Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

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Sierra Nevada Celebration AleSierra Nevada Celebration Ale

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9,021 Ratings

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Ratings: 9,021
Reviews: 3,285
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 11.81%
Wants: 275
Gots: 996 | 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: 9,021 | Reviews: 3,285 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Hokies
4.63/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a nonic glass. Pours nice amber color with a massive off white head that leaves tremendous lacing on the glass.

Aroma is absolutely tremendous with a floral aroma of hops with grapefruit, citrus and pine.

A sharp taste of hops start off the flavor of grapefruit and light citrus kick through and then a slick oily pine flavor take over. It is balanced out by a nice malt taste that allows for this ipa to finish pretty clean with a nice bitterness at the end that is not overwhelming.

Not to much carbonation in the mouth which is nice and makes this beer dangerously drinkable.

Photo of JayNH
4.47/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- A nice cloudy copper color, not much of a head.

S- An excellent floral hoppy scent.

T- I find a slightly spicy sweet maltiness balanced with a strong hoppy bite. The hop taste is very crisp and clean. I find it to have almost a grass-like taste. Malt and hops are very well balanced.

M- Slightly thick and sweet. Moderate carbonation.

D- Excellent!

This beer is nothing short of FANTASTIC. For 13 bucks for a 12pk it's a steal. This is what an IPA should taste like.

Photo of midaszero
3.2/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A - Clear red orange body with two finger for frothy tan head and excellent lacing

S - A little pine and a little citrus. I wouldn't call this a IPA smell and is kind of faint

T - Nice mix of flavor and bitter hops with a little spice and citrus in the back

M - Medium body with medium carbonation

D - Easy to drink and kind of enjoyable but nothing really special

Photo of Douglas14
4.03/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a beautiful copper color with incredible clarity and an equally impressive head that leaves thick and abundant lace. The appearance is easily this beer's best aspect. The aroma is immensely and wonderfully of fresh hops! Smells like pine trees. Not a lot of malt comes through in the aroma, which is a minor knock. The taste is similar to the nose. The Celebration is packed with an extremely fresh hop character. It has a lot of pine and some resin characters that make it pretty enjoyable. The only downside is that I don't find anything overly special in the hop/IPA aspect of this beer. It's missing something that I cannot put my finger on. Anyway, wonderful beer overall though. It's definitely much better on tap than in the bottle from my experience.

Photo of dojobrewco
4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Excellent holiday beer. Nice copper amber pour and floral aroma. good malt balance as well. Gives you that hoppy after taste that lingers until you brush your teeth and rinse with scope. Overall a very drinkable beer. I was very excited to see this one at my local beer store.

Photo of SerieDNo3
4.83/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bought this at a local Whole Foods. I've been looking forward to it since last year, when I barely missed out on getting some. 12 oz. bottle poured into an American pint glass.

Appearance: Dark copper/amber color with a light head that dissipates rather quickly, but leaves excellent lacing the whole way down.

Smell: Citrus-y and piney, just as I'd expect from a West Coast IPA.

Taste: Hops. Piney and a little bit of grapefruit, with just enough malt to provide balance.

Mouthfeel: Satisfyingly crisp, with just the right amount of carbonation.

Drinkability: Eminently drinkable. ABV might be slightly high to make this a session beer, but I want to drink one after another. The hops give it a very satisfying crispness. I wish SN made this year-round.

Photo of rhinos00
4.15/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2008 version poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

A- Clear orange / amber in color. Off white finger sized head formed and was reduced to to a thin film that settled on top throughout consumption.

S- Nice bouquet of citrus hops. Smells almost like grapefruit, oranges, and lemon rinds.

T- A very nice controlled fresh hops flavor. Combination of piney and citrus taste that is not overwhelming, just very well balanced.

M- Fresh and medium to light bodied. Perfect amount of carbonation.

D- Highly drinkable. Just a very well balanced beer, yet keeps the freshness of the hop at the forefront.

Overall, a very nice holiday brew from Sierra Nevada. Low cost + fresh hops + balanced taste = quality IPA.

Photo of alovesupreme
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very dark for an IPA, pours a copper, color, with a white head.

Smells more like christmas than I would expect from an IPA. Lots of hops, a little piney.

Grapefruit is the most prominent taste to my pallet. Very hoppy with a clean crisp taste.

Nice full mouthfeel, with good carbonation.

I would be happy to have a few of these, excellent lingering aftertaste. The alcohol will sneak up on you though.

Photo of rgrholmes168
4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

The beer poured with a nice two finger head and has a nice orange tint to it.

I got a good whiff of hops on my first smell which seemed to grow stronger. I was surprised by this because I didn't expect this.

The beer tastes pretty good. There is a good bitterness about this beer, but it did not overpower the taste buds. There is no real aftertaste to the beer.

I would recommend this beer as a pretty decent seasonal beer.

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

Poured a nice frothy, 1 finger off white head. rich amber color.

Smells like citrussy hops, not much else.

Tastes like hops first, then a little malt sneaks in, only to shoved out of the way by more hops, then a sweet hoppy aftertaste. a little hint of wintery spices.

Medium to heavy carbonation, foamy mouthfeel.

excellent overall drinkability. this is definitely one of the more hop forward winter beers, and one of my favorites.

Photo of Jedimaster1
4.78/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2008 version served in a tulip glass.

This one is much more refined and better than the 2007 brew. Last year's selection was more hops than anything else. While it was a great brew, it was not necessarily a winter brew.

However, here comes the 2008. This brew does not fray much from the 2007, but does tastes much more maltier and sweeter. This makes it taste like a winter brew in which one is looking for that special something to keep them toasty through the winter months. This is what I think of when I see the label on the celebration ale: a cold winter's day with my favorite beer.

Great stuff and plan to get another six pack. Get yours before they are gone and you will have to wait till next year.

Photo of McLovinmybeer
4.75/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is a must have for the holiday season. Nice head, and copper color. The aroma is hoppy but more malty, surprisingly. Taste of piney hops with a touch of bitterness, and a malt undertone. This beer is something I look forward to year after year. Christmas in a bottle!

Photo of bkilpatr
4.18/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a mug. 11/21/08.

Pours a clear orange-amber color with about three fingers of beige head. The head dropped slowly and left some nice lacing. Aroma is sweet toasted malt, piny hops, and spices.

Taste follows the aroma. Lots of sweet toasted caramel malt up front mixed in with some winter spice. Following that is a combination of piny and floral hops with a bit of citrus (grapefruit). Great herbal quality from the hops and a great bitterness to the finish. It's not a harsh bitterness, or overwhelming, but it's there and it finishes the taste very well.

Feel is smooth and well-carbonated with a medium body. Slightly lingering bitter aftertaste. Drinkability is very good. Each sip makes me want another, and the bitterness isn't too much.

Overall, a very good IPA. It's got just enough spice and character to make it feel like a winter beer.

Photo of aubuc1
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

poured from a 12 oz 2008 bottle in to a tulip glass.

pours a clear dark golden with an off white head

smell is a very strong hoppy citrus and some solid pine

taste is pretty bitter at first then a smooth malt balance

full mouthfeel is part if what makes this very drinkable

kind of hop oily

Photo of mothman
4.43/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Sam Adams sensory glass. Decent layer of head with excellent lacing Color is an orange copper.

Smell is of floral hops. STRONG floral aroma that is. A note of pine is also observed. Taste is quite similiar, but there is a citrus fruit noted (I would have to say grapefruit).

Mouthfeel is very bitter and 'tarty'. Leaves a slight dry feeling in the mouth, similiar to all ipas.

Overall, this is a staple. A great beer from Sierra Nevada and a must try. I would recommend this beer to anyone.

Photo of Biscuit033
3.98/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Clear orange witha huge off-white head that recedes slowly and leaves chunks of foam on the glass.

S: Strong hop aromas: grapefruit and pine dominate.

T: Grapefruit and pine with just a bit of caramel malt background.

M: Creamy and slightly oily with a refreshing citrus finish.

D: This is a great beer for hop heads. Not a favorite style of mine but it is well done.

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

This is called an ale but almost tastes and smells like an IPA. This beer poured a nice copper color. Smells of biscuit malt and grassy hops. Tastes VERY NICE; similar to how it smells. Sweet malt up front with a good amount of grapefruit flavor following shortly after. There's a good amount of wet bitterness at the end. Mouth feel was somewhat on the thin side, but still quite acceptable. Not a lot of carbonation. Overall, an incredible beer. I really wish the would be available daily. Apa is a good and reliable style, but i never had one i found was a incredible beer, until i had this one.

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

SNCA has been my fave "hop bomb" year in and year out. I buy a case every year and end up "cellaring" some. I'm drinking the '08 edition as I write this (in a local watering hole, not a favorite, since they are NOT cigar-friendly...but that's another story!).

Once again...year after I'm pouring it, I notice the hops right off...Cascade and Centennial...and the taste, as usual, is to die for! Thanx Terrence (@ SN)! Thick head and a lot of lace. A GREAT cigar ale, especially if the cigar has a grassy, earth-like note.

Since most everyone, if not all, rate the current batch each year, I'd like to do something different. As mentioned, I "cellar" several bottles of each year's batch and conduct parallel tastings upon arrival of the new batch.

Last year we paralleled the '04 thru '07. You will notice different flavors for each year as the hops (i.e. ~ harshness) decrease with age, so the '04 was less harsh than the '05 and so on. The '04 and '05 both had an "oxidized" character. This is due to "ingressive" oxygen, which is caused by having bottle-caps versus corks (i.e. ~ allows oxygen into the bottle). The '04 and '05 had Sherry, "winey-like" notes, along with some "burnt" notes with the '04 being more so than the '05.

Re: hops...on the aromatic side, if I'm not mistaken, SN uses a 50-50 mix of Cascade & Centennial and for dry-hopping it's a mix of 70% Cascade and 30% Centennial. Primary fermentation is 3-4 days and is dry-hopped during this phase. Chinook is the bittering hop.

I'm looking forward to the first 5-year parallel this year...using up the last of the '04 and '05 batch through '08.

Photo of nc41
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4


This is a different kinda brew than m the initial 2008 review.

My 1st one this year and IMO outstanding. Just a hint of Carmel and maybe a seasonal kinda spice at the finish makes this a little more refined than just a pure bitter bomb. A really great brew from SN, case worthy, and this year I'd bump up the taste a bit to a solid 4.5. IMO the best brew SN makes.

2008 - Tried my first one last night, and I was expecting a typical kinda spice laden winter brew. Wrong in spades! Pours a nice copper color, with a very nice head. Nose is all hops. A slightly heavier body than most IPA's, but the hop sting is fantastic, a very well balanced and conceived IPA. It's also nice the ABV is less than 7' upping the drink ability factor IMO. I'm going to stock the fridge with this brew thru the holidays, and another great offering from a very solid brewery.

Photo of stevecee2003
4.85/5  rDev +16.9%
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 -5.3%
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 -1.2%
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 -4.1%
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 +3.1%
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 +12%
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.

Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 9,021 ratings.