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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.

7,832 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7,832
Reviews: 3,154
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 11.54%
Wants: 204
Gots: 464 | FT: 2
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: 7,832 | Reviews: 3,154 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of purplehops
4.18/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 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%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

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%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

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%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

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

A hop head's dream for a winter brew.

A huge head left the bottle, accompanied by a super-strong pine scent. The color was almost a dark, golden-orange.

The flavor of this ale is huge! It does not merely linger along, it asserts itself with full force. There is a raw flavor and smell underlying the hoppiness...a super floral presence. I even pick up a flavor of iron. Interesting and an exciting beer for the senses to experience.

The malt is definately a side note. The main feature is the hops. I highly recommend this warmer for a nice, red meat dinner.

Zraly, Dec 07, 2002
Photo of doerickson
3.63/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Mahogany/deep ruby red appearance with a small fine white head. Big aromas of piney hops with some toasty malts as well. Medium carbonation; fairly big body. Taste of piney, citrusy Cascade hops with some grapefruity character, offset to some extent by a sweet caramel/brown sugar malty profile, particularly as the brew warms. A bit unbalanced towards the hop end for my taste, especially for a winter seasonal, but undoubtedly worth a try.

doerickson, Dec 06, 2002
Photo of Lupe
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

This is a woderful Christmas present for hop lovers.

Pours a hazy amber color with a thick, rocky, off-white head that leaves sticky lace all the way down the glass. Aroma is hops all the way, herbal and citrus with some spice in the backround. Medium to full bodied with an incredible creamy mouthfeel. Taste starts off with lbig with hops, a bit hard to handle at the beginning, but don't give up on it. After the first sip or two, you get used to the barrage of fresh hop flavors, and the chewy malt comes through along with a hint of spice. Very good drinkablility for the amount of hops and the amount of alcohol.

Not balanced at all, but it is damn tastey. At once I was not fond of high hop brews, but this one has changed my mind. And you have to love the scene on the bottle!

Lupe, Dec 06, 2002
Photo of AtrumAnimus
3.45/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

My expectations were a bit high for this beer. The hop blend is ok. The 2001 was better. This one is lacking in maturity. The initial taste is very good. However the second half as it rolls past the palate is not a clean finish and is rough. Almost a bit of a ugh factor. Reminds me of a more mature version of the Arogant Bastard. Nice Seasonal - but needs more seasoning.

AtrumAnimus, Dec 04, 2002
Photo of brakspear
3.85/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A perfect winter holiday beer for the west coast hophead in all of us.

2002 Review

The beer pours a slightly hazy chestnut/amber body with a fantastic rocky head that reduces to a creamy cap on top of the beer below.

The aroma is pure and explosive Centennial/Cascade hops, surrounding and dominating the malt below, but with no harshness.

The taste is scouring from the Chinook hop base, but a full-flavored malt chewiness breaks through at times as well. Not balanced, but who says all beers must be.

I am glad this Celebration Ale makes its way to the Middle West.


Reviewed again after a comparison to some of the other hophead westcoast beers and it does not hold up as well.

brakspear, Dec 02, 2002
Photo of aracauna
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep amber, thick head is pockmarked. Nose is huge. Floral, citic hops over a crip toasty malt. Flavor: Grapefruit and pine sap hops, tingly, Crisp maltiness. Butter and flower nectar. Damn good. Much better than the regular Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.

aracauna, Dec 01, 2002
Photo of HopheadEd
4.4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I like everything about this ale. Big nose, big head that lasts with ample lacing. Spicy taste followed by a smooth, very drinkable body, not overly carbonated. Of course the traditional big hoppy finish that is the Sierra trademark. One of my favorite seasonals.

HopheadEd, Dec 01, 2002
Photo of IrishRedRock
4.05/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2003 vintage-- sampled 12-2-03 -- Seems pretty similar to me as the '02, though a bit less carbonated, resulting in less head retention, and the aroma seems to come out a little less than last year's. Same delightful spicy hops. Is the alcohol more pronounced in this bottle? Sure seems like it to me. I've got quite a few aging. This should be interesting, and very tasty, down the road.

2002 vintage -- A fantastic offering from Sierra Nevada. Deep copper color with a rocky head that lasts straight on through til morning. A bit of hops are present in the aroma, and balance nicely with the citrus and mild spice.

This brew is ever so smooth. Hoppiness and maltiness blends well and hits at the same time. Spice is mild, I could have used maybe a little more to give me some additional holiday cheer, but the 6.8% ABV warmed me nicely. An excellent seasonal!

IrishRedRock, Nov 30, 2002
Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 7,832 ratings.