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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.

8,962 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 8,962
Reviews: 3,265
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 11.78%
Wants: 277
Gots: 954 | 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: 8,962 | Reviews: 3,265 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of John_M
4.13/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Max's and Mahaffey's last night. The beer seemed a bit fresher at Mahaffey's (which is to be expected - the owner loves the stuff and I think they blow through kegs pretty quickly).

The beer pours the expected copper orange color with very good head retention and incredible sticky lacing. This is the way all IPA's should look. On the palate I get a very nice intermix of hoppy citrus, set off with some nice underlying malt. The beer smells attractive. On the palate this beer is just delicious (as it always is). It's medium bodied and decidedly on the hoppy side, but with enough malt to easily balance the hop bill. The beer actually has a fairly light mouthfeel, and is not the least bit heavy or tiring to drink.

Have been drinking this beer for years now; it's a perennial favorite I have to say. While my taste in beer has changed over the years, this beer continues to delight. An absolute classic from Sierra Nevada.

Photo of KeefD
4.53/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Copper orange with dense rocky head and tons of fine particulates floating around. I love unfiltered IPAs and this looks like the best of em. The lacing on this thing is incredible as it quickly leaves my glass. Did I really drink this much in only a few minutes?? Nice citrusy aroma, orange, lemonpeel, grapefruit, pine. It has all you need, but there's always room for more. Very nice caramel flavor with citrus hop blast that makes me pucker up. Grapefruit and pine are present, which I like, good use of caramel malts, semisweet at first, but dry on the finish. It's pretty much everything you want and need out of an IPA. Creamy, smooth, yumm. Balanced and delicious. Probably the most drinkable IPA I've come across. Why is this not year round??? Well done SN.

Photo of Clydesdale
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a translucent copper color with a nice, creamy white head with great retention and nice lacing. Very attractive, like most other SN offerings.

S: Lots of hops, they bring to mind grapefruit. Some biscuity malts as well. Notes of pine and tart citrus.

T: Big, big hops. Piney, citrusy, and assertive. Malts are present, with biscuity and vaguely caramel touches. Hints of spice are noticeable at the finish, perhaps some cinnamon.

M: Tight, tingly carbonation. Medium to somewhat light body with a dry finish. A bit thinner than you might expect.

D: It's not the most balanced brew around, but it's very very tasty. Certainly drinkable despite the ABV. It's a festive, aggressive holiday IPA.

Photo of erikm25
4.08/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a sharp looking balance of shiny copper coloring and crisp amber tinting. Aggressive pour yields a bubble capped mountain of off white pillowing fluff. Retention is great. Lacing is splattered up and down the glass.

S: Pine, floral, and candy cane aromas. The hops is in the forefront but still a honey sweet and peppered smell in the back. Pineapple and peach smothered in pine needles and sweeteners. Fresh and merry.

T: Straight and solid hops. Grapefruit and citrus sprinkle their tingles across the tongue. A little bit of malt helps to round things out. Slight cinnamon and caramel adds to a subtle sweetness. Overall, this is a nice hop treat with just a perfect splash of spice in the finish.

M: Creamy body and decent carbonation.

D: Night before Halloween is a celebration in and of itself. As previously established, hundreds of times over, this is an amazingly drinkable beer. Great anytime but especially from All Hallow's Eve through New Years.

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

2008 Edition, Served from bottle, poured into pint glass:

Appearance: Nice golden/amber color, not too dark at all, with a minimal head that dissapeared pretty quickly. Nice retention and good lacing as well.

Smell: Spices is what comes to mind. Good malt character and nice florals. Caramel, nutmeg, & fruit really pop on the hops. Very welcoming.

Taste: Again, a good spice kick in the end, this one has alot of good characteristic, it's malty yet not over-malted, very flavorful with a nice bitterness in the end. Grapefruit pops out HUGE here, an excellent addition to this. Taste similar to the notes of a Samuel Adams Boston Lager but with the spiciness doing the work, an excellent tasting beer.

Mouthfeel: Pretty carbonated, creamy, yet light on the palette.

Drinkability: I can drink these till the cows come home. I didn't think I'd be as impressed as I was but I am, a great tasting beer from Sierra Nevada.

Photo of kinger
3.4/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Tasty brew, but I'm not sure why this recipe would be their winter seasonal. Caught somewhere between a strong ale and an IPA this one has a great medium hop profile, but a generous amount of additional malts could take this through the roof. Mild bitterness to the nose, floral and light fruits backed with some light caramel malt. Copper pour with an amber/red tint, medium head and lacing. Good drinkability but it's thin. Spicy taste with a great hop balance. This warms the body and mellows the mind, it's a nice drink but I was expecting more complexity.

Photo of philipquarles
3.75/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours clear copper with a resilient, thick tan head that leaves great lacing.

Smells of grapefruit and citrus; the hops are strong with this one. Some sweet malt notes are also evident, but masked by the citric hops. The grapefruit is less apparent in the taste, which is more pure hop bitterness. Some piney notes, backed up by a bit of biscuity malt.

Overall, a nice IPA, but the bitterness/lack of malty notes leaves balance a bit lacking.

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

Celebration comes from the tap sporting a tan cap over a burnished orange-brown body. Strong aromas and flavors of piney, citric hops - smooth, easy drinking with a huge hop presence that manages to avoid over bitterness. Mouthfeel is a little below the supremacy of the other characteristics, but the overall experience is wonderful.

3.83/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I poured this into a pilsner glass pretty fast, the head was a very nice light tan color about 3 fingers. I immediately smelled a great aroma of grapefruit and other citrus. It also taste a bit like grapefruit. The lacing was minimal. There is a nice balance of flavor and carbonation, I dont really like IPA's but could drink this all night for some reason. It is strong but not overdone. Overall I think its a great american IPA and I would purchase it again.

Photo of abecall98
4.3/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Purchased a 12-pack recently and had it in the fridge. Poured it into my personalized mug with my name on it, and am sitting here at my computer, consuming the ale.

A - Poured a beautiful head, and left a nice amberish tint, looks great.

S - Smells of hops and christmas - wonderful

T - Very light for an IPA, but still rather intense. The flavor is very powerful, tastes like the regular Pale Ale with an added hoppy bite.

M - Not as carbonated as the Pale Ale, but the carbonation is there. The mouthfeel is pleasant, and aids this beer in going down smoothly.

D - Drinkable - Hell yes! For it's ABV, this beer is session able beyond belief. The taste leaves that aftertaste of hops making you want more.

Conclusion - Buy this beer. It's a wonderful offering of the beer gods, and like we all know, Sierra Nevada doesn't disappoint, and this years Celebration Ale, is proof of that statement.

Photo of Reino
4.45/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2008 Celebration Ale

Appearance- Pours a beautiful mahogany base with light caramel highlights all over the place. I gave it kind of a pussy pour, which only produced one and a half fingers, but undoubtedly, a more vigorous pour would have produced a kickass head. The head gives way fairly quickly, but a nice thin layer of tight bubbles settle on top for the whole ride. This beer does a very nice job of lacing my goblet all the way down to the bottom.

Smell- The aroma starts with loads of sweet fruity hops. Sugar coated grapefruit, pineapple, and mandarin orange. The sweetness didn't stay long, though. In almost an instant, the hops take a turn to pine town. Spicy pine and grapefruit rind take the lead and hold it. There is probably some light malt aromas in there, but my nose is keyed in on the delicious pine, and there's plenty of it.

Taste- Bitter hops, piny hops, and fruit rinds (grapefruit, and orange) jump out first. That flash of sweetness I got in the nose is pretty much nonexistent in the taste. There is a bit of grapefruit juice, but it is surrounded by bitterness. There is a flash of biscuity malts in the middle that do a great job of breaking up the bitterness that comes right back in the finish. SN didn't pussy out and overly "balance" this IPA. They threw in just enough malts to keep things fresh, and then hammered home the delicious bitterness. SN seems to have hop profiles down to a T in their IPAs.

Mouthfeel- On the lower end of medium carbonation, this beer starts out creamy and chewy in your mouth, and then takes a turn towards watery on the finish. I can't decide if that's a good or bad thing. It's a bit drying on the tongue, but not so bad that it makes you want to stop after one...

Drinkability- I could sit down with a sixer of this during the Holidays and forget that I'm hanging around a bunch of insane relatives. I've had Celebration with age on it, and it just doesn't do it justice, in my opinion. Drink it fresh, and drink a lot of it. This is a wonderful, drinkable, affordable IPA.

Photo of djeucalyptus
4.13/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a fresh 12oz bottle of '08 celebration into a goblet.

a. A golden amber body with a thick and full off-white head leaving behind some very nice lacing all the way to the bottom of the glass. This looks lighter than past celebrations, although it may just be my imagination?

s. Hops. Floral hops, citrus hops, and just a hint of pine. Some malts and caramels peek through the hopping, but just barely, even when warmed slightly.

t. Definitely hops. Granted, this is pretty fresh, but wow - hops. There's a definite floral and citrus hop presence, with some definite trailing hop bitterness. Caramel and roasted malts peek through ever so slightly, but at this point in it's life, the hops are pretty much the focal point.

m. Smooth and creamy, a touch light, but I wouldn't go as far as to say watery. There's an almost numbing bitterness from the hop presence, which is nice, but again, caught my slightly off guard.

d. Definitely drinkable... and the brew hides the abv fairly well. I could easily session this one. Worth a shot if you haven't before. This one, while a winter seasonal, definitely reminds you that it's an IPA more than anything else. which can be a nice change from the spices and elves.

It seems a bit less malty and a bit lighter in color than previous years, althought the color could be attributed to my weak memory, and the malt may just be drowned out by the incredible hop power that this bottle has fresh. I'm not sure I've had the pleasure of having one quite this fresh in years past. Regardless, a beautiful ale, and one of my favorites from Sierra.

Photo of ironlung
4.85/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2008 edition 12oz into celebration ale pint glass...

A: Deep amber. Soft pour. Almost no head. Great lacing.

S: Lots of hops, yummy citrus and yellow pine needles.

T: People say they notice diferences in this brew's taste every year.I've only been drinking this one since the 2006 edition and it always has tasted uniform. I wait with baited breath every year for this gem to hit the shelves. Sometimes I can't wait and head to liquor wherehouse where they age them all the way back from '98 or so.(hope I diden't let a cat out of the bag!)

M: Just damn smooth, you cant go wrong with celebration!

D: Great winter session beer. Can't wait to find a great sale (like 9.99 a 12pack) and stock up the spare room!!

Photo of Timmush
4.28/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I actually saw a case of this at a small liquor store in late September 08. The guy working there told me that this was the new Celebration that just came out. Knowing that it wasn't I showed him the bottle with the '07 label. He then gave me a discount because it wasn't new.. Fine by me, this stuff ages nicely.

this is my favorite of the Sierra Family. To me, it tastes like Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, but with a little more hops. .I have read that this has a little spice added in , but I taste none of that.
If you like Sierra Nevada Pale ale, you will like this.

Photo of alumley
4.45/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Great Ale. Got it in a 6 and poured it into my fav. glass. The color was very good and dark copper. Smells like a great hoppy beer with slight pine overtones. As far as xmas goes I am happy to be hoppy! Overall I would give this beer a shot if you can find it.

Photo of itcomesnpints
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Purrrrty copper tones with a frothy head. The hop oils release an appetizing aroma of citrus and pine. The hop resins pack a bit of a bite at first with high bitterness, but it quickly settles down to produce a wonderful taste. Alcohol is nowhere to be found and the mouthfeel is well balanced. Very drinkable. I really have no qualms with Celebration, other than its misleading holiday label and its unwillingness to venture away from the norms of IPAs in taste. It is, however, a textbook example of the style.

Photo of RodBurg
3.78/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Found this one in my buddy's fridge last Saturday night and had to try it. From the Christmas-ey label and the 2007 date on the bottle I figured it was more than a few months old. I was also expecting some type of spiced holiday ale or winter warmer. It poured a slightly hazy copper with a two finger head.

Smells of citrusy hops, oranges, pale malt.

Taste follows the smell pretty well. Initially there's a malty sweetness then a decent hop presence comes in and takes over while keeping the malt in the background.

This one was sort of a hoppy step above a pale ale but not to the IPA level. Good brew, however the winter time label threw me off.

Photo of PatronWizard
4.03/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Walked into some obscure liquor store and seen this laying around. From 2007 even. How could I resist. Grabbed the sixer. Winter ale in august, poured and...

Nice shade of copper. Righteous head of white foam, great retention, very nice first impression.

Nice smell - its got hops oh goody. Smells like 2/3 of an IPA.

Surprisingly bitter in a good way. I must say that I am pleasantly surprised with this little fellow. Tastes like a real craft beer.

Overall: worth the time

Photo of changeup45
4.15/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

10/28/2004. Just sampled this on draft. Wish it was a year round choice. I'm impressed. Dark copper color with a relatively thick head and nice lacing. Sweet citrus hoppy flavor, some pine with a crisp bitter bite. Released for the Christmas season, again I'd drink this year round.

Photo of Lexluthor33
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an Orange amber with some reddish highlights. A respectable head and a rocky,foamy lace.
The aroma is splendid floral hops,citrus hints and malts.
The taste is bitter-sweet hops,malts with some caramel flavor.
The feel is light-heavy and it's easy to drink.Medium carbonation with an oily feel and a dry finish.
A bit watery in the final gulps,and that was the only flaw.

Notes: The well masked alcohol made up for some water in the finish. Balance was off just a bit,but that was not enough to stop this beer. It was a celebration indeed. Drinkability is fine,but not for sessions.
Then again,a cold night would beg to differ.

Photo of George24
4.4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2007 bottle drank from Sierra Nevada pub glass on 8/21/08 (this beer is probably over 9 months old).

Appearance: Good head, lacing, carbonation. Beautiful dark copper color.

Smell: Floral West coast hops (Chinook bittering, Cascade & Centennial finishing & dry) and sweet, bready malt (two-row pale & English Caramel).

Taste: Much of the same, though not as sweet as aroma. I love the hop profile, and the malt is spot on for a West coast IPA. I love that it's not that sweet, and I love the hop bitterness and flavor. I love this beer!

Mouthfeel & Drinkability: Mouthfeel is thick, and coupled w/ the good drinkability and the rest of the brew's characteristics, it's great.

I love this beer. Furthermore, I'm of the opinion that the different parts of a beer need to be judged in relation to each other and the whole... and this beer is thoroughly harmonious.

Photo of joshwlt
4.03/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed this more as a "winter warmer". 06 vintage tasted next to an 06 vintage of Anchor's winter warmer - Our special ale.

Celebration pours a hazy orange-amber color. After some vigorous shaking of the bottle a sticky one inch off-white head lasts and leaves its trail. Smells of malt sweetness (some sugary fruit (apple) and caramel), slightly boozy peppery spice, and a light grapefruit and even slighter soapy hop presence still lingers; likely subdued over two years of aging. An effervescent, tasty, ever-present, lingering, spicy hop profile hits the palate first, though certainly not overwhelming. No real bitterness just a spiciness that is tamer than your average pale ale, but is fun and warming. I was expecting some heavy malt; but really just a light, almost fruity sweetness exists -- notes of juicy apple, and toffee. This beer is not overly complex only a few dominant flavors exist, but it is fun and fits the winter warmer style nicely. Easy to drink, no alcohol is recognized on the palate, and no off flavors.

Photo of Binnys
3.8/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass. Dark orange/red in color with a thick head that persists til the final sip.

S: Smell is amazing with a strong hop presence along with some roasted malt. Small hint of citrus also lingers.

M: Medium bodied.

T: Wow very bitter. Hops overpower the malts, leaving it a little unbalanced. Bitter aftertaste that hangs around.

D: The 6.8 alcohol is well hidden but noticed in the aftertaste. A good beer to enjoy a few of; however, the strong aftertaste would prevent me from having too many.

Photo of Stinkypuss
4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A. Served on tap into a pint glass. Light orange in color. A beautiful work of lace.

S. Some earthy, piney hops.

T. An explosion of cascade hops and caramel malt, with the hops winning out. Lends notes of pine, citrus and peat.

M. Medium bodied and somewhat creamy.

D. COuld drink these all night, a delight to find on tap.

Photo of beabear
3.63/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours an amber hue with a thick head. Heavy lacing.

Smell: First, second and third whiffs are all hops. Still, it's a mostly light and floral scent. A little citrus-y.

Taste: As the scent indicates, this is hoppy but not overwhelmingly so. Upfront taste is almost sweet. Goes down a little rough, and the bitterness only grows after you swallow it.

Mouthfeel: Kind of watery, and a little thinner than the smell or taste would indicate.

Drinkability: Given the alcohol, this is pretty easy to drink. Still, the lingering bitterness can become a little overwhelming after a few.

This beer looks and smells great, but the lingering aftertaste made finishing the growler a bit of a chore.

Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 8,962 ratings.