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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.

3,402 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 3,402
Hads: 9,920
Avg: 4.15
pDev: 19.76%
Wants: 349
Gots: 1,726 | FT: 3
Brewed by:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
California, United States | website

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: 3,402 | Hads: 9,920
Photo of drmeto
3.57/5  rDev -14%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

-starts with sweet malt and strawberries
-then huge resiny,piney notes
-orange,citrus,mango,peach take the backseat
-well carbonated
-finishes with grapefruit and a huge hoppy note
nice, but too bitter for my tastes

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Photo of roblowther
3.57/5  rDev -14%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bought a sixer of this in honor of the season. Its light gold copper and smells of cherries and pine, with a hint of spice. The taste is much more subdued than I expected, more balanced than the usual hop-heavy signature of most CA brewers in general and SN in particular. Not much head retention. The mouthfeel is soft if a bit thin. The drinkability is good, although hops-dominant beers are always an uhill climb for me. A good way to end the year but the name made me expect a winter warmer rather than an ipa. Something about trying to survive the heat of a long southern boat journey doesn't put me in the Christmas spirit!

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Photo of clabaugh
3.57/5  rDev -14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance: Clear pale amber with a bubbly, cream-colored head. Retains lustily, with faint lacing.

Smell: Pungent, piney hops complimented with some hearth-roasted malts. Floral and vinous, accented with spice.

Taste: Intensely bitter as piney hops inundate the taste buds. Beyond the hops, there is a bountiful roasted maltiness. Some burnt chestnut emerges through a bitterness that is really persistent.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied with some palate-deadening properties. Soothing and smooth on the tongue, and warming on the way down.

Drinkability: Richly flavored, but perhaps overly bitter. Deceptively inebriating, but ideal for providing sustenance for the long winter months. Above average brew.

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Photo of delta490
3.57/5  rDev -14%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Poured a deep ruddy orange, slightly clouded with a big beige head. The head slowly settles down and leaves small sticky lacing. The aroma isn't bad, but there isn't much to it, with just barely there and nondescript hops. The taste is pretty bland, as well. The most prominent flavor note is bitter hops, but without anything specific. Just...bitter. The body has a nice weight and feel to it. I've had this in the past and this year's edition is just not as good.

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Photo of mschantz
3.57/5  rDev -14%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Sampled on tap. Mahogany brown with slight head that diminished quickly into a Lacey ring. Nose was nutty and piney with a bit of nutmeg. Flavor was hoppier than the subtle nose but well balanced by a brown sugar sweetness.

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Photo of divineaudio
3.57/5  rDev -14%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2011 batch into a tulip.

a - amber in color with a light haze. gave me a big bubbly tan head that calmed slowly to a thin cap. leaves thick swaths of lacing in my glass.

s - amazingly sweet toffee, ripe berry, tangerine, faint grassiness.

t - toasted malt with notes of juniper and huge pine resin hop character. pungent bitterness hangs on the tongue for quite a while. unfortunately, taste exhibits none of the qualities found in the nose. very one dimensional here.

m - medium in body with more carbonation than i prefer usually. finer co2 profile.

o - easily drinkable and enjoyable, but kind of a let down. this bottle is 86 days old by my calculations, so maybe this is one beer that must be had as fresh as possible. maybe i'll try again next year.

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Photo of heliosphann
3.56/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz snubby poured in a pint glass.

A: Half a finger of light brown, soapy head. Fades moderately quickly and leaves a nice oil slick on top. Looks a crisp, crystal clear amber in the glass. Good visible carbonation and some decent lacing for an IPA.

S: Upfront are bright, resiny hops. Some biscuity malts in the mix add some sweetness. Not overly fragrant.

T: Pretty similar to how it smells, hops are there with plenty of pine and resin. Malts are there providing some balance, but fall short. Sweetness, followed by a very sharp bitterness on the finish.

M: Pretty typical of the style. I found it to be slightly over carbonated however.

D: Sessionable to a degree (for me it could be) with an under 7% ABV. The strong bitterness on finish though would wear your palate down quickly. After one 12oz serving, I'm already feeling it.

I'm somewhat disappointed with SN's Celebration Ale as I found it overall to be too unbalanced. I remember really enjoying it a few years ago. I think that bottle might have had a year of age on it, which could really cut down on the bitterness factor. I think I might pick another bottle up and see how it ages for myself. Especially since a lot of people think this is a solid IPA for cellaring.

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Photo of biking4beer
3.56/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2007 Vintage.

I felt like this one was different enough from last year to merit another review.

Beautiful beer. Crystal clear copper. Pours a big foamy 3 finger head that dissipates to 2 fingers. Nice lacing before I even take my first sip.

Smell is of HOPS. Chinook all the way. Pine and grapefruit. Centennial and Cascade can barely get through. Slight skunk that some people refer to as "catty."

Super bitter. My tongue has been pretty immune to hop bitterness lately, but this beer smacked those taste buds back into line. Grapefruit bitterness overwhelms everything else. No balance whatsoever.

High carbonation and dry. Hops sting your mouth.

It was nice to feel that hop bite again. Reminds me of the first time I had a Stone IPA. Very good beer, but the ratings are a little low for me for a complete disregard for balance. I know it's an IPA, but some sweetness is good in my book. Maybe in a couple of months, this one will even out a touch.

Hey, I reviewed this beer 1 year ago to date.

2006 vintage review moved to here due to impending deletion.

12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

Pours a nice big, foamy, and white two finger head that leaves a nice sugary looking lace. The head sticks around nicely. Beer is a nice pale golden color with slight red hues. Good looking beer.

Slight citrus and pine aromas. Nice and crisp like a wet/fresh hop brew.

The first thing I notice about the taste is the really nice balance of malts and hops. What a nice, even beer. Slight bitter grapefruit finish.

I thought the carbonation and overall feel of this beer was about perfect for it's style. I could definitely drink a few of these, but it definitely takes some warming to get the good flavors out. The last sips were definitely the best.

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Photo of jakon
3.56/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle

Pours a golden amber with a quick rising but controllable off white head that displays nice retention while leaving splotches of sticky lacing in its wake. The aroma is primarily of "c" hops and caramel malt, though it isn't huge and in your face. The taste is quite balanced between the hops and malt as far as west coast IPA's go. Not extremely hoppy like certain others, or extraordinarily complex or really special in any way. There is a lingering aftertaste that includes both the bitterness of the hops and sweetness of the malts. The carbonation is just right, and the overall mouthfeel is pretty much the same as you'll find with most other beers of this style. Just a nice solid beer that everybody should look forward to each year.

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Photo of dhchatfield
3.56/5  rDev -14.2%
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.


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Photo of br3wmeister
3.56/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Big off white foamy head that is very sticky and leaves great lacing. The beer is a translucent copper color. Head dissipates to a thin cap that lasts almost to the bottom.

S- Nice light maltiness, hints of table sugar and earthy sweetness. Light hop character, nothing special going on in the nose here.

T- Lots floral and piney hops with some earthy herbal spiciness going on. Some malty balance but definitely not the focus here. Some caramel and hints of fruit, overtaken by piney hops and dry bitterness.

M- Medium bodied with lots of hoppy bite. Could use a little more malt to thicken it up a bit.

Overall- This is a decent beer but could use a bigger malt profile. Good display of hops.

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Photo of Tee76
3.56/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

As far as an IPA goes this is exceptional. Great lacing, great taste, very drinkable. My only complaint is its marketed and sold as a winter beer. There's nothing "Christmas" or winter about this brew. Sierra Nevada should sell it year round. I could easily drink this on hot day.

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Photo of chuckpalka
3.55/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Just picked up one in Chicago
L: Poured in a Goblet a medium copper with a very light tan foamy head that settled some but never went away.
S: Pleasing moderate smell of a easy mix of pine and grapefruit.
T: Slightly bitter as expected but not overboard. Maybe just a little more than I care for.
F: A soft mouth feel and dry aftertaste and a empty glass with plenty of lace.

A good beer as expected from Sierra Nevada.

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Photo of mountdew1
3.55/5  rDev -14.5%
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.

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Photo of david18
3.55/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This was my review from a bottle I had a while ago:

I had this beer as part of a special that were offering at my local beer store. Two very large bottles for $5.00. It says winter beer on the bottle but I would agree that it's more of an IPA than anything else.

Good golden/amber color. Excellent head, great aroma and good IPA flavor.


The draft is pretty much the same. A very good beer that I would order any time I see it.

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Photo of MerkinMan
3.55/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2008 version:

A: Bright copper with about a half inch of head that looks as though it will retain well

S: Spicy hops and not fruity like many Christmas beers. Reminiscent of their Pale Ale with some noticeable differences.

T: Could have probably used more malt to cut down on some of the hop soapyness. Not a bad beer at all; may benefit from some aging.

MF: Not bad. Has body, but dissipates.

D: Not at all a bad offering, but rather plain compared to other examples. Very drinkable, but does not stand out from the pack, nor does it stand out from other SN beers.

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Photo of TappaKeggaBrew
3.55/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours orange-amber, with a medium haze. Golden head isn't thick, but has fairly good retention, and light lacing on the walls of the glass.

S: Sweet malt and aromatic hops in equal measure. After a couple of whiffs, I detect some citrus notes. Pretty typical for an IPA.

T: Holy bitterness, Batman! There isn't much room for the malt or anything else. After the bitterness of excessive hops fades, the citrus makes a faint appearance, and I might detect a hint of diacetyl.

M: Crisp, good carbonation.

O: I should point out that I'm not a huge American IPA fan, and although drinkable (and slightly above average in the class, in my opinion), this one didn't change my position; the bitterness was just too overwhelming for me to give it good marks. I'm not totally disappointed I tried it, but I won't be going back.

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Photo of PartyBear
3.55/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - A cloudy ruby red, with a creamy white head.

S - Complex smell. Hoppy, with a hint of chocolate. It also has a fruity quality, possibly melon, and lemon. I also got the impression of honey.

T - Lemon zest and grapefruit. Perfumy, with a bitter aftertaste.

M - Managed to pull of a light yet oily feel in the mouth.

D - This is a very interesting beer, there is a lot going on. It has complex flavours and aromas, and it's the sort of beer that could taste slightly different each time you drink it.

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Photo of MadDog
3.55/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

I've enjoyed and always looked forward to the Celebration offering come Winter. But for some reason, I'm finding the 2014 batch to be less appealing than I remember. Very hoppy without as much balancing malt as years past. Is it just me or are others picking up on this?

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Photo of JohnnyM2002
3.55/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Sampled from a 12 oz bottle, poured into a wine glass at 45 degrees. This was my Thanksgiving/putting up the Christmas tree (first one as a married man!) beer.

A - Pours a orange/gold color with a small head. Color certainly seemed festive.

S - Dry hops with come citrus in the background. Really not much else to speak of...

T - A dry, hoppy finish to a spiced/hop taste. I was expecting a lot more, based on the countless Celebration posts in the past few weeks...I mean, it's a good IPA, but I was expecting more spice or something to make it a holiday beer.

M - More of a wine-mouthfeel, which makes it much more enjoyable. Medium body with a fair amount of carbonation. Nice, crisp finish.

D - Like I said, it's a very good IPA, but nothing in it made it stand out to me as a holiday selection. I'm going to grab another bottle and try it on-tap, just in case...

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Photo of echdk3
3.54/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a stein

A_Nice red color, almost completely opaque. Thin caramel off white head that dissipates very quickly

S_Herbal and spicy

T_Totally unbalanced in a great way - hops overwhelm the pallet, finishes a tongue punishing spicy

M_Well carbonated ale that coats the mouth, but it is still more thin than chewy

D_This beer is spicy and overwhelming; I couldn't drink more than a couple

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Photo of JDV
3.54/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Sampled on draft at City Beer in SF under the name "Torpedo". Amber pour. Very strong fruity mouth watering hop aroma. One of the better smelling beers I've had. Strong hoppy tasty, with bitterness to match, and a creamy yet dry finish. Interesting, slightly different IPA.

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Photo of bunn4funn
3.54/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Reveiwed from a bottle 2005

Apearence- Beautiful caramel, clear color with a nice pancake colored one finger head. Great lacing effect from this bottle i mean incredable.

Aroma- Well its definatly hoppy/piney with a short following of caramel and baking spices like nutmeg, even some grapefuit/lemon

Taste- sharp bite from the hops upfront. They are piny and leave a definate "spike" in the tounge. Im getting that lemon bready feel from this brew as it warms. Now that it has matured (out of the bottle) and my palete is more accoustomed to the hops i can tell that there is a whole other side. Like some caramel and baking spices. Just what you would expect a celebration ale from Sierra Nevada to taste like.

Mouthfeel- Smooth and lightly carbonated, slightly oily.

Drinkability- Good even though it is 6.8% abv, Though you might want to pace yourself it will creep up on you after two or three. Its just so good i dont want to stop drinking it!!1

Overall- Fine brew, love what it has to offer!!! Great to drink with family and friends. We all have a lot to be thankful for and this brew is definatly one !!!

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Photo of NJpadreFan
3.53/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Sierra Nevada- Celebration Ale

Appearance- Reddish brown with a thick white head.
Smell- Pine, grapefruit, and spice. Sweet malt.
Taste- Light citrus and pine with a dry maltiness.
Mouthfeel- Slighty bitter with a sweet malt twang.

Overall- Not as strong or potent as I recall from earlier years but regardless still a solid session beer.

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Photo of HalfFull
3.53/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice orange amber typical of the Sierra Ale family, and with a half inch of off white head. A bit cloudy in appearance, or perhaps hazy is a better word, quite welcoming. Head dissipates in a few minutes and shows brief lacing.

A bit of earthen hops on the nose, some resinous pine and just a hint of subtle cinnamon spice.

Taste is smooth with a slight bitterness, yet the malt structure balances nicely. Notes of cinnamon on the finish. The carbonation does dissipate too quickly in my opinion, even with a slow pour, and thus yields a slightly viscous feel to the brew in the second half even as the hop notes open up.

Similar to SNPA in many ways but with a bit more maltiness and a heavier body. I see this as a nice fortified version of their Pale Ale but it doesn't stand out in the IPA realm.

Note: 2008 Release....

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Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 3,402 ratings.