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Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

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BA SCORE
93
outstanding
3,443 Reviews
Sierra Nevada Celebration AleSierra Nevada Celebration Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
California, United States
sierra-nevada.com

Style: American IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.80%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
Fresh Hop Ale; no spices.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 11-02-2001

BEER STATS
Reviews:
3,443
Ratings:
10,111
Avg:
4.15
pDev:
19.76%
 
 
Wants:
368
Gots:
1,878
For Trade:
1
User Reviews
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Reviews: 3,443 | Ratings: 10,111
Reviews by BlueFeetAndBeer:
Photo of BlueFeetAndBeer
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%

More User Reviews:
Photo of bassboneman
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%

I remember having this beer last year. I loved it then and I love it now!
The only issue I have is that the finish, to me, is slightly MORE bitter than I recall.
I am drinking this first brew of the season from the bottle - the next will be in a glass
Up yours!

Sam

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Photo of Beers-es
4.19/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

From a month-old bottle, pours a clear, deep copper. An inch of dense, off-white foam leaves lots of lacing.

Smell has an earthy quality along with hints of pine and grapefruit. Some malt on the nose as well. Taste is spicy, earthy hops balanced by the malt. Nice dry bitter finish. Feel is substantial but very drinkable.

Overall, this is an long-time favorite of mine, which I first enjoyed probably 30 years ago. Still really good, though what was cutting edge then has become an old-school classic. Like the Beatles, it's hard to explain how revolutionary Sierra Nevada's beers were back then, when all you had before were kegs of Bud and skunky green-glass imports. Crazy.

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Photo of tectactoe
4.49/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Just finished my last Celebration of the season. Time to rewrite this review. Pours a deep copper-amber hybrid color with some orange highlights. An absolutely huge, beige-colored head tops this one off - incredibly thick and creamy with extraordinary staying power, also coating all sides of the glass with fat, chunky lacing. Decent clarity, and you can see a nice stream of carbonation bubbles flowing from the etched bottom of my glass to the top of the brew.

The aroma is strong, with a super-fresh dose of hops. Sierra Nevada claims that these are "fresh" hops (not wet, mind you, but fresh) and you can definitely tell. It's like sticking your head into a recently cut field of grass, vibrant and alive. The character of these hops is largely resinous, piney, and somewhat floral. The pine aromas hit your nostrils with some power, very needley and pungent. Faint citrus hints, more so on the rind and pith side, as to not make things too sweet, rather keep with the solid bitterness profile. Some spiciness from the hops is also noticeable and works to tie everything together.

The taste is crazy delicious - despite the heavy load of hops, there is certainly a strong malt presence here that does more than just lay out framework for the other parts. Slight toasted malts, caramel, toffee, and a faint, musky, earthy presence can be found immediately. As soon as you start to appreciate this nice, malt-laden infrastructure (or maybe even before that), the hops come in and go buck wild on your palate. Pines, pine needles, resinous hop nuggets, Christmas trees, Christmas wreathes - yeah, I said it. Christmas wreathes.

The malt profile is ever-present for the duration of the hop take-over, which creates a nice cosmic balance, despite the hefty bitter overload of the hops. The spice character is not to be forgotten - there's a joke going around that SN adds spices to this beer, which they've debunked as false many times. But I can see where people are coming from. A nice, peppery, earthy, and warming "hop spice" flavor trills along for the entire sip, riding a wave right into the aftertaste. I really can't overstate how goddamn tasty this shit is. Medium bodied, carbonated to the max; not too sticky, not too dry, this beer is great in all aspects.

Whether you call this a malty IPA, or a hopped-up amber/red ale, or a winter warmer, or whatever - it doesn't matter. Call it a stout for all I care. Just know that this beer is delicious. And the fact that it's a seasonal release around my favorite time of the year (the joyous bridge from Thanksgiving to Christmas) gets me that much more excited to pick it up each year. The holidays would not be complete without this beer in my fridge. I always try to make it last far into the spring - usually doesn't make it that long.

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Photo of Ahypercube
4.65/5  rDev +12%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Always enjoy seeing this one on the shelves this time of year. A reliable classic from one of my favorite breweries; the price to quality ratio is just damn impressive. From a 12 oz bottle into a chalice:

L: Pours with a beautiful brownish amber color and about one finger of fluffy beige head, with very fine bubbles. Carbonation persists fervently and the lacing forms very attractive wavy rings around the glass. Beautiful. I'll call this a 5.

S: Piney, peppery and a little sour, with a rich malt profile--including toasty french bread and nutty oat notes.

T: This is the second time I have been surprised with how tasty this beer is. One of the few IPAs I have tried that opens with malt flavors (which I strongly appreciate): the first that hits me is a caramelly sweetness, which immediately blends with bitter-piney and peppery-spicy hop oil, but is fought back against by complex roasted barley malt profile. Nothing fruity about this beer, but I certainly don't miss the overdose of grapefruit rind I find in almost every west coast IPA.

F: Perfect. Thick but not sticky, carbonated but not frothy, smooth but not oily. An expert balance.

O: Perhaps the most affordable seasonal beer worth getting excited over. Cheers!

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

Balanced? No way. But who gives a rat's ass? 2001 is something to kick the Winter into gear, with its incredible raw hopped character and warming alcohol. A beer to look forward to, regardless. I do recall previous years being more pronounced in the malt dept. and more balanced. But hey, whatever. Drink a few of these and nothing will really matter.

To give this year's a perfect 5 is a little extreme. Everything was great overall, the drinkability ... like crack. I'm off to the pawn shop ...

Notes from 2000:

Presentation: 12oz short brown twist cap bottle. Lovely little X-mas scene on the label. Bottled on date, on neck of bottle.

Appearance: Rich, deep amber/copper. Excellent slightly off-white head ... very creamy, sticky and retains like its fighting for its life.

Smell: There's an absolutely incredible aroma on this beer! A nose full of big herbal hops and fruity esters. Some yeast aromas are also present, but very minimal.

Taste: Dreamy. So smooth. So rich. So fortified with malt goodness. So hoppy. At first there's a creamy feel on the palate, that then opens up to toasty, sweet malt flavours. A bold herbal hop runs rampid on the palate with a semi-prickly, puckering, lemon-rind quality. After a few more mouthfulls the brew begins to warm the body, and you can really feel the alcohol kick in. Finishes a bit dry with grain/husk flavours, and some breadiness as it warms.

Notes: At 6.8% this is one hell of a Winter seasonal! Warms the body and soul. A brew for hop heads too. One of the best Winter Seasonals that I have ever had, and one of the best Strong Ales. Drink with caution as this brew will kick your ass.

 1,649 characters

Photo of Glengosch
4.82/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I seem to remember this beer being called Celebration Ale in years past, now it's called Celebration IPA, and hey, IPAs are all the rage, so why not call it that? But on to the taste and stuff...

*Taste - The flavor of this beer is primo, superb, deluxe, fasmatasmic - or some other word that is better than good. Seriously. One of my favorites. In a blind taste test, I don't know that I would know that this is an IPA. Normally with an IPA, (a good IPA) I am punched in the face with pine or floral citrus (and I don't mean that in a bad way). This here ale is the perfect balance that makes it almost unrecognizable in the field of American IPAs. Maybe it solidifies itself ahead of the rest.

On the back end, it's like you get the bitterness without the burn - if that makes sense(?). I guess what I'm trying to say is the taste is as pleasant as the minimal aftertaste.

You get a good balance of maltiness too. Bonus.

As far as taste/flavor is concerned, it's hard to find better.

*Smell - it smells great, but I taste the hops more than I smell them.

*Feel - it feels good. Smooth. Easy to drink with a high ABV.

*Look - Amberish/goldenish/a little darker than a Sam Adams BL (for your reference)

*Overall/bottom line - Depending on what I'm in the mood for, probably my favorite beer. Great hop taste, balanced with some (great) malt taste. Do yourself a favor, if you like beer, and drink this. You're welcome.

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Photo of mirp1
4.48/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Celebration Ale is one of the first holiday beers ever released in the U.S. I first had it many years ago, and was blown away by it's classy simplicity. It struck me as an in-your-face, rock solid craft beer, having no intentions on faking anyone out. I looked forward to it's annual November release, and not just for the quality of the beer, but also for the striking holiday-winter theme packaging. Like many reviewers, I have had all kinds of beer over the years, from EKU 28, to Scaldis, to Heady Topper, Pliny the Elder, Ghandi Bot, Hi Res, KBS, Bourbon County Stout/Barley Wine, Bells Hop Slam/Mars, Seeking Alpha, Flower Power, Creeker, etc, etc. Consequently, my palate is conditioned to not be as impressed as I was with the more regular craft beers of the world. When I was told last week that Celebration Ale was now in stock at local beer stores here in Utica, NY, I quickly went out and grabbed some. Modern holiday beers have become spice crazy, and so have jumped the shark. Celebration Ale is that rock solid holiday craft beer that never sold out. Great color, malty, crisp, with cascade, centennial, and chinook. Nuff said.

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Photo of Jeff_whitman
3.75/5  rDev -9.6%

Does not drink like a wet hopped beer. Its missing the fresh hop smell and flavor. Not a bad beer but it wasnt great either.

126 characters

Photo of peabody81
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%

I have enjoyed this beer many times over the years, but this year is the first that Sierra Nevada has been local to North Carolina, so I've never had one this fresh before. Bottled on 9/26/14.
Aroma: piney, but not overwhelmingly so
Appearance: very nice orangey-amber-brown with delicate lacing
Mouthfeel: just right, not too watery, but not chewy either (not that there's anything wrong with that)
Taste: More balanced than I remember, but my hop tolerance is so high now that what would be insanely bitter to others is meh to me. Leaves a very nice, just the right amount of bitterness, aftertaste. Very drinkable.
Overall: One of the all-time classics, getting it fresh - BONUS!!!!

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Photo of fuhkyou
2.26/5  rDev -45.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.25

I can't believe how bad this beer is and how grossly overrated it is. It's not just Celebration either but most SN offerings... the power of icon I suppose.

 156 characters

Photo of DevAJ
2.36/5  rDev -43.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.25

I either am just not into hoppy beers yet, or I haven't found the proper hops. It's not bad for the first 1/4th of the beer, but after that, it's just too much for me. I guess I just don't like a ton of American hops, because I don't find Schlafly's Tasmanian IPA to be that bad (it supposedly uses Australian hops).

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Photo of GreatStoutman
4.54/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark copper body under very light tan head that holds its own while producing a beautiful lacing. Smells sweet and piney, citrus. Layers of flavorful hops that really take you for a ride. Celebration indeed, this is an awesome IPA!

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Photo of Riff
4.12/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours an amber color with a thick off-white head. Smells of pine, a little of toasted malts, and a hint of tropical fruit. The first thing I noticed with the tastes was a hop bite, pine, a little toasted malts, and some citrus. Mostly the piney hops. Overall though it's a very solid IPA and I was finished with the glass before I knew it.

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Photo of mrbran0
5/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Best seasonal ever. For real.

30 characters

Photo of rand
4.1/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Just picked up a couple of 6 packs of fresh, 2015 vintage, and realized I hadn't reviewed this. 12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

A: Clear, amber appearance, with a small, fluffy head. A couple rings of lacing are left after a few sips.

S: Hop-forward nose with a citrusy, floral bouquet. I just went through a lot of fresh-hop brews from the September harvest, adn this smells very similar.

T: The hop essence defines the flavors but it's floral, grassy and nuanced rather than bitter. NOtes of green apple and citrus rind are countered by honeyed biscuits and toasty grains. There is some bitterness toward the back of the sip, joining a touch of warming alcohol. Closes with a medium finish, with lingering bitter residuals.

M: Medium-light complexion with an oily slick mouthfeel.

There's good reason everyone clamors over this brew this time of year. It seems all of the fresh hop IPA's available have only made this more popular. Get it while you can.

 986 characters

Photo of Wiffler27
4.46/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

pours a deep dark red / almost red-brown color with a thick white head. the head subsides slightly but a solid white head remains, even after 30 minutes! great looking and lively beer.

smells like sweet roasted malts. a slight smell of sweet hops exist but it is not prominent in the aroma.

the taste is fantastic, nice combination of grapefruit and toasted malt. not overpowering but very solid. goes down very smooth, easy drinking!

overall this is a pretty good IPA, nothing mindblowing but it does everything right. not overly hoppy or malty, utilizes a few different tastes.

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Photo of BSanch8
4.06/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Great looking Amber color for this IPA. great piney, resin and lift citrus flavor. Great carbonation. Unfortunately mine was already 2 months old. Still very great. Need to try it fresh for the full taste.

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Photo of 1000lbgrizzly
4.08/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Clear copper body, few lazy bubbles rise. Very pale tan rocky dense head with lots of 3D lace. Aroma is mostly citrus and malt: orange and grapefruit with equal parts caramel and bread. Flavor, too, is perfectly evenly balanced, with citrus notes being immediately balanced by bread, crisp bitterness being immediately balanced by sweet caramel and malt. Full body, smooth.
Incredibly balanced brew here. I don't care much for the huge grapefruit-y citric hops, but I can't deny the appeal to those who do, nor the perfect execution of the balancing malt. Big flavor, big aroma, great feel, sexy appearance. High score is mostly based on style, but if I were to rate subjectively it'd land just below 4.0.

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

Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale 2002.
It’s early - I know, I know, but I am from England, and I have never had this beer before, and I impatient to try it. So there!
It comes in a very festively labelled squat 12 fl.oz brown bottle, with a picture of a Dickensian snow covered wooden log cabin, which no doubt never existed, decorating the obverse. It does look good though, it fooled me and I’m a Scrooge. F**k you Bob Cratchet. Has a huge off-white cream colored head, massively dominant that leaves a great smattered lace look on the walls of the glass. The beer pours with a deep-orangey brown light chestnut color that is totally clear and lucid, luminescent against an illuminated background, it looks simply resplendent. With the huge rocky foamy off-white head comprised of a myriad of contemporary sized bubbles, this beer really does look like the Dogs Bollocks.
Bitterness announces its dominance in a way that the school bully elected to have the best locker at school, unquestioned and unchallenged, until the little petite child favourite stood up and questioned him. When he did, everyone ganged-up on the bully - flavour hence rears his head and challenges this bitter brute to a show down. Just as in life, it’s not fair, bully boy bitterness wins hands down and bloodies the nose of fair play and integrity.
The aromas are of an egalitarian Captain hoppiness, First Mate bitterness lingers in the back of the nasal passage. This beer makes no bones about its intentions. Kick Ass Hops and Bitterness. The freshly mown and harvested hop smells punctuate the two nostrils as the beer enters the aural cavities and politically announces “Vote Hops” with fascist tendencies. Belligerent bitterness introduces this Ale with militaristic precision.
Celebrate the end of year with Hummulus Luppulus, forget the fallacy of that fat bastard Father Christmas, the red nosed white bearded pseudo bringer of joy, I stopped believing in years ago – for only this Ale can do that without any false modesty.

Bloody Bitter, Bloody Marvellous, Bloody Better get some…..

Merry Xmas and Happy 'Hop-Head' New Year.

 2,129 characters

Photo of JonnyBoyy
4.18/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I prefer this over Torpedo

26 characters

Photo of StoutElk_92
4.47/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a beautiful red-orange with a fluffy, off-white, thick foam head. Smells like sweet caramely malts, mild sweet citrus and light pine. Taste is full forward with fresh pine, light citrus, and sweet caramely malt. Feel is medium bodied, slightly creamy and slick. Overall a delicious, sweet malty IPA with a pure, fresh pine needle bitterness to cut through and balance out the sweetness. Perfectly balanced and simply well made. Really great beer!

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Photo of Mazeltov
4.29/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark amber color, very aromatic, roses, yellow grapefruit, nutmeg, bitterness is on the point, smooth on the palate, this is very charming one, very fresh and dry style, medium bodied, well-balanced, delicious.

 210 characters

Photo of Skrumpy
3.88/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

I have been drinking this beer every holiday season for decades, & this years batch was excellent as usual. Coppery colored with a tan, foamy head. Streak lacing. Aroma is light citrus and tropical fruit with some caramel malt. Citrus and pine and some grass notes, well balanced with a sweet malt base. Medium body with a dry finish. Pleasant hops aftertaste. A great holiday tradition

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Photo of doktorhops
3.66/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Sierra Nevada are like the Tiger Woods of beers - they play a sharp game of golf, and cheat on their Swedish wives... err, no, that analogy doesn’t work, how about Sierra Nevada are like the J.K. Simmons of beers - consistently undervalued for their work and quietly brilliant, plus they won an Oscar that they thoroughly deserved (or at least they would if there was a beer equivalent of an Oscar). I’m happy with that revised analogy. Now on to their Celebration Ale - this is a Winter Ale with a difference - all IPA, no spices. This will be awesome-sauce.

Poured from a 355ml bottle into a Duvel tulip.

A: Cloudy toffee brown-tinged amber body with a sticky 1 centimetre off-white head. There’s a decent amount of protein in the head, Sierra Nevada have got to be happy with that, I know I am. 9/10.

S: Malt forward with a biscuit/caramel combo, followed by hints of piney/citric, it’s certainly not as big on the hops as Torpedo, we’ll see how it comes out in the flavour because sometimes you do get big hop flavours in brews without big hop aromas. In Sierra Nevada we trust. 7/10.

T: The good news: This is one smooth IPA. The bad news: Sierra Nevada’s own Torpedo IPA scuttles this brew [nautical puns anyone?] with hops, more and more HOPS! Palate-wise SNaCA (as I am henceforth calling this beer) has a big caramel/biscuit base with hints of pine/citrus hops and a rather sharp bitter finish on the edge of your tongue that carries through to the aftertaste. This needs more hop flavours and less hop bitterness (which is entirely possible - my last homebrew was all tropical hop flavour without bitterness). 7/10.

M: Medium bodied, slightly oily hop presence with a light but dense carbonation. Almost the exact same mouthfeel as the Torpedo. 9/10.

D: Missed opportunity from the makers of the mighty Torpedo. This is a fresh hop IPA that has bitten off more than it could chew - too malty, not enough hop flavour, unnecessary sharp bitter edge, above-average aroma. Those are the negatives, on the plus side it is a hearty, smooth and half decent IPA, I guess I’ve been too spoiled with Sierra Nevada’s other offerings (oh yeah and Founders, Deschutes, Ballast Point, the rest of the west coast, et al.) to give this a higher rating. [err, best before: 10.24.14... disregard my ENTIRE review now!] 7/10.

Food match: Staring at the label with the snow-cover log cabin made me think of a hearty beef stew by a nice warm fireplace watching the embers die, or cake.

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Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
4.15 out of 5 based on 10,111 ratings.
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