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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.

8,494 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 8,494
Reviews: 3,219
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 11.54%
Wants: 263
Gots: 711 | 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
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Ratings: 8,494 | Reviews: 3,219 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of beerbutcher
4.43/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

the beer pours a deep copper with a one finger white head.

aroma is of pungent american hops. loads of grapefruit, slightly floral and piney, with a touch of sweet ethanol and a dollop of caramel.

taste- it's a high volume beer, no doubt. there is a tongue grabbingly rediculous amount of grapefruit which wrings the palate from the get-go. once all that has fully set in, you might notice a trace of caramelized barley in the background braced against the lupulin layer. they battle, the hops win. then the alcohol sneaks in and beats you silly. just the way to end a night.

the texture of this beer is rich expansive and oily. there's a stiff backboard of sweet malt and ethanol that helps to hold it together. best consumed fresh in my opinion, but could age to become quite graceful and balanced. but why wait if the alcohol is already integrated? a treat for the masochist in all of us.

drinkability- unless you're already warmed up, this beer will slow you down. given the style, i think it's very well balanced. it is loud, but everything in it is loud, so they're all screaming at the same volume. oh, a significant amount of lacing was left on the glass by this beer. it's big, it's bitter and it's beautiful.

beerbutcher, Jan 22, 2008
Photo of MisterClean
4.05/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz from Bevmo

A - Light bronze color, tan-white head, slightly clumpy protein visible in foam, nice lace, head fairly resilient.

S - Pine, citrus, grass, clove, and cinnamon. A menagerie of smells.

T - Lightly malty, notes of pine, pepper, caramel, and buttery.

M - Warming, slightly bitter, not as hoppy as expected in smell.

D - Definitely could enjoy a couple more.

MisterClean, Jan 20, 2008
Photo of elmore
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bought a single of this from a local Whole Foods. Poured into a chalice from a 12oz. Dark amber color with a one finger light head. Nice sticky lacing.

The expected flavors of an IPA. Mostly hops. Very nice aromatic, floral hops smell. Taste is simlar, to smell, mostly hops. Balanced with some slightly sweet malts. No apparent spices as with some seasonal winter/christmas ales. Pretty much a straight-up IPA.

Don't really know why this is considered a winter warmer, although I'm not complaining, just a straight-up solid IPA (IMO). A good beer, which I expect from Sierra Nevada. Recommended if you like IPA's.

elmore, Jan 20, 2008
Photo of BeaBeerWife
4.08/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2007 Bottle.. have been waiting for this. Most places were out or didn't have any, I finally found a place. A wonderful IPA with an awesome mix of hop flavs. IBU = ?? The smell is the only downside in my book, it's nicely evened, but doesn't have that american IPA kick smell I really enjoy in IPA's. This beer has wonderful tingle as you drink. A nice true bitter hop finish to it. A very balanced IPA, of which I can see why so many people rave about it.

BeaBeerWife, Jan 20, 2008
Photo of dudeandhisrug
3.95/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I was really excited to try this beer because I am a long time fan of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. This beer definately warms the heart during cold winters in the Northeast. I would definatley recommend this beer to anyone. It is hearty but yet drinkable. A revisit in my world.

dudeandhisrug, Jan 19, 2008
Photo of ardmoreryan
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Copper color with an off-white, rocky head, lacing the glass as the beer goes down. The head stayed solid for about 5 minutes; after that, it became rocky and dissipated quickly.

Tastes like a stronger Pale Ale with an oily pine scent followed by a nearly overwhelming hops-grapefruit flavor behind. No one does hops nearly as well as Sierra.

As far as drinkability, the Ale goes down similarly to Pale Ale. However, despite the higher alcohol content, there is an easiness to it. The hops don't stick to the back of the tongue in the same way that they do in IPAs and other APAs.

All in all, a remarkable example of American "craft" brewing with hops!

ardmoreryan, Jan 18, 2008
Photo of AshevilleSippin
4.03/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Short version:
Excellent beer with some substance beyond a double scoop of hops. Needs spiced up a bit to make the flavor worthy of the nostalgic holiday pedastal I put it on.

The SN Celbration Ale is just that. It's a celebration. It warmly reminds me of Christmas 2007 and was one of my staple beverages through the holidays.

Bottle is quite attractive and festive. The kind you like to open your beer fridge and see centered up with the label facing out. Puts a smile on your face even if you are just there for a spare gallon of milk stowed away down below.

Pours a warm deep-copper to amber color showing a boisterous and ample head blossoming with hoppy floral scents. Each successive drink rewards you with a new lacey ring reminding you, sentimentally, of the incremental journey you are taking to the bottom of the glass.

The taste is a lot to absorb all at once. I still don't quite have my palette around all of it. The hops are certainly dominant but there is definitely malt bringing some counter-balance and adding the necessary body to support all that flavor. The finish is bright and slightly lingering.

I have to reiterate the strong hoppy character. It shows through from nose to finish and clearly dominates this beer but not is such a way that it seems undesirably out of balance.

For a holiday/seasonal brew I'd personally like to pick up some more spice in it. It doesn't quite fit the style in my opinion but that doesn't take anything away from the overall quality and enjoyability of the beer. As a true winter seasonal I prefer Pyramid Snow Cap, Highland Cold Mountain, or Sam Adams Winter Lager.

The Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale is very drinkable indeed, if only in measured amounts because of its strong hoppiness.

AshevilleSippin, Jan 18, 2008
Photo of paulthebeerguru
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2007 batch

A:poured into a Duvel glass. pours a darker red/burnt orange amber, with a slightly off-white head that maintains rather well.

S: wonderful floral hop aroma. grapefruit and orange all over this. some piney aromas and hints of sweetness as well.

T: very well balanced, which I expected from previous Celebrations. Hoppy + Malty=Delicious. great citrus flavor with a dash of sweetness. almost like drinking a christmas tree, in a good way.

M: leaves the mouth a little dry and warm. so much flavor from the hops. It invigorates the palate with every sip.

D: every year I wait for this beer. it reminds me of the holidays and just the winter season in general. very drinkable. its hard not to like this one.

paulthebeerguru, Jan 18, 2008
Photo of chiefydawg
4.08/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Nice orange-amber color with lively head and active carbonation. I dig the micro particles suspended to give a hazy look. The lace is clinging in thick layers to the glass!

Fresh smelling and hoppy. Catching a citrus-pine scent that makes me want to use it for a mouthwash (at near 7% alcohol I might as well).

Tastes as hoppy as the smell, but there was a maltiness lurking below the surface that pounced on my tongue with the hops and tagged teamed it. I still feel as though my mouth won out.

Very nice balance, though I think some slight spice would really put this beer into orbit (ditto for the smell). Just my expectations for a winter ale, but who am I to say? Anyway, I'm not catching that alcohol even as it warms, but this is my second one and I can feel it in my face.

Lighter feel on the tongue for all that it offers, and I like it. clean and somewhat crisp but can stand up to the stronger fare.

Overall a top notch beer that stands neck and cap over its far more more popular pale ale brother.

chiefydawg, Jan 17, 2008
Photo of nbrown
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

since most of these are from the bottle, here is one from tap.

A - Nice warm orange/amber with a thick thick head.

S - Strong citrus smell with a sweet malty smell too

T - Tastes just like how it smells. Great after taste.

M - Smooth and refreshing. Not too bubbly. I think they got it just right.

D - I could sit and drink these all day and i think I have. I wish this wasn't a seasonal but I'm glad it is so I won't get burned out on this stuff.

nbrown, Jan 16, 2008
Photo of NCBeernut
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Words don't do this beer justice but here it goes:

Full fluffy two-finger off-white head that doesn't want to leave, coppery orange color. Tons of lacing.

S: A complex blast of hops, what else?

T: Delicious. I could drink this 7 days a week. Hops up front of course, mostly citrusy grapefruit, with some lingering orange zest. A nice strong malt profile compliments the hop bouquet and starts coming through after the initial smack of hops: bready with some caramel and suggestions of toffee.

Smooth and creamy, but with a hoppy bite. Not too much for my hophead palate. If you haven't had it, go buy some now.

NCBeernut, Jan 15, 2008
Photo of Hornet2003
4.28/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Got this on a late-winter beer run down to the states to pick up some brews on sale.

Appearance: Nice amber...More red than yellow with a 1/4 inch head on the pour

Smell: Hoppy. Mostly cirtus hops and a little bit of a Christmasy maltiness thrown in there for good measure.

Taste: Well it tastes very bitter as per the hops but as the flavors settle on the tongue there is a nice malty sweetness cutting through.

Mouthfeel: A little too carbonated on the basic pour. I suppose I could work some of it out but if this is the way it was intended then I would say the carbonation is a little too much.

Drinkability: The flavors and aromas of this beer just make me want to drink more. Ruby Red piny-ness, and kick you ass alcohol preclude this from being an all nighter, however.

Hornet2003, Jan 13, 2008
Photo of tmitch75
4.53/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice copper color with huge creamy head (way too big for my pint glass). Head drops to about one finger thick, but what's left stays strong and leaves sticky lacing all the way around the glass.

Smell is floral and fruity with a little malt in the background - just enough to balance out the hops.

Taste is similar, with pronounced grapefruit flavor and hoppy bitterness balanced by just enough malt backbone. Simply delicious.

Mouthfeel is rich and full-bodied. Very creamy. I could swish this around in my mouth all night.

The only problem with this beer is that its not available all year round - but I guess this gives us another reason to look forward to the holidays. A delicious and well-made beer.

tmitch75, Jan 13, 2008
Photo of CrellMoset
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

UPDATED REVIEW: 11/20/2008

2008 vintage from Market Street Wine, downtown location. Poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: Similar to last years - a very nice, filtered copper color with a thick, solid-looking head with good retention that leaves splotches of sticky lacing. Perhaps not 4.5 worthy, but definitely really good ...

Aroma: A little more pungent and pleasant than I remember. I get more minty notes this time, vegetal, leafy qualities come through really strongly, at least initially. Citrus pulpyness, orange, grapefruit still are strong, and do an admirable job of covering up a doughy, roasted, and pretty dry malt backing. Very, very nice.

Taste: Still nice and bitter - that's what I remember!! Huge piney bitterness, lighter citrus than in the nose, a dry, biscuity backbone ... oo, that hits the spot.

Mouthfeel: Much smoother, pillowy, more even than I remember. Carbonation's a little higher too, I think. Great piney "afterfeel."

Drinkability: Still great. A solid IPA and a legendary seasonal, there's nothing not to love about this one. I don't think my score's changed any, but it's still a fantastic beer, and still highly recommended.

Had a friend bring over a six-pack for a holiday party a few weeks back. I hadn't had a chance to try one that evening, but there were a couple left over, so here goes:

Regular 12 oz. bottle, poured into a pint glass.

Appearance was very pleasant copper tone with very thick head, good retention, and thick lacing.

Smell is not too terribly strong, although the hops are obviously present, as are notes of citrus and malt. A few other things that are difficult to place, as well - an interesting balance.

Taste is where this beer really takes off. Obviously, the hops are at the forefront of the game, but the previously mentioned citrus and malts are still detectable, both in the first instance and in the aftertaste. Alcohol flavor hardly present at all. Absolutely deliciously, hoppy without being overbearing.

Mouthfeel is also very pleasant, carbonated just about right.

Drinkability is damn good. Just damn good. Everything melds very well. Although I'm not a huge hops fan, the balance here is enough to convince me to try and become one. Two thumbs up.

CrellMoset, Jan 12, 2008
Photo of shertz
4.45/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thought I should review this beer after buying my fifth case of the winter. For the price, one of the best brews available IMO. Poured into a Pint Glass with date 10/27/07 printed on box.

A- Beautiful amber/orange color with great lacing. Lacing will last till the morning if you drink too many like me and forget to rinse the glass.

S- Sweet malts with citrus hops, mostly cascade and centennial. I could bathe in this shit.

T- Wow. Nice mouthful of bitter hops. Amazingly, you can get a glimpse of malts through all these hops. Just a great hop bomb.

M- Awesome tingling/numbing mouth on this beauty.

D- I have drank a sixer without feeling the next-day effects. But watch out because these go down so smooth that you may indeed drink more than six.

Cheers and Happy 2008, shertz

shertz, Jan 12, 2008
Photo of Slynger
4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beautifully clear orange-amber with a big, fuzzy white head with an orange tinge. The smell delivers bunches of fresh citrus and floral hops. Good carbonation with tongue tickling bubbles. Tastes of citrus, floral, and piney hops; with a slightly spicy bitterness ending in a dry finish. This beer is a fresh and tasty break from the warmer's, stout's, and porter's that I've been drinking lately. Very good, a nice winter pace changer.

Slynger, Jan 10, 2008
Photo of gabrielpicasso
5/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is one beautiful beer.

Upon emptying the bottle into a pint glass, I noticed two things right away. The head and the color.

The foam settled into a creamy white head about two and one half inches high and filled the room with the scent of flowers and orange blossoms. Quite remarkable. The color was a deep, luminous copper-bronze, slightly cloudy when held against the light.

Before the first sip I stuck my nose in the glass and enjoyed the aroma. At first I could not place the scent, but as the liquid warmed and relaxed I finally determined that I was smelling apricots, oranges and honey along with the wonderful hoppy floral characteristics. The taste is primarily apricot and honey. The orange comes in through the nose as you tip the glass to drink. I spent a lot of time with my nose in the glass.

The mouthfeel is very nice, thick and creamy as it rolls around on your tongue and the carbonation is just right.

I plan on looking forward to each year’s edition of Celebration Ale.

gabrielpicasso, Jan 10, 2008
Photo of SetarconeX
4.05/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A year since I first tried this, I'd forgotten how tasty it was. Fairly average looking reddish brown color, with an aggressive head. Doesn't look like much, but it smells quite nice. Lightly malty and sweet. Tastes, however, quite hoppy, though not the sort of crazy over the top hops that other beers might go for.

The slight sweetness in the brew makes this far more drinkable than many other IPAs out there. Very much worth stocking up on for the season.

SetarconeX, Jan 10, 2008
Photo of birchstick
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This poured copper with small head that vanishes rather quickly. Its aroma hit me as soon as I opened it. It smelled piney/hoppy, with an orange/lime/fruit smell. It tasted like a good IPA should, with strong hops and a hint of grapefruit in the aftertaste. It had a great mouthfeel, gliding nicely one its way down. I think this beer compared a lot to Founder's Centennial IPA...

birchstick, Jan 09, 2008
Photo of daledeee
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I have had this before. I am told there is a difference by year even though this has the same name and is not dated by year.

This pours a beautiful copper with a full head and keeps the merigue look. Lace all over the place.

The nose is not real strong. Some citrus and hops.

This beer has one of the best balanced malt taste of any beer I have had That flavor is balanced with some good citrus flavors. Hints of grapefruit and lemon rind. Just can't say enough here. The alcohol is nice and hidden. Warms you up just a little at the finish. Leaves the mouth nice and slick with clean finish. This is a very strong fresh hopped beer and quite enjoyable.

daledeee, Jan 09, 2008
Photo of cbleary
4.78/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Enjoyed out of a 12oz bottle into a nonic glass.

This is extraordinary beer. It has a very appetizing copper color and a tenacious white head that leaves some great lacing. This beer is nearly all hops, all the time. It smells like fresh hops, it tastes strongly of bitter and citrus hops but the brewer balances the flavor well enough that I don't feel like my palate is under assault. A touch more malt character would give it a perfect score, but maybe that's just me. The mouthfeel and drinkability are exceptional, you'll want to drink more and more. Buy a case.

cbleary, Jan 08, 2008
Photo of yourefragile
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz 2007 bottle. I've had this on tap a few times this year but waited for bottle since I never felt like I got a good taste in a smoky bar

A: Fairly clear deep amber color with a nice persistent white head, not overly thick. Leaves a nice, but not large amount of lacing in the glass.
S: Very strong aroma, lots of hops obviously overpowering anything else, but some floral and sweeter, citrus flavor
T: I like this a lot for a american ipa as hops as big and present throughout the beer but is never overly bitter or dry. Aside from hops there is a small floral taste and a sweet ctirusy fruity flavor. Never really picked up on alcohol flavor.
M: Medium body and carbonation, very smooth and slightly creamy. Very good, not overly bitter or dry and as it warms up a little becomes a little sweeter and less bitter
D: Just a great american ipa, nothing particularly remarkable, just very good and very drinkable

yourefragile, Jan 06, 2008
Photo of livedrinkbeer
4.13/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I was a little aprehensive about reviewing beers but after falling in love, drinking more than my fair share of good beer and actually remembering things about the beers i drink, I feel Ive gained enough knowlege to comfortably and confidently review beers so here it goes.
A- clody straw colored w/ inch of off white head, laces glass as drunk.
S- strong hop aroma
T- delicoiusly hoppy for any kind of beer let alone a christmas beer.
M- how its supposed to be for an ipa no complaints
D- A definate good solid choice especially if you like hops, this is at least my my forth time drinking this and will more than likely purchase again, even if I have to collect change from around the house again!

livedrinkbeer, Jan 04, 2008
Photo of sgraham4
4.28/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Beer pours a pleasingly amber color with a nice off white head. You can really smell the hops and at the first taste you are dominated with the bite of the hops. The taste finishes with a pleasant bitterness. Definetly another good beer from Sierra Nevada. Very Drinkable.

sgraham4, Jan 03, 2008
Photo of Tdizzle
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2008 edition.

A- Pours a clear reddish-amber color with an off-white head that sticks around for a long time after it settles to a patchy layer over the beer. Each sip leaves some thick, web-like sheets of lacing on the glass.

S- Grapefruity and piney hops. The malt pushes its way through as the beer warms in the glass. Some orange peel and bitter citrus rind as well.

T- Similar to the aroma. Very bitter and juicy with only a slight malt backing. I love it! An intense, piney bitterness lingers on the dry finish.

M- The carbonation is just right and the beer feels medium-bodied in the mouth.

D- A typically filling offering from Sierra Nevada, but it's very drinkable.

I look forward to this beer every year. This is an outstanding example of an American IPA and a total comfort brew for me. Highly recommended.

Tdizzle, Jan 02, 2008
Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 8,494 ratings.