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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: 744 | 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 hero27
3.85/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

(2006 Vintage)

Gorgeous bottle. Pale brown/copper color. Superb head retention.
Certainly tastes different than previous years. Less citrus hops up-front this time...more of a resiny pine with plenty of malt backing.

For me, this wasn't as tasty as the last few years, and seems a bit rough around the edges. Still enjoyable but didn't knock my socks off this go around.
note: Not a bad bottle. I bought a case the day it arrived locally and I'm already into the 3rd sixer.

hero27, Dec 16, 2006
Photo of DouggiePhresh
4.03/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a light brown into my Sierra Nevada pint. A profound pillow for a 2+ finger, soapy head. Very good looking.

Smells of hops and slightly alcoholic.

When I went to taste this beer, the head was so light that I did not even feel it on my lips until I got to the liquid. The first thing I taste is hops, followed by malt. I cant quite put my finger on something else I sense in the finish (nutmeg, ginger?)

It feels rather creamy, with tight carbonation. Highly drinkable (I will be finishing the 4 that I have!)

DouggiePhresh, Dec 16, 2006
Photo of mountdew1
3.55/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2006 poured into a pint glass. A light reddish brown color, with a nice thick foamy head about 1 1/2 fingers. Head clung to side of glass during drinking and disappated reasonably fast. Aroma was hard to detect, slight hint of something I couldn't place. Taste was reasonable. Started off slightly bitter, but that quickly changed and became very slightly sweet. Very easy to drink. Felt right in the mouth, not to watery, and not to clingy. Pleasant beer, but not what I was expecting for a holiday brew.

mountdew1, Dec 15, 2006
Photo of ellisdee97
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Clear reddish bronze with a light one-finger head, which slowly dissipates leaving a decent ring. Sticky bubbly lacing clings to the glass.

S: Deep piney resinous hops, as well as some fruity hop hints. Toast and orange rind.

T: Hops. Awesome hops. Pine, orange, toast and biscuit. The hop presence is phenomenal, strong yet so well balanced. Nice malt provides a great body.

M: Dry, bitter and syrupy up front. Malt sweetness kicks in then right back to a dry finish. Nice carbonation makes it very refreshing.

I want this all year round. Celebration is never a let down.

ellisdee97, Dec 14, 2006
Photo of trevorwideman
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle of the 2006 edition courtesy of fisherman34, thanks! Poured into a pint glass.

Pours a filtered reddish-orange colour with a full inch of pillowy head. Carbonation is medium, and keeps the head very lively. Smell is wonderfully hoppy, leaning more towards an orange/grapefruit character, a bit resiny and a little floral. There's definitely a serious caramel malt backbone in there as well, but the hop monster within rules the day.

As the ale hits the tongue it goes through some stages, albeit very quickly. A quick burst of honeylike earthy sweetness that quickly gets replaced by a big grapefruit hop presence. This is just thick with oily and piney hop character. Dancing across the tongue, the light malt is completely overshadowed by a clinic in the flavour characteristics of hops. Not as flowery as some, but everything else is there in full force. Be warned, there's little in the way of a yin/yang balance in this one, it's just one hell of a hop wallop. This one dries the palate nicely, and I didn't find it to be overcarbonated, just enough to introduce you to the flavour profile. Drinkability comes down to your enjoyment of bitter beers, and for me, this could be a great session ale in the right mood. Some days I was a hop monster, some days I don't. That said, this is a hell of a brew, and I'm looking forward to next year's offering.

trevorwideman, Dec 14, 2006
Photo of pootz
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2006 edition:

Bottle poured a rich hazey orange-copper ale in the glass with a whopping thick cap that lasts and laces.

Aromas of dense caramel malts fill the room when this breaths in the glass...spicey-citrus NW hops...wonderful aroma.

Thick malt spine, creamy mouth feel, spicey-bright-hoppy character.

Front side you chew into a big whack of caramel malts then the rush of Yakama valley hops balances the taste out with large dosages of grapefruit and pine flavors....mid palate these flavors mingle and the hops prevail, taking you into the herbal-piney bittering finish...light aftertaste of grapefruit peel...damn that was good! Like an alpha oil cocktail!

Unbalanced? You bet!.... this is a NW Hop showcase...but who cares? It has adequate malts that it is not too hop-biased but the hops are way out front to hide the alcohol well. Nice warming and soothing effect from the higher ABV.

Great drink...I wish just one Canadian Micro had the balls to make a classic IPA this good!

pootz, Dec 13, 2006
Photo of strangefate
3.75/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2006 edition.

Pours a dark amber with a thick head that ends up as a thin film while drinking the second half. Great lacing all over the glass as you drink it. The smell isn't that strong as most other IPAs, but it is hoppy, somewhat malty, and faintly fruity. It tastes a lot hoppier than it smells. A lot of bitterness and a caramel malt character. It's medium bodied and very hoppy on the tongue, a great mouthfeel. Drinkability is pretty good. All in all, a good beer, but certainly not as tasty as say, Stone IPA.

strangefate, Dec 12, 2006
Photo of Enola
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pint on-tap at the Olde Hickory Taproom.

This beer was absolutely wonderfull on-tap. The hops were there but not overlly bitter. More sweet than bitter. There was also some hints of vanilla and some spice. IPA meets winter warmer. One of the brewers best. A very drinkable brew.

Enola, Dec 11, 2006
Photo of Rennpferd
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Served on tap into a fresh pint glass.

The beverage appeared a rich copper hue with about a 3/4 inch creamy white head. As the beverage was consumed it left a nice sticky lace on the sides of the glass.

A mild scent of hops was accompanied by a hint of apple fragrance.

It tasted of sweet malt with bitter hops in the finish. It was medium bodied and easy on the palate when consumed.

This is a very drinkable beer.

Rennpferd, Dec 11, 2006
Photo of Fuller
3.63/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours an amber-orange color with a one-finger head that had great retention and left some nice lacing.

S - Smelled of citrusy hops and malt.

T - Starts malty and then leads to tons of fruity and piney hops. Very bitter.

M - very crisp and medium-bodied.

D - Very nice beer. A little bitter for my taste, but I think it represents the style very weel.

Fuller, Dec 10, 2006
Photo of Dizzy
4.15/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours copper colored with lots of white head which leaves lots of lacing as it dissipates. Aroma is citrusy hops and some malt. Taste is citrusy hop flavor, carmel like maltiness and lots of bitterness. Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Lots of flavor and well balanced, this makes a good session beer.

Dizzy, Dec 10, 2006
Photo of dhchatfield
3.58/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2006 - Poured into my Duvel Tulip after a brief refrigeration. 50-55 degrees. Very nice active carbonation.

A - Nice reddish mahogany. 3/4 inch head didn't stick around long. Very little lacing.

S - Honestly, I was dissapointed. I've read a number of posts (not reviews) referencing this beer and expected a more complex aroma. I can't pick anything out that comes to the front.

T - Good enough. I used to drink a ton of SNPA. I t was my staple summer neighborhood outing/Canada fishing camp/camping beer for years. This certainly tastes better to me, with a stronger bitter hoppy presence, but again, nothing spectacular.

M - Full bodied, creamy, spreads broadly across the palate with a very nice bitter finish. This I like for sure.

D - Like the SNPA, I could drink these all day. Nothing to object to, but also nothing to write home about.

Maybe I've conditioned myself to "BIG" beers and Belgian's filled with complexity, but I can't find a real standout feature to this beer. It's certainly a pleasant enough drinker, and its' low ABV will make it sessionable for sure, but all in all, I'm not blown away by any means.

I saw a local watering hole has it on tap. I'll try that and also re-visit this one in a few weeks to give it another chance.


dhchatfield, Dec 10, 2006
Photo of Phatz
4.08/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2006 release - bottle

Appearance: Pours a beautiful amber color with am off-white head that lasts and lasts and load of sticky lacing plastering the glass.

Smell: Bold pine hops lead the way with a hint of citrus too; big big hops in the nose. A Floral perfumey character hides behind the greens but not a big sweet.

Taste: Straight forward and tasty. This is such a terrific beer. It requires no thinking just enjoyment of the hops and bitter rind. There is a sweet malt attribute but it is certainly too small to balance the hop driven beer. It Starts and end with bitter hops and even through the middle the (cascade maybe) hops pull the cart.

Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel is terrific, with so much bitterness driving the taste buds wild a yet a malt thickness to it, and a hint of alcohol hitting the palate it is quite nice across the palate.

Drinkability: When I was more new to hops I couldn't handle more than one of these. Now I could have a couple it is still not a session beer by any standards. It is bold and big but a worthy buy.

Hope this is helpful.

Phatz, Dec 09, 2006
Photo of beerogre
4.47/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

After bottle 3 out of the 6 pack (all sampled on different occasions, I hasten to add) I'm really warming up to this brew. I have steadily developed an appreciation of hop forward beers over the last few months, which is certainly of assistance when sampling beers by Sierra Nevada.

Maybe it's just me, but I find that all of the beers I've tried of theirs have an underlying "trademark" Sierra Nevada taste. I also detect a similar underlying taste with all Samuel Adams beers - though obviously different from the SN taste.

I found myself gulping the beer down fairly quickly at first, but it doesn't take long before the abv kicks in and applies the brakes a little.

A nice little brew this one, which initially I didn't think I was going to like very much due to an overly bitter taste, but subsequent tastings have dug out the sweetness quite nicely, and it turns out to be a lot more balanced than I first thought.

Update 2/28/09

Since my original review over 2 years ago, my palate has completely transformed and evolved towards a strong preference for extremely hoppy beers. Whereas I used to favor and seek out the sweet and malty, my brain has been taken over by the quest for hops. As one who generally hates going along with the crowd, this kind of apparent sheep like behavour would normally disturb me. However, I really don't give a toss - Just give me the god damn hops!

Therefore, as SN Celebration Ale has now become one of my favorite beers, and adequately caters to my hop fix needs I have adjusted my original scoring accordingly.

The reappearance of Celebration is definitely one of the many highlights of the beer calendar.

beerogre, Dec 09, 2006
Photo of BattleRoadBrewer
4.13/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served at about 38F from a 12 oz bottle in a standard pint.
Aroma at the bottleneck is malty with some piney hops.
Pours thick, color is medium dark amber, crystal clear, with a fluffy tan head that leaves excellent lacing.
Aroma is malty, but mostly piney hops with a bit of citrus; Chinook is a very aromatic dry hop that will dominate its peers.
Taste is a lot of bitterness up front. Dry flavor and thick mouthfeel. Strong hop flavor to balance with aroma, and maltiness. Delightful peppery aftertaste. Surprised there's no rye in the grain bill given the sharp flavor. Would be closer to ideal with slightly less bittering (or a few months aging, perhaps). Upon warming, it tastes even richer and more aromatic. It's a seasonal release, but not full of oddball "Christmas" additives.
Drinkability is excellent. Goes down easy and tastes great. I wish I'd bought two, since I'd like a second right now! A fantastic American IPA, and one of my favorite beers.

BattleRoadBrewer, Dec 08, 2006
Photo of HimerMan
3.95/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle from 2004, poured into my Delirium Tremens glass.

Pours a very nice deep redish orange with a nice 2-3 finger fluffy off-white head and immediately has a flowery aroma.

Smells like a nice mixture of malt and hops, but somewhat subdued hops with the 2 years of aging on the beer.

Taste - Mostly a hop-taste, which is very mild and a nice wave of malt that is coming through really well right now. It almost has an ESB taste to it, and a light carmel/(almost)mocha flavor.

The mouthfeel is nothing extreme - which is excellent, this could be a great session beer and would go well with many types of food. I consider this to be very mild for an IPA, and would suggest having friends try this first before launching into a double IPA or high-octane brew.

Overall this beer is highly drinkable, and aging them really pays off well. If you want this to be really hoppy - drink them fresh, but I have a feeling the 2004 batch will improve for a while to go. I'd definitely suggest trying this one.


HimerMan, Dec 07, 2006
Photo of mwolfe
4.68/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This is truly a great beer. Pours a nice copper orange color. A bit thicker but not as dry as the sierra nevada pale ale I am used to drinking (I prefer this for sure). Nice lasting head with decent lacing afterwards. The taste has nothing out of the ordinary but it has everything you need from a great tasting Ale. Hop flavor is strong but not overpowering. Its similar to a stone Arrogant bastard with a bit less hoppiness and abv.
There have been few beers i've enjoyed more than this beer. A definite winner all winter. I'll be purchasing this again for sure.

mwolfe, Dec 07, 2006
Photo of psinderson
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served on-tap in a pint glass at the Sharp Edge Creekhouse.

Appearance: Nice amber color, very clear. Slightly off-white head that has some staying power.

Smell: Definite citrus hops and some caramel. I also detect a hint of vanilla.

Taste: Very hoppy, yet smooth. Not too much holiday spice here, but there is a definite caramel note that differs from a typical IPA.

Mouthfeel: Nice medium bodied feel. Pleasant to drink.

Drinkability: For a hoppy brew, this is easy to consume. It also hides the ABV well...could be a dangerous thing!

psinderson, Dec 07, 2006
Photo of BeerBelcher
4.53/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The only other Sierra Nevada product I'm really familiar with is the IPA...I must say I am very impressed with this one!

It pours a beautiful sparkling copper color with an abundant tan head. It looked great in the pint glass.

Smell is pleasant but not overpouring, and is honestly the weakest attribute of this excellent beer.

Taste is slightly sweet and hoppy. Mouthfeel is slightly sticky...it seems to stick to the roof of your mouth like an IPA. I regret I only bought one of these...I could drink several more. Not much more to say, except that I highly recommend this beer!

(2006 edition)

BeerBelcher, Dec 07, 2006
Photo of msubulldog25
3.98/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The 2006 version, served on draught at Capt. Ankeny's in Portland, OR. A standard pint glass-full. My second taste of this beer (this year's version), with the previous one coming in November from a 12 oz. bottle (no review).

A: Glowing copper, shiny like a new penny. 1 finger of creamy off-white head. A clear ale with what I'd call 'sleepy' carbonation bubbles - a few loose ones here and there, floating lazily to the surface. Nice creamy film to cap it off and good lace.

S: Hmmm..underwhelming. Clean & fairly sweet hops but far from special. A little sourdough malt aroma.

T: Nice and juicy. Hops are crisp with ample pine and citrus flavors. A tangy finish with hints at some spiciness, which I'm not sure whether to a attribute to hops or a true spice additive in the mix.

M: Slick, slightly buttery. The hops bathe the tastebuds and permeate the mouth. Satisfying fullness of body with a good mouthfeel. Finish is slightlly bitter and has some alcohol warming.

D: Smooth, drinkable beer. A nice IPA, regardless of season...I almost wish SN would brew this year-round. Then again, some of the specialness would be lost as this IS their 'winter seasonal'. Recommended for your enjoyment.

msubulldog25, Dec 06, 2006
Photo of dfried
4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Celebration '06

Orangish amber in color, frothy 2cm tan head. The aroma is of sweet pale and caramel malts, with a fair amount of hops which are a good blend of citrus, floral, and resinous characters. There was a lot of citrus in the taste right away, oranges and tangerines, some peach like flavor, but the floral and musty/resinous notes were still definitely there too. Quite malty, a tad more than just a backbone, but still plenty of room the for the hops to be showcased. Mouthfeel is dry and a little sticky.

Verdict: Celebration is a new beast every year, but they are all consistantly good, this year was no different. Pretty good, easy to drink, worth picking up a couple times over the season, but when its gone, I am not counting down the days until its released next year.

dfried, Dec 04, 2006
Photo of chadspivey
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2006 batch, poured into a pint glass..

A: Clear amber color with a nice two finger white head that takes a full 2 minutes to dissipate to a small litte mini head, which lasts the whole beer, leaving nice lacing.

S: smells like the most lovely hops ever. not like BAM, in your face hops, more like ooo yea thats nice hops.

T: this is one of my favorite American IPA's ever. just a beautiful blend of hops and malt. vanilla i present, small hints of oranges. Pine is definitely a part of this beer. aftertaste is really nice! the key here is balance....and balance there is, just the right amount of hops to make me beg for more.

M: kinda shocks the mouth, which normally would make me ready for a mouth fulla hops to the max, but the malt balances it out and makes it smoooth. Body is almost perfect, if it were cask conditioned, THAT would be perfect.

D: I've drank like 7 of these one night out of a keg at a party. Found myself hanging out around the keg most of the night. There's no stopping this beer... until they're gone.

I don't feel like i'm im being generous giving it straight 4.5's. This beer is amazing and only gets better with age. One of my favorite christmas beers, if not my favorite.

chadspivey, Dec 04, 2006
Photo of ndekke39
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale 2006! Drank this from a 12 oz bottle with no freshness date on it. Poured into a pint glass - clear, definitely orange color, medium sized head. Excellent retention - it lasted all throughout the tasting. Smell is overall sweet and warm: toasted grain, spices like clove and cinnamon, oranges. Taste is complex: begins with a light brush of hops on the tongue. They open fully on the back of the tongue. Strong pine, some acidic citrus quality, too. Not much of the barley or spices. The hops seem to get stronger as the beer warms to room temperature. Good aftertaste - the hops continue to morph. Mouthfeel is right up the middle: not too watery, not too creamy. Overall, a strong offering in both the Christmas ale and IPA categories. Would gladly pick up one of these again.

ndekke39, Dec 04, 2006
Photo of foureyedgeek
4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into an East End pint glass. After breaking my only snifter last night whilst washing it, it looks as though I'll be drinking pint only for a little while. Luckily Celebration calls for a pint glass, so no harm done.

Pours a clearish amber color with a fine, foamy two finger head. Head fades shortly after the pour to a small cap. Lacing persists throughout.

Smell is sweet and hoppy. A little piney, a little fruity.

The taste on this one is a nice balance of malt and hops. Its sweet, slightly caramel-like with a crisp hop finish. Very well balanced.

Mouthfeel is crisp and slightly drying, with the alcohol well hidden, though there's a slight warming.

A very tasty, very drinkable IPA from Sierra Nevada.

Here's to Celebration!

foureyedgeek, Dec 03, 2006
Photo of Tesno
4.15/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Very attractive orange-amber color, pours a thick, white, frothy head that dissipates kind of quickly but a thin white lace persists. Aroma reminiscant of grapefruit and pinetree with a hint of orange peel. Though the three "C"s (Cascade, Chinook and Centennial) dominate there is a slightly sweet malt and alcohol note to the nose. Flavor is hop-dominated with a good amount of malt backbone. Quite delicious. More malt and alcohol notes as the beer warms. Decent body with a slight stickiness perhaps from the high amount of hop resins? Overall, a very enjoyable American-style IPA, too bad it's only available during the holiday season.

Tesno, Dec 03, 2006
Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 8,548 ratings.