy, lemony, leafy character.

T- Very citrusy, but not the exotic, sweetened citrus I prefer. Its more of a bitter, grapefruit and rind type of citrus. Fresh tangerine sweetens up the finish just before a lingering bitterness.

M- Highly carbonated but it mellows out quickly.

I hadve this before and I will be having it again. This us my recommended fresh hop ale.

Photo of Thorpe429
4.17/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes, though I'm sure J have had this nearly 50 times.

Pours a brownish amber color with a nice white head and that sticky hop type of lacing. Nose brings a good dose of citrus and pine hops plus some caramel and sweet bread. Nice combination of hops and malt for the colder seasons. Drinks quite well and is a staple in our fridge every time it is available.

Photo of MLucky
4.12/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ah,good ol' SN. Always a pleasure.

2010 Celebration ale, poured out of a bomber into a pint glass.

Dark amber color, very hazy, persistent tan foam.

Excellent smell. Very hoppy, almost DPA-like, but some malt scent in there, too.

Hops are very much at the forefront, flavor-wise, but malt still present. Strong grapefruit-like bitterness that gives way to the malt for just a moment before the hops snap back for the after taste. Just a wee bit of cinnamon-ish spice.

Another strong SN celebration. As usual I wind up wishing they'd make it year round.

Photo of tobeerornottobe
3.53/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Deep golden colour, not exactly clear, looks like a heavyish beer. Great head, thick with lots of nice bubbles.

N: Not terribly full but subtle and nicely balanced. Hints of tropical fruits.

T: Milder than I expected given appearance and taste. However, nice bitterness moving through from mid palate to back palate.

M: Pleasant and well balanced, nice that it's not too overcarbonated.

Very good session beer, loved how it is so well balanced.

Photo of laituegonflable
3.81/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a golden orange colour with generous cream-coloured head, nice and bubbly but sinking steadily, leaving some beautiful trails of lace behind. Slow, light bead in the body with very slight translucency. Damned nice beer.

Smell is fairly fruity, quite malty as well with lots of light caramel on that. Nice, tart pineapple note and lots of enjoyable citrus aroma. Slight dry grassy aroma as well, and a very mild medicinal phenol on there. Decent, but a bit of a mishmash.

Taste is quite malty and boozey. Lots of sweet toffee flavours with brown sugar, then gets early hop notes with a touch of grapefruit and some grassy flavours as well, light phenols with a slight aspirin note and a touch of apricot as well. Slight woodiness on the back complementing a slight brandy boozey warmth.

Quite thick texture with a slickness as it goes down. Slightly sticky in the mouth, but pleasant.

Pretty nice, doesn't strike me as amazing but pleasant, sweet drinking.

Photo of regspeir
4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle - Poured a cloudy amber with a huge fluffy white head which lasted throughout. Lacing was intense and lasted as well. Nose was citrus, resinous and flowery with considerable sweetness apparent. Taste is citrus, some pine, spice and balanced nicely with some nuttiness and caramel malts. Medium bodied and good carbonation, a little sticky but with not much bitterness in the aftertaste. Instead, this IPA is on the sweet side but crisp, refreshing and sessionable for sure.

Photo of sk8man121
3.9/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Picked this up today at my LHBS while grabbing some supplies. Was shocked to see that it was a 2007 vintage.

12oz bottle poured into Unibroue snifter.

A: Pours a nice deep amber with a thick, pillowy head. Lacing abound.

S: Smells very sweet and malty; hops have dropped out completely. Dark fruit, a small hint of citrus and lemongrass.

T: Wow. It's amazing what 3 years can do to a beer. What was once rife with hops is now so malty that the flavors remind me of an aged J.W. Lee's harvest. Malt sweetness, a nice burn from the alcohol, honey, bread. Drastically different from a fresh bottle; hell, it tastes like a barleywine.

M: Coats the tongue and the rest of the mouth. Medium carbonation.

D: Fresh, I can easily go through three or four bottles of this. With three years on it, I honestly wouldn't want more than one. This has gotten extremely malty, which to some might be a blessing.

Great beer fresh, and quite good with age. Just very different.

Photo of pdoran10
3.89/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

really amazing looking ipa. pours out a dark amber haze with two and a half fingers of head with staying power. leaves behind some incredible lacing.

smell is pine and orange, nice mixture of hops. with yummy meduim roast malt.

taste is full of hops and well balanced with excellent mixture of well bodied malt. very very well made beer quality ingerdients. hop profile favors pine and resin mostly, not my favorite. reminds be of SA boston lager's malt profile, but in a larger dose.

mouthfeel is a winner. moderate carbonation with just the right amount of chewyness from the malt bill.

packs a lot of flavor and weight into and ipa, not the kind of ipa i could see me drinking more than a few of. like a mini barleywine.

Photo of uhhhaaron
4.7/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

consumed 11-17-2009, 12oz bottle into pint glass.

2009 vintage

Poured a beautiful dark orange/copper color with a nice soft, pillowy 2 finger head. Lacing left a lot of retention on the glass.

Initial smell is citrus hop. Then u get grapefruits and a lemon zest. has a deep caramel malt backbone to go along with the pine notes.

First drink was all hop up front that finished with a burnt finish. Then after the second, more flavors came through. lots of pine, light on the citrus, rich caramel malt, sweet toffee. a true hop heads delight.

mouthfeel is crisp with just the right amount of carbonation. medium bodied.

This is a spectacular brew. my favorite winter seasonal. I thought the 2008 version was a bit more maltier.

Photo of Anthony1
4.12/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This poured a dark orange in color out of the tap. It had some brownish notes as well. The head was puffy and very pretty. It showed retention the whole time I drained the pint glass and left some awesome lacing. The nice, sharp pine is what I first noticed in this nose. There was also some light citrus and maybe a few other hoppy notes. The healthy malt base gave this IPA a very good balance. The hop profile is very complex and reflects the scents found in the nose. The toasted malts come up slightly bigger at the taste and have a small nut compliment. As I said before, this is a very balanced brew. This one is a solid medium body

Photo of Beasticles
4.8/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. 2 finger lacy head that stays with you for much of the duration of the beer. Reddish amber color and solid hoppy and and sweet aroma. Hops hit the buds first, followed by a smooth change over into a citrus spice and sweeter finish. Great brew. Had it on tap last year a couple times and it is better from the bottle.

Don't let the label fool you, this ale is appropriate for any time of the year. Seasonal only, so store up your nuts for the summer.

Photo of TMoney2591
4.15/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a Devil's Backbone willibecher.

It pours a clear straight amber topped by a firm finger of cream foam. The nose comprises a nice level of citrus hops alongside a pleasant bit o' sweet caramel. The taste generally follows, but the hops, which add a bit o' pine to their repertoire here, seem to dominate the caramel, which is no longer as sweet as it once appeared. The new piney-ness lingers on through the aftertaste. The body is pretty light, with a moderate carbonation and a very easygoing feel. A very solid IPA, a credit to its style.

Photo of ADZA
4.28/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

After looking at this label its hard to recognise that is an AIPA it gives you more of an impression of a winter warmer but anyways glad i found out it was the first,it pours a nice light cloudy bronze hue with beautiful carbonation that leaves behind a very frothy two finger caramel laced head and sporadic sticky lacing all over the place this looks spot on for an AIPA quite impressive looking,the smell is a nice mix with aromas of citrus mainly orange and lemon and some sweet toffee malts and is quite subtle compared to other highly hoppped AIPA's but it definately gets it's point across,it has a nice mouthfeel which is just under medium bodied and nicely carbonated and very sessionable with tastes of stonefruits,some light toffee malts and finishes with a nice passionfruit tinged bitterness which stays in your mouth and for me since im a big fan of this style i reckon they got it pretty spot on and if this brew was available to me all year round abit fresher and abit cheaper it would definately have a permanent spot in my fridge.

Photo of nrbw23
4.1/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a hazy copper color with a huge frothy white head that has great retention. Head leaves some very nice lacing.

S- A big citrus hop smell. A good sweet malt backbone here too.

T- Huge blast of citrus hops, fresh grapeftuit and oranges, with hints of lemon. Again nice malty backbone. Very good balacne here.

M- Fuller side of medium and carbonation is right on.

D- A very solid brew and easy to drink.

Photo of hoegaardenhero
4.03/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a: nice fluffy white head with good retention that leaves light lace on the side of the glass; the body is a nice amber/red color

s: a nice blend of bitter hop scent w/ fruity/citrusy hops and maybe the lightest hint of spice

t: great balance of both the fruity and bitter side of the hop flavors with an especially good bitter hop kick toward the end of the sip; definitely not a lot of spice presence for a winter seasonal

m: medium carbonation with nice crispness for a pretty creamy bodied beer

d: i really think that this is a good well balanced beer that really showcases the variety of hop flavors but for a beer with holly and a snow-covered cabin on the label i expect a little more festive winter spice than this beer gives you


alright! my first taste of a beer from my newly created cellar. a 6 month 2007 vintage

a: still has it; nice head sits on a definitely darker perhaps murkier than i remember it body with w/ a decent 1/4 inch of off-white and some lacing going on; lacing and head are maybe a little less dominant than they were earlier but the body color is definitely nicer;

s: nose still finds sharper citrus hops as the predominant scent but there are definitely more of the caramel malts here than were present before; there is still some spiciness as well as some darker malty toffee/chocolate undertones

t: caramel malts first followed by the slow rise of sharp bitter citrus hops; some light dust; i think hops have maybe subsided a bit fromn the last tasting but are still main flavor; light buttery toffee;

m: definitely less carbonation this time around; smooth and creamier

d: i've heard horror stories about the hops fading fast from beers in the cellar but this one's hops are still going strong and there is a more complex darker malt side that i find highly enjoyable; was and still is a great brew
so. same beer again, this time it is end of oct 2009. let's see what's happened.

a: very loosely bubbles off-white head foams up after the pour but fades very quickly leaving light wisps of foam on top of the murky red/rust body; there is still some very light lazy movement of tiny bubbles in the body. head fades a little faster and is a little bit murkier but still looks overall the same as the 6 month tasting.

s: slightly syrupy grapefruit of he hops is still the predominant flavor; thick malty undertone with some light toffee; some warm spiced cider as well

t: very mellow compared to its original incarnation; light toasted grainy malts; although the hop is present still in the scent, there is almost none left on the tongue except for just a light tart hint at the finish; mostly just mellow biscuit grains with a light bitterness at the end; basically became a good english IPA

m: very mellow; very light car; pretty soon there will be non left at all

d: i upped this a notch for drinkability since i think that it is very mellow and drinkable like a good english bitter; it has aged well but i think it is starting to lose flavor next year it may be a shadow of its former self.
ok, same beer - now almost 3 years later...let's see what's up

a: beautiful deep amber/red with dark purple highlights; 1/4 inch of fluffy white foam has decent retention but ultimately fades to leave a thick frothy white ring, some lace clinging to the side of the glass and a thin even coating of light foam on top; the color has darkened and the beer has become really rich and beautiful

s: warm malts with a spicy piney hop back; light toffee; some floral and citrus hop notes on the back of the nose; this strangely seems more pungent in terms of hop scents than i remember last time; a little bit of dust

t: buttery smooth caramel and toffee malts are the first to hit the tongue; then that spicy and slightly bitter hop follows; some more grassy notes in the bitterness; mild and smooth with some nice spice still left over from the hops; smooth smooth

m: very buttery and smooth; very mild with silky medium mouthfeel

d: i really enjoyed this beer this time around, very mellow sort of like a fullers vintage ale meets sierra nevada

Photo of chaswisler
3.33/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Beautiful orange / copper color. Evenly distributed, carbonation raising at just the right pace.

S - Spices and lots of bittering hops. It's bark is worse then it's bite.

T - From the smell I expected a bigger taste. But the spices hit you right up front. The bitter spikes immediately then subsides with a little bit of malt.

M - Nice middle of the road, not to light or to heavy.

D - I could probably do 2 maybe 3, but then I think I would get bored with it.

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.72/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2009 edition.

A - Pours a hazy light orange color with a 1 inch white head that fades to a small cap. There is slight ring lacing going on.

S - Smells of citrus and pine hops with a sweet fruit undertone.

T - Tastes of bitter citrus zest/pine hops up front with a slight malt aftertaste. There is a lingering bitterness on the tongue from the hops.

M - Good carbonation makes for a smooth drinking experience.

D - This is a pretty good beer that I will buy again to try each year it comes out. I got this bottle from a Winter sampler pack on clearance and I am glad I got to try the 2009 brew.

Photo of itfitz
5/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Celebration Ale has caramel, cereal, hints of herbs and spices; the overwhelming prevalence of hops brings about a citrusy, floral note. Honestly, the holidays wouldn't be the same without Celebration Ale, and I buy as much as I can stock in my home each year.

This is without question one of my Top 5 beers. Incredible from the first taste until the last sip rolls out of the bottle.

Photo of djhowell
4.18/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 24 oz bottle into a pint glass, and apparently a little too aggressively as I got a ton of very fluffy cream-colored head that just wants to stick around. Quite a bit of lacing as well. The body is a deep amber and is pretty hazy.

This a very aromatic beer when it is first poured. It smells sweet, almost flowery, and has a good dose of citrus as well.

A lot more pine flavor than I expected after the floral nose from the pour, balanced by some sweet caramel malts.

On the heavy side of medium bodied, definitely heavier than other IPAs that I've had recently. It finishes nicely bitter and dry and leaves me wanting another sip.

Crisp and refreshing. I've seen this available in the winter for years at the local grocery store and never gave it a second look but I'll be sure to keep an eye out for it again later this year.

Photo of dgilks
4.2/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Big, piney, resinous nose. Moderate grapefruit. A decent background malt character but this is about the hops.

Good, clear, orange-amber colour with a big, fluffy, off-white head. Good head retention.

Good, well balanced hop flavours. More pine and moderate cirtus. Big, gripping bitterness. Smooth, lightly caramelised malt.

Medium-light body with moderately-high carbonation. Good.

A tasty IPA with big hop flavours and good malt balance. I like it.

Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 9,190 ratings.