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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.

7,880 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7,880
Reviews: 3,156
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 11.54%
Wants: 216
Gots: 481 | 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: 7,880 | Reviews: 3,156 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of NClifestyle
4.2/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

this is the holiday beer for those hop heads who get left out every year. a winter warmer for the hop crowd.
pours up a bright, clear, orange/ruby color with off-white big bubbles of foam, chunky lumps are on top of the beer for the duration.
smell of cirtus, spice, some cinnamon malts in there for good measure.
taste is like sierra nevada on a hop kick with added malt. like sa pale ale with a bunch more malt, a boost of hop, and some spices thrown in to give it a wonderful taste.
mouthfeel is tingly, bubbles everywhere, some burn in the middle, somewhat medium to less than than.
drinkability? very! i could drink this all night until someone reminds me that i want a winter warmer closer to a stout/porter/strong ale, then i switch.


NClifestyle, Dec 08, 2005
Photo of ahking
3.55/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This is nice IPA from Sierra Nevada that is a nice alternative to their standard IPA. A bit dryer and tad spicier. Hops are right there on the tip of your tongue tasting as citrusy as ever. Slightly toasted and a bit caramelly (at least more so than the standard IPA). Nice amber with very foamy white head. If poured well, the head will stand like sea foam and last the entire time.

Also, I found a 2002 version of this beer in my basement. The biggest difference is a pronounced caramel malt flavor. This beer did not cellar so well as there a bevy of off flavors (or at least flavors I don't tend to like). Also pours quite hazy as expected.

ahking, Dec 06, 2005
Photo of marksto
4.65/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This one is always the highlight of the holiday beer season for me - a true classic. It's never easy to find in this neck of the woods (Tampa Bay) - this year the search was made more pleasant by the excellent price ($29 a case) at the new Total Wine store.

A somewhat atypical holiday brew in that it doesn't feature any spices, herbs, or other unusual ingredients; this one lets the hops do all the talking. A big, woody, pine-tinged hop nose gives way to an explosion of classic american hop character typified by citrus/grapefruit essences; and it's all backed up by a sturdy malt backbone. It's an absolute must-have for any lover of american hops and what they can do in a beer.

Now, if only I could find some on tap someplace....

marksto, Dec 06, 2005
Photo of LordChesterfield
3.93/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Wow good beer. Certainly better than the other christmas Ales I've had, and different in that this is an American IPA. As such, hops is th name of the game with this one, it pours a dark orange with a red tint and a noticable chill haze. I think all beer that can tansmit light throught them should have a chill haze, it makes them look more tasty. At first I didn't even notice the hops but on the second sip it was obvious, not overly but quite present and very distinct. It's very complex with a heavy hopping that isn't too heavy and the hops are quite delecate. You can even smell the hops before you take a sip which tells you you're in for something interesting. Great winter brew. (recent observation: very drunk)

LordChesterfield, Dec 05, 2005
Photo of medic25
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a stein, pours a copper-brown color, fairly clear with a short-lived white head. Hoppy aroma. Taste is pretty much dominated by hops (not that that's a bad thing). I was taken aback on my first sip. I hadn't read the reviews, and was actually expecting a "winter warmer" type of beer, not a potent IPA. Goes down fairly smoothly, although I could see a non-hop head getting sick of it after a couple.

medic25, Dec 05, 2005
Photo of ChiSox05
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served on-tap @ the MGM poker room in Las Vegas, oh what a treat.

An off-white head with traces of bronze 3/4" thick. Color has oranges, browns and garnet red. At first looked like bourbon with the head of a beer or dark iced tea, but upon closer inspection colors become more complex between ambers and reds. Looks clear, clean and very appetizing. Clinging lace draped around the pint glass after every sip.

Hop aroma is #1 with some a sweet caramel malt background. Hops are orange citrus, grapefruit, faint green apple and maybe slight tropical or peach scents.

Flavor is fruity and hoopy. Begins with the citric fruity hop flavor and a noticeable hop bitterness that is well balanced by a helping of sweet malt, warm alcohol and faint pine. Aftertaste is slightly metallic then turns to a long lasting taste of roasty malt while acidic, fruity hops remain present.

Carbonation remained active in each pint, coming out after held in the mouth. While easy to sip and mostly smooth, I was aware I was drinking it each sip (if that makes any sense). Alcohol is noticeable but not at all offensive, in fact blends well with the malt and hops. Has an aftertaste and leaves bright, tingling feeling on palate.

Drinkability is nearly perfect, my favorite winter offering. If you can get to LV, go to the MGM, sit in the poker room or sports book and try not to lose your ass while knocking these back. I just cannot get enough of this stuff, I wish they produced it year round. Thank you beer gods, casino gods, or whoever decided to get hook it up for the poker players!

ChiSox05, Dec 05, 2005
Photo of jdhilt
2.83/5  rDev -32%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a three-fingered cream head that fades slowly leaving a good lace. Clear amber color. Hoppy, floral nose. Medium carbonation and medium bodied. Starts sweet and spicey but the hops kick in as expected with a bitter finish. $7.99 for a 6-pak of 12oz from Market Basket Concord, NH.

jdhilt, Dec 04, 2005
Photo of IntriqKen
4.15/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Pours a bright clear orange-amber with very little head, but lacing stays throughout the brew painting the side of the glass wonderfully thoughout the drink.
Slight hoppy citrus smell.
Taste is bright with moderately intense hoppiness in the vein of a good IPA with tingle of tiny carbonation and alcohol as it goes down.
Definate grapefruit citrus brightness with citrus aftertaste.
This is not at all what I expect from a holiday seasonal brew...expecting something more in the vein of a bock, red, porter, or stout, however it is a very refreshing change for the season. the higher alcohol is definately warming on a winters day without sacrificing the thirstquenching dry brightness you might be accostomed to from your summer brews.

IntriqKen, Dec 04, 2005
Photo of pgroove
4.4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This beer is a true holiday treat. It differs from other holiday beers because it doesn't have any of that spice nonsense, but focuses more on a strong, warming brew.

It's a hop-lover's paradise, from the moment it's aroma flows to your nose until the last drop is swallowed. While the hops are pronounced and intense, they are not overly dominating which provides a nice counter-balance to the maltiness from the high alc %.

It's seasonally available on tap as well, and makes a fine "black and tan" when mixed with Guinness.

pgroove, Dec 03, 2005
Photo of nathanho
4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

We just finished a six pack of this stuff and both roundly enjoyed it. I stole the last one tonight and the wife was disappointed to say the least. I've tried several seasonal beers this fall and this one is by far the most compelling and drinkable. Better than Snow Plow, Jubelale, Wassail, Sam Smith, etc...

4's across the board. Nice amber orange color, ample head. Smells great, very citrusy. Taste is excellent with the right amount of bite...satifying lingering flavor. Mouthfeel is delectible. Definitely a session beer for me.

nathanho, Dec 02, 2005
Photo of sevineyes
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a brown bottle. The label features a snow-covered cabin.

A: Great burn orange color. Poured with a nice head that remained. Chunky thick lacing.

S: Very citrus like fresh-squeezed oranges. Extremely fragrant.

T: Big hops. Definitely some piney and resin aspects as well as a subtle pepper. Even with all the hop dominance hits from the malt and alcohol come through.Finishes in a big lingering bitterness that's awesome. Man, it lasts forever too in a great aftertaste.

M: Satiating moutfeel, a little creamy and a little oily, but not too heavy of a body.

D: I could drink this until the alcohol put me down, but I can see how it might not be something everyone could continue to down.

Overall: Definitely one for the hop heads. Regardless, this is definitely a beer that you remember. I just let myself go to that great hoppiness and ride it out. I'll be looking for this every year from here on out.

sevineyes, Dec 02, 2005
Photo of MattBrooks
4.43/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Another classic release from Sierra Nevada! Pours almost orange in color with a citrusy nose and classic hoppy-bitter from start to finish with BIG malty undertones. Almost burnt on the very long finish. Really stays with you for awhile. I don't think I could sit down and drink a whole sixer at a time; but could probably polish off 12 in a week- a little too bitter to have a lot at once.

MattBrooks, Dec 01, 2005
Photo of cooter
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

A powerful, regal appearance. Slowly drifting bubbles, a silken head that affords no compromise as I let it sit for twenty minutes untouched...it must have the blood of kings.

Smells surprisingly good. I have low expectations of winter warmers and celebration ales, and I'll say now that i don't see Sierra N. brand as a top runner...but this has promise. Wicked awesome promise.

Anyway, smells of delicious, rich and fruitily fragrant hops, smooth and abundant. Also clove, I want to say peppermint, bark, pine, and by the gods I smell olive oil. Some nuts.

First taste uses the head so well it's like Jenna Jameson. Creamy and hoppy but not even a tinge of bitter, despite grapefruit, pepper, more pine, sticky maple, mango, melon, and a host of other hopitudes being present, PLUS the fantastic malt roastiness towards the back. Strawberry jumps in at the front and fades instantly to nothing. Reminds me of 60 minute IPA from Dogfish Head, mutated into a half-porter style.

Mouthfeel, do I even need to spell it out? Superb. Creamy beyond belief, smooth, but with enough bite to keep you wildly excited.

For balance and fairness and to show I'm not biased, this beer isn't drinkable at all. To have a second would be a chore. It's too rich, too spicy, too thick and flavorful on the tongue and on the roof of the mouth. But this isn't criticism, it's a fair extrapolation of this beer's strengths.

cooter, Dec 01, 2005
Photo of guinness9880
4.22/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a great winter warmer, one of the best seasonal winter beers I have had an opportunity to tast. The color is copper and and the nose is deceivingly faint. The taste however is an explosion of hops and spices and fades quickly to an almost malty sweetness on the backend. SNCA is a hopheads dream, as if Sierra Nevada gave the gift of fine cascade hops to all beer drinkers for Christmas.

guinness9880, Nov 30, 2005
Photo of nlmartin
4.13/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This bottle from 2005 was poured into a pub glass.

Appearance: This beer has a very nice deep copper coloration. The head was an inch thick creamy off white. Few spiderwebs of lacing left behind on the glass.

Smell: This beer smells of spicy, piney citrus goodness.

Taste: The smell almost lived up to the taste. This beer is very spicy. There is lots of peppery goodness dancing upon waves of citrus and malt mixture.

Mouthfeel/ Drinkability: The beer is meduim to full bodied. There is nice carbonation helping to float the beer down. Very drinkable beer. I just wish it was available all year long.

nlmartin, Nov 29, 2005
Photo of Fugazme
4.45/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5


Bright copper in color. Clarity is great. 1/2 inch head with some serious staying power. One swirl brings the whole thing back.

Smell is of hops, pine, citrus. Very good.

Taste is hoppy and delicious. Grapefruit and rosemary.
Bitter as hell and I love it!

A great beer that I look forward to every year.

Fugazme, Nov 29, 2005
Photo of Mitchel
2.25/5  rDev -45.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I initially was very excited about this beer, having heard so many great things about it. But….I found myself a little disappointed in the end.

Poured a clear, orangy, red with a great creamy head which held for a long while. It leaves a little lace and the head is still holding….will it ever quit? The world may never know!

This beer smells like wet hops and plastic. Sorry guys, just my opinion. Upon another inhalation, it has a spicy citrus smell which is quite nice once you get passed the plastic.

This ale is strangely creamy and, as anticipated, very hoppy. I don’t personally have a soft spot for hoppy beers, so this one doesn’t stand out as one of my favorites. It has lots of things going on though. This beer reminds me of grapefruit and lemon peel. Bitter and spicy makes for a great winter warmer. That ABV might catch you off guard, watch out.

Mitchel, Nov 29, 2005
Photo of Bitterbill
4.45/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle(room temp) with a nice head that dissipated fairly slowly into a fine broken layer in the center and a fine lacing around the edge of glass. The colour is a very attractive and clear reddish gold.

The smell is a strong hoppy-fruity aroma that is very inviting, no compelling.

The taste is very strong hops with grapefruit notes that jumps at you early then settles down a bit in the middle with some malt tones and returns with a very nice bitterness in the aftertaste.
Wow! This is one of my favourite brews of *any* style!

Bitterbill, Nov 28, 2005
Photo of pjwilson
4.2/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

ok lets add another. yeah this beer is darn good, i'm sorta glad it's seasonal though.
appearance: it's amber, which seems fine in this case.
smell: ah. hops. but very, very fresh hops. almost like wet hops or draft beer. i'm guessing this is the dry hopping. the smell is so strong it mixes with the taste while you drink it.
taste: it's got a very prickly bitterness, that is not smooth at all. yet it works well in this case. the malts are up to the task of keeping this thing balanced. there's just something a little different from other ipa's that i can't put my finger on. but this is bitter enought to scare non-hopheads away.
mouthfeel is quite carbinated. drinkability is super high for a beer this complex. I've drank a pint of this with ease. for this review i've turned it into a nice siper in a tulip and that works too. enjoy

pjwilson, Nov 28, 2005
Photo of Lnedrive14
4.18/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle of 2005

A: Like an organic, 100% juice apple juice. Single finger pearl colored head. Unbelievable lacking - 5 minutes later it is still coating my dogfish head pint glass (thanks nick).

S: I dont know - nothing special here. Spicy and citrusy - exactly what i expect from an IPA.

T: Quite interesting. The hops knocked me aside initially, but as I continued drinking I realized they arent overwhelming at all. They hit you upon first sip, but dissipate quickly without any bitter remainder. Definite orange and grapefruit.

M: I doubt this adjective is appropriate for an IPA, but it was creamy! Slid down easy and coated my throat the whole way. Truly great feel.

D: I think I could pretty much pound these away. Doesn't have the raw power of the Stone IPA, but at the same time, it might make it easier to drink. Great brew to enjoy a six-pack of over the course of a day of football.

Lnedrive14, Nov 28, 2005
Photo of waldowin
4.15/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From the 2005 run.

Pours a nice clear amber, with a thick, sticky white head, that just pastes itself against the sides of the glass in layers.

Smells of a pine forest, and citrus and cedar. Has a nice pop to it.

Tastes a hint of medium malt, very simple, and followed by a nice pop of pine and cedar. Wonderful hop kick at the end that just offsets the malt. Almost a bit of toasted walnuts in the finish. Mildly spicy, with a nice tinge.

The carbonation adds another edge to the hops, and makes it a pleasurable grapefruit fizz along your tongue.

This is good stuff! I don't really care for their pale at all, but this is fantastic stuff. Wish it was made year-round.

waldowin, Nov 28, 2005
Photo of wedge
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5


Pours a clear reddish copper hue with steady carbonation. A fat creamy off-white head floats on top - good retention. Nice fresh hop aroma with a hint of spiciness. The flavor is of crisp, resinous hops that shroud a light acidic grapefruit middle - the malts work well with the hops, they're there but they balance out the hop-load without interfering. Very fresh. Medium body, lingering dry bitterness.

Juicy. I guess its the light spicy quality that makes this seasonal. At 6.8% a few of these will warm you up real good. Definately well worth sampling on tap as well.

wedge, Nov 28, 2005
Photo of slyke
4.3/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This was a great beer to have this afternoon - gloomy and misty in my neighborhood.

This beer poured a pleasing copper-rust color with an off-white head.

The aroma was very malty with some hop notes.

Taste was great with a hoppy bite up front, malt dominated the middle of the taste, then back to the hops for a nice dry finish.

Mouthfeel is great too. Just what you'd expect in a wintery IPA.

Drinkability is good on this beer. It is just the kind of thing for a cold and wet day. A couple of these is a nice way to pass a couple of hours.

slyke, Nov 27, 2005
Photo of santoslhalper
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2005 Edition

Appearence: Pours a mostly clear copper with a bubbly, frothy off-white head that lingers forever and leaves nice lacing. Loads of fast moving carbonation.

Smell: Nice fruity and floral hops hit the nose with a nice bready background.

Taste and Mouthfeel: Hot diggity damn this is one hell of an IPA. Strong, in-your-face abrasive hops, with killer spices, yet still delicately balanced. This is very alive tasting, very vibrant if you will, and is a real treat for the taste buds. The mouthfeel is medium bodied and smooth.

Drinkability and Overall: Hell yeah. Go Sierra Nevada. I wasn't a big fan of last years version, but this one is phenomenal. A very good winter IPA, and one I'd like to see what age does to. This one's a winner.

santoslhalper, Nov 27, 2005
Photo of buckiflyer
4.6/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2005 edition: Purchased a single at Whole Foods in Raleigh. Poured from a 12 ounce bottle. Smell: All hops. Color: clear amber with large long lasting white head. Very hoppy taste with a smooth finish. I really like this beer. I was expecting a winter spice malty beer, but was surprised and very happy. Did not realize this was an IPA. A great beer, worth picking up a six pack.

buckiflyer, Nov 27, 2005
Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 7,880 ratings.