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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.

8,952 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 8,952
Reviews: 3,261
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 11.78%
Wants: 277
Gots: 947 | 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: 8,952 | Reviews: 3,261 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of stevecee2003
4.85/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

What a surprise! Wow!

Generally I do not try 'seasonal" beers, thinking they might be inferior in some way. After all, if they are so good- then why do we not have them all year long? So now, what the Hell was I thinking?

From the pop of my 12 oz. bottle I could smell the difference. This would be one great beer. And it was. I simply must stock up for the long winter.

APP. A very nice head, with lots of lace. Always a very good sign. Could this be a nice surprise?

Smell. Wow, I can smell it already. Hops. Caramel. Being a hops man I can sense the smells coming in early. Where the Hell was I when they made this beer?

Taste. Simply sublime. The only fault I can find with Sierra Nevada is that they don't say on the packaging what a great beer you're getting. It was only by chance that I gave it a try. Clearly this should not just be a seasonal beer, but rather instead offered to the masses whenever a "great" beer is needed. Simply, "Wow!"

Overall drinkability. Exceptional. What Sierra Nevada has done here rivals anything else in the U.S. for a great beer.

Photo of superdedooperboy
3.93/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a tulip glass, this ale appears a bright, rich copper-amber in color, delivering a thick, creamy, slightly off-white head of foam that settles fairly slowly into a nice ring that leaves behind clones of lacing through to the finish.

The nose is a big, fruity-floral hop bouquet. Nice and inviting, but without much else presenting itself here.

Medium-bodied; somewhat thin, but not too much so. Fruity, herbaceous, bitter hop notes envelop the palate. A slightly sweet malt backbone is fairly well-hidden though present, providing a balance that isn't immediately apparent. Hop bitterness melds with a saltiness as the drink warms a bit, and the finish is salty-bitter and lingers for a fairly short time.

Overall a great American IPA, with that wonderful American hop presence, and while unoffensive and fairly tame in alcohol content, not imminently drinkable, and a bit more maltiness would be welcome in a holiday seasonal. Still, this is a superb example of its style and a solid seasonal offering from a solid American brewing icon.

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

Poured a golden amber into a pint glass with a two finger head. Nice lacing as well

Lovely citrusy hops is what i'm getting on the nose with just a hint on sweet malt.

Taste is much like the smell, a lot of citrusy hops at first followed by a slight sweet maltiness, then the bittering hops again.

Nice mouthfeel good carbonation. I could drink these things all night long, great beer. I'm glad I bought two sixers

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

Aroma: piney hops dominate with a nice balance of carmel malt.

Pours: amber brown with thin white head. Super-clear.

Flavor: begins with smooth carmel malt then becomes intensely hoppy, mostly pine and resinous. The finish is intense pine and resinous hops in the back of throat. Really clean flavor throughout.

Mouthfeel: medium body. No lacing developed. ABV is perfect for style.

Drinkability: medium to medium high. Really easy to drink.

This is a great IPA! Really enjoyed it! The pine and resinous hops dominate everything, but it is there in balance with the malt. The flavor profile really is great for the holiday season.

Photo of Magpie14
4.28/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: caramel chestnut color, thick soft head, light foamy ring of lace

S: fresh hops-pine and grass in character, feeble burnt sugary malts, and a sprinkle of spices

T: hops, creamed malts, and oh so nice. Hops are of lemon zest and pine. Hops are soft and mild in character but yet enough to tantalize and pairs steadily with malts to give a great harmonious feel. Sweet caramel touches it all for a great winter warmer/American IPA.

M: creamy with just the perfect amount of fizz. Mild body that follows up with a mellow oily hopped touch

D: fine and drinkable brew, my type of winter warmer/American IPA. A well rounded beer overall
Ding Ding Ding!

Photo of andylipp
4.65/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle.

Appearance -A nice orange amber pour with an inch of head in my nonic pint glass. Significant lacing.

Smell -A malty nose with significant citrusy hop notes. Even when it warmed, the aroma was more subdued than I remember in previous batches. Much less of a hoppy nose than, say, the Harvest Ale series, to be sure.

Taste -A great citrus/pine hop character with a big, malty sweet backbone. A long citrusy/piney finish with yet more maltiness.

Mouthfeel -Pretty high carbonation and a medium body.

Drinkability- Excellent. I want me some more!

Comments- I will buy as much of this as I can while it's around. It's interesting- based on some forum posts, this year's batch seems to be highly variable. Some people get a malty aroma; some people note a dominant hop aroma. Mine had a maltier nose with a big hop taste and a looong hop finish. Just great.

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

poured into a pint glass, careful pour gives m an inch of headm lots of lacing, beer itself is dark brown, beautiful.
smells of nothing but hops. piney resinous hops.
Taste mirrors smell. oily, piney hops, some malt tyo balance it out, but hops reign here.
lucious mouthfell, smooth, kinda think, decadent.
overall a flawless example of an ipa, two hearted is the only beer that comes close to it in this style.

Photo of CHSLBrew
4.05/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in a large mug.

A-Copper-colored, pristine beer topped with a thick, frothy off-white head. Low-moderate head-retention with extensive lacing.

S-Dominated by nutty malts with some light hoppiness, earthy and citrusy.

T-Prominent earthy hops start the taste, followed by an assertive nutty, toasted malt. The strength of the malt flavor is well blananced by an enjoyable bitterness. This one is probably balanced to the bitter side. Finishes with a very present bitterness.

M-Moderate carbonation level lends to this beer's medium-heavy body.

D-Great drinkability. Smooth and bitter, an overall well-balanced brew!

Photo of mcowgill
4.4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a nice clear light amber color with a great head that sticks around. Lacing all over the glass.

S - I get a nice bitter almost spicy hop aroma. There's a sweetness there as well.

T - This beer is so great and very well balanced for an IPA style. Initially I get a sweet malty taste that quickly evolves into a great spicy pine hop goodness.

M - Creamy, medium bodied and well carbonated.

D - This is a damn good drinkable beer and that's scary at 6.8%. I have a case of this in the pantry ready to get me through the winter.

Photo of LordHammer
4.55/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Purchased along with the Anchor holiday offering at a joyous stop at the store on the way home from work.

Poured from the stubby 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

A: Pours a deep copper with about two fingers of off-white head. Head lingers a long time, and sticks like mad to the side of the glass.

S: A tiny bit of sweet malts, and then hops, hops, hops. A wonderful thing.

T: Starts malty, and a bit sweet, and finishes with a big hop bang at the end. Lots of piney hops, with a bit of citrus sneaking in at the end, and even after the sip.

M: It's full in the mouth without being overly heavy. It's a bit sticky in the mouth, as if to remind you that yes, it's almost 7% ABV.

D: While it would be dangerous, this is quite the quaffable beverage. I could easily see putting three or four of these back on a cold winter evening. And then taking a sick day, of course.

So far, my favorite beer of this winter season.

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

Picked up a sixer after reading such good things about this on BA. Poured into a pint glass. Pours a copper color, slightly darker than what I'd expect with an IPA. Finger thick head that settled down quickly. Smells slightly hoppy with some citrus tones. Not a very powerful aroma compared to other IPA's I've had, but still smells pretty good. Mouthfeel is slightly carbonated, some stick, medium bodied. Oddly, the taste is a lot more robust than the aroma. Starts off slightly malty with citrus, followed up by a real nice hop taste...REAL nice. The hops and citrus linger for a bit and bitterness rounds out the taste. Drinks really well and goes down easy. This is why I love BA...I'm not a huge fan of winter seasonals and would not have bought this had I not read the commentary on BA. This an excellent IPA. Then again, I expect nothing less from Sierra Nevada.

Photo of Natural510
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a bronze-amber color with immense head. A very inviting ale appearance.
Smells strongly of piney hops and a grapefruit-citric sweetness.
Breaded malts meld beautifully with the lively but understated floral hops. An orange marmalade sweetness with a piney earthiness make up the bulk of the flavor. A bit spicy in the finish.
Well carbonated, quenching with a full bodiness. Hops leave a nice bite and a dry finish.
The 2008 version is a well-balanced winner. I tried last season's on tap and couldn't taste anything more than the hops. Perhaps they toned it down this year, or my palate has become more refined...either way this is one fine, very drinkable seasonal.

Photo of lynx1245
4.45/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Appearance: A rich dark amber with yeast sediment suspended throughout. Nice looking bubbles from the carbonation add sparkle. This is a really good looking beer.

Smell: Citrus, mostly grapefruit, and big hops are what I take away first. Giving it more time and letting my mind wander more I do believe I can detect some malt.

Taste: Starts off with a sweet citrus and malty taste and finishes with BIG hops! I would expect nothing less from Sierra Nevada. Still, the hops are delicious and I wouldn't change them one bit.

Mouthfeel: Light bodied with a dry finish and good carbonation. You can really FEEL the bitterness.

Drinkability: As I review this, I'm drinking the last bottle in the 6 pack. After drinking two of these about a week ago I've literally been craving more ever since. I've never been a huge fan of really bitter beers, but this one has converted me. Cheers to you Mr. Grossman!

I think I should also mention that I used to live in Chico a few years ago and never heard a bad thing about Celebration Ale. Well, in 2005 I decided to give it a shot with my friend so we went out and bought a case to last for the weekend. Being in college and new to beer we absolutely hated it because of the huge hop presence and ended up giving half the case away to others. Know what to expect when you're buying this beer; it's an IPA and a robust one at that! Now in 2008 I've tried it again, and after expanding my palate for these last 3 years I can say that this is an excellent beer!

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

Overall, this reminds me of a quality Pale Ale, though I have not had this brand's famous pale ale.
a: Color and head are gorgeous and rich.

s: not very distinctive; I didn't sense the citrus others do, but it's certainly a bitter, hoppy aroma.

t: nice flavors, rich and bitter, with some citrus aftertaste. Like others, I don't sense anything "spicy" about this, so I'm not sure how it's a holiday brew.

m: smooth and savorable, with enough pleasant taste to coat all parts of the tongue, and good carbonation.

d: a high quality beer that I would drink again and wouldn't mind having more of, though it's overall more bitter than I like (I've tried to balance this in my score since I usually find American IPA's to be like that).

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

Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale

This came as part of a mixed six pack down at Mr. Bones in Greensburg. I poured the 12 oz. bottle into my tasting snifter. It poured with a nice foamy head with little retention. The color was a medium ruby, almost crystal clear. The aroma was packed with hops, and citrus notes. The taste was very reminiscing of Sierra Nevada's Pale ale...lots of hops, a good amount of bitterness, and smooth malt notes in the background. A very enjoyable beer brewed with the holiday seasons in mind.

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

This beer pours a nice coppery almost brownish red color with a two finger head with an off white head that is nice a frothy and creates lasting lacing on the glass. As for the aroma it gives off a nice smell of hops with a hint of citrus and spices. As for the taste, this IPA has a nice medium bodied, hoppy taste going for it. The spices and citrus get all mixed up creating a nice IPA. Barely bitter at all, the beer has a great drinkability and mouthfeel to it. It's not what i expected, thought it would be more spicy, but it was a great beer anyways. Glad i tried this one.

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

Appearance: Pours a lovely ruddy golden; one or two fingers cloudy-haired head that stands a spell and gently fizzles out.

Smell: Bright and hoppy, with a well-nested cave-like sour flair that suggests some English, confirmed with taste. An assured, confident, rolling malty baritone rides the belly of those soaring hops. A tractor beam that will not be denied its due.

Taste: Forward thrust of bittering hops relax their shoulders to admit a sustained malty spiral. Carbonation is palpable and boosts the quiet flood. A distinctive and extremely pleasing element of this brew is the way the sharp bittering hops & malt lay out and couple on the tongue as the music comes together.

Drinkability: One gulp begs another. Flavor that hugs the tongue both sates and awakens -- strong signature without overdubbed hops or gimmicks. This is a memorable beer that comes around every November and weathers a clean session every time.

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

2008 batch, drinking fresh. I intend to lay some down for a while and perhaps integrate reviews...

A: Pours a deep orange-copper hue with a sizable toffee colored head that pits nicely in the shape of an egg as it recedes. Retention is excellent and it lays down some serious lace on the side of the glass. A wonderful appearance.

S: Hops, fo sho. Huge pine and huge citrus aromas. I'm getting just a hint of caramel in the smell, too. Swirling and more warming reveals a sweeter spice aroma, too. Intense, complex, and pleasant--the aroma is solid.

T&M: Flavor is initially sweet with a substantial hop bite in the finish. The hop flavor is more piney/herbal than citrus, with a really solid malt backbone giving some balance and a slight sweetness midway through. The finish is long and bitter with an herbal/earthy character. Though it tastes great right now, I'll be most interested to see how it tastes as the hops mellow over the course of the year. Body is medium to full with an understated, tingling carbonation that really allows the full complexity of the flavor to develop unimpeded. Nice job.

D: For being a higher ABV, fuller bodied IPA, it actually goes down quite smoothly. I drank it in gulps, not sips, and my glass emptied quickly. SN definitely created a beer that would facilitate some Christmas cheer quite quickly.

Photo of MP72
4.65/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-deep amber to almost orange color with a thick white head that lasts for days. Superb lacing.

S-Grapefruit, orange, and I could have swore maybe some corriander and of course HOPS!

T-Hops to the nines , and a strong malt presence.
Just enough bite to make you pucker and want more. This stuff is very good.

M-Medium bodied and not too much carbonation. I found it to be smooth for such a hoppy IPA.

D- Scary high,, I could drink several of these ,,, or at least I think I could. Cant say for sure how well I'd function but I am willing to find out.

If you see it buy it,, I had the 2008 and it was worth every cent.

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

Appearance: Pours a copper and amber color, clearish, with a creamy thick foam with good lacing and good retention. Looks good, esp. the creamy head that it has

Aroma: Piney, and very hoppish. The hops dominate this aroma, not much else

Taste: HOPS. Sweet, spicy, whichever...but hops and more hops. Finishes nicely, with a good bitterness. Intense flavor on this one

Mouthfeel: Fairly clean finish, and nice feel.

Drinkability: Tastes good, good mouthfeel. Clean finish. All the characteristics of drinkability to me.

Photo of Brewsmith
4.4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From a 12 oz bottle purchased locally. A deep gold, almost amber with a rocky off-white head about an inch. Crystal clear. Aroma is full of American hops, grapefruit and pine. Bitter, but balanced. Malt is toasty and grainy. Hop flavor is again full of grapefruit and pine note. Medium bodied, not too carbonated. Balanced, smooth, easy drinking and very tasty.

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

Poured into a pint glass.

Appearance - Deep copper color with about half finger of creamy white head. Head retains slightly. Leaves a good amount of lacing.

Smell - Loaded with hops, great smell. Also get a grapefruit scent in there. Get some spice as well.

Taste - A very bitter beer. Huge hop presence with a bit of a spice flavor. Very awesome if you love hops.

Mouthfeel - Light bodied beer; moderate carbonation.

Drinkability - Easily drinkable if you can handle hops. Body makes it easy to down a few.

A really awesome beer that goes down well in the wintertime. Huge hop presence with a ton of taste. Definitely could drink this year round.

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


A - 2 finger off white head protrudes from my Russian River pint glass. It's frothy, it's thick. The body is a glowing, clear rusty orange with ample carbonation. Ridiculously nice lacing.

S - Big hops. A definite west coast hop vibe mixed in with some other less nuanced hops. Really grapefruity. A slight caramel malt may be poking through.

T - Sweeter than bitter, it finishes with a nice hop bite. Definite balance is achieved, with the hop profile riding an awesome malty wave. Great all-around IPA... Plenty of "C" hops.

M - Slightly thinner body with a nice creamy, fine carbonation.

D - Killer drinkability, and a beer I'll revisit a few times this year.

Notes: What's with people thinking this is gonna be some spiced winter warmer?

Photo of MerkinMan
3.53/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2008 version:

A: Bright copper with about a half inch of head that looks as though it will retain well

S: Spicy hops and not fruity like many Christmas beers. Reminiscent of their Pale Ale with some noticeable differences.

T: Could have probably used more malt to cut down on some of the hop soapyness. Not a bad beer at all; may benefit from some aging.

MF: Not bad. Has body, but dissipates.

D: Not at all a bad offering, but rather plain compared to other examples. Very drinkable, but does not stand out from the pack, nor does it stand out from other SN beers.

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

serving type: bottle

A: Deep orange on the cloudy side. good head retention. It leaves good lacing.

S: Lots of hops, lots of hops. Pine and grapefruit stand out.

T: Bitter hops hits you and excellent flavor and finish.

M: Light bodied with moderate carbonation.

D: Very drinkable, like an early Christmas for a hop-head. Loved the previous years? Then you will love this years offering.

Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 8,952 ratings.