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Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Sierra Nevada Celebration AleSierra Nevada Celebration Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

7,817 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7,817
Reviews: 3,154
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 11.54%
Wants: 199
Gots: 458 | 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:
Fresh Hop Ale; no spices.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 11-02-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 7,817 | Reviews: 3,154 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Bierman9
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%

My first celebration in a long time, and first time bottle-wise. A deep, rich, copper colored bier sits beneath a frothy, fine, tan head. Lacing is excellent...looks real good in the glass!! Nose has a robust, citrusy (Cascade?) hop twang. I like it, much more so than some biers that have mild, subdued nose that you really have to search for. Body came in at a medium-grade, as well as the smoothness, also a medium-grade. There is a good combo of malt and hops; about 1/3 malt to 2/3 hops, imo. The malt is underlying and toffee-like, to some extent. The hops are citrusy and gutsy. A good whack, though very pleasurable, to the palate!! Zum Wohl!!

overall: 4.35
appearance: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | mouthfeel: 4 | drinkability: 4.5


Bierman9, Dec 10, 2002
Photo of cokes
4.53/5  rDev +8.9%

Cloudy orange liquid with a hefty, pale yellow froth.
Nose is very all about the hops. Piney and citric. Though not as much as past years?
Taste is similar. Pine sap, resin, pine twigs and bark and roots all mixed together in a grapefruity punch. The hops here are equally juicy and bitter. Toasted caramel backbone. Nothing truly noteworthy, but definately sufficient. Amidst all the hop carnage, There is an upswelling of cherry near the close as pricks of brandied alcohol dot the finish. Bitterness is deep and lingering.
Smooth and creamy in the mouth. Glides across the tongue to slowly assassinate braincells.
Literally poundable. One to be careful with.
Very good stuff...stands with Sasquatch as my fav SN product.

cokes, Dec 08, 2002
Photo of Zraly
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%

A hop head's dream for a winter brew.

A huge head left the bottle, accompanied by a super-strong pine scent. The color was almost a dark, golden-orange.

The flavor of this ale is huge! It does not merely linger along, it asserts itself with full force. There is a raw flavor and smell underlying the hoppiness...a super floral presence. I even pick up a flavor of iron. Interesting and an exciting beer for the senses to experience.

The malt is definately a side note. The main feature is the hops. I highly recommend this warmer for a nice, red meat dinner.

Zraly, Dec 07, 2002
Photo of doerickson
3.63/5  rDev -12.7%

Mahogany/deep ruby red appearance with a small fine white head. Big aromas of piney hops with some toasty malts as well. Medium carbonation; fairly big body. Taste of piney, citrusy Cascade hops with some grapefruity character, offset to some extent by a sweet caramel/brown sugar malty profile, particularly as the brew warms. A bit unbalanced towards the hop end for my taste, especially for a winter seasonal, but undoubtedly worth a try.

doerickson, Dec 06, 2002
Photo of Lupe
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%

This is a woderful Christmas present for hop lovers.

Pours a hazy amber color with a thick, rocky, off-white head that leaves sticky lace all the way down the glass. Aroma is hops all the way, herbal and citrus with some spice in the backround. Medium to full bodied with an incredible creamy mouthfeel. Taste starts off with lbig with hops, a bit hard to handle at the beginning, but don't give up on it. After the first sip or two, you get used to the barrage of fresh hop flavors, and the chewy malt comes through along with a hint of spice. Very good drinkablility for the amount of hops and the amount of alcohol.

Not balanced at all, but it is damn tastey. At once I was not fond of high hop brews, but this one has changed my mind. And you have to love the scene on the bottle!

Lupe, Dec 06, 2002
Photo of AtrumAnimus
3.45/5  rDev -17.1%

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.

AtrumAnimus, Dec 04, 2002
Photo of brakspear
3.85/5  rDev -7.5%

A perfect winter holiday beer for the west coast hophead in all of us.

2002 Review

The beer pours a slightly hazy chestnut/amber body with a fantastic rocky head that reduces to a creamy cap on top of the beer below.

The aroma is pure and explosive Centennial/Cascade hops, surrounding and dominating the malt below, but with no harshness.

The taste is scouring from the Chinook hop base, but a full-flavored malt chewiness breaks through at times as well. Not balanced, but who says all beers must be.

I am glad this Celebration Ale makes its way to the Middle West.


Reviewed again after a comparison to some of the other hophead westcoast beers and it does not hold up as well.

brakspear, Dec 02, 2002
Photo of aracauna
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%

Deep amber, thick head is pockmarked. Nose is huge. Floral, citic hops over a crip toasty malt. Flavor: Grapefruit and pine sap hops, tingly, Crisp maltiness. Butter and flower nectar. Damn good. Much better than the regular Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.

aracauna, Dec 01, 2002
Photo of HopheadEd
4.4/5  rDev +5.8%

I like everything about this ale. Big nose, big head that lasts with ample lacing. Spicy taste followed by a smooth, very drinkable body, not overly carbonated. Of course the traditional big hoppy finish that is the Sierra trademark. One of my favorite seasonals.

HopheadEd, Dec 01, 2002
Photo of IrishRedRock
4.05/5  rDev -2.6%

2003 vintage-- sampled 12-2-03 -- Seems pretty similar to me as the '02, though a bit less carbonated, resulting in less head retention, and the aroma seems to come out a little less than last year's. Same delightful spicy hops. Is the alcohol more pronounced in this bottle? Sure seems like it to me. I've got quite a few aging. This should be interesting, and very tasty, down the road.

2002 vintage -- A fantastic offering from Sierra Nevada. Deep copper color with a rocky head that lasts straight on through til morning. A bit of hops are present in the aroma, and balance nicely with the citrus and mild spice.

This brew is ever so smooth. Hoppiness and maltiness blends well and hits at the same time. Spice is mild, I could have used maybe a little more to give me some additional holiday cheer, but the 6.8% ABV warmed me nicely. An excellent seasonal!

IrishRedRock, Nov 30, 2002
Photo of BillyBrew
4.58/5  rDev +10.1%

I was eager to try this one out, and it exceeede my expectations.

A sexy, nutty-amberish colour with a rocky/chunky creamy-head that stays thick and leaves heavy rings throughout. The nose was chock-full o' hops; oils, flowers and leaves. Some rindy-citrus and a hardy crystaly-malt sweeten the nose a shade. This brew is more tasey-hop than strikingly bitter. All the strong hop-oils, and to the lesser, hop flowers are vibrant and present upfront. Although not balanced, the grain malts try to carry the hop burden. The malt adds a slight sweetness that cuts the bitterness some. Very solid medium, nearly heavy body that has a soft but present carbonation.

Something like this reminds me why IPA/heavy-hops were my first love. The power and presence of the hops head-off a perfect drinkability score as this brew is not one for easy/lazy drinking. The brew requires your attention. Snatch this brew up before the seasnos change. Enjoy, repeat! Cheers!

BillyBrew, Nov 30, 2002
Photo of Jon
4.68/5  rDev +12.5%

Exactly like what you would expect for an IPA from Sierra Nevada. An excellent offering each winter, this one pours a glowing copper color with a very frothy head that lasts infinitely. Aroma is mainly of citric, piney hops. Taste is similar, with a huge hoppy profile that's balanced quite well with a thorough malt character. Mouthfeel is pretty good, maybe a little carbonated. For an ale of 6.8% ABV, I find this to be an easy drinker for sure. I, too, am all for this as a year-round offering from SN. There's always something to celebrate, right?

Jon, Nov 29, 2002
Photo of MJR
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%

Appearance: Beautiful orange/copper with a nice, off-white head that sticks pretty well.

Smell: Aroma of cascade hops: grapefruit, pine, and a slight floral note. Great nose on this beer!

Taste: Has a good malt background, but this brew's all about the hops! Despite this, there's still of good balance of flavor. This is beer with cascade hops done right. Does a great job of arousing the appetite.

Mouthfeel: Pretty good for the style. Light to light/medium body. Sits more to the dry side. Nice...

Drinkability: Very high if you're a hop-head. If not, stay away because the incredible flavor will only come across as blinding bitterness.

This is my first year trying this brew and I must say that I'm quite impressed. It's like their fantastic Pale Ale, but taken to the next level. I'll look forward to this next year...

MJR, Nov 28, 2002
Photo of jward
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%

The label's quaint scene of a snow-covered cabin works well in announcing the themes of winter and Celebration, reflecting feelings of warmth, safety and comfort. The beer pours amber, with a creamy white head. A sharp nose, with strong elements of citrus, suggests an impending hops explosion. Hops, hops and more hops. Even at the finish a bitter hops flavor lingers, as elements of grapefruit and pine recede, but in a way that is inviting, rather than overwhelming. With a full mouthfeel and nice carbonation, this is a big beer, appropriate for a big and festive holiday season.

jward, Nov 27, 2002
Photo of mjohn27603
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%

Amber in appearance. The aroma is wonderful smells of citrusy hops with a slight piney smell. Well, I'm not reporting anything different from other reviewers when I describe the taste as hoppy. I would agree that it is more a taste of hops without a ton of bitterness. Not as bitter as other IPA's I've had. I did get a very subtle orange taste on a few sips. I got this one in the store from the refrigerator plus the 2002 on the label so at least it wasn't sitting out for a while. A pretty good brew but I guess I'm a little puzzled by all the fuss. Maybe it is narrow mindedness on my part but it also doesn't match what I was expecting out a winter offering. I don't penalize the beer for that.

mjohn27603, Nov 25, 2002
Photo of MaineBeerMan
4.83/5  rDev +16.1%

Amber orange color with a big head of white foam that leaves a curtain of sticky lace.
Big aroma of grapefruit rind with a bit of a piney character from the abundant hops.
Flavor comes on all bittersweet and seemingly well balanced, then the malt fades and the hops really take over. Hop flavor is fruity and citrusy more than bitter,with a super long drying finish. This stuff tastes like an Anchor Liberty on steroids.
An awesome beer, I can see why it is so highly rated, must get more before it dissapears from the stores.

MaineBeerMan, Nov 24, 2002
Photo of astrobrewer
4.2/5  rDev +1%

It poured yellow-amber and very clear, but seemed to get a little cloudy as it warmed in my glass. The head seemed coarse, with large-ish bubbles rather than a smooth white foam. All of that is secondary to the aroma. Hops. Lots of 'em. Heavy duty pine and citrus aroma slaps you in the face. The hops are also very evident in the flavor, but the the beer is more hop-flavor than just bitter. Not what I expected from a holiday brew, but overall it is an enjoyable beer.

astrobrewer, Nov 24, 2002
Photo of Winter
3.38/5  rDev -18.8%

Poured copper in color with an off-white head. Bubbles seen rising through the semi-cloudy liquid. Aroma consisted of hops and sweet fruit. Good carbonation hits the tongue right away followed by the a strong hopiness of this full-bodied brew. A bit of malt in there too and a very bitter, salty finish . A great beer for those who love hops. It also made me realize that not all winter seasonals have to be heavily spiced and sweet.

Winter, Nov 23, 2002
Photo of jackndan
3.9/5  rDev -6.3%

Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale: Very hoppy aroma, very little spice. Fairly surprising for a holiday beer. Reddish brown color, with a slightly off-white head. The aroma and taste is very much, too much, hops. In fact, but for a slight citrus taste at the end, its hardly a holiday beer at all. Very Very nice beer, not much of a holiday beer though.

jackndan, Nov 23, 2002
Photo of Thrasher
3.73/5  rDev -10.3%

Great, and overrated. Hazy reddish gold with huge dense head. Aroma is the weak point; smells like spoiled milk to me. Tart, piney hops are all you need to know here. Like Sierra Nevada Pale Ale except bigger. Malt character is solid but almost beside the point. Good for sitting by the fire on Christmas Eve with friends and family and getting comfortably smashed. A fine beer, flawed, whose esteem has risen largely because of limited availability.

Thrasher, Nov 22, 2002
Photo of bmills1608
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%

Head was slightly off white with hints of green, this beer is heavily hopped and even the color of the head is an indicator. Color was orange-amber. Nose was citrus and lots of it, grapefruit to be specific, and very spicy-zesty.

Taste is the prototypical in your face cascades explosion and there are lots of them for sure. The initial taste is packed with hops and is crunchy hard, very nice indeed. Mid palate and finish contains a smoldering bitterness as the spicy citrus fades slowly. Malt flavors are definitely in the background but are just ample enough to not be totally overwhelmed by the hop muscle. I did not realize this beer was an IPA, I initially thought it was a spiced winter warmer.

Sierra really works the Cascades well with this beer.

bmills1608, Nov 20, 2002
Photo of maxpower
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%

Pours dark copper color, foamy head, citrus hoppy aroma. Medium-Full bodied and unfilterd, thick head leaves a nice lace in the glass. Very hoppy with a good malt backbone, balanced creamy soft mouthfeel, I love this IPA.

maxpower, Nov 20, 2002
Photo of johnrobe
4.83/5  rDev +16.1%

2002 edition. What a marvelous brew!! Admittedly, I'm a hop-head and this beer does not disappoint. Hops, hops and more hops in the aroma (of the signature citric/floral Pacific Northwest varieties). Dark orange amber with a cream colored head that sticks around. Hops dominate the palate with lovely grapefruit and floral flavors which are pleasantly bitter. Delicious sweet bready malt (like Hawaiian sweetbread) comes up for support around mid-palate but quickly gives way to...you guessed it....the hops in the finish. But they are such lovely, complex, well integrated, mouthwatering hops. Mmmm!!

7/4/03: I stocked up on '02 Celebration and it's been a real pleasure to see how it ages. The brash, overt hoppiness of new SN Celebration is still evident but has settled down and is now wonderfully balanced with the malt. I continue to be impressed with this brew.

johnrobe, Nov 18, 2002
Photo of Murph
4.72/5  rDev +13.5%

Yummy, I've got to make sure that I get some more of this stuff before it is all gone for the year. Beautiful copper beer with a big white sticky head and great acing and ringing down the glass. Nice piney and citrusy/floral hop aromas dominate. Quick hop bite right at the start of the brew before it turns into some nice mellow malt through the middle before the fruity hoppy flavors take over and the beer eventually finishes with a nice lingering hop bitterness. Smooth and tangy with a decently heavy body that is appropriate for the season. I'm tempted to run out and buy more of this right now. I'm definitely going to put some of it away so that I can enjoy it as the year goes by.

Murph, Nov 17, 2002
Photo of CharlesRiver
4.43/5  rDev +6.5%

Pours a golden amber with a nice white fluffy head. The smell is hops all the way. Well balanced beer that has that warming affect as you drink more. Lots of little bubbles that dance in your mouth. I can't find one part of this beer that stands out too much or over powers another flavor. My two favorite parts are the smell and the aftertaste. I will have to get more of this.

CharlesRiver, Nov 17, 2002
Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 7,817 ratings.