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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.

9,253 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 9,253
Reviews: 3,333
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 11.81%
Wants: 288
Gots: 1,190 | 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: 9,253 | Reviews: 3,333 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of bosox941827
5/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from 12 oz. bottle into an Imperial pint glass.

A: A soothing clear amber/orange color - you know you're going to have a good beer when you see this color. Pour it rough and you get a nice rocky head that will leave its ring with each sip...
S: Right after the pour you get the hops...as the head dissipates a bit it becomes more balanced as you might expect.
T: The essence of a hoppy beer. Hops on the front, malt in the middle as some leverage, resolving back into hops, which linger for quite a while. What does it for me with this beer is the bit of sweetness you get in the middle that gives it balance as it resolves into the finishing hops. If you began with the hops and went right to hops again to finish it off, you could, with justification, label this as unbalanced (with the accompanying mouth-fatigue), but that bit of sweetness in the middle is what makes this beer world-class (said the unconverted hop-head!). What also distinguishes this beer from other IPAs, is the LACK of toasted malts, which usually make themselves known at the front of the palate (see: Titan, Stone, etc., etc.). In fact, I had a Titan IPA just prior to this, and even though the IBU are identical, the hop-punch of the SN is leagues ahead of the Titan. This IPA puts the hops at the front and at the end, with the malt in the middle, the way an IPA should be, IMHO.
M: Almost like a fine French Champagne, tiny bubbles that are almost not there.
D: I could drink this beer all day, although I can see how a non-hophead may get mouth-fatigue. Also, the somewhat high ABV of 6.8% (though non-discernable on the palate) will sneak up on you before you know it.

I LOVE this beer - it is the standard against which other IPAs should be judged. Another winner from Sierra Nevada.

Photo of mjaskula
3.76/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a pint glass. Pours a slightly hazy amber with a thick khaki head that thins to a film, leaves some lacing.

The aroma is hoppy and bitter. Flavor is a typical IPA, plenty of hop bitterness, some malt backbone. Hop flavor is more pine than citrus, and crisp and clean. Carbonation is high and refreshing. Easy drinking for IPA lovers.

Photo of webmanspidey
4.38/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle poured into a pint glass. Cloudy burnt orange color with around an inch of head. Smells mostly of oranges and pine needles. Taste is bitter but mellow, loads of orange and lemon. Alcohol is barely noticeable. Refreshing and tasty, this is a great sessionable IPA.

Photo of DesMoinesMike
3.93/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Most of the holiday beers are heavy and full of malts, this one decided to break from the pattern and appeal to hop heads.

It's a pretty light amber color with plenty of fizz. It's got a notable hop taste but it isn't overbearing. there is a slight citrus scent on top. It goes down with a bit of sting but doesn't offend the tongue much at all. It's a nice change up from all the stouts and porters typical of Christmas time.

Photo of fsimcox
4.15/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice amber color, a little cloudy, and lots of bubbles. Off-white foamy head that stays firm for some time. Very nice lacing.

A nice hop, citrus smell. Hints of grapefruit, a crisp scent that I find refreshing.

Taste is smooth when it hits the lips, with hops and citrus, a bitter dry grapefruit finish. Bitter aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is creamy smooth, with some carbonation in the finish.

A great IPA, significant hops, and very drinkable.

Photo of jazztoloc
4.7/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I had the 2009 release, bought a of 12 pack of 12FL OZ bottles, to pair with our Christmas Eve Dinner.

A: I loved the color. Cloudy copper. Nice creamy head and lacing.
S: Smell is very complex, I tried to read some other reviews to see if I could identify the least obvious aromas. Herbs, citrics and little alcohol, but i get intense wood and nuts, that make the smell very complex (first time, almost dislikeded it).
T: Bitterness controls the flavor, and the malts act as a nice pillow that lets you enjoy the complexity. I could taste some alcohol. Very dry finish.
M: Great body and carbonation. The mouthfeel also backup this beer.
D: This beer grows on you, probably not for evrybody.
Visiting family in Tucson Arizona, the weather is cold for me, this suits the beer just fine.
As no one wanted to share this with me (to bitter for almost anyone present, not very much into craft beer), after having a couple of sips.
I'm having the 12 pack for myself and I am liking it more with each sip. Very high drinkabikity.

Photo of betterbgood
2.96/5  rDev -28.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I've tried this beer on tap about a year ago, but i had to try it again because i forgot how it taste. the reviews from here were good, so i decided to buy two six packs for me and some friends. I knew it was another ipa or pale ale, i wasn't ignorant at all by the marketing scheme of a special spiced winter warmer and all the holiday decorations on the label. but alltogether its average, it might just be torpedo in sheeps clothing.

Photo of BeerCon5
4.41/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark murky copper color with very nice creamy off-white head.

There is an herbal hop scent immediately, there are also some notes of grains and toasty malt.

The taste is strong bitter hops from the start, the bitterness fades into a sweet malty flavor with toasty hops and grains, some light citrus as well.

Medium bodied, creamy and smooth at the beginning and finishing more crisp.

This was a very tasty beer, it sort of felt like it would be very filling at first, but eventually became more smooth and easier to drink .

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

burn orange amber with an off white inch thick foamy head.
fruity hoppy aroma, grapefruit and a bit of caramel. rings of lace are left after each gulp.
the taste matches the nose. you can taste the caramel, and the citrus from the grapefruit aroma. hoppy taste, just the right amount.
mouthfeel is very good. its smooth and the carbonation is on point.
overall this is a great beer. this is the first winter seasonal i've ever had that was an IPA, so i guess thats nice for a change.

Photo of diechipmunk
4.21/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Poured amber/orange into a pint glass, had a thick white head with a good retention leaves heavy lacing.

Huge smell of spicy-hoppy grapefruit and pine and a little bit of something sweeter like cinnamon toast. The aroma is absolutely amazing.

Toasty malt and mild spice up front, followed quickly by pine and citrus huge hop bitterness with a very slight trace of malt. Long, fruity, bitter hop finish.

Light-Medium body and very smooth even with the moderate carbonation.

This beer is for the hop lover. There is more complexity in the hop characteristics and olfactory sense than in the malt profile, which results in a surprisingly light yet complex experience. I can't imagine aging it and letting go any of the fresh hop character.

Photo of KTCamm
4.38/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pourd from the 24 ounce seasonal bomber (or bomber+2) into a pint glass.

Pours light to medium amber with thick creamy white head of foam with a good retention. Patience is a virtue. Laces like crazy.

Smell is hoppy cinammon. There are notes of pine and grass that you'd expect from an SN brew, with the winter spice, smells strangely like Christmas.

The taste is wonderful - not being a huge hophead myself, I found there to be an underlying sweetness perfectly balanced with a hop finish. Peppery bite at the finish. Very pleasing aftertaste. Everything is working for me, and still 18 ounces to go.

Great carbonation and mouthfeel.

I can have trouble knocking back the big boy IPAs, but this one practically drank itself. Very drinkable.

Highly recommend.

Photo of parkeak0
4.23/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

SNCA is a perennial favorite of mine. From December through March, it's definitely one of the beers I drink the most.

Pours a crystal clear amber color - very pretty. Nose is dominated by a wonderful hop bouquet - lots of pine, with plenty of citrus and some grass in the background. Pine prevails on the palate, but is well balanced by a nice malt backbone. This is a pretty dry and bitter IPA - which is exactly how I like them. The dryness and bitterness render this brew quite refreshing. If only I had the discipline to hold on to a few of these until the summer months....

Drinkability is high. I often enjoy more than one of these at a time... a great session brew. SNCA 09 is, as expected, excellent.

Photo of Drazzamatazz
4.28/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5


Bottle into SA Perfect Pint.

A: I wish all IPA's looked this good. Nice darker hue then your typical ale, with a thick floating head that just grabs onto your glass the whole way down.
S: Nice bread dough notes that remind me this is more than just your typical IPA. There's also some semi-sweet pine pitch in there.
T: Wow, I just drank christmas. Nice toasty malts up front followed by some typical season spices. That was dessert. Now we are sitting by the tree, and there's that hop punch. Sweet douglas-fir with a hint of grapefruit. For as hard as it comes it cleans the palate smoothly.
M: Fairly light overall, would actually like a little more in this area. Maybe I'm just wanting a little more body from a winter brew.
D: I was hoping to age a few of these after hearing good things about their transformation...but they seem to have all been emptied. I didn't think this is what a Christmas beer should taste like, but having had it I wouldn't want anything to change.

A quite good IPA, one of SNs best beers.

Serving type: bottle

Photo of goldbot
4.07/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2009 Vintage, 12 oz. bottle.

A: Poured with a generous, cream colored head. Great head retention with lots of lacing. The beer was a nice tan to copper color and rather hazy.

S: The hops give off a great floral and citrus aroma. There also a very pleasing pine tree smell, definitely apt for a Christmas beer.

T: Good bitterness from the hops; the pine tree carries over to the taste of the beer, and blends well with the lingering tastes of citrus. The finish is rather dry with nice bitterness. Barely a hint of alcohol.

F: The hops give a medium body, with good carbonation.

D: A very drinkable beer. The bitter hops blend pretty well with the pine and citrus notes, making for a great balanced beer. I wouldn't hesitate to drink a few more if it wasn't for work in the morning.

I bought a six pack of this beer and have cellared four of them. I plan to try one in six months, then hopefully break out the others for a little gift next Christmas.

Photo of benclimbs
3.99/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2009 celebration ale.

poured from a 24oz bomber.

appearance is wonderful for an IPA, while being a bit on the dark side. huge meringue like head, tons of lacing and a bunch of visible carbonation.

though i dont remember this from previous bottles of celebration, the smell is quite boring, just beer-like. smells almost like a dark german lager...bready, yeasty etc. very little of the floral/citric hops i expect from west coast ipas.

taste is just the opposite, nice malts at the beginning, some spicey notes in there, then a big old hop kick, starting off citrus, then transforming to dry with a bit of minerals in the finish. very good, pretty much how a single ipa should taste.

mouthfeel is light, not very sticky or silky, seems average.

A quite good IPA, one of SNs best beers.

Photo of n0rc41
3.93/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Serving type= bottle into a pint glass+ straight from bottle

Appearance= Great with great head of milky brown color (what I look for myself, good head and good lacy finish lol)

Smell= good smell, pine tree christmas-y smell def a holiday beer smell to it.

taste= good taste, piney tree christmas taste of pine and tree if you could imagine. good bitter taste with strong hops flavor. great taste in my book.

Mouthfeel= good mouth feel. not for the weak. this is a strong and powerful beer. I like it alot. but its for someone who loves GOOD beer in my book and understands what goes into making a beer. this has astrong pine tree almost taste and pale ale taste at the end. very good I think. "b" in my book

drinkablity= dont know how to judge it being I have had 7-8 already. for someone who cant handle deep harty beers dont waste your time on a 12 pack, try a 6r for starters, for the MEN who know what they like "A-" great beer!!!!

Photo of BuffaloTapHugger
4.08/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled on 10/24/09 and consumed 12/22/09.

A: Dark amber color with an off white head and totally sick lacing on the pint glass. Very nice start indeed.

S: Diggin deep down you can seek out the sticky pine and some sweetness for kicks. It works, but its nothing over the top kind of shit.

T: Kickin hops with a cense of some christmas spice. Its the best part of this brew and the reason in which I continue to pull this off the rack every December.

M: It sticks, carbonation (check), ABV noticeable (proceed with caution), good sipper over time, let the beer warm up and contrast between temps. is my motto.

D: Not even a question, end of interview.

Photo of sweethome
4.62/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This has been my favorite beer since before BA existed. Just a note for perspective.

Pour is bright amber with white haed - nice lacing.

Nose describes what the beer is about - fresh cascade hops balaced with sweet malty goodness. Ahhh...c-hops.

Sharp and crisp entry of bittering hops, flavor hops, citrus, and just right amount of malts.

Long, long finish...lush yet bitter.

My favorite session beer - guess it depends on defintion of session.

Photo of Florida9
3.83/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Light copper in color with a slight haze. Pours with a big foamy head, leaving copious amounts of lacing.

S: A pleasant mix of floral and citrus hops. Maybe a little pine thrown into the mix, but not much.

T: Malty sweetness followed by a firm bitterness. Short finish.

M: Medium in body. Medium carbonation. Decent bitterness.

D: A very good and very approachable IPA. I look forward to drinking more of these.

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

A: Ruby color with creamy, lively head.

S: Citrus, grass, and faint pine, but surprisingly balanced by some sweeter, bready notes. Festive.

T: Pleasant bitterness spread out around palate. Fruitier front-end gives way to somewhat grainy mid-palate and a lingering, hoppy finish.

M: Very much in balance. Rich, but not overbearing, with moderate carbonation.

D: One bottle will inevitably call for another.

Photo of scottfrie
4.33/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into an American pint glass.

A: Poured a honey-golden amber with a generous tan head that reduced to a thick skim leaving a sticky network of lace.
S: Citrus hops with a bit of grass. Smells a lot like a tangerine. Hints of caramel malts come through as well.
T: Piney and grassy hops with that characteristic grapefruit bitterness. The sweet caramely malt comes through under the hops. Finishes fruity and lightly bitter.
M: Nice carbonation. Goes down easy. Medium body, not oily. A bit of a bitter bite at the end that doesn't take away from the smoothness.
D: A darn fine beer as usual from SN. Definitely one of the best (especially for the price) IPAs out there, and I look forward to this beer every year.

Photo of wknight167
4.13/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Apearance - Pours a slightly hazy golden copper with a solid 1 finger white head that doesn't stay aropund too long, but leaves great lacing.

Nose- Grapefruit and pine hops, almost grassy, with a slight malt sweetness.

Palate- Fresh grapefruit and pine hops are the showcase with a background of caramel malts.

Mouthfeel- Medium bodied, medium carbination, slightly astringent.

Drinkability- Easily a session beer.

Photo of alleykatking
3.72/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle. Review from notes.

A- Pours a semi-hazy amber copper color. Half finger off white head that dies down leaving wisps of foam on the top of the beer. Leaves soapy lacing that clings to the glass sides.

S- Sweet light malts is something that I pick up on at first. This is then over ran by lots of citrus and pine hops. Everything is blending in well. Pine hops come through first along with grapefruit notes behind that. There is a light biscuit malt present.

T- Bitter hops come through in full force with citrus notes at the front. Sweet biscuit malts come into play in the middle. Seems like there might be a light spice note in the middle as well before another light hop bite on the end of this.

M- Medium light mouthfeel. Carbonation like most Sierra Nevada beers is right on. Clean and crisp tasting in the mouth leaving bitter resiny hops on the palate. Piney aftertaste with this beer.

D- This is a very drinkable beer that I always wait around for. Nice IPA with a Sierra Nevada twist to it.

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

Poured from 12 oz. bottle intp chilled pint glass. Pours a copper burnt-orange color 1/4 inch off-white stayed all the way to the bottom of the glass. Citrus and pine notes. Nice hop bite, bitter grapefruit and pine. Retains a generous malt balance. Nice winter warmth.

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

Poured from the bottle into a clean pint glass.

Poured dark amber in color ,with a slight off white head. Very thick head ,which came from a higher altitude pour. Leaves very nice lacing down the side of the glass.

S - I detect a good deal of pine and citrusy notes come across the nose. Maybe a dash of sweetness and holiday memories.

T - At first, the ones reminds me of their torpedo ale, maybe it's because of the citrus notes and cascade hops. This one does become more distinct though, when it warms up a bit. Perfect for the holidays. Just the right amount of hops to go with the malts. I think it's a great balance.

M - Medium body. Nothing too heavy but it's not light either. Prickly, if that is even a way to describe it.

D - I could definitely have a few of these. Awesome for the holidays. Pairs great with food.


2010 Review

Pours a very nice and dark copper/amber, which is has a slight cream in color, head. Very nice lacing.

Smell - I think it smells just like last years, oh it brings back the memories. Hops come through, grapefruit, pine, citrus.

Taste - I will have to say that this one is just as good as last years, but it is balanced and quite delicious. I don't know what it is that they add to this one, but it's just different enough that it begins with the hop bitterness, then the malts come in to round things out, but not totally even...then the finish showcases a very slight sweetness.

Mouthfeel - Medium, awesome carbonation, perfect amount, nice and prickly.

Drinkability - No problem having a few of these, that's for sure. I believe my 12, 12 packs shows my love for Celebration. All around awesome American IPA, that I can't wait for it to show up next year. Definitely a beer that I look forward to every season.

Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 9,253 ratings.