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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.

9,298 Ratings

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Ratings: 9,298
Reviews: 3,344
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 11.57%
Wants: 292
Gots: 1,222 | 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: 9,298 | Reviews: 3,344
Photo of beertooth
4.4/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

12oz bottle poured into a Three Floyds nonic.

This beer pours a slighty hazy light amber color and has a nice fluffy two fingers of white head. The foam fades to a thin layer and collar and leaves lot's of spotty lacing.

The nose is a wonderful balance of sweet doughy malts, floral and citrus hops. Grapefruit, orange, warm toast, a tiny bit of alcohol to round it out.

The first sip gives me those doughy malts up front. The bitter citrus comes next and keeps the sweet malt notes in check. This beer is extremely balanced even through the finish. The alcohol is a little warming, but hard to pick up on.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a medium to low level of carbonation.

Celebration is one of the only beers I'll actually buy cases of. There's a certin joy that fills me when I see those first white and red bottles of the season.

Photo of Lothar666
4.08/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 24 fl oz bottle into my Rapscallion Snifter.

A- Poured a ruby red amber orange with a creamy off-white head that receeded slowly, leaving a thick lacing on the sides of the glass.

S- Faint hops and floral accents backed with notes of citrus- grapefruit perhaps, but with something spicy sweet in the background.

T- Very strong hop bitterness and an intense flavor of grapefruit in the finish, lending an uncommon tartness to the overall flavor. The tartness plays on the tongue long after the initial swallow. Impressive.

M- The hop bitterness in this brew is impressive, tingling the roof of the mouth and the inside of the cheeks.

D- Goes down surprisingly easy for a brew this bitter.

Photo of claykeller
4.85/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Serving Type: Bottle poured into the Sam Adams glass.

Appearance: Amber with light head on top. Nice lacing the whole way down the glass.

Smell: Smell is piney with some malt. Smells more like a double ipa.

Taste: Nice hoppiness with malt to balance it out. Just about perfect balance in my opinion.

Mouthfeel: Very silky, not slick. Leaves almost no bitterness on the tongue.

Drinkability: Due to the great balance and mouthfeel this is a very drinkable beer.

Notes: This is my favorite winter beer. Consistently good with a reasonable price compared to some other beers similar in quality.

Photo of Lldeegan
3.86/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a nice burnt orange with a just barely off white rocky head. Leaves a nice lace as it recedes. Creates a beautiful bright orange when held up to the light. This is a really delicious looking beer. Some pine and then a wallop of grapefruit and other citrus notes hit the nose first. Has some sweet initially on the palate from the malt, which transforms into a floral hop flavor with citrus and a mellow bitter finish. It has a pretty light mouthfeel that is even creamy a bit sticky. I definitely had lower expectations for this beer, as I usually do with other Sierra Nevadas. Many people love all of their offerings, but what I've doesn't really jive well with my tastes, most notably the Pale Ale. However, this was a pretty balanced IPA, which I definitely did not expect from Sierra Nevada. I would drink this again and would suggest it to others. It is a nice winter ale.

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

A- Pours orange-amber with white head that dissipates for the most part. Nice lacing develops after every sip.

S- All I get here is piney and citrusy aromas

T- Sharp citric and herbal flavors give way to bready flavors near the end.

M- Medium-bodied with good carbo. Also, there is some warmth from the alcohol which I might usually object to, but with this brew it really works.

D- Like I said above, some warmth from the alcohol, but to me it really does not get in the way of drinkability at all. Very drinkable/sessionable stuff.

Photo of Squelch
4.2/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Ruby read with an off white head. Slightly cloudy.

Smell: Citrusy hops with a complex malt aroma. Very nice:

Taste: Hoppy. Really tastes like Grapefruit. Excellent. One of the best IPA's I've had.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied. Not too harsh with the hops.

Drinkability: I could drink a few of these. Too bad its seasonal!

Photo of Lunch
3.66/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served on-tap at Frisco Grille in Columbia, MD (11/18/09) into a standard pint glass at an appropriate temperature.

A: Pours a nice golden brown with one finger of a slightly off-white head leaving behind excellent lacing.

S: A decent aroma of pine hops, citrus, and malt, but all seemed to be slightly subdued.

T: Bitter hopes hit the palate first with a nice citrus and pine flavor leaving behind a decent bitterness that was carried throughout the finish. Again, as with the smell, the taste seems nice, but a little weak.

M: Rather light for an IPA with average carbonation that was a bit creamy.

D: Quite drinkable as this beer was rather mild on the palate and well balanced in a less than full-flavored way.

Overall this was a bit of a disappointment, but with this tasting being my first for Celebration, I will certainly revisit it again in bottle form and adjust my review accordingly if needed. I was really looking forward to this beer as I am a huge fan of American IPAs. Worth A Look.

Photo of likethetaste
1.52/5  rDev -63.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

I cannot believe that I differ so much from most others that are reviewing this beer. I picked up a six pack at a Food Lion because i was in the mood for a nice holiday winter beer. I had not actually tried anything yet by Sierra Nevada and this looked like it might be interesting to try.

It poured nice. I large head and good color. But once I smelled it I knew this was probably not going to be a ale for me. Once I tasted it I was very disappointed. This has a very bitter taste. It is almost like drinking burnt rubber.

There is no way I will every get this beer again. As far as for my own taste buds this was just horrible.

Photo of MirkoCroCough
4.63/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

2009 edition into pint glass.

Beautiful orange amber with nice foamy white head.

Hops, hops, and more hops. Touch of maltiness.

Sweet nectar of the gods. Pure bliss.

Smooth and glorious.

Six down and if I didn't have to go to work, I would drink these until I disappeared. Beer glorious beer. I raise my glass high.

Photo of skrib09
4.12/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4


got a nice hazy copper pour with two fingers of cream colored head. good hop retention and lacing.

smell that pine. lots of citrus too.

you can really taste the hops they stack this one with. i get the piney taste right off the bat... the hops. then i can imagine the malts on the after taste.

i feel the carbination on my palate... the astringency. it's really nice.

good drinkability.


looking at a 2009 celebration ale. hazy copper hue with an extremely fluffy off-white head. the head looks sticky and resinous. plenty of lacing.

smells of fresh citrus and pine with a distinct caramel malt or bread thing going on. a hint of bitterness in the smell.

Taste is extremely well balanced. a hint of bitterness amongst the hop flavors balances with a sweetness from the malt. a small touch of floral and spice round everything out.

great mouthfeel. smoother than i remember from last years tasting. low to medium-low carbonation with a little crisp feel. good drinkability.

Photo of BigMike
4.13/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours a lovely dark tangerine orange peach color. Nice carbonation and a beautiful creamy foamy white head. Great amount of lacing clinging to the tulip glass.

Citrusy grapefruit and orange. A touch of pineapple and finishes with some caramel malts.

This is one of the most deliciously balanced IPA's i can remember. A great amount of citrus hop bitterness with the near perfect amount of sweet caramel maltiness. This is my first SN celebration ale so i can't compare it to previous years. All i can tell you is 2009's version is terrific.

Mouthfeel is silky smooth. Light feel and goes down super easy. Two things that SN seem to always do well are mouthfeel and drinkability. This one has both.

Drinkability is high. I could drink a lot of these and quickly. Very refreshing. SN consistently brews high quality beers. And for the price $8.99 a sixer. You cant go wrong.

Photo of Arbitrator
3.76/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

2009 vintage, chilled bottle into a glass.

Last year when I had this I didn't enjoy it; I was not a hophead and I felt it was imbalanced and bitter. My tastes have evolved immensely since then, and while I still won't call this balanced, I can give it more credit.

A: Pours a slightly hazy amber body with orange tones. The head is a finger of cream-colored head that retains for a minute or so before retreating into scattered bubbles on top of the brew and a thick collar. Nice lacing down the sides. That, and its viscous appearance (aided by slow bubbles up the glass) help it look very inviting and rich.

S: Grapefruit rind with a hint of pine needles and spice.

T: Starts off with grapefruit juice and caramel malt, which pulls into the mid-taste. It is then joined by an assortment of floral and spice notes. The finish is lightly dry with a definite pine character. These hop varieties combine in the aftertaste into a lightly bitter, long-lasting finish.

M: I prefer a cleaner finish in my IPAS, but this isn't nearly oily enough to complain about. Medium-full body with a chewy feel to it and creamy carbonation.

D: I'm quite happy having picked up a six-pack of this. It's a good beer and a great value. I'm not sure I'll get more than that; though. It's a good IPA but not head and shoulders above the rest of the pack.

Photo of Onenote81
3.92/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had this on tap for lunch today. Came out a dark amber/orange with a thin off-white head on top. Little retention, but it left perfect sip rings in it light wake. Smells of pine needles, grapefruit zest and toasted crackers.

The mouth is full and bubbly. Well-rounded. This is little harsher than I remember last year's from the bottle. Big bitterness right away that washes away with some light citrus sweetness and honey. My tongue is a little more torched from this, still, I can get through a few of these no problem. This may be one time I prefer the bottle to draft.

Photo of vdread
5/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale 2009
bottle to glass

Sierra Nevada Celebration has to be one of the best seasonals, if not THE best. it has everything a beer lover would enjoy. it's heady and leaves a nearly solid wall of lace behind it, it smells great, and tastes even better, perfectly blending hop bitterness with the maltiness of a winter beer. it's crisp, clean, easy to drink, and has a hefty ABV. in short, it maybe the perfect beer.

a beautiful dark orange, bubbly, with a thick foamy head that leaves a WALL of lace down the side of the glass. there is some sediment at the bottom.

hops jump out at the nose. lemon, grass, grapefruits, bready malts. you can tell this is a hop-dominant brew.

taste is the clean, hoppy, with the solidly bitterness that sierra nevada is known for making. the malt presence is bready and thick. it's crisp up front, slightly spicy in the back.

very creamy and goes down thick on the palate, leaving bready malts and hops in the aftertaste. you can definately tell there's some alcohol in there. easy to drink and enjoy. an all around awesome beer, seasonal or not.

Photo of Hoppy27
4.45/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2009 Vintage

A: Two fingers of frothy white head with considerable lacing when poured into a room temperature tulip. Gorgeous medium amber color. I recommend swirling the final 1/2 ounce in the bottle and pouring it into the glass to capture any remaining sediment.

S: The floural/piney/hoppy trademark Sierra Nevada Pale Ale smell is perfect.

T: Very hoppy with a tangy aftertaste that lingers, thankfully. Very crisp and sharp.

M: Nice amount of carbonation. Pretty smooth for an IPA.

D: An excellent brew. The label may confuse it to be a Winter-style ale, but rest assured...this is a true IPA with a big hoppy flavor. I love it.

Photo of breyton490
2.85/5  rDev -31.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Update 2009 version

Nov 2009

I have had previous years Celebration and been much more impressed. This years version was a big disappointment. I did not find much in the way of aroma or hop taste compared to past years. I had a 24oz bottle, not sure if it was a bad one or not... may try a 12ozer to see if its any different.

App: Nice copper color, tight white head
Smell: Minimal hop aroma. Some malt notes
Taste: Med body, nice carbonation... just boring to drink
Mouthfeel: Nothing new or different than other SN beers
Drink: Average... good, but there are other beers I would go to first

2008 Version
A: Nice copper color with tight bubbles and a good foamy head. Bottle conditioned, so you may want to hold back on the final pour from the bottle

S: Lots of Cascade hop aroma, citriusy, Very nice. Clean.

T: Nice bittering up front. Lots of hop flavor. Caramel notes, medium body. bitter, but not overly so. Great drinkability. I am going back to buy the last few cases that are on sale at my local store.

M. Medium body, with a dry finish

Drinkabilty: Very!

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


The color is a hazy bronzed orange. The head pours thick, pretty large, tight and compact, sticking around for most of the time before fading to a thick pillow. Lacing is left in thick, sticky rings and patches.
There's lots of IPA character in the aroma, with less malt balance on the nose. Plenty of good, fresh, leafy hops and citrus balance with a subtle note of sweet fruits mingling with rind.
I've heard previous vintages were maltier; nevertheless, the flavor, like the nose, has a firm, tasty IPA character to it. An earthy rawness is inherent in the heavily citrus and floral hops presence. There is a light malt to add a light caramel character and some balance. A light toasted grains note makes itself known as well.
The body is medium. There's a fairly moderate carbonation leading to a light crispness in an otherwise smooth brew.
This is probably a great one to go with if you're not the type who wants a lot of spices or a strictly malty Christmas beer. Otherwise, it's just a tasty, well-brewed IPA that I'd drink any time of the year.

Photo of aval89
4.63/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2009 release.

Poured a beautiful dark orange copper color with a nice soft pillowy 2 finger head. Lacing left a lot of retention on the glass.

Initial smell is citrus hop. Then u get grape fruits and a lemon zest. Also deep in there u get caramel malt notes.

First drink was super hop up front that finished with a burnt finish. Then after the second it mellows out more. You get a pine hop start that finishes with more caramel malt as you continue drinking. But still finishes hoppy. On some sips you also get a boozy finish.

This is a spectacular brew. Perfect for those cold winter nights. This beer will keep you warm. I thought last years release was a bit more maltier. But I'm a hop head and don't mind. You'll be sure to be burping hops out after this one. Very solid IPA!

Thank you Sierra Nevada!


Photo of corby112
4.18/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This rating is for the 2009 vintage. I've had this beer many times but have never entered a review of it.

Pours a hazy dark golden orange/coppery amber color with golden burnt orange hues when held to a light source and a two finger bubbly/foamy white head. Excellent retention, only sluggishly fading into a thick lasting pillowy cap that coats the glass with chunky rings of soapy lacing.

Earthy floral hop aroma with a nice citrus presence and slightly toasty caramel malt character. Hints of sweet estery dark fruit notes, especially dark cherries. Slight biscuit notes and subtle medicinal undertones. The freshness of the hops really shine and make it complex and truly unique.

Heart, chewy and full bodied mouthfeel which is very hop forward. Lots of fresh juicy floral, earthy hops that lingers throughout over the slightly toasty caramel biscuity malt backbone into a bitter dry floral hop finish. This beer is uber-fresh and bursting with luscious dank oily hops. Subtle citrus notes and some nice earthy pine. Sweet dark fruit notes mid-palate, especially dark cherries, and a slightly medicinal presence. More wonderful fresh hoppiness in the finish without a trace of alcohol warmth. Dangerously drinkable and a beer I look forward to all year. Highly recommended.

Photo of projectflam86
4.18/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours an orange/amber color with a thick white foam head that leaves some sticky lace.

S- Mostly pine with some hints of citrus and floral hops. A bit of sweet malt is present.

T- Quick snappy blast of pine hop flavor with a nice bitterness. A light caramel malt backbone shows itself in the finish helping to create a refreshing balance.

M- Medium bodied with ok carbonation. Alcohol is well hidden.

D- Nice and smooth with a bit hop bite. Worth picking up.

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

Appearance - golden with a reddish hue and a white head that retains well. Some lacing, but not much.

Smell - Citrus/floral pine aroma.

Taste - citrus with that piney hopes punch.

Mouthfeel - Nice and crisp, good carbonation. Pretty light overall.

Drink - Fairly easy drink.

One of the better seasonal brews I have had this year and my first tasting of sierra nevadas line up. Would definitely buy again.

Photo of ShogoKawada
4.6/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Drank a 12 pk of this before reviewing (no, not all on the same night).

This beer is copper in color, with a frothy, long-lasting head. The taste/smell is high-octane hop oils, resins, and tastiness. A pale caramel malt backbone provides enough of a springboard for the incredible, lip-smacking sugary pine hops to overtake your tongue. A fantastic IPA, like the standard SNPA on steroids.

I drank this beer 1L at a time. I could drink a keg of this stuff if my wallet would allow it. Truly one of the most drinkable IPAs I've ever had. Packs quite a punch, too.

I will be buying a couple of cases of this.. and might not review anything for a good while. This beer is right in my wheelhouse... one of the better IPAs I've come across in a while. Do yourself a favor and get your hands on this beer. World-class.

Photo of cdizinno
5/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Presentation: Poured into a tulip glass from a 12oz brown bottle with a vintage 2009 date on the label.

A: Slightly cloudy reddish amber color with off-white head and substantial lacing.

S: Strong citrus and minty pine hops.

T&M: Very crisp, medium to full bodied. Sharp hop bitterness, typical of a Sierra brew. Mild piney and fruitiness that finishes slightly bitter with a dry, malty sweetness.

This is always a favorite that I look forward to each holiday season.

Photo of taigor
4.3/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2008 releasr poured from 12oz bottle into large glass.

A - Dark copper, amber body with huge white head that leaves significant lacing in the middle and around edges.

S - Citrus, hops and almonds.

T - Great citrus taste upfront that slowly mellows out into hop bitterness.

M - Medium bodied with medium carbonation.

D - Smooth with great drinkability and average abv.

Photo of drtth
3.8/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This year's release served in a standard pint glass. A glass of cold water on the side to sip from periodically.

Appearance: The beer as served is a lightly hazed dark golden amber color with a 1 ½" off-white head that soon recedes to a nice ring of foam around the glass and a thin layer of foam on the surface. Sipping leaves rings and sheets of foam that cling to the sides of the glass for most of the beer. Later on there is still some lacing left by sipping and the ring persists basically to the end of the beer.

Smell: The aroma is a mix of hops with malts thrown into the mix but way in the background. The hops aromas are predominantly lots of pine resin and some grapefruit zest.

Taste: The bitterness of the piney and grapefruit zest hop flavors dominates the clean crisp flavor but there is not much else here. Although the malt backbone is present it is not really doing much to break up the bitterness, it is mostly there just to support it and keep it from running away with the beer.

Mouthfeel: The mouth feel is medium bodied and fresh. The medium to light carbonation persists reasonably well. The finish is long, bitter and dry.

Drinkability: This is a fine example of a West Coast style of IPA without much time in the bottle, which means that it has both the strengths and weaknesses of that style--it has lots of hops and the hops dominate the beer while the malt is well in the background barely making its presence known. I'll be having this one again, but later on after the hops have mellowed out a bit.

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Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 9,298 ratings.