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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.

9,295 Ratings

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Ratings: 9,295
Reviews: 3,344
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 11.57%
Wants: 292
Gots: 1,223 | 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: 9,295 | Reviews: 3,344
Photo of mikey711
4.27/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Winter has arrived with the 09 celebration ale

A: A deep orange with a thick white foam head. Not much lacing and good head retention.

S: Oily pine hops and caramel sweetness. very fresh and pleasant

T: Bitter and piny with a good amount of sweetness to balance it out.

M: Full bodied and creamy.

D: I almost finished an entire six pack last night. Very tasty and very enjoyable all around.

Photo of TheViolator666
4.33/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 fl. oz. bottle poured into pint glass.

A: Pours a nice light amber color with a huge bubbly white head that simmers down to a fingers-width cap. Leaves beautiful layers of lacing.

S: Smells of citrusy hops as well as some grapefruit and pine, touch of sweetness from the malts.

T: Similar to the smell, the taste of this one is powered by citrusy and piney hops balanced incredibly well by a malty undertone and aftertaste.

M/D: Nice medium body with perfect carbonation and high drinkability.

Overall, a very nice standard American IPA that is balanced very well.

Photo of bsp77
4.83/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Ah, it is that time of year again. Actually, it is a little early, but screw it, I want me some Celebration.

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Nonic Imperial Pint.

Appearance: Rich reddish-amber with large creamy head and very nice lacing rings.

Smell: Citrus, grapefruit, pine, spice and semi-sweet toasted malts.

Taste: Perfect balance of pungent hops (grapefruit and pine predominately) and slightly sweet toasted malts that are reminiscent of a Red Ale. Turns bitter and spicy at the end.

Feel: Moderate carbonation, smooth medium body with a long dry finish.

Drinkability: My favorite IPA, although Stone and Two Hearted are damn close. Even though the balance is superb and it is immensely drinkable, I just can't quite give any IPA a 5 on drinkability due to the bitterness.

Edit from 2010 release: this does deserve a 5 on drinkability.

Photo of bump8628
4.41/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled on date of the 267th day of 2009 (Sept. 24, 2009). 1.5 12oz bottles poured into an Imperial pint glass.

A rich copper, bordering on amber, beer with 2 fingers of dense white head that rises over the rim of the glass. The head transforms into a thick meringue-like froth that sticks to the sides of the glass. I can't imagine how this could be a more attractive looking beer.

The aroma is classic pine and citrus American hops. A soft sweet barley smell comes through at the end hinting at the perfect balance of this brew.

The hops are the first thing that hit the palate. Pine, citrus peel, and floral flavors rush over the tongue followed quickly by a solid caramel malt backbone...beautifully balanced. The hop bitterness is solid but doesn't linger on into the clean finish.

This beer is my absolute favorite seasonal beer...meaning any season, any brewery, this is it. I easily go through 3-4 sixers of this every year. Strong, hoppy, but supremely balanced. Screw the over-spiced holiday ales that invade the shelves this time of year, give me a Sierra Nevada Celebration!

P.S. Drink it fresh! And long live the poinsettia-covered label.

Photo of Dspohn
4.32/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle, 2009 batch, super fresh, reviewing from notes taken last weekend.

A. Nice bronze/copper body with a couple inches of tan head.

S. Delicious grapefruit smell with a hint of pine and bready maltiness.

T. Bitter hop flavor of orange/grapefruit with some pine lingering. The malts seem toasty and biscuity with a slight floral spice to it that I cant identify. Finish is smooth and hoppy.

M. Nice smooth medium mouthfeel. A nice robust winter IPA.

D & Comments. My favorite selection from SN. I think the hop profile in celebration beats out torpedo. Overall a great fall/winter beer.

Photo of BB1313
4.24/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle from the 09 batch. This was literally FRESH. Hops were very present. Very nice head and lacing. Poured a color similar to honey. This is a very spicy IPA; extremely bitter. You can definitely tell this is a SN beer. It went down almost too smooth. I really like this batch, great on a cold night.

This is a classic.

Photo of Procrastinator
4.38/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. brown bottle with 8 28081642 noted on UPC label. I've had this beer 12-pack after 12-pack over the years. This is my first review of it.

Appearance: the body is a hazy copper color with a yellowish, soapy, yet creamy head with bubbles of differing sizes. As the bubbles explode, the head becomes craggy and lacing holds together a web of delicate foam. Carbonation is extremely active as bubbles dance off the glass bottom.

Smell: the scents have somewhat subsided since this beer's suggested date of enjoyment, but piney hops seem to hold on while a slightly sweet caramel maltiness brings around a completeness.

Taste: the piney hops are still the predominant factor, while subdued, still have qiute a bite. The caramel malts, while sweet, are definitely here to show balance, though slightly still to the bitter end.

Mouthfeel: as with most SN beers, the mouthfeel is delightful with adequate carbonation and a more than medium texture. The slight astringency is showing that these bitter hops never die.

Drinkability: this is always a wonderful beer to drink. Even many moons after the month of "Celebration", this one's a keeper.

This review is from notes several months old.

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

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a clear pint glass. No freshness data on bottle.

A-Poured an orange-amber hue with a two+ finger head that receded into a modestly sticky lace.

S-Piney and citrus hops, but nothing especially prominent. Also some biscuity malt.

T-Hoppy bitterness with a nicely balanced malt sweetness I find very pleasant.

M-Very smooth and well balanced. Nice carbonation level.

D-This went down very easily and I would readily reach for another.

A very good IPA. I like this better than their Torpedo. Would drink again. Would buy again, depending on what else was available.

Photo of lester619
5/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is the stuff that expanded my mind beyond high life light from the can. It looks fantastic. Deep, dark copper to amber brown. Gigantic creamy rocky head. Lacing that slides down the entire side of the mug. Perfect. Very fragrant fresh hop smell. I've never been to a hop farm at harvest time, but this is what I imagine it smells like. The taste is ideal for an IPA. Thick, chewy bready backbone. Understated sweet toasty caramel malt with the perfect amount of fresh complex oily hop bitterness. It doesn't go too far with the hops and produce a bitter aftertaste. Again, perfect. This is hands down my favorite beer. It might be my favorite part of Christmas.

Photo of donniecuffs
3.78/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass. Dark copper, almost reddish hue, with an average head, but good lacing. The smell was surprisingly dominated by hoppy pine and citrus, and an ever so subtle apple essence. I was expecting more spiciness for a winter warmer/ipa. The taste did reveal more biscuit and maltiness, but it was also still heavily dominated by pine and citrus. Nice medium body and little carbonation resulted in a beer that rolled smoothly over the tongue. Drinkability was certainly apparent, but again, I was unpleasantly surprised by the lack of spiciness for a winter release.

Photo of GregSVT
4.23/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a 2008 bottle into a New Belgium 1554 glass.

A: Pours a hazy amber with a big white head that reduces to a small layer and leaves a great deal of sticky lacing on the glass.

S: The smell is intoxicating...almost resembling a DIPA like Hop Stoopid. Hops, fruit, and a bready malt aroma jump from the glass.

T: The taste mimics the smell with a lot of fruity hops and the malt backbone. Great stuff. I'll have to say that aging the bottle mellowed the hops and let the fruity/malt flavor come into play a bit more.

M: Very bubbly and slick. Again much like Hop Stoopid but nothing like a really thick DIPA.

D: I really like this and the aging has done wonders for the flavor. The slightly lower ABV makes this a bit better in the drinkability department than something higher but not much.

Back when I bought this I thought the hop flavor was way too over the top but it seems to have mellowed dramatically. It also could be that I wasn't a fan of IPAs/DIPAs but I've gotten into them a bit more this year after finding some exceptional examples. I look forward to putting another 6er of this away this year to try around the same time next year.

Photo of GRG1313
3.65/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark amber color with a thick white firm lasting head.

Nose is very yeasty, assertive and pleasant; nice bread nose character.

Flavors are strong citrus/pine hops with a little malt. Nice hints of pine. Pleasant and drinkable, although very predictable.

Long bitter hop finish.

Photo of tdawgydog
3.83/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had two of these sitting in the cellar since last Christmas, thought it was time to make way for this years seasonal brews... Poured the 2008 Celebration Ale into my Maudite Goblet.

A - Pours a nice copper red color with a good two finger head that dissipates to almost nothing with a decent lacing left around the rim of the glass

S - Strong Hoppy scent with a little bit of oak barrel scent. Something that you would definitely look forward to on a cold winter day.

T - Strong Hop taste, otherwise a slight cinnamon and biscuit taste.

D - Enjoyable as long as your not mixing and matching. I could have a few of these to warm the soul on a chilly day. They don't go well if your sampling other beers. Stick to these if that is what you like.

M - Good body, I'm not sure that I notice any difference after cellaring the beer for 10 months.

Definitely one of my favorite winter warmers. I hope this years is as good as last.

Photo of ipazilla
4.35/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had this beer in a 12 oz. bottle at a Christmas party last year it was excellent and went well with a spicy venison chili that was served.
Nice strong hop flavor, really floral and bitter. I wish it was a year round offering. I would definitely drink regularly and I can't wait till it's released again.

Photo of thepeter
3.97/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I found this at the supermarket a couple years ago, bought a bunch, put the last one in a box and forgot about it. This is a 2007 bottle poured into a British pint glass.

A - pours the color of honey with a huge bouncy overstuffed mattress of a head that stuck to the glass and would not die. It eventually shrank into a dirty meringue ish cap on the top of the last few sips.

S -Lot's of fruit! Citrus, apples, maybe even some lychee fruit. Also, obviously some hops and a bit of sweetness, maybe honey.

T - Flavors were definitely subdued. Light on the hops, but could still taste the citrus and pine needle flavors. The finish was sticky and bitter with a small amount of metal coming through.

M&D - Smooth, full bodied and very nice carbonation. Could easily drink a couple more and would, if I could ever find them.

Still prefer this one fresh but glad I had one sitting around to try with some age on it. In the end everything was great, the flavor had just faded which is to be expected of this style.

Photo of drummerben
3.75/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at Taco Mac Metropolis.

Celebration 08 recently tapped as part of Christmas in July. Nice amber color, very little head. Floral fragrance with pine and hops. Taste is much less hoppy than when first released, as the hop character has faded, but still a great balanced taste. Tastes of pine with grassy notes and a malty backbone. Very easy to put these away in short order.

This one is still great with a little age on it. Probably a good option for those who considered SN to be too hoppy, if that's even possible! The age downgrades a great beer to really good.

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

2007 Celebration Ale, aged 22 months at 45 degrees.

A: Cloudy deep honey-amber with a thin off-white head.

S: Citrusy hops and mildly sweet malts are a pleasure on the nose.

T: The hops have severely dimmed over the time it was aged. The malts aren't as sweet as the smell indicates, but do help to balance the hopiness. A slight cardboard taste indicates some oxidation, but the starting point to this beer was clearly a strong but well balanced west coast IPA.

M: Medium bodied with a little bit of sticky hops notes on the roof of the mouth.

D: I wish I'd not aged this so long, though despite its age, it is still well done.

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

2008 Bottle.

Pours a dark amber in color with a slightly frothy head. Tons of floaties suspended throughout the beer.
Smell is hops. Piney and grassy hops. Still a good amount of bitterness in the flavor. You can tell that this has some age on it, but it's still drinkable. There's a god enough base beer underneath that when the hops start to fade, you're still left with a solid beer. Medium in the mouthfeel and fairly drinkable.

Photo of PartyBear
3.55/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - A cloudy ruby red, with a creamy white head.

S - Complex smell. Hoppy, with a hint of chocolate. It also has a fruity quality, possibly melon, and lemon. I also got the impression of honey.

T - Lemon zest and grapefruit. Perfumy, with a bitter aftertaste.

M - Managed to pull of a light yet oily feel in the mouth.

D - This is a very interesting beer, there is a lot going on. It has complex flavours and aromas, and it's the sort of beer that could taste slightly different each time you drink it.

Photo of DiabolikDUB
3.16/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

On-Tap @ Bailey's Taproom poured into Shaker glass. Winter in July.

Pours a medium copper that is fairly clear with a dense, creamy off-white head that never fully dissolves and remains a thick layer atop the glass. The nose is biscuit malts, brown sugar, and some hints of hops. The flavor is a little watery upfront with some touches of sweet malt, toast and ends with a hop bitterness that lasts. Its medium bodied and has turned a little chewy. This beer is much better fresh as most of the hops that made this brew so special before have faded. It still drinks alright but is a little watery. I'll re-rate this again come December when its fresh.

Photo of GreenCard
3.39/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

DISCLAIMER: This is a review of an AGED bottle of Celebration 2004. It was cellared for about 5 years.

Appearance: coppery-brown, hazy, thin layer of yellowy froth/suds, not much head retention, loose sediment

Aroma: malt caramel, sherry, very slight hops, brown sugar

Flavor: bready malt sweetness with overtones of rum raisin, dark brown sugar, and sherry; hop bitterness is still quite present as a raspy attack on the back of the tongue; finishes semi-sweet with a piney aftertaste

Mouthfeel: medium-full body, pert carbonation, alcohol warmth, and astringency on the teeth

Other comments: OK, this beer does not age well (at least not extended aging). It has become very unbalanced and a mere shadow of it's former self. Good experiment though.

Photo of CHickman
4.87/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale 2008 pours dark amber in color with a nice fluffy 1 inch tan head; smells of hops, floral hops and spices.

Taste full of complex flavors that include floral hops, pine, malt, orange peel and a sweet caramel that fades to a cinnamon spice finish (with a touch of something else); medium carbonation that leaves a dry finish and gets better as it warms up.

I was lucky enough to get a case of this over the winter and a bargain price and enjoyed it all winter long. An outstanding beer!

2012 Release Notes: Pours hazy amber reddish with a huge foamy 2 finger head that faded slowly and left excellent sticky lacing. Nose is on par with the other years and full of delicious fresh piney hops, citrus and a blend of herbal earthy notes that is wonderful to inhale. Tastes of fresh piney hops, juicy citra hops, tart grapefruit, orange peel, lemon, herbs, caramel, roasted grains, malt, floral hops and mild spices; the balance is near perfect for an IPA with a fresh hop presence that is so bold that it’s almost warming for this time of year. Mouthfeel is smooth yet chewy, with a medium body, light to average fizzy carbonation and a bitter grainy aftertaste that trails off almost dry like hop leafs were left over. I look forward to this beer being released every year, my favorite holiday and winter beer and one of my top 5 favorite all time beers. The past few years I’ve been lucky enough to enjoy in on tap here in NY and it’s equally as enjoyable on draft.

2013 was great again, this time with stronger piney notes IMO. Had at least a case as well as a few pints on tap this year and it is always a great beer.

Photo of NorCalYeti
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

taste- agressive malt and hops working together, lemony hop bitterness. this beer always delivers a bitter, caramel, malt finish...she's a tough one but in a good way. great cold weather beer.

color- beautiful rusted copper

clarity- fairly clear with suspended sediment

smell- grapefruit, sweet, soft perfume aroma

body- smooth, bittering hops are noticeable in the mid-palate but they are tame. medium-length finish.

appearance- great color, oily off-white head with sticky lace

overall impression- one of my all time favorite beers and one of the best in the world in my opinion.

notes and comments- tasting an '08 so this has about eight months in the bottle from the release date. the overall profile is mellower then when first released. i look forward to this beer every year as it ushers in the holiday season. if i had to pick a beer to accompany me on an island, i would have to throw it into the ring. i think two to four months in the bottle really elevates and integrates this beer well...you can't go wrong.

Photo of GilGarp
4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Perhaps it's unfair to review a beer so far out of season but I'm going to do it anyway. I found a 12 pack for a deal and it was in the cooler so I figured it couldn't be that bad.

Pours from the stubby brown bottle into a pint glass. It has a nice warm copper color with good clarity and a thick crown of head. Some lacing is left behind but nothing spectacular.

Aroma is hoppy but not very hoppy. The sweetness is definately coming forward with a green apple and orange zest kind of way.

Flavor is still pretty hoppy but it's obvious that this beer would have been so much more in November. It has good balance and the hops working well, even contributing to the spicy nature of the beer. It's not the winter warmer but it's a nice warm spice IPA.

Mouthfeel is medium-plus body with good carbonation.

Overall it's a nice winter IPA and I'm looking forward to trying it fresh.

Photo of haver
4.05/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Just picked this up (5/21/09) on clearance for under $5.00 a six. It is out of date and I didn't car because I wanted to see if the flavor changed with age. Wow this Beer changed. The hop flavor went way down and the malt and spice went up. If you tried this beer a few months ago and see this on sale get it and see what I mean. I loved this when It came out and drank a lot of it. Before it was a rich IPA. This is now a different beer. The hops were hiding the malt and spices before and now they have come to play.

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Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 9,295 ratings.