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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.

7,832 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7,832
Reviews: 3,154
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 11.54%
Wants: 201
Gots: 464 | 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
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Ratings: 7,832 | Reviews: 3,154 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Toddv29424
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I think this is the same beer... Sierra Nevada prints the year on the collar of each generation, and this is from 2004. The smell is overwhelmingly of wheat and sweet malt. The body goes down really easy with the hops adding a pleasant kick in the end. The mouthfeel is great as well, especially after you've had a few. Like most Sierra Nevada brews the first few sips of this beer are big, but it mellows out and becomes much more enjoyable.

Toddv29424, Dec 21, 2005
Photo of mbunje
3.85/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2005 celebration ale, 12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass. Reviewed as a "winter" or seasonal brew.

Appearance - Red/Orange Amber, light color for a "winter" brew. 2 fingers of head that stayed for the first 4 drinks. Lacey.

Smell - Mild hops/floral, a little bit of spice...nutmeg?

Taste - Hoppier than it smells. A little "dirty" in a good way. Hint of spice..nutmeg again? If I had to pick a fruit - Orange. Could use some malt, just a tad, to smooth it out.

Mouthfeel - Crisp and dry. Clean finish. Makes you thirsty for another swig.

Drinkability - Very drinkable. Not super heavy like a lot of winterbrews. Stronger than a regular SNIPA, but nothing over the top.

Overall - This is a better version of a Siera Nevada IPA, more balanced than a straight IPA, a little richer. For a "winter" brew, a little light. Could use some darker color and a thicker taste. I'll be buying another 12 pack of this for the holidays.

mbunje, Dec 21, 2005
Photo of DrJay
3.95/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Clear coppery orange with an eggshell head. Good lacing throughout. Toasty malt aroma underneath a lot of hops: earthy, citrus, and pine. Resinous bitterness throughout, but it really builds into the finish. Malt sweetness provides some balance, but the hops are really dominant. Light citrus with a huge dose of pine in the end. Moderate carbonation with a rich, creamy texture. Medium body. Not bad at all. Goes down easy. I'll try it again next time I run into it on tap.

DrJay, Dec 21, 2005
Photo of SkeeterHawk
3.93/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Though I don't believe that the years of this beer should be lumped together, I will deal with it. This is for the 2005 edition...

Appearance: Pours a super clear reddish amber color with only a 1/4" head at first pour. There were a few bubbles rising at the beginning, but they failed to maintain the head. The head was gone within a minute. There was a tad of lacing left after drinking the beer.

Aroma: Citrusy and piney hops are the most noticeable part of the aroma profile. I get very little caramel malt as the beer is cold. As the beer warms, I don't really notice ay major change in the aroma pofile...it just stays hoppy.

Taste: The taste is really bitter and has a bold hop presence. There is a bunch of pine and citrus noticeable at first. The citrus isn't as light as just grapefruit or lemons, but is really rich with the impression of limes and other darker citrus fruits. It's not too often that you get this combination of flavor. The finish is definitely balanced toward the bitter, and finishes with a tad of alcoholic warming. It is a bit under carbonated, so the hops seem to linger as an oily mess on your palate, so I am not too impressed with the mouthfeel.

Opinion: Well, amazingly enough from my review, I think that this is one of the better years for Celebration in at least the past 3-4 years. It is hard to review them as a vertical tasting as the hops mellow as it ages. This one is probably the most balanced of all that I have tried thus far...out of the box. Contrary to many others, this is not my favorite beer. I am amused by it though, so I have to keep trying it. I normally put some back too, so I can try it later. I believe that this beer is really in its prime at least 4-6 months after its release. I would recommend this beer, but mostly for the fact that it is an icon in the micro-brew community.

SkeeterHawk, Dec 21, 2005
Photo of unknownlamer
4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4


Poured a clear copper with an off white head. The smell is mostly intense cascade hops. It reminds me of an amped up SNPA. The taste is similar with a good malt taste up front followed by the strong hops. It tastes to me like an SNPA with a lot more cascade and a bit of chinook (I guess? Every IPA I've had with a gristly taste in the finish had them in it) thrown in to roughen the finish.

The carbonation is just right, and the hops aren't overly bitter but are rather nice and floral. They don't crush the pallete, and the hop taste lingers for a very long time.

unknownlamer, Dec 19, 2005
Photo of ejames
4.45/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is my first review, so please be gentle

2005 edition

Appearance: Pours a dark copper clear, nothing outstanding.

Smell: Pure hops

Taste: This is a phenomenal beer. I savor this beer every year. Hops hit you up front; a simple malt characteristic comes through at the very end. Hops linger, they would be much for a non-hop head. There is no beating around the pine tree, this is one hopped up beer

Mouth feel: Very smooth. Not too much carbonation, just enough to feel, but allows enough for multiple bottles to be consumed.

Drinkability: Be careful with this one. It is strong, but the hops, taste, mouth feel will deceive you. Pay attention to this beer as it only comes along once a year.

ejames, Dec 18, 2005
Photo of SaCkErZ9
4.55/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This is by far my favorite winter seasonal beer. Pours a perfect copper color with crystal clear clarity and a very nice 1.5 finger sized hed that leaves a copious amount of lacing down the side of my pint glass.

Smell is terrific. Large amounts of citrusy and piney hops with grapefruit in the aroma as well. Caramel malts.

Taste is all hops. Very smooth. Hop bitterness is pretty strong and creates a bit of astringency. Almost makes me pucker, but in a good way.

A bit astringent at times but great drinkability. Definitely one to keep around all winter to add that warming feeling and keep the cold bite out of the body.

SaCkErZ9, Dec 17, 2005
Photo of ElGordo
4.28/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

As the 727th reviewer of this beer, I'm sure I'm adding a tremendous level of not-yet-seen insight here. Pours a bright, translucent amber hue topped by a nice-looking inch or so if creamy white head. Pleasing aroma of crisp, spicy hops, tempered by some caramel malt and the lingering essence of black pepper. Hop flavor is sharp and assertive up front, mellowed only slightly by some caramel malt. Notes of pine, black pepper, grapefruit, and some astringency come through. Body is rich and creamy, belying the character of most American IPAs. If not for the alcohol, this would be infinitely drinkable (further enabled by the 32oz cups for $5 at Satisfaction's last night).

ElGordo, Dec 17, 2005
Photo of HugoGrim
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep amber color with a substantial two finger head.

Scent was spicy and fruity, with a full body of flowery hops.

Flavor is in your face spice and hops. Lived up to the hype. Where can I even begin with the list of flavors that assault the pallet? Hops, nuts, whole grain breads, something vaguely cinnamon like, malty caramel the list goes on. Needless to say a very complex flavor.

HugoGrim, Dec 17, 2005
Photo of warriorsoul
4.03/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I'm baaack!! I was not overly impressed with last years offering, so I am back for more (do not cue Ratt!)
Pours a bright copper color with two full fingers of beige head after a fairly aggressive pour...sticks around for quite a while and produces some attractive, web-like lacing.
Nice balance of sweet malt and citrus hops in the nose.
There is that hop profile I was beggin' for...huge piney hops up front but the malt backbone really helps to balance it out and not be over the top. Bitterness lingers a bit, but in a good way...the carbonation is nice for the style and the mouthfeel is medium-bodied. Very easy drinking here...a true session brew, especially fresh. I am real glad I picked this one up again...a solid brew.

warriorsoul, Dec 16, 2005
Photo of andjusticeforale
3.58/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Special Celebration Ale 2005 edition short stubby

This is a great looking beer, aggressively poured into a large pint glass, which left a nice white to off white head of moderate to good retention.

The immediate smell is strong grapefruit tinged hops, stronger than any IPA I’ve opened lately. Really quite unbelievable. My first thought was “over the hop” or “hopnoxious.”

The taste was sadly unbalanced in favor of hop aroma and bittering. This had a malty underbelly,. But the domination was hops. The finish was dry and bitter and left an astringent zip high on the palate.

Don’t get me wrong, if you like Stone Arrogant Bastard, or any of the hopped up 4000 minute IPA’s, you will dig this. But a “celebration ale in the ‘old world style’ ? Jesus Jones- only if the old world is Portland Oregon!

andjusticeforale, Dec 15, 2005
Photo of ReebShorts
4.58/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a brownish orange color, poured into a Orval Chalice, decent head faded rather quickly leaving some islands and lace all around the edge.

Quite a bit to smell here, a pleasant, yet complex mix of sweet malt caramel, spicy floral hopps, pine, citrus, etc.. like I said there is a lot going on here.

Very good, I had anticipated this would be somewhat sweet, but was actually more bitter, and had a nice, clean hop finish. Drinkability must be great as I'm already bummed that I only have 3 of these in my possesion this evening.

ReebShorts, Dec 15, 2005
Photo of BigRedN
4.47/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2005 Edition.

Appearance: Poured from the 12 oz stubby bottle into my pint glass a coppery color. Somewhat thin 1/4 white head forms then fades to a cloud and ring around the glass. Some lacing, not really sheets but some stringers and splotches.

Smell: The smell of this beer is as good as previous editions I have had. Burst of fresh hops on the nose. Predominately piney, a little earthy and herbal scents mixed in for good measure. Well hopped.

Taste: I brace myself for the blast of hops. There is a definite bitterness brought on by the hops, but also a subtle bready malt backing to hold this one in balance. The finish is like drinking a forest. Pine lingers at the back of my throat.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, light carbonations. Lively bitter hops. This beer also hides its higher alcohol content (6.8% according to the bottle) very well, alcohol is not present.

Drinkability: Another fine year for Celebration. Nicely hopped, seeems similar to previous years, except this year I was not as impressed by the appearance. Still, a very drinkable beer and a 6-pack is a must buy every year.

BigRedN, Dec 14, 2005
Photo of Hunter
3.1/5  rDev -25.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Hard pour yields a thick head of dense bubbles atop a light amber brew with brisk carbonation. Good head retention, some lacing.

Aroma: As hoppy as SN Pale Ale. Malt is in there somewhere, but it definitely takes a back seat to the grassy hop overtones. Not bad, if hops are your thing.
Taste: I admit, I have no idea how this tastes any different than their pale ale. Maybe they just upped the ABV? Sharp notes of hops, citrus, and pepper, with an almost too-sharp hop bite in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Light and bracing.

Drinkability: Certainly no less drinkable than their Pale, but points are lost for lack of originality.

Hunter, Dec 14, 2005
Photo of Prufrock
3.3/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

bottle poured into a pilsner.

slightly hazy copper with a half inch of foamy white head. little lacing.

smells like hops and hops; herbs and grapefruit rinds. malty sweetness peeks through as the beer warms.

light-medium mouthfeel. a touch of caramel up front, but washed over with an herbal bitterness that dominates the aftertaste.

overall a nice IPA, but i'm not sure what makes this a "Celebration" ale or why there's a snow-covered house on the bottle. seems more fit for summer.

Prufrock, Dec 13, 2005
Photo of arizcards
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a 6 pack of the 2005 edition at AJ's for $8.99 today...have to try one today!

This brew pours a nice copper color with a beautiful fluffy white head leaving substantial lacing in my glass. Nose is citrusy and slightly malty. Taste is a wonderful blend of malts and hops, reminds me a bit of the ESB style of beer as opposed to a winter seasonal. Mouthfeel is good as this is extremely lively on the palate and adequately full. Overall drinkability is very good. This is one of my favorite winter seasonal beers in which all hopheads must try!

arizcards, Dec 13, 2005
Photo of riversider76
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a rich amber with a fluffy head and lots of lacing.Aroma is piney, smells like Christmas! Taste is of pine and citrus. Strong flavor with a bitter,but good edge. I'm glad I tried this beer. If you like Ale, this has got to be one of the very best!

riversider76, Dec 12, 2005
Photo of HogHill
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a copper color with an off-white two finger creamy head in a Harpoon IPA pint glass.

A very juicy hop aroma, no doubt this one is brewed with high alpha acid hops.

Flavor is primarily a big grapefruit juiciness from the hops, and a bitter crisp finish. I think it nicely balanced though, doesn't quite go into the double IPA range. Feels medium bodied.

I always make sure to pick up a few six packs of Celebration each winter. The fact that it is seasonal makes it bit more special even though it's not so hard to find.

HogHill, Dec 11, 2005
Photo of Domingo
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Wow. Not what I expected at all! Ordered at Old Chicago as "the beer or the month." The bottle implied it was a winter seasonal...so I expected a spicy brown ale or something similar. Not the case AT ALL! As it turns out, this is a kick ass IPA.
Color is a reddish brown mahogany.
While expecting a sour sweetness and spice, the immdiate smell that hits you when you take a whiff is nothing but pure hops! Reminds me a little of Hop Devil or DFH's 90.
Flavor is hops with a little malty sweetness in the finish. Again, not what I expected, but a great experience.
Mouthfeel is solid. Just the right amout of carbonation and "thickness."
Has a little bit of an alcohol kick (I was following up a 3-4% brew with this, so it was exaggerated to me) but not too extreme.
A great IPA. Not sure what the availability on this is as it's a seasonal, but it's up there with Stone, Victory, and DFH as far as IPA's go.
Great beer!

2006 Edit: Now that I knew what to expect, this brew wasn't quick such a sudden surprise...but I like it even more. This is really an EXCELLENT beer and one I wish was year-round.

Domingo, Dec 11, 2005
Photo of sinistrsam
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This winter seasonal had about a half-inch white foamy head, atop a medium-colored amber body. It left good retention on the glass.
Hoppy nose, and definitely some mild spice, but the taste is what really impressed me. Dry hop-bitterness to begin, wheat, malt and spice faded into a rather pleasant sweet, warming aftertaste. Balanced very well, it was clean and refreshing while being a good winter warmer. Overall a very good brew.

sinistrsam, Dec 11, 2005
Photo of BamaScholar
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

the 2005 batch:

pours the truest amber ever, clear. meringue-colored head and bubbles don't last but lacing is good.

hop goodness and piney spruce come through on the nose. also a *slight* molasses sweetness. very clean and direct.

this is an excellent tasting brew. i'm not sure i experienced the nirvana of some past vintages but excellent hop bite with a tingle of maltiness. full-bodied, for its color and style, but not overly so. there is even a bitterness, like a black licorice aftertaste, hanging on at the end, but not in an unpleasant way.

i had another, and another, as testament to this creation. could it have more malt balance? yeah, except it wouldn't stay true to the style. i look forward to trying future versions to compare. glad i found the last sixer at frugal macdougal's...

BamaScholar, Dec 11, 2005
Photo of arguemaniac
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep, orange-amber color with a frothy orange-tinged white head. Massive citrus hop aroma. While the palate is also dominated by hops, it’s a little more complex and includes not only citrus (grapefruit, to be exact) hop flavor, but to a lesser extent pine and floral hops as well. There is some very mild caramel and grain too, but those sweet, malty flavors are pretty much eclipsed by the robust hop profile. Mouthfeel is smooth with very active carbonation.

While IPA’s are, in my opinion, inherently unbalanced, that would be my only complaint about this beer. Otherwise, it’s outstanding! Highly recommended!

arguemaniac, Dec 10, 2005
Photo of MarineHokie
3.95/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Golden with orange/red highlights and, one finger rocky white head, Good lacing.

S - Piney, bready goodness.

T - Crisp bitterness, followed quickly by bready malt sweetness, finishes with piney bitterness.

M - Medium body, crisp carbonated mouthfeel. I'd love to try a cask version.

D - Immensly drinkable, killer APA.

MarineHokie, Dec 10, 2005
Photo of boatyard
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

this beer is a swwetheart of a brew. it has a nice amber color when poured, and leaves a nice white head. and it smells great too. starts with a real nice floral taste, the gets a little piney, and then bang like a grapefruit just popped inb your mouth. really great beer fro the boys at sierra nevada. go out and buy some.

boatyard, Dec 10, 2005
Photo of Frozensoul327
4.4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Another winner from Sierra Nevada. Poured out to a burned amber ornage color with a wonderfully full head of foam. Medium level of carbonation. Smell is very hoppy, with indications of spices and sweetness toward the finish. Nice. Taste is very enjoyable; hops dominate with notes of smooth malt, floral elements, and some controlled citrus character. Very nice. Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy, a unique but desireable characteristic for an IPA. Drinkability is very good. I could enjoy this regularly on the change up from my typical winter bocks and stouts. Recommended.

Frozensoul327, Dec 09, 2005
Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 7,832 ratings.