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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.

7,919 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7,919
Reviews: 3,159
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 11.54%
Wants: 222
Gots: 493 | 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: 7,919 | Reviews: 3,159 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of delicious
4.45/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Brewed in 2005

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

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

2005 Edition

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

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

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

Very fruity, hoppy aroma.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

willgro, Dec 26, 2005
Photo of bahumutx
4.22/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.
Vintage: 2005

Appearance: Pours orange with a one finger head. Nice lacing is also present.

Smell: Picking out smells of citrus and pine and also a slight malt presence.

Taste: Starts off just like the smell with pine and citrus and then ends with a nice malt taste. Very balanced.

Mouthfeel: Smooth Mouthfeel with the right amount of carbonation.

Drinkability: Very drinkable. I could have a few of these in sitting.

A great seasonal offering from Sierra Nevada. Keep up the great work!!

bahumutx, Dec 26, 2005
Photo of joeskirkie
3.7/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pilsener glass with little to no head but a nice brown to amber body. It looks fantastic.

It has a sweet citrusy aroma.

Tastes of bittersweet citrus and what is in my opinion mild bitterness, but it definately picks up as the beer warms a little. Theres a more bitter bite to it in the after taste too and it lingers.

The mouth feel is light to me and I can definately detect a good amount of carbonation. It feels like I could easily put away 6 of these on an empty stomach.

Nice job. Keep them coming SN!

joeskirkie, Dec 23, 2005
Photo of skizziks
4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2005 Celebration Ale poured from a 12oz. bottle into a nonic. Well carbonated, formed a 2 inch fine, and slightly rocky, head. Foam was long lasting and left a small amount of lacework. Color was a medium copper with a hint of amber.

Aroma is predominately citrusy Cascade hop closely followed with crystal malt. Hops and malt combine to give a slight suggestion of cinnamon. Very nice.

Taste is pretty much the same as aroma. Smooth, slightly more than medium bodied mouthfeel carrying citrus and medium crystal malt. Finishes decidedly bitter. Bitterness sticks to the tongue, but isn't overpowering. Well-balanced with strong bittering appropriate to style.

Overall this is a very well-balanced beer for an American IPA and a very easy drinker. The alcohol is barely noticeable and the malt and hops are both well represented with neither overpowering the other. This is much like a bit heavier Sierra Pale Ale. A little more of everything, but is still refreshing enough to not wear out the palate. After recording my initial impressions, this beer was used to wash down a roasted garlic white pizza which had four heads of garlic in the sauce and topping. The Celebration Ale stood up to it and was very effective in keeping my palate scrubbed fresh. A great combination.

skizziks, Dec 23, 2005
Photo of misterscooter
3.63/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2005 offering.

I like what Sierra Nevada has done and they have some good beers. This one is a good beer but still not one that I just love. When I had one of their first batches several years ago, I hated it. Maybe they've refined their recipe over the years or my tastes have changed enough so that I don't hate it anymore.

An orange beer with a thick cream head. The lacing sticks to the side as the head slides down.

The smell is a piney bark, almost musky soap odor. Maybe a little spiced orange, too.

The taste is dry and very hoppy. Very woody in flavor with some nutmeg and spices in there for that "winter" feel. Warms you up as it goes down. The alcohol level means it doesn't take many to really feel warm.

It does alright but I still don't love it. Probably a little too woodsy for me. But definitely a good beer compared to a lot of the winter stuff out there.

misterscooter, Dec 22, 2005
Photo of jasonpeckins32
4.83/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: An aggressive pour creates a huge, frothy cream-colored head capping off a beer that is a nice bronze color. Leaves nice lacings all the way down the glass.

S: The nose is citrusy and piney. Oranges and Lime really stand out in the smell, lemons, and a little pineapple. Not fresh pineapple, but the kind that comes in a can. A sweeter version of hoppy.

T: That citrusy bittersweet-lime flavor really comes out in the taste. Lingers for a while in the aftertaste as well. Spicy and hoppy. The hop profile is wonderful. A very nice tasty and aromatic mix of citrus and floral hops. Quite extensive citrus flavors. Definitly has that tangy-ness on the sides of the tongue. Kick-ass Christmas time beer... Hell, this is a kick-ass ANYtime beer.

M: Excellent carbonation. A hair heavier and I'd call it medium-bodied. Its not thin or anything, actually very nicely done.

D: Awesome drinkability. Why did I only buy a single???

Quite similar to SNPA, maybe a tad fruitier? I've absolutely enjoyed this one, and will be enjoying it again as soon as I can. Very nice beer, I'm surprised its taken me this long to get around to it.

jasonpeckins32, Dec 22, 2005
Photo of Toddv29424
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I think this is the same beer... Sierra Nevada prints the year on the collar of each generation, and this is from 2004. The smell is overwhelmingly of wheat and sweet malt. The body goes down really easy with the hops adding a pleasant kick in the end. The mouthfeel is great as well, especially after you've had a few. Like most Sierra Nevada brews the first few sips of this beer are big, but it mellows out and becomes much more enjoyable.

Toddv29424, Dec 21, 2005
Photo of mbunje
3.85/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2005 celebration ale, 12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass. Reviewed as a "winter" or seasonal brew.

Appearance - Red/Orange Amber, light color for a "winter" brew. 2 fingers of head that stayed for the first 4 drinks. Lacey.

Smell - Mild hops/floral, a little bit of spice...nutmeg?

Taste - Hoppier than it smells. A little "dirty" in a good way. Hint of spice..nutmeg again? If I had to pick a fruit - Orange. Could use some malt, just a tad, to smooth it out.

Mouthfeel - Crisp and dry. Clean finish. Makes you thirsty for another swig.

Drinkability - Very drinkable. Not super heavy like a lot of winterbrews. Stronger than a regular SNIPA, but nothing over the top.

Overall - This is a better version of a Siera Nevada IPA, more balanced than a straight IPA, a little richer. For a "winter" brew, a little light. Could use some darker color and a thicker taste. I'll be buying another 12 pack of this for the holidays.

mbunje, Dec 21, 2005
Photo of DrJay
3.95/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Clear coppery orange with an eggshell head. Good lacing throughout. Toasty malt aroma underneath a lot of hops: earthy, citrus, and pine. Resinous bitterness throughout, but it really builds into the finish. Malt sweetness provides some balance, but the hops are really dominant. Light citrus with a huge dose of pine in the end. Moderate carbonation with a rich, creamy texture. Medium body. Not bad at all. Goes down easy. I'll try it again next time I run into it on tap.

DrJay, Dec 21, 2005
Photo of SkeeterHawk
3.93/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Though I don't believe that the years of this beer should be lumped together, I will deal with it. This is for the 2005 edition...

Appearance: Pours a super clear reddish amber color with only a 1/4" head at first pour. There were a few bubbles rising at the beginning, but they failed to maintain the head. The head was gone within a minute. There was a tad of lacing left after drinking the beer.

Aroma: Citrusy and piney hops are the most noticeable part of the aroma profile. I get very little caramel malt as the beer is cold. As the beer warms, I don't really notice ay major change in the aroma pofile...it just stays hoppy.

Taste: The taste is really bitter and has a bold hop presence. There is a bunch of pine and citrus noticeable at first. The citrus isn't as light as just grapefruit or lemons, but is really rich with the impression of limes and other darker citrus fruits. It's not too often that you get this combination of flavor. The finish is definitely balanced toward the bitter, and finishes with a tad of alcoholic warming. It is a bit under carbonated, so the hops seem to linger as an oily mess on your palate, so I am not too impressed with the mouthfeel.

Opinion: Well, amazingly enough from my review, I think that this is one of the better years for Celebration in at least the past 3-4 years. It is hard to review them as a vertical tasting as the hops mellow as it ages. This one is probably the most balanced of all that I have tried thus far...out of the box. Contrary to many others, this is not my favorite beer. I am amused by it though, so I have to keep trying it. I normally put some back too, so I can try it later. I believe that this beer is really in its prime at least 4-6 months after its release. I would recommend this beer, but mostly for the fact that it is an icon in the micro-brew community.

SkeeterHawk, Dec 21, 2005
Photo of unknownlamer
4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4


Poured a clear copper with an off white head. The smell is mostly intense cascade hops. It reminds me of an amped up SNPA. The taste is similar with a good malt taste up front followed by the strong hops. It tastes to me like an SNPA with a lot more cascade and a bit of chinook (I guess? Every IPA I've had with a gristly taste in the finish had them in it) thrown in to roughen the finish.

The carbonation is just right, and the hops aren't overly bitter but are rather nice and floral. They don't crush the pallete, and the hop taste lingers for a very long time.

unknownlamer, Dec 19, 2005
Photo of ejames
4.45/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is my first review, so please be gentle

2005 edition

Appearance: Pours a dark copper clear, nothing outstanding.

Smell: Pure hops

Taste: This is a phenomenal beer. I savor this beer every year. Hops hit you up front; a simple malt characteristic comes through at the very end. Hops linger, they would be much for a non-hop head. There is no beating around the pine tree, this is one hopped up beer

Mouth feel: Very smooth. Not too much carbonation, just enough to feel, but allows enough for multiple bottles to be consumed.

Drinkability: Be careful with this one. It is strong, but the hops, taste, mouth feel will deceive you. Pay attention to this beer as it only comes along once a year.

ejames, Dec 18, 2005
Photo of SaCkErZ9
4.55/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This is by far my favorite winter seasonal beer. Pours a perfect copper color with crystal clear clarity and a very nice 1.5 finger sized hed that leaves a copious amount of lacing down the side of my pint glass.

Smell is terrific. Large amounts of citrusy and piney hops with grapefruit in the aroma as well. Caramel malts.

Taste is all hops. Very smooth. Hop bitterness is pretty strong and creates a bit of astringency. Almost makes me pucker, but in a good way.

A bit astringent at times but great drinkability. Definitely one to keep around all winter to add that warming feeling and keep the cold bite out of the body.

SaCkErZ9, Dec 17, 2005
Photo of ElGordo
4.28/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

As the 727th reviewer of this beer, I'm sure I'm adding a tremendous level of not-yet-seen insight here. Pours a bright, translucent amber hue topped by a nice-looking inch or so if creamy white head. Pleasing aroma of crisp, spicy hops, tempered by some caramel malt and the lingering essence of black pepper. Hop flavor is sharp and assertive up front, mellowed only slightly by some caramel malt. Notes of pine, black pepper, grapefruit, and some astringency come through. Body is rich and creamy, belying the character of most American IPAs. If not for the alcohol, this would be infinitely drinkable (further enabled by the 32oz cups for $5 at Satisfaction's last night).

ElGordo, Dec 17, 2005
Photo of HugoGrim
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep amber color with a substantial two finger head.

Scent was spicy and fruity, with a full body of flowery hops.

Flavor is in your face spice and hops. Lived up to the hype. Where can I even begin with the list of flavors that assault the pallet? Hops, nuts, whole grain breads, something vaguely cinnamon like, malty caramel the list goes on. Needless to say a very complex flavor.

HugoGrim, Dec 17, 2005
Photo of warriorsoul
4.03/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I'm baaack!! I was not overly impressed with last years offering, so I am back for more (do not cue Ratt!)
Pours a bright copper color with two full fingers of beige head after a fairly aggressive pour...sticks around for quite a while and produces some attractive, web-like lacing.
Nice balance of sweet malt and citrus hops in the nose.
There is that hop profile I was beggin' for...huge piney hops up front but the malt backbone really helps to balance it out and not be over the top. Bitterness lingers a bit, but in a good way...the carbonation is nice for the style and the mouthfeel is medium-bodied. Very easy drinking here...a true session brew, especially fresh. I am real glad I picked this one up again...a solid brew.

warriorsoul, Dec 16, 2005
Photo of andjusticeforale
3.58/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Special Celebration Ale 2005 edition short stubby

This is a great looking beer, aggressively poured into a large pint glass, which left a nice white to off white head of moderate to good retention.

The immediate smell is strong grapefruit tinged hops, stronger than any IPA I’ve opened lately. Really quite unbelievable. My first thought was “over the hop” or “hopnoxious.”

The taste was sadly unbalanced in favor of hop aroma and bittering. This had a malty underbelly,. But the domination was hops. The finish was dry and bitter and left an astringent zip high on the palate.

Don’t get me wrong, if you like Stone Arrogant Bastard, or any of the hopped up 4000 minute IPA’s, you will dig this. But a “celebration ale in the ‘old world style’ ? Jesus Jones- only if the old world is Portland Oregon!

andjusticeforale, Dec 15, 2005
Photo of ReebShorts
4.58/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a brownish orange color, poured into a Orval Chalice, decent head faded rather quickly leaving some islands and lace all around the edge.

Quite a bit to smell here, a pleasant, yet complex mix of sweet malt caramel, spicy floral hopps, pine, citrus, etc.. like I said there is a lot going on here.

Very good, I had anticipated this would be somewhat sweet, but was actually more bitter, and had a nice, clean hop finish. Drinkability must be great as I'm already bummed that I only have 3 of these in my possesion this evening.

ReebShorts, Dec 15, 2005
Photo of BigRedN
4.47/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2005 Edition.

Appearance: Poured from the 12 oz stubby bottle into my pint glass a coppery color. Somewhat thin 1/4 white head forms then fades to a cloud and ring around the glass. Some lacing, not really sheets but some stringers and splotches.

Smell: The smell of this beer is as good as previous editions I have had. Burst of fresh hops on the nose. Predominately piney, a little earthy and herbal scents mixed in for good measure. Well hopped.

Taste: I brace myself for the blast of hops. There is a definite bitterness brought on by the hops, but also a subtle bready malt backing to hold this one in balance. The finish is like drinking a forest. Pine lingers at the back of my throat.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, light carbonations. Lively bitter hops. This beer also hides its higher alcohol content (6.8% according to the bottle) very well, alcohol is not present.

Drinkability: Another fine year for Celebration. Nicely hopped, seeems similar to previous years, except this year I was not as impressed by the appearance. Still, a very drinkable beer and a 6-pack is a must buy every year.

BigRedN, Dec 14, 2005
Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 7,919 ratings.