1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. 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.

7,979 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7,979
Reviews: 3,163
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 11.54%
Wants: 227
Gots: 505 | 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:
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: 7,979 | Reviews: 3,163 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of msubulldog25
3.98/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The 2006 version, served on draught at Capt. Ankeny's in Portland, OR. A standard pint glass-full. My second taste of this beer (this year's version), with the previous one coming in November from a 12 oz. bottle (no review).

A: Glowing copper, shiny like a new penny. 1 finger of creamy off-white head. A clear ale with what I'd call 'sleepy' carbonation bubbles - a few loose ones here and there, floating lazily to the surface. Nice creamy film to cap it off and good lace.

S: Hmmm..underwhelming. Clean & fairly sweet hops but far from special. A little sourdough malt aroma.

T: Nice and juicy. Hops are crisp with ample pine and citrus flavors. A tangy finish with hints at some spiciness, which I'm not sure whether to a attribute to hops or a true spice additive in the mix.

M: Slick, slightly buttery. The hops bathe the tastebuds and permeate the mouth. Satisfying fullness of body with a good mouthfeel. Finish is slightlly bitter and has some alcohol warming.

D: Smooth, drinkable beer. A nice IPA, regardless of season...I almost wish SN would brew this year-round. Then again, some of the specialness would be lost as this IS their 'winter seasonal'. Recommended for your enjoyment.

msubulldog25, Dec 06, 2006
Photo of dfried
4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Celebration '06

Orangish amber in color, frothy 2cm tan head. The aroma is of sweet pale and caramel malts, with a fair amount of hops which are a good blend of citrus, floral, and resinous characters. There was a lot of citrus in the taste right away, oranges and tangerines, some peach like flavor, but the floral and musty/resinous notes were still definitely there too. Quite malty, a tad more than just a backbone, but still plenty of room the for the hops to be showcased. Mouthfeel is dry and a little sticky.

Verdict: Celebration is a new beast every year, but they are all consistantly good, this year was no different. Pretty good, easy to drink, worth picking up a couple times over the season, but when its gone, I am not counting down the days until its released next year.

dfried, Dec 04, 2006
Photo of chadspivey
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2006 batch, poured into a pint glass..

A: Clear amber color with a nice two finger white head that takes a full 2 minutes to dissipate to a small litte mini head, which lasts the whole beer, leaving nice lacing.

S: smells like the most lovely hops ever. not like BAM, in your face hops, more like ooo yea thats nice hops.

T: this is one of my favorite American IPA's ever. just a beautiful blend of hops and malt. vanilla i present, small hints of oranges. Pine is definitely a part of this beer. aftertaste is really nice! the key here is balance....and balance there is, just the right amount of hops to make me beg for more.

M: kinda shocks the mouth, which normally would make me ready for a mouth fulla hops to the max, but the malt balances it out and makes it smoooth. Body is almost perfect, if it were cask conditioned, THAT would be perfect.

D: I've drank like 7 of these one night out of a keg at a party. Found myself hanging out around the keg most of the night. There's no stopping this beer... until they're gone.

I don't feel like i'm im being generous giving it straight 4.5's. This beer is amazing and only gets better with age. One of my favorite christmas beers, if not my favorite.

chadspivey, Dec 04, 2006
Photo of ndekke39
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale 2006! Drank this from a 12 oz bottle with no freshness date on it. Poured into a pint glass - clear, definitely orange color, medium sized head. Excellent retention - it lasted all throughout the tasting. Smell is overall sweet and warm: toasted grain, spices like clove and cinnamon, oranges. Taste is complex: begins with a light brush of hops on the tongue. They open fully on the back of the tongue. Strong pine, some acidic citrus quality, too. Not much of the barley or spices. The hops seem to get stronger as the beer warms to room temperature. Good aftertaste - the hops continue to morph. Mouthfeel is right up the middle: not too watery, not too creamy. Overall, a strong offering in both the Christmas ale and IPA categories. Would gladly pick up one of these again.

ndekke39, Dec 04, 2006
Photo of foureyedgeek
4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into an East End pint glass. After breaking my only snifter last night whilst washing it, it looks as though I'll be drinking pint only for a little while. Luckily Celebration calls for a pint glass, so no harm done.

Pours a clearish amber color with a fine, foamy two finger head. Head fades shortly after the pour to a small cap. Lacing persists throughout.

Smell is sweet and hoppy. A little piney, a little fruity.

The taste on this one is a nice balance of malt and hops. Its sweet, slightly caramel-like with a crisp hop finish. Very well balanced.

Mouthfeel is crisp and slightly drying, with the alcohol well hidden, though there's a slight warming.

A very tasty, very drinkable IPA from Sierra Nevada.

Here's to Celebration!

foureyedgeek, Dec 03, 2006
Photo of Tesno
4.15/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Very attractive orange-amber color, pours a thick, white, frothy head that dissipates kind of quickly but a thin white lace persists. Aroma reminiscant of grapefruit and pinetree with a hint of orange peel. Though the three "C"s (Cascade, Chinook and Centennial) dominate there is a slightly sweet malt and alcohol note to the nose. Flavor is hop-dominated with a good amount of malt backbone. Quite delicious. More malt and alcohol notes as the beer warms. Decent body with a slight stickiness perhaps from the high amount of hop resins? Overall, a very enjoyable American-style IPA, too bad it's only available during the holiday season.

Tesno, Dec 03, 2006
Photo of doubleshovels
4.03/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is one of those GREAT with food brews. Pours clean and tastes crisp, with a stand-up creamy white head. The hops are distinct on the tongue and beg to be backed up with a plate of seafood nachos or a zesty Jamaican burger and sweet potato fries. This beer is joyously missing the residual sugars which bog down many the winter season ales.

doubleshovels, Dec 02, 2006
Photo of BadBadger
3.68/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Sierra Nevada's Clebration Ale pours a nice amber color. The nice and thick foamy head is descent sized and lasts for awhile. The smell is floral, hoppy. The taste has a bitter character to it, as one would expect and hope for in an IPA, but this seemed to ovewhelm any other intended flavors. A nice basic IPA, but nothing really to celebrate.

BadBadger, Dec 02, 2006
Photo of Viggo
3.68/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear copper, fluffy white head, collapses rather quick, big bubbles, nice lacing. Smell is piney, citrus, caramel, spices, very nice, reminds me of the holidays, neat cinnamon-hop aroma. Taste is strange, almost medicinal, toffee, pine, citrus, heavy spices, bitterness is out of whack, not sure whether I like this. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, some residual sweetness, medium carbonation, a little aggressive. Neat flavours but I don't think they hold up to the bitterness.

Viggo, Dec 02, 2006
Photo of OSUbrewman
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A very hoppy offering from Sierra Nevada just in time for the holiday season! A dark copper with a sizable head (2 fingers), the flowery hops were extremely pleasant in the nose. Also detectable was pumpkin and cinnamon. Nice hops balance in the taste, with some hints of honey and ginger. A fine and quite drinkable AIPA for a seasonal offering. I will come back to this brew several more times before the end of the season.

OSUbrewman, Dec 02, 2006
Photo of Mebuzzard
4.6/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A very nice amber/burgundy pour. Some haze and cloud. Foamed head to about 2 fingers.
Aroma bursted out of the head with some orange peel, cinnamon and pumpkin spices. Over taken by hops and citrus zing.
Tastes fantastic. Good balance between the chocolate hints, spice, alcohol and hops. the citrus and piney hops are very well maintained and not overpowering, but it is an IPA. Very nice drinking. Easy finish. Crisp. I should get some more!

Mebuzzard, Dec 02, 2006
Photo of dbalsock
3.28/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Light to medium amber with substantial head, off white in color. It looked pretty especially the foamy top.

Smell: Grapefruit, perfume, pine and a light malt background make up the aroma.

Tastte: Very intense grapefruit leads to an aftertaste of grapenuts. It's not as floral as I expected, but retains the piney notes from the aroma. It's not nearly as balanced as I like and doesn't stand out from the other CA IPAs.

Mouthfeel: Incredibly bitter in an unsatisfying way, but it does cover up the alcohol.

Drinkability: I find this to be slowgoing, and I don't think I'll make it through the whole six pack, before I find someone to give it to.

dbalsock, Dec 01, 2006
Photo of gmcfarre
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2006 edition 12 oz bottle poured into Imperial Pint Glass
Bottle @ 48 degrees upon pouring

Why am I Celebrating? Its the first real powder day of the season in Crested Butte!

A - Clear yet bubbly copper color with a solid 3/4 inch off-white head. Lacing is clean and moderate in its coating effect.

S - Clean hop scent that melds nicely with the sweet barley. Bitter hop scent takes the lead here, but it doesn't contain that overpowering floral scent of more aggressive IPAs. Smell is rather faint and I am not detecting much in the way of spice or fruit.

T - Begins with a pleasant almost biscuity sweetness that merges into a nice, slightly bitter hop aftertaste. Again, spice seems low, creating a very enjoyable and clean beer that isolates its main ingredients.

M - Bitterness is mild and this brew defines the term clean throughout the palate. Carbonation is mild as well. Overall, the beer is thick, smooth and filling on the tongue.

D - Due to its cleaner balance between hop and malt, the Celebration is a nice change of pace in the IPA canon. Not my favorite winter beer, but it will do nicely on a cold day.

gmcfarre, Nov 30, 2006
Photo of MVassar
4.13/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Gorgeous honey-gold color, with a substantial creamy head.

Citrus, pine, subtle Christmas spices in the nose.

Crisp and more than slightly bitter. One reviewer mentioned orange peel, which seems exactly right. A long, bitter citrus finish, with just a hint of sweetness. A touch of heat from the alcohol. Very refreshing.

Ample carbonation, creamy texture.

Nothing wimpy about this beer, but it's not heavy, either. Very drinkable.

MVassar, Nov 29, 2006
Photo of boblog
4.2/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Apperance: Amber. Big head that leaves a good amount of lacing.

Smell: Citrus, hops, carmal, alcohol, and spices. It has a truely wonderfull and complex scent thats very inviting.

Taste: Nice malt, wonderfull citric like hops. Hints of spices and nice warm alcohol.

Mouthfeel: Pretty much perfect carbonation and body.

My review was pretty unhelpfull and incomplete but I drank three of these in the course of two and half hours and pretty much forgot to write much down. This beer is great and it will kick your ass if you have more than one or two. A christmas must!

boblog, Nov 28, 2006
Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.28/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

2006 release on-tap at Pitcher’s Pub in Cumberland, RI, served in a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a golden brown color, with a thin off-white head that fades quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: It has a very hoppy aroma, as expected, along with caramelized malt and hint of citrus. Overall, however, the smell is kind of faint.

T: Good hops burst up front, which is quickly followed by a very sweet citrus flavor and then goes back to the hops bitterness that stays in the after-taste.

M: Smooth and very crisp, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Very tasty, goes down very easily isn’t filling, this is definitely a beer to stick for an evening.

TheManiacalOne, Nov 27, 2006
Photo of BradBLR
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured a copper amber color and had a medium thick white head. The head lasted about three quarters of the beer and had a good amount of lacing. The smell was a mild hoppy aroma accompanied by a light citrus smell.

The taste was a refreshing hoppy flavor with a slight hint of sweetish malt. Hints of grapfruit, and maybe a slight hint of spices. The mouthfeel was good with the CO2 being a little too much, and possibly a little thin.

Overall a really good beer from Sierra Nevada and something I look forward to every winter. Try it if you get a chance.

BradBLR, Nov 27, 2006
Photo of scarletfire79
4.13/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

i don't really know what i expected from this beer. but i was definitly pleased. a great winter offering, considering most breweries pump out over spiced liquid pumpkin pie and call it a winter offering, this one is awesome. wish they made this all year round as it's definitly up heir on my ipa list. not as good as smuttynose finest kind in my opinion, but definitly good. easily drinkable and very welcome in my fridge this winter.

scarletfire79, Nov 27, 2006
Photo of akorsak
4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The ale is a amber, almost auburn orange color with a sizeable head that retains nicely, lacing the glass.

S: The aroma is spicy and hoppy. The spices that come to mind are curacao orange and nutmeg and are augmented by grapefruit hop scent.

T: The hops are dominant here, making the ale very hot. They are resiny with grapefruit and citrus as the primary flavors and they are very bold. The hops are supported by a spectrum of holiday spices, including nutmeg, cinnamon, and orange peel. None of the flavors are so intense that they overwhelm the hops. Finally the malts are biscuity, providing a nice base for all of the activity.

M: The spices and hop body are paired well together, giving the ale a flavor that is both warming and bitter.

D: The ale is very drinkable. I enjoy the subtlety of the spices and the boldness of the hops.

akorsak, Nov 27, 2006
Photo of carlosd74
4.88/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I had this on-tap at the Grey Lodge. Thanks to Scoats for the email alerting me to its tapping.

I do not have much to add to what has already been said about the 2006/2007 offering because most of what was said in the last few weeks (in reviews below) accurately describes the A-S-T-M & D. I wanted to add that this year's is better than last years because the hops did not hit me as overly "bitter".

I am not sure what makes this a holiday ale besides the timing of its release as it does not contain the spices found in the likes of a christmas /plum pudding.

I feel this should be offered year round because it is hands down my favorite IPA period! It is an exaple of perfection in a glass/keg and more brewers should aim for such high standards. It is hoppy yet never astringent like what you get in EVERY damn DIPA. The alcohol is very well hidden (so beware). It goes down so easy it is sickening.

I do not review many beers. I do not heap praise on many things but this beer is so balanced and really puts the "Craft" in Craft brews. Oh, to those who rated this ale below a 3.5 - You should get your head examined and go back to your Yuengling Lagers.


carlosd74, Nov 26, 2006
Photo of ewurm
3.25/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A gold/red/orange color graces my tall glass. Not much aroma to note, at least not as much spice as I was expecting. I taste a little spicyness, with a hint of citrus, and I mean a slight hint. Feel is good, definitely not too harsh. I recommend one or two for the festive spirit, but that will suffice.

ewurm, Nov 26, 2006
Photo of JohnnyM2002
3.55/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Sampled from a 12 oz bottle, poured into a wine glass at 45 degrees. This was my Thanksgiving/putting up the Christmas tree (first one as a married man!) beer.

A - Pours a orange/gold color with a small head. Color certainly seemed festive.

S - Dry hops with come citrus in the background. Really not much else to speak of...

T - A dry, hoppy finish to a spiced/hop taste. I was expecting a lot more, based on the countless Celebration posts in the past few weeks...I mean, it's a good IPA, but I was expecting more spice or something to make it a holiday beer.

M - More of a wine-mouthfeel, which makes it much more enjoyable. Medium body with a fair amount of carbonation. Nice, crisp finish.

D - Like I said, it's a very good IPA, but nothing in it made it stand out to me as a holiday selection. I'm going to grab another bottle and try it on-tap, just in case...

JohnnyM2002, Nov 26, 2006
Photo of JoEBoBpr
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Edit of original review in 2006.

2009 version.

Poured into the Sam Adams pint glass.

A - Pours a beautiful, oil like, dark honey color, with some beautiful orange hues. a nice chunky off-white head that is about 1 inch tall and recedes slowly leaving some nice lace.

S - Piney and grapefruit citrus hints. Expected from an IPA, but the freshness is exquisite. Nice biscuit malt smell as well.

T - Grapefruit citrus hints are exceptional, with the biscuit malt finishing off with a nice bready taste. The piney hints are there at the beginning hidden behind a nice and light alcoholic ester. Very warming IPA and perfect for cold winter months. Cant wait to have more over the holidays. This beer goes very well with pepper jack cheese and spicy food in general. To date one of those things i look forward every year.

M & D - complex and medium bodied with a nice oily character. I love this beer every time.

JoEBoBpr, Nov 26, 2006
Photo of terrabyte
4.43/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

If you look closely, you can see a very faint cloud of sediment. Otherwise it pours a mostly clear, beautiful orange-red copper color. Large yellow-white head.

Aroma is medium strength pine and grapefruit hops.

Flavor starts out with a smooth and mellow caramel malt. The aftertaste takes over with a powerful grapefruit bitterness.

Mouthful is very smooth and mellow. Perfectly carbonated.

Extremely drinkable. If you enjoy beer with strong bitter hops, you'll enjoy this beer. I enjoy some hop bitterness, but have had plenty that were too strong for my enjoyment. This beer, however, was a perfect amount. I may have to have a side by side comparison with the regular Sierra Nevada Pale Ale to see the difference.

terrabyte, Nov 26, 2006
Photo of Dukeofearl
3.53/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2006 vintage, purchased at BevMo in Redlands Ca in a 6 pack for $7.99 (I think).

I have seen this beer around the block for many years, but always was under the impression that it was a spiced up holiday ale a la the Belgian "Noel's", which I don't care much for. So I always passed it by. But I was feeling spontaneous the other day, and picked up a sixer. Only to discover that this is one chock-hop-filled IPA, reminiscent (but bolder than) the Sierra Nevada IPA, which I first found this past summer. OK, enough of my back story.

Typical orange/golden of an IPA, with almost no head- a vigorous pour did very little. This runs against other reviews I've seen, so who knows?

Medium-bodied aroma dominated by sharp astringent hops. Flavor is all about the hops- sharp, oily,harsh on the back of the throat hops. A good IPA, similar to the regular IPA but with an "enhanced" hop presence. Good, but I prefer the fruitier hops.

A decent offering from Sierra Nevada, obviously popular, so maybe I'm missing something. I think it's good but not as excellent as some of my associates.

Dukeofearl, Nov 25, 2006
Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 7,979 ratings.