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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.

9,298 Ratings

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Ratings: 9,298
Reviews: 3,344
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 11.57%
Wants: 292
Gots: 1,222 | 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: 9,298 | Reviews: 3,344
Photo of TMoney2591
4.15/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a Devil's Backbone willibecher.

It pours a clear straight amber topped by a firm finger of cream foam. The nose comprises a nice level of citrus hops alongside a pleasant bit o' sweet caramel. The taste generally follows, but the hops, which add a bit o' pine to their repertoire here, seem to dominate the caramel, which is no longer as sweet as it once appeared. The new piney-ness lingers on through the aftertaste. The body is pretty light, with a moderate carbonation and a very easygoing feel. A very solid IPA, a credit to its style.

Photo of ADZA
4.28/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

After looking at this label its hard to recognise that is an AIPA it gives you more of an impression of a winter warmer but anyways glad i found out it was the first,it pours a nice light cloudy bronze hue with beautiful carbonation that leaves behind a very frothy two finger caramel laced head and sporadic sticky lacing all over the place this looks spot on for an AIPA quite impressive looking,the smell is a nice mix with aromas of citrus mainly orange and lemon and some sweet toffee malts and is quite subtle compared to other highly hoppped AIPA's but it definately gets it's point across,it has a nice mouthfeel which is just under medium bodied and nicely carbonated and very sessionable with tastes of stonefruits,some light toffee malts and finishes with a nice passionfruit tinged bitterness which stays in your mouth and for me since im a big fan of this style i reckon they got it pretty spot on and if this brew was available to me all year round abit fresher and abit cheaper it would definately have a permanent spot in my fridge.

Photo of nrbw23
4.1/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a hazy copper color with a huge frothy white head that has great retention. Head leaves some very nice lacing.

S- A big citrus hop smell. A good sweet malt backbone here too.

T- Huge blast of citrus hops, fresh grapeftuit and oranges, with hints of lemon. Again nice malty backbone. Very good balacne here.

M- Fuller side of medium and carbonation is right on.

D- A very solid brew and easy to drink.

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

a: nice fluffy white head with good retention that leaves light lace on the side of the glass; the body is a nice amber/red color

s: a nice blend of bitter hop scent w/ fruity/citrusy hops and maybe the lightest hint of spice

t: great balance of both the fruity and bitter side of the hop flavors with an especially good bitter hop kick toward the end of the sip; definitely not a lot of spice presence for a winter seasonal

m: medium carbonation with nice crispness for a pretty creamy bodied beer

d: i really think that this is a good well balanced beer that really showcases the variety of hop flavors but for a beer with holly and a snow-covered cabin on the label i expect a little more festive winter spice than this beer gives you


alright! my first taste of a beer from my newly created cellar. a 6 month 2007 vintage

a: still has it; nice head sits on a definitely darker perhaps murkier than i remember it body with w/ a decent 1/4 inch of off-white and some lacing going on; lacing and head are maybe a little less dominant than they were earlier but the body color is definitely nicer;

s: nose still finds sharper citrus hops as the predominant scent but there are definitely more of the caramel malts here than were present before; there is still some spiciness as well as some darker malty toffee/chocolate undertones

t: caramel malts first followed by the slow rise of sharp bitter citrus hops; some light dust; i think hops have maybe subsided a bit fromn the last tasting but are still main flavor; light buttery toffee;

m: definitely less carbonation this time around; smooth and creamier

d: i've heard horror stories about the hops fading fast from beers in the cellar but this one's hops are still going strong and there is a more complex darker malt side that i find highly enjoyable; was and still is a great brew
so. same beer again, this time it is end of oct 2009. let's see what's happened.

a: very loosely bubbles off-white head foams up after the pour but fades very quickly leaving light wisps of foam on top of the murky red/rust body; there is still some very light lazy movement of tiny bubbles in the body. head fades a little faster and is a little bit murkier but still looks overall the same as the 6 month tasting.

s: slightly syrupy grapefruit of he hops is still the predominant flavor; thick malty undertone with some light toffee; some warm spiced cider as well

t: very mellow compared to its original incarnation; light toasted grainy malts; although the hop is present still in the scent, there is almost none left on the tongue except for just a light tart hint at the finish; mostly just mellow biscuit grains with a light bitterness at the end; basically became a good english IPA

m: very mellow; very light car; pretty soon there will be non left at all

d: i upped this a notch for drinkability since i think that it is very mellow and drinkable like a good english bitter; it has aged well but i think it is starting to lose flavor next year it may be a shadow of its former self.
ok, same beer - now almost 3 years later...let's see what's up

a: beautiful deep amber/red with dark purple highlights; 1/4 inch of fluffy white foam has decent retention but ultimately fades to leave a thick frothy white ring, some lace clinging to the side of the glass and a thin even coating of light foam on top; the color has darkened and the beer has become really rich and beautiful

s: warm malts with a spicy piney hop back; light toffee; some floral and citrus hop notes on the back of the nose; this strangely seems more pungent in terms of hop scents than i remember last time; a little bit of dust

t: buttery smooth caramel and toffee malts are the first to hit the tongue; then that spicy and slightly bitter hop follows; some more grassy notes in the bitterness; mild and smooth with some nice spice still left over from the hops; smooth smooth

m: very buttery and smooth; very mild with silky medium mouthfeel

d: i really enjoyed this beer this time around, very mellow sort of like a fullers vintage ale meets sierra nevada

Photo of chaswisler
3.33/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Beautiful orange / copper color. Evenly distributed, carbonation raising at just the right pace.

S - Spices and lots of bittering hops. It's bark is worse then it's bite.

T - From the smell I expected a bigger taste. But the spices hit you right up front. The bitter spikes immediately then subsides with a little bit of malt.

M - Nice middle of the road, not to light or to heavy.

D - I could probably do 2 maybe 3, but then I think I would get bored with it.

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.72/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2009 edition.

A - Pours a hazy light orange color with a 1 inch white head that fades to a small cap. There is slight ring lacing going on.

S - Smells of citrus and pine hops with a sweet fruit undertone.

T - Tastes of bitter citrus zest/pine hops up front with a slight malt aftertaste. There is a lingering bitterness on the tongue from the hops.

M - Good carbonation makes for a smooth drinking experience.

D - This is a pretty good beer that I will buy again to try each year it comes out. I got this bottle from a Winter sampler pack on clearance and I am glad I got to try the 2009 brew.

Photo of itfitz
5/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Celebration Ale has caramel, cereal, hints of herbs and spices; the overwhelming prevalence of hops brings about a citrusy, floral note. Honestly, the holidays wouldn't be the same without Celebration Ale, and I buy as much as I can stock in my home each year.

This is without question one of my Top 5 beers. Incredible from the first taste until the last sip rolls out of the bottle.

Photo of djhowell
4.18/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 24 oz bottle into a pint glass, and apparently a little too aggressively as I got a ton of very fluffy cream-colored head that just wants to stick around. Quite a bit of lacing as well. The body is a deep amber and is pretty hazy.

This a very aromatic beer when it is first poured. It smells sweet, almost flowery, and has a good dose of citrus as well.

A lot more pine flavor than I expected after the floral nose from the pour, balanced by some sweet caramel malts.

On the heavy side of medium bodied, definitely heavier than other IPAs that I've had recently. It finishes nicely bitter and dry and leaves me wanting another sip.

Crisp and refreshing. I've seen this available in the winter for years at the local grocery store and never gave it a second look but I'll be sure to keep an eye out for it again later this year.

Photo of dgilks
4.2/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Big, piney, resinous nose. Moderate grapefruit. A decent background malt character but this is about the hops.

Good, clear, orange-amber colour with a big, fluffy, off-white head. Good head retention.

Good, well balanced hop flavours. More pine and moderate cirtus. Big, gripping bitterness. Smooth, lightly caramelised malt.

Medium-light body with moderately-high carbonation. Good.

A tasty IPA with big hop flavours and good malt balance. I like it.

Photo of dwilson01
4.4/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

poured from a 12oz into my arrogant bastard pint glass, pours a golden brown light maple syrup color with a beautiful off white tan head of small bubbles which makes for a thick cream puff on top. Head sticks around for a while and leaves solid lacing.

The smell is fresh floral hops, grapefruit and spices mostly, fresh growth of spring flowers. Smells like a very well balanced ipa between the bitter and floral hopping as well as the sweet malt body with the other flavors.

The tasting is so mellow and gratifying, the malt making up this beers body and sweeter character mutes the flavors and lets them all intertwine with each other to make an overall taste that hints at many different things but does not overtly try to overwhelm you with any one characteristic. Some citrusy grapefruit hopping, holiday spices, bit of cloverblossom honey.

What amazes me is how full bodied this beer is without being too sweet, the malt masks some of the flavors from emphasis on any one of them while at the same time taking a backside role itself, something that I have never seen before in a brew with such a thick creamy delicious mouthfeel. Makes it drinkable as hell, super enjoyable and I pretty much want to such it down. There are two words I have to describe this beer, "liquid gold," I am a huge fan of Sierra Nevada and I love this beer.

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!

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Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 9,298 ratings.