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.

7,774 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7,774
Reviews: 3,154
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 11.54%
Wants: 196
Gots: 446 | 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: 7,774 | Reviews: 3,154 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of orsulacp


3.45/5  rDev -17.1%

2005 Vintage
I poured this beer vigorously to get a huge egg-shell white head, with a clear light amber body. The smell is dominated by the hops, mostly piney some fruit, with a hint of nutmeg. The hops also dominate the taste, which is a good thing. I don't get much else in the taste. The malt is hidden by the hops, not getting much from the malts It has a medium body and leaves a slightly bitter aftertaste. I would like to have a little bit more malt to balance the great tasting hops.

11-11-2005 01:44:10 | More by orsulacp
Photo of ghostwalker


4.33/5  rDev +4.1%

2005 edition.

Reddish amber pour with high frothy white head. Nice lacing.

Sharp citrus nose, grapefruit.

Piney, citrus bite up front. More hops on the finish. In between, hops. This is absolutely not what I expected from a winter seasonal, but I like it! Some spice flavors hidden in there too, but hard for me to pick out from the hops. I guess I agree with the black pepper mention from other reviews, but the glory that is Cascade hops is the star here.

Mouthfeel is typical of a good IPA. Crisp, sharp, highly carbonated and tasty.

Drinkability is great! I will be getting a couple of more 6 packs for a birthday party this weekend, cause I know it will be a hit. Or, if not, I won't mind drinking them all myself.

11-09-2005 23:48:41 | More by ghostwalker
Photo of sacfly


4.5/5  rDev +8.2%

2005 version
Pours a deep amber color with a thick tan head of large bubbles. Head dies down quickly, but maintains a thin layer.

Aroma is of sweet grapefruit. First sip rips at the tongue with a harsh astringent bitterness. But in a good way? For some reason the astringent character works here. Bitter, unsweetened grapefruit flavor wrapped in a medium bodied package.

At first the malt is undetectable but a hint of sweetness builds as I drink. Somewhat dry finish on the sides of the tongue, but the rest seems to be continually watering. Perhaps some Pavlovian response to hops I’ve developed begging me to drink another. And drink another I shall. Can’t argue with Biology/Psychology- at least if it tells me to drink more Celebration Ale!
Better than the 2004 IMHO.

11-09-2005 21:39:58 | More by sacfly
Photo of Bcant


4.4/5  rDev +5.8%

2005 vintage.

Gorgeous copper with exceptional clarity, toped by a white head made of tiny bubbles that leaves good lacing. The bouquet exhibits some light apple notes as well as delicate spice (nutmeg and coriander) and citrus, and gives only the smallest indication of the wonderful hop-bath your tong is about the take. When it comes to taste, the malt characters detectable in the nose are set aside and a strong American hop profile dominates, though some of the malts do come through briefly in the middle. The understated malts do not indicate a lack of warpath, you still get all the fireplace fuzziness you want from a winter seasonal.

11-09-2005 05:22:17 | More by Bcant
Photo of Dithyramb


4.33/5  rDev +4.1%

2005 vintage, purchased as a six pack from Chesapeake Wine in Bmore.
No discernable difference from previous years. You will receive a beautiful copper brew with a sticky off white head. Great carbonation, lacing, and retention. Big grapefruity piney aroma bouyed by a hefty caramel/bready malt body. The flavor will be full of Cascades, but expertly matched agains a caramel malt and slightly alcoholish background. You will want several. Though on the heavier side, this one will be enjoyed by non-beerknerds during holiday parties.

11-07-2005 21:20:38 | More by Dithyramb
Photo of hopsaplenty


4.2/5  rDev +1%

2005 release. The glowing copper body puts up an off-white head of bubbles of all sizes. Plenty of carbonation streams laze their way to the top, while the yeast sediment finds its way to the bottom. Big piney, grapefruit hop aromas along with some caramel and hints of bread crust. The signature SN Cascade hops wash over the tongue, followed by some warming malt sweetness with hints of alcohol, while balanced, this one and leans towards the hops. Highly drinkable.

11-07-2005 03:08:07 | More by hopsaplenty
Photo of nortmand


4.97/5  rDev +19.5%

A vigorous pour produces a big, fluffy off whitish head atop a copper body.

Piney, resiny citrus aroma dominates. Some sweet malt in their somewhere.

Raisin, citrus, resin, so much going on in the front of the tongue. Ends at the back of the tongue with a bitter plumminess. Simply exquisite.

Full bodied, yet refreshing and very drinkable. Can't wait to get this by the mug at Crunchy's again this year.

11-06-2005 23:41:26 | More by nortmand
Photo of DaPeculierDane


4.5/5  rDev +8.2%

On tap at Wonder's Pub.

Nice amber with a fluffy white head. Good lacing.

Big western hops bring a hefty dose of juniper berries to the aroma. Citrusy. Herbal, maybe coriander and thyme. The cascade hop level isn’t quite Mt. Ranier but it is a close Mt. Hood.

There is a decent amount of malt in here to balance the bitterness of the hops but hops still rule the day. Citrus floral notes dominate the flavor. Esters swish throughout, warming the brew. Also touches of nuttiness and grain.

Dry, crisp, and quite drinkable.

11-06-2005 17:16:36 | More by DaPeculierDane
Photo of Litterbean

New York

4/5  rDev -3.8%

Pours an amber orange, with a rising head that dissipates to a thin white cap. Some lace left behind.

Hoppy, leafy smell. Lots of citrus in the nose with an underlying sweetness.

The hops are prevalent in the taste as well, with a very earthy abundance of flavorings. There are sweet fruity notes as well, with grapefruit being the most obvious. Carbonation is biting and prevalent. Easy to drink.

11-06-2005 02:50:37 | More by Litterbean
Photo of JasonCoop


4.83/5  rDev +16.1%

poured into a regular pint glass. pours a good dark amber color with a nice white head. lace stays throughout.

very aromatic, hops jump from the top of the glass. a little piney, a little spicy. good smell

taste is great. agressive hops right up front, really from beginning to end. a little alcoholish. somewhat of a spiced taste. quite a bite. not balanced in that the hops dominate here, but i love hops and i'm not complaining. a great warming winter brew.

the best thing about this winter brew is that they dont add too many holiday style spices or additives and it tastes like a more genuine ale.

mouthfeel is somewhat full. hops dry it out in the end. really nice. very tastey and very drinkable. I really like how the sierra brews tend to have generous hops tastes. this is one of my favorites. i wish i could get it year round. one of the best IPAs i've sampled yet, and consistently good year to year.

11-05-2005 10:12:01 | More by JasonCoop
Photo of silver0rlead

North Carolina

4.25/5  rDev +2.2%

Pours a beautiful deep copper color with a huge, frothy beige head that leaves sticky lacing all down the glass. The aroma is very hoppy, with notes of citrus (grapefuit and lemon), pine, spices, herbs, hearty bread and caramel. The taste begins with a big blas of hops: citrusy (grapefruit orange and lemon), pine resiny, and herbal followed by a spicy flavor, and a big toasted bread and caramel malt character that balances the hops. The mouthfeel is full and rich, but not overbearing and drinkability is quite good. An awesome holiday IPA, balanced and complex...one of the best.

11-05-2005 05:13:36 | More by silver0rlead
Photo of orfeu

New Mexico

4.22/5  rDev +1.4%

bright, orangish amber with swirly particulates (hop bits?) and a decent head with largeish bubbles. nose is faint, but i'm mostly getting a mild citrus fruit hoppiness. the taste is bitter hops up front with peachy, citrusy juiciness. juicy is also the predominant mouthfeel, medium body. a nice bitter finish. this is really delicious and easy to drink. easily one to buy by the case every year.

11-04-2005 23:29:51 | More by orfeu
Photo of cubedbee


4.4/5  rDev +5.8%

2005 version, 12 oz bottle, seems like it's out a little early this year. Pours a nice looking orange/amber, absolutely clear, 2 fingers of desnse cream colored head, good retention and moderate lacing. Smell is fragrant hops, mainly pine but a little bit flowery, with a slight bit of spices. Taste is a flavorful burst of hops, grapefruit and citrus primarily, trailing into a bold spicey bitter finish. There's a malt taste lingering somewhere in the background, but it never really comes forward, but they do just enough to keep the hops from overwhelming. Medium body, dry finish, and a very smooth feel. And at 6.8% this is no slouch in the alcohol, but I could down these all night. Definitely a great drinkable IPA, wish they would produce it all year, as it is I'll just have to stock up in season.

11-04-2005 00:04:05 | More by cubedbee
Photo of wcudwight

North Carolina

4.25/5  rDev +2.2%

Amber orange in color. Shows a little more red when held to the light. Solid 2 finger lightly golden head that last. Well laced.
Hint of spice with some sweetness and hopiness in the nose.
Nice balance of malty sweetness and some spice with a bitter backend taste.
The balance of sweetness, bitterness, crispness and dryness gives Celebration an excellant mouthfeel.
Very drinkable because it is just so good!!!
Do not wait for the holidays. If this beer is available go get it now.

11-03-2005 21:00:40 | More by wcudwight
Photo of Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

4.08/5  rDev -1.9%

2000 edition, scooped at Route 59 Liquor in Monsey, NY. 5 year IPA that still rocked. More like a top Belgian, still well hopped with spicey yeast and barley and grapefruit hop, tastes up front, followed by honey and then bitter finish. Drying. Copper with sizzling white head, lace. Rich full mouthfeel.This is the rating.
2007 edition, still a very good IPA with citrus, above average carbonation, and lacing grooming the glass. Very drinkable, but the 2000 was an award winner.

11-03-2005 03:32:28 | More by Sammy
Photo of Naes

New York

4.5/5  rDev +8.2%

This brew is amber /orange in color with a one finger white head that leaves very little lacing.
The aroma is a nice blend of hops, malt and spice.
Hops and spice are the major players in the flavor. There is a nice bitterness near the finish, with a bit of grapefruit presence.
Mouth feel is medium in body and nicely carbonated. There is also a bit of oiliness.

This is a beer worth checking out, much better than I expected. It's not an in your face IPA, but still damn good.

11-03-2005 02:30:54 | More by Naes
Photo of Px2GrafX


4.72/5  rDev +13.5%

presentation: 12oz. bottle with a white label and the the same feel as other sierra nevada labels. banner across the top with "sierra nevada", and below that is a small winter wonderland with a cozy lookin' cabin. holly and poinsettas frame the scene and another banner runs across the bottom saying "celebration ale". sn's interpretation of their winter ipa is on the neck label. there is a black bar on the right of the label with the number: 5287. batch number? no abv or freshness date.

appearance: pours a beautiful, clear, heated copper with bright red highlights in a tulip glass. inch and a half off-white fluffy head with perfect retention and sticky lacing. a stream of bubbles rise emphatically from the stem of the glass.

smell: lightly spicy with intense citrusy, piney and floral hop aromas. excellent piney christmas tree aroma for the season.

taste: strong hop character. grapefruits with herbal, spicy hop flavors. good bitterness that dries the edges of your tongue. more fruit as the brew warms. oranges and even a nasaly apple flavor as well. there's a lightly sweet nutty malt flavor that's mostly noticible as the brew warms. finishes dry with a spicy hop bitterness. aftertaste is mildly bitter grapefruit.

mouthfeel: seemingly crisp and creamy medium body. super smooth although there's a good amount of carbonation. swallow is silky. near perfect mouthfeel for this style.

drinkability: beer is almost gone by the time i get to the drinkability.
6.8% is nowhere to be found. tasty with an excellent finish and aftertaste that keeps you sipping, or gulping, what have you. excellent quenching winter session.

overall: just an excellent winter ipa every year. i look forward to this release from the second i run out. bitterness is just a touch less than alpha king, but the hop flavor is better. perfect mouthfeel and excellent drinkability. drink it while you can. it seems to disapear as quickly as the season.

11-02-2005 04:34:46 | More by Px2GrafX
Photo of asabreed

New York

4.47/5  rDev +7.5%

2005 version, poured into my Corsendonk tulip, because I think this deserves something more than a pint glass.

Appearance: Great reddish / brown with slight hints of yellow haze at the bottom of the glass. Lacing's pretty sticky, nice wave-like patterns on the top of the glass, and the head, though dying slightly in the middle although slowly, is still thick around the edges.

Smell: Beautiful oily, piney hops, with some sweeter floral charactertistics and some citrus zest, orange and grapefruit mostly. Balanced as all hell. Also some yeastiness and slight dark bread notes.

Taste: The best thing about this is the slight malt balance that not immediately, but soon after it's swallowed, curbs the biting hops. Certainly for a hophead, so if you're not one you should at least try it, though it may not be your bag. The aftertaste is wonderful, lingering hops and citrus left on the tongue with some yeastiness.

Mouthfeel: Not silky but certainly creamy, a moderately thicker body than I expected. Moderate carbonation. Certainly extremely well done.

Drinkability: Wow, I think I'm going to have to snag a 6-pack to cellar for sure. I had this last year when I didn't know as much about beer, and still enjoyed it then. But now I'm liking it even more. I could see this doing well after just a year, though it's great now. I'd also like to pair it with some food and see what happens. All in all this is a great brew, and it certainly should be tried; it's a celebration after all, I suppose.

11-02-2005 03:36:40 | More by asabreed
Photo of Terp96

North Carolina

3.98/5  rDev -4.3%

Always one of my favorites but was knocked down a notch this year. Pours a deep clear amber with a half inch thick off-white head. Very aromatic. Hints of citrus and pine. Good head retention throughout. Nice hop flavor but not as expected. The aroma did not follow through as strongly in the taste. Definitely a strong hop presence with a complimenting malt flavor but there was an almost pungent finish. Very drinkable. I had three because I couldn't quite figure it out. Not SN's best year.

11-01-2005 15:14:39 | More by Terp96
Photo of doubleipa


4.38/5  rDev +5.3%

This beer has a nice hoppy aroma with pine and orange. Definitely smells like a SN. The haed was average with a white, rocky head. There was virtually no lacing and the head disappeared. Th body was clear with a nice amber.orange color. There was moderate hop bitrterness initially that became stronger. The finish was long. It has a medium dry mouthfeel with a good bit of carbonation. There was a nice and surpirsing resin finish. I wish they brewed this one all year.

10-31-2005 14:41:20 | More by doubleipa
Photo of numenor1

North Carolina

4.33/5  rDev +4.1%

Pours a pale, quite clear amber with a half inch, stick head. Reduces to a nice collar. Smells up front of citrusy hops with a definite caramel, bready malt backbone. Sweet caramel upfront gives way to huge fresh juicy hop oils. Not as citrusy as the nose led me to believe, but equally earthy and spicy. Pith emerges through a very toasty, smooth finish laden with spicy hops. Also there's a definite, intriguing hint of of rosemary... Very nice hop character coupled with a tremendous malt backbone. Almost no brash, harsh bitterness, instead it seems restrained and subtle. Mouthfeel is beautiful, medium with creamy carbonation. Perhaps it could be a tad fuller. Sessionable. Didn't lay hop waste to my palate and leave it in ruin as many IPA's tend to. Definitely one of the better IPA's.

10-31-2005 07:09:57 | More by numenor1
Photo of FLAbeergutinMASS


3.98/5  rDev -4.3%

Finally I got my hands on some of this elixir. It was worth the wait. The only unfortunate drawback was in its appearance, very pale, not what I had expected. Weak color, almost like a halfhearted attempt at a Pale. Reeks of hops and apricot. The hops blow you away. Not entirely sure what the IBU's are on this one, but they are way up there.

I've been going through this sixer I acquired pretty easily. Thumbs up on the drinkability end.

10-29-2005 02:20:53 | More by FLAbeergutinMASS
Photo of macpapi


4.35/5  rDev +4.6%

I was shocked and shall we say pleasantly surprised to find this--one of my favorite brews--at the local Bello Vino today. Had to pick it up, despite the early season.

Celebration Ale pours a nice amber/light red color with a good sized tannish head. There is plenty of bubble activity throughout the glass. Good lacing too. A very good looking pour.

Smells malty and hoppy right off the bat. A good presence of spice follows with a slight floral/pine aroma. A very nice and full sniff.

The taste is beutifully light malt with an equal hop kick. Fruit and spices are there as well, rounding out an awesome flavor. SNCA is well carbonated and full in the mouth as well.

Overall, this is an excellent beer. Malt and hops are equal in their presence. A nice kick is also there--probably due to the relatively high alcohol content. Great session brew for any cold late fall or winter night. Time to Celebrate beer!!!

10-28-2005 22:10:32 | More by macpapi
Photo of battlekow


4.25/5  rDev +2.2%

This is the 2005 version, just released. Pours a reddish-amber with a good off-white head that fades to leave the typical IPA skim. Smells sweetly malty with a substantial infusion of floral and spicy hops. My eye watered a bit when I got my face right in the glass and took a whiff. Flavor has a very malty backbone with hop highlights, a toasty finish, and lingering oily bittering from the hops. The toastiness reminds me of HopDevil. Celebration is a very solid and balanced IPA.

10-28-2005 00:11:35 | More by battlekow
Photo of ggroller


4.2/5  rDev +1%

This is 2005's rendition.

Light amber in color.

Smells hoppy, spicey, cinammony, malty.

Tastes bitter. Very bitter. This one could use some time in the cellar, I think. Only because the bitterness of the hops dominates the taste buds while the spices and malt I smelled don't make it through.

Nice beer overall, though.

10-27-2005 23:03:21 | More by ggroller
Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 7,774 ratings.