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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.

9,201 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 9,201
Reviews: 3,325
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 11.81%
Wants: 283
Gots: 1,140 | FT: 2
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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 9,201 | Reviews: 3,325 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of toweringpoo
3.9/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Hooops. Spicy malty hooops. Very piney and resiny. Sticks to the tongue and fills up to the mouth. The citrus notes are present more in the nose than the taste. There's a distinct spicyness that really makes this beer special, and makes it one of the best winter seasonals out there. It's really not overpowering though which is something a lot of other winter seasonals fall prey to. One to look forward to every year.

Photo of MacDomer
4.42/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this on tap at the Maproom in Chicago. I have previously had several from a sixer as well, so we are well acquainted now.

The beer pours a medium orange-amber color, quite clear. There's a nice large head with tons of lacing. Nice to look at, but not the best part of the brew.

The nose has lots of bright grapefruit scents. Delicious, inviting, and again, bright!

The taste is delicious. Tons of hops. Mostly citrusy and floral, with some pine. A bit of spiciness as well.

Mouthfeel is good, but not great. Nice long dry finish.

Overall a really nice beer. Will seek out and recommend to others. I'll grab two sixers every Nov/Dec release and share with friends.

Photo of mjw06
4.15/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a review of the 2008 edition.

A - Cherry amber color with a rich tan head about two fingers high that last well and leaves a thick sticky lacing.

S - Sweet smell of spices, particularly clove and a little cinnamon, as well as a toasty caramel base and underpresence. does also carry a citrus scent most akin to grapefruit.

T - Sweet taste that doesnt completely match the smell. spices are not dominant, and are actually somewhat hidden in the taste, however the grapefruit smell is confirmed in its taste and lends to the bitterness in the hoppy finish. Impressed with the taste, but am again distracted by the hoppy finish.

M - Once again an excellent mouthfeel from a sierra nevada brew. perfect light carbonation that doesn't distract and a somewhat creamy mouthfeel.

D - This beer is without a doubt a very drinkable beer. however i would appreciate maybe a toning down on the hops in this brew so that i may appreciate its complexity of flavors. or maybe its not even the hops, but rather this continued grapefruit taste that im getting. never was much a fan of grapefruit. nonetheless i think ive found a winter brew that i can stick with, however it still dissapoints in some areas.

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

Consistently excellent. The San Francisco Chronicle said of this delicious beer... " Simply the best beer ever mad in America"-
and I'm not about to quibble - though I still have a penchant for Bell's Two Hearted Ale.

All in all, its color, aroma, mouthfeel and tatse are as good as it gets for an American IPA - beautifully balanced - a perfect winter warmer as its inviting label shall attest.

Photo of jonziefle
3.21/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

From notes:

Appearance: Poured a reddish amber, with a one finger tan head. Good head retention and sticky lacing. Clear with a hint of cloudiness and some minimal visible carbonation.

Smell: Not very strong fragrance of fruity dry hops, with some malts. Hint of the 6.8% alcohol.

Taste: A malty ale that also has a hoppy bitterness. Minimal floral hops taste. Very sweet, but a weird aftertaste that seems to linger forever.

Mouthfeel: Seems thin-bodied and not very carbonated. Seems "sharp".

Drinkability: Just an "okay" seasonal ale, there are far better. It seems too sweet and just not enough in many categories.

Photo of bbothen
4.4/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Wow. 1,700+ reviews for this beer. We probably could use another opinion. Here's mine.

This is about the 37th bottle I've had of this since it started showing up in stores this year. No lie.

Pours a red dark amber color with a thick & bubbly 2+ finger deep head. Lots of sticky lacing left on glass.

Smells of earthy, grassy, piney, sprucy, citrusy hops. Along with plenty of caramel and grain.

Sweet caramel maltiness makes an appearance before the bitterness arrives and takes over, pine, grapefruit, spruce, grass, balancing maltiness squeezes back in, caramel, toffee, hoppy bitter finish wins the battle. Seeriously, this is a tasty brew.

Medium bodied, moderate carbonation, dry lingering hoppiness.

Could drink these all day. Year round. My definition of a session brew.

A delicious IPA. Wish this was available year round. An unbelievable bargain as well. Around the holidays 12 packs were going for $12.99 in Safeway supermarkets. Awesome. I'd buy a pallet if I had the room.

Photo of AdmiralDiaz
4.1/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Reddish brown semi-cloudy body with a small white head that leaves behind a nice bit of lacing.
Smells like pretty strong hops with a nice bit of wet grass.
Very tasty, good amount of hops that dominate with a bitter aftertaste with the expected pine bit to it. Towards the last 1/3 of the beer you can start to taste the alcohol when the drink is warmer.
semi creamy with good carbonation, a nice crisp IPA.
Overall its a very drinkable beer that is inexpensive compared to some that are poorer quality.

Photo of Phillyduke
4.18/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2008 release served from a 12 oz. NR into an Imperial Pint glass.

A: Beer is clear with a beautiful red hue and a rocky 2-3 finger head with phenomenal retention that leaves trails of sticky lacing as it slowly recedes. Resins are visible in suspension upon close inspection, and the lace continues to cling as I drink the beer down.

S: SN's characteristic hop profile, but cranked up an extra few notches. Piney, grassy, and a touch floral with a twinge of alcohol. Not much malt sweetness to be found here, but what do you expect with the two C's (Cascade and Centennial) dominating the nose?

T: Surprisingly enough, this isn't the hop assault on the palate that I was anticipating. Sure, the dry, crisp, bitter hoppiness is there (boy is it ever!), but a pleasing caramel maltiness is also making a case for itself. The combination makes for an incredibly balanced IPA that never goes overboard in either direction, but still manages to hit you with a seemingly immense dose of hops without crushing you in the process. The alcohol I detected in the nose is barely noticeable here.

M: Smooth and clean, with a crisp, tongue-tingling carbonation. Finish is short, dry and bitter, and almost completely dominated by the hops.

D/O: Yeah, this one's all about the hops, and I for one am appreciative! The balance brought on by the rich caramel malts prevent this beer from becoming an over-the-top tongue bruiser, while still preserving the incredible raw hoppiness of it all. Extremely enjoyable, and quite drinkable, both from an ABV and palate-fatiguing standpoint. A refreshing change of pace among the other malty, rich, spiced winter seasonals. I've saved a few of these to cellar and see how things go in 6 months to a year.

Photo of jcompton
4.63/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

appearance: pours a reddish, very comparable to a red rye ipa. a 2 fingered head with fantastic retention

smell: hop dominant, with no questions about the style of this winter seasonal

taste: hop up front with a great finish. this is a west-coast IPA that isn't just hops kicking you in the teeth. well balance for the style

mouthfeel: once again SN has the ideal amount of carbonation to compliment the great flavor

drinkability: it's no wonder this is one of the highest "looking for to one of those this winter" beers. give me a sixer and i'm happy, give me a case and i'll send you a Xmas card every year for the rest of my life.

Photo of Brewnami
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Deep reddish appearance with a small head and even lace.

S- Pine, citrus, malty scent.

T- Spicy and hoppy. Tastes like a winter lager and an American IPA beat the piss out of each other and this was the remains.

M- Bitter, spicy, malty... Tastes pretty similar to the scent.

D- Very drinkable. Not something I would fight over in the summer time, but an awesome winter brew. I am a huge fan of both IPA's and seasonal brews so this combination was great. Not something I would expect from Sierra Nevada... and that is a good thing!
Absolutely recommended for anyone who likes winter lagers and IPA's.

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

L: Pours a nice red amber color with a tall and thick white colored head that laces the glass all the way down and fades to a thick film over the beer.
S: Smells of sweet malts, then a big hoppy aroma - piney and citrisy.
T: Tastes of sweet citrisy hops up front, then a nice sweet malt taste, then a bigger piney/earthy/citrisy hop taste at the end.
M: Very crisp, very light feeling, very refreshing, with the right amount of carbonation.
D: Pretty drinkable beer. Sierra Nevada always does well with their hoppier beers.

Photo of jayfarley3
4.3/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass. Appearance is a clear amber color with a nice big head. Smells of malts, citrus and strong piney hops. Taste has a nice balance of malt and bitter hops. Mouth feel is very smooth and medium bodied. This beer is very drinkable it's a shame it's only a seasonal brew.

Photo of markaberrant
4.33/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - deep copper, brilliant clarity, large off white head, leaves big puffy clouds clinging to the bottom of the glass.

S - pine and bitter grapefruit. simple, but elegant. very clean.

T - more pine right off the bat, but balanced with some mild carmel sweetness. Finish is long, lingering bitter grapefruit and pine.

M - medium body, medium carbonation, alcohol is hidden, dry puckering finish

D - a joy to drink, wish I had year round access to a fresh supply!

Perfectly executed, as to be expected from Sierra Nevada. These guys know to use hops. I know my descriptions aren't overly detailed, and don't do it justice, but this beer is so well done. Simple, yet refined. I once heard someone say that this beer is essentially the proto-type for American IPA and I'd have to agree. I've had bigger and hoppier, but I'm not sure I've had better.

4.49/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into Pint glass. One finger of head, dissipated quickly. A little lacing down the glass. Rich Copper color.
Very hoppy/floral aroma.
Tastes very hoppy and bitter, sweet and caramel-malty underneath. Little bit citrusy, extremely hoppy. Smooth bitter drink and bitter floral caramel aftertaste.
Hop lovers' beer.
Great fall/winter brew, i grab this every winter i can find it.

Photo of CoolJosh
3.93/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

After all of the hype hear on BA, I felt inclined to try this one. I've always been a supporter of Sierra Nevada, one of the major craft brewing founding fathers.

A. Pale copper and amber color. 1 finger creamy low carbonated head that vanishes after the first sip. Great lacing on the side.

S. Lemon. Slight orange. Citrus hops. A carbonated smell manages to seep out.

T. Hops bite the tongue right away. Then leads into a smoothed out orange and lemon and grapefruit taste. To end, a great citrus and slight pine hop kick. Refreshing. Creamy texture, but a little on the thinner side.

Photo of bbeerman
3.99/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A..Nice amber color on the pour. Excellent Belgium lace that lasts and lasts.

S..Mighty hoppy, much like their India Pale Ale.

T..A good, albeit standard, IPA taste. Certainly not bad, but I was hoping for more wintry celebration in this one.

M..Nice full body. This beer makes its presence known.

D..I like the fact this beer is nearly 7% ABV. Easy to drink a few during a session. Something to enjoy on a cold winter's day.

Photo of sweetbrew82
4.52/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

12 oz. bottle into a tulip; no freshness date

P: Pours gold from the bottle and sits deep amber with a slight orange tint. 2 fingered off-white head is creamy, yet rocky with large bubbles on the surface. Great retention and left globs of lacing as it sank down to form a halo that surrounded an island of foam.

A: Sweet bready, caramel malts, grapefruit and piney hops, honey, yeast, and some spices. Smells like christmas trees!

T: Starts with some good initial hop flavors that follow the nose, accompanied by sweet bread and caramel malts. This is followed by a great addition of spices and flavors including; a little cinnamon, (nutmeg?), honey, ginger, and what tastes like pine needles. As they become more pronounced, they really play off of the base of the grist quite nicely. Finish is adequately dry and features some prominent yeast and a citrusy twang that adds yet another layer of flavor, and another increase on the enjoyment meter. Very pleasant aftertaste lingers for quite awhile. Damn tasty!

M: Medium-full body, mouth-coating, smooth, crisp and sharp, and gently carbonated.

D: Through the roof. Incredibly easy to drink due to the great christmasy flavors that keep you coming back for more.

Notes: What a perfect beer to enjoy with my dad as we watch USC beat the living daylights out of the Nittany Lions on New Year's Day. This is the definition of a festive beer that is best enjoyed on such special occasions, as it reminds you why this time of the year is so magical. The best session beer on the planet when the holiday season rolls around!

Photo of ColForbinBC
4.18/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into a pint

Pours a deep red amber with a huge, fluffy light tan colored cap. The thick cap takes a while to subside and leaves huge gobs of sticky lace all over the glass. Awesome.

Hops jump right out of the glass and assault your olfactories. Huge grapefruit, pine, and spruce layered atop a toasted, sweet grain.

Taste is of grapefruits, orange peel, pine needles and a toasted grain. Sweet up front, then the bittering hops take over. A pretty classic ipa flavor in the west coast style.

This guy is big and chewy, yet soft and creamy. It leaves a hop oil slick coating the mouth. Full bodied, carbonation is at just the right amount to lead to the chewy, yet creamy mouthfeel.

The abv is on the north side of 6, but this is pretty well-crafted and as a hophead, I could drink this all night.

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

Poured a dark amber color into my Duvel glass with a rocky, soapy, two-finger off-white head which left prodigious lacing all over the inside of the glass. Aroma is fruity hops with a bit of malt, candy (red Jolly Ranchers), flowers. Mouthfeel is full yet not heavy, smooth, great carbonation. Taste is orange and caramel up front, with some nuttiness and toffee flavor towards the middle and a perfect hop bite toward the finish. At first I was skeptical of the hype surrounding this brew, but after tasting it I can honestly say that this is by far the best IPA I have tried and has greatly deepened my appreciation for hops.

Photo of GWaters
4.2/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I bought a sixer of this ale because historically I have been a holiday/winter beer snob. This winter, I have decided to delve deeper into the realm of winter beers.

Although I love beers with hops, and truly enjoyed this ale, I do not know why this beer has been labeled with a winter theme. The hops and grapefruit are front and center on this beer. There is no real presence of holiday spice or winter flavors. So, why exactly they call this a celebration ale, I am not certain.
I do recommend this ale though. I find it to be affordable and very drinkable, if you like hops.
Heck, I would even compare this to an Arrogant Bastard Ale at a much lower cost.

Pour: The pour was a gentle amber/orange with a two to three finger head that slowly dissipated and left a nice lace on the glass throughout the drink.

Smell: The smell was grapefruit/citrus right up front with a nice hop spice mixed in.

Taste: The drink starts with a hop kick up front and goes quickly sweet with a fruit tone. The finish is nice hops that linger, but not too long. The hops are there but not oily, just a nice hop flavor.

Drinkability: This is a good example of an IPA. Good for a person that is new to IPA's and great for a seasoned beer drinker. Great flavor, great look, very drinkable.

Photo of Packforever1976
4.3/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured chilled into a british pint.
2008 vintage

A: Pours a medium-dark amber with nice clarity. Fluffy 2-finger off-white head. Decent retention. Nice lacing.

S: Nice blend of floral/citrus/pine hops. Some sweet malts as well. Very nice.

T: I get some malts right away, but the hops come roaring in immediately. Nice sweet biscuity malts, followed by some bitter pine/citrus hops. Finishes very bitter. Delicious.

M: Nice level of thickness. Feels very creamy in my mouth. Carbonation level is just a tad high, but still good. Balanced.

D: Drinkability is very good. This packs some punch with the flavor, but is still very sessionable. I was able to score another half-case of this, which I plan to cellar. I plan on revisiting this same vintage when the '09 comes out. Tasty stuff.

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.

Photo of dasenebler
4.33/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Beautiful appearance, rich copper color with a creamy off-white head. Citrusy and piney hop aromas, tanginess as well.

Pretty damn hoppy and bitter, with a great biscuity and caramel malt structure. Great hop flavor, I get a lot of grapefruit. A malty IPA as well. Bitter, toasty aftertaste. Delicious overall, too bad it's a seasonal. Ideal carbonation (not too much) and balanced, somewhat creamy mouthfeel. Overall impression is that this is a fantastic IPA and one of a kind winter seasonal.

Photo of felipe2toes
3.85/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Color was an orange-copper hue with a nice creamy head. The lacing was nice on this beer as well, clinging to my glass till the last drop.

The nose was very piney, not much citrus that I could detect. The taste was piney as well, the hops really come through. The carbonation was nice on the tongue too. I liked this beer very much, though I'd say the drinkability is OK as the hoppiness got to my palate pretty quickly.

Photo of evanackerman
4.6/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Beer pours a deep orange copper color with a creamy substantial head that leaves beautiful wispy lacing as the beer is consumed.

Aroma is pine, citrus, caramel, lovely!

taste is a truly exceptional balance of citrus and floral hops with a solid backbone of caramel malt. outstanding!

mouthfeel is medium bodied, very nice for style. no complaints.
carbonation is just right.

overall, I have to say this brewery sure knows how to do pales and IPAs, absolutely outstanding American IPA here, very enjoyable, worth seeking out or making a special trip to acquire. the only thing keeping this beer from a perfect score is that the Sierra Nevada Hop Harvest Ale is even better!

Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 9,201 ratings.