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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.

7,669 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7,669
Reviews: 3,154
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 11.54%
Wants: 192
Gots: 404 | 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: 7,669 | Reviews: 3,154 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of palma

New York

4.22/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Golden/brownish color body with a white head that leaves a smooth looking lace. Smell is spicy and hoppy with fresh green plants, leaves, rainforest. Also some florals and citrus aroma come through. Taste is very hoppy but not off the wall. Good malt taste upfront and a strong, but pleasing bitterness in the end. Also, slight coffee notes in the aftertaste if you look hard. Im not a big fan of IPA's but this one is pretty good.

Serving type: bottle

02-17-2004 04:31:04 | More by palma
Photo of jwilli7122


4.93/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

hazy golden copper color with smallish white head which leaves crusted layers on glass. superb smell- strong floral hops, intense caramel and earth. taste is complex and inspiring...caramel, pine needles, earth (especially), burnt wood, orange peel, pineapple, coffee...floral aftertaste. Medium mouthful that is sharp when cold, and more mellow, smooth and oily when slightly warmed. Near perfection.
a female friend of mine took a sip of my celebration, made a face and asked why i would "pay extra" for something "so harsh." I paused and, content with my answer, did not reply.

Serving type: bottle

02-17-2004 00:57:02 | More by jwilli7122
Photo of Bierguy5


4.58/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The holiday season means there are some great brews, and I can't thing of many better than this. I enjoy searching for this beer as the holidays approach. The snowy cabin on the label gives a feeling that if I was snowed in with this beer, life would be good. Pours a amber/reddish liquid with a great off-white foamy head. The head stayed around for quite some time. Great lace around the glass as time wore on. Smells of citrus, almost spicy. No mistake about it, this is going to be hoppy. The taste is as good as it gets. Hints of a sweet malt surrounded and overtaken by citrusy hops. Plenty of Cascades in this one. This is a hophead's delight. Great medium body. This may not be exactly be a session beer, but since it is a seasonal, make it one! I almost wish that this was a year round beer, but I am glad it is not, so I can appreciate it and look forward to the holidays. If you like hops, you must check this one out.

Serving type: bottle

02-16-2004 04:04:31 | More by Bierguy5
Photo of Charthepirate

New York

4.78/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

spectacular Pale ale. Poured mahogony redish brown with a thick gorgeous lacing all over. Head was off white, and very dense.

Smell is caramel, light hops.

Flavor is something truly special. Light Earthen flavors mix with a healthy dose of buttery toffee, caramel, roasted malts. Followed is the citrussy piney bit of hops. It all mixed very well, smooth and tastey.

Moth feel is nice round and smooth. A flavorful ale awesome to sip on or session.


Serving type: on-tap

02-14-2004 05:16:33 | More by Charthepirate
Photo of dansteino


4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2003 edition.

Appearance. Very good. Beautiful burn orange color. Great head retention.

Smell. Very good. Hops gives off wonderful citric, woodsy, and flowery aromas with some ripe fruit as beer warms.

Taste. Very good. Hops predominates but malt does well to keep beer from being too bitter.

I really like this IPA. They should make it a normal offering and make something else their winter beer.

Serving type: bottle

02-09-2004 08:44:31 | More by dansteino
Photo of guinness33

New Jersey

4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

quite simply a solid to excellent brew all around. pours a healthy amber/gold colour with a nice sized head that hangs out for a little while then leaves a nice chunky residue on the glass. smells of hop, bread, a bit toasty with floral notes and spice and citrus fruit hints. the taste is a bold hit of hop at first, and by bold i don't mean overdone, just powerful. this brew is medium bodied with a nice bitterness coming from the hops and a sweetness following in the back along with some malt flavouring. a nice toasted bread finish completes this one. a very easy drinking brew that is smooth but aggressive and, while it's one of if not the most mainstream holiday brew, is a nice alternative to the more fruit-based holiday beers that are out there. another well made brew from sierra nevada.

Serving type: on-tap

02-05-2004 18:06:24 | More by guinness33
Photo of UnionMade


4.8/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer is a bright orangey amber, almost a maroonish hue. Excellent clarity. A thick, creamy white head rests atop, keeping a tight foam through the entire pint, barely diminishing at all. Incredible. Rings of belgian lace coat the glass. This is one drop-dead gorgeous brew!
The aroma is replete with pacific northwest goodness. Loads of hops, providing an oily, rind-like grapefruity citric aroma. Definite cascade, with some other citric varieties I can't place, maybe columbus or centennial. A bit of herbal mellowness. Plentiful malt hoists the hopping, balancing it on the tip of a finger. Soft toasty crystal malt aroma, with a touch of biscuitiness. Relatively clean, like all their beers. If you love hops, this is it.
The flavor starts with a solid toasty maltiness right up front, followed quickly by a rather powerful hop flavor. Very oily, with grapefruit rind citus and floral flavor. Clean, with perhaps a touch of floral esters. The citric hopping continues into the finish, where it picks up a bit of soft herbal quality. A pleasantl snappy bitterness in the finish, with some biscuity malt breaking through. A very clean, raw hoppiness, almost astringent in it's potency. Good hoppy burps, with an oily citric flavor lingering on the back of the tongue for centuries. Full bodied, with easy going carbonation.
One of the beers I look forward to all year, and squirrel a few away for spring. Easily one of the best IPAs in the world. A standard for west coast IPA. Great from the bottle, but absolutely stunning on tap. The hops are incredibly fresh.

Serving type: on-tap

02-04-2004 12:54:20 | More by UnionMade
Photo of JackTheRipper


4.28/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

When I took my first sip of this, I was expecting a winter seasonal, not an India Pale ale, so I had to redo my numbers with that in mind.

Appearance: Medium amber color, big sticky off white head..

Smell: Grapefruity hop smell. a touch of ginger (?) is also smelled.

Taste: Smooth hoppy goodness. Long finish, nice balance.

Mouthfeel: Nice and sharp but smooth at the same time, alcohol is well masked. CO2 level is spot on.

Drinkability: For an IPA, this is a pretty wonderful brew. Once it has had a chance to warm just a bit, the flavors become more complex, and it smoothes out just a bit. Nicely done.

Serving type: bottle

02-04-2004 04:52:35 | More by JackTheRipper
Photo of kwalters


3.78/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2003 Vintage: After reading the glowing reviews, this bottle came highly anticipated. Celebration is a deep amber/orange color with a medium sized head. The smell is obviously hoppy, but also spicy and a bit piney.

Celebration is immediately recognizable as SNPA's big brother. The hop taste is more intense and there is a noticable amount of dry bitterness. In fact, the bitterness and dryness were a bit too much for my tastes. I prefer more citrus notes such as those found in Kalamazoo's Two-Hearted Ale.

There's plenty of flavor and character here to satisfy any American pale ale or IPA fanatic. It's relatively cheap too, for a 6.8% well made IPA.

Serving type: bottle

02-03-2004 14:21:50 | More by kwalters
Photo of WesWes

New York

4.45/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a dark amber color with a thick frothy white head that fades to lacing. The aroma is awesome. It is full of piney hops, pale, and crystal malts. It has a nice balanced aroma. The taste is great. It has the best of both worlds. It has a very intense hop flavor which is accompanied by a complex malt bill. The mouthfeel is also good. It is a medium/full bodied beer with excellent carbonation. This beer drinks great. It goes down easy and shows little sign of it's elevated abv. . This beer ranks along side the best I've had; a real good beer.

Serving type: bottle

02-02-2004 18:37:20 | More by WesWes
Photo of malty


4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Vintage 2003. 12 oz. traditional bottle with the customary cozy winter scene.

Bronze-orange with nice clarity. Fluffy off-white head that has staying power.

Brilliant hop nose with an interesting earthy scent that makes you wonder what's behind those perky hops.

Ahhh, there it is. Refreshing hops are right up-front with a nice backdrop of malt that keeps it held together nicely. Also hints of pine, faint cinnamon and even vanilla, (but very subtle). I enjoyed the many dimensions of this med. bodied seasonal offering. It's definitely got more going on in the taste dept. than one might expect. I even detected a hint of cinnamon in the long and flavorful finish.

Mouthfeel is viscous, with the essential curl of the tongue you get with any well hopped ale. Fine carbonation which keeps things moving along nicely.

One of the more highly drinkable holiday ales you might find. A hop head's delight with something there for the malt maestros as well.

A must have for the holidays. I enjoyed this vintage more than the last couple due to it's slight chewy malt characteristics. If you can keep this around until Valentine's day, you're doing better than me.

Serving type: bottle

02-01-2004 04:00:12 | More by malty
Photo of Chsyhkr

North Carolina

3.13/5  rDev -24.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Ah, Celebration Ale, one would think of a nice winter warner, not!

A nice beer for hopheads, but too typical of overdone west coast hopped beers.

Really a nice IPA and not much more. A full gold color and strong hop presence, bordering on insipid. Some malt in the aroma and taste, but you know what we are getting here. HOPS!

A fairly dry beer, not unusual for an IPA with a clean finish, if you consider ripping your tastbuds out with pliers clean.

Hey, it's a good beer but not a "winter celebration" type ale. Don't be fooled by the packaging!

Serving type: bottle

01-29-2004 12:59:05 | More by Chsyhkr
Photo of beerman599


4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

i sat down with five coceutive years of this and found out that as the hops subside this becomes a great english still old ale. this year was full hpppy and wonderfully bitter, 2003 was still full bitter and hoppy 2002 starts to mellow and the hops start to fall away and expose more fruity character , the 2001 really starts to become and old ale with ripe fruit character and rich malt quilty, make no mistake their as still a great hop character its just becomes more sutle and allows the other flavors to come through

Serving type: bottle

01-22-2004 21:59:35 | More by beerman599
Photo of Beastdog75

New Jersey

3.78/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(2003 Edition)

Sierra Nevada's Celebration Ale is one of the most anticipated beers of the winter season. While other brewers may offer a holiday brew that contains fruits, spices and whatnot SN gives us quite simply a very hoppy IPA that is bold, interesting, and complex.

Celebration Ale pours a nice reddish amber color with a nice foamy head that retains well and leaves decent lacing. Of course, the predominant aroma in this beer is hops. Aroma contains notes of pine, floralness, herbs, and the slightest hint of sweet caramel malts. The mouthfeel is smooth and slightly coating, with a moderate carbonation. The hop flavors jump out immediately in this beer. A strong pine and woody character seem to be the main players in the flavor department. Other notes include herbs, citrus, mintiness, and spiciness. A very slight malt profile was detected under the hops, but to my inexperienced palette it was barely detectable. The beer is quite bitter in the finish. The hop flavors linger well after the beer is finished, and is quite drying as well. There is some alcoholic warmth in the finish, but not nearly as much as you'd expect from a beer that nears 7% abv.

I'm not a card carrying member of the Hophead Society yet, but if I were this beer would probably get an even better score from me. I really didn't find this beer to be all that balanced, but the fact that it is so well-brewed and interesting atones for that. I will eventually acclimate myself to this style, so that when next winter rolls around, I will be ready to accept the onslaught of the Celebration Ale.

Serving type: bottle

01-22-2004 18:47:28 | More by Beastdog75
Photo of twilight


4.68/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I've had this before, but I now realize the taste of other beers had influenced its flavor. So I'm reviewing it with a neutral palate. 2003 edition, 12 oz. bottle in nonick pint glass.

Beautiful bronze colour, with a ring of head around the outside that leaves beautiful lacing around the glass. The smell is a subtle and beautiful scent of hops, almost as though you were walking through a field of hops, but not overpowering. Taste is heavenly. Major hop taste without being too bitter or acrid. Perfectly balanced with malts. Neither sweet nor sour, but just inbetween. A delicately balanced beer. The other surprise about Celebration is that it goes down super smooth. Aftertaste is pure hops without being overly bitter. Just that nice smooth bitterness. All around an exceptional beer. Too bad I got the last sixer from the beer store. It's a crime to have this beer be only seasonal. But then again I suppose one will appreciate it better.

Serving type: bottle

01-22-2004 00:54:08 | More by twilight
Photo of mrpicklerelish


4.68/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Apperance- This one poured a nice orangish copper color. The head was a nice light tan color that seemed to pretty much stick around the entire time that I drank it. Or maybe I just drank it a little to fast because of how great it tasted.

Smell- I smelt a floral and ctirus smell right off the bat. Along with a hint of herbs and spices.

Taste- A very nice hoppy IPA, one of the best that I have had. While strong on hops, it tasted very smooth and went down even smoother. There was also a glimps of malt which left a nice sweeteness in my mouth.

Mouthfeel- Despite the massive hops in this brew, it seemed to go very smoothly. Not a crisp beer by any means, but not to heavy either, just right.

Drinkability- Not a session beer do to the 6.8% ABV. But I will say, everytime I run into this brew I must pick up at least a six pack.

Comments- Wow, my first time with this beer and it sure made the last part of 2003 and the beginning of 2004 a blast. When I can no longer get this very special seasonal brew it will be a sad day. But it will sure give me something to look forward to next winter. One of my now all time favorites that I will be sure not to miss towards the end of the year.

Serving type: bottle

01-21-2004 13:50:45 | More by mrpicklerelish
Photo of kmo1030


4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

dark amber colored with a thin just slightly off white head. the smell is almost totally hops with a nice clean flowery fresh cut grass smell with pineyness, there is a caramel malt aroma with some baked bread. fresh hop flavors dominate, with a near sweet/ bitter grapefruit taste with that fresh hop spiciness. there is a caramel malt flavor profile underneath this with the same slight yeasty characteristics as the aroma. excellent fully carbonated, but not at all thin, while remaining crisp mouthfeel. probably one of the best beers that i've tasted. man, what a kick ass classic beer. get a case.

Serving type: bottle

01-20-2004 23:09:54 | More by kmo1030
Photo of smcolw


4.45/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance--Gorgeous rich bronze color; pleasant slightly off-white head that collapsed quickly. Extremely small carbonation bubbles providing for a long lasting lace on the glass

Smell--Predominate hop aroma that is more flowery than bitter. Very inviting.

Taste--Very short malt flavor up front which quickly becomes overwhelmed by the bitterness from the hop. The aftertaste is entirely bitter hop.

Mouthfeel--Consistant with the style, bitterness lingers long, long after the swallow.

Drinkability--I consider this to be one of the superior American IPA's. While I wouldn't quaff this, if I could only have one beer for an entire evening, this would be one of my top choices.

Serving type: bottle

01-17-2004 21:04:02 | More by smcolw
Photo of surfmeister


3.43/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: beautiful amber/orange, sturdy head, fun to look at
Smell: hoppy, spicy, very fragrant
Taste: strong bitter component, complex, a little over the top, maybe too much of a good thing, beer doesn't need to hit you over the head IMHO
Mouthfeel: full, nice carbonation
Drinkability: I don't feel like drinking many of these, one was interesting though
Overall: a complex beer with bold flavor, not the second coming though, overrated

Serving type: bottle

01-16-2004 16:27:42 | More by surfmeister
Photo of RockyTopHeel

North Carolina

4.47/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

2003 Edition.

Now this is a beautiful looking beer. Vibrant, glowing, even sparkling amber-colored with lots of bubbling carbonation and a pocked beige head. I mean, this really glows in the glass. Gorgeous--and I haven't even tasted it yet.

Bright, hoppy aroma fits with the appearance, with light sweetnesses at the corners. The taste starts clean, crisp and hoppy, then flows seamlessly into a softer, slightly malty finish with small explosions of sweeter flavors and fruit notes. On top of all that, this beer is ridiculously drinkable, too. Amazing.

Now I know what all the fuss is about. Wow.

Serving type: bottle

01-16-2004 01:08:01 | More by RockyTopHeel
Photo of IceAce


4.28/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

APPEARANCE: Medium Copper color with excellent clarity. Arrived with less than 1 finger of foam head but had already decorated the brim of the Libbey straight-side pint glass with an excellent sticky lace.

SMELL: Don't mean to 'dis this ale. but the collar of foam disppointed by dissapating rapidly leaving behind a disappointed taster. Thus, the quality and quantity of the aroma were slightly lacking behind the lofty expectations.

TASTE: First taste of this big brew was dominated by the aggressive hopping. Subsequent tastings provided glimpses into multiple malts...always followed by (very) sticky hops. ~ (Appearance update) Halfway through the pint the lacing on the glass is picture perfect...thus deepening the mystery of the disappearing head. (We'll blame this on the glasswasher)

MOUTHFEEL: Mouthfeel is exceptional as the tongue is simultaneously tangoing with malts, waltzing with hops, and doing the jitterbug with the just-right level of CO².

DRINKABILITY: All winter long, baby!

Serving type: on-tap

01-15-2004 17:54:45 | More by IceAce
Photo of KingSlender


3.85/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is one of those beers that you wish was brewed year round. I always make sure I stock up on Celebration when it arrives each winter. Celebration has a very pleasing nose that reminds me of most holiday brews - a buffet of unique spices, fruits, and hops. The appearance is a deep amber hue with a remarkable light brown head. At first sip your tastebuds jump for joy as the complex, but smooth, structure falls down the back of your tongue. A perfect combination of hops and malt. This is one of Sierra Nevada's jewels and should be enjoyed all winter long.

The King recommends drinking this beer with a slice of Mom's home-made rhubarb pie.

Serving type: bottle

01-14-2004 04:07:51 | More by KingSlender
Photo of PartyHatjo


4.03/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've tried this both in the bottle and on tap, but I prefer the draught version. The head didn't last particularly long, but I didn't particularly care as this beer wasn't undelicious. The hop aroma is groin-grabbingly transcendent and being a hophead, I can't get enough of it. The bitterness is present but is balanced nicely with the malts. I love cascades (who doesn't?) and the citrusy characteristic of them is strong, and it helps to mask any alcohol flavor. Definitely the best IPA I've had that I didn't make myself...

Serving type: on-tap

01-13-2004 21:52:58 | More by PartyHatjo
Photo of MobBarley


4.88/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This brew knocks my socks off. Poured from a nostalgic looking 12oz. bottle into a pint glass. Above average, off-white head that persisted through the drink. And the color, oh the color! Beautiful and coppery with a festive reddish hue...quite fetching.

The smell of this sample was fresh bread up front, quickly moving into a crescendo of hoppy citrus notes before a final, mellow note of holiday spice.

Hops dominate here and for me that is usually sufficient. This ale is more complex than most, however. This has a strong, malty foundation that imparts slight (butterscotch?) notes and is a worthy counterpart to a truly delicious hoppy/spicy finish with big notes of yellow grapefruit.

Smooth and perfectly carbonated in the mouth. Teases the tongue all over, and is all at once refreshing and substantial.

The drinkability here is almost worthy of a 5.0, but the high ABV makes it a beer better served with a good, spicy meal. Not a session beer, but a special beer.

Serving type: bottle

01-13-2004 07:30:49 | More by MobBarley
Photo of HiroProtagonist


4.28/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Celebration 2003 poured with a small rough light tan head, and left nice fine lacing. The color was a very beautiful molten and glowing copper. The smell was mellow yet quite complex, with a lovely floral hop bouquet and a sublte malty notes. The taste was rich and delicious, with a superb whole grain malt backbone and perfectly matched assertive bitter finish. The beer felt amazingly full and velvety. This beer is quite an accomplishment. It is rich, dimensional, and hoppy, has a mouthfeel of a more expensive big beer, and yet costs the same as the other "standard" microbrews. A winner!

Serving type: bottle

01-13-2004 02:42:26 | More by HiroProtagonist
Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 7,669 ratings.