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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.

7,683 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7,683
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: 7,683 | Reviews: 3,154 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of dpend


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


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

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

New York

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

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
Photo of Running4beer


3.53/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours out a copper/amber color with a thick frothy off white head very nice and it maintains for quite a while then slowly thins out never fading out completely. Carbonation was moderate and had a medium bodied mouth feel. Aroma was straight up hops, citrus hops, floral hops, spiced hops and a piney/grassy aroma. Flavor was much the same as the aroma straight up hops spicey and floral hops were the strongest flavors noticable a bit and tiny bit of caramel malt. There was a slight bitterness and aftertaste IMO. Good brew but not my favorite SN....

Serving type: bottle

11-24-2003 23:13:43 | More by Running4beer
Photo of bditty187


4.53/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Bottle, 2003 Edition

Very lightly hazy coppery-amber hue, the off-white head reached a perfect height of a fat finger. The retention was great, firm and long lasting; it slowly compacts to a small tight cap. Modest lacing. Either this version is much hoppier in the nose that last year or I missed something previously because this is a hoppy treat. The bouquet is largely citrus (heavy on the rinds), piney, floral hops, very deep, complex, each attributes comes to the foreground, then fades, which allows a different quality to shine. Inviting. The palate is raw with hops; SN amazes me with this brew. Upfront is heavy with citrus rinds, bitter as all get out, a quick hint of floral mixes in the middle, an implication of clean malts too. The finish is a grapefruit and pine fest. I love the long lingering hoppy, bitter, raw aftertaste; Michael Jackson must have been drinking a Celebration Ale when he coined the phrase “more-ish.” This is a very special brew; winter would be pointless without it. At this young age it is not balanced and any mention of malts is ephemeral. Worth cellaring to mellow, if that is your bag. Medium-full in body, sturdy carbonation, very appropriate for a hearty, hoppy, winter warmer. Astonishingly drinkable! Especially if you consider the alcohol content, it is a well-hidden 6.8% abv. Highly Recommended.

Bottle, 2002 Edition (4.5 / 3.5/ 4.5 / 4 / 5) = 4.3

Terrific amber hue with a massively rocky, tan head with fantastic lace. A citrusy grapefruit dominates the nose but a noticeable hops aroma is present as well. Occasionally I could detect a note of pine. Balance was not the objective; the flavors are mainly hops... damn tasty pine (and grapefruit). Faint malt sweetness could be perceived as well. This beer is surprisingly firm, yet smooth, in the mouthfeel department. The 6.8% abv makes this a true winter warmer! This brew is lip-smacking, mouthwatering good! This is a must try! The lack of balance may deter some and the “power” of the hops may deter others. I think this beer is worthy of the praise, even though it is not as hoppy as I had expected.

Serving type: bottle

11-22-2003 20:40:50 | More by bditty187
Photo of bewareOFpenguin


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

I had the good fortune of finding a sixer of this at Kappy's. Ran about $8. Had an deep amber color with a decent head. The twist off makes it way too easy. The taste was hoppy, but not over powering. The label said 2003, but I don't think the taste changes much year to year. Bitter sweet, this is a fantastic beer. If only store 24 carried it!

Serving type: bottle

11-21-2003 22:19:38 | More by bewareOFpenguin
Photo of Boilermaker88


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

I decided to start my inaugural journey through the winter seasonal brews yesterday. What better way to start than with a Celebration, Sierra Nevada style. Presented in a 12oz brown bottle with a cozy picture of a snow-covered house on the label and a “2003" on the neck label, this beer had a clear coppery color with a firm whitish head that had nice retention and left some sticky webby lace in its wake. Lots of carbonation noted.
I picked up the aroma from nearly a foot away! Wow, that has a seriously hopped aroma. Lots of citrus aroma and spruce pine scents with some toasty malt and caramel intermixed to keep things in check. The taste was a hearty blend of pine- and grapefruit hops juiciness that ruled the glass, allowing the malt aspect to make only brief appearances to balance things out. The hops keep marching on through the finish, leaving a lasting bitterness and making for some lively hops burps later. The feel was medium-bodied, smooth and a bit resiny as the spruce carpets the tongue.
Definitely not what I expected for a winter seasonal. Great thing was, I had a desire for a well hopped beer when I got home from work. Celebration was just the ticket. A really well-built IPA. Too bad it isn’t around all year.

Serving type: bottle

11-21-2003 19:13:42 | More by Boilermaker88
Photo of Ellbert


4.78/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is a wonderful brew. It has a decent apperance. There wasn't much of a head and just a little lace. That took points away from the apperance.

The smell is that of a good IPA, very floral and citrusy with a bit of malt sweetness.

The taste is exceptional with different flavors coming in at different times. There is a nice sweet maltiness to go along with the bitter fruitiness of the hops. Well balanced with the hops upfront.

Mouthfeel is great, it is very smooth with sublte carbonation.

Very drinkable and very buyable for 5.49 a sixer in Toledo Ohio.

Serving type: bottle

11-19-2003 02:18:47 | More by Ellbert
Photo of ColForbin

New Hampshire

5/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

SNCA may just be my favorite beer in the world - certainly my favorite American beer. I twist off the cap of a 2003 bottle with much anticipation. It pours an orangey-red with with a thin, fine-bubbled head. The nose is full of piney hops, making me remember that this is the drink to set up a Christmas tree with - forget egg nog. Taste is all hops, but with a firm malty body to back it up. Just the perfect mouthfeel to keep you coming back for more - not too thick, not too thin. A perfect beer, hence the 5's in all categories.

Serving type: bottle

11-19-2003 01:18:04 | More by ColForbin
Photo of AbePhroman

New Jersey

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

When I first bought this I didn't know it was an IPA. I was so delighted when I took the first sip out of my glass. IPA's are one of favorite types of brews.
Pours a dark red color with a tan head. Smoooth taste!! Tasty, tasty hoppiness, how do I love thee! Very drinkable beer. 6.8% isn't something to laugh at but it leaves room for a good amount.
Snatch this up while you can because it will be gone before spring. (Actually, I was at a local liquor store in Jersey the other day and they still had 2002 on the shelf...I passed.)
If you enjoy drinking IPA's then you will not be disappointed. If you like this brew try Victory Hopdevil.

Serving type: bottle

11-19-2003 00:44:23 | More by AbePhroman
Photo of NearerMyBeerToMe


4.15/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2003 was the first year I tasted this, which turns out to be something I should have done earlier. Pours starting out with a nice two-finger head, fluffy in the middle, with a medium bead. After a minute or two, head subsides and remains at about one finger or so. Abundant bubble strings streaming through deep bronze-colored liquid, almost glowing orange around the edges of the glass when held up to light. Nice color! Lace is clingy at first; later slides easily down sides of glass. Aroma is distinctly citric and hoppy; by aroma alone you can recognize this as an IPA. Caramelly hints of malt in the middle of the nose. Taste is of lots of American hop, citrusy juiciness, and another light, caramelly maltiness at the back of the palate. Lemon juice, orange rinds; just a touch of spice, nutmeg? clove? consistent with the season. Mouthfeel is outstanding. Juicy, wet, moreish, with that citric character really cleansing the palate with lemony wetness, not as dry as the majority of IPAs. No alcohol taste to speak of; deeply quenching and moreish. Very drinkable... the first time I encountered this beer was on draft and I wasn't familiar with the alcohol content, so a friend and myself ordered it by the pitcher and treated it like a session beer, which, in retrospect, wasn't the most accurate approach. That won't keep me from enjoying a few more six-packs (at a more appropriate pace) this season. Its chart position is understandable... Recommended.

Serving type: bottle

11-18-2003 23:09:14 | More by NearerMyBeerToMe
Photo of BierManVA


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

It's difficult for me to review IPA's because they are a bier that I am not particularly agreeable about. But I do recognize this one as pretty good.

Excellent appearance, a massive head and redish amber color. The smell is crisp medicinal hop.

Tastewise, the hops really come through and you better have excellent tastebuds to get anything other than bitter. And I do mean bitter. I guess I don't qualify.

If you like IPA's, this bier's for you.


Serving type: bottle

11-18-2003 22:52:42 | More by BierManVA
Photo of mschofield


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

2003 bottling
Nice orange-red color with a thick off-white head, laces very well.
Strong hoppy aroma with some spice, I already know I'll like this one.
Hops carry through to the taste, and theres some orange zest in there with spruce. A little bitter but oh so smooth.
As for drinkability.. this is a holiday present from Sierra Nevada to beer drinkers, I could buy it by the case.

2004 bottling
Pours a rich, clear copper-amber, topped with a two finger creamy khaki head, leaves webs of lacing.
Citrus and leafy hop, toasted malt, bread and spruce aroma.
Awesome hop flavor, citrus, flowers, pine, toast and caramel. Nice high bitterness, strong but not obnoxious. Dark toffee note.
Awesome at cellar (55-60) temperature.

Serving type: bottle

11-18-2003 16:39:24 | More by mschofield
Photo of Stingray5

New York

4.83/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Celebration Ale, where have you been all my life? Somehow this ale has flown under my radar, until now. It was worth the wait. Orange hues with a fluffy white head. Very clear and neat. Aromas billow from the glass, with fresh pine hops and malt undertones. Taste is oh so fresh - supreme balance of malt and mega hops. Superb. Fresh hop leaf finish.

Until now, I'd had no idea this brew even existed. I have a lot of catching up to do.

Had it on tap. Even better. Fresher, hoppier, tastier. This has quickly become one of my top beers.

Serving type: bottle

11-16-2003 19:44:33 | More by Stingray5
Photo of DagFishHead

New York

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

Fall 2003 release.
Appearance: Gorgeous crystal-clear copper pour. Substantial, 1/4" frothy, off-white head with sibstantial lace.
Smell: Dry floral hops... lots of 'em... the SN of SN hops. This is exactly what an IPA should smell like. The malt foundation does poke through if you're patient. Superb.
Taste: Hop oils and carbonation grab your tongue and give it a good old-fashioned tingling. Toasted malt fills in behind before the hops return with a vengence to finish 'er of with a dry floral flourish. Perfect IPA imbalance.
Mouthfeel: Oily hops, decent malt body, carbonation just slightly heavy.
Drinkability: Grab a case or two and get ready for snow. Yum.

Serving type: bottle

11-14-2003 02:49:00 | More by DagFishHead
Photo of OldFrothingSlosh


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

2003 Vintage: Poured a clear, deep amber in color. Lots of bubbles rising up from the bottom. Tight layer of white lace atop the beer. Good quality lacing of the glass. Aromas are floral/citrus, with some delicate sweetness peeking through. Still the same hefty dose of hoppy bitterness that really dominates. A little bit of balancing by the malt. Spicy notes also present. Very bitter at the end, with a mouth-puckering dryness. A touch on the harsh side, I'm hoping some aging will mellow this out. A very good seasonal that gets better with age.

2002 Vintage: When my friend told of this offering, I ran out to my local Total Wine and picked up a few 6-packs. Wow! I was not disappointed. Pouring a lovely copper color with a hoppy blast at the beginning, it offered exquisite mouthfeel and citrusy aroma and also finished with a strong hoppy influence.

Get some if you can. You'll not be disappointed.

Serving type: bottle

11-14-2003 02:40:32 | More by OldFrothingSlosh
Photo of Elemental


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

This is for the 2003 release. pretty much the same as far as appearance, color and head go. But the aromas and taste are definately different. The main noticable difference this year is in the hops. There is a more grassy straw aroma and taste. Its tart and tasty. Not too sweet and not to bitter. Though it definately is a bitter beer. Once again SN comes up with another great seasonal.

Serving type: bottle

11-13-2003 04:17:01 | More by Elemental
Photo of BigPapaLager


3.95/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer that i've been tying to find up here for a week or so. Poured a medium head, receding slowly. The first taste was of hops and then spices as is typical of the season. The carbonation that i felt at first was replaced by a smooth finish. a very good seasonal.

Serving type: bottle

11-13-2003 01:42:41 | More by BigPapaLager
Photo of chaduvel


3.63/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2003 edition. Ahh, first holiday beer of the year. Dark amber, sticky head with good retention. Smell is hops, hops, hops, hops, and hops. Piney, sprucy strong hops. Touch of malt at the beginning and then painful Xmas tree hops flood the palate and leave a lasting intense bitterness. Not enough balance here. There seems to be a touch of clove or nutmeg or cinnamon in here. Pretty tasty but I would have liked to have these holiday spices have more presence, and overall this one isn't balanced for my taste.

Serving type: bottle

11-12-2003 16:33:31 | More by chaduvel
Photo of CSimon


4.83/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2003 in a bottle.

Year after year, Celebration nails it.

Beautiful rich amber-brown color. Pours a nice full head for an IPA.

There is grapefruit. Hops. But, unlike lots of great IPAs, this has some malt for balance. I tend to like the big extreme hoppy IPAs. But, I have a real apprecaition for the way that Celebraton has some malt to tame the hops. In fact, my brother, who isn't a huge beer fan, and generally prefers blanced beers, enjoys Celebration. A real oddity in that this beer has appeal to beer-drinkers of all types.

The brewer from Bell's was at The Brickskeller a few weeks ago singing the praises of Sierra Nevada's consistency. He has a point. Celebration never disappoints.

Serving type: bottle

11-12-2003 02:05:39 | More by CSimon
Photo of OatmattStout


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

Real nice color with a substantial tan head. Nose of carmal and hops. Mouthfeel is really smooth with a slick and expanding carbonation around the tounge. Taste is great, real hop bang with pine and grapefruit characteristics and a nice lingering hop head bite, just like you would expect from a West Coast brew. Has some real good sweet, caramel and lightly toasted notes on the malt side. Overall a big delicious IPA.

EDIT: 11-2010
same great IPA, very spicy hop notes and very green grassy fresh hop nose and taste. like throwing in a hop dip straight from the vine, nice and oily

Serving type: bottle

11-12-2003 01:09:34 | More by OatmattStout
Photo of rabidawg


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

2003 model

As compared to an aged version of last year's model (reviewed on 07/23/03), the fresh Celebration is much more highly hopped, both in nose and in the taste, with a big, citric hop bite and huge lingering bitterness. Tastes very green, and I definitely prefer the mellowed version. Fresh it's not as balanced, but certainly a great IPA. Slightly downgraded in the flavor department.

2002 model. Just purchased today; unsure of storage conditions.


Appearance: Ruby-chestnut body with a big, soft, fluffy, rocky head. Slowly settled into a thin cap, lacing like a beast.

Smell: Wow. Potent hop aroma with a noticeable malt background. Slightly spicy, but in a very natural way. Barely noticeable alcohol presence. Hops definitely take the lead, with soft citrus fruit (orange peel?) dominating.

Taste: Incredibly balanced. Possibly the most balanced "big" IPA I've ever had. Reminiscent of an even better version of Ipswich's IPA, with regards to the malt/hops balance. Almost sweet at first, with a spiciness I just can't place. The hops are subdued and balanced, but still leafy and fresh. Finishes nicely, very smooth and round. Creamy mouth, and very full. Very satisfying, but I still want more!

Notes: Excellent, excellent beer. I can't wait to taste this along with next year's version, as I've never had a truly fresh bottle. Highly recommended.

Serving type: bottle

11-11-2003 03:38:57 | More by rabidawg
Photo of hotstuff


3.03/5  rDev -27.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

2002 On Tap:This beer's appearance was a small sized ivory head that was creamy and smooth and contained fine-small sized bubbles that was mostly lasting.The body was uncarbonated and clear with a reddish hue.The nose was hoppy and malty with a very bitter and hoppy flavor.The mouthfeel was fairly smooth and somewhat tingly and it was medium bodied.There was a fair amount of lacing with this beer.I am not a hop head by any means so this one tasted very hoppy and bitter to me.

Serving type: on-tap

11-09-2003 17:55:56 | More by hotstuff
Photo of PSUDREW


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

2003 edition:

Poured out that amber hue, some head retention, lots and lots of lace. Once in your mouth, it's lighter body is somewhat deceptive of it's real power. Powerful hop prescenes will smack you in the face (in a good way), and has some nice sweet and spice to it going down, smoothly finished off with a small bite. Seasonals- YAY!

Serving type: on-tap

11-09-2003 14:26:07 | More by PSUDREW
Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 7,683 ratings.