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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.

8,548 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 8,548
Reviews: 3,225
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 11.54%
Wants: 261
Gots: 743 | 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: 8,548 | Reviews: 3,225 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Caesar1pup
4.6/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Brilliant! Top Notch! Oh how I will look forward to this every winter now as I look forward to pumpkin ale in the fall.

How do I love thee? A phenomenal flavor, enticing aroma, and addictive hoppiness that says “Merry Christmas ole pal!”

My advice to you young friend is get some while you can as next December is far too long of a wait to enjoy this holiday treat.

Caesar1pup, Jan 19, 2007
Photo of Melchizedek
3.98/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours with an enthusiastic billowy beigish head that sticks and holds fast as a beautiful cap. Body is deep amber.

Aroma is lots of hop. Pretty resiny all around, a hint of citrus/grapefruit. Much more well-balanced in the mouth, a bit dry, with grainy malts over against refreshing bitterness, some apple skin, and a little underlying yeast going on. A little drying in the finish.

This stuff is very, very drinkable for a well-hopped IPA. It's a lovely winter tradition, and I'll make a point of doing some comparative review as the years go by.

Melchizedek, Jan 18, 2007
Photo of jdg204
4.22/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Caught a 6 Pack of the 2006 version just before the end of the Holiday season and I was very glad I got the chance.

Appearance - Lovely amber/bronze color with a fantastic beige head.

Smell - Very nice spicey/sweet smell.

Taste - Great to have a Holiday IPA! Wonderful hops flavor which is well complimented by subtle sweet malts. The hops are very unique and have a nice bitter feel that sticks.

Mouthfeel - Nice consistent texture and the hops leaves a nice biting aftertaste.

Drinkability - I really enjoyed this IPA and think Sierra Nevada has produced a unique/fantastic Holiday offering. This is a very nice sipping beer and the hops really stand out. I look forward to adding this to future holidays.

jdg204, Jan 18, 2007
Photo of mcallister
4.28/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

2006 Sierra Nevada Celebration ale courtesy of bierguy5.

An amber shade with reddish sparkles and a small dirty white head leaves thin lace around the glass and large bubbles of foam retent themselves nicely.

Sweet citrusy smelling hops are quite the showstopper. Hints of pine and floral hop aspects also. A nice caramel malt underlies the hop. Grapefruit, nectarine, apricot, and peach fill out the other aromatic esters.

First thing that stands out are the boldness, resiny hops. Big and bad and in your face, yet very well balanced and not palate fatiguing. The malt is rich and thick and leaves a creamy mid palate. Flavors of flowers, licorice, melon, apricot, and peach round out the taste. Drinkability is basically all day.

mcallister, Jan 17, 2007
Photo of ultralarry2006
4.6/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle. Leaves a one finger, tan colored head with excellent retention, and excellent lacing. Body is a nearly clear, bright copper. This is beautiful to behold.

Smell - citrus, lemons, and floral odors fill the nose immediately, followed by toasty malt biscuits. The floral and citrus perfume continue to intoxicate and enchant. Mouthwatering.

Taste - exactly as promised by the nose. Citrusy, floral hops dominate over a yummy toasty malt backbone. There is a lemony hop twang on the finish. It's that simple, yet so hearty and spicy and delicious.

Mouthfeel - medium bodied, smooth, and much hop oil slickness.

Drinkability - this is excellent ale, and I think it's entirely very sessionable ( it's just under my sessionabilty abv limit of 7% ). I always look foward to having this every winter, and it always goes over well, even with those who've never had an IPA.

ultralarry2006, Jan 17, 2007
Photo of mnj21655
4.22/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice copper color gold slight gold hues. Nice slightly off white 2 finger head with tons of lacing. Smells predominantly of piney hops but citrusy and, to a lesser extent, floral hops are also present. Taste is all piney hops. I couldn't pick up any malt at all in the flavor. Nice mouthfeel, just shy of medium body, and a nice amount of carbonation. As for drinkability this is great. Despite the complete dominance of the hops I would have no problem drinking a few more of these (after all this is an IPA).

mnj21655, Jan 17, 2007
Photo of treedoctor5002
4.28/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours a beautiful copper color. A nice cream head pops up perfectly in my glass and then disappears. Not as full bodied as other IPA's I've seen.
Aroma is pure sweet hoppiness and fruity also.
This thing is loaded with hops. Seems like an upgrade of their pale ale. Really sweet and full of pineapple flavor. The hops certainly balance it out nice. It's different than any seasonal I've ever had. I love the concept of an IPA seasonal though.
Mouthfeel is smooth and silky.
If your into IPA's this one is a must try.

treedoctor5002, Jan 17, 2007
Photo of maundythirsty
4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Coppery, bubbleless beer, but it sprouts a tall, white, rocky, tiny-bubbled head. Laces thick. Smells of spicy hops, with a light honey touch.

Strong evergreen hop flavor, with more spiciness. Tangy, bitter kick and alcohol bite. Solid medium mouthfeel with sparky carbonation.

Very attractive, aggressive, spicy beer. An excellent holiday choice.

maundythirsty, Jan 13, 2007
Photo of PEBKAC
3.15/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A sticky head tops off a pour as dark as black tea, but light enough to still dig out that elusive pistachio shell that flicked in from across the table.

It takes a good 7-8 minutes for everything to settle, so I began to get lost in watching each individual bubble rise to glory, only to be sucked into the mist. By this time, the glass looks really dirty with all the eratic lacing. The top is murky & cloudy like pond scum, but I think the dragon flies might of went in for a dip ahead of time.

Sticky hops tickle your nose, all within the fresh, mossy subterfuge of a standard pint glass.

The first taste bestows lots of pine, spicy hops, & an overall bitterness that is stronger then I last remember. Ribs are great with this. :D Wet & musty, it cuts like mouthwash. SN always seems to have just a bit extra carbonation in their bottles.

The aftertaste leaves a trail of saltine crackers & scratchy bitterness from the tip of your tounge, all the way to your tonsils(hanging on for dear life).

With a large meal, an extra pour is never out of the question. It is quite warming, with the carbonation influencing the alcohol.

A good value, a good brew. :)

PEBKAC, Jan 12, 2007
Photo of number1bum
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a beautiful copperish amber with a nice foamy tan head. Very lively carbonation and nice head retention and lacing. Smells slightly sweet but mostly hoppy, with some citrus. Taste is lots of hops up front, followed by some malt sweetness and finishing dry and bitter. Really nicely balanced and the lingering bitter finish is not at all unpleasant. This is really a nice IPA; too bad it's just a seasonal. I will certainly look for it and enjoy it every holiday season.

number1bum, Jan 12, 2007
Photo of dickroop
4.45/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

It's reputation goes before it, so when I spied some, I grabbed! I ignored the price, and I bring them out once in a while to celebrate a good day.... like today.

It poured clear and coppery and quite bubbly. It was 1-finger frothy, a beige head that lasted longer than most and left extraordinarily generous coating and lacing. In short, it looked great.

It gave off a promising nose of citrus and grapefruity hops. The taste gave a good hop hit but with a sweet, mellow malt presence, resolving to a good bitter finish. This brew has IBUs to spare and then some, very solid and oh-so definitely in the IPA camp. After that it was just simple ale goodness, so well balanced that you can enjoy bitterness and sweetness all together. There is an alcohol flavor that came through toward the end of the glass, and a little graininess, but neither detracted.

Mouthfeel was medium to full-bodied with a nutty astringency. Pure pleasure. Were it not for the 6.8% abv, one would want to just sit drink one after another. Recommended, emphatically.

dickroop, Jan 12, 2007
Photo of GimmeAles
2.9/5  rDev -30.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Crystal clear orange develops massive, semi rocky, cream-colored head that recedes, but hangs around leaving some decent lacing.

Faint metal-tinged grain dominates the nose. Leafy-herbal notes detected as well but not a lot going on here.

Tastes of zesty orange pith with very faint candy sweetness in the back. Hops are very upfront, leafy and astringent. Fleeting floral (rose) character. Warming produces a slightly increase of malty-sweetness and alcohol vapor, but flavor seems to showcase a coarse hop profile.

Astringency is heightened by prickly carbonation which only adds harshness – mouthfeel suffers accordingly. Decanting from a secondary vessel improves the smoothness, but a lingering mineral-harshness remains.

A classic that’s oft raved about, but nothing special to me. Certainly fresh and made to high standards with good ingredients - just not a combination that really works from the bottle least.

GimmeAles, Jan 11, 2007
Photo of RedBaron
4.45/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

(An update from my last sample from 1/11/2007 - a little over a year ago!)

Kudos to BA Marcobrau for giving me a six-pack of the 2007 version of SNCA. Always a delight to try the annual incarnation of a classic American winter ale.

Appearance: Pacific setting sun orange-red; Mostly translucent, good un-even head
Smell: Wonderfully floral, aromatic piney hop nose. I can smell the Cascades before I even pour the brew into my glass!
Taste: Simply a beautiful balance of bready, biscuit malt with a large amount of bittering hops, with citrus notes. Finishes as it should: dry as the Illinois prairie on a bitterly cold January evening.
Mouthfeel: Really, the hops win out here. That's a good thing though I wish there was just a bit more "umpf" in the malt's presence (i.e. a tad more sweetness). That said, this beer is what it is...a winter pleasure to treasure.
Drinkability: Damn! Every year, they the slightly alter this beer, but they always bring out the best possible rendition. This year is no exception. Seek it out while you can. It's probably off the shelves as I write this (Jan. 24th), because they release it around Thanksgiving (methinks that date is a bit early). Anyway, those in the frigid climes of the Midwest will appreciate this beer after walking their dog through subzero temps, and frozen snow and ice everywhere. This is THE beer to take the edge off that walk, my friends. Merci, moi frere Monsieur Marcobrau.

RedBaron, Jan 11, 2007
Photo of cameraman
2.98/5  rDev -28.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

The 2006 edition of celebration ale, it pours a deep amber color. There are visible signs of carbonation, with a quater inch off white colored head forming. The aroma has a slight citrusy scent, but surprisingly a strong malt aroma is very dominant. That malt starts the flavor off, and then midway, the citrusy hop flavors become present and linger on the palate long after the beer has passed by. A medium bodied feel, that slowly thins out as it reaches it finally destination, my stomach. This was disappointing, SNCA, to me the standard for being a hop monster beer. Perhaps, my expectations were high, it just seems it falls short.

cameraman, Jan 10, 2007
Photo of mithrascruor
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a mug.

Appearance: Pours a nice clear amber color with a 1+ in. foamy off-white head. Leaves a lacing on the glass.

Smell: Has an aroma of hops and citrus, but sweeter than a typical pale ale. Some floral hints are present as well.

Taste: The taste has two main separated flavors: the bitter hops and lemon, and the sweeter florals (rose) and citrus (grapefruit). The two flavors switch off, eventually finishing with the sweet which gradually segues into the bitter aftertaste. Quite unique.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied and smooth, yet with a somewhat grainy feel.

Drinkability: Goes down well and the alcohol content seems just right -- can definitely enjoy a few of these in a row.

Though I find it to be an enjoyable and unique beer, given the distinct hop flavors I can't shake the feeling that this is just a gimmick (or seasonal treat... if you're less cynical than I am) based upon their Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. Of course, if you like that beer this is definitely worth a try! And on it's own it's worth a shot as well. I think that I'll limit myself to just this 6-pack, though -- after you've tried it, you might find it a bit pointless to try again. If I want a pale ale, I'll get one -- and if I want a spicier, sweeter beer, I'll get one. I don't really need them combined.

mithrascruor, Jan 10, 2007
Photo of RedChrome
3.95/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A medium colored clear amber beer. Two inch high almond colored head took a long time to settle down. Lots of tiny carbonation bubbles slowly rising to the top. Clingy lacing coats glass.

A decent floral hops aroma. There is also a very distinct notice of citric aroma in the blend. This is a very pleasent aroma in the nose, but doesn't have the overall strength to make it great.

A bitter hops taste. There is a light pine taste up front that holds as the other flavors develop behind it. Interesting floral sense shifts around the back of the tonge. Nice flavor.

An average thickness and a small burst of carbonation in the mouth make for only a slightly above average feel.

Overall a worthy effort. Great beer to enjoy with a piece of galic grilled chicken and roasted potatos. A decent offering to enjoy while it is availiable. Not my favorite in style overall but as a seasonal, it is worth waiting for.

RedChrome, Jan 09, 2007
Photo of Graebner
4.55/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark coppery brown with a finger of off-white head that dies quickly. Beautiful bottle artwork, too.

Smells of rosewater, pine, citrus rind, lots of hops.

Taste is awesome. Loads of hops, but plenty of other niceties, too. Rose, grapefruit, coffee? some floral hops, and a light maltiness. Alcohol barely noticable. Finishes with a grapefruit-like bitterness.

Mouthfeel is perfection. Creamy and smooth, with a bit of oiliness in there and a slightly higher viscosity than say, their Pale Ale. Light and dry finish with some bitterness.

Overall, something you could drink for a long time. The abv would get to you eventually, but it sure is hard to tell its anywhere over 5% when youre just drinking it. If you dont like hops, stay far away, but for the rest of us, this is sheer delight.

Graebner, Jan 09, 2007
Photo of BlackAngus
3.7/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Nice orange color, clear, with a nice fluffy head.

S - Nice citrus aroma, malt, floral notes as well.

T - Big pine and citrus taste, slightly sweet.

M - A tad thick for the style, but very nicely carbed.

D - A let-down to be sure. I probably won't buy it again. It wasn't bad, but there was nothing to denote it as a "Celebration" beer, and as an IPA, it wasn't spectacular.

BlackAngus, Jan 09, 2007
Photo of neenerzig
4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a clear amber orange and copper like color. The head was about 1/4 inch thick upon pouring and settled to a ring lining the inside of the glass and a nice film layer on the surface about a minute after being poured. Fairly nice lacing. Aromas of malt, floral hops, and fruit such as orange, grapefruit, and lemon are present. Not much else smell wise. The hop flavor along with some grapefruit immediately hits the palate upon taking a sip and linger in the aftertaste as well. The hop bitterness and grapefruit taste is followed by some malty sweetnes. The aftertaste is also a bit dry and bitter, and almost seems slightly salty as well. Has a nice, fullbodied mouthfeel that is also crisp and creamy with moderate carbonation. Fairly easy to drink. This is a good brew indeed, but after hearing many people rave about how great they think it is, I was expecting better. Worth a try though. I'd drink this again.


neenerzig, Jan 09, 2007
Photo of RevDru
2.23/5  rDev -46.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

A - Light to medium brown with a half-inch of foam. Foam breaks down at a moderate rate.

S - Spiced milk.

T - Citrus and mild spice. Hints of vanilla. As time goes on, the taste turns very metallic.

M - Makes my tonge feel swollen, as if it is filling my entire mouth.

D - The initial flavors rated a 3.5, but as it wore on, it became a 2. I guess if you slam this beer, it wouldn't bee too bad, but then, what is the point? I was unable to finish this beer.

RevDru, Jan 08, 2007
Photo of MrHungryMonkey
3.98/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Amber, clear. Moderate head. Nice Carbonation.

American hops, floral and very citric. Mild sweetness.

American hops. Mild sweetness, understated malt backbone. Very mild toffee vibe.

Nice carbonation. Moderate foamation. Leaves a sweet thick coating in the mouth.

A nice IPA, however this doesn’t strike me as a winter brew.

MrHungryMonkey, Jan 06, 2007
Photo of gubbt
4.03/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a translucent orange with a big, thick, fluffy head that leaves beautiful lacing. Very pretty beer.

Smell is mostly west coast hops, quite faint and citrusy.

Not much going on in the front of the palate, but once the liquid migrates to the back of the palate, you get an explosion of hop flavors, mostly citrus grapefruit and some pine and a little caramel malt. Leaves you with a lingering bitter aftertaste that invites you to have some more.

The carbonation is a little spicy at first, but once it sits for a little it is quite oily and creamy. Nice overall.

I could have and have had quite a few of these in a sitting. Not balanced by any means, the hops dominate this one, but it is quite good none the less. I can get this for $5 a sixer, so this is my winter staple. Bottoms up!

gubbt, Jan 03, 2007
Photo of malcontent
4.15/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Outstanding head; thick and does not retreat for a good long while. Steady stream of bubbles rises to the top against a deep amber body. Beautiful.

Wonderful spicy hopscent with bright citrus notes.

Ultra-robust hops with great fruity aftertaste (grapefruit, persimmon). Refreshing bitterness on the finish. Love it.

Awesome thick/creamy feel although there is a bit too much oiliness to score it much higher in this area. Still, really yummy and I'll be all over this next year.

Thanks to kmpitz2 for bringing this over!

malcontent, Jan 03, 2007
Photo of billybob
4.9/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

pours honey amber color with a off white two finger head that settles to a thin layer on top with a good lacing to the finish. honey, clover, spice, and citrus all come through on the smell. taste is slightly, sweet, honey, with grapefruit but not the bitterness associated with it. mouthfeel medium, good carbonation and hoppy after taste. nice beer.

billybob, Jan 01, 2007
Photo of TechMyst
3/5  rDev -27.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Definitely not the Holy Grail I was expecting. How is this an IPA again? Ok, they got away with adding spices to a PA and it still tastes decent; I'll give them that. This, to me, (2006-07) had a red apple flavor, with some hard conditioning. This is better than any winter brew I can think of at the moment, but again; not something I would put high on my overall list...

TechMyst, Dec 31, 2006
Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 8,548 ratings.