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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.

7,887 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7,887
Reviews: 3,156
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 11.54%
Wants: 217
Gots: 481 | 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: 7,887 | Reviews: 3,156 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jimdkc
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

What a difference a couple of years makes! I first tried Sierra Nevada's Celebration Ale about 2 years ago when I first joined BA. At the time, I don't think I was quite ready for it. I very slowly sipped the strong nectar... intrigued... but a bit intimidated, and I don't think I finished my serving.

This year, I tried the 2005 version:

Poured into a brandy snifter a slightly hazy, copper-orange with a off-white foamy head. Head did not last long, and there was no lacing.

Aroma is dominated by piney and citrusy hop notes. The snifter concentrated these aromas nicely.

Taste, again... this is a hop showcase, right up front. Grapefruit, some pine, a bit of earthiness. Very nice. Lingering hop bitterness at the back of the tongue. Some crystal malt sweetness also makes an appearance.

Medium bodied mouthfeel. Low carbonation. Appropriate for this style, I think.

Good drinkability. While I couldn't finish my first one two years ago, I have no such problem now! Gimme another!

No more intimidation! Celebration Ale will be a brew I look forward to every year, now!

jimdkc, Jan 16, 2006
Photo of RedHaze
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear red/copper color with a thick two finger head that settles to a thin cap. There's quite a bit of lacing left behind in my glass. I really like the color of this beer.

Smell; lots of piney and citrus smells, and it has a really nice spiciness to it that I didn't quite expect.

Taste; initially starts out a little sweet, and then the hops kick in with a strong piney bitterness, and it finishes with that spiciness. Mouthfeel is meium bodied and slick from the hop oils. Very easy to drink as long as you enjoy hops, and I do. Overall this is a very enjoyably IPA.

RedHaze, Jan 16, 2006
Photo of redwolf1
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a 12 ounce bottle of Sierra Nevada's 2005 edition of Celebration Ale. A very nice golden amber color with a rather huge frothy head that stuck around awhile. Very good lacing along the edge of the glass. A strong, but not overpowering, hoppy aroma that somehow started out a little fruity and then mellowed. The aroma itself literally made me salivate. The amount of hops in this beer explodes in the mouth (really meant for those who love their hops). A nice crisp finish to the beer, in spite of the level of hops present. A very drinkable beer in itself, but I'm not sure if I would have more than one in a sitting. The amount of hops used may mask the flavors and aromas of other beers one would want to enjoy afterwards.

redwolf1, Jan 13, 2006
Photo of skillerified
2.63/5  rDev -36.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Orange-amber brew with a good sized, white, foamy head. Looks a little hazy actually. Lots of carbonation coming up from the bottom of this one. Looks pretty good.

Scent is malt first, then a little spicyness, and then a citrusy hop scent. Aside from the early malt aroma, it's really dominated by the fruit scents. It's a good smell, but not a wow kinda smell either.

Taste reminds me of a non-sugary breakfast cereal. There's a hint of the spicyness too. Not too impressive actually. I had hoped for more.

This feels like a horrible off-balance brew to me. There's a light sweetness early on, but there's an awful bitterness on the finish. I like beers with a bitter character, but this is a strange bitterness that is not appealing to me. It's a bitterness that coats the inside of the mouth and is devastating when you dry swallow after a sip.

It seems to be getting better as it warms, but I really don't want another of these. I'll finish this bottle, but won't be looking for this one next holiday season. This seems to be quite popular, so I guess it's just my particular palate that this doesn't agree with. This was a 2005 bottle.

skillerified, Jan 10, 2006
Photo of thetachibro
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a dark golden copper color with a one inch head that drizzles down to nothing but lingers around.

S- Nice hops a little fruit in the nose as well

T- Taste is hoppy and fruity with some malt flavor

M- Nice clean and crisp mouthfeel with a nice light to medium body

D- Drinkablitliy is high can put a six pack of these down at least

thetachibro, Jan 09, 2006
Photo of lordofthewiens
4.4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a beautiful beer that could be enjoyed all year. It has a nice orange-amber color with a small head and pretty lacing. The smell is predominately spicy. . It has a great spicy taste, and is also fairly hoppy. I think the bottled version is more hoppy than the one on tap. Either way, a great beer that can be enjoyed any time. It is 6.9% ABV, so be a litle careful.

lordofthewiens, Jan 08, 2006
Photo of jhu1995
4.18/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Not sure why this one deserves the "Celebration Ale" moniker and the winter theme because this is an outstanding beer that can be enjoyed year round. Anyway, poured a crisp, clear, light amber with very good carbonation, medium, off-white head, and nice lacing. Aroma was both fruity and flowery and reminded me of sitting on the back porch in the summer evening enjoying a nice brew. Taste was crisp, clean, and refreshing. Had more body than I expected. Very tasty brew.

jhu1995, Jan 07, 2006
Photo of TreeTopFlyer
4.3/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Hops, hops and more hops. This one reminds me of an IPA I tasted in Boise, ID from a taphandle labeled in masking tape and Sharpie magic marker. This beer dances just below the threshold of Imperial IPA pushing hops (very grapefruit-like bitterness) and alcohol. Two words - Game On.

TreeTopFlyer, Jan 06, 2006
Photo of brewingmonk
4.2/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

What a great seasonal brew! The amber color and lacy head was begging to be enjoyed, and enjoyed it was. There were smells of citrus and hints of caramel malts, which led to a sweet taste before the hops came in. It felt light inside the mouth, and was very drinkable. Actually, for the amount of hops present, this beer was extremely drinkable- which is what I would label its best quality.

brewingmonk, Jan 05, 2006
Photo of Xadoor
4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a clear amber colour into the glass with a medium fluffy head. Aroma is spicy and citrusy with a bit of caramel malts noticeable. Taste is slightly sweet and smooth before the full affects of the hops takes over. Pine and citrus flavours with a spicy dry finish. Medium bodied with a good level of carbonation. Definitely a solid beer and very drinkable.

Xadoor, Jan 05, 2006
Photo of AJPainter
4.45/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance is a nice golden/amber/orange with a nice white head. Head dissipates fairly quickly leaving lacing on the sides of the glass.

Smells like a citrus forest. Hops, grapefruit, pine, with a little malt somewhere in there...

Tastes like hops and malt. And hops. And it's good. Nice carbonation/mouthfeel, too.

I could drink this all night, but unfortunately, this is my last of the season. Must buy again!

AJPainter, Jan 04, 2006
Photo of DevilDogBeer
4.88/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale was poured from the tap into a pint glass. The color was a great copper hue with a thin head. The head faded into a thin top layer but left some lacing down the glass. The smell was a combination of caramel malts and wonderful spicy hops. The taste was hoppy on the tongue and finished with a light caramel note. The brew was crisp and did not leave any off flavors on the palate. Very drinkable and very satisfying, this is a great choice and I highly recommend trying one if you have the chance.

DevilDogBeer, Jan 03, 2006
Photo of skynxnex
4.47/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2005 vintage poured into a snifter. A nice bright orange amber color. Off white head that laces well. This bottle had a bit of well packed sediment that didn't pour into the beer, leaving it very clear.

Smell is hops: piney, sweet citrus lemon, but also a good sweet backing peaking around. The taste, again, is hops. But that's what this beer is. The citrus falls away in the flavor, but the wonderful piney hops rush forward. It finishes with the bitterness of the hops playing around (maybe fighting it out) with the good amont of sweet malt that you notice just at the end. A bit of toasty malt hints through as the beer warms. A great beer to drink and is very drinkable at 6.8% ABV.

skynxnex, Jan 02, 2006
Photo of deciding39
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2005 edition, served in a 16 oz tumbler.

A: Pours a clear, brassy amber. A fluffy, rocky-looking, two-finger white head is left after the pour. A perfect lace clings to the sides of the glass, leaving rings behind after each sip.

S: A bouquet of aromatic hops and smooth toasted malts. Clean, bready yeast notes in the background.

T: A blend of smooth caramel malt sweetness and delicious piney, resinous hops. The trademark citrus/grapefruit notes of Cascade & Centennial hops linger on the palate, with a touch of spice. Well-balanced, if not a little on the hoppy side. Very clean, with little esters.

M & D: Medium-bodied, smooth mouthfeel. The hops sometimes become a little overwhelming after a few drinks, and the high alcohol content definitely limits the drinkability of this brew. A very well-crafted winter warmer. A nice change of pace from the usual over-spiced holiday ales.

One of my personal favorites. Outstanding. I hear it's even better when aged, but who could possibly hold onto this stuff long without drinking it?

deciding39, Jan 02, 2006
Photo of SteveO1231
4.55/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep, bright copper color, with an impressive head of white bubbles. Tons of carbonation leaves clumps of fizzy bulle lacing in my glass.

Smells great, crisp aroma of cascade dominates the aroma mixed with a nice malt sweetness.

Smooth as hell malt sweetness with an awesome bitter back end. The Bitter hop finish is both citrusy and piny. Very balanced.

Awesome brew from start to finish. Crisp and clean very balanced. Very drinkable beer.


SteveO1231, Dec 31, 2005
Photo of DarkerTheBetter
4.05/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer came an amber orange with a thin film of head. Smells primarily of different citrus fruits and dry piney hops. Tastes like a SN's pale ale with some cinnamon, a honey sweet malt and orange zest with a grapefruit rind finish. Mouth feel is medium bodied with a crisp carbonation.

DarkerTheBetter, Dec 30, 2005
Photo of JerzDevl2000
4.43/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Picked this up at the liquor store in my town recently, in the midst of all the winter and holiday beers that I've been sampling. I'm a huge fan of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, so I eagerly anticipated this holiday offering. After downing half of the 6-pack I bought, I can honestly say that my expectations were met with flying colors!

All of the good qualties of the their flagship brew are present here. A wonderful pour - amber, bubbly, and with a wonderful floral aroma - is present here, and the lacing on the side of the glass is very remarkable as well. Floral, citrus, pine, and strong hop notes are present here, with a dry-hopped, pine, slight metallic, and oily aftertaste. It's not perfect, but it did warm me up and had the smoothness and subtlety of SNPA. Not too bold for me, but not as buttery and golden as the flagship brew. The lack of an overpowering hop bite is more than compensated by the muted notes of the background flavors, which work very harmoniously together. The flavor base is that of the SNPA, but unlike other beers which play off of the "variations of a theme" when it comes to seasonals and year-round concotions from the same brewer, there is enough of a difference between this and SN's other offerings. One will get the enjoyment of the Pale Ale's hops when drinking this, but there will be enough differentiation to make this beer stand out on it's own, as well.

I'd certainly buy this again and would put this near the top of the seasonal and holiday brews that I've consumed so far this year. Sierra Nevada's offerings never let me down and always amaze me with their quality, refining, and overall taste and aftertaste. A truly great IPA from a truly great brewery!

JerzDevl2000, Dec 30, 2005
Photo of assurbanipaul
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark yet crystal clear amber with a half-inch-thick foamy head that settles only slightly. Aroma is rich, hoppy and spicy with a small amount of caramel malt.

Taste is a blend of rich, luxurious malt and sharp, bright hops. Some mild spices weave in an among the citrusy, juicy, floral hop nature. This is a beer equivalent of freshly baked bread with the hops springing forward without knocking you over. Very good job of balancing the flavors so that neither side crushes the palate.

Mouthfeel is a little heavy, a little oily, but in a good way. Lips remain sticky after the drink is finished. Oddly, drinkability remains high despite its bold flavors. This is the gold standard in American IPAs, one I have sessioned on many occasions.

assurbanipaul, Dec 30, 2005
Photo of delicious
4.45/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Brewed in 2005

Pours a tall, fluffy head with a darker than amber body.
The hoppy nose has a great citrusy aspect.
The flavor is dominated by hops which leave a lingering bitterness after a bit of grapefruit and an initial hint of mandarin orange sweetness.
This beer is full-bodied and surprisingly drinkable given the remarkable amount of hops.
This marvelous beer does wonderful things with hops. It's interesting, tasty, and those hops really stay with you.
2007 notes:
Pours a clear amber body beneath a fluffy cream colored head that leaves lacing rings after each sip.
Fresh, bitter, leafy hop nose.
The flavor continues the pattern of dry bitterness. There's also a bit of citrus, but the bitterness is more prone to dehydrate the inside cheeks and tongue than to invoke any juicy analogies. I'd love to describe how this ale develops as it warms, but I sincerely doubt it will last that long. While I'm typing, the alcohol warmth begins to glow in my tummy and puts a smile on my face. This is one of those beers I look forward to every season when I can see my breath in the morning.

delicious, Dec 29, 2005
Photo of badbeer
4.45/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2005 Edition

Beer poured a orange-red color with a half inch of head with left incredible lacing. Smells of hops that bring a citrus aroma as well as pine. Taste is of pine and citrus as well. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with almost a perfect amount of carbonation. Drinkability is very good, each drink invites you back for another.

badbeer, Dec 28, 2005
Photo of doppelmeup
2.83/5  rDev -32%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

It poured with a 3/8 inch head and an orangish color into a pint glass. The head dissipated rather quickly, leaving a ring of foam around the outside edge of the glass and some nice lacing

Very fruity, hoppy aroma.

A dry, fruity, bitter taste that lingered a bit long after swallowing.

It left an aftertaste, and felt both dry and clingy at the same time.

This would be a good beer to have with some curry.

I don't like how the beer lingers in the mouth, even after several minutes have gone by since my last drink.

I have to say I'm quite dissappointed in this beer.

doppelmeup, Dec 28, 2005
Photo of WeymouthMike
4.45/5  rDev +7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This is my favorite offering from Sierra Nevada and I can't wait to try it every year around Christmas time. This beer pours a beautiful golden brown with a nice white head .Smells of pine and citrus are the only two things I get from this one. Taste is best described as fresh, wonderful hoppy flavor that is so well balanced with a malty aftertaste. This one is not for the rookie beer drinker as the hoppiness tends to scare some away so I don't have to worry about anyone touching my six pack when I show up at a friends house.

WeymouthMike, Dec 28, 2005
Photo of ski271
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I have to write another review to counteract my lower bottle review earlier this month. Just yesterday I had this beer on tap. A surprising treat at The Corner Room in State College, PA. Yes, we all know most beers are better on tap, but this one was MUCH better. It was so smooth, balanced, fresh and beautiful that I was sorry we only had time for one. In my previous review I remarked about how I didn't think SNCA quite lived up to the hype, but now I think otherwise. It's definitely highly recommended to try on tap.

ski271, Dec 27, 2005
Photo of soulgrowl
3.73/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Darkish pumpkin pie orange, slightly cloudy, with a fluffy, lumpy off-white head. Lots of carbonation and big bubbles give this excellend head retention (but no lacing).

Smell: Toasty malts and nice spicy hops. There's also an egg-like tone and a hell of a pine scent. Yum! Reminds me of wheat toast with just a touch of cinnamon sugar.

Taste: Strong, very leafy hop character throughout. Some alcohol comes through along with a subtle flavor of pumpkin pie spice (clove, cinnamon, nutmeg, etc.). Malts take a backseat, but somehow this beer is still on the sweet side. Hops turn citric in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, fairly clean, and a tad sticky.

Drinkability: This is the winter brew I've been waiting for! Complex and spiced just enough.

soulgrowl, Dec 27, 2005
Photo of willgro
3.63/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is a great new generation brewery in the US and is in the mountains, near Chico, California. The brewery is known for beers full of character and complexity. This one is for winter and is aromatic and lively in flavor, with hints of oily dark chocolate and lots of lemony hop bitterness. I personally don't like a lot of hops, but this one is pretty good. Sierra Nevada is famous for India Pale ale, which to be honest, i'm not a huge fan of. But check this one out, it is a good christmas ale. Not quite St. Arnolds, but close.

willgro, Dec 26, 2005
Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 7,887 ratings.