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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.

9,263 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 9,263
Reviews: 3,336
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 11.81%
Wants: 290
Gots: 1,197 | 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: 9,263 | Reviews: 3,336 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BuckyFresh
4.31/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Poured from a bottle into a large wine glass. Beautiful golden/copper color and slightly hazy. Large, frothy off-white head about two fingers thick that lasts quite awhile. Nice even collar of lacing on the glass as well.

Smell: Bright hoppy aroma here with some citrus notes and and underlying malty sweetness. Maybe a tiny bit of yeast and spice in the nose as well.

Taste: I was pleasantly surprised at first with how creamy the taste was with this one. There is significant hop bitterness, but the beer finishes smooth and is quite a treat for the palate. Good malty character and an almost a bread-like back-end help balance out the citrus notes and bitterness of the hops.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full-bodied, with good carbonation and a very smooth finish. Right amount of bitterness and a warming quality make this one a pleasure to drink.

Drinkability: Very drinkable for an IPA and I'm sure I could knock back a couple of these. The ABV might sneak up on you though.

I really enjoyed this beer. The creamy flavor and bread-like quality were a pleasant surprise and not something you typically see with an ale of this variety. It was like an IPA wrapped in a comfy Christmas sweater, sitting by the fire.

Photo of acelin
3.91/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Celebrate the bottle poured into the pint glass!

S: Smells like hops and cloves.

T: Tastes like Christmas! An IPA + cloves basically. Not too bitter but quite tangy.

M+D: Very drinkable, with a pleasant thing mouth feel. Not too thin. Not quite a session beer, but several of these could be enjoyed in one evening.

Photo of Telix
3.06/5  rDev -26.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from the bottle into a Sam Adams Sensory glass. These are some sketchy notes because I simply didn't have much to say about the beer...:

A: Pours a nice deep copper, that's fairly clear, with a good head that slowly dissipates.

S: It's fairly mild with sweet malts and cat piss hops. I wish it were less bitter and had a greater amount of depth.

T: Some good malt sweetness, but a bit bitter and sharp. It's milder and a bit more piney than I'd like.

M: A bit thin, but more or less average for the style.

D: Eh, this was about as average an IPA as you can get, if you ask me. I wouldn't drink another one of these.

Photo of stakem
4.3/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very clear light amber/orange color with more than a finger of slightly stained yellow head; pretty solid retension. Lacing is clinging all over the glassware. Aroma is a nice mix of citrus, floral, spice and well kinda mint-like hops with a little backing of malt. Bitter in both the front and the finish with lingering hop character. Thin feel with a moderate amount of carb. Overall a very enjoyable beer. Only thing I would discredit this beer for is the lack of malt in the taste.

Enjoying this with some blocks of aged sharp cheese, absolutely awesome.

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

Snagged a 6er of this fabulous brew (2009 vintage) before heading out to dinner at a killer Chicago BYOB BBQ place called Smoque. The beer and the BBQ are both highly recommended!

Appearance- Pours slightly hazy, intriguing orangeish/reddish/amber color with a big frothy light beige head that just doesnt want to go away...Loads of sheety lacing with each sip!

Aroma- Huge citrus hop nose with grapefruit, lemon zest, as well as spicy and piney hop notes. Some bready caramel notes and a hint of yeast (maybe from bottle conditioning) are well hidden but slightly noticeable. Slightly floral. Aromas make me wonder if the bite is as big as the bark...

Flavor- Yep. As always, Sierra Nevada makes another delicious brew just dripping with hop flavors! Starts with a spicy hop bitterness that lingers through the middle, finish, and well into the aftertaste. Middle shows some signs of citrusy hop flavor, a breath of alcohol, and piney, almost resinous hops. Some green/grassy/herbal notes appear in finish along with a nice supportive but subtle maltiness. A touch of caramel, but mostly bready malt flavors help to somewhat balance out the intense hoppiness of this beer.

Mouthfeel- Moderate to high CO2, medium-full bodied (though almost sessionable), low residual sugars, slightly pungent/drying finish from loads of hops. Lingering finish- burpin up hops 30 minutes after I finished the beer!

Overall- One heck of a beer and the piney/spicy notes really do help make this a delicious beer to enjoy during the winter season- though, I have to admit that I would probably love this any time of the year! Very tasty. Very Sierra Nevada!

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

Only during the winter does one beer push SNPA out of my fridge as my standard session beer and that is SN Celebration Ale.

As with every SN beer I've ever poured from a bottle, this IPA pours with a billowy head that lingers and leaves nice lacing down to the bottom of the glass. It's a coppery amber in color.

While this IPA has some malt backbone, it's a little hop bomb. It has the smell and taste of citrus and pine with just the right amount of bitterness.

It has just the right amount of carbonation to make this go down easily. Spent many a winter night watching TV and quaffing a number of these down. This is what I take when I go to winter holiday parties.

Photo of TexIndy
4.45/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass. Bottling date of 10/1/09. Was a hazy amber color with lots of yeast bit floaters. Slight carbonation. It had a large white head that settled into a foam cap and thick collar. Lots of sticky white lace.

The aroma is excellent. Plenty of c-hops, grapefruit, pine and toasted malts. Slight bitter hop aroma. The flavor is also excellent with good hop bite from the start to the slightly bitter finish. Some malt balance at the end to offset the bitter. The mouthfeel is slightly creamy but lacks a bit in carbonation. Not too bitter after-taste.

Overall, an excellent AIPA that I'm glad I finally tried. For some reason, I kept thinking this was a winter warmer which I generally try to avoid these days. Highly recommend. Rotation - winter seasonal avail here in TX. Couple 6 packs per season.

Photo of hopheadjuice
4.85/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer is my all time favorate seasonal i absolutly love it. pored into pint glass.

Appearence - Pours a beautiful orage amber with yeast particles present makes for a cloudy wonderland. Nice hoppy head with amazing retention on the glass.

Smell - Celebration smells very toasy to me hops are apparent but not overwhelming.

Taste - An amazing IPA indeed gets better as it warms a little. Has citrus tones and a perfect hops combination for an amzing palate dance. Also not crazy crazy bitter like some IPA brews can be, amazing to pair with Thai food.

Mouthfeel - The bottle conditioning sierra nevada uses rocks makes for a perfect active carbonation that feels nice as well.

Drinkability - Wow easy to drink but sneaks up behind you and stabs you. just like their torpedo this IPA is absolutly nothing far from amazing to me. I hate winter but when the celebration ale is gone im always dreaming of a snowy night...

Photo of wangbruins
4.3/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Really nice amber red with a thick tan head that is staying put, pretty good lacing throughout, and a slight fogginess

S- Orange and cherries at first with a very sweet scent as I dug closer

T- Earthy and sweet with some citrus and some cherries

M- Rich, creamy, and smooth with just a slight bite at the end

D- This beer is great! Excellent flavor and texture and it only costs two bucks in the Phish lot. It's worth getting a bunch and stretching them out until next Christmas.

Photo of BDJake
3.73/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- clear bronze with chunky eggshell headleaving good retention and lace

S- earthy hops, spicy and malty

T- plenty of hops, spice, with a good malt backbone that gives a little bit of balance- it wasn't very good cold, but as it warmed up the different notes really came out

M- medium body, decent carbonation

D- not too harsh, but didn't scream out "gimme more"

Photo of tegelaar
3.96/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle I bought about 2 weeks ago.

Pours a little darker than most IPAs. Decent head and lots of lacing. Smell is a little weak as I don't notice a lot of hops in the nose. A more balanced smell. The taste is very bitter from the hops and I get a lemony goodness. Tastes really good! Light and refreshing but at the same time gives that malty, earthy backbone underneath it all. Mouthfeel has lots of carbonation and tickles the tongue. Drinkability is great due to the refreshing qualities of the beer. Very enjoyable seasonal beer and one I will definitely look for again during the holiday season.

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

SA Celebration Ale rules.

A-Pours amber hue.Thin white head,

S- Has a strange metalliic smell . Also smell citrus... I won't get hung up on the metal

T- I love this stuff.Year after year, this NEVER dissapoints. Every year I stash a bottle of this in my fridge for the following Xmas season.

M-Smooth. GREAT mouthfeel. Sits nicely on back of tongue.

D-I can easily knock back a few of these at the end of the night. SA makes the holidays special !!

Photo of kbeals
3.94/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- 12 oz. bottle poured into a pint glass reveals a slightly hazy, deep copper colred brew. Two fingers of sticky, off-white, nearly tan, head float atop it. Very sticky head results in fantastic lacing and excellent head retention. This is what an IPA should look like.

S- A very one sided smell with a lot of earthy hops. Sort of reminds me of iced tea. A bit of a sweet, toffee-like backbone appears as the the beer warms up a bit along with maybe a hint of alcohol which was surprising.

T- Again, reminds me of iced tea, pretty earthy. A very bitter and dry finish. Some sweetness to it, but not much. The boozy smell doesn't show up in the taste.

M- A very crisp mouthfeel, light-medium body with plenty of carbonation.

D- Good, I guess. I easily drank the entire beer and could definitely drink another one. This is a very solid IPA and a good example of the style. The tea-like qualities were very pleasing and a change from the normal citrusy IPA's I've been having.

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

This is a good IPA, but I don't see it as brilliant or worthy of the very high marks that others are giving it. It is a clear amber color with an okay off white head, thin retention, some lacing. The beer is moderately carbonated. The nose is leafy hop, some floral hop, some sweetish malts, but it isn't pungent or overly characterful. I disagree with the bros. on that one, the nose is good, but not exceptional. It is an AIPA for sure, but it doesn't stand out.

The taste is by the book. It has a nice balance between slight leafy bitterness, floral hop, some grapefruit acerbic citrus notes in the hop, and nice malty backbone, some drying hop elements, some nice graininess in there too. This is a very traditional interpretation of an AIPA, but it doesn't have the exceptional orangey hop burst, or the ripe oily and estery hop presence dripping from the vine, it doesn't make a grand statement. It is traditional, good, solid, but I wouldn't rate this as exceptional, just very good for the style. In some ways the beer is just too clean, too conformist, too by the book. It seems that other brewers of AIPA styles are a bit more inventive and more aggressive in their interpretation and have passed SN by somewhere along the line.

Photo of boogyman
4.2/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

A- Poured into my tulip glass a beautiful copper with a good 2 finger head that sticks around. Lacing is fairly sticky. Overall a good looking beer.

S- Starts off with plenty of citrus. Orange peel, grapefruit, lemon, the standard stuff for an IPA but none the less enjoyable. Definitely can smell the hops to come in this one.

T- Definitely bitter hops right off the bat and it is great. Got a lot of the nose and citric flavors. Also I can get some decent maltyness coming through which balances everything out nicely.

M- The hops leave a nice bite that lingers on the palate for a while until you refuel it with the next sip. I have had IPAs that went down a bit smoother but this one isn't bad it still goes down good but with just a little more carbonation and bite.

D- Definitely a beer I would have many of. Its a beer I wouldn't mind bringing to a party to share or to just have for myself. As a regular IPA goes, this is definitely a winner in my book.

Photo of kjyost
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2009 Edition. Poured into a beer mug, which left a ~1cm pillowy head on top of an amber-red beer. The head left substantial lacing through the session. Their was substantial hops of the nose with strong floral overtones, which disappeared as I drank the beer, which I account to my palate being overrun by the hops in the beer lowering my olfactory gland's ability to perceive the subtleties.

The beer comes across the palate with a well balanced amount of hops and malt with the bitterness crashing on the tongue as you swallow and lingering upon it... There were also notes of pine which I perceived further along into the drink. The beer was well carbonated and coated the mouth with its tasty goodness. I am saddened this was my only bottle.

Photo of Squam256
4.16/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from bottle into a stem-less wine glass.

Appearance: light copper-colored with thick head and lacing.

Smell: Malty, very light citrus

Taste: Much like the smell, I'm not detecting a strong hop presence although it is there. Malty/bready best describes this one.

Mouthfeel: Very smooth, not much of an aftertaste

Drinkability: Much more drinkable than Tropedo as far as SN's IPA's go. A very sessionable beer in my opinion, I could drink a few of these without issue.

Overall: not as good as last year's Celebration, but always a nice, 'milder' alternative IPA, especially for people who aren't that big on hops (though I am)

Photo of twaddlac
4.54/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A- Burnt orange, caramel color with light brown, yeasty head. Graded bubbles with many nucleation points. Sticky head that never gets too big but it doesn't disappear quickly.

S- Very hoppy, a pinch of citrus and undertones of toasted malts. Very smooth smelling, not very astringent.

T- Mild hops with a very nice malty taste, balanced very nicely. Toasted malts are very strong in the after taste, with a touch of caramel.

M- Sticky and a bit dry and mildly carbonated; the right combination to enrich the flavors of this beer.

D- This is one of those beers that everyone should try. I could quickly put away at least a 6 in one sitting because the taste is just that good! If anyone says: "I don't like the beer you drink!" give them this beer (obviously you will have to wait until it's in season).

Photo of zoso1967
4.2/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Color is nice and golden copper with fine head retention a good lacing. Smell is mostly cascade hops with some sweetness in the background. Taste hits with a lot of bitterness and a strong citrus/piney hop flavors. This is held up with some very nice caramel toffee notes in the malt background. The more I sip, the more I get the malt sweetness, especially in the finish. Medium body and very drinkable. Yet another great beer from Sierra Nevada.

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

So I like Sierra Nevada. A high quality brewery with a number of good offerings. But I always approach seasonals with a degree of skepticism. They tend to be seasonal because you wouldn't want to drink this beer all year round. Not with this tasty brew.
Very aromatic with citrusy and some bread notes. Some maltiness comes through too.
A very beautiful beer with a tremendous white head and medium amber color. Initially sweet but the hops kick in right away with a beautiful medium bitterness that lingers for a long time. Very smooth in your mouth. Creamy for an ale this hoppy. Very drinkable. After trying a bottle that my brother gave me, I bought a 12-pack. I look forward to one almost every day now. It doesn't grow old. Excellent

Photo of PhillyStyle
4.42/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap, in a 12oz pint glass at Mellow Mushroom, Atlanta (Brookhaven location):

A: The beer appeared a very nice orange-ish/copper color with a very nice 2 finger, big, white head and was retained fairly well.

S: The beer gave off a big malty, bready aroma with some hints of citrus and floral, possibly the hops trying to assert themselves, but being overpowered. Excellent aroma.

T: The taste of the beer is very good, rich, and complex, I would have thought that it would have been classified as a DIPA, but nonetheless, very full-flavored hop, with a nice malt backbone a nice bitter aftertaste.

M/D: The beer has a medium to full feeling to it, almost chewy, well carbonated, rich, smooth and extremely easy to drink. I drank the first one before I knew it. Certainly one of the best beers that I have had.

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


A- Pours a nice orange, copper color. Two finger head, last a couple minutes. Nice lacing.

S- Grapefruit juice? Hints of bread

T- Grapefruit, a little malt, bread, more citrus, pine? No hint of the alcohol.

M- Medium body, bitter up front, sweet in the middle, bitter down the hatch.

D- Very drinkable, I never thought Id enjoy a beer this bitter but I cant stop drinking these. The bitterness is bold but somehow balanced out with a slight hint of malty sweetness.

I wish this one was available all year. This will be a gateway to more bitter beers for me.


The 2010 batch seems more earthy than last years batch...pine and citrus with grassy notes, something a bit metallic...still a great beer for the money, I will be consuming a lot of these over the next month or two!

Photo of elgiacomo
4.01/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottled Sept 28, 2010.

Pours amber/orange/copper with a very nice haze and dark bits of sediment and a huge foamy and rocky off white head that leaves rings of clumpy lacing down the glass. Beautiful.

Aroma is pine, citrus, grass, floral hops, some caramel and bready malt, moderate to good strength.

Excellent flavor of resinous fresh hops, citrus, pine and grass, good caramel malt backbone in the middle with a moderate sweetness to offer balance to the good bitterness on the finish. Lingering sweet/bitter finish.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, creamy, medium carbonation, very easy drinking.

What an excellent IPA, great, great stuff. Hope to be able to try a fresher batch sometime this season as our East Coast distributors took their sweet time getting round one on the shelves this year.


Original Review Nov 27, 2009

2009 bottle. Pours dark amber/copper/red with a nice pillowy & rocky off-white head. Leaves a good amount of sticky lacing.

Aroma is floral hops.

Flavor is very hoppy, more pine/floral/grassy than citrus. Some caramel malts. Bitter finish.

Mouthfeel is medium-full with moderate carbonation. Very drinkable and enjoyable!

Appearance 4, Smell 3, Taste 3.5, Mouthfeel 3, Drinkability 3.5, Score 3.45

Photo of cudmud
3.98/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: This beer has a nice rocky head of two fingers thickness. The head produces nice lacing. The brew is clear and has a nice copper color.

Smell: This beer has awesome hop aromas, and I detect a slight hint of cranberry and oranges in the nose.

Taste: Nice, complex hop flavors.

Mouthfeel: There is a nice level of carbonation in this beer. The liquid component of the beer morphs into thousands of bubbles when it hits the tongue; it's very relaxing and delightful.

Drinkability: Very tasty and thirst quenching.

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

Ok, first thing... it's 30 degrees outside right now. Frickin cold!! So I meant to buy a 6 of this before Christmas but, I ended up not getting it until now. And I'm sooo glad I bought a whole 6 pack!
Pours a nice slightly hazy amber from a 12oz bottle to a standard pint glass. Big foamy sticky head. Super clingy lacing going on here. Very pretty beer.
Smells piney...very piney! But also sweet malt chilling in the background. Maybe detecting some alcohol fuming around in there too. Smells like a bad ass beer. Very big smelling beer going on here. It smells absolutely wonderful! Very complex. It's hard to pick up on everything that is going on here. But none the less, it smells amazing. Maybe some oak or something in there too.
The taste is amazing! Beautifully hopped. A strong hop punch right off the bat...Yes it is really hoppy BUT, in no way over done. The hops just slam your tongue with wonderful punch. and at the end you get the sweetness of the malt followed buy more hop punch. It's really hard to explain everything that is going on in this beer but It's simply wonderful.
Mouth feel is perfect for this beer. The hops balance out the sweetness perfectly. This is a big beer. The drinkability is great! It tastes so good you have to control yourself! I drink them slow and enjoy every last drop!

Simply perfect.

Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 9,263 ratings.