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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.
BA SCORE
93
outstanding

7,679 Ratings
THE BROS
96
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7,679
Reviews: 3,154
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 11.54%
Wants: 191
Gots: 407 | 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: 7,679 | Reviews: 3,154 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of counselor
counselor

Connecticut

4.13/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another great offering from SN. This beer poured the color of the mosquito fossil amber cane the old guy had in Jurrasic Park. At first it smelled crisp and clean like a cold winter morning, but then the super dry hop smell kicked in to let you know what was ahead. Like the SN Pale Ale, this beer is well balanced with smooth malt flavors across the tounge, with cirtus dry hops to balance out the beer. Molasses and tannin flavors that balance out nicely. A really nice beer that carries on SN's west coast brewing tradition

Serving type: bottle

12-13-2003 22:07:30 | More by counselor
Photo of Globetrotter
Globetrotter

Virginia

4.55/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

What a treat to enjoy a bottle of this masterpiece while sitting in Moscow. Thanks to a colleague who had delivered this and several other holiday brews. Now, if only I could get the Russians to copy this sucker!

Pours a nice cloudy rich copper color under an off white two-fingered head with body and staying power. Nice lace rings linger down the glass. There's lots of fresh sweet hops in the nose, almost like a carnation it's so sweet and flowery. The mouth is very prickly and fairly light. The taste is scrumptious - lots of sweetly bitter hops, with what almost seems like a bit of apple juice somewhere in the back to add balance. The finish is all bitter, leaving a marvellously spicy aftertaste. This was the last beer I had before going to bed last night, and the aftertaste was so good I didn't want to brush my teeth and lose it! Yum!

Serving type: bottle

12-13-2003 12:24:19 | More by Globetrotter
Photo of Redrover
Redrover

Illinois

4.25/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz “mid-range” brown bottle.

Beer pours a wonderful burnished copper with a massive and thick tan head.

Wow, what an aroma! You can smell the hops from about 2 feet away. Lovely aroma, all citrus, pine and floral.

Taste is rock solid. Plenty of stringent hop bite.. But this not a one trick pony. You get some underlying fruit/bread taste, but it is always backed by that great hop taste. Definite pine taste as well. The taste stays solid as the beer warms.

Soft creamy tasty mouthfeel with perfectly calibrated carbonation. Easy to drink a lot of these big boys.

What a wonderful beer!!

Serving type: bottle

12-12-2003 00:47:11 | More by Redrover
Photo of dmarch
dmarch

Pennsylvania

4.18/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Truely a beer for the hophead, but maybe a let down for anyone expecting a spiced winter ale. This is without a doubt, an IPA. Amber in color with an off-white head that diminishes into a thin lace. Hop character is piney with a bit of grapefruit. A caremel malt flavor is almost completely hidden in the hoppy bitterness. Yes the winter is a miserable time of year, but this makes me look forward to it.

Serving type: bottle

12-11-2003 20:25:52 | More by dmarch
Photo of ecoboy
ecoboy

Rhode Island

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

Here's the perfect example of a numerical-rating-by-style shortcoming. Overall, this is a wonderful, drinkable brew. But I feel it is not going to please someone looking for a traditional winter ale. There should be a more obvious IPA notation on the label (akin to Geary's Winter also being an IPA, while the HSA is the true "seasonal") which is more about the snow and hunkering down by the fire.

Even in my notes (where I reviewed Celebration as a Christmas strong ale/winter warmer [6.8% is warm enough for me, thanks]) I wrote the "winter for IPA lovers."

Amber hued in the center of the glass with golden edges. Big hop whack in the aroma. Big hop infusion in the flavor. Little malt presence, and a slight touch of sour.

Three of 'em will make you love any Sandra Bullock movie.

Serving type: bottle

12-11-2003 17:40:07 | More by ecoboy
Photo of BeerResearcher
BeerResearcher

Massachusetts

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

2003 - This deep copper/amber IPA with a solid beige head is a joy to behold. The lace is webby and clumpy in spots.
The aroma is outstanding! Fresh floral and citrusy hops dominate. The faint smell of spruce, sweet malt, fruit and alcohol are present.
While this is an amply malted brew, with some caramel and herbal qualities, the focus here is on the hops. Sharp-edged grapefruit bitterness and piney esters are in abundance. A light fruity background and a bit of metallic tang, along with some noticeable warming alcohol, make for a very flavorful ale, without resorting to an overwhelming quantity of alcohol. Celebration Ale will be one of the Christmas Eve offerings at my home this year.

Serving type: bottle

12-09-2003 21:22:15 | More by BeerResearcher
Photo of Beaver13
Beaver13

Colorado

3.7/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

The Celebration poured a copper-amber color with a nice thick, creamy head with fine bubbles that retained to the bitter end. Very nice smelling with a nice hop and spiciness balance with some floral tones. Interesting taste - medium to full bodied with a spicy, slightly sweet, initial taste with some subtle malt and fruitiness. Then come the hops! A very hoppy finish, a little too bitter for me. Overall, the Celebration is a very interesting beer. The hoppy, bitter finish and aftertaste is a little too overwhelming for me and detracts from the taste and drinkability of the beer.

Serving type: bottle

12-09-2003 06:32:51 | More by Beaver13
Photo of pezoids
pezoids

Pennsylvania

4.65/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This poured out a very clear and bright orange amber color with a perfect head of dense foam. Wow, this is an intensely flavorful beer. With an aroma full of sweet flowery hops and lemon grass. Nice tasting malt body with a strong lingering bitterness. Very easy to drink and very enjoyable.

Serving type: on-tap

12-09-2003 01:20:40 | More by pezoids
Photo of waughbrew
waughbrew

Massachusetts

3.98/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Beautiful orange with red highlights. Large creamy lasting head, thick lacing. Deep, rich American hop aroma, lemon juicy, a touch harsh. Flavor is peppered bread, some pine-sol, lemon rind, buttered biscuit, bitter. Nice body, not overly thick, healthy carbonation but not prickly.

Great brew, very solid. Like many other BAs, I look forward to this each year.

Serving type: bottle

12-08-2003 01:59:34 | More by waughbrew
Photo of TripelJ
TripelJ

Florida

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

Reviewing from notes - 12/6/2003

Now Quaffing: Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale (IPA)

Hand-drawn tap at the Cock and Bull. This will become one of those memorable experiences that I will never forget. Poured an amazing hazy gold with a huge rocky plateau of a head that makes for an eternal wait of at least 5 minutes before the glass is filled. The delicately sweet and floral aroma is enticing. The taste and mouthfeel are what set this beer apart from other IPAs. The thick head looks deceptively solid, but reveals itself to be pure silk making for one of the smoothest mouthfeels I have ever experienced in a beer. The taste is briefly sweet with some citrus but quickly gives way to an assertive floral hop profile that is presented perfectly and lingers long after each sip. This beer is an incredible experience in alchemy. The alcohol is very deceptive in this one and I feel it drinks much stronger than its percentage.

Serving type: on-tap

12-08-2003 00:52:25 | More by TripelJ
Photo of Rastacouere
Rastacouere

Quebec (Canada)

3.68/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Deep amber robe, hazy, well-laced white head from which a good part never disappears. Rich citrus (grapefruit) aroma with notes reminiscent of the christmas tree (piney, resinous, herbal). Good hop character, finish is moderately bitter, just hoppy enough I found. Medium body, good balance. It's certainly good, but it doesn't impress me.

Serving type: bottle

12-07-2003 17:12:00 | More by Rastacouere
Photo of woemad
woemad

Washington

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

Bottle purchased at Jim's Homebrew in Spokane for $1.35. 2003 vintage. Poured a copper color with a lot of carbonation. White head as thick as my finger. Had a spicy hoppy scent, with a caramel-sweet maltiness hovering in the background. While the taste is dominated by hoppiness, its not overbearing like many IPAs I've known. While subdued by comparison, the maltiness is definitely not afraid to come out and play, with a nice caramel flavor that complements the spiciness of the hop flavor quite well. The mouthfeel is nice and creamy. This is not something that will thrill people with an unhealty hop sensation, but it is a very drinkable IPA that I will remember when I next go for a sixer.

Serving type: bottle

12-07-2003 08:14:07 | More by woemad
Photo of Crosling
Crosling

Colorado

3.78/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Not the typical holiday time beer. I am definately not used to Holiday beers being IPA's so the pour and then the initial taste was somewhat of a shocker. This wasn't what I was expecting, somewhat of a let down considering I am not a fan of the style but it was still a pretty damn tasty IPA.

Poured a magnificent hazy rich golden copper with a head that lasted throughout the entire session.

The aroma was of citrus hops and a low malt presense.

The flavor was overwhelmingly hoppy with hints of grapefruits and other citrus flavors. Not a lot of malt presense in this beer. As my palate started to adjust towards the bitterness I actually started to enjoy this brew.

Serving type: bottle

12-05-2003 23:12:56 | More by Crosling
Photo of Weissenheimer
Weissenheimer

New Jersey

3.85/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Clear as crystal, this ale looks precisely like amber. It has a big, lightly tanned, foamy head which quickly dimples and becomes satisfyingly chunky. The combination of spices and hops in the smell brings Rogue Santa's Private Reserve immediately to mind, but here those two elements are more unified. The smooth, sweetly malty, and spicy scent is quite lovely.

The taste is not at all what I expected. Its surprisingly peppery spiciness is not of the sort that the smell would seem to presage. Its hoppiness reminds me again of Santa's Private Reserve, but here the hops are very crisp and not as bitter. It's quite drinkable and the big, steep peaks of lacing left at the end are a bonus, but I'm somewhat turned off by the distinct taste of pepper and the absence of the more jolly winter spices.

Serving type: bottle

12-03-2003 18:13:47 | More by Weissenheimer
Photo of winomark
winomark

Missouri

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

Appearance: Deep copper with a wonderful frothy, slightly sticky off-white head.

Aroma: Beautiful hoppy spice and bitterness. My ideal IPA nose. Malt is present, but nicely hidden.

Taste: Hops and more hops throughout!! Drying, but quite flavorful. Malt offers a wonderful balance.

Mouthfeel: Crisp and dry, with amazingly complex flavors. Slight malt sweetness adds some weight.

Drinkability: One of my top 3 winter seasonals! Fabulous. Find this one and drink all you can while it is still around.

P.S. Just realized this is my 100th beer review. Couldn't have planned it any better if I tried!

Serving type: bottle

12-02-2003 15:44:51 | More by winomark
Photo of yankeeheel
yankeeheel

Maine

3.9/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ok, I'll admit it, I'm scared. I am not a big IPA fan but everyone keeps raving about this beer, so I must try it.

Pours a crystal clear orange with a pretty white head. Lots of lacing here. Smells quite faintly of grass and lemon. Not overwhelming. So far so good.

Wow. This is nice. Quite a bit of caramel and pecan up front with just a bit of that hop burn at the end. The hop almost seems to be delayed until about 5 seconds after I swallow. A very mellow IPA with a nice solid mouthfeel. Doesn't try to blow you out, but you still get the intent.

I shall consume again.

Serving type: bottle

12-02-2003 01:32:59 | More by yankeeheel
Photo of rdrummer
rdrummer

New Jersey

4.6/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I look forward to this every year. The 2003 Celebration Ale pours a clear, medium amber with a creamy head that foams nicely and than subsides to thin lacing all the way down. The predominant aroma is the hops in this one. I am a hops addict so this one is great. There is a fruitiness underlying the hops, and there are some spices that I suspect are nutmeg, clove, and maybe cinnamon.

The overwhelming taste is the hoppiness. The carbonation is right for this type of ale. I taste a little citrus in with the hops and a definite spicy taste deep in the beer. It is excellent, and feels great in the mouth. The spicy, hops taste lingers but this is a hop lovers delight in taste and feel.

This is the most drinkable of Sierra's seasonals, and beats its flagship Pale Ale hands down. This is something to look forward to each Christmas season.

Serving type: bottle

12-01-2003 23:32:57 | More by rdrummer
Photo of Foxman
Foxman

New Jersey

4.43/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

It pours a deep, almost lustrous amber, the head swelling nicely, then ebbing to a comfy, off-white coating across the top of the beer. It laces alluringly down the sides of the glass.

The aroma is hops first, and hops last, with the citrusy fruitiness of the IPA standard hoppy characteristics. It hastens you to sip, but not too hastily, of course.

The flavor floods hops across your palate, with citrus at the fore, with perhaps a soft lemon lilt coming through, followed by a very real malt semi-sweetness. The finish is again hops, with the bitterness laying claim to the back of your tongue, leaving you wanting the next taste. As an aside, as the beer warmed, I thought I noted a very fleeting wisp of toffee or butterscotch as the malt gave way to the hops at the finish. She Who Must Be Obeyed smirked when I said this, but I stand by my senses. For better or worse.

It's medium of body, with a nice alcohol glow working its way through your mouth and downward, and a pleasant slick of hops and malt lingering just right before it dwindles.

I cannot imagine anyone not wanting another. In fact, one leads to another, drawing you in like a moth to a flame. The ABV is just such that you likely can afford to indulge in as many as your senses tell you you require to satisfy The Urge. In fact, this beer may qualify as The Gateway beer that turns you on to many others. But whatever it is, its about as good as it gets, with a few exceptions, and henceforth just the view of that festive label will be enough to make me knock off work and imbibe.

Serving type: on-tap

11-30-2003 00:21:31 | More by Foxman
Photo of JISurfer
JISurfer

South Carolina

3.2/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Other than the apperance, this was an above average brew for me. I am not really a hop head, so it just didn't do it for me. I will say though, that it was better than most hoppy ales. The smell was hoppy, the taste was hoppy, and that was about it. Never really got anything other than hops. Hope this review doesn't discredit me, but if it does, so be it.

Serving type: bottle

11-29-2003 02:05:34 | More by JISurfer
Photo of silks636
silks636

New Jersey

4.72/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 12 oz. brown bottle. 2003 edition. Served at cellar temp.

Beautiful clear amber with a rocky white head. Excellent retention and large sheets of lace. You can smell the hops when you open the bottle... serious citric/floral/pine aromas and upon closer inspection a touch of sweet malt and spice are detected. Starts off sweet before you get hit with a smack of bitter hop... serious flavor, but not at all overwhelming. A sweet bready malt accompanies the cascades to keep things in control. Finish is dry and pleasantly bitter. Mouthfeel is smooth with nice carbonation. A very warming and comforting brew.

Yep, I could live on this stuff. Always a treat year in and year out. Can only see this one getting better with age... have put aside a few just for that purpose. Has been tops on my list of special holiday ales for a decade now.

Serving type: bottle

11-29-2003 00:53:04 | More by silks636
Photo of filabrazilia
filabrazilia

Colorado

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

2003 Edition

What a beauty! This fine ale splashes into my glass like an Olympic diver who needs all 10's. It pours a glorious orange with touches of gold. Great head retention and lacing that clings to my glass as I savor each sip.

The aroma is fruity, malty and hoppy. They blend together nicely to treat my nose to an olfactory delight.

The taste is bold. The hops and malts balance each other and cover my tongue with a mildly dry sensation. Dry, but not too dry. This is what all dry should be.

I could drink this sucker all the time and never apologize for it. While I did not give it a perfect score, it comes as close to perfect as an IPA should.

I wish all brewers could make beer this delightful.

Serving type: bottle

11-28-2003 03:19:20 | More by filabrazilia
Photo of dpend
dpend

Florida

4.72/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Drawn from Hand Pump #2 at The Cock n' Bull Pub on 11/25/03

The color and aroma was glorious.An orange and amber hue hid below a pillow of eggshell white froth.Quick dissipation was not on it's list of things to do.Trails of lacing remained.The scent is of distant spice and a wallop of hops and citrus. Taste was immense with great balance and a bold finish of strong hops. Nice,smooth and a bit chewy. In my opinion, one of the best beers made. It's too bad that it's a seasonal.I could drink it all the time and never tire of it.

Serving type: on-tap

11-26-2003 22:35:05 | More by dpend
Photo of Tballz420
Tballz420

Minnesota

4.7/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2003 edition. The body is a hazy amber/orange color, topped with a well crafted foamy white head. Excellent lacing. The scent is of hops, big hops. The taste of this brew is a excellent mix of a huge dose of hops combined with smooth malts. Very smooth feeling beer. The one problem with this is that its too easy to drink, and before you know it you will have put down ten and receive a nice reminder the next morning.

Serving type: bottle

11-26-2003 18:20:34 | More by Tballz420
Photo of steelreign
steelreign

New York

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

The hop bomb returneth! This is the infamous SN Celebration Ale, what can be described as their Pale Ale on steroids. Sticky, slightly sweet, bitter, and hoppy - this monster will lay waste to your palette and laugh in its' wake. Not for the uninitiated, this one is supremely balanced and chock full of flavor. The only thing wrong with this brew is that it's not made year round.... Excellent! Get it while you can!

Serving type: bottle

11-25-2003 17:51:22 | More by steelreign
Photo of kbub6f
kbub6f

New York

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

2004:276:
The small, yellowy-tan head is dense and still. Color is copper, maybe a little darker than its older brother, and no haze. Nose is sweet, but doesn't smell like sugar. It's faintly hoppy with a touch of sour milk. Front is hoppy bitter. Some nice malt in the middle, but it can't compete with the bitter hops, which pile on even stronger in the big finish. Just a smidge metallic. It's more bitter, rougher than the aged 2003 and doesn't have the nice richness of the malt. Still a good beer, of course.

2003:260: 4.0 | 4.5 | 4.5 | 4.0 | 4.0 (= 4.3)
A small, tan-whitish, noisy head dies fairly quickly. The clear, deep copper beer is just a touch hazy. Psycho lacing. The nose is sweet, sugar and grapefruit hops. Starts fruity, dark hoppy, with some nice milk. Thick through the middle, dark caramel malt, some butter. Still very hoppy bitter in the finish after a year and a half. The buttery malt is really starting to shine through. Very good (quite a bit nicer than the 2004 right now, for me).

+++
2003 fresh: 4.0 | 4.5 | 3.5 | 4.0 | 4.0 (= 3.9)

A very light, tan, crusty, sticky head leaves lots of sticky lacing. The beer is clear, reddish/amber. Nice. Huge, mouth-watering Cascade in the nose along with a sweetish maltiness. The front is very bitter but settles to a sweet, malty, somewhat creamy middle. Hoppy bitter in the finish, of course. Grapefruit burps. This is a very tasty Cascades IPA with a full malty middle. I love the hop monsters, but this one really needs to warm up for the malt to take the edge off the hops. For me, the competition in this field wins.

Serving type: bottle

11-25-2003 00:39:07 | More by kbub6f
Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 7,679 ratings.