Dismiss Notice
Curious about recent updates to the site and app? Check the Announcements forum for updates.
Dismiss Notice
Love Belgian Beer?

Join us Sep 17 in Portland, Maine for Return of the Belgian Beer Fest, featuring hundreds of authentic Belgian beers and Belgian-inspired offerings.

Tickets + more: beeradvocate.com/belgian

Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

3,412 Reviews
Sierra Nevada Celebration AleSierra Nevada Celebration Ale

Brewed by:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
California, United States | website

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

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 3,412 | Ratings: 10,007
Photo of tr4nc3d
3.75/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a hazy light orange color with an off white head that left some lacing on the side.

Smelled citrusy with an nice earth like freshness to it, like after a thunderstorm.

Nice citrus bittery hops upfront, but not to strong, with a kick of spicyness.

Refreshing with decent carbonation, leaves your whole mouth figuring out the taste.

This is my first winter type beer that I picked up, seems like I should pick up some others to compare.

 446 characters

Photo of jbphoto88
3.74/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Maybe this beer was too hyped up for me but I am unimpressed. Yes it is a good beer and worth a few moments of your time, but its not fantastic. Perhapse I got a bad 6 pack at the beer store, but there is very little head on this pretty ruby/orange beer. It smells good, very malty with a slight hoppy scent, but it doesn't follow through.

 339 characters

Photo of KYGunner
3.74/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

This IPA poured a radiant copper with an inch of thick foam. The off white froth laced tremendously with a deep layering as the pint move slowly downward.

The scent is very citrusy with lots of lemon rind, touches of grapefruit and then a floral earthiness. I think the earthy scent may be some of the more vegetative rind but it is followed by a malty tea leaf.

I get a lot of pine on the palate and then a caramel malt sweetness. The flavors move to a lemony citrus but then end abruptly to a metallic tinnieness. I wish the flavors would hold on a little longer before resorting to the piney, tinny, metallic hop flavor that plagues so many IPA's. That flavor lends to feel with a dry astringency that leaves a long after taste.

 733 characters

3.74/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

330ml bottle.Pint glass.Enjoyed on jun´11. Reddish amber color.Clear appearance.Off-white,large bubbled, froth.Rocky & copious crown.Good retention & creamy lacing rings. Floral hop & mildy malty aromas.Sweet hints. Fruity notes,some spices too.Extremely dry,but kind,hoppy bitter sensation.Medium,flavorful body.Refreshing & drinkable -ABV well hidden.

 354 characters

Photo of LittleBreeze
3.74/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Beer Thirty Tasting

Aroma: Combination of citrus and floral. Hops and maybe a touch of pine.

Taste: Hoppy. Crisp. A touch of brown sugar.

Drinkability: I enjoyed this beer and I'm not a hop head. I don't see it as a daily selection, but once in a while.

 256 characters

Photo of clickpush
3.74/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pour: 12oz bottle, 2006 vintage, to tulip glass. Comes out as a rosy amber colored beer with a tiny cap of light tan head that reduces to thin lacings and a halo around the rim. Random bubbles meander from the base of the glass towards the surface.

Nose: Kitchen spices and bread. More fresh bread malt and yeast character than I anticipated, with less focus on the spices. A dark hint of hops at the tail end of the aroma spectrum, along with tinges of laurel and raspberry.

Mouth: Malts and fruit up front and strong hops in the back with some alcohol notes added to a long bitter finish. The most flavor shines through in this beer after the swallow, where more fruit and maple syrup mingle around with the spice. A bitter tinge remains that is not all that enjoyable. Mouthfeel is good at first but thins right at the end, making the finish a little less powerful.

 874 characters

Photo of athensbeermaster
3.74/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A pretty red amber color. A small half inch head with a light tan color. Small faint lacing on the glass. The nose has bright floral hops smell followed by a forest floor woodsy aroma. med. body with good hops and heavy handed on the malts. A big toffee profile mixed with pine and hints of cinnamon. A dry nutmeg finish.
For being a x-mas beer I'm glad the holiday spices are well intergrated. I wish I could find this on draft some where to see if the head would be more impressive. Props for Sierra Nevada for coming out with a 12 pk. of celebration ale this year!

 568 characters

Photo of brew3crew
3.74/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2009 vintage. Lets see what some age does to it

A-orange body with white head and sediment floating throughout.
S- sligbt bit of piney hops but had a hard time bringing anything off of the bottle
T-very hard to put a finger on. Very dry finish. Not bad at all, just can't place a description on it.
M-medium bodied, smooth and crisp. Very dry finish.
D-very drinkable. My taste was gone in no time. Would love to see what this is like fresh

 441 characters

Photo of ybnorml
3.74/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is the 2003 version. It has a cloudy orange amber color. Large bubbles in the head that leave a little bit of lace. An absolutely fantastic spicey and floral hop boquet. The flavor on the other hand did not give me the same hop jump. There was a hop bitterness followed by not a grapfruit citrus but more of a lemony citrus. Lemony like the finish to a lemon ice tea. I don't know if the cloudness in the beer was responsible for the muted finish to the flavor or not. I guess I will just have to wait to next year and try it as soon as it comes out.

 555 characters

Photo of akokandy
3.74/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- 12oz brown bottle poured into an American Pint glass. Pours a close-to-transparent copper with a significant, thick, spoon-able head. Good head retention and tons of lacing.

S- Everything's really muted here. Hard to detect, but citrus hops are present, dominated by lemon. Really hard to get much out of the smell.

T- Beats the hell out of the smell. Hops are the first thing that hit me, with a grapefruit note in it. Pine notes are noticeable. Some malt shows up in the aftertaste. Almost no sweetness. Very sharp, bitter finish. As it warms, some bready and grainy malt notes are detectable.

M- The beer has enough malt to make it medium-bodied. There is very little carbonation.

D- Pretty easy to drink. I could take down a six-pack of this brew no problem. Not the best IPA I've had, and definitely not balanced, but a good session choice if you like hops.

 869 characters

Photo of blackearth
3.73/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Purchased from Blue Max Liquors in Burnsville, MN. This is the 2006 vintage, tasted 11/28/09. Pours a light copper body with a rocky golden-white head. Aroma is lightly toasted malt and grassy hops. Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with spicy malt flavors and sticky, teeth coating hops that produce a long finish that eventually dries out your mouth. I can only imagine how bright the hop flavors might have been from a fresh bottle, but the flavors held up well over 3 years.

 479 characters

Photo of watermelonman
3.73/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This poured to a bright and pretty shade of red and orange. The head is medium and has good retention, and it's leaving gobs of lace behind.

The smell is literally a punch of raw hops. The taste follows a similar line, with the malt profile detectable up front but quickly fading in the finish. The mouthfeel is definitely good, being sharp without being too sharp.

The hop flavor seems very raw. It's not overwhelming or totally out of balance, but I think being just a bit more mellow would help the taste. Aging this thing just might do the trick.

 556 characters

Photo of Backer2004
3.73/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Beautiful reddish-copper hue, thick head, and nice carbonation, like a frothy cloud atop the pint glass. Floral hops accentuated more in the smell than the taste. Very hoppy, can understand why this is considered an IPA instead of a Winter Warmer since it also lacks the spice and cinnamon. Too bitter to be a session brew.

 323 characters

Photo of Dijeriduster
3.73/5  rDev -10.1%
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.

 1,008 characters

Photo of darrmitchell
3.73/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Didn't blow me away like it did others. Pours a nice copper brown with one of the thickest heads I've seen personally, and fairly impressive lacing. At first it was seriously bitter with a lot of flavors swirling around in the background. The most prominent to me was a pine flavor with a hint of grapefruit and a metallic aftertaste. I let it sit for a few minutes and tried it again, which resulted in more grapefruit and less bitter pine taste, so I'm thinking I may have tried it too cold. Overall a good beer.

 514 characters

Photo of PonyBar
3.73/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This holiday offering from Sierra Nevada was poured from a 12oz bottle into a clean, clear 16oz mixing (pint) glass. The appearance is more cloudy than I remember from years past, with a slightly hazy, orange color. The smell is one of alcohol, with an ABV of 6.8% There is a nice residue of brewer's lace forming along the side of the glass as well. The taste is one of a highly drinkable IPA. There is a lingering bite of hops on the tounge, and a floral finish typical of IPAs. Most Christmas beers are loaded with spices, fruits, or some other type of flavoring, but not this beer, which is nice. I also like the fact that Sierra Nevada puts the ABV on the bottle. All breweries should do this.

 698 characters

Photo of eatdrinknbmerry
3.73/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bought this today from the Beverage Warehouse in Culver City with high recommendations from the salesman. Aside from the fact that the label looked like the work of Hallmark, I was very excited to try this after drinking SN's Anniversary Ale, which was superdelicious.

I poured the beer and loved the dark amber color of the beer. The head was slow at forming and didn't build up very much – only lasted a few seconds.

The aroma is quite light and subtle.

Now for a taste... hoppy but not a sustaining bitterness.

I didn't have last year's Celebration Ale, but if I were to compare it to the Anniversary Ale, it'd be lagging a bit in the race.

 651 characters

Photo of zeledonia
3.73/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2011 vintage, bottled 29 Sep 2011. Not quite as fresh as I'd like, but it took some time to get here. Just hit shelves about a week ago, IIRC.

Pours a deep, slightly orange amber. Mostly clear, not quite see-through, but I can see in enough to notice numerous bubble streams. Orangey-cream head, 1.5 fingers, good retention and lacing.

Smell is a burst of fresh hops. Quite piney, with a bit of citrus (mostly grapefruit) behind that. Malt base feels fairly weak - I can detect it, but barely.

Taste is a whack of bitter - hits hard and is gone quickly. I don't pick up much else in it. A bit of malts filling in. But the lighter hop flavors are totally covered by that sharp, persistent bitterness.

Medium-bodied, medium-high carbonation. Fairly sticky. Long finish; that hop bitterness just holds on forever.

Liked the look and the smell, but not impressed by the taste. I prefer more balanced IPAs, or ones that showcase more of the positive hop flavors. This one is a bitter-bomb, with little supporting or accenting it. Becomes less so as it warms up - more balanced, with less sharpness and the malts coming through more. Okay, but not my favorite.

 1,159 characters

Photo of Seeker41184
3.73/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Date Drunk: 12/6/10

12oz into pint glass

A: Dense copper color with decent head.
S: Pine, floral, caramel smell, Not much going on in the hop department.
T:The first sip was almost my last sip of this beer. I was about to give it a 6 rating, due to the funky bitterness that overpowers you from this small beer. I'm all about hops, but not funky bitter hops. As it warms up, the bitter funk turns into a mellow pine flavored hops which is extremely enjoyable.
M: Just your avg IPA mouthfeel, nothing special here.
O: Like I said it my taste description, make sure this is not too cold, and it's enjoyable.

 607 characters

Photo of phisig137
3.73/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

2006 bottle pours a brilliant copper orange color, and a two finger head. Decent retention slowly falls, leaving behind tons of lace.

Aroma is well balanced between malt and hops. Slightly sweet, and a bit of citrus aroma from the hops, this is an enjoyable nose.

Flavor is mild, yet full. Malty, caramel sweetness up front, followed by a nice punch of hop flavors and bitterness. Again, slightly citric hop character, seeming using all the usual suspects of the "C" hops in a typical American IPA. No alcohol present. Mouthfeel is full, and slick. Drinkability is excellent.

One of the better beers from Sierra Nevada IMO. Not nearly as interesting as Bigfoot, but still one that I look forward to each year. Good overall, but not the greatest IPA out there....

 774 characters

Photo of BierManVA
3.73/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

It's difficult for me to review IPA's because they are a bier that I am not particularly agreeable about. But I do recognize this one as pretty good.

Excellent appearance, a massive head and redish amber color. The smell is crisp medicinal hop.

Tastewise, the hops really come through and you better have excellent tastebuds to get anything other than bitter. And I do mean bitter. I guess I don't qualify.

If you like IPA's, this bier's for you.


 463 characters

Photo of Brianofthemarsh
3.73/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 3.75

A - Nice white, almost creamy, head. Orange amber in color.
S - Ouch..disappointing, not the bouquet I've come to expect from previous years. Faint fresh hops at the beginning, but mostly sweet malt.
T- Pineyness and tropical fruit with a nice malt backbone. The fresh hop flavor is there, but more "mixed in" with the malt. I'm not getting as much grapefruit as in other years, either.
M- lovin that smoothness you rarely get in IPAs

O- I love how this beer is a bit different each year. Not the best iteration, in my opinion, but very good.

 543 characters

Photo of BDJake
3.73/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- clear bronze with chunky eggshell headleaving good retention and lace

S- earthy hops, spicy and malty

T- plenty of hops, spice, with a good malt backbone that gives a little bit of balance- it wasn't very good cold, but as it warmed up the different notes really came out

M- medium body, decent carbonation

D- not too harsh, but didn't scream out "gimme more"

 366 characters

Photo of dbl_delta
3.73/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Growler into pint glass. Pours an absolutely gorgeous, crystal-clear red-amber. Minimal head; dissipates quickly. Slightly malty initially, but this is quickly followed by floral/citrus/grassy hops; bitter finish. Alcohol is well hidden. Medium mouthfeel. Classic IPA.

 274 characters

Photo of Rayek
3.73/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Amber with good clarity and minimal carbonation. Rocky off-white head starts out large, retains well and leaves generous lace.

S: Pine, grapefruit and lemon hit the nose in order. Some toasted malt aroma sits in the back.

T: The beer is dominated by a moderately high bitterness. Grapefruit and lemon make up most of the bitter flavor, with an extra earthy kick along to help. A toasted biscuit flavor from the malt rides underneath. Finishes tart and dry.

M: Medium body feels oily. Initial carbonation felt high, but settled down as the beer sat.

D: A nice IPA, but I think I'm starting to suffer from IPA burnout. Good, but not spectacular and sort of nondescript. Still worth a revisit next year.

 707 characters

Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 3,412 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Return of the Belgian Beer Fest

    BeerAdvocate Brings its All-Belgian Fest to Portland, Maine on September 17, 2016. Tickets are on sale now.

    Learn More
  • Get the Mag

    Become a BeerAdvocate magazine print subscriber today.