Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

3,466 Reviews
Sierra Nevada Celebration AleSierra Nevada Celebration Ale

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

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

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Reviews: 3,466 | Ratings: 10,202
Photo of sinstaineddemon
3.68/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - dark golden brown, with large few carbonation bubbles and a thin tan head that laces quickly

S - warm hoppy aroma, with a sweet molasses type aroma, smells like a wintry IPA

T - oh, there are the hops, wow, nice hop bomb, that i didnt expect, with a background subtle sweetness, and a citrusy grapefruit hint as well, a nice IPA

M&D - will be too bitter for some, but a great sweet/bitter IPA, SNCA lives up to the hype, another great SN brew

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.68/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2011 scores: (4.0/3.5/3.0/3.0/3.0)

I always felt I never gave this one a fair shake, so here goes nothing. 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

A: Pours a hazy copper color with middling clarity. The head is a nice two finger light cream color with excellent texturing. Ultimately, the head settles down to one finger, and leaves impressive patchwork lacing on the glass.

S: There are the typical floral, piny, and vaguely citrusy hops I expect from most SN IPAs, but here the hops also seem to take on a spruce character that I find rather enticing. Centennial hops are very aromatically evident with lemongrass notes. Concentration will yield a bit of sweet, graham cracker-like maltiness.

T: Last year, I found this too bitter, but this year, I'd say it's bang on in terms of balancing between hops and malts. Similar to the aroma, Centennial hops seem to be in the forefront, opening the flavor profile with lemongrass and pine. Both the midtaste and finish are pleasantly malty, with only a slightly bitter aftertaste. At times, this really does evoke a Christmas tree in liquid form - and that's a good thing. Only real problem are vague distractions of dish soap here and there.

M: A bit on the heavy side in terms of texture, with a rather clean and dry finish. Carbonation is on the lower side of medium. Absolutely nothing out of the ordinary in terms of a typical IPA, but it matches the flavor profile well.

O: I'm glad I gave this a second chance, because now I can see what the fuss is about. While by no means my favorite IPA, it's a damn fine Christmas-time staple. Probably my second favorite vessel for Centennial hops behind Bell's Two Hearted.

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Photo of danielharper
3.68/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Purchased from Stong Bros. Liquor, Fayetteville TN. 2004 vintage.

This beer poured a nice dark amber color with good clarity but also a high opacity -- no cloudiness, but I couldn't really see through it. Topping this beer was a nice thick bubble-filled head that quickly halved in size, then stuck around for the rest of the beer. I also like the Holiday Theme on the outside of the bottle -- possibly my favorite of the Sierra Nevadas I've seen.

Smell was decent, with a strong hop presence (normal for an IPA) mixed with a sweet red fruit aroma. A bit overbalanced towards the hops for my taste, but overall a nice aroma that makes me think "IPA" pretty clearly.

Taste is down a notch from that, as the beer's hoppiness really dominates the flavor, to the point at which it's actually overpowering the fruit completely. Especially as the aftertaste hits me, I find this beer so bitter that it's almost difficult to drink. Perhaps this is to-style for an IPA to some degree, but I would prefer that it be a bit more balanced.

Mouthfeel is decent, with a nice foamy body that coats the tongue, but the carbonation and hoppiness actually burn the mouth a tongue a bit, and make it more difficult to get down. Decent, not unpleasant, but not exactly my taste.

Overall drinkability is decent -- I could pound two or three of these if I had them available, but for the $2.25 that I paid for this single, I can do a lot better. The Bridgeport IPA is still my favorite of the style, although I'll keep an eye out for the 2005 so I can try that when it comes out.

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Photo of DannyS
3.68/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Served in a pint glass, poured from a bottle.

A - A perfectly appropriate orange-brown amber color, long lasting tan-ish head

S - The hops here are straightforward and strong, with a subtle citrus backing

T - Very hoppy, as it should be. A bit bitter for my taste, and the bitterness lingers forever, but it's not really unpleasant. How an IPA should taste.

M - The bitterness REALLY hangs on, but the overall feel is smooth and easy drinking without being too watery.

D - Not being a huge fan of IPA's, I'm not sure how many of these I could stomach. One is a-ok for me.

Overall, It's not a favorite, but I'd definitely drink it again. It's bitter, but what self-respecting IPA isn't? Basically, I wouldn't specifically seek it out, but I'd definitely drink it if I was offered some.

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Photo of rarevos
3.68/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into pint glass. I've never had this beer before, and wanted to see what all the fuss was about.

A: Pours a coppery-amber with lots of fluffy, very light tan head. Head has great retention, and leaves sticky trails behind in abundance as it recedes. It's not in a hurry to recede, though.

S: Malty sweet grapefruit aroma up front, with some toffee behind that. Somewhat sugary.

T: Some nice citrus (grapefruit, lemon zest) with a good malty presence. Caramel, candi sugar. There's a bit of pine and some lemongrass. Finish is nicely bitter and fruity with a long, bitter tail.

M: Medium-bodied.

D: This doesn't drink like a 6.8% abv beer, that's for sure. But it perhaps suffered from too much hype. It was a good beer, but it didn't change my life. I will say that the one really nice thing about this beer is that it's not reminiscent of winter at all, but it IS warming. It's fruity, flowery, piney, and bright, so it's reminding me of some warmer/nicer days from a few months ago.

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Photo of misinformed
3.68/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottled 10/5/10, pint glass.

A- Poured with a 4" eggshell colored head. Beer is clear, medium orange brown. Decent head retention. It settled down to a large dusting and left some thick lines of lacing.

S- Medium strength scentwise. Sweet grapefruit/citrus, but also bitter citrus. Pine. Just a touch of caramel. Sort of sharp floral hop notes as well.

T- Citrus hops when it was cold, but later the pine hop flavors took more of a center stage. A bit of caramel malt, but it is quickly overshadowed by the bitter hops. Long, but mild bitter finish. Flavor was sort of watery to be honest.

M- Lighter side of medium. Smooth, with a light oiliness, but not mouth coating. The citrus and bitterness lingers which is nice.

D- So so for me. Flavor is nice and it goes down smooth, but I don't really find myself wanting more than the two bottles I had. Strong, clean hop flavors that makes for a nice bitterness. There are other IPAs I like a lot more, but this is good.

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Photo of letsgopens
3.68/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

An IPA is an interesting style for a holiday beer. This selection pours a bronze amber with a rocky white head that holds well and leaves lots of solid lace.

Some nice hops stick out initially in the aroma with a nicely pronounced malt backbone. A reasonable amount of fruit; citrus and cherry with a bit of spice.

Good hops and spice are there initially. The flavor fades in to fruit and lots of sweet malt. Very flavorful but rather straight forward. My only critique would be that there is not a lot of complexity there. However the flavor is very pleasant and appetizing.

Clean and bright on the palate. The carbonation is moderate with a thicker malty after taste. Smooth but clean mouthfeel. Very nicely done. Very solid and well balanced; characteristic of most Sierra Nevada selections.

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Photo of Sephiroth
3.68/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

No date on the bottle, but this is fresh, from 05. Pours with decent head, the body is a burnt orange color. The smell is of grassy, piney hops with barely a hint of caramel malt.

The taste is west coast hoppy. Dry, piney, bitter hops with slight grassiness. Slight caramel malt profile. Mouthfeel is leaning toward the heavy side for an IPA. This is a good beer, but it's not one of my favorites.

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Photo of Meerkey
3.68/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Thick, frothy white head, faintly cloudy, bubbly bright copper with lots of lacing.

S: Toast, yeast, flowery, piney hops.

T: Piney hops, grain, grapefruit, sweet malt

M: Tart, tingly. Nice.

D: Clean and lingering taste. Good, but not overwhelming.

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Photo of jazzyjeff13
3.67/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A 350ml bottle with a BB of Oct 2014. 2013 vintage. Picked up recently from Trembling Madness in York. Described as a seasonal fresh-hop ale, this is a classic that I've been waiting to try.

Poured into a Duvel tulip. Bottle conditioned. A hazy reddish-amber hue with visible sediment and medium carbonation. Yields a large head of creamy white foam that lasts for a while before slowly reducing to a patchy surface layer. Some lacing. Aroma of sweet caramel malt with hints of pine resin, weed, subtle citrus peel, earthy yeast and mild stewed hops. A bit like SNPA on steroids.

Tastes of intense aromatic hops and caramel malt, with a stinging bitter finish. Notes of pine resin, dank weed, grapefruit, citrus peel, stewed hops, sweet caramel and earthy yeast. Possesses a strident, spicy bitterness upon swallowing. Mouthfeel is smooth and tingly, with pleasant carbonation and good body. Quite astringent, followed by an aftertaste of pine, bitter aromatic hops and caramel malt.

Rather nice, if not the paradigm shift I was hoping for. Looks great, and the aroma is well balanced. The flavour is OK though the pine-laden hop character lacks depth. Decent body. A characterful brew that goes down all too easily. Worth sampling if you have the chance.

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Photo of BearsOnAcid
3.67/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I poured a 2009 Celebration Ale from Sierra Nevada's signature 24oz bottles. The color was a hazy maply syrup with a big and dense foamy head.

The smell is pleasing. Some piney hops with a rich caramel and molasses malt. It smells warm and cozy.

The taste is pretty good. The flavor of the malt is key to this beer. I feel the hops are second since (1) they aren't really as pronounced as much as I'd like it and (2) the warm caramel, vanilla, gingerbread and molasses flavor coming from the malt is delicious. It doesn't seem as hoppy as people say it is. This is my 3rd year having it and either the average amount of hops isn't doing it for me anymore or it tasted hoppier in previous years.

The mouthfeel is a little creamy but then goes down watery. This is a nice brew to drink a lot of. The price you can't beat for the quality. I feel that this is a cross between an IPA and a Winter Warmer. I just wish it were a little hoppier.

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Photo of ZebraCakez
3.67/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours a nice copper color with active two finger head.

S: The aroma is of strong hops with a mild pine note.

T: The hops are present, along with a nice malt backbone. It's citrus and pine notes are strong on the finish.

F: It's a very active beer, mouthfeel is light and well carbonated.

O: A very enjoyable brew, another great IPA from Sierra Nevada and well worth a try.

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Photo of Maudite
3.67/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Another Sierra Nevada beer....

A- It's a beautiful copper-brown/orange-red... little head presence which surprised me (I had two in a row to be sure), though what was there was a froth of nutmeg speckled white, like a small amount of latté foam. Body was a pleasing sight.

S- As I expected, hops, hops, hops. Not a bad thing, just not what one would expect from a winter-themed beer. It is what one would expect from any sierra beer, especially an AIPA. Some pungent tang, a bit like sour grapefruit (not ruby red), perfumey... reminded me of citrus cleansers, in a good way. lemon rind/orange oil...

T- I find it unbalanced. Alot of hops (the Sierra signature), but not necessarily the right increments. I love hops, but find this to be confused. Not a horrible beer, but could be improved upon... Just a shade darker than the pale ale. More malt would strike a slight balance, offset some of the hop, give more dimension. Overall, unimpressed by a seemingly uninspired ale.

M- Fills the gills. The hops really grab the tongue and the cheeks. High acidity, medium carbonation. Punchy, angsty. I like this feeling more than this taste. This is the part where the hops are appreciated. Almost astringent...

D- Decent beer, moderate ABV... I had two, not sure I would have another. If the recipe was revamped, I could go for it.

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Photo of quasimoto
3.67/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A - deep amber color with a nice big fluffy of white head.

S - strong citrusy aromas of grapefruit, and some bubblegum. Not too shabby.

T - The hops are the forefront of this beer. Themalt flavor busts out in the middle. Bust out, may be a lttle too much. , or much else going on. It then melds into a hoppy bitter creamy sensation. Little bready on the end.

M - Very light, dry and crisp.

D - One of the better IPAs out there.

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Photo of iamsemigloss
3.67/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed on 12/31/10, taken from notes.

Appearance: A large impressive head leading to an amber beverage. Body was clear and the lacing good.

Smell: A hop bomb, complex sharp citrus, herbal and perfume notes, even some pine. Light malts present, toasty and caramel.

Taste: Caramel hits the palate first, leading into the barrage of citrus and a little pine. A warm bitter alcohol kick on the finish. I detected faint hints of dish soap, which honestly was a real distraction...

Mouthfeel: Creamy and drying.

Drinkability: I enjoyed this beer but probably wouldn't buy another. It's my understanding that this beer changes somewhat from year to year, and I liked it enough that I will revisit it next year, for sure.

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Photo of jwhawkins81
3.66/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Tasted on 11/8/08: fresh 2008 vintage with some updates from a 2010 tasting

Aroma - Fruity hoppiness dominates this beer similar to DFH 90 min

Appearance - Plenty of carbonation off thick off-white head

Taste - Very similar to DFH 90 min but without the balance of a sweet maltiness

Mouthfeel - Decent medium body that fits this beer well

Drinkability - Sharp hops all day long upfront and on the way down. I wonder how it will age. The rest of the six pack went in the cellar for another taste in November 2009.

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Photo of Aenema
3.66/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5


Appearance - Pours clear amber with moderate to high carbonation, yeast flecks and an initial quarter/half inch head, quickly reducing to a thin film. 4
Smell - Smell is mostly floral hops 3
Taste - The hops have certainly mellowed a fair bit, but the beer is well-balanced a mix of bitter hops and complex malts. 4
Mouthfeel - Very smooth with a crisp finish. 4
Drinkability - Enjoyable to drink, but at this point not a beer I would have more than two of in one sitting. 3.5
Overall - Still a good beer, but not one that I will let age any longer.

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Photo of AndIWantYou
3.66/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I like the burnt orange color (despite my inherent bias that strong beers should be dark) and the head laces nicely. Smell is nothing really special for me, although I may be catching a cold--just smells like any random pale ale to me.

Full bodied with heavy carbonation, the beer feels almost like an electric shock if I let it linger on the tip of my tongue. Bare hint of alcohol note in the palate, but mostly I taste hops and feel a lingering warmth at the back of my throat.

Basically, an inexpensive but pleasurable experience... I love the winter warmer style and I'm so excited that the season has begun again!

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Photo of DannyDan
3.66/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A. One of the best pours ever for a beer. The copper colored beer has great retention, lacing and carbonation. Seeing this beer makes me want to drink it.
S. The smell is a citrus, minty, and pine aroma.
T. The taste is a combination of orange, lemon, and grapefruit with some pine, caramel, green tea along with a bitter aftertaste. So far this has been the best American IPA I have tasted even though I do admit that I have never tried an IPA until recently.
M. The mouthfeel is a creamy smooth medium bodied beer that is pleasant on the mouth.
D. This is a nice smooth drinkable beer and even though I am not a fan of IPA's I will have to say I would recommend this for anyone that likes this style of beer.

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Photo of ToddT
3.66/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Slightly cloudy copper color with a thin off white head. Head is a little sticky and leaves a little lace on the glass.

S- Mild aroma of pine hops and malt. Very little aroma.

T- Bitter notes up front with a biscuit middle. Bitterness returns for the finish which is dry and crisp.

M- Medium in body and with crisp carbonation. Slight bit of oily resin at the finish.

D- Easy drinker and the 6.8% ABV is well hidden.

Solid effort, and well priced, nothing to go crazy over though.

Notes: 2009 vintage.

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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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Photo of sjdevel
3.66/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Deep orange brown color. 2-finger head upon pouring from a 12oz bottle. The head recedes a bit, but stays a bit foamy with the replenishing bubbles from below. This is fairly hazy as well.

It smells slightly tart and citrusy like from fruit and hops. There's an earthy aroma that smells woodsy.

Kicks in with bitterness that is pretty powerful. It quickly moves to an earthy funk that you can't quite describe. At first is seems like it has went bad as it is a strange and unexpected flavor. It fades rather quickly and kicks into sweet malty flavors. It starts to get bitter once again and the funk seems to come back. As the flavors fade, you are left with citrus / pine / bread and malt aftertastes.

Feel: Light side of medium on the mouth feel. Not thin and a bit slick. Stays fizzy which is quite nice.

Decent IPA. I believe that hops used for this (wild ones?) gives it the funky flavor. Tastes like they threw in the hops, the vines, roots, and dirt all in this one. Very earthy. It is ok to drink a few, but I don't see myself buying a 6 pack or a 12 pack of it. Worth a try though.

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Photo of heygeebee
3.66/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a one finger head (reading other reviews I should have poured harder), over a dark amber body.

Restrained hop/grapefruit nose.

Massive grapefruit hit on palate and a very bitter hop aftertaste to follow. Needs a little more malt for my taste - not too integrated. Pine also present with a hint of orange rind.

Mouthfeel good, well carbonated, creamy.

Overall, a bit dissapointing. Good beer, not great beer.

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Photo of Lunch
3.66/5  rDev -11.8%
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.

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Photo of GRG1313
3.65/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark amber color with a thick white firm lasting head.

Nose is very yeasty, assertive and pleasant; nice bread nose character.

Flavors are strong citrus/pine hops with a little malt. Nice hints of pine. Pleasant and drinkable, although very predictable.

Long bitter hop finish.

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Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
4.15 out of 5 based on 10,202 ratings.
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