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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.

7,815 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7,815
Reviews: 3,154
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 11.54%
Wants: 199
Gots: 457 | 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: 7,815 | Reviews: 3,154 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ipogios
3.98/5  rDev -4.3%

SN Celebration Ale 2002: Slightly different from the other strong hopped character beers i've tried so far. I am not a big fan of hopped beers but i found this one a bit different and more balanced. It pours a cloudy light brown/reddish colour topped by a thick head that settles down rather easily. Flavour and aroma are dominated by hops but this Ale is very well balanced. The taste is not that bitter as i would expect from a strong hopped beer. Quality seasonal brew...

ipogios, Jan 15, 2003
Photo of UncleJimbo
4/5  rDev -3.8%

I sampled a 12 oz amber bottle with 1998 on the neck label. I could find no "bottled on" date on this bottle.

This ale poured to give a coppery colored, cloudy beer with very thin white foam that left nice lace on the glass. The aroma was interesting with the dominant aroma from barley and malt, but with some odor of hops and apples. The taste was dominated by hops - sharp and almost acrid with some fruitiness and spicy oakiness. There was a lingering aftertaste of bitter hops. The mouthfeel was smooth with a strong hop bitterness throughout but with a mild sweetness in the finish. The carbonation was moderate. The drinkability was good for this clean and crisp IPA.

UncleJimbo, Jan 10, 2003
Photo of NeroFiddled
4.45/5  rDev +7%

With so many reviews available it would seem stupid for me to add my standard analysis. I would, however, like to simply note what makes this beer as good as it is. The hazy borderline-copper body is quite welcoming, but it's the magnificent creamy head that holds all the way through the glass that clearly shows how well made it is. The beautiful lace throughout the entire glass also adds to its majestic appearance - it's almost as if it were a nitro-beer! The beautifully fresh nose expresses an herbal, citrusy and spicy character that's as if you'd just stuck your nose into a bag of fresh hop flowers!
But it doesn't stop there; a juicy underlying fruitiness from the yeast adds to its vibrancy. The body is light enough to be highly drinkable, but also full enough to combine with the very fine natural carbonation giving it an exceptionally smooth and creamy mouthfeel. The flavor, like the aroma, is dripping with fresh floral and citrusy hop character - but it's not so bold that it's over-powering or minty. Instead, it's delicately balanced against a softly sweet, nutty and bready caramel-soaked maltiness that emphasises the hops. It showcases the soft, and almost sweet character of the Cascade hops! Balance is what this beer is all about, and it's bitterness is no exception. It's not intense (which would ruin the palate and overshadow it's supple maltiness, but it is quite solid and becomes drying in the finish. It pushes and pulls throughout the pint but never becomes the centerpiece. Finesse, not bravado, wins the prize here!!!

NeroFiddled, Jan 08, 2003
Photo of kelticblood
3.85/5  rDev -7.5%

2002 celebration ale-
What an exceptional pour! The head was so huge I had to sip the foam twice so it wouldnt overflow a 20oz glass.The color is a cloudy orange-red color.The aroma is of hops..alot of them.The head dissolved into thick white clumps of foam like an ice cream milkshake.Tons of thick sticky white lace everywhere.The taste presented a creamy full bodied and very hoppy Ale.The mouthfeel tasted a bit flat.Lacked a crisp carbonated texture.Very smooth and silky with a long bitter grapefruit finish.I never tried this before and was expecting something else.Being a winter brew and named "celebration Ale" I thought it would be a bit hearty and thick with a higher ABV,but it turned out to be basically an IPA..Which is not my choice to fight off a cold winter's night..I can only rate this on being an IPA and not a true winter brew.

2nd review: After 2 Years of aging a Celebration Ale it has developed great carbonation with tons of bubbles rising up.Very bitter mouthfell and finish.A fine white lace with a swirling haziness.The color is a dark orange to light brown.Mouthfeel is not watery and has some body to it.Bitterness has overshadowed the hop taste.Aging does change a beer alot.

kelticblood, Jan 07, 2003
Photo of Dantes
4.4/5  rDev +5.8%

Package: Stubby "heritage" bottle. No date guidelines. Neck label with blurb notes "2002 Celebration Ale" and "2284" on lower left poinsettia. Nice winter scene. 6.8% ABV.

Cost: $7.99 6-Pack at Shop-Rite

Presentation: Pint glass at 50º

Appearance: Coppery, strong-tea color. A bit cloudy. Loose, moist white head, settling to about ½”, remaining for most of the glass. Nice strings of small bubbles from the bottom.

Smell: Hops are very evident with strong lemon peel citrus notes. Spices and malt struggle up through the sharper notes. A bit off-putting at first, but evens out as the head settles. Intriguing.

Taste: More balanced than the aroma. I am not normally a fan of “overly” hopped beers, but it works here. Nice hops complexity. I’m not sophisticated enough to differentiate, but this is not a one-note wonder like many hoppy brews. First bite of hops and citrus are quickly moderated by the malt; notes of clove, allspice, ginger; and fainter hints of raisins, plums, and grapefruit. Clean and edgy without being sharp.

Mouthfeel: Carbonation is well-matched to the fullness of the brew. Comparable to the Winter Solstice, with more body and viscosity.

Drinkability: Very drinkable. ABV is virtually undetectable and the body and flavors are both light and satisfying. I can see this both for savoring and as a regular quaffer.

In general, I’m not a big fan of very hopped beers. For me, it is the equivalent of salt or Habanero peppers. I love them, but used injudiciously, they dominate. Here, the Sierra Nevada succeeds. Its elements are well orchestrated, even with a heavy weighting on the hops end of the scale. Like a string quartet where the ‘cello dominates, the imbalance works if Yo-Yo Ma is the cellist, but would be a disaster otherwise. This works.

Backwash: This review is a tale of two Winter Seasonals. Compared to Anderson Valley’s Winter Solstice, this brew wins hands down. My tastes don’t run to the “hop-head” end of the spectrum, but the execution of the Celebration Ale is great. I’m a big fan of Winter Seasonals and would add this my list of favorites, although less "wintery" than many. I still lean to the maltier British offerings, but this is an excellent change of pace. Should be made available year-round. If it mellows with age as noted below, could be perfect.

NB: Had on draught, this WAS mellower and even better.

Dantes, Jan 07, 2003
Photo of SchmichaelJ
4.53/5  rDev +8.9%

2002: I've grown a strong liking for hoppy ales lately, and I was very, very satisfied upon drinking the Celebration Ale. From the bottle, it poured a nice, dark orange / brown color. A beautiful full head stood atop the glass, and was very well-retained throughout. Complex and tight lacing was also present, and I'd have to describe its overall appearance as creamy and full on top, sharp and mellow below. A luxurious hop aroma was present, and a nice spiciness added to the wonderful smell. A very pronounced hop bitterness was noticed in the taste, along with a subtle and pleasant maltiness. The higher alcohol presence was noted but not intrusive...most welcome, in fact, on this cold December night. A full, creamy mouthfeel was cut sharply by the prickly carbonation and felt great in the mouth. Overall, the Celebration Ale has been one of the best brews I've tasted since I began seriously reviewing beer. It's a great seasonal brew, and will very likely accompany my holiday celebrations for years to come.

SchmichaelJ, Jan 03, 2003
Photo of cretemixer
4.08/5  rDev -1.9%

Pours the color of fallen leaves, browns, reds and burnt orange hues all mingle together. Unbelievable thick and firm head that leaves a proficient lace down the sides of the glass. Sweet malt aroma is there behind a grapefruit wall of hops. Light Roasted malts leave a caramel taste in my mouth but the hops come to the forefront at the finish. Very drinkable "winter" brew.

cretemixer, Jan 03, 2003
Photo of comat0se
4.43/5  rDev +6.5%

2002 Celebration Ale

Fluffy, off-white head with tiny silver bubbles. Bright copper color, slight chill haze. Aroma is slight fruit, with massive grapefruit peel. The taste starts with a malty, bready, slightly sweet flavor followed by a huge rush of nice citrusy, grapefruit hops, slight alcohol, with a very long lasting bitter finish. Nice, full mouthfeel punctuated by lively carbonation in the hoppy finish.

comat0se, Jan 02, 2003
Photo of purplehops
4.18/5  rDev +0.5%

Based on 2002 bottling.
Celebration poured a sparkling copper red with a rich off-white head that clings to the sides of the pint. The aroma is pure hops with some backgrand odors of malt. The taste starts crisp and clean with malt flavors up front and then fades into citrus and coriander like flavors with hop spiciness and bitterness making their presence known in the finish. The aftertaste is a well balanced blend of carmel malt sweetness and the hop bitterness. The two flavors continue to undulate on your palate. The mouthfeel is pleasantly full with slight carbonation and alcohol tickles.
Another fine example of an American IPA. It gives warmth to your body, pleasure to your eyes, and spicy hop aromas for your olfactory.

purplehops, Jan 02, 2003
Photo of Mitchster
4.43/5  rDev +6.5%

Brewed with Two-row Pale & English Caramel. Hopped with Chinook for bittering, Finished with Cascade and Centennial, and dry hopped with Cascade and Centennial. 6.8% ABV, OG=16.0p, FG=4.0p, 65 IBU's.

A thick, meringue head forms atop a crystal clear deep copper/ruby liquid. The initial aroma is *wham*..grapefruit in bushels! If one concentrates, you can also detect a little alcohol escaping from those tiny bubbles. Head forms a nice brussels lace and stay with the beer until you're done. Bittering hops are well balanced to the sweetness and body of the malt, and finishes with strong hops bitterness and sugar cookies. Excellent mouthfeel...nice and chewy. Comparing the bottled version to draught of the same year, I would say that the draught had a thinner head, a somewhat milder hop profile (i.e.-a little more rounded and smooth), and had less bitter hop finish, which in my opinion made the draught more enjoyable. A great beer, and one I look forward to each year. If you like this, try Bell's Two-Hearted Ale. Get both on tap if you can!

Mitchster, Dec 28, 2002
Photo of putnam
4.13/5  rDev -0.7%

Great brilliant reddish brass color. Freshly whipped head.
The aromas are dominated by grapefruit with some cinnamon candy and toasted hazelnuts for background music.
On the palate it's solidly hoppy (grapefruit) with slow, silky, rivulets of light caramel syrup raining down afterwards. Cured, dried herb is the theme here though. Feels like I'm working in a hop mine, taking a break to eat ruby red grapefruit...herb smoke afterwards. The guy next to me is eating red skin peanuts, and not in a polite way either...Someone lights the incense...

putnam, Dec 27, 2002
Photo of BitteBier
4.6/5  rDev +10.6%

Pours a very attractive, not-quite-clear amber orange. Active carbonation feeds a substantial foamy, light head that dissipates rather quickly but laces quite impressively down the side of the glass. Even when well-chilled, this beer has a strong, wonderful nose--very crisp and hoppy with some sweet fruit notes as well. Hops are omnipresent in the taste, muted at the start by soft fruitiness and by some dryness at the end. A bit oily in the mouth but a good mouthfeel nonetheless and eminently drinkable.

BitteBier, Dec 23, 2002
Photo of ethosx19
4.68/5  rDev +12.5%

Big head, dark copper color, hop/fruity cherry smell, and a great spicy hop taste. The 6.8% alcohol gives a nice kick without any alcohol aftertaste. This is a great beer that is moving to the top of my list.

ethosx19, Dec 23, 2002
Photo of mrjimcat
4.43/5  rDev +6.5%

The beer when poured exhibited a generous lasting head. The aroma was hoppy with a sweet background. The predominant characteristic is the hop bitterness and flavor. This is soon followed by a background maltiness that serves as a perfect backdrop for the main character, the hop. The beer was a pleasure to drink being so well balanced.

mrjimcat, Dec 22, 2002
Photo of BeerBob
4.4/5  rDev +5.8%

Sierra Nevada 2002 Celebration Ale pours a turbid dark copper from a 12oz brown twist off cap bottle. Head was off the scale as it went over the side of the glass and when it was through with it’s jaunt, left huge amounts of foam all over the sides, both inside and out side of the glass.

Major floral hop in the nose and five star general floral and bittering hops in the palate. To say that Sierra Nevada 2002 Celebration Ale is well hoped would be doing it an injustice. The 6.8% alcohol by volume then takes over the mouth, throat, esophagus, and stomach, with a plesant after glow. Aftertaste is a persistant plesent bitter, that lasts and lasts.

Sierra Nevada 2002 Celebration Ale is a real hops treat for sure.

BeerBob, Dec 20, 2002
Photo of Stubbie1
3.95/5  rDev -5%

Pours a nice copper/reddish color with a nice off white head. As soon as you put your nose to the glass you get hit with the hops then a small hint of fruit and malt. It’s a nice aroma! Mixed with a smooth mouth feel and a pleasant after taste of hops. A very enjoyable seasonal beer. Enjoy!

Stubbie1, Dec 20, 2002
Photo of powoo19
3.93/5  rDev -5.5%

The Celebration is good. The color is a fine dark reddish colour, not much of a head.. The smell is very hoppy and somewhat fruity, but pleasent.
The taste is strong but smooth, very good aftertaste. I did like this beer, but certainly not a session beer.Good Christmas beer..
Happy Drinking!

powoo19, Dec 20, 2002
Photo of JohnnyDuvel
4.47/5  rDev +7.5%

Wow! This is an exceptional beer! Reminds me of a hoppier, stronger version of Liberty Ale (one of my absolute favorites). If you don't like a beer that's extremely "hopped-up", avoid this. Otherwise, seek it out! Very smooth, easy to drink (had to slow myself down!). Pours a very large head, impressive lace. I finally found this a couple of towns away. I'll be returning on payday to buy a case!!

JohnnyDuvel, Dec 17, 2002
Photo of BeerAngel
4.03/5  rDev -3.1%

Pours a very clear amber/copper color with a large off-white head. Looks very appealing! The smell is a very pungent grapefruit aroma with citrusy hops well pronounced. The taste is a reflection of the aromas and includes a very bold dry hoppy citrus including strong grapefruit notes. Whew! This medium bodied brew is one that will "wow" you and drinkability is not quite as high as like-ability...but I can say "I Love It!". Pineywoodsrooter brought this up from Houston and shared a few bottles of it with me -thanks again! Cheers!

BeerAngel, Dec 16, 2002
Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%

Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale 2002.
It’s early - I know, I know, but I am from England, and I have never had this beer before, and I impatient to try it. So there!
It comes in a very festively labelled squat 12 fl.oz brown bottle, with a picture of a Dickensian snow covered wooden log cabin, which no doubt never existed, decorating the obverse. It does look good though, it fooled me and I’m a Scrooge. F**k you Bob Cratchet. Has a huge off-white cream colored head, massively dominant that leaves a great smattered lace look on the walls of the glass. The beer pours with a deep-orangey brown light chestnut color that is totally clear and lucid, luminescent against an illuminated background, it looks simply resplendent. With the huge rocky foamy off-white head comprised of a myriad of contemporary sized bubbles, this beer really does look like the Dogs Bollocks.
Bitterness announces its dominance in a way that the school bully elected to have the best locker at school, unquestioned and unchallenged, until the little petite child favourite stood up and questioned him. When he did, everyone ganged-up on the bully - flavour hence rears his head and challenges this bitter brute to a show down. Just as in life, it’s not fair, bully boy bitterness wins hands down and bloodies the nose of fair play and integrity.
The aromas are of an egalitarian Captain hoppiness, First Mate bitterness lingers in the back of the nasal passage. This beer makes no bones about its intentions. Kick Ass Hops and Bitterness. The freshly mown and harvested hop smells punctuate the two nostrils as the beer enters the aural cavities and politically announces “Vote Hops” with fascist tendencies. Belligerent bitterness introduces this Ale with militaristic precision.
Celebrate the end of year with Hummulus Luppulus, forget the fallacy of that fat bastard Father Christmas, the red nosed white bearded pseudo bringer of joy, I stopped believing in years ago – for only this Ale can do that without any false modesty.

Bloody Bitter, Bloody Marvellous, Bloody Better get some…..

Merry Xmas and Happy 'Hop-Head' New Year.

TheLongBeachBum, Dec 14, 2002
Photo of Viking
4.58/5  rDev +10.1%

Clear red-amber body, with a nice cream-colored head. Head is rather short-lived, but a bit of lace stays atop the brew and clings to the side of the glass. Grapefruit citrus and a solid presence of the deep pine forest dominate the smell. A bit of caramel malt noticeable as well. Rich, wonderfully hoppy and bitter flavor - but not overwhelming, by any means. The citrus flavor dominates most of the way, but the herbal, piney taste takes over in the finish. Nice mellow caramel malt backs up this excellent IPA. Incredibly smooth brew, went very well with a nice rare sirloin.

Viking, Dec 14, 2002
Photo of Riggo
4.45/5  rDev +7%

Once again, Sierra pulls off another great balancing act, managing to produce a warming, holiday brew while staying true to their signature west coast hoppy style.

This ale pours a beautiful rust, honey, orange color with a creamy off-white head. Scents of pine, spicy hops, and grapefruit dominate. The taste is of spicy, "gritty" hops with notes of caramel, apple and citrus, especially grapefruit. A buttery mouthfeel and backnotes of nut, wood, allspice?, nutmeg? The richer, spicier "holiday" taste elements are all beautifully tamed and balanced with bitter hops in what is essentially an IPA. Probably the ultimate hophead holiday beer.

Riggo, Dec 12, 2002
Photo of shirfan
4.05/5  rDev -2.6%

A nice dark amber, just a hint of cloudyness, and a long-lasting head.

Clean, hoppy aroma. Taste is solidly cascades, but toned down just a bit from the standard pale ale. A touch of carmel malt flavor, and very drinkable. There's a hint of bitterness in the finish, but overall, well-balanced and very drinkable.

shirfan, Dec 11, 2002
Photo of Bierman9
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%

My first celebration in a long time, and first time bottle-wise. A deep, rich, copper colored bier sits beneath a frothy, fine, tan head. Lacing is excellent...looks real good in the glass!! Nose has a robust, citrusy (Cascade?) hop twang. I like it, much more so than some biers that have mild, subdued nose that you really have to search for. Body came in at a medium-grade, as well as the smoothness, also a medium-grade. There is a good combo of malt and hops; about 1/3 malt to 2/3 hops, imo. The malt is underlying and toffee-like, to some extent. The hops are citrusy and gutsy. A good whack, though very pleasurable, to the palate!! Zum Wohl!!

overall: 4.35
appearance: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | mouthfeel: 4 | drinkability: 4.5


Bierman9, Dec 10, 2002
Photo of cokes
4.53/5  rDev +8.9%

Cloudy orange liquid with a hefty, pale yellow froth.
Nose is very all about the hops. Piney and citric. Though not as much as past years?
Taste is similar. Pine sap, resin, pine twigs and bark and roots all mixed together in a grapefruity punch. The hops here are equally juicy and bitter. Toasted caramel backbone. Nothing truly noteworthy, but definately sufficient. Amidst all the hop carnage, There is an upswelling of cherry near the close as pricks of brandied alcohol dot the finish. Bitterness is deep and lingering.
Smooth and creamy in the mouth. Glides across the tongue to slowly assassinate braincells.
Literally poundable. One to be careful with.
Very good stuff...stands with Sasquatch as my fav SN product.

cokes, Dec 08, 2002
Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 7,815 ratings.