Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

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Sierra Nevada Celebration AleSierra Nevada Celebration Ale

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9,021 Ratings

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Ratings: 9,021
Reviews: 3,285
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 11.81%
Wants: 275
Gots: 996 | 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: 9,021 | Reviews: 3,285 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of dpnelson1978
4.08/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle into a glass pint.

$8.99 / 6 pk.


S: Pine and grapefruit, and in quantity, but could use more. Not only does this beer showcase the hop character it does it with the aromas that I seek out in an IPA.

A: Deep amber body topped with a tight tan to orange head that hangs high, leaving amazing lacing, and a rocky cover.

T: Light caramel flavor, with just a hint of sweetness. A strong grapefruit flavor takes over as the hops comes into play and ends with a pine bitterness.

M: Light body with medium carbonation. Very dry and a bitterness that lingers on the tongue.

D: This beer is a wonderful example of American IPA, and drinks as such. Very sessionable.

O: Always look forward to this during the holidays. Spicy food, pizza, and pasta are a great match.

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

Poured my 24 oz 2009 Celebration Ale into my dimpled mug with a glorious caramel color with a brownish white finger and a half head. The beer is quite clear and has good light penetration.

I got a whiff of hops. This is my first celebration ale, and I definitely wasn't expecting hops, but I suppose it IS Sierra Nevada we're talking about here. As the beer warms I'm catching more and more the pleasant piny aroma of hops. Smells like the wilderness, like the mountains.

Upon bringing the mug to my mouth for my first sip I *think* I can detect some spices. Some "wintery" spices like allspice and cinnamon. On the first taste I pick up big piney notes, which I love.

Typical of a hoppy beer, the mouthfeel is quenching, with a drying sensation as you breath after your sip.

Drinkability on this beer is particularly good. While I'm not a hop head I could definitely see myself going through a few while sitting at my cabin after a long day.

In the end, this is the first time I've had the beer. And while I've enjoyed it thoroughly, I didn't quite get enough "holiday" out of this beer if you know what I mean. To me a winter beer means a dearth of hops and an abundance of roasty malts with some spices. Sierra Nevada takes that notion and turns it on its head. You know what? I don't mind that one bit.

Photo of drumrboy22
4.22/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz. bottle into a New Belgium globe. Beer was an orange color, with a thick, two-finger off-white head. Heavy lacing and moderate carbonation.

Aroma was heavy pine hops along with some citrus notes.

Taste was toffee and caramel up front, maybe a pinch of cinnamon and spice, followed by a very, long, hoppy bitter finish.

Delicious IPA. I look forward to this one every year. Excellent seasonal brew.

Photo of mpl2
4.08/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle poured into an over-sized snifter.

A: On the copper side of caramel with a full two finger head that stuck around. As the smooth head (not choppy or rocky in the least) dissipated, it left some serious lacing on the snifter walls.

S: Smells like a bowl of freshly peeled grapefruit next to a smaller bowl of pine needles. A much smaller bowl of pine needles- maybe one on the other side of the room. And in the kitchen someone is making Christmas cookies and maybe mulling cider with a orange slices, all spice, and Cinnamon. And you are just hanging out in the general vicinity of all the goodness. Yeah, sorta like that.

T: The taste nicely mirrors the smell- floral hoppy bitterness up front, but quickly disappears as this is a surprisingly dry ale. I think the one flavor that is missing from the complex scent was the caramel. Despite the hop's victory over the malt, the balance keeps this one in the moderate hop range.

M: I think the mouthfeel is really what makes this such a drinkable beer. Not oily at all and with minimal mouth coating- the taste lasts just long enough on the back of your tongue.

D: See mouthfeel. This is an easy ale to drink and pairs especially well with holiday-themed meals. I think its a fantastic way to introduce folks to good beer, just bring a sixer to your next holiday party. Its also the best beer available at my local 7-11, which means you can pick it up anywhere. It is damn near ubiquitous in the Northern Virginia, DC suburban grocery and convenient stores (despite this, I haven;t come across it on tap yet ... but to be honest, I haven't looked that hard).

Photo of cpetrone84
3.58/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

16 oz draught in pint glass at McGrath's in Harrisburg

A-a redish golden color, nice cloudy white head

S-faint aromas of spice, mostly cinnamon and maybe a hint of nutmeg balanced with some floral hops

T-light flavors of cinnamon, pale malt, some sweet caramel, and a light bitter hop finish that is also accompanied by a tinge of citrus

M-smooth texture, cooling on the back of the throat, medium body with a light carbonation

D-it goes down easy but the flavors are a little mild. I'd like to see more and expected as much from all of the previous reviews.

Photo of devilben02
4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A big, foamy tan head sits atop a cloudy orange-amber liquid. The aroma is filled with hops, with a piney, earthy, and slightly spicy character. The flavor also introduces a nice citrus bite, and a toffee malt sweetness brings a nice balance. The hop bitterness builds a bit as I drink, but this one is certainly not a big, bad hop bomb. It does have a great, complex flavor and is easier to drink than many IPAs. Overall, this drinks like an amplified version of the Pale Ale and is a welcome addition to the Sierra Nevada lineup every fall. I will gladly pick it up again.

Photo of Avagadro
4.93/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Light copper and crystal clear with a heavy head that lasts and lasts.

S: Grapefruit, orange, and pine needles dominate the pungent bouquet. This brew can be smelled from across the room.

T: Semi-dry with an incredible hop-profile. Piney and resinous hops mingle with a touch of malty sweetness to create a thirst quenching, savory ale.

M: Medium body with moderate carbonation.

D: There is a reason this brew gets the attention that it does. This is one of America's greatest IPAs. Although it is available nationwide, it is only offered for the holiday season. Get it while you can!

Photo of rpstevens
4.15/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass. The beer is a copper color with orange glowing edges. There is a fluffy, thick soap-white head that fades, leaving ample sticky lacing on the glass.

The smell is resinous pine, light notes of sticky citrus, orange peels mostly and a caramel undercurrent.

The taste is all bitter pine and earthy hops, lightly balanced by a citrus sweetness that ushers in a caramel sweetness to balance the flavors. The finish is a very bitter hop, almost like biting an orange with the peel on.

The beer is medium bodied, balanced enough to be very drinkable and hoppy enough to be intriguing. This is another triumph for the Sierra Nevada portfolio, I love their hoppy beers.

Photo of ProudBeerSnob
4.08/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

One of my annual faves. My local Wegman's has a limited selection and I hadn't been in the walk in in a while. Went in on a whim and found this gem in back.

Poured from the bottle into a pint glass, sporting that beautiful copper color with a nice airy head that provides excellecnt lacing throughout.

Piney aromas, but not much else. I seem to remember more from the nose in previous releases. Hops are definitely upfront, but just a little citrus, which is OK. Bitter hops in the finish too, providing a crispness that adds to its drinkability.

I don't know why I don't just buy multiple CASES of this beer every year. Another triumph for the crew in Chico!

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

I broke the rules a bit and poured this into a Duvel tulip glass. Glad I did...what a beautiful presentation. Pours a brilliant honey amber with a fluffy, frothy white head. It doesn't linger very long, eventually settling into a thin crown but it leaves a gorgeous plastering of lace all down the glass. I had a nice island of head floating in the middle of my glass, but that was due to the laser etching.

The nose is nice, but unremarkable. Pine was about all I could discern, maybe a bit of floral/herbal. Taste has a bit more complexity. The pine is there, but also a pleasant sweetness balancing out the mild to moderate bitterness. Aftertaste is slightly bitter.

The mouthfeel of this brew is nothing short of superb. Wonderful silky smoothness as it swirls around in the mouth. Perfectly carbonated (not something I say very often). Surprisingly full bodied...probably comes in at just a notch above "medium."

As for the drinkability...fantastic, simply fantastic. I burned through the first half of this glass before I'd barely blinked and had to make myself slow down.

I'm usually quite skeptical whenever a beer gets the hype that Celebration does, but I was not disappointed in the least. If anything, I think it may actually be underrated. Really enjoyed this brew. Quite a fortuitous coincidence that this rang in as my 100th review.

Photo of kegger22
3.78/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a deep amber with a respectable head that reduced to a skin. The aroma was typically citrus hops. The taste was also citrus hops with a bitter after taste. No significant malt taste was there. The feel was medium bodied with plenty of carbonation. Drinkability was good. Nothing particularly special about Celebration, at least in it's 2009 incarnation.

Photo of Blitzstyle
4.15/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. Aggessive pour fills the rest of the glass with frothy head. Nice sticky lace every where. Perfect amber color great apperance.

Mostly piney in scent some citrus. Hardly any malty notes.

Nice and piney right from the get go, some citrus to follow. Not overly bitter at all has a good malt balance to it. The finish has a warming feeling to it.

Medium body low carbination glad I bought a case of this stuff!

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

Had on-tap at the Great Lost Bear in Portland, Maine. It pours a pretty, clear red with a thin head of white bubbles. It has a very hoppy aroma, with lots of floral and pine scents. The main flavor is of hops. It tastes woodsy at first. The bitterness of the hops begins to take over, lingering after you swallow. There is a smokey, wooden taste that is hinted at behind the hops. Overall, it tastes dry and refreshing. I'm giving the beer a 4.5 for flavor right now, as I believe it will improve as it gets a bit warmer (this glass was served slightly colder than I usually drink and review beers). The dryness and crispness of the beer lends itself to a great mouthfeel. It doesn't coat too much, nor does it tickle your throat as you swallow. I think this is a supremely drinkable beer. I could go through a six pack and not get tired of it. I only knocked it down half a point because I like to have a bit of a malty beer every once in a while when drinking something as hoppy as this. Still, I'm quite impressed with this beer. It's going to be the go to beer for our annual Christmas party this year.

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

App: Light copper/amber color with a heavy frothy head with lots of lacing

Smell: Citrus, Piney, not overwhelming hoppy scent..some malty undertone

T/MF: piny citrusy hoppiness maltiness on the backend. This stuff is mildly to highly carbonated and thin to medium bodied.

Drink: Awesome. Could drink a lot of these and it is a fine offering from SN

EDIT: just got into my 1st of the 2011 batch and its all 2 the good. really enjoying this now..

Photo of DoctorDog
4.15/5  rDev 0%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 12 oz bottle into a Sam Adams Boston Lager Pint Glass.

A- Brilliantly clear and amber. Pours with 3+ fingers of creamy off white head, which fades slowly to a thin cap, leaving tons of lacing. Outstanding retention. Not sure how this could improve.

S- Citrus, herbal, piney hoppiness dominates, with only hints of sweet, malty notes.

T- Big hit of pine/herbal bitterness kicks things off, with hints of citrus/grapefruit. Fair amount of malt balance even things out nicely.

M- Moderate to slightly high carbonation give this a crispness. Medium full feel, with a bit of oily slickness.

D- Excellent. Nice flavor and feel, and quite an easy, enjoyable drinker.

Future outlook: Outstanding....I'm happy to have 5 more to deal with.

Photo of jacobseyb
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A=deep copper hue with ample off white head that lasts long and laces very nicely

S=grapefruit initially, with some malty backbone of roasted malts

T=hops and fruit balanced well with slight roasted character of the malts

M=crisp feel on the front with a minor oiliness on the finish

D=great, balanced beers are always very drinkable with this one having a sessionable ABV and great taste

Photo of Vonerichs
4.08/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Copper body with a huge off white head. I had to wait at least 5 minutes for it to die down enough for me to find liquid. It resulted in a sticky coat of lacing.

Good smell, but it was faint. Citrus and earthy hops with a toasty malt backbone.

The malt, which is both toasty and a sweet caramel, plays a major role in this beer. I would't go as far as saying it was a "balanced" ipa, but the malt definitely mellows out the hops. The hops are mostly citrus with a touch of pine. They are fresh.

I really dig the mouthfeel on this one. It's soft and oily, but still maintains a medium body to it. Carbonation is just right.

The alcohol is well masked by the fresh and sweet flavors of the hops and malt. This is one that you can sit down and easily have a few.

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

Fresh 2009 vintage poured from a 12 oz. shorty

A: Pours a slightly hazy copper color with a massive rock white head that leaves spotty lacing behind.

S: Smell is predominately hops with pine and grapefruit taking center stage, but there is also a decent sweet, toasted malt presence.

T: Taste is again quite piney, but with enough of a biscuit maltyness to balance it out quite nicely . Very balanced and very smooth.

M: The carbonation is just about right on for an IPA and the mouthfeel is medium, which I am enjoying greatly.

D: This beer is eminently drinkable, I think I could probably go through a whole 6'er in a sitting if I was really thirsty.

This is a great beer that I prefer fresh, but it's still great with a year or more on it.

Photo of Pedro07
4.47/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12 Oz. bottle poured into a pint glass.

A- Wonderful rusty, amber color with an amazing 1 inch rocky white head. Beer is rather clear with a little haze.

S- I get some fruity-ish citrus notes, but I get a TON of delicious earthy, grassy, piney goodness. It really is quite pleasing, I think aside from Bell's and Founder's IPA/DIPA offerings, this one is one of my close seconds!!

T- Very well balanced, mightly delicious. I just want more, the taste is fantastic. Hops roll across my tounge in grassy orange rhind and pine-cone beer-waterfalls. Mmmmm, next sip....:)

M- Quite smooth, and you can really tell there is a body to this one. It feels like it has substance and I like that!

D- Oh my, all the good ways.

This one has been a seasonal favorite of mine for a while, and if you have not had it, GET SOME.

Photo of melloashello
3.78/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I enjoy most of Sierra Nevada's beer and I enjoyed this beer but I must admit, and this may be just the two beers I had, but something just didn't taste right to me. More than likely, it was my specific beers, so I will give it another try sometime. As for now, I thought I would give it a quick review.
Poured a light hazy amber color with a beautiful IPA smell. Perfect amount of hops for my taste and it had a very slick feel in my mouth. I could taste some citrus in there too, which was great. But again, something in the taste, for the two beers I had, just seemed really strange and a tad displeasing. I still enjoyed the beer but the strange unidentifiable flavor kind of left me with a not-so-good aftertaste. Otherwise, I enjoyed the beer and I could probably drink these through the night, as long as they're not identical to the ones I had today. That being said, another pretty good job from Sierra.

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

From bottle no. 9272110-55. Sampled on November 20, 2009. Pours amber-copper in color. It is heady with a foamy beige tone. It settles down in a bit. The aroma is fruity, almost berry-like with a good dose of hops in there as well. The mouthfeel runs about medium-to-heavy. The taste is well-hopped with a strong berry hint in the background. It reminds me of an IPA with strawberries. A fairly unique recipe in my opinion and well carried off.

Photo of advill88
4.1/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a orange-amber color with a white one inch head.

The smell is dominated by that great typical IPA smell of piney hops and assorted fruitiness, with some hints of grapefruit.

Taste is a strong slam of hops, with some light fruity flavors and mellowed out by a touch of malt at the end.

Light to medium mouthfeel with a healthy amount of carbonation.

Overall, I'd say that this is an excellent antidote for that hop craving I sometimes get after drinking too many malty winter seasonals. Couldn't drink too many of these in a row because the strong hop profile would overwhelm my palate, but the great taste demands that I go back the the fridge for at least one more.

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

12oz bottle poured into a Three Floyds nonic.

This beer pours a slighty hazy light amber color and has a nice fluffy two fingers of white head. The foam fades to a thin layer and collar and leaves lot's of spotty lacing.

The nose is a wonderful balance of sweet doughy malts, floral and citrus hops. Grapefruit, orange, warm toast, a tiny bit of alcohol to round it out.

The first sip gives me those doughy malts up front. The bitter citrus comes next and keeps the sweet malt notes in check. This beer is extremely balanced even through the finish. The alcohol is a little warming, but hard to pick up on.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a medium to low level of carbonation.

Celebration is one of the only beers I'll actually buy cases of. There's a certin joy that fills me when I see those first white and red bottles of the season.

Photo of Lothar666
4.13/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 24 fl oz bottle into my Rapscallion Snifter.

A- Poured a ruby red amber orange with a creamy off-white head that receeded slowly, leaving a thick lacing on the sides of the glass.

S- Faint hops and floral accents backed with notes of citrus- grapefruit perhaps, but with something spicy sweet in the background.

T- Very strong hop bitterness and an intense flavor of grapefruit in the finish, lending an uncommon tartness to the overall flavor. The tartness plays on the tongue long after the initial swallow. Impressive.

M- The hop bitterness in this brew is impressive, tingling the roof of the mouth and the inside of the cheeks.

D- Goes down surprisingly easy for a brew this bitter.

Photo of claykeller
4.88/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Serving Type: Bottle poured into the Sam Adams glass.

Appearance: Amber with light head on top. Nice lacing the whole way down the glass.

Smell: Smell is piney with some malt. Smells more like a double ipa.

Taste: Nice hoppiness with malt to balance it out. Just about perfect balance in my opinion.

Mouthfeel: Very silky, not slick. Leaves almost no bitterness on the tongue.

Drinkability: Due to the great balance and mouthfeel this is a very drinkable beer.

Notes: This is my favorite winter beer. Consistently good with a reasonable price compared to some other beers similar in quality.

Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 9,021 ratings.