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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.

3,355 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 3,355
Hads: 9,634
Avg: 4.15
pDev: 19.76%
Wants: 345
Gots: 1,496 | 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: 3,355 | Hads: 9,634
Photo of cncbofh
4.35/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

What a little beauty. I had not heard of the Celebration Ale from anyone - so when I first purchased it, all I could think of was a typical Christmas ale... something with spices, lots of alcohol and a deep chewy flavor.

Holy cow! It's a Christmas Pale Ale and it's killer!!! The hops are powerful. Strong spicy citrus scent - can use this thing for a room freshener. Hope you like the smell of hops.

The taste is a small bit of malt swallowed by a humongous overload of citrusy hops. There is alcohol present, but it's not overwhelming and is well balanced with the brew. God this smells good and tastes great. Excellent beer for around the tree - or menorah, or buddha... hell, even atheists can enjoy Christmas with this one.

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Photo of MuddyFeet
2.73/5  rDev -34.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Waiting for the backlash on this, but I just don't like the taste of wood polisher... errrr... pine in my beer. Wreaths stay on the door, they do not belong in my beer. While I do very much enjoy the hops in the beer, the pine just kills any joy I get from this beer. There are also hints of caramel and spices, but the pine just shoots them down in my opinion. I will admit this is not as pungent a pine as I've had compared to other beers, but I can still taste it.

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Photo of Guinness4me
3.03/5  rDev -27%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

In an attempt to not offend the hop heads of the bunch, I'll be as kind as possible with this beer as it does seem like a good example of the style.

The color was a lovely golden/orange color with a white head full of tiny bubbles. The smell was 110% hops to nearly the point of a flowery perfume.

The taste was all hops with a slight, sweet malt and a very bitter finish that tended to linger on the back of my tongue.

The mouthfeel was neither offensive nor spectacular but again is indicative of the style. I'm glad to get this one over.

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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 hammerhead
4.73/5  rDev +14%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The 2004 version is as good as always. Strong pine resiny aroma and sharp bitter taste. Centennial hops at their best. I finally found this beer at Whole Foods in the Chelsea section of Manhatten after searching around my local distributors for weeks. This beer is consistent year after year. Too bad it's not available year round. A rock solid IPA that is very drinkable despite it's 6.8 ABV. With all the over the top seasonal beers out there I've tried, I always find myself going back to this classic IPA. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it". This beer will go down in the annals of American brewing as the classic IPA that all others are compared too. Please Sierra Nevada, make this available year round!

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Photo of CBFanWish
4.41/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A fantastic offering from Sierra Nevada. Pours a bronze colour with a thick foamy head. A sweet malty aroma wakes you up with hints of pine. The taste is full of wonderful flavours. Pine, grapefruit, and even grassy notes rock the tastebuds like a mo fo. Great stuff. A great beer for just about anything.

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Photo of maccroz
4.56/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Wow! This beer packs a punch on every level. The appearance is perfect. Dark and golden with a small but evident head. It smells seductive enough to inspire a pavlovian watering of the mouth.

The first sip is what will get you though. It's a flood of hops and so many other tastes that you can't put your finger on any of them. From the moment it hits the tip of your tongue to the moment you swallow it's a safari of tastes and sensations.

I doubt you'd be able to drink too many of these in one sitting though, not only is it complex on the tongue, but it also packs a 6.8% punch.

Give this one a shot for sure!

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Photo of rowew
4.6/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This one was on tap at Falling Rock - so my review isn't as detailed as usual. All in all a fantastic beer that I look forward to having again in the future. Poured a beautiful bright amber color with a nice head that left a lot of lacing as it drained. Fresh hops and citrus flavor dominate - with just enough malty undertones to keep it reasonable (but this one is definitely for hop-heads). Great creamy mouthfeel

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Photo of Crotor
3.38/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

2003 bottle, cellared until consumption in mid December, 2004.

Pours dark amber, rather cloudy with chunks floating around - I must've kicked up the sediment. Great, dimpled, off white, lingering head (1 finger).

There's a slight pine-resin aroma, and a bit of grapefruit - the hops are subdued but still there. Not much else to the aroma. Really kinda underwhelming, actually. The volume on the hop aroma is turned down, but the volume on the malt aroma hasn't been turned up.

My first impression when I drink is of the creamy, smooth mouthfeel. There's a nice bit of caramel underneath it all, but it hasn't really opened up yet (will it?) Damn, this stuff feels downright creamy right now - great mouthfeel. Ooh, but now those citric hops are rearing their head; amazing, the power left in 'em.

Overall, a nicely incorporated, balanced flavor. However, I find myself missing the full strength of the hops in fresh Celebration. This is my first experience with cellared Celebration, and though it's certainly good, I simply prefer it fresh. I think I'm gonna go pull those six-packs of '04 back out of the cellar, and drink 'em this season instead...

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Photo of AlexJ
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

What can I say that has not allready been said, except that I can't get it here in NC and that makes me want to cry. Winter just won't be the same without this staple of Holiday enjoyment. Perfectly balanced, hoppy, spicy, and good enough to drink all night. Whenever the subject of good winter brews comes up, this immediately comes to mind. Good good!

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Photo of Suds
4.15/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2004 Celebration: bronze colored liquid with an off-white, firm, rocky head. Sticky lace. The beer is cloudy from yeast sediment. The aroma is thick of piney hops. It’s an intense aroma: a wake-me-up peppery, outdoorsy, full-on Northwest smell. Hint of malt underneath the hops. Tongue numbingly bitter, with a dry, crisp, very refreshing finish. I’d love this beer year-round.

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Photo of JackStraw22
4.45/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

(2004) Beer pours a crisp golden/amber with a nice 1-2 inch foamy head, good retention, nice lacing too. There's a pleasent "ale" aroma. Fruity esters from the hops are present, I can smell some nutmeg and ginger too (or else I've just been eating too many cookies lately) I think I can smell some malt too, but not much. Very hoppy as I would expect from SN, phenomenal!! Wow! Spicey, piney not too sweet. This beer tastes like Christmas. I want one of these while opening my presents this year (which will hopefully be more of these). Exceptional drinkablity for the hoppiness, could go with these all night.

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Photo of EagleTalon
4.39/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Good stuff. Pours to a creamy white head and orangey color. Aroma is hop-dominated with a good deal of pale maltiness shining through. Flavor is bittersweet, quite well-balanced for an American IPA, strong bitterness with a sweet malt backbone holding it up. Very pleasant IPA aftertaste and mouthfeel. Wow. I bought this not knowing it was an IPA (I had bought Pyramid IPA to serve at the Xmas party along with this beer, Czechvar and my homebrewed stout). It is excellent. It has the right balance of slightly toasty-caramel maltiness and the generous bitterness, flavor and aroma of the finest U.S. ale hops. Worth the extra money. A sixpack of Celebration Ale costs over $9 in OK and I consider it more worth the expense than the $7.50 for any Pyramid beer, incuding the IPA!

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Photo of sabrills70
3.9/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a beautiful medium amber with a huge head and great lace. Smell of fruity citrusy hops. Great floral hoppiness. Taste of fruity hoppiness with a nice amount of bitternes. Not too bitter though. A great example of an American IPA. No detection of the 7% alcohol anywhere. Its mouthfeel is very nice. Not too light or too heavy. Its drinkability is only slightly above average because I just can't drink a bunch of IPA's in a row. I enjoy them very much, just not a bunch at once. I will savor the other 5 of these through the holiday season.

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Photo of PossumJenkins
3.97/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bought a single of this at the local beer store for $1.59. An excellent beer for anytime, not just the holidays. Probably the best IPA I've had in my relatively limited experience (though I have a Dogfish 90 Minute waiting for me in the fridge). Nothing special about the appearance, typical light brown color with nice, lasting head and ok lacing. Smell is very fruity - I can't place a finger on which particular fruit though. Something citrusy, like lemon or grapefruit even. Man, this is a hoppy beer. Might be too bitter for some, but I love me some hops. Drinkability is way up there...despite the 7% ABV I feel like I could easily make this a "session" beer. Overall quite impressed and pleasantly surprised, as I'm actually not a huge fan of the other Sierra Nevada products I've tried.

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Photo of moocey
4.47/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

Nearly 7% alcohol?! Bullshit. Where's it hiding? I drank this one at room temp. Pours a wonderful clear amber color with a crazy amount of head. I'm immediately smaked upon the nose with the wonderful cascade hop. Smells delicious. This beer starts of with a citrusy aroma, but it ends with a grassy, hoppy bitter chinook bite. After a couple of sips I can pick up some of the grassyness in the aroma. There's just so much going on with this beer. Such complex hoppyness, and dry as a bone. Nothing sweet here. This is one of the most delicious beers I've ever tasted. I have five more of these to drink! I doubt I'll refridgerate any of them.

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Photo of lackenhauser
4.45/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured a nice orange to reddish amber color. Great carbonation level and some nice lacing on down the glass. Wonderful hop aroma-very citrusy. Doesnt scream at you like some US IPAs. Fantastic malty flavor with a huge rush of hops. Lemony,grapefruit like-a real pucker upper!!! Great silky smooth body helps to somewhat subdue the hops. A killer beer every year. This is one that doesnt seem to change year after year when released. Definately a classic.

Note-Sampled a 2000 vintage bottle earlier this week. While the hops had dimished it was definately showing its age. Not unpleasant but was past its prime for sure. Had a slightly "off" flavor. I wouldnt call it rancid but it was off to be sure. If youre cellaring this one Id suggest diving in. Malt flavor and body were there-just had an untangible element to it.

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Photo of RushLimbmalt
4.32/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice amber and has a big off white head that leaves gobs of sticky lace. The hops attack the nose as soon as the glass gets anywhere near my nose. Very nice! They are very up-front in the flavor as well and they are a nice floral assault on the tongue. This is a very good American IPA. It is quite drinkable. I would like to try it on tap sometime.

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Photo of GreenWBush
3.29/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Don't get me wrong, I love this beer. I just feel like 2004's release has been completely hit or miss: the first batch I had was astonishingly perfumed grapefruit, the second was on par with Ruination's sheer bitterness, and now on-tap i've got a totally different animal. Seems completely out of line with the Sierra Nevada ethos.

A dry, stale Chinook overloaded let down. Got absolutely blown out of the water by a semi-fresh keg of Stone IPA.

For a brewery that prides itself on uniformity, this year's celebration is surely not worth celebrating over. Lets hope the Bigfoot is much better.

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Photo of gimmehead
4.11/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a rich reddish copper with a very nice pale head
Smell: Spicey cloves with a citrous accent
Taste: Initial hop blast, grapefruit, not much discernable malt sweetness
Mouthfeel: Dry, with good carbonation
Drinkability: Outstanding

This is one of the best brews I have ever had the plesure of quaffing. First impression was a little dry for my taste, but by the end of the glass I was hooked. I've come to know this as a great sessionbeer,but the 6.8% ABV will ensnare the unknowing or the unwary. A truly great beer.

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Photo of Erix
4.54/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

From bottle to pint glass
Appearance: A moderately vigorous pour yielded a substantial, lasting, pale khaki head. The beer itself looks allright, and is a reddish gold, but there is rather a lot of sediment in there.
Smell: Citrusy hops here, with sweet malt to back it up. Great aroma to this beer.
Taste: Hops are of course the most assertive flavor here, hitting you right up front. Bitter grapefruit primarily, and a little bit of oak in there too, towards the end. The malt is present, and does a good job of providing some depth and balance to the hops, but they dont really try to compete. Bitterness stays for a while after you've finished each sip. Delicious.
Mouthfeel: Full and oily, but the sharpness of the carbonation seems to power the oil away. Actually rather refreshing.
Drinkability: I don't think that I could ever tire of this beer. Truly fantastic, and it leaves me wanting another.

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Photo of swamiswamu
4.53/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

It pours with a rich, reddish hue and one inch head that doesn't quickly dissapate. In other words, it is a beautiful beer. The smell is dominated by hops and illicits a piney reaction. Here comes the hops. This is a highly hop dominated beer, but at the same time it is balanced. It has a malt finish that raises its mouthfeel. I could drink it all night.

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Photo of mynie
5/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I opened my first Celebration of the season and teared up, like some kind of girl. This beer is, easily, the best part of early winter. Every year it's like welcoming an old friend back into my life. And while it's pretty sad to refer to a beer as an old friend, it would be a lie to deny doing it. I'm honest, man. Beer matters a lot. And few, maybe none, matter as much as Celebration.

This was the first aggressively citrusy hoppy beer I ever had. It was one of--maybe THE--first aggressively citrusy hoppy beers. And it's still perfect. Right now, the best hoppy beers (like Kern River or Heady) taste like Snickers bars. This is not that intense. But it's still great enough to have invented an entire style, and you have no right to call yourself a BA if you don't give it its due.

Very red, pretty color. Excellent head that refuses to die. Great lacing.

It smells like sweet caramel and hops. There's a bit of a spicy smell that falls somewhere between cloves and nutmeg.

Tastes like hops upfront with warmer spices, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, pumpkin pie. More hops in the back, sweeter than the front, but still bitter, and with more spice. The aftertaste is bitter hops with sour leanings, kind of like an orange rind dipped in cloves.

What can I say? This beer lives up to the hype. Too bad the only store near me fucking gouges on the price ($11.00 for a sixer!!!) or I'd probably buy a case to enjoy until next year.

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Photo of merlin48
4.46/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours into the glass a magnificent appearance. Cherry amber, a thick light beige colored head, and lots of lacing. Hoppy aroma with some vague spicing. Dry on the tongue. This is a very interesting IPA. Hops cover up any malt to my taste. Very crisp finish makes for a most drinkable winter style ale.Sierra Nevada has brewed a fine one here

Winter 2004 edition: Just about a perfect pour, with an actively carbonated, bronze amber body topped by a one finger offwhite head that hangs around like a new kitten that's starved for attention. Massive sheet and patch lace decorate the glass.
Aroma has an ideal balance of caramel and toffee malt and grapefruit and orange citrusy hops.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied with perfect carbonation.
Taste mirrors the aroma, with an ideal blend of citrusy, westcoast hops and caramel and toffee malts. The hops lend a touch of wintry pine cone, as well. Crisp on the finish, with a nice hoppy aftertaste. An American IPA that purrs on all cylinders.
Drinkability: I know some people that are cellaring this one until 2005, and beyond. Having enjoyed a couple bottles of the 04, I doubt that I could avoid the temptation of making nightly visits to the cellar.

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Photo of beertaster13
4.8/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Honey clear out the garage Celebration is out again, this is the stock up the house beer. I wish they sold this year round so I don't have to find spots around the house to shelf it. Pours a nice amber with golden streaks, the head is white with tan streaks. The smell is of sweet caramel and nutmeg malts with sweet sour hoppy citrus. The combo of smells is outrageous. The taste is indescribable, you can only taste it yourself, right in the middle of barleywine and IPA. A smooth robust will warm you up during the holidays but also refresh in the summer months. Solid.

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Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 3,355 ratings.