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Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Sierra Nevada Celebration AleSierra Nevada Celebration Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

7,383 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7383
Reviews: 3152
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 11.54%

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
Ratings: 7,383 | Reviews: 3,152 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of hayes31


4.6/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured on tap into a pint glass.

When I stumbled upon this beer for the first time I was a little drunk, so I attributed the great taste to that. However, I had it sober, and it was still amazing. I was so surprised at how drinkable this beer was. A great hop taste, and it virtually dances across your tongue and tingles. It's drinkable like a BMC but it has so much flavor to it it's almost hard to take it all in.

A great overall beer that I will drink again and again.

Serving type: on-tap

05-14-2010 22:10:14 | More by hayes31
Photo of miket163


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

Poured an almost red-amber into standard pint glass. Not much in the head department, small and quickly dissipating. Very lovely and hoppy taste. Citrus and Pine dominated with and light crisp Grass note. This beer seemed a bit heavier than the standard SN APA, and was altogether a very nice ale.

Serving type: on-tap

04-11-2010 18:43:38 | More by miket163
Photo of stakem


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

Pours a very clear light amber/orange color with more than a finger of slightly stained yellow head; pretty solid retension. Lacing is clinging all over the glassware. Aroma is a nice mix of citrus, floral, spice and well kinda mint-like hops with a little backing of malt. Bitter in both the front and the finish with lingering hop character. Thin feel with a moderate amount of carb. Overall a very enjoyable beer. Only thing I would discredit this beer for is the lack of malt in the taste.

Enjoying this with some blocks of aged sharp cheese, absolutely awesome.

Serving type: on-tap

01-21-2010 23:53:55 | More by stakem
Photo of PhillyStyle


4.43/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap, in a 12oz pint glass at Mellow Mushroom, Atlanta (Brookhaven location):

A: The beer appeared a very nice orange-ish/copper color with a very nice 2 finger, big, white head and was retained fairly well.

S: The beer gave off a big malty, bready aroma with some hints of citrus and floral, possibly the hops trying to assert themselves, but being overpowered. Excellent aroma.

T: The taste of the beer is very good, rich, and complex, I would have thought that it would have been classified as a DIPA, but nonetheless, very full-flavored hop, with a nice malt backbone a nice bitter aftertaste.

M/D: The beer has a medium to full feeling to it, almost chewy, well carbonated, rich, smooth and extremely easy to drink. I drank the first one before I knew it. Certainly one of the best beers that I have had.

Serving type: on-tap

01-14-2010 20:35:31 | More by PhillyStyle
Photo of jwillcourt


4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on tap in a pint glass.

A - Rich, caramel brown color with slight cloudiness. Quarter-inch white head that settles to a thin, spotty film in a few minutes. No visible carbonation. Decent lacing.

S - Strong hop aroma only hints at the taste.

T - Dominated by hops. Slight, sweet caramel malt flavor that is not at all balanced with lemony hops but just enough to make sure the bitter hops are still pleasant. Alcohol lends some warmth.

While this is a Celebration Ale, there are no winter spices to distinguish this ale from other Sierra Nevada beers.

M - Pleasant, medium body. Very fine carbonation provides body without being syrupy. Hops leave a buttery oiliness on the lips.

D - This is a delicious, hoppy ale that is a welcome change of pace from other winter seasonals.

Serving type: on-tap

01-05-2010 05:09:12 | More by jwillcourt
Photo of AstroAcks6


4.22/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a Pint Glass

Gold appearance with a 1 finger head in a snifter glass.

Citrus and the awesome smell of Hops.

Tastes like I would expect a beer from Sierra Nevada. Caramel and spice notes are great compliments for one another.

Medium-bodied and well-balanced feel.

It's too bad this beer is a seasonal, I'd drink it year around without a doubt.

Serving type: on-tap

12-29-2009 23:19:24 | More by AstroAcks6
Photo of BeerCon5


4.43/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark murky copper color with very nice creamy off-white head.

There is an herbal hop scent immediately, there are also some notes of grains and toasty malt.

The taste is strong bitter hops from the start, the bitterness fades into a sweet malty flavor with toasty hops and grains, some light citrus as well.

Medium bodied, creamy and smooth at the beginning and finishing more crisp.

This was a very tasty beer, it sort of felt like it would be very filling at first, but eventually became more smooth and easier to drink .

Serving type: on-tap

12-24-2009 17:28:07 | More by BeerCon5
Photo of jampics2


3.28/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pint from the Lizard.

Amber with red highlights, small white head.

Smells of sweet malt, toasted malt, and hops. Nothing too definitive.

Taste is hop bitterness atop sweet malt. Amber caramel, piney hops, ok but nothing too great.

Mouth is lively. Perhaps too much so.

Drinkabilith is average. Goes down like another mediocre Sierra Nevada offering.

Serving type: on-tap

12-18-2009 23:05:14 | More by jampics2
Photo of Dijeriduster


3.73/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I've had this many times but first review. I prefer this on tap but its nice in the bottle as well - I hear it ages very well and have a few cellared....

A - Dark ambery tones with a slighty hazy look. Good almost reddish head that doesn't linger too long.

S - Rich amber notes with plenty of hops hidden in there. A hint of spice, but really its the hop nose that comes thru

T - Kinda rich like a IIPA with lots of hops coming thru. Starts off with the amber malt tones then quickly succumbs to the massive hop flavour.

M - Somewhat chewy and thick - this is a holiday beer after all. Carbonation is kinda high, but this is good as it holds up the hops a little more. Good swisher.

D - Pretty high. While its not the venerated SN Pale Ale this is a close second. A little less of a drinking beer due to the heavy malt and chewy mouthfeel but a great beer for the holidays and wonderful with meals. I LOVE finding this at lame Xmas parties trying to vie me with peppermint schnapps and candy martinis.

Serving type: on-tap

12-18-2009 18:38:05 | More by Dijeriduster
Photo of GJ40

North Carolina

4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled on tap at the Black Friar in Dallas, TX.

A - Copper with good clarity, a moderate white head and nice lacing.

S - Citrusy hops with a touch of spices and a biscuity malt.

T - Very nice citrusy hops joined by toasty, bready malt. This beer has a lot going on but it all works well together.

M - Very creamy and silky with a low moderate carbonation.

D - This is a fantastic beer with lots of flavor.

Serving type: on-tap

12-17-2009 14:10:01 | More by GJ40
Photo of Jayli


4.22/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Consumed 12/1

A: This beer pours a nice clear amber color with a one finger of creamy white head. Moderate head retention and leaves ringlet sheets of lacing.

S: Nose is of nice spicey hops with a mild caramel malt presence.

T: Taste is starts with a nice smooth caramel malt flavoring before slowly rolling in to the hop character. Touch of floral hops before a big burst of spicey hops and earthiness.

M: Medium body, medium carbonation, oily body with a dry finish.

D: Nicely blended and well balanced, not too filling and a highly sessionable beer.

Serving type: on-tap

12-12-2009 21:51:17 | More by Jayli
Photo of PangaeaBeerFood

New York

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

Served on tap at Croxley Ales in Franklin Square, NY. Was received in a Stellar Artois glass which, though it isn't technically the recommended glassware, looked amazing. Gorgeous dark copper color with a pure white, snowy head. Darker than your average IPA.

The inhale just consumes your nose with hop aromas. The floral and citrus aromas of West Coast Cascades are abundant and addictive, leaving me at the bar awkwardly sniffing away while trying to maintain casual conversation with my friends. I'm not sure if the hop make-up is the same, but the smell very much reminds me of Sierra's Pale Ale, only intensified 10 fold.

The taste follows through, with more similarities to the Pale Ale, but intensified. Very hoppy initially, but pleasantly so, with a burst of citrus zest flavors, which parts momentarily for a bit of sweetness from pale and crystal malts, then finishes with a medium to high level of lingering bitterness. The malt backbone seems emphasizes the crystal malt moreso than the pale, which is atypical for an IPA, but not surprising given the rich color. At the very very last moment of the finish, there is a slight bit of spice, but not the bright hop spice you would expect. It's more of a warming, cinnamon/clove/nutmeg kind of spice flavor. It's very very subtle, to the point where it might completely be power of suggestion, as this is a winter seasonal and it's frigid outside.

The mouthfeel puts this beer somewhere between an IPA and Double IPA. It has a bit more body than your standard Pale Ale, but isn't quite as viscous as the big beers like 90 Minute and Unearthly. Very nice balance.

Drinkability is great. I drove to the bar tonight so I couldn't have more than one. It had enough body, depth and complexity to nurse for a long time without it getting old. However, were it a different scenario, I'd have no problem putting back many, many, many more of these with pleasure.

Serving type: on-tap

12-11-2009 15:36:02 | More by PangaeaBeerFood
Photo of graebner3306

North Carolina

4.93/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is one of the all time great winter seasonals. I've had it on tap and in the bottle in multiple years, and every time it packs the same delightfully spiced hoppy flavor into every mouthful! I look forward to winter every year if only for this beer starting to appear in every local bar and grocery store. It pours out a smooth and dark golden brown, and packs a nice punch of wet hops and winter spices. It drinks as smoothly as it pours, and it goes down smoothly enough to sneak in as a session beer (although at 6.8% abv I wouldn't recommend it). All in all, one of America's best beers!

Serving type: on-tap

12-06-2009 10:24:30 | More by graebner3306
Photo of thekanna


3.85/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had on-tap at Hard Times Cafe in College Park, MD.

A: Nice clear amber-orange with half a finger of thin but rock-solid foam head that just won't budge.

S: A good amount of hops, some citrus, lagery yeasts, and fruity esters. I detect some pumpkin pie spices hovering faintly in the background.

T: Hops! Good amount of sweet citrus (pomelos, maybe?), not quite as acidic or biting as grapefruit. Somewhat bitter hops at the end but not quite as overpowering as most other IPAs.

M: Juicy, with some malty body and a good amount of carbonation.

D: Great warmer from the cold weather. The freshness from the on-tap version is really nice.

Serving type: on-tap

12-06-2009 04:01:09 | More by thekanna
Photo of Beerandraiderfan


4.4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Looks like a regular, good ol' craft brew. The smell is amazing. Piney, but not the massive piney you come across a lot more these days with the advent of summit, amarillo etc. . . hops.

Big citrus pine hop flavor as well. Perfectly balanced. This is the best holiday beer in the world. This might be the best beer in the world. A lot of beer geeks probably rate it lower because of its widespread availability.

I could drink these beer all day, every day. I think we bought 5 cases of it from Costco this year.

Serving type: on-tap

11-26-2009 00:43:23 | More by Beerandraiderfan
Photo of californiakulak


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

I just got a keg of this brew for my kegerator and I poured a pint into my Anchor Steam pint glass.

A. Pours a slightly hazy amber orange color. Big firm head with excellent lacing.

S. Stong floral scents and Cascade hops. A spicy, citrus aroma.

T. Fresh hop taste. Also taste grapfruit and other citrus flavors. Good IPA.

M. Good carbonation and a very dry finish.

D. With the bitterness and the high alcohol it is not the best beer to have in a kegerator, but it sure is tasty. 165 will be tough to finish but I will definatly give it my best shot.

Serving type: on-tap

11-24-2009 05:00:12 | More by californiakulak
Photo of BeerisfoodLLC


4.05/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap into a pint glass:

A: Amber golden color with a strong thick head.

S: Spicey citrus scents. Hoppy.

T: Tastes like it smells. Well balanced. Hoppy yet it has a decent malt backbone.

M: Well carbonated, medium bodied.

D: Enjoyable and not too harsh, practically sessionable.

Serving type: on-tap

11-24-2009 01:18:26 | More by BeerisfoodLLC
Photo of cpetrone84


3.58/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

16 oz draught in pint glass at McGrath's in Harrisburg

A-a redish golden color, nice cloudy white head

S-faint aromas of spice, mostly cinnamon and maybe a hint of nutmeg balanced with some floral hops

T-light flavors of cinnamon, pale malt, some sweet caramel, and a light bitter hop finish that is also accompanied by a tinge of citrus

M-smooth texture, cooling on the back of the throat, medium body with a light carbonation

D-it goes down easy but the flavors are a little mild. I'd like to see more and expected as much from all of the previous reviews.

Serving type: on-tap

11-22-2009 21:36:45 | More by cpetrone84
Photo of ToasterChef


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

Had on-tap at the Great Lost Bear in Portland, Maine. It pours a pretty, clear red with a thin head of white bubbles. It has a very hoppy aroma, with lots of floral and pine scents. The main flavor is of hops. It tastes woodsy at first. The bitterness of the hops begins to take over, lingering after you swallow. There is a smokey, wooden taste that is hinted at behind the hops. Overall, it tastes dry and refreshing. I'm giving the beer a 4.5 for flavor right now, as I believe it will improve as it gets a bit warmer (this glass was served slightly colder than I usually drink and review beers). The dryness and crispness of the beer lends itself to a great mouthfeel. It doesn't coat too much, nor does it tickle your throat as you swallow. I think this is a supremely drinkable beer. I could go through a six pack and not get tired of it. I only knocked it down half a point because I like to have a bit of a malty beer every once in a while when drinking something as hoppy as this. Still, I'm quite impressed with this beer. It's going to be the go to beer for our annual Christmas party this year.

Serving type: on-tap

11-21-2009 22:28:35 | More by ToasterChef
Photo of Lunch


3.65/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served on-tap at Frisco Grille in Columbia, MD (11/18/09) into a standard pint glass at an appropriate temperature.

A: Pours a nice golden brown with one finger of a slightly off-white head leaving behind excellent lacing.

S: A decent aroma of pine hops, citrus, and malt, but all seemed to be slightly subdued.

T: Bitter hopes hit the palate first with a nice citrus and pine flavor leaving behind a decent bitterness that was carried throughout the finish. Again, as with the smell, the taste seems nice, but a little weak.

M: Rather light for an IPA with average carbonation that was a bit creamy.

D: Quite drinkable as this beer was rather mild on the palate and well balanced in a less than full-flavored way.

Overall this was a bit of a disappointment, but with this tasting being my first for Celebration, I will certainly revisit it again in bottle form and adjust my review accordingly if needed. I was really looking forward to this beer as I am a huge fan of American IPAs. Worth A Look.

Serving type: on-tap

11-19-2009 20:27:46 | More by Lunch
Photo of Onenote81

North Carolina

3.93/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had this on tap for lunch today. Came out a dark amber/orange with a thin off-white head on top. Little retention, but it left perfect sip rings in it light wake. Smells of pine needles, grapefruit zest and toasted crackers.

The mouth is full and bubbly. Well-rounded. This is little harsher than I remember last year's from the bottle. Big bitterness right away that washes away with some light citrus sweetness and honey. My tongue is a little more torched from this, still, I can get through a few of these no problem. This may be one time I prefer the bottle to draft.

Serving type: on-tap

11-18-2009 20:34:49 | More by Onenote81
Photo of gunnerman


4.7/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

09 version on tap at The Lodge in Boca Raton, FL. Poured into a pint glass pours a hazy orange with a fluffy foamy head that leaves nice thick fat lace. The smell is upfront with a hop explosion west coast done right, citrus smells dominate. The taste is out of this world, strong bold citrus type flavors dominate, grapefruit, tangerine, orange all come together in a fine tasting beer. Overall this is one of my favorite IPA's out there. The quality, the hop profile and the nice malt make this one of the best west coast IPA's that we get everywhere.

Serving type: on-tap

11-14-2009 12:55:10 | More by gunnerman
Photo of biophiliadude


2.13/5  rDev -48.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Tap to a pint glass

A: ruby red, minimal white head, orange hues in the light.

S: slight spice.

T: spices, hops, on top of a strong lager taste as well as cardboard and paper = oxidation

F: Smooth, then foamy.

D: Better as it warms up. Overall flat and unbalanced, like someone made a bad lager and threw some spices in at the end.

I was really disappointed with this beer and on this review would not recommend it at all. I'll have to try it in bottle form because it's getting such rave reviews - perhaps the keg was just poorly tapped.

Serving type: on-tap

11-10-2009 01:16:15 | More by biophiliadude
Photo of cerveza5150


3.9/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

OK, this isn't on tap, it was in a bottle, but I can't save multiple years on beeradvocate. This review is for the 2009 edition.

A: Typical Celebration Ale rosy red hue. Cloudy, with small bubbles of carbonation. Lacing all the way around the glass and a soapy, off-white foam head.

S: Slightly alcoholic, citrus fruit on the nose. The caramel malt pokes through on subsequent tries.

T: Celebration Ale has, and always will be, a celebration of hops. I think the 'alcohol' that I thought was present on the smell, was actually some of the aromatic phenolic compounds in the hops. The malt is there (I think I have it a bit too cold, probably low 40s - it might shape up a little better if I let it warm up), but it has a hard time competing with the hops. It's not that it's unbalanced, it's just that it's really close to that line of being too hoppy and not sweet enough.

M & D: The mouthfeel is awesome, but I held back on giving this thing perfect scores due to the somewhat extreme nature of this ale. The hops and malt are a bit pushed to their limits. It's not bad, but it is an acquired taste. Celebration Ale is one of the few beers that I think has the potential to start at a perfect 5, but then loses points due to one or more factors of the ale being overbearing. This ale is what it proposes to be. A celebration, fit for warm winter months. It's not for everyone, but then again, what ale is??

P.S. I actually drove 140 miles round trip this afternoon to pick up 2 cases. This didn't disappoint, and I can honestly say my holiday season has started!

Serving type: on-tap

11-02-2009 23:40:12 | More by cerveza5150
Photo of drummerben


3.73/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at Taco Mac Metropolis.

Celebration 08 recently tapped as part of Christmas in July. Nice amber color, very little head. Floral fragrance with pine and hops. Taste is much less hoppy than when first released, as the hop character has faded, but still a great balanced taste. Tastes of pine with grassy notes and a malty backbone. Very easy to put these away in short order.

This one is still great with a little age on it. Probably a good option for those who considered SN to be too hoppy, if that's even possible! The age downgrades a great beer to really good.

Serving type: on-tap

08-21-2009 01:31:56 | More by drummerben
Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 7,383 ratings.