1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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.

8,943 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 8,943
Reviews: 3,261
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 11.78%
Wants: 278
Gots: 937 | 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
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 8,943 | Reviews: 3,261 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of booga73
4.3/5  rDev +3.4%

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

Just finished drinking the first I've ever had of this Celebration, not only did it go great with my spicy sausage pizza for dinner, but is one hell of great beer. Quite a pleasant surprise, thanks SN.

Color is a golden orange with a off-white head about a finger high, top is lumpy with some big bubbles: settles to a nice even skimming with some nice clingy, patchy light lace.
Smell is a nice floral, lightly citrusy sharp hop, super clean and fresh. Taste is very smooth and bright with brightly floral hop thats a little bit spicy and bitter as well.
Feel is a lighter-medium body with a very crispy sweet dryness that starts in the middle and settles down through the finish and has a great evenly smoothed out bite with a very subtle but potent alcohol warming, which only now I'm starting to feel. Wow, some damn good stuff. I think I'll have another, yes I will.

Photo of buffettfan
4.3/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a globe beer glass.

A-Poured a rich copper color, with just fewer than two fingers of head, lasted a while, with some good lacing that clung to the glass for a long time.
S- Hops!! Lots and lots of hops. Sweet, spicy smell, flowers and pine forest as well.
T- Hops, as you would expect from the aroma. Smooth malt flavor, and some citrus notes.
D- Very drinkable beer. Smooth and easy to drink, but very very flavorful, this is a great beer.

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

This was a great beer to have this afternoon - gloomy and misty in my neighborhood.

This beer poured a pleasing copper-rust color with an off-white head.

The aroma was very malty with some hop notes.

Taste was great with a hoppy bite up front, malt dominated the middle of the taste, then back to the hops for a nice dry finish.

Mouthfeel is great too. Just what you'd expect in a wintery IPA.

Drinkability is good on this beer. It is just the kind of thing for a cold and wet day. A couple of these is a nice way to pass a couple of hours.

Photo of ADZA
4.3/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

After looking at this label its hard to recognise that is an AIPA it gives you more of an impression of a winter warmer but anyways glad i found out it was the first,it pours a nice light cloudy bronze hue with beautiful carbonation that leaves behind a very frothy two finger caramel laced head and sporadic sticky lacing all over the place this looks spot on for an AIPA quite impressive looking,the smell is a nice mix with aromas of citrus mainly orange and lemon and some sweet toffee malts and is quite subtle compared to other highly hoppped AIPA's but it definately gets it's point across,it has a nice mouthfeel which is just under medium bodied and nicely carbonated and very sessionable with tastes of stonefruits,some light toffee malts and finishes with a nice passionfruit tinged bitterness which stays in your mouth and for me since im a big fan of this style i reckon they got it pretty spot on and if this brew was available to me all year round abit fresher and abit cheaper it would definately have a permanent spot in my fridge.

Photo of sprackops
4.3/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From a recently unearthed notepad:

SNCA 2003 sampled 12/25/04
Presentation: Classic stubby bottle adorned with red and white, poured into a nonic imperial pint glass.

Appearance: Dark red bordering on brown. Quite a lot of sediment.

Smell: Pine, tea, nutty malt.

Taste: Sweet malty character with accompanying bracing hop bitterness on the finish, subdued piney and citric hops.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, highly carbonated.

Drinkability/comments: Much better balanced with age. Drinkability has improved, but the alcohol content will sneak up on the unwary drinker.

Photo of awalk1227
4.3/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Consumed 11/11/10, last bottle of the sixer. Time to review.

Poured into a Sam Adams perfect pint glass

A: Pours an orange/amber brilliantly clear with two fingers of thick off-white head. Not much lacing, but pretty decent head retention.

S: Not as ridiculous as some of the fresh IPAs I've had. However, it's a pretty nice mix of malts, pine, and citrus. Overall, it's a slightly sweet malt competing with a tart citrus for strongest scent.

T: Pleasant mix of malt and bitter. The citrus/grapefruit in this one is small, perhaps slightly muted by the noticeable malt and bitterness on the finish. It's a good ride though, as any solid IPA should be. Creamy and malty in the beginning as it slides along the tongue, finishing with a citric bitter bite.

F: Pretty medium body, maybe even thicker than most under-7% ABV single IPAs. Even with no head, pretty creamy beginning mouthfeel (if you ready my other reviews, this is one of my favorite qualities in quaffable IPAs). Beneath the malt is enough carbonation and prickle from the hops to show up on the sides of my tongue.

D: My winter IPA of choice. Stays in my fridge, and I can drink anywhere from 1-4 in a night, maybe even the whole sixer if I'm with good company.

Photo of mjryan
4.3/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I look forward to the release of this beer every year. A straight foward American Style IPA. A benchmark of the style. If anyone is confused, this isnt a winter warmer, or spiced holiday beer either...its an IPA. Pours a nice clear amber colour with a substantial head. Nice sticky lace coats the glass as the beer is consumed. Smells like grapefruit juice, tastes like grapefruit juice and may as well be grapefruit juice. Gotta love those Cascade and Chinook hops. Bitterness is abrasive, just how I like it. If you are into grapefruity beers, this is it. I absolutly love this beer!

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 BallsDeep
4.3/5  rDev +3.4%

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

Vintage: 2004
Consumed: Oct 2006

A - Healthy tight off-white head, slightly opaque dark amber body. Nice lacing.
S - Sweet malty aroma with a good dose of hops.
T - Huge hoppy bitterness followed by a small amount gooey maltyness. Brown sugar, pine, and a touch of spice.
M - Medium body, nice carbonation, nice!
D - A great, intense beer that has held up well for the two years.
Vintage: 2005
Consumed: Nov 2006

A - Opaque amber/orange body with a tiny yellowish head.
S - Pine and mildly sweet malty aroma.
T - Fresh piney hops followed by a mellow sweet maltyness.
M - Medium body, alcohol brilliantly integrated, lovely fine carbonation.
D - A great, highly drinkable, yet robust beer. I love it!

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

A-12 oz into a pint glass 1/2" off white head and deep copper color, good clarity

S-Piney, resinous, with hints of orange and tangerine citrus

T-Bright and bitter American hop character up front, with a lingering bitter finish. Malt is subdued a hint of some caramel, and maybe some slight roast malt character hiding in the background under all of the hop layers. Slight alcohol aroma/flavor

M-Medium dry, soft carbonation

O-Great IPA example, assertively bitter and dry in the west coast style. Hop aroma is somewhat low. I tend to prefer IPAs with a bit more hop aroma, and a touch more balance. But for Bitter Betty's this is an excellent IPA

Photo of DuffDadddy
4.3/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of beersarang
4.3/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2004 Edition

Pours a beautiful carmely copper color with a light beige head. The head is quite persistent and frothy with uneven bubbles leaving thick lacing down the glass.

Smells citrusy with mostly hop aroma.

Flavor is at first bready, then toasted malts. The citrusy hop bite comes in just strong enough to balance but not overpower. Finish is dry and delicious with a lingering pleasant flavor.

Mouthfeel is creamy and smooth, very drinkable.

Photo of stephenjmoore
4.3/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Somewhat cloudy, light amber color with light tan head.

S- Fresh hops, piney with some citrus. Smells great.

T- Very hop forward, some malt to balance it out a little. Besides hops, maybe some lemongrass.

M- Light body, but some tingle from the hops. Not a palate killer, but close.

O- Very good fresh hop IPA. More hop forward than torpedo and not a traditional winter release but very good.

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

Poured from a 12oz. glass bottle into a tulip pint glass. 2010 vintage.

A - Dark, orangish-amber with a thick, foamy off-white head, sticky and lacy.
S - Sweet and zesty lemon with pungent hops and a hint of malt.
T - Hoppy bitterness and citrus notes upfront, undercut by sweet malt nuttiness.
M - Medium-bodied with a long, sticky finish. A slight bit of alcohol warmth on the throat.
D - A fantastic winter beer for anyone with even a slight preference for hoppy flavor; I could drink this forever. Another great brew from Sierra Nevada.

Photo of HoopTime
4.3/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Sam Adams Perfect Pint on Christmas Eve from a growler filled that afternoon at Al's of Hampden.

A -- Pours a rich foamy1.5" head with a light caramel tint. The head receded about halfway, then lingered a while while leaving a back-of-the-spoon type coating of lattice on the glass. This is a rich amber with a hint of burnt orange that is remarkably clear. The carbonation bubbles steadily through the middle of the glass. I sat mesmerized watching the chamagne-style bubbles streaming to the top.

S -- Though this is a fresh hopped ale, it does not have that overpowering middle of a pine forest with a pitcher of grapefruit juice by your nose hoppiness to the nose that other fresh hopped ales I have tried had. This is more subtle hoppiness. Unlike fresh hopped beers I have had that you could smell five feet away, this one takes getting your nose over the glass to pick up, but when you get close you will find a hint oi evergreen with citrus undertones.

T -- This starts off bitter and hoppy, citrusy, almost like carbonated grapefruit juice. Then the malt kicks in and balances it out for a very smooth, refreshing finish.

M -- Incredible effervescence, almost champagne like. This pour was extremely carbonated despite my having to open the growler when I got it home to replace a leaky metal lid. Light, bubbly, this damces on your tounge and tickles down the throat.

D -- A little strong for a session beer, but not by much. I could drink this all night.Praise Sierra Nevada for going a different direction from most in a holiday beer. Instead of a big, high alcohol spiced or fruited dark beer, they stuck to the basics and simply produced a beer fitting of celebrating the solstice

Having been turned on to wet and fresh-hopped offerings this fall, I expected this to be more like them, yet was not disappointed in the least by the more subtle approach.

Photo of Act25
4.3/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

My review of 14 and 13

2014 = Same rating as 2013. Must try. Top rated. Get it.

Fresh winter wet hopped IPA. Mo' betta' bitta'!

A: Classic and worth it. Pours a bright but slightly hazed amber. Darker than most IPAs in color and head color, the head is dense, lasting, lacing. Winter (more better bitter!) 4.25

S: First with powerful citrus and grass, includes pine resin, and aging flowers. What Sculpin is to juicy fresh, Celebration is to wintery, harvest, indoors, wood fire, slightly damp foods, aged and smoked. 4.25

T: Follows the smell, with aged, smoked over tones to an otherwise familiar powerful IPA profile. Like Torpedo from the spring house or the cellar. Thick bread crust spread with pine/rosemary/marmalade. Finishes powerfully smokey/ bitter. Very lively hop profile, sharp, pungent, spicy and bursting with flavors. 4.25

MF: Lots of feel arc from a medium / creamy start to a lovely drying, bitter sharp finish. Leaves your mouth in a great place. 4.25

O: A top IPA. Must try. 4.5

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

I tried Celebration Ale in my first 6 months of drinking beer and could not put it down. I had labeled it the worst beer I've ever had. Not long after I had a similar experience with Lagunitas' IPA. But, after some time developing a taste for big hops and such, I've revisited a lot of these beers with different results. The Lagunitas IPA still does nothing for me, but I rather like Celebration Ale. It's reddish body and sticky head looks nice. Mild hop aromas and flavor with a surprising woodiness to it (an appropriate label for sure). It's an easy drinker that doesn't give up any flavor in doing so. Hops can be pungent, but it feels more like they are there to force into savoring smaller sips rather than gulp it down.

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

12oz bottle poured into a large sniffter

Appearance : Awesome whiteand head with great retention and superb sticky lacing. Deep amber in color thats slightly hazey.

Smell : this aroma is all SN tons of evergreen, piney notes abound

Taste : lots of hop forward flavors hit you first then a nice long lasting aftertaste of hop bitterness. Not much sweetness to speak of just lots of hops

Mouthfeel : medium bodied ipa not overly carbonated, just right in my opinion.

Overall : The lacing really stands out in this beer, very well done. This beer caught me off guard I wasn't expecting it to be this good. Serria Nevada's ability to put out quality products is beyond reproach IMHO.

Photo of kaips1
4.3/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

a- a reddish amber for about 3/4ths of the glass and very pale at the bottom, clearer in the pale sectors at the bottom and gradually getting more opauge as you get to the top. Had a 2 finger head of whitish thick froth. Looks very lively in the glass.

S- very immediate hoppiness, followed directly by citrus. Slight possible grapefruit too. Some malt hints that sneak through the citrus.

t- not far from the smell at all, very hoppy lots of citrus, nice bitter ending to the beginning of a nice easy sip

m- light, very viscus, tingles the tongue, very smooth

d- this is a very hoppy beer and it may be a bit much for some people to be able to drink more than a couple, most "hopheads" I wouldnt doubt crush a 6er easy. I feel its very drinkable like most Sierra products but I also have a slight biased opinion because I love a hoppy beer.

Photo of fisherman34
4.3/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2006 edition. Aromas of pink grapefruit, manderin orange, and a touch of pine. Black peppery hop flavors is the first thing I notice, followed by more citrus flavors. There’s sort of a mellow malty break mid sip, before the fairly assertive woodly bitterness takes hold. There’s also a kind of sublte spicy quality that seems to wash over the palate as well. This is some quality stuff. Thanks to by "beer mule" Reid for bringing this tasty treat back from Minneapolis for me.

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

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass. 2009 release.

Appearance: Has a rich amber color. Produced a thick, fluffy head that stayed for a long time. Looks like the beer has a good amount of carbonation.

Smell: One whiff of this lets you know it was brewed by Sierra Nevada. Lots of Cascade hops and that signature yeast scent, all of which I like.

Taste: The hops are very prominent. A good amount of bitterness is present throughout a sip, with an resiny finish. It has a nice malt profile, but the hops are the main focus. Nice!

Mouthfeel: Overall...pretty good. This beer feels pretty thick, but there's nothing wrong with that. That carbonation is just about perfect for this style.

Drinkability: I could easily put a few of these away on one session, but I don't plan on it. The thickness of this beer would start to be noticed after a couple. I could see the 6.8 ABV creeping up on me as well.

Photo of MrBoh
4.29/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From a 12 oz bottle, pours a deep amber, with a growing pillowy head that soon goes to the top of my pint glass. Lots and lots of lacing.

Smell of roses, orange and a little bitterness balanced by the sweetness. More earthy, piney and sweet smells make their presence as the beer sits.

Taste is orange peel, spicy coriander, burnt sugar. Very floral, especially as it sits. Pretty bitter, but with the sweetness to back it up.

The head feels frothy, but is creamy in the mouth. Pretty bitter, a little astringent at times, but has just enough sweetness to back it up.

Maybe SN's best beer that comes in a 6 pack. Just a little spice that rreminds you it's a winter release, but not overkill like many Christmas beers are.

Photo of DenverLogan
4.29/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a bottle into a Maudite tulip glass. Bottle from 2012 ~ #2326215:21.
Pours a copper with significant head.
Aroma of grassy snd grapefruit hops, slight tropical melon rind.
Significant carbonation and mouthfeel.
Flavors of rich, roasted malts, minerals, grapefruit rind, pine sap. This is a big and bold beer with a hop wallop through and through. I like to keep this as a house staple...after a warm up beer or two this one maintains a large level of flavor. Great with spicy food, ideally fresh or less than 4 months.

Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 8,943 ratings.