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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.

9,263 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 9,263
Reviews: 3,336
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 11.81%
Wants: 290
Gots: 1,197 | FT: 1
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: 9,263 | Reviews: 3,336 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of hayes31
4.55/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured on tap into a pint glass.

When I stumbled upon this beer for the first time I was a little drunk, so I attributed the great taste to that. However, I had it sober, and it was still amazing. I was so surprised at how drinkable this beer was. A great hop taste, and it virtually dances across your tongue and tingles. It's drinkable like a BMC but it has so much flavor to it it's almost hard to take it all in.

A great overall beer that I will drink again and again.

Photo of SmasNadroj
3.96/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Ok. Its been a long time comin, and its taken years, but sierra nevada has finally impressed my happy ass. This beer is great, beautiful glowing amber color with significant, lasting head, stained glass window lacing, and plenty of little bubble friends to hang out with.

It smells sweet, slightly grapefruity and surprisingly malty. As one would suspect, the bouquet is much more significant when first poured.

The flavor of savory, almost toasted caramel hops come through- but the real star to me is the mesmerizing light burley pipe tobacco flavors that are found almost instantly yet linger on your tongue long after the sip is gone. Malty? Nope. Not really, just sort of smells that way... Very intriguing. Tangy grapefruit hoppy notes also linger, but not in an overpowering way at all... Simply put- bold and delicious

The mouthfeel is great, a bit tingly but sweet on the tongue. I'd love to have it on nitro...

Well, I can say it- I like, truly like a sierra nevada beer. Their stuff has always been pretty good but this is undeniably great.

Photo of bourbonbock
4.11/5  rDev -1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured this into a clean pint and received a reddish orange amber beer with about 2 fingers of white head.

A. This beer looks delicious and I can almost taste it before I've had a sip.

S. Smells of toasted malts and fresh hops, sweet and enticing.

T. Good flavor with great depth. Starts with a fresh light hop flavor but not overly bitter. Pretty balanced maltiness and slight nuttiness followed by oils and some saltiness.

M. Even light and not as heavy as expected. Sort of rolls through the mouth and into the throat. Very nice.

D. Very good, although I would only drink 2 or 3 of these in a day I would think about going back for another one tomorrow.

Photo of gromis
2.85/5  rDev -31.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

This was given to me by a friend; as I'm really not into hoppy beers but thought I'd give this one a try.

The pour was surprising, as it had a very nice head that lasted quite a while. The lacing was excellent.

The nose on this is straight away pine hops. Actually very pleasant.

The taste is right on with the nose, pine hops. While I can appreciate that this is a good beer for the style, I really don't enjoy hoppy bitter beers; and thus my scores reflect that; although it is a good representation of the style.

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

This review is for the 2009 Celebration ale.

A - Alright, I may have poured this a little too aggressively. The brew poured a hazy orange/amber in color with an enthusiastic three finger fluffy off white head. Head retention is phenomenal (I have a hard time getting more than half the bottle poured into my glass) and it leaves a generous veil of lacing. I gotta tell you, the head is a monster on this thing!

S - Citrus hops are certainly a big player in this production, along with some sweet malt aroma, just to balance things out.

T & M - There is a nice balance between hop and malt in the taste. The hops are more piney than they let on in the aroma...I was expecting a more citrusy hop. Medium bodied mouthfeel, creamy texture, and it finishes with a bit of a bitter hop aftertaste.

D - This is a very well constructed IPA, and I can see why it rates so well. This was 2009 vintage...I'm looking forward to the 2010.

Photo of jbowers56
4.47/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Creamy head which fades to a bubbly layer. Leaves a shitload of lacing. Reddy golden colour and is kind of cloudy.

Strong notes of Citrus, including a kind of orange/lemon sherbert smell. Some caramel present but really a hoppy nose. Really juicy and fruity nose. Very very good.

Similar citrussy hops to the nose. Some sweetness present but certainly a firm bitterness. I'd call this well balanced, but on the hop head side of things. Finishes with a grainy taste. Really very good.

Creamy and full in the mouth yet not overly viscous. A very hard beer to fault.

Overall, I love drinking this beer. Australian brewers, take note! This is a beautiful IPA.

Photo of NightINgale
4.11/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into my Sierra Nevada tumbler glass...

A - Cloudy deep amber body to it. Very nice frothy caramel head. I didn't get much lacing, but the head retention was well impressive.

S - Mostly citrus-like hops, with quite a bit of pine and some pronounced caramel notes. The smell is pretty strong, though not too original or unique.

T - At first I was getting loads of bitterness, with very little sweetness, a hint of caramel, and lots of citrus notes. The finish was full of lingering dry bitterness.
It definitely opened up as it was warming up. The beer mellowed out, offering some extra sweetness that I didn't get at first. Some nice breadiness. Some pine notes. Even some hints of spices (maybe cinnamon).

M - Medium body to it, slightly chewy and definitely resiny. Some crisp carbonation which was so apparent at first quickly fades away. Some warming sensation from the alcohol

D - Quite good for a winter seasonal. Definitely a good beer to have on a cold winter evening, but this went down fine on the spring day I had it.

Photo of miket163
4.35/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured an almost red-amber into standard pint glass. Not much in the head department, small and quickly dissipating. Very lovely and hoppy taste. Citrus and Pine dominated with and light crisp Grass note. This beer seemed a bit heavier than the standard SN APA, and was altogether a very nice ale.

Photo of klikger
4.83/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - Rich amber with some red in it. Heads up very nicely, and the lacing is extraordinary.

S - You know that feeling you had as a child before opening presents on Christmas morning? I reach that pinnacle of giddiness the first time every November that I let SN Celebration Ale's piny, spicy, hopped-up bouquet reach my nostrils.

T - Hops hit the back of my tongue almost instantly, but there's enough malt to almost balance them out, at least for a third of a second (and different years have produced slight differences in malt prevalence, in my opinion). Cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg beg to be noticed among the excesses of grapefruit and pine, but they're quickly shoved out of the picture. This is a hop bomb, yet it doesn't feel as one-dimensional as it may sound. Finishes with sugary, malty goodness combined with a stunningly lingering bitterness.

M - Excellent consistency with near perfect carbonation level for the style.

D - The intense bitterness and moderate alcohol level may turn off some from sessioning, but this is as good a candidate as any holiday beer. Despite the overwhelming hop presence, this beer is balanced just enough by the sweetness of the malts to make opening a second one a foregone conclusion.

This beer is absolutely outstanding and is something which I look forward to on an annual basis. Cracking open the first of the season subconsciously flips my mind into full-on holiday excitement mode, and the next 23 or so help me to maintain my sanity over the subsequent weeks. I've had so many great brews over the years (and in the past month, for that matter) that this may sound hyperbolic, but Celebration Ale may just be my desert island choice. Highly, fanatically recommended!

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

klikger gave me a bottle of this.

a - reddish golden color. little head.

s - smell is hops, maybe a bit a cloves?

t - like the smell, i taste mostly hops, but not very bitter. very good.

m - good carbonation, fresh feeling.

d - overall very good. hoppy, but not overwhelming. Im new to hoppy beers, and this was a good experience!

Photo of Flashsp2
4.17/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Sierra Nevada Celebration 09 into medium chalice

A medium pour generates a big creamy beige head that leaves webs of lace and a clump of residual head on top. The body is orange with gold and red highlights.

The aroma is sticky and sweet, caramels, oranges, pine, and earthy/herbal hops. Smells very balanced and inviting.

The palette is not as balanced as the nose, which is fine, that's how I prefer my IPAs. Initially there is a soft caramel and bready sweetness, which is quickly run over by the PNW hops. Lots of citrus (primarily orange and tangerines), pine needles, rosemary, herbal, with a big bitter/salty and sticky hop finish that lingers for quite a while. The alcohol isn't present as a flavor component, but it gives a touch of warming. I love the fade from sweet to bitter.

Body is medium with a medium carbonation, and is a bit slick on the entry, and a softness in the middle.

Easy drinking, with a nice bitter finish that is crisp and invites further quaffing. Although SN beers all have a bit of similarity (most of them), they are all quite tasty. This takes a second only to their Torpedo in terms of their best IPAs, and this one is pretty close to that one. I prefer the Torpedo though, as it's a bit drier and less malt focused.

Photo of marc956
4.28/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Best christmas beer ever in my opinion!
Good alcohol%, smooth taste, nice looking label to keep as a souvenir, pity I can't get it regularly here in Texas but if you have a chance to try it (especially around the holidays) please don't pass it up!

Photo of mulder1010
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into a tulip---thanks to Jbowers56 for the trade as this is not available in Sydney. Then again a whole lot is not available in Sydney.

A-- Poured a golden orange color, very hazy looking. Very large light brown head. Excellent head retention. A good 2 fingers of head for over a minute. Eventually leaving a good one finger head. Thick sticky lacing on the sides of the glass. Think this made the trip from the USA to Australia quite well!

S-- When I opened the bottle I got a smell of the intense grapefruit smell. Has held up quite well. Thick grapefruit and lemon smell with a carmel kick. Has a sweet oat bread smell to it as well. Very winter like and inviting.

T-- Just as I remember it. Lots of grapefruit and lemon, great cascade hops. Flavor just jumps at you in this. A little touch of sweetness in this to boot and a bit of sweet oat bread taste.

M-- Creamy, yet hearty. well carbonated and in some ways simple yet complex. Get that sweet feeling in the end that has you wanting more and more.

D-- Never was my favorite winter seasonal but a person's palate can change. I still prefer Old Ales or Winter Warmers but this is excellent. Well hidden ABV and could drink 2-3 easily in a session. Already thinking where is my other one to drink after this. Bummer I only got one in trade. There are better IPA's out there but this is an iconic US beer.
Reminds me of what I miss from home...Beer. Good beer and good seasonal's as well. Am impressed how well the beer has held up on a trip from the USA and just as good as I have had at an Old Chicago in Denver or Tucson or at home drinking one in December. Note: if in USA score would be lower but since in Australia and only one other beer here can compete with it (Murrays ICON) I am grading against that.

Photo of scootny
4.38/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is so close to ideal it's scary. Huge head with the retention of something from a dream. Scads of lace and a cloudiness that says hop oils and more. A big citrusey bouquet with a light sweet pine and caramel. A bit of bread and yeasty dough. Taste has a firm grapefruit hoppiness with a caramel malt center. A fresh whole grain loaf mixes with the malt backbone and opens a door for the sweetness to flow. It gives good balance and then the finish brings the hop parade again. A lingering grapefruit skin has a touch of quinine as well but in all the finish is clean and dry. A dark grained cracker like presence hints at graham but not quite. Feel is crisp and refreshing with an effervescence that brings a light creaminess if you let it hang out in your mouth. You can easily go through a couple of 24 oz bottles like the one I have before me. This stuff is deliciously hoppy, balanced and while a little strong not a "Big Beer" so you can enjoy it without too much concern. I have to remember this one from now on.

Photo of leokbelo
4.43/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Just finished my last Celebration, and can't wait for next winter season.
Pours a rich copper, excellent head, just looking at this beer is a treat in itself!
What an IPA! Very sharp on the nose, wonderful Cascade Hops, makes you wanna dive right in! Mouthfeel, again, very sharp, very hoppy, exactly as an IPA should be.
An IPA worth the wait!
Highly recommended!

Photo of BayouBengal1537
4.35/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

First celebration ale by Sierra Nevada '09

Poured a dark orange copper color, big frothy head

Smell was hoppy, citrus, some malt background

Taste was hoppier than I thought it was going to be, great caramel background, very balanced to say the least

Mouthfeel was excellent, balanced

Drinkability was great, easily had a couple, great beer

Photo of biggred1
4.47/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Jamie for giving me a growler from his personal keg.

Dark, orange amber with a fluffy tan head that leaves sticky rings of lace all down the glass. The nose is solid with plenty of that Sierra C-hop smell and plenty of pale and caramel malt goodness. A perfect medley of hop flavor, hop bitterness & malt sweetness. Pine sap and caramel slathered toast. Full bodied with smooth carbonation. A fantastic beer any time of the year.

Photo of pwoody11
3.63/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

As far as winter seasonals go, this one is towards the top of the list, but wouldn't put it at the top of my IPA list.

Nice dark amber color with wonderful lacing and long lasting head.

I found this to be very true to style, and will most likely be my go to beer for winter seasonals as long as its around. High drinkability and not TOO high abv make this a quaffable beer with session potential.

Photo of OttoBomb
4.33/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a Dogfish Head signature glass (December 15, 2009). Serial number on the label says "926511637" so it's actually bottled 4:37pm PST, September 22th, 2009 on bottling line #1, (see here: http://www.sierranevada.com/images/BottleCode2009.pdf). This was part of a mixed six pack of Christmas seasonal brews picked up at Armanetti Wine Shoppe and Beverage Mart in Chicago.

As this is an IPA, I guess I should be opening this one sooner, but the seasonal aspect should allow for some age through the Christmas season. Hell, it's less than three months old, so it can't be that faded.

Eyes: Pours a darkish amber, with some haze. The mildly dirty white head fills the glass and shoots up above the rim, but not over. The thick craggy foam laces heavily.

Nose: A strong grapefruit profile here, which I really like. Some mild spices also, and malts.

Tongue: A good hop character here. I really like the fruity, citrus bitterness combined with the thickish malts and mild spices. Some lemon spice flavor and creamy malts balance the hops very well.

Mouth: A bit less crisp that some IPAs but a bit more smooth than most also. Good balance and medium body.

Libation: I don't have much to improve here. Tasty, mildly spicy and warming. This goes down easy and I can't identify a hint of the alcohol. I really like hoppy Christmas ales, and this one delivers.

As an IPA and it could be a lot more potent, but there are enough hops to satisfy ll but the most jaded hop-heads. As a Christmas seasonal brew is strikes the classic balance of mildly spicy warmer and hoppy flavor. I'll be picking these up each December for sure.

Photo of mwagner1018
4.32/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2009 Celebration Ale
Served at cellar temp into a standard pint glass.

A- Pours a beautiful copper amber color, with a nice effervescent 2 fingers of light off white head. Settles down over about 10 minutes, to leave a good 1/2 of a finger cap on the beer. Really consistent layers of lacing down the glass.

S- Really nice floral west coast hop, grapefruit, fresh and fruity with a subtle pine aroma.

T- Clean, bold, nicely balanced with a medium/high bitterness that holds really well. Malt backbone pronounced enough to be there, with a nice caramel, vanilla taste, but balanced perfectly with a strong citrus, lemon pepper, buttery, creaminess that sets off the hops.

M- Bitter and chewy, nice bite to the tongue and back of throat. Sharp grassy quality that is nicely balanced. Medium to Medium High body, good malt thickness.

D- Very drinkable, hop forward but well balanced. A great beer.

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

Pours into a pint glass a pretty copper with yellow highlights. A fluffy off-white head facilitates this brew's fantastic lacing.

Big sweet and citrusy hop profile, followed by a nice malt and caramel scents.

The taste reflects the nose, but with the slightly roasted characteristic. Assertive hop bitterness and taste pleasantly accentuated by the perfect level of carbonation. Medium-body, and very sweet. High drinkability.

Photo of abrand
4.15/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

12 ounce bottle poured into a pint glass. I have drank this brew many times but never completed a review of it. To me this beer is much better fresh than with a couple months under it.

The Celebration Ale pours an orange to amber color with a nice bubbly head atop that leaves some good lacing. Aromas are sweet with malts, toffee, and caremel. I am also picking up some meaty notes that I haven't sniffed before with this brew. Taste brings out some citrus notes and is very smooth. Not overpowering in any way. Also plenty of malts and pines. Not much hops for being an IPA. Mouthfeel is fairly thin and sort of watery. Drinkability is very high for this brew. Kind of a mixture of several different styles and with that it is truly unique. This is my session beer for the winter months.

Photo of aaron12
3.91/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

so, after trying this again, i like it way more. all i remember from the last batch i bought was grapefruit... this tastes much more balanced to me. very tasty... i remember liking the 2008 celebration ale a lot, and was surprised not liking 09's. i think i got a weird batch, or maybe my taste was off that day, who knows. this shit's good, so i revised it.

A. light red/golden, white head.

S. to me, it smells exactly like grapefruit juice poured over hops. it'd be like pouring grapefruit juice into a glass that had a strong ipa in it before, but you didnt bother to wash it out.

T. GRAPEFRUIT... sour hops. ...grapefruit. alot of grapefruit.

M. I don't know, last year was the first time i had this beer, and i remember liking it more... i'm kinda bummed, i don't think i'm diggin' this that much.

D. There's alot of pine, sour citrus, and bitter hops goin on in this beer, it's not the easiest ale to put down the hatch... (not that it should be)

wow, i need to try a few more of these, (not all at once), but if i change my mind, i'll revise this. until then, sorry sierra nevada, but this one's low on my ranks for you.

Photo of icetraxx
3.96/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours and orange-reed color with significant bottle conditioning-like haze. The creamy three-finger head has excellent retention and laces like crazy.

S: Resiny hops, that sort of remind of a Christmas tree, not too much else. Not as aromatic as other IPAs.

T: A strong kick of hops, hops, and more hops. A relatively strong bitterness gives way to a quick and rather clean finish with minimal lingering bitterness. A tiny amount of malt goes through due after the bitterness subsides. Hops are more on the pine side of things than the tropical fruit side.

M: Thick and creamy compared to similar IPAs.

D: Good, but doesn't have the super clean finish of other IPAs that immediately make me want to take another sip.

O: A solid IPA that is on the hearty side, rather than the refreshing side. Excellent for those cold winter months.

Photo of SickGnar
4.42/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Deep, coppery amber with a faint bit of haze. Big rocky head with great retention and spectacular, uber-nice lacing.

S: Sniff - not a gingerbread cookie beer! I think I know what SN's favorite "spice" is.... Grapefruit and other citrus notes, resin & pine, some herbal, a bit of floral, and even some spicey & peppery. There is a lot going on and it is quite aromatic. Caramel malt is there, but it is in the background.

T: Holy hopucopia! Like the nose but even more complex and intense. C-hops are certainly there, but so are others - a great hop profile with lots to tease out and savor. Not to say this is some hop monster - it is not. It has a good malt base that supports the hops without either balancing the alpha acids or remaining in the background. Malty sweet caramel, nutty, bready, toasty character forms the backbone with some more robustly roasted malt notes of toffee and even darker stuff. A touch grainy and faintly husky toward finish. Also a fruity note that seems to be yeast derived.

M: Slightly above medium body. Plenty of carbonation, but not fizzy - more like jubilantly effervescent. Almost sweet and sticky, but also spicy, crisp and drying in the finish.

D: Immensely drinkable, if a bit dangerous at 6.8 percent. Hops are prominent, but not in a way that overpowers other elements. Instead, the supporting parts of this brew serve to showcase the complexity, nuance, intensity, and (getting a bit hyperbolic) the glory that is Humulus Lupulus.

Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 9,263 ratings.