1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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.
BA SCORE
93
outstanding

8,990 Ratings
THE BROS
97
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 8,990
Reviews: 3,278
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 11.78%
Wants: 276
Gots: 973 | FT: 3
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
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 8,990 | Reviews: 3,278 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BarrelO
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a snifter. 2009 vintage.

Ruby red body with a big white head. Smell is completely dominated by citrusy hops. The taste is another matter altogether. This is surprisingly malt-forward for an IPA, with the hops just kind of lingering in the background. It's very good overall, but it doesn't really feel like an IPA to me. I think of it as more of a mini-barleywine or hoppier than usual old ale. That's OK, though, since when I think of the holidays, "hop bomb" isn't really the first thing that comes to mind.

Photo of beerwolf77
3.6/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Well the label looks like christmas so I will say this is my first christmas beer.

Poured into my chimay goblet the beer is dark orange brown. The off withe head is a least an inch high and fully envlopes the entire top of my glass. Lots of sticky lace clings around the rim after a brief rest.

The aroma is very hoppy. Plenty of grapefruit and pine sap. Some maltiness is there as well.

The flavor is subdued hops with loads of malt. Some grapefruit but not overloaded. The bready wheat cracker malt takes the reigns and drives this beer.

Medium body light carbonation. Nothing real noteworthy in the feel.

Overall a decent beer. I'm not sure what sets this apart from every other AIPA. Drinkable.

Photo of ImusBeer
3.55/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I've had a few of these for quite some time in the beer fridge. There was a bit of sediment on the bottom which got into the glass since I wasn't really looking for it.

It poured a copper-gold color with an off white head, about two fingers that stayed for quite some time and died to a small quarter inch that stuck around. There was a bunch of lace that accumulated on the glass as I drank.

My daughter even voiced that the pine sap aroma was quite strong. Also sensed some citrus in there as well.

The taste was dominated by bitter pine and all the hops you would expect. The mouth was bitter with a very dry aftertaste, what you would expect from a nice IPA and why it is one of my favorite styles.

It's a little too much bitterness for a session beer but a really nice and enjoyable brew.

Photo of IPALOVER
4.88/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

It's my favorite time of year again-- Sierra Nevada Celebation Ale is here! The 2009 version poured as beautifully as ever into a pint glass. The bottle had a bit of sediment at the bottom, so I poured carefully and stopped with about 1/4" remaining.

The first sip was as crisp and hoppy as I remembered from last year, and the year before that, and...well, you get the idea. It's the reason I only drink this beer from now until I can't get it anymore in February! The hops are floral but are balanced by an earthier or maltier quality. As the beer sits and warms it only gets smoother and tastier.

This is the perfect, hoppy beer for drinking one after another on a cold night. It can't get much better than this beer in my book, but I am an IPA lover!

Photo of BlackHaddock
3/5  rDev -27.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Brown 2008 bottle, with 350ml of beer for 69 pence from a cut-price store in Wellington, Shropshire, couldn't believe my eyes when I saw them lined up on the shelf.

I poured it into a 'Hoegaarden Grand Cru' stemmed tulip glass, why not let it live a little before I drank it?

I allowed the whole bottle to enter the glass, so it looked a dull dark orange colour and was obviuosly cloudy. The head was a frothy off-white pile and the beer looked cool in its unfamilier glass.

Hops, hops and hops hit my nose, some yeast smells tried to get out too.

In the taste the hops took over again, wave after wave of them, nothing else could force its way through, a dry bitterness from the said hops appeared to be unchecked, but a slight fruity flavour (apples, pears and berries) did turn up in the aftertaste.

Plenty of body, not rich or creamy, just body.

Pleasant, but just a bit too hoppy for my palate.

Photo of kurp001
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle bought at Beltway Fine Wine

Pours a bright amber with about one finger of off-white rocky head that gradually dies down, leaving a fair amount of lacing.

A grassy, piney hop aroma is the predominant thing that comes through on the smell. A faint barley character is detectable somewhere in the background.

Taste features a well-rounded hop punch upfront that offers a sustained bitterness throughout, although some vague biscuit malt hints start to make their presence known midway. The finish is again dominated by the hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel is medium-bodied, with a perfect amount of carbonation for the style--not too aggressive, but enough to keep things interesting.

Celebration Ale is very drinkable, in my opinion; the hops are not overpowering, nor is the supporting malt backbone. This is my first Celebration Ale of the season, and I feel that I've been reminded once again of one of the many reasons I love winter.

Photo of Mistofminn
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The last time this brew came around, I wasn't into IPA's enough to bother trying it. I have come a long way since then (a very long way...) and I'm glad to say I finally got the chance to try this.

Poured into my Town Hall tasting glass. Surprisingly light golden amber. Clear to the naked eye, but when held into the light, you can see suspended sediment and tiny floaties all over. Nice smooth and creamy light tan head with good retention. Leaves nice lacing all down the glass.

The nose is nice and hoppy, so glad I can try this fresh. The hops are a subtle battle between floral and fruity hops against piney and earthy hops. In the end, I think the floral hops slightly out-duel the earthy hops in the nose.

The taste kinda goes the other way, in that the earthy piney hops win out over the floral hops. There is a light sweet malt backbone in between all the hops. This is some tasty stuff, can't imagine I would have enjoyed it a year ago, but at this point I'm realizing I was missing out.

Mouthfeel is a little lighter than I would have hoped, but it has a nice appropriate carbonation level. Easy going down with a light lingering bitter aftertaste. Drinkability is great, this is the ultimate session brew, and a great IPA for the holidays.

I'm glad I went for the whole 12 pack, rather than just a sixer. But then again...I have a feeling this 12 pack isn't going to last long...

Photo of WCBCFrank
4.58/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Every holiday season there is at least a 12 pack of these wonderfully hopped beers in my fridge...pours a crisp bright amber with a great fluffy head; awesome amount of hops (dry hopped with Cascade and Centennial) and great crisp tasting, it makes you want another sip almost immediately....a masterpiece of brewing.

Photo of Schmaltzy
3.95/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured 2009 vintage 24oz bomber into Pinot wine glass.
A-Poured a nice amber color with ample amounts of head that stuck nicely to the sides of the glass.
S-Not as good as I had hoped but opened up as it warmed up. Hops, sweet caramel malt.
T-Nice IPA fruit/pine taste on the front with a nice malty backbone to this one, little taste of yeast on the backend.
M-Great mouthfeel with good amounts of carbonation that has a medium body.
D-Very nice easily finished my 24oz and was looking for more.

Photo of charlieos
3.68/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I was really excited to try this, expecting it to be much heftier and spiced. Frankly, it tastes like SN Pale Ale with a bit of pumpkin spice at the end. Maybe I've been spoiled by darker, sweeter, heftier beers, but I was really disappointed here.

Its a tasty session beer for not too much money. Its vaguely spicy, and is (as SN Pale Ale is) a well balanced IPA.

It is not going to change your life or make you think.

Photo of ditch
4.2/5  rDev +1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a beautiful cloudy red copper with a thick, two finger foamy, chunky head that fades slowly to a thin coating across the whole goblet. Lacing sticks all the way down.

Smell... ahhh... tart grapefruit and a sweet sweet background. This is the aroma of a perfect IPA.

Taste mimics the smell for the most part. The sweetness hits first followed quickly by the grapefruit and then a slight spice with a piny tang that hangs around minutes after the last sip. Delicious!

Mouthfeel is great. Perfect carbonation to meld the flavors together in your mouth and bring out the aroma. Not as oily as some IPAs can be.

Drinkability is very good. I could probably drink this all night. Not light enough to drink a sixer in one sitting, but I could probably do 5. =)

Cheers!

Photo of cerveza5150
3.16/5  rDev -24%

OK, this isn't on tap, it was in a bottle, but I can't save multiple years on beeradvocate. This review is for the 2009 edition.

A: Typical Celebration Ale rosy red hue. Cloudy, with small bubbles of carbonation. Lacing all the way around the glass and a soapy, off-white foam head.

S: Slightly alcoholic, citrus fruit on the nose. The caramel malt pokes through on subsequent tries.

T: Celebration Ale has, and always will be, a celebration of hops. I think the 'alcohol' that I thought was present on the smell, was actually some of the aromatic phenolic compounds in the hops. The malt is there (I think I have it a bit too cold, probably low 40s - it might shape up a little better if I let it warm up), but it has a hard time competing with the hops. It's not that it's unbalanced, it's just that it's really close to that line of being too hoppy and not sweet enough.

M & D: The mouthfeel is awesome, but I held back on giving this thing perfect scores due to the somewhat extreme nature of this ale. The hops and malt are a bit pushed to their limits. It's not bad, but it is an acquired taste. Celebration Ale is one of the few beers that I think has the potential to start at a perfect 5, but then loses points due to one or more factors of the ale being overbearing. This ale is what it proposes to be. A celebration, fit for warm winter months. It's not for everyone, but then again, what ale is??

P.S. I actually drove 140 miles round trip this afternoon to pick up 2 cases. This didn't disappoint, and I can honestly say my holiday season has started!

Photo of MetalHopHead6
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale poured a deep color that was just on the red-side of copper. There was a thick two-finger head and the glass was left with rings of sticky lace.

The smell and taste were citric and bitter, like tart grapefruit. The smell popped, seeming to fill the room, during the pour, and the taste got more complex as it warmed. The feel was perfect, aggressively filling the mouth and lingering on the tongue.

Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale is a near-perfect IPA. I look forward to its arrival every autumn, and unlike most highly-anticipated things, it never disappoints.

Photo of MOB210SA
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Tried 10-30-09 (6-Pack)

I was on a mission to try this beer when I saw it stocked on the shelves in the local HEB. I had it couple hours later. Ive always been a big fan of SN. During my second review of this I can go back and say this was the main staple of my entire Winter beer drinking. Probably have picked up over a dozen times.

Awesome large 4 finger dense pillowy head. Retains really well, and only slowly subdueing. 5 minutes later is a thick unever layer atop. Pretty good amount of sticky lacing thats clinging. Great looks. Best described as dark strawberry mixed with golden-orange .

Very hoppy, malty smell with some citrus

AWESOME tasting, good dose of hoppiness. I thought it would be a winter type ale (when I first tried it) but I didnt know It was going to be just an amazing IPA.

Mouthfeel is medium body with really nice carbonation that goes down well and nice on the tongue.

Drinkability? I loved this beer. I finished the 6 pretty quick. Im going to def. buy again. (Ohh which I did again, and again, and again.)

*Edited from original review.

Photo of ugaterrapin
4.55/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass. It has a nice golden amber color. Poured with a nice two finger head that dissipated slowly. It has an excellent hoppy pine aroma. The aroma doesn't lie. The first sip is an incredibly awesome pine hop attack that is well balance with a solid malt backbone. This is my favorite Sierra Nevada offering with Southern Hemisphere and one of my favorite IPAs overall. It made my day to see this in the liquor store today when I was picking up beer for the GA vs. FL football game.

Photo of SpdKilz
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

New beer Friday!

Appearance - Pours a great looking hazelnut color with about two inches of head which dissipate in a few minutes but leave nice, chunky lacing.

Smell - Honestly the first thing that pops in my mind is this smells remotely like an Arrogant Bastard (no joke). From the aroma I can gather hops, pine, a b it of citrus, but honestly I smell spices after the initial sniff. This is followed by just a tad of sweet, biscuity malt smell.

Taste - A bit bitter (again, for some reason this initial taste reminds me just a bit of Arrogant Bastard) , hops, defiantly some pine, and some citrus such as orange peel. After the initial flavor a malty backbone appears and finishes crisp and a bit bitter.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied and fitting carbonation. I can feel the hop oils slide on the tongue just a little bit. Pleasant.

Drinkability - Remarkably so. I could session the heck out of this thing. At almost 7% abv and at sixteen dollars for a twelve pack, this is a relatively cheap, great tasting IPA. I will admit, I was hoping to taste more spices seeing as this is a "Christmas" beer...I guess I will get my fix with SA Winter Lager and Ole' Fezziwig for that! But overall a great beer.

Photo of womencantsail
4.3/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Just picked up a sixer of the 2009 release. I love this beer, so I had to grab some.

A: SN Celebration pours a hazy amber color. It starts out with about a finger of off-white foam that dies down to a thin layer. There is excellent lacing on the glass.

S: The smell is full of citrus hops and has a fairly big malt backbone. This is not quite as aggressive and powerful as your typical west coast IPA.

T: The flavor is a bit more assertive than the nose. It starts off with a nice dose of citrus and piney hops, and has a nice crisp, bitter finish. There is still a solid malt component to this, beer however.

M: A rather full body for an IPA, with the carbonation is on the light side.

D: This beer is quite drinkable, but hits surprisingly hard for 6.8%.

Photo of brow1901
3.98/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Nice big three finger head after a violent pour. Color is a nice orange amber with a bone white head. Good retention and great lacing.

S- Lots of piney hops. That is the so most obvious, something about the smell seems to remind me of a pilsner. Maybe the used some pils malts or a special yeast or I could just be crazy. I like it though, not overpowering, some complexities.

T- Bitter hops, no citrus or earthy hops just bitter. Strong malt backbone sorta shines through the hops in a nice way. Very different from a typical IPA especially a west coast IPA. Crisp and clean taste.

M- To light for my tastes, instead of being refreshingly light it just feels sorta watered down. Good carbonation and leaves the mouth a little slick.

D- Highly drinkable, right in the average range for an IPA, in my opinion this beats the pants off any spiced winter beer. And the name is PC too.

Photo of jhoban19
4.05/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle, 2009 edition, just picked up a sixer today.

A: this is one inviting brew. brilliant orange/copper color with loads of tiny bubbles that create a bit of haze. solid white foam that lingers and then settles into beautiful ring present all the way down to the last sip. the lacing sticks to the glass and stays right where it landed- no movement what so ever. just a wonderful looking beer.

S: nice balance of sweet bready malts and citrusy hops, mostly grapefruit and pine, with a bit of orange. detecting some subtle hints of dark fruit but I can't quite put my finger on what it is. not quite cherries, not quite raisin... luckily I have 5 more in the 6 pack to try and figure it out!

T: more of the same- nice balance of citrus/pine hops and the sweet malt. excellent hop bitterness and toasty malt on the back end.

M: crisp and a bit dry on the finish, with a bit of fizzy carbonation that tickles the tonsils. medium bodied with just enough alcohol to make you take notice. hop bitterness really lingers throughout the entire pint.

D: I look forward to Celebration Ale every year. the 2009 version is a well crafted IPA and I'm looking forward to enjoying the rest of the 6 pack. it's not quite as smooth as I was hoping it to be, but a damn fine IPA that doesn't disappoint.

Photo of mikey711
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Winter has arrived with the 09 celebration ale

A: A deep orange with a thick white foam head. Not much lacing and good head retention.

S: Oily pine hops and caramel sweetness. very fresh and pleasant

T: Bitter and piny with a good amount of sweetness to balance it out.

M: Full bodied and creamy.

D: I almost finished an entire six pack last night. Very tasty and very enjoyable all around.

Photo of TheViolator666
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 fl. oz. bottle poured into pint glass.

A: Pours a nice light amber color with a huge bubbly white head that simmers down to a fingers-width cap. Leaves beautiful layers of lacing.

S: Smells of citrusy hops as well as some grapefruit and pine, touch of sweetness from the malts.

T: Similar to the smell, the taste of this one is powered by citrusy and piney hops balanced incredibly well by a malty undertone and aftertaste.

M/D: Nice medium body with perfect carbonation and high drinkability.

Overall, a very nice standard American IPA that is balanced very well.

Photo of bsp77
4.85/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Ah, it is that time of year again. Actually, it is a little early, but screw it, I want me some Celebration.

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Nonic Imperial Pint.

Appearance: Rich reddish-amber with large creamy head and very nice lacing rings.

Smell: Citrus, grapefruit, pine, spice and semi-sweet toasted malts.

Taste: Perfect balance of pungent hops (grapefruit and pine predominately) and slightly sweet toasted malts that are reminiscent of a Red Ale. Turns bitter and spicy at the end.

Feel: Moderate carbonation, smooth medium body with a long dry finish.

Drinkability: My favorite IPA, although Stone and Two Hearted are damn close. Even though the balance is superb and it is immensely drinkable, I just can't quite give any IPA a 5 on drinkability due to the bitterness.

Edit from 2010 release: this does deserve a 5 on drinkability.

Photo of bump8628
4.43/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled on date of the 267th day of 2009 (Sept. 24, 2009). 1.5 12oz bottles poured into an Imperial pint glass.

A rich copper, bordering on amber, beer with 2 fingers of dense white head that rises over the rim of the glass. The head transforms into a thick meringue-like froth that sticks to the sides of the glass. I can't imagine how this could be a more attractive looking beer.

The aroma is classic pine and citrus American hops. A soft sweet barley smell comes through at the end hinting at the perfect balance of this brew.

The hops are the first thing that hit the palate. Pine, citrus peel, and floral flavors rush over the tongue followed quickly by a solid caramel malt backbone...beautifully balanced. The hop bitterness is solid but doesn't linger on into the clean finish.

This beer is my absolute favorite seasonal beer...meaning any season, any brewery, this is it. I easily go through 3-4 sixers of this every year. Strong, hoppy, but supremely balanced. Screw the over-spiced holiday ales that invade the shelves this time of year, give me a Sierra Nevada Celebration!

P.S. Drink it fresh! And long live the poinsettia-covered label.

Photo of Dspohn
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle, 2009 batch, super fresh, reviewing from notes taken last weekend.

A. Nice bronze/copper body with a couple inches of tan head.

S. Delicious grapefruit smell with a hint of pine and bready maltiness.

T. Bitter hop flavor of orange/grapefruit with some pine lingering. The malts seem toasty and biscuity with a slight floral spice to it that I cant identify. Finish is smooth and hoppy.

M. Nice smooth medium mouthfeel. A nice robust winter IPA.

D & Comments. My favorite selection from SN. I think the hop profile in celebration beats out torpedo. Overall a great fall/winter beer.

Photo of BB1313
4.2/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle from the 09 batch. This was literally FRESH. Hops were very present. Very nice head and lacing. Poured a color similar to honey. This is a very spicy IPA; extremely bitter. You can definitely tell this is a SN beer. It went down almost too smooth. I really like this batch, great on a cold night.

This is a classic.

Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 8,990 ratings.