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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.

7,706 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7,706
Reviews: 3,154
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 11.54%
Wants: 191
Gots: 416 | 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: 7,706 | Reviews: 3,154 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of buckiflyer

North Carolina

4.6/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2005 edition: Purchased a single at Whole Foods in Raleigh. Poured from a 12 ounce bottle. Smell: All hops. Color: clear amber with large long lasting white head. Very hoppy taste with a smooth finish. I really like this beer. I was expecting a winter spice malty beer, but was surprised and very happy. Did not realize this was an IPA. A great beer, worth picking up a six pack.

Serving type: bottle

11-27-2005 02:30:22 | More by buckiflyer
Photo of cracgor


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

Perfect looking beer. Nice clear amber body with a tall offwhite head that lasts and lasts. Smells sweet and fruity with a kick of hops. Has a bit more christmas/winter smell to it than I expected from a style created to send beer to some of the hottest and most humid regions of the earth prior to refrigeration. Wow to the taste! It is a very fruity and well malted IPA. I'd like to see more hops, but what it does have makes the beer taste more like I expect in cold weather. Light to medium body. Dry and Crisp. I may have to go get a case of this stuff:-)

Serving type: bottle

11-27-2005 01:27:40 | More by cracgor
Photo of SupaCelt


3.98/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I hadn't had this since 2002. From what I remebered, it was pretty darn good. I figured I would get in the holiday spirit and pick up a sixer to see what was shaking with this year's edition.

Looks: Clear and clean as expected. Amber in colour with copious helpings of plump fizzles. I got about a half inch of head from a less than vigorous pour. This beige cap recedes to a surface coat and leaves tracks of lace in its wake.

Smells: Nicely hopped. Pine aromas and scents of fruitiness are notable, with a vague breadiness underneath. I could say grapefruit and feel relatively comfortable with that description. This is not a super pungent strain of ale, but it is quite pleasant to sniff.

Tastes: Nicely hopped as well. Resinous sappy tones and the aforementioned grapefruit which emerges in the bitter finish. The malt character is overshadowed as expected. It has just a hint of sweetness and crustiness. Hops are the headline. There is quite a pronounced drying effect in the finish and a fruity aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: This is not a monster by any means, with a medium body at best. It is what it claims to be. Nothing fancy here just a good old IPA American style.

Drinkability: Easily dispatched with. This could be in the SN year round lineup. Then they could come out with something a bit more over the top for celebration season. At any rate this is a fine beer. As long as one realizes what this is and doesn't expect a mind blowing special production just because it says celebration, it's pretty good. This is not something that I will count down the days until next release though.

Serving type: bottle

11-26-2005 17:37:23 | More by SupaCelt
Photo of troutmask96


4.78/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I've never been a big fan of mass-produced IPA's, but after reading glowing reviews of Sierra Nevada's seasonal Celebration Ale, I sprung for a sixer. Pours a thick, foamy head that moved up my flute glass quickly. Smell is very fruity, which I found rather unique for an IPA. Taste is...oh, I guess so-so, but nothing that struck me as exceptional. Mouthfeel is decent, but a bit watery, not as thick as some of my favorite IPA's. A very high level of carbonation has me downgrading the drinkability due to the belchiness that comes with session drinking of this brew.

I did like the fruitiness, though. It reminded me a bit of Southern Comfort. So there you have it: SN's Celebration Ale is the Southern Comfort of beers...

Serving type: bottle

11-26-2005 05:10:28 | More by troutmask96
Photo of blackie


3.58/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

appearance: The pour creates a .5" white head in the snifter. A layer of foam is left on top. Nice lacing. The beer is a light copper in color. 2005 edition.

smell: Nice level of piney hops here. Big aromas of tropical fruits (mango, citrus...), which I enjoy thoroughly. The hops are at the forefront, but there is some malt characteristic coming through.

mouthfeel: Carbonation is slightly above medium, and the body a moderate thin.

taste: Decent balance here, imo. A little more malt coming through would be nice. Some nondescript dark and light fruit flavors. Dominant bitterness from the hops, with a little malt flavor taking second stage. More malt, more hop flavor, more complexity, please.

drinkability: just a couple is plenty

I've seen some other reviews complaining about a lack of balance. Though I would like a little more malty sweetness, there is plenty here to keep me satisfied. It is an IPA, after all.

Serving type: bottle

11-25-2005 05:52:13 | More by blackie
Photo of bigdeuce


4.03/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Another beauty from Sierra Nevada. Only drawback is it should be a year round brew not winter. It's a definite IPA with smooth initial contact and beautiful hoppy washdown. Also has some characteristics of an ESB but definitely more bitter. Great tracing down the glass, smooth spicy start, hoppy bitter finish.

I try to rate the beer not by what a beer company "says" it is as I do more the style it really is, and this one is no winter brew but an excellent APA/IPA(whichever you choose).

Serving type: bottle

11-24-2005 16:15:32 | More by bigdeuce
Photo of WTexas

New Mexico

3.28/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The 2005 Celebration Ale appeared a light amber color with a promising thick beige head of foam. It smelled exceptionally hoppy – not surprising given its IPA heritage. I anticipated a complex mixing of flavors, but found only an almost brackish bitterness which was consistent throughout the session. I did not detect the spiced accents that I’ve come to expect in other “holiday beers”. I only found a resin and pine aftertaste. Mouthfeel was also disappointing -- oily and thin are the words that best capture it for me. Sierra Nevada’s 2005 offering is an adequate IPA, but not one that I’ll be using to ring in the holidays.

Serving type: bottle

11-24-2005 04:22:29 | More by WTexas
Photo of Stimack

New York

4.35/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

After last year really only being able to find this brew on tap, it seems to be all over the place in bottles this year. This review is for the 2005 Bottle version. Brew pours to a amber color with a small off white head that has pretty good retention and leaves a lot of lacing through out. The aroma is hoppy in character to say the least with pine like scents dominating followed by a caramel malt flavor. I think the hops really seem to make distinguishing some of the spices quite hard. The taste is nice, starts real smooth, and then quickly breaks to a strong hop flavor of pine that stays in the mouth for quite a while. Again, this is a very smooth tasting brew, one that I must say makes my day when it is available. A favorite.

Serving type: bottle

11-24-2005 03:50:57 | More by Stimack
Photo of indy169


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

I sampled this beer at a local watering hole and was floored by it. I was expecting a decent fruity/hoppy/spicy beer and was shocked to find all that plus some real conviction. The flavors really are alive and pronounced. light fruit and spice essence hinting at kiwi, pear and ginger, mixing perfectly with a killer bold hopping. Sierra Nevada has got a real winner here. My hat is off to you folks at SN. This is one beer worthy of joining your celebration. Happy Holidays

Serving type: on-tap

11-23-2005 20:54:59 | More by indy169
Photo of bunn4funn

North Carolina

3.55/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Reveiwed from a bottle 2005

Apearence- Beautiful caramel, clear color with a nice pancake colored one finger head. Great lacing effect from this bottle i mean incredable.

Aroma- Well its definatly hoppy/piney with a short following of caramel and baking spices like nutmeg, even some grapefuit/lemon

Taste- sharp bite from the hops upfront. They are piny and leave a definate "spike" in the tounge. Im getting that lemon bready feel from this brew as it warms. Now that it has matured (out of the bottle) and my palete is more accoustomed to the hops i can tell that there is a whole other side. Like some caramel and baking spices. Just what you would expect a celebration ale from Sierra Nevada to taste like.

Mouthfeel- Smooth and lightly carbonated, slightly oily.

Drinkability- Good even though it is 6.8% abv, Though you might want to pace yourself it will creep up on you after two or three. Its just so good i dont want to stop drinking it!!1

Overall- Fine brew, love what it has to offer!!! Great to drink with family and friends. We all have a lot to be thankful for and this brew is definatly one !!!

Serving type: bottle

11-23-2005 19:56:32 | More by bunn4funn
Photo of charlatan

United Kingdom (Scotland)

3.75/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Copper colour with a decent head which dissipates quickly. This smells wonderful. One can detect piney, herbal hops and sweet malt. Before it warms it smells a little metallic.

Well integrated flavour with a surprisingly citric bent. This is a little oily on the tongue but with good carbonation and a definite lemon rind flavour with a pleasant herbal aftertaste. The alcohol is rather more apparent than I would like, but that does little to detract from this winner.

Serving type: bottle

11-21-2005 06:23:18 | More by charlatan
Photo of cheers2beers


3.83/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a thick mug

Appearance: This ale is copper tone with a slight off-white head that disapates fairly quickly.Meduim amounts of laceing can be found.

Aroma: Not as impressed with the nose as I would have liked.It was hops,piney,and slightly skunky.

Taste: The tongue discovers this beer to be hops in the start,malts on the sides, and slightly bitter in the finish.Not much alcohol detected,but it is present.

Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel is thin,fizzy on the togue,with lots of small bubbles throughout the entire mouth.

Drinkability: This beer is definitely a good christmas session brew.I know I could drink a few of these easily, but I will say it is a good thing this one is a seasonal.


Serving type: bottle

11-21-2005 03:55:53 | More by cheers2beers
Photo of Mark


4.45/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Wow! I have never paid much attention to this brew but now I'm regretting it. The 2005 offering is a knockout. A very clear amber body was topped by a white head that left nice rings of lacing. Slightly piney aroma did not prepare me for the piney, grapefruity blast of hops that assaulted me in a wonderful way. Refreshing and drinkable. Sierra Nevada, my apologies for always considering you a mainstream, pedestrian craft brewer, when in actuality you are along with Anchor one of the pioneers. Great beer.

Serving type: on-tap

11-21-2005 01:08:58 | More by Mark
Photo of LPorter33


4.8/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I'd heard great things about this beer and missed it last year. The 2005 batch was on sale at Martignetti's (6 packs for $5.99) so I picked up a couple.

Appearance = Clear, crisp looking light, honey amber colored. 1/2'' head which faded quickly, leaves a nice thin line with respectable lacing.

Smell = A Fresh hop blast. Pine and citrus smells seem to share equal weight. There's a ton of flavor here.

Taste = Wow! What an exceptional IPA. So friggan fresh and clean tasting and bursting with hops flavor. The hops are not astringent nor completely overpowering and a thin malt presence backs up the flavor creating an amazing tasting experience. Mouthfeel is soothing and soft, not harsh in the least. I can't get over how drinkable this is, yet still powerful and full of flavor. The 6.8% will hit you but you'd never believe it based on the taste.

Overall = This might very well be the best IPA I've ever tasted. It should be brewed 365 and knowing it won't last, I'll be buying a ton of it this season.

Serving type: bottle

11-20-2005 22:34:13 | More by LPorter33
Photo of burnstar


4.78/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This beer is a dark amber with a thick off-white head which leaves lots of lacing on the glass. Aroma is all fantastic hops- spicy and citrusy. There are also some sweet and fruit notes in the background. The taste is also dominated by the hops. Again spicy and citrusy. Also some pine notes. There is also quite a bit of delicious sweet and caramel malt lurking in the background- which the pletiful hop easily keeps in check. Really just fantastic tasting stuff. Lots of nuances come together to really make this taste like the holidays without being at all gimicky. It really manages to have huge hop and malt flavor and still be very subtle. Mouthfeel is great- medium to full bodied, smooth and creamy. Definitely very drinkable. I don't find this at all cloying which I find can be a problem with other holiday beers' drinkability. I reallly love this stuff. I think it will definitely become a holiday tradition for me.

Serving type: bottle

11-20-2005 06:03:22 | More by burnstar
Photo of mrasskicktastic

New Jersey

4.03/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

A - A gorgous amber with a monster frothy head. Lacing clings all over the glass. The lacing's disregard for gravity is uncanny. This is one hell of a pretty beer.

S - Pine and citrus hops with a slight malt and floral character - crisp, clean and clear.

T - Pine hops dominate but the citrus ones are well meshed. Very elaborate. Slightly malty with a nice bitter finish.

M - Smooth, refreshing, nothing special, nothing bad.

D - Outstanding. This goes down well. ABV is deceptively high. The hops completely mask it. 6.8 is higher than I ever would have expected from this delightful brew. Works fabulously as a session beer. Very good.

Serving type: on-tap

11-19-2005 21:29:03 | More by mrasskicktastic
Photo of jakester


4.28/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I got this as a gift from my dad. I drank it in a goblet. This is the 2005 model.

Pours a slightly hazy orange with red tints. A nice thick head of cream colored foam forms on top, which eventually falls to a good coating and a ring. Very good lacing sticks to the glass.

Aroma is herbal/piney hops, not overly done, and rich, clean caramely malt. A wee bit of spicy hop smell is there, also. Smells are somewhat muted, but very clean and pleasant.

First flavor is hop bitterness, but not too much. Then, big, clean caramel malt comes through, followed by herbal pine hops. Residual sweetness is minimal. Aftertaste is a pleasant bitterness and caramel malt. This beer is delicious!

Mouthfeel is fairly smooth, with medium carbonation across the tongue. Medium bodied, with a decent grab at the back of my throat from hop bitterness. Finish is semi-sweet and bitter.

As winter seasonals go, this is one of the best. It's slightly different every year, which makes for some intriguing tasting debates, but it's always good. Highly recommended.

Serving type: bottle

11-18-2005 16:28:59 | More by jakester
Photo of BrewRunner


3.75/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a light amber color with a nice white head. Looks nice in a glass.

Aroma is kind of disappointing. I couldn't really smell anything. That's better than having a bad smell, but there's nothing better than a strong aroma.

It's pretty bitter in taste, but not overwhelming. For some reason pine needles come to mind. But that could just be some odd mental thing I have from growing up among the conifers.

It is easily drinkable, with my 6 pack disappearing pretty quickly.

Overall, it's a very good beer, worth trying and I can't wait until they come out again next year.

Serving type: bottle

11-18-2005 02:34:11 | More by BrewRunner
Photo of Sephiroth


3.7/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

No date on the bottle, but this is fresh, from 05. Pours with decent head, the body is a burnt orange color. The smell is of grassy, piney hops with barely a hint of caramel malt.

The taste is west coast hoppy. Dry, piney, bitter hops with slight grassiness. Slight caramel malt profile. Mouthfeel is leaning toward the heavy side for an IPA. This is a good beer, but it's not one of my favorites.

Serving type: bottle

11-16-2005 03:56:07 | More by Sephiroth
Photo of neonbrown82


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

I've been waiting all year for this to come out since I didn't get around to reviewing it last year (and because it's really fucking good).

Pours to a dark amber color with minimal carbonation but a nice thick white head with a decent lacing. Yada yada yada, on to more important things...

This beer smells and tastes great! It's the next best thing to taking your cascade hops intraveinously. Very fruity and piney with a nice spiciness. Also a bit more of a full malt character than their Pale Ale.

I was so glad to see this on the shelves at work that I had to take home a case. Hopefully this will last past my birthday in a week, but the drinkability of this beer may prove me wrong.

Serving type: bottle

11-16-2005 02:38:51 | More by neonbrown82
Photo of ommegangpbr

New York

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

Take their pale ale, turn up the volume (with some tinkering with the equalizer) and you have this concoction. I like this better than their pale ale because the use of hops here seems appropriate to me, with less of that discordant bitter twang than I find in some of the Sierra Nevada brews.
A big, strong IPA for the winter season.

Serving type: bottle

11-15-2005 01:16:40 | More by ommegangpbr
Photo of kbnooshay

New York

3.75/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

had this at MacGregors on tap (20 oz). This was a nice clear amber brown with a small head. The smell was very hoppy and piney. The taste is malty sweet but the hops dominate. Nicely bitter. Moderate mouthfeel with a good amount of carbonation. For some reason i found this less drinkable than other strong IPA's but it is very enjoyable to have 1 or 2.

Serving type: on-tap

11-14-2005 17:27:07 | More by kbnooshay
Photo of tempest


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

Picked up a growler from Finger Lakes Beverage on a saturday trip to Ithaca.

Looks pretty damn good. Pours a dark amber with great head and lacing.

Stong smell, very similar to taste. A strong, but well-rounded hops aroma. A little citrusy.

Tastes pretty good, but could use a little balance in my opinion. While the hops did taste great, the beer lacked complexity.

Nice in your mouth, but overall, a little tough to drink (especially and entire growler). Recommended for any hop head.

Serving type: growler

11-14-2005 04:30:26 | More by tempest
Photo of ChrisA


4.22/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Good copper color. Poured a two inch head with nice lacing. Heavy hop aromas and flavor up front. Very strong hop taste throughout with not much malt balance. Hops may be a bit overwhelming here, but it definitely is a good winter offering from Sierra Nevada. Second beer was much better. I may have had a bad one mixed into my six pack.

Serving type: bottle

11-14-2005 04:09:05 | More by ChrisA
Photo of stodbrew


4.6/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2005 Edition.

Pours a very slighty hazy deep copper, borderline red, color. Nice white head that lasts and lasts.

Aroma is all hops. Piney, citrusy, and a bit grapefruity.

Flavor is more hops. Grapefruit again, and some hop spiciness. All balanced with a very nice malt backbone.

Mouthfeel is full and round. Perfect carbonation.

This is a phenomenal beer. I look forward to this beer every year.

Serving type: bottle

11-14-2005 03:10:09 | More by stodbrew
Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 7,706 ratings.