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Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Sierra Nevada Celebration AleSierra Nevada Celebration Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

3,349 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 3,349
Hads: 9,610
Avg: 4.15
pDev: 19.76%
Wants: 343
Gots: 1,475 | 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:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 11-02-2001

Fresh Hop Ale; no spices.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale Alström Bros
Reviews: 3,349 | Hads: 9,610
Photo of mcann2pu
3.52/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This is an 09 bottle. Thanks to madtrixter for the trade,
a- pours into my left hand brewing glass a clear amber color with some redish/yellowish hues in it, not to much head on this one,
s-wow, I wasn't expecting this one to be a hoppy beer at all, I was expecting a malty spiced winter beer and thats not what I got, the only real smell I got was the hops,
t- good IPA taste, the bitterness of the hops was fairly well balanced here,
d-not bad, overall a good winter IPA to chase the cold away; I guess its god that everyone doesn't fall into the traditional winter ale line up, I'll be trying a few more of these this winter,

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Photo of RunDWP
3.51/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Sorry, I just find myself a raving fan of this brew. It looks great, with a big flaffy light tan head floating on the bronz brew, but I found it went down hill from there. It's hoppy, with an earthy, resiny bitterness that just wasn't to my liking, and which I think clashed somewhat with the nutty and slightly caramel malt. Lot's of hops on the nose, this one is pretty aromatic. It's good, but I didn't find to as great as many people here found it.

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Photo of yeahnatenelson
3.51/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance -- Pours a brassy orange hue - rosy in the heart, gold around the edges -- with two fingers of stiff beige foam. Thick bands of lace as the head mellows.

Smell -- Bright and bitter: Pine resin, earthy vegetation, and grapefruit pith. Toasted malt, dab of honey, drop of cane juice. Nothing off, though a bit ho-hum.

Taste -- More bright grapefruit hop notes in the taste than in the nose - pith and zest. Pine resin also very present, crescendos in the finish. Sturdy malt backbone, more than just a jumping off point to the hops - toasty with mild malt sweetness akin to dark honey. Lingering flavors of resin, pith, and honey.

Mouthfeel -- Medium-light in body with nice carbonation. Works well with the flavor profile. Immensely drinkable.

Drinkability - Not bad in the least. Very balanced, though still definitely an IPA. Easy drinker, good choice for the cold months ahead. Admittedly, I still prefer Torpedo over this tasty seasonal.

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Photo of GimpyCane
3.51/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

appearence: poured orange reddish hue w/ a 2 inch rocky off white head. Head last throughout the entire drink and left a decent amount of lacing.

smell: light malt and hop aroma. Hint of bread, grapefruit and maple syrup.
taste and mouthfeel: clean, crisp and sweet bitter start that ends dry and long lasting bitter sweet.

drinkability: easy to drink, soft fizzy carbonation and at 6.8 % ABV a six goes down nice.

Overall, IMO Celebration is not living up to the hype, however it is still a good brew.

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Photo of Doomcifer
3.5/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Fresh 2006 Edition, just shipped in.

Poured a clear, reddish-golden with a nice half-inch, slightly off-white frothy head that lingers for a bit. Moderate lacing left behind.

Aroma is of sweet malts, citrus hoppiness, and candied fruits.

Taste is of sweet malts and very citrusy hoppiness, grapefruit, floral, hop spiciness, grassy, and ends dry/astringent. The dry hoppiness latches onto the tongue for a good time without letting the grip go.

Mouthfeel is of medium consistency and well carbonated.

Pretty drinkable for such a pungent brew. I could easily enjoy a good amount of these in a single session. Then again, I'm a hophead.

Pretty balanced beer from Sierra Nevada. I'm enjoying these but they don't live up to the hype that they have received.

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Photo of scott
3.5/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3


A pale copper lends itself to a vibrant amount of carbonation. Scads of lacing abound. Pleasnt aromatics consisting of citrus and pine. Man, this is one bitter brew. A lot of bitterness coats the mouth for a near-unpleasant finish. This is wet & drinkable, but not very complex. To me, this is a run-of-the-mill IPA.

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Photo of jtierney89
3.5/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Glowing amber/orange hue with a massive clingy head. Huge hop presence on the nose. Really a wonderful looking beer. Simply gorgeous actually.

Anyway, back to the nose. Lots of citric and oily hops. Very clean smelling. Nothing too out of the ordinary here though.

Big hop flavors. Even getting them up front. Light to medium in body, high carbonation, very crisp. Slight toasted bready malt up front, lots of pine and citric hops. Bitterness is big, but doesnt really build as I thought it would.

It's amazingly clean and has all the right flavors an IPA should have but I can't give it too high of a score due to it's seasonal availability. Would make a great any time IPA but it in no way reminds me of something I'd have in the winter.

Fantastic IPA but not as good as the hype makes it out to be. Again, I'd score it higher if it wasnt a winter seasonal as well. Definitely for hop heads though who love that flavor.

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Photo of Jredner
3.5/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Nice hop aroma. Pours very nice with a frothy white head on a copper body. Citrus notes follow a mild malt profile and big hops are present through out. A less in your face IPA which is more to my personal style. Still was kinda sad there was no cinnamon or fruitcake flavors cause when I see snow on a bottle I think spiced ale :-(

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Photo of AtrumAnimus
3.5/5  rDev -15.7%
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.

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Photo of TCMike
3.5/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

I'm not a big fan of IPA's, but this beer is worthy of a review.
Pours a medium copper color, with a 1 finger white head. Has medium carbonation.
The smell is of hops, floral, and some sort of sweetness.
The taste is good. The slight sweetness balances out the bitterness of the hops. The bitterness did linger a bit long for my liking though.
Take this with a grain of salt, because like I said, not a bitter IPA fan normally.

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Photo of JamesMN
3.5/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Slightly hazy dark golden hue with a one finger gray/white bubbly head.

Aroma: Caramel malt and english barley. Some earthy hop notes.

Taste: Very earthy hops with a nice barley/caramel malt taste. Dead on with the aroma with the addition of bitterness which is at a nice moderate level. The earthy hop profile does give off a certain 'winter seasonal' feel which is nice. No spices but the hops themselves have a piny, spiciness that works in its favor. However, not nearly as hoppy given the description (and on the hype). Dry finish like you'd expect from an IPA. Nice balance.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with average effervescence and drinkability.

Final Thoughts: Hmm, not impressed with this one (in general I'm not a huge East Coast IPA with a few exceptions). I guess all the hype plays against it in a way because I wasn't expecting such a humble beer. It is simply a good IPA that doesn't try anything ballsy and delivers a fulfilling, if not memorable, experience. Would I drink it again? I will return to it for next years release but glad I didn't opt for the sixer this time around.

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Photo of mrfosters
3.5/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Wow. What happened? Maybe I got a mishandled six pack. Don't get me wrong this is not horrible ,but it's certainly nowhere near the past versions.It poured a dark amber ,but with very little head and the lacing was non exsistant.It seemed very subdued in all aspects ,not really spicy ,not hoppy, not much more than an average IPA.I look forward to this every year and sadly ,this year I was dissappointed.But as I said , maybe ,I hope, I just got a sixer that was somehow mishandeled . I'll see if I can still find this somewhere else and rerate it.

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Photo of haulpass
3.5/5  rDev -15.7%

Well...it's another celebration. Solid as usual.I grabbed a sixer the moment it hit the shelf. It's funny, Sierra is putting out at least a dozen different IPAs a year these days, and aside from slight variances, they're all pretty much the same beer. That's not a bad thing necessarily. They're all good. But I'd like to be surprised once in a while. I think I might prefer the Boomerang IPA that just came out in their Snow Pack, but what's a little bit of a surprise in this one is that you can taste the malt profile a little more than usual. Some good caramel and toasty nutty notes in there. Of course, the hops lead the show. But I might go so far as to call this a well balanced beer.
The thing I'm curious about, and perhaps someone could help me out here, is that for the past several years they've been referring to the Celebration Ale as an IPA, but I'm all but convinced that ages ago their Celebration did not always fall into the IPA category. I wish I could go back in time and crack a bottle in 1990 to see for sure. There's a lot of other things I'd like to do if I could go back to 1990, but that's a story for a different website. Regardless, This is a delicious holiday beer from one of the best breweries on Planet Earth.

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Photo of apintofknowledge
3.5/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Last year (2003), I picked up a six pack of Celebration Ale after hearing so many fellow beer-lovers exalt it's virtues. I only drank one bottle... actually I couldn't even finish the bottle. At that point, I had never had so much hops in my life. Way too bitter for my taste buds. What was everyone so excited about? How could they drink this?!?

A year later, after growing to love a number of brews that I once found too bitter, five remaining bottles of Celebration still awaited. I was curious to see what a difference a year makes.

I'm not sure if it was the year of aging or coming to enjoy the occasional beer with such a strong hops presence, but the Celebration certainly was more drinkable this year. Sure those hops were almost overpowering, and my taste buds had enough after two bottles, but it was enjoyable. I could taste a little orange/citrus flavor, and a touch of sweet malt along with the very persistent bitter and flowery hops. The alcohol taste was still there too, though I assume after a year it was somewhat reduced. Maybe I'll let those three bottles sit for another year, and taste the results.

On a pairing note, drinking Celebration while grazing on a variety of Christmas day appetizers, I found it pairs really nicely with strong cheeses. Not only does the cheese cut some of the bitterness of the hops, but the ale seems to bring out more flavor from the cheese.

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Photo of Darkmagus82
3.5/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served on tap in a pint glass

Appearance – The beer is served an amber color with a two finger white head. The head fades slowly over time to give a decent level of lacing.

Smell – The aroma is heaviest of some biscuit malt, hop, and a spice. The spice is light overall with the hop aromas are of a pine and grapefruit citrus in nature.

Taste – The taste starts with a bready and roasted flavor. A light sweetness of fruit and caramel is present upfront, which fades as the taste advances further. Spice and hop flavors soon come to the tongue. The spice flavors are the light just as the nose would have suggested and with the loss of some of the sweetness and the new presence of a pine and grapefruit hop flavors, bring a bitter spiced and bready flavor to linger on the tongue at the very end of the taste.

Mouthfeel – The body of the beer is medium in thickness with a carbonation level that is quite average. Not bad for the roasted and spiced flavors of the brew with the moderate carbonation level maintaining a good drinkability.

Overall – A decent brew. A little bitter for a winter brew, as the bitterness and the spice don’t meld perfectly, but overall not bad.

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Photo of deaconoflove
3.5/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Ap. Deep Amber color w/ nice fine off white head...lingering with lacing as well.
Sm. Immediate red grapefruit hops and some faint maltiness in the background.
Ta. Same again. Grapefuit is primary with a little faint malt in the back corner...it all fades and blends into a long lingering and fairly strong bitterness that hangs on and on.
Mf. Creamy from the carbonation, not too thin.
Dr. Very good, but one IPA is enough for me.

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Photo of KarlHungus
3.49/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This brew pours a clear amber color. The head is white and creamy. Lacing is thorough. The aroma is of pine. The taste is piney and grassy. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with nice carbonation. Overall, this brew isn't bad, but piney, grassy hops aren't my deal.

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Photo of treehugger02010
3.49/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

I just bought a case of this from Kunda Bev. In King of Prussia, Pa. I poured it into a pint glass.
Appearance: When I first poured it, the body was a strong ruby color, but as the liquid left through the hole in the top, the body slowly to an orange color. The head was massive and fluffy with a very very very light tan color. The retention was better than average, but not awesome and the abundant lacing that stuck to the side of the glass was in pretty even and noticeable one inch layers.
Smell: The aroma didn’t have much depth. I didn’t find any malt presence, and I got a moderate smell of American west coast floral or piney hops.
Taste: Sadly, in each sip, the first half of my tongue only sensed water. On the back half I received a ton of that same piney or floral hop characteristic. There was a strong malt backbone that I really appreciated because you only notice it when you look for it, but nonetheless it was the only reason the hop character was able to say there.
Mouthfeel: Spot on for an American IPA. It was very rigid, letting you know “Hey I’m an IPA!”
Drinkability: This is certainly a great beer, but it did leave a lingering taste for a long time.
Don’t drink and review.

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Photo of GreatPondBrewer
3.48/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is a good beer, but not something that I would necessarily drink lots of on a cold winter night as it is designed for. The look is really good, with a nice deep, golden hue with a creamy, white head. The smell had nice fruity flavors and I was excited to drink it. the first taste was a bit of a let down. It came on much too bitter and the fruit flavors were way too citrusy for me. It did have a nice hop finish, and I must admit the further down the glass I got the better it tasted. I might try this again, this time letting it warm up for another 5-10 minutes, but I have had better IPA's.

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Photo of jiggahertz
3.48/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

A: Deep amber with a soapy 2 finger head in a snifter. Head subsides leaving nice lacing all around. Islands of head float throughout the drink. Awesome webbed lacing throughout.

S: Floral hops up front along with grapefruit, orange and cinnamon.

T: Strong hops hit you right away, then orange followed by a subtle creaminess and bitterness lingers for a while. Grapefruit is too overpowering.

M: Medium body and carbonation. Hops definitely dominate the mouthfeel and linger after, but cover any alcohol taste nicely.

D: Ton of hops with very little malt to be found. Good drinkability for the ABV, but too much grapefruit for my taste.

If there was a value category this would be a 5, comes in right under $1/beer in NH. Nice to see a seasonal that isn't a winter warmer. Was expecting more from this beer after the great reviews here, left expecting more. Had this after a smoked porter, will try this again on a fresh palette.

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Photo of freeeekyyy
3.48/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I just had a bottle of Celebration for the first time ever. Which is amazing considering I've been pretty into beer for several years now. Always figured it was a middle-of-the-road, avoidable beer. Man was I wrong. Celebration is great stuff. I'll definitely be getting it again next year.

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Photo of JustinAniello
3.48/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a cloudy light copper with a two finger head. Dissipates to a nice cap and lacing that sticks to the sides.

S - Citrus and pine from the hops takes up most aroma. Light malt is in the background.

T - Lightly sweet malt at first that blends into heavy piney notes and bitterness. The bitterness lingers for a while afterwards.

M - Medium body, pretty heavy carbonation. Lighter carbonation would be better.

O - Not a bad IPA, but certainly not one of the best. The piney hop bitterness over powers the other flavors, it needs to be toned down.

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Photo of dwarvenfriend
3.48/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a New Belgium Tulip

A~The color was a brilliant red with just a slight haze to it. Great lacing!

S~I got lots of flowers, a little bit of citrus and just a twinge of fruit. Lovely smell altogether.

T~Lots of fruit with just a little spice to it. Malt flavor hat just a little caramel, however it seemed a little out of balance with the hops which seemed overly bitter in the end.

M~Very nice body, started fresh and continued to linger. Almost a perfect balance!

D~Very nice, drinkable beer for a cold winter day.

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Photo of beertunes
3.48/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a straight pint glass. Pours a lovely dark copper color. Poured a small, tight head that disappated quickly. Leaves a nicer lacing than the head would lead you to believe. A sharp hop aroma. Tastes matches aroma. Basic, solid hop flavors. Little to no floral flavors, all sharp flavors. Lacks body and backbone, but is in line with most American IPAs. Nicely drinkable, I suffer palate fatigue after 2-3 so not really that sessionable. A solid IPA, and I generally have some around when available, but this beer does not run away from others of this style.

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Photo of BBM
3.47/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The 2006 version, on-tap. The beer pours a clear burnt-orange color with a white head that disappears quickly. Nice lacing on the sides of the glass. The aroma is citrusy fruit, floral, and apples. Very nice smelling beer.

Taste is very hoppy. Cascade hops, floral, citrus, all dominate the taste. There is a grapefruit flavor as well. It's bitter, but in a good and appreciable manner. Unfortunately I found the beer to be a bit watered down. I don't know if this was a result of the tap or the brew. That was dissapointing. Mouthfeel is clean with a dry finish.

Overall it's a fairly standard IPA. Good, not great.

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Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 3,349 ratings.