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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.

7,916 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7,916
Reviews: 3,159
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 11.54%
Wants: 221
Gots: 492 | 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: 7,916 | Reviews: 3,159 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of mdagnew
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

330ml bottle bought from Sainsbury's... 2005 edition...

Poured a dark rusty orange / copper colour... Slightly off white head poured medium size and faded to thin layer...

Aroma - Light toasted caramel maltiness, spicy / peppery hops, fruity - over ripe bananas ? Woody hints, slight nuttiness...

Taste – Strong spicy hop bitterness, strong woody notes - pine ? Toasted brown sugar, light sweet maltiness under the hops, fruity - definite grapefruit notes, raisins, figs, floral notes...

Feel - Quite sharp and dry. Medium body. Very drinkable...

Overall - An excellent beer. My first ever SN Celebration and i wasn't disappointed !! Highly recommended !!

mdagnew, Feb 20, 2006
Photo of Jredner
3.5/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Nice hop aroma. Pours very nice with a frothy white head on a copper body. Citrus notes follow a mild malt profile and big hops are present through out. A less in your face IPA which is more to my personal style. Still was kinda sad there was no cinnamon or fruitcake flavors cause when I see snow on a bottle I think spiced ale :-(

Jredner, Feb 18, 2006
Photo of dreadnatty08
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark amber with soapy, bubbly head about 1/2" which receeds to a slight covering. Slightly sweet, piney, fruity (citrus) in the nose. Flavor is dominated by those signature SN hops. Light body with a little alcohol bite in the finish. Not sure what makes an IPA a winter seasonal, but this is a pleasure to drink to remind myself what makes this style so great among the standard winter fare.

dreadnatty08, Feb 16, 2006
Photo of KyleVick4
2.55/5  rDev -38.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1

A: Very bubbly, copper amberish color. Nice head that consists of big bubbles. Head dissipates pretty quickly. Leaves a nice lacing on the glass.

S: Hoppy. Can not distinguish any subtle smells bc the hop aroma is to big. Not a very strong smelling beer, but I could only pinpoint one smell.

T: Spicy, and dry with a kick of mild hops coming in the end. The combination of carbonation and hops makes for a spicy first hit followed by a hoppy aftertaste. Very little malt taste, kinda weakly IPAish.

M: Medium - Light with a fair amount of carbonation.

D: Overkill on spicyness and carbonation makes this beer tough for me to finish. It would for sure be a one beer drink for me, Id drink it again bc it tastes good but it gets old quickly.

KyleVick4, Feb 16, 2006
Photo of kingjames1
4.4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wow. This is beautiful. Pours a deep orange-amber (the color of honey) with a solid, thick off-white head. Smells of bitter grapefruit rine, pine needles, and spice. MMM. The taste is wonderfully complex, and the thick and sweet malts present stronger as the drink warms. A wonderful beer that simply gets better with each sip. Great to sip slowly and really appreciate, or refreshing to drink relatively quickly as one would a standard IPA such as Harpoon. This may be my favorite IPA, and one of my favorite seasonal offerings. Fantastic. I'm buying up as many as I can before they leave us until next year.

kingjames1, Feb 14, 2006
Photo of RJLarse
4.08/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I picked up a couple of these at a local craft beer store to review. It’s getting a little late for the seasonal ales, so it might have been marked down. I poured this beer into a pint tumbler.

Pours a shiny copper color and is slightly cloudy but translucent. The pour generates three fingers plus of foamy off-white head with a bit of a yellow tinge. The head is extremely resilient. In fact there is foam in the bottom of the glass after the last swallow.

The smell is pungent and acerbic. The beer has a citrus smell and a sharp distinct aroma of hops.

The taste is also sour and citrusy, like grape fruit. This is a very hoppy tasting beer. The aftertaste lingers briefly and is also mildly sour.

Mouth feel is light, crisp and mildly carbonated. The beer is refreshing and festive in the mouth.

This is a very drinkable beer, with a distinct and festive character. It’s not a typical winter beer, but it’s light and lively and would certainly spice up a holiday party. Celebration Ale would be good year ‘round.

RJLarse, Feb 12, 2006
Photo of SwillBilly
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2005 Celebration Ale, poured from 12 oz bottle:

Appearance: Pours a light copper hue, with a 2"-3" creamy, white head. Carbonation bubbles stream to the top of the glass. Plenty of spider web like lacing lines the glass.

Smell: Herbal and grassy with hints of piney hops and sweet caramel.

Taste: Initially a piney, herbal hop bitterness dominates the beginning. The middle transistions nicely to a faintly caramel like sweetness. The finish leaves a nice, dry bitterness on the palate.

Mouthfeel: Pleny of carbonation makes for a lively mouthfeel. Somewhat slick and oily.

Drinkability: SNCA is what I consider a quintessential American IPA. A beer that I look forward to every year. That being said, its very well balanced, plenty of hoppy bitterness as well as a mildly caramel like sweetness in the middle. A beer that I could drink all day. Highly sessionable even with the 6.8% abv, which is very well hidden. Can't wait for next years edition.

SwillBilly, Feb 11, 2006
Photo of evh883
4.13/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The best American IPA I have ever had! In the glass, the beer has a nice medium amber glow to it with a white head that laces fairly well upon drinking. Very hoppy aroma that is expected with the style. The taste is backed up with more hoppiness and a harsh bitterness which gives it a sharp finish on the tongue. Great beer, would definetely look forward to next year's.

evh883, Feb 11, 2006
Photo of yelterdow
3.98/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2005 Edition, served in a pint glass at fridge temperature. This is such a classic brew, I couldn't waste another day without lending my two cents.

Appearance- Glows a bright, beautiful orange in the glass, supporting a creamy bone white head that laps at the rim after a good, solid pour. Lacing happens in sheets, not islands or craggy masses like some other IPAs. Terrific structure, it never loses its rugged character.

Smell- Sweet, piney grapefruit hop presence right out of the bottle, which intensifies and grows over the course of my tasting. A firm malty note lingers within, giving some weight to the nose.

Taste- A blast of lemon and grapefruit envelop the mouth, giving way to a short but certain malt appearance... then the relentless hops take over and clusterbomb the back and sides of the tongue. The bitterness left behind is staggering, yet I can't wait for the next attack.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- The most important need for improvement IMHO is the mouthfeel... it is rough, and the carbonation slightly hurts the drinkability. I'm loving the burps right now, no problems there... I feel terrible that my sweet, loving wife has to deal with my bedtime etiquette tonight. All in all, an unmistakeable IPA that will continue to have a home in my beer cellar 'til the Hop Gods come for the keys.

yelterdow, Feb 10, 2006
Photo of PBRstreetgang
4.4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2005 release. Pours a hazy shade of copper,with a massive three finger head crowning over very active tiny carbonation. Very dense foam shows excellent retention and leaves rings of sticky lace. Hoppy nose, pine and citrus and a slight herbal/earthy aroma. Toasted amber malt first, then raw american hops take over the flavor leaving a coarse yet satisfying aftertaste. Herbal and bitter, it balances well with the sweet amber malt flavor. The medium body and high carbonation smooth out the onslaught of hop oils and the mouthfeel turns out rich instead of harsh with a surprisingly mild finish. An outstanding IPA.

PBRstreetgang, Feb 09, 2006
Photo of wingnutter
4.26/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5


I first had this 2 months ago, and after probably 3 cases, I think I need to revisit this wonderful beer.

I drink so much of this, I usually drink it from the bottle - its just as good as in a glass. I may even like it a bit better. I have 2 cases sitting in my closet so I can enjoy this stuff all year. This 4th of July is gonna be a great time for a Celebration.

This is THE quintessential piney IPA. Excellent aggressive, piney hops with enough sweetness to balance it perfectly. Very green tasting, which is a good thing in my book. The amount of carbonation matches well with the taste - the meduim mouthfeel never feels too light or gets too heavy. Feels like pine resin on my tongue and has an oily base. Brilliant. I never get sick of this beer. It still stings my tastebuds every time I take a sip.

The flavor has highlights that come and go as you drink it- piney, floral, citrusy, grassy...theyre all covered. The subtle malt backbone provides stability to the in-your-face hoppiness, and the hops used in this beer is one of the most refreshing yet bold I have come across. Ive tried quite a few IPAs in the last 11 months (including such heavyweights as Stone, Racer 5, Avery, Dogfish Head, Titan, HopDevil, Hop Ottin, etc), and this one stands up to every one of them and ranks in my top 5.

Rediculous drinkability. I would love to try this straight from the source on tap.

If youre looking for a standard to compare other IPAs against this one is as solid as they come.

Bravo, Sierra Nevada. You nailed it in 05. I hope next years offering is as good as this one. A near perfect beer.

wingnutter, Feb 05, 2006
Photo of plaztikjezuz
4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours a deep copper color with a dense off white head that fell in to a nice sheet.
the aroma is malty with a nice blanket of hops, little citrus, hint of pepper.
the flavor is spicy, hoppy, carmelized malt, citrus, resinous, lingering spicyness.
the mouthfeel is wounderful it explodes with flavor and has a good carbonation.
defently a beer for the colder seasons.

plaztikjezuz, Feb 04, 2006
Photo of Vancer
2.88/5  rDev -30.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Looks like this one is quite popular across the board – but didn’t do anything for me. Pour was very nice, a clear amber with fluffy ivory head – plenty of sticky laces all the way down the glass.

Strong floral hints did not bode well for the quaff, and yep, very hoppy brew, almost like an APA. No winter spices or enough malts to balance it out – but since this is an AIPA, suppose it meets the style.

Crisp and oily on the tongue, it will warm you up with the 6.8%

Vancer, Feb 01, 2006
Photo of Phyl21ca
3.85/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a clear amber color beer with a nice foamy slightly off-white head with excellent retention. Aroma of citrusy hops is quiet evident as well as an evident caramel malt presence. Taste is a well balance mix between semi-sweet malt and citrusy and bitter hops. Body is fuller the average with a good level of carbonation. Overall, this is well balance IPA that I would love to have access to all year around.

Phyl21ca, Jan 30, 2006
Photo of JayQue
4.85/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I was very surprised to find this on tap at the Marriott Newport RI hotel bar. I had asked if they had SNPA and they didn't. (What a great substitute!!) The bartender was a proud hop-head and is a lot more knowledgeable about beer than I am. A great chat as well as a surprise encounter with a familiar, top-notch beer. I didn't notice much difference between the draft and bottled versions. Bars are dark so my 56 year-old eyes didn't get to enjoy the apprearance as much as I do at home. The aroma, taste and mouthfeel are exactly the same as I encountered in my review of the bottled version. While I gave them the same numeric grades, I might hedge the comment I made about this being an outstanding session beer. A few of these and the "session" would definitely be effected!!!

JayQue, Jan 28, 2006
Photo of jlh8643
4.03/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in an imperial pint glass at 3F's BP. A large off white, thick head sits atop a bright amber body. Floral and grapefruit hops with some "cat piss" Columbus hops greet the nose along with some carmel malt. The body is medium with the citrus hops leading the malt. The finish is full and satisfying. A great beer to drink and not too much alcohol to have more than a couple in a single sitting.

jlh8643, Jan 28, 2006
Photo of tastybeer
4.21/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Giant head and giant lacing. Amber red and fairly clear. Tantalizingly inviting. Smells of grapefruit, faint pear and apricot hops over sweet malt background. Taste is all out grapefruit hops with mouth watering dry bitterness. Nice carbonation, bitterness, and good mouth. Always a drinkable beer for me.

A hop celebration.

tastybeer, Jan 26, 2006
Photo of heyitsbyron
4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a single from Woodman's in Madison ($1.25--hell yeah!) into a tulip glass.

Celebration Ale is without a doubt the prettiest beer I've ever poured. The color of the stream is a wonderful blonde and in the glass it's a glowy, rusty but clear Triaminic syrup orange. The bubbles play around in the glass before forming a pillowy pale orangish head. It does lace well if that concerns you. Absolutely magnificent.

Smelled floral and like grapefruits as well. Pretty standard for an IPA, but well balanced and how it "should" smell.

Taste followed smell for the most part. It is piney, floral and citrusy. I also thought I tasted peppermint, but that's probably just a mental projection of mine. No malts to speak of, though it did have a slighty foody aftertaste, which, like Great Lakes Christmas Ale, is a good for a winter seasonal. To be honest, I was expecting more of a winter warmer style, but this was very well done for an IPA.

The most notable feature of the mouthfeel is the carbonation--very smooth entering the mouth. Not too heavy, and perhaps it should have been for a winter seasonal.

It's a great IPA, I'll grant them that. And it's a fun beer to have around the end of the year, but for a "celebration" I feel it's a bit too much of an IPA to be enjoyed in quantity with the family around the fire at the holidays. I'd be more than willing to buy it again, but just not necessarily for its intended consumption setting.

heyitsbyron, Jan 24, 2006
Photo of scooter231
4.28/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Rusty orangey color that's clear and pretty. Smell will wake you up in the mornin- hoppy and strong, nose-tickling. Earthy. Bitterish. Taste is awfully tasty. Bursting with hops. Overflowing, even. Tasty hops with a citrusy kick. The maltyness isn't soooo well-balanced with the hops, but it works. Mouthfeel is sudsy and smooth, fluffy and creamy. Nice and bubbly. Very drinkable. A tasty concoction indeed.

scooter231, Jan 23, 2006
Photo of RenoZymurgist
3.78/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a lively deep amber with gold highlights and an offwhite head that stuck around quite nicely leaving some lace. The aroma is full of grapefruit and spicey hops with only a touch of malt sweetness. The flavor is very hoppy and it is just like the aroma with lots of grapefruit and spicy hops, the bitterness lingers along with the flavor well into the finish and the malt is hard to identify. The mouthfeel is good as the CO2 isn't too high which would make is seem too bitter and the viscosity of the beer give the impression that the beer is very full bodied. Very drinkable even the 6.8% can't stop me from having a few pints of this.

RenoZymurgist, Jan 22, 2006
Photo of Ricochet
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Wow. I wasn't ready for this one, but was very impressed with it. Hops , Hops, Hops, and done very well.

It was a perfect shade of amber/orange with a nice head, looking like a perfect pale ale. Smell was complex, it was very sweet, a little juicy fruit, and intently appetizing.

Mouth was all ale. Thick, bitter, with a good finish and the taste , orange rhind bitter, flowery hops presence, that took up most of the flavor and there was barely any alcohol taste despite the high APV. Wow. This was excellent.

So, this would make another SN Beer that makes a high grade, and makes a great Pale Ale with a kick, as opposed to other IPAs, this one really defines what an great IPA should be.

Ricochet, Jan 22, 2006
Photo of Oxymoron
2.93/5  rDev -29.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

If I lived in California and saw snow I don't think I would celebrate. Celebration pours a very clear (anti-hazy), light amber brown shade. Decent foam that hides to the edge of the glass and good lacing.

The smell is not overwhelming but still noticeable. Good hop notice that is mostly piney with some earthy smells kicked in. Overall it's light for an IPA. The malt is worth mentioning as it has a really grainy smell to it.

The taste is more noticeable then the nose. The bittering hops are first to really take notice. A good bite that isn't overbearing. A good bitterness the isn't too oily but pushes the limit and. Although it seems to dominate the rest of the beer. The malt is rather basic and doesn't really support the rest of the beer. The flavoring hops play second as well. Tastes more of a ESB then IPA.

The body is light but the beer is easy enough to drink. Other then the bitterness there is nothing wrong. Overall I wasn't too impressed.

Oxymoron, Jan 22, 2006
Photo of bennetj17
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2005 Version
Very clear, copper color. Nice short head with excellent retention. There is loads of visible carbonation streaming upwards in the glass. Overall the visuals are very enticing. Smell is strong and hoppy with minor citrus notes. Taste is very strong and bitter. Fresh cascade hops are strong and the flavor is quite bitter all the way through. Hard to detect much sweetness from the malt. Very crisp and smooth with a medium body. Again, well carbonated. Alcohol is well-hidden. Very drinkable, but be ready for some bitter hops.

2007 Version (reviewed 1-21-08)

Deep gold color with excellent clarity. Massive pillowy head almost an inch thick, with perfect streams of carbonation rising from below helping to sustain it. Fresh piney hop aroma with a wildflower and citrus bouquet. The malt is only hinted at with some caramel notes which are more tangy than sweet.

Straightforward bitter hop flavor with some toasty malt balance carries on right through to the finish. It never gets too sweet but the bitterness lingers on nicely. The characteristic SN Cascade hops are bright and clean, and this beer is not as citrusy/resiny as you would expect for an American IPA. Medium body with a great deal of foamy carbonation that keeps it from feeling too watery, not bad.

Overall a great beer from Sierra Nevada. A little bit more in the way of flavor than the Harvest Ale, although overall not quite as drinkable. Excellent, hoppy, beer...

bennetj17, Jan 20, 2006
Photo of Drew966
3.58/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a nice copper color with a fluffy head. Strong hop smell and taste. I couldn't drink too much of this, bit hoppier than I would want for a session beer, but it is a tasty brew, especially for those liking a nice hoppy taste. Definitely worth a try.

Drew966, Jan 20, 2006
Photo of ericj551
3.9/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: deep orange with a one finger head.

Smell: Strong piney hops with a slight graininess.

Taste: Nice strong bitterness, with lots of grapefruit and piney flavor to back it up. The hops are almost spicy. Malts are secondary, and barely manage to poke their way through.

Mouthfeel: For the strength and hopiness of this beer, the mouthfeel is still fairly light.

I look forward to this beer every year. I always hear that it was "much better last year," but this is only my second year tasting this beer.

ericj551, Jan 19, 2006
Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 7,916 ratings.