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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.

8,989 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 8,989
Reviews: 3,277
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 11.78%
Wants: 276
Gots: 973 | 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: 8,989 | Reviews: 3,277 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of DrMalt
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2007 vintage

Poured a deep copper with a thick frothy white head.

Aroma was tremendous with loads of floral & fruitiness eminating from the glass.

Wonderful flavour profile with malt & hoppiness with more punch coming from the hop.

Mouthfeel is excellent and reminiscent of a SN beer.

Drinkability is what this beer is about. Would love to try a pint of it on tap but still a very sessionable brew.

Third try of this beer (2005/2006)and it continues to be an excellent choice.A great way to Celebrate the season!

Photo of PonyBar
3.75/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This holiday offering from Sierra Nevada was poured from a 12oz bottle into a clean, clear 16oz mixing (pint) glass. The appearance is more cloudy than I remember from years past, with a slightly hazy, orange color. The smell is one of alcohol, with an ABV of 6.8% There is a nice residue of brewer's lace forming along the side of the glass as well. The taste is one of a highly drinkable IPA. There is a lingering bite of hops on the tounge, and a floral finish typical of IPAs. Most Christmas beers are loaded with spices, fruits, or some other type of flavoring, but not this beer, which is nice. I also like the fact that Sierra Nevada puts the ABV on the bottle. All breweries should do this.

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

Copper plated amber that shines like a bright, shiny new penny. Little fluttering bubbles ensure that the background is consistently filled with movement. Ivory tinted head had accumulated to a gigantic level but slowly sank into a creamy, low lying mousse. Complex honeycombs of lace attest for the formally mammoth capping.

The hops hit first, and then second and third as well. It is a showcase of all characteristics both fruity and floral. The sappy, sticky resin of pine needles and spruce tips fill the air, all the while orange peel and big juicy grapefruits resonate throughout the nasal sinus. If you even remotely like the smell of hops, then you'll love this.

I'm happy to find the taste to have as much hop presence as the aroma. Just as the bouquet was fruity and floral, we find notes of spruce, pine, and sticky but subdued citrus rampant in the flavour as well. A strong, sturdy cast of sticky sweet malts introduces light hints of toffee coated wafers and caramel dipped biscuits.

That play between hop and malt not only makes for a delicious flavour, but also a very well balanced beer. This tight-rope act between sweet and bitter makes for a drinkability beyond what I can imagine. One instance it's sweet, the next it's bitter; the only constant is a smooth, satisfying presence on the palate.

Although aging IPA's is generally a misnomer, many people will collect Sierra Nevada's Celebration Ale for vertical tastings. I myself have a vintage collection stashed away in the cellar and I always enjoy dipping into it around the holidays. Yes the hops fade and the malt comes forth, but from my experience the distinction from year to year is far more complex...

Sierra Nevada always provides me with a little extra incentive to 'celebrate' during the Christmas season. I'd definitely recommend picking up at least a sixer of this seasonal when available. Even if not to age, I can assure you finishing it off fresh will be no chore. This is a wonderful beer and certainly one worth tasting at all stages of its life.

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

2008. Celebration pours amber and clear with a sticky off-white head and nice lacing. The smell is pine, caramel, bitter citrus and, although this is repetitive, distinctly hoppy. The flavor is cleanly bitter with hop flavors that come through with more pine and floral strength than citrus. I'm not a big fan of their pale ale. I appreciate Sierra Nevada and their role in brewing, but it almost seems like they sacrifice some quality to pump out so much of the pale ale. The Celebration strikes me as the beer that the pale ale should be. The hops are clear, clean and bitter. There are no off-flavors and the whole package is immensely drinkable. The feel is a tad watery, but it doesn't get in the way of the flavor. Sierra Nevada is obviously capable of making great beer and lots of it. I just wish I could find this beer as easily as the pale ale and all year round. In my mind, this is the definitive American IPA against which all others should be judged.

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

Poured from the 12 oz. short bottle. The appearance is just about picture perfect with a deep gold color including hints of amber and a big frothy head that lingers a bit in the glass and clings to the side as you drink it down.
The aroma consists of a great mix of citrus, carmel, and some cinnamon. The flavor is dominated by the hops, as it should be in the American IPA style.
The flavor starts off somewhat soft with carmel malts, but leads into a burning acidic citrus hop flavor that hangs on your taste buds long after you swallow. The finish is dense pine. Fabulous! Mouthfeel is mostly what you would expect from Sierra Nevada; very solid but not out of the ordinary.
I think it is rightly drinkable, but fizzy yellow beer drinkers might not dig the uber acidic hops.

Photo of dfolmste
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer is great. It has generated a lot of hype this year and all of it is deserved. About as far away from your typical winter seasonal and I give SN a lot of credit for creating this gift around the holidays. Hoppy, mixed with spice and maybe a touch of cinnamon. I have been picking up this beer for the past few months and still find myself wanting more. Hopefully this will turn into a year round brew. Awesome.

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

Sierra Nevada continues to be the best value in the craft beer market.

The hops hit you up front, but shortly after are balanced with a nice malty finish. The alcohol becomes more evident as it warms up, but in the throes of a cold New England winter, I love it.

I find SNCA to be versatile enough to drink with any type of meal, from hearty pot roast to spicy Thai food.

It's even better to have on draft - but be careful, the alcohol can sneak up on you.

It's definitely a seasonal I look forward to each year.

Photo of rudylaw
4.2/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

First bottle of the season warrants a quickie review.

Looks an amber/reddish tint in my glass. A typical thick, foamy head accompanies. Lots of hops in the nose... pine, malt, delicious. with a nice foamy head.

You can polish off a sixer of these during a football double-header no problem. One of the staples of craft brewery... Sierra Nevada's crowning achievement.

Photo of DrinkinBoy
3.65/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Sierra Nevada Celebration appears a cloudy brownish amber color and has a fluffy, cream, off white head.

The smell has a strong hoppy smell with hints of pine.

Celebration has a bitter hoppy taste, but finish with a hint of caramel and malt.

It has a fully body with light carbonation.

Sierra Nevada Celebration has a great taste. It was the first time I got to try a this beer, and I definitely think it is a nice change from most winter seasonals.

Photo of bc2208
2.23/5  rDev -46.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1.5

I had a hard time with this beer.

Appearance: Nice golden-reddish color. Pour produces a decent head, but it dissipates quickly.

Smell: Fruity, hoppy smell.

Taste: I don't know what to say. My first reaction was good - up front it is fruity and floral and quite pleasant. Unfortunately, there's a lingering aftertaste that sticks to the sides of my mouth. It might be cinnamon, but it's really just medicinal. I wanted to like this beer, but I had a hard time finishing it.

Drinkability: Don't know if I'll be drinking the 5 I have left over.

Photo of aforbes10
3.33/5  rDev -20%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Sixer from a liquor store in Dixon, CA. Pours a hazy brownish red with a short white head and sticky lacing. Caramel malt and slightly stale hop odor. Flavor is a big blast of bitter, lemony hops and sweet, biscuity malt. Bitterness lingers for a long time. Kind of sticky mouthfeel. Drinks ok, but a little boring. I've liked Celebration a lot in the past, especially on draft, but something about this year's batch or the bottling or something just isn't all that great.

Photo of beer2day
4.48/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

My favorite beer of the season. Tasting a cellared 07 vs an 08.

08 might be a tad bit darker than the 07, but not by much. 07 produced more head, as could well be expected.

07 slightly nosier, both with a citrusy aroma.

07 hits harder and finishes stronger. This beer did very well in the cellar. The 08 is very good, just not as flavorful as the 07.

Photo of philbe311
3.63/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Nice color... A redish orangish amber... Slight white head quickly fades... Minimal lacing... Coats glass well... Highly translucent and refractive...

S - Mandarin oranges... Piney hop resins... Earthy tones... Lime... Subtle hints of malt...

T - Hops... Bread crust... Faint hints of spiciness... Slightly burnt taste... The initial tastes compliment each other well then the hops really comeback and become overly aggressive as part of the aftertaste...

M - Dry... Light to medium bodied... Mild carbonation... Crisp...

D - In my mind this is a one trick brew... Hops and lots of them being the trick... Looks great but proceeds to disappoints in all other facets... Lack complexity and isn't balanced...

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

I also am a first timer for this and any holiday brew. I was very much drawn to it in my grocery store cooler. I like everything by Sierra Nevada, why not Celebration Ale?

Well I must say that it is unique, curious, but impressive. Much different than I expected, but inviting and left me wanting to take another sip to analize it further.

The color is an awesome bronze with an amber touch. It is clear with a pretty white head and nice lacing.

The smell is a pleasant citrus, hops, and spicy blend that made me stick my nose deeper in my pint glass.

The taste is great, great mouthfeel, questionable aftertaste. A bit bitter for my tastebuds. Good amount of carbination.

Celebration Ale definetly tastes like winter in a bottle. I look forward to drinking my next bottle.


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

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

A--Pours a clear shiny penny body with a two finger egg-nog colored (for the holidays) dense foamy head. Head retention is first-rate, and the lacing is predominant. Actually looks like a slightly darker pumpkin ale, like Smutty's.

S--Doesn't smell like it, though! This is almost all honey and hops to me, specifically tropical fruit like pineapple and mango, rather than the more citrusy nuggetjuicebomb that is their Harvest Wet Hop. Sweet and biting on the nostrils at the same time.

T--Last description fits the flavor profile as well. Plenty bitter, with a definite Cascade hop presence that keeps your tongue (happily) dry with pine mixed with candied dried pineapple. The real story to me here, though, is the richness of the malt--this has roasty flavor behind the hops that's like whole wheat toast with honey on it. It's hard to discern but you can capture it at the very beginning of the sip, before the hop flume ride commences. The depth of the malt character makes this a standout winter beer to me, like a beefy, harvest IPA.

M&D--Mouthfeel on SN beers is insanely good. I don't think I've scored one below a 4.5. Keep em comin' in that dept. My only gripe is the alcohol level, which keeps my ability to drink vast quantities at a minimum, which keeps me sad...

A great representative of the dry biting windy winters of parts of California and the west in general. Great stuff!

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

2008 release into my Sam Smith nonic pint

A: Clear copper colored pour with a gorgeous off white head with great retention. As the head slowly recedes, it leaves a trail of sticky lace. Awesome

S: On the nose, this beer is a solid pine assault with some citrus. Mild malt presence in the back. Very hop driven, though, with pine, orange rind, candied pineapple and the like. Cascade presence is noticeable

T: Up front is an aggressive pine bitterness along with a sharp, earthy citrus bitterness. Malt is pretty nonexistent with a mild sweet component. In the battle between flavor and bittering hops, this leans heavily towards the bittering end and if that's your thing, this beer is quite stellar. On the finish is more orange zest bitterness. Awesome

M: Light on the palate with lively carbonation, this one's solid. The bitterness is high and enjoyable

D: I've drunk a bunch of this and enjoyed it every single time. The high bitterness might make it difficult for me to drink a sixer but a bottle or two? No problem!

Photo of kaseydad
3.58/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I bought a case of this from Costco for $22 so I definitely can't complain about the price per beer. Every year I try to like this beer more and more, but the taste seems to stay the same year after year. Some variation would be nice in my opinion.

It is a great looking beer and I like the change to the bottle..using more burgandy (red) on the label. Feels more like X-mas. The hoppy taste and sharp bite always seems a little harsh to my palate though I love IPA's, Double IPA's, etc. A fingers width of foam is present which quickly disappears but leaves some nice lacing on the glass. Taste seems the same as I mentioned earlier. Hoppy, citrus and piney is the aroma I pick up. The 6.8% alchohol is masked well and it's easy to go through a few of these at on seating. It is also a nice cold weather beer.

For the price it can't be beat and compared to a lot of the X-mas beers, this is one of the better ones. A nice effort from SN and I will buy it again next winter and hope I get something new from it. Can't wait for Bigfoot!

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

A - Pours a clear amber with a very thin, creamy, tan head.

S - Citrusy, malty, brown sugar.

T - Very hoppy. Everything up front is hops, with some malt and spices mellowing out the finish. Maybe some caramel flavor too, there's definitely something sweet.

M - Crisp and medium bodied.

D - Very drinkable. The crispness of the hops is balanced out by the time you get to the finish, with a nice warm spiciness that enhances but not overpowers.

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


Appearance - Pours clear amber with moderate to high carbonation, yeast flecks and an initial quarter/half inch head, quickly reducing to a thin film. 4
Smell - Smell is mostly floral hops 3
Taste - The hops have certainly mellowed a fair bit, but the beer is well-balanced a mix of bitter hops and complex malts. 4
Mouthfeel - Very smooth with a crisp finish. 4
Drinkability - Enjoyable to drink, but at this point not a beer I would have more than two of in one sitting. 3.5
Overall - Still a good beer, but not one that I will let age any longer.

Photo of xfactor9600
4.68/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - amber color with a thick foam that dissipates slowly.

S - A deep citrus aroma.

T - Both Bitter and sweet all in the same sip.

M - Carbomtion was excellent and just right.

D - My first year catching this beer. I can't believe i've held off this long.

Serving type: bottle

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

A - Pours a deep amber color with a two finger off white head that's initially about an inch but falls to about one. Sitcky llace clings to the glass.

S - Citrusy hops, grapefruit, and dominate with caramel malts.

T - Sweet, yet spicy with an awesome bitterness that lasts

M - Medium-bodied, carbonation level is perfect to balance the bitter finish...

D - An excellent brew. I look forward to this one every year.

Photo of JRed
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Light amber in color with big, white, frothy head that leaves lacing all around. A delicious scent of citrus and hops floats around the beer, a very inviting aroma. A doughy, chewy taste reminiscent of biscuits with great hop attack to follow. A dab of pepper and spice...and BAM! the concoction is finished. A crisp dry aftertaste leaves the palate wanting more and I concede to the demand.

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

A somewhat aggressive pour yields a frothy two finger off white head atop a beautiful crystal clear coppery-orange body. There is so much lacing you could count my sips, like growth rings on a tree.

And a mighty tree it is, the nose exudes resinous pine. In the background there is some citrus, mostly grapefruit but I'm getting sweet and juicy tangerine as well.

There is a hint of sweet caramel on the tip of the tongue and then the hops takeover. Grapefruit dominates with pine playing second fiddle, basically the reverse of the nose. Finishes moderately bitter with some spiciness and floral accents.

Medium in body and carbonation with a nice creamy mouthfeel and long oily finish.

This one is very hoppy, but not abrasively so. There is just enough caramel maltiness to keep the bitterness in check. For a hoppy IPA coming in at almost 7% abv this is extremely sessionable, I could drink it all night. For me this years Celebration Ale belongs to the highest tier of IPAs, its release makes Chicago winter a bit more tolerable.

Photo of HappyBivouac
4.75/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured into a glass mug from a 12 oz. bottle. 2008 batch.

a- Just wanna make a note that this stuff is absolutely gorgeous through the bottle. Hold the bottle up to a light before opening.

Pours a slightly hazy amber orange with a massive creamy/frothy head. This is a very delicious-looking beer.

s- smell is huge pine and a little bit of fruit and spices. some citrus character comes through slightly.

t- initially I'm surprised by the massive hop flavor. Tastes floral/piney throughout, but some nice bready malts, hint of sweetness and wintery spice to balance. Finish is a pleasant lingering pine taste and bread dough. Alcohol beautifully masked. Man, this is so good.

m- goes down smoother than any pale ale I've had. Carbonation is nice and subtle. Maybe just a tad too watery.

d- well, this is it folks. I admit I've been a malts guy through and through up until now. This is the beer the opened my eyes. Give me 6, please.

Absolutely phenomenal beer. I will be buying more of this and hopefully sharing with the family over the holidays.

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

I tried out a sample of this at Skibbo's on East Tremont.

A: Poured dark orange brown with a frothy tan head and thick lacing and excellent retention.

S: The nose is a sharp pine coupled with a light citrus before hopps come to town ending with the malt to prove Sierra Nevada can balance 'em well.

T: Spritely noble hop entrance added with malt to be a smooth delivery. Pine and lemon come through in the aftertaste.

M: Medium moving to large and again excellent retention.

D: After hearing friends form Florida to Philly speak of Celebration Ale in the same week, I was glad to try this one out. A more genteel IPA but nevertheless perfectly balanced, throughly enjoyable and something I'll pick up a sixer of next time.

Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 8,989 ratings.