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: 10,209
Photo of graebner3306
4.92/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is one of the all time great winter seasonals. I've had it on tap and in the bottle in multiple years, and every time it packs the same delightfully spiced hoppy flavor into every mouthful! I look forward to winter every year if only for this beer starting to appear in every local bar and grocery store. It pours out a smooth and dark golden brown, and packs a nice punch of wet hops and winter spices. It drinks as smoothly as it pours, and it goes down smoothly enough to sneak in as a session beer (although at 6.8% abv I wouldn't recommend it). All in all, one of America's best beers!

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Photo of Avagadro
4.92/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Light copper and crystal clear with a heavy head that lasts and lasts.

S: Grapefruit, orange, and pine needles dominate the pungent bouquet. This brew can be smelled from across the room.

T: Semi-dry with an incredible hop-profile. Piney and resinous hops mingle with a touch of malty sweetness to create a thirst quenching, savory ale.

M: Medium body with moderate carbonation.

D: There is a reason this brew gets the attention that it does. This is one of America's greatest IPAs. Although it is available nationwide, it is only offered for the holiday season. Get it while you can!

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Photo of jwilli7122
4.92/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

hazy golden copper color with smallish white head which leaves crusted layers on glass. superb smell- strong floral hops, intense caramel and earth. taste is complex and inspiring...caramel, pine needles, earth (especially), burnt wood, orange peel, pineapple, coffee...floral aftertaste. Medium mouthful that is sharp when cold, and more mellow, smooth and oily when slightly warmed. Near perfection.
a female friend of mine took a sip of my celebration, made a face and asked why i would "pay extra" for something "so harsh." I paused and, content with my answer, did not reply.

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Photo of SierraNevadaAddict
4.92/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

An exceptional full-bodied ipa that is perfect for the holidays and the grey boring days that follow. My personal favorite beer of the year a must have on any Christmas list! If you like the regular pale ale or the torpedo it's a nice variation and change that's outside the box. Great beer to get snowed in with.

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Photo of Baraka
4.92/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a beautiful orange with a solid head. The nose is all hops: citrus, pine, resin. Much like the nose, the taste is one of absolute hop domination. This beer is everything that I love about IPAs, incorporating all the wonderful citrus flavors and an unremitting bitterness. One of my absolute favorite beers; it makes the cold weather bearable!

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Photo of joekoz007
4.91/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

12oz bottle into an IPA glass.
Pours a crystal clear dark copper color with 3.5 inches of thick, off-white head. Some of the head was still in the bottom of the glass after I finished the beer. Gobs of sticky lacing.

Aroma is all hop. Citrus, pine, minty notes abound.

Taste at the start and finish is a terrific hop bitterness with a touch of bready malt in the middle. Moderate carbonation and a pleasant, slightly oily mouthfeel.
Overall, this is a superb beer. Definitely my favorite Christmas brew. In my top 3 favorite beers ever. Seek this out.

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Photo of MoMaMe
4.91/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This has become one of my new favorite winter ales and favorites overall.

It has a really nice color and lots of head (which I like)

The taste is very fresh and hoppy - bright citrus and pine notes.

Just a note... I tried the 2013 bottle. I highly recommend this one!

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Photo of hopman333
4.9/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Couldn't wait to try the 2008 batch and as usual it did not dissapoint.

Upon the opening of the first bottle out of my 12'er, A huge blast of fruity / citrusy hops shot into my nose.

When pouring into my glass I noticed the familiar beige head that rises quickly to the top of my gass that soon subsides with some beautiful lacing.

And the taste was a very intense hop flavor, grapefruit from the chinook's, and the sweetness and spiciness of the Cascade's and centtenial's,only to be followed up by the rich malt character that is imparted from the use of the english malt's that they use, as well as the usual crystal malt's. Absolutey perfect... Rich, complex and extremely satisfying.

One final note on this brew is the fact that sierra product's almost alway's have a nice crisp carbonation that so mant brew's lack, and I miss. What happened to beer's that are crisp and satisfying, as so many other beer's these day's have the carbonation of a cracked open coke that had been sittting there for at least a day LOL...

Oh yeah, I drank the whole twelver despite it's 6.7 percent alcahol content and never got bored with it. It's a shame you cannot get this year round... Flawless !!! Kick's some major ass !!!

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Photo of billybob
4.9/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

pours honey amber color with a off white two finger head that settles to a thin layer on top with a good lacing to the finish. honey, clover, spice, and citrus all come through on the smell. taste is slightly, sweet, honey, with grapefruit but not the bitterness associated with it. mouthfeel medium, good carbonation and hoppy after taste. nice beer.

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Photo of PaulAD
4.9/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I always look forward to the Holiday season to purchase this fine American IPA. It never disappoints! Perfect brown coloring, very aromatic, smooth drinking. The ABV can sneek up on you if you let it although it's hard not to turn this into a session beer. Festive tap marker - it's hard to find anything negative about this beer. Best when served on tap

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Photo of racer2k
4.88/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I will preface this review and say that this is my favorite beer of the year. I anxiously await the first arrival of Celebration Ale in New England. I am sure that the west coasters get to taste the annual rite of the holidays a few weeks earlier. In any event, the beer is as good as ever. My first observation is that there is quite a lot of head in the pour and the color seems a bit darker than years past. A solid dark copper / orange color resonates in my glass. A few more details.

A- Dark copper color, thin lace on the side of the glass that settles down after a few sips. Good carbonation which seems to be more prominent with all SN beers with the new bottle opener caps

S- Strong hops, grapefruit, pine, flowers, and a bit of malt

T- Flowery resin laden hoppy taste with grapefruit and a bite at the end

M- Medium carbonation, medium to full body and a hoppy resin finish

D- Holiday beer, session beer, daily beer..pick one...This is a truly one of the best SN beers ever and they do it right ever single year!

I am waiting to crack my 2005 Celebration Ale for a taste off....

Yes indeed..the arrival of an old friend!

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Photo of StevieW
4.88/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Magic in a glass....A great looking orange/reddish color with a nice fluffy white head, bubbles up to the top. Spicy nose, pine, florals, with whiffs of orange peel also hitting the nose. Spicy, bubbly, sticky resin filled hop bubbles fall over the glass. A very appropriate beer for the season. Nice spicy malty flavor paired with the big hop taste makes this one a winner. Creamy rich mouthfeel. Then a bitter hop filled belly warming finish. One of my all time favorites. The only thing I have tasted that comes close in flavor is the Hop Devil, but that is a little more fiery on the spicy hops side. This beer makes you grin from ear to ear and wish for more. As soon as the last sip is down, your are ready for the next one. Great Beer !

2002 Version sampled 11/22/03 Smoother more mellow flavors. Lots of hops still, but the malt undertone is much more noticable.Oily resin flavors match with a hint of slick chocolate flavors. Slightly oily. Very Smooth, rich and mellow. Not as much fresh hop sticky, resin bitterness.

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Photo of saintwarrick
4.88/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Finally get to try this brew after years of it never being available. Light cloudy amber with a big pale ale head that clings to the glass; a perfect looking beer with a big nose, pine needles, fresh cut grass and some maltiness in the background signal this as a nicely balanced beer. Taste backs that up, the hops are big without being too overwhelming, nice bitter sweetness to the brew. Very smooth and the hop kick at the end gets you good.

Would love to have a keg of this around Christmas with a nice fire. Awesome brew, probably the best I have had from Sierra Nevada.

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Photo of drugsbunny
4.88/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is the perfect beer. Color, head, taste... everything. I even like the fact I have to wait until Winter to enjoy this wonderful ale. Perfect hop character, wonderful Cascade aroma. I could drink this forever. I can't wait to find this on tap somewhere.

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Photo of CHickman
4.87/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale 2008 pours dark amber in color with a nice fluffy 1 inch tan head; smells of hops, floral hops and spices.

Taste full of complex flavors that include floral hops, pine, malt, orange peel and a sweet caramel that fades to a cinnamon spice finish (with a touch of something else); medium carbonation that leaves a dry finish and gets better as it warms up.

I was lucky enough to get a case of this over the winter and a bargain price and enjoyed it all winter long. An outstanding beer!

2012 Release Notes: Pours hazy amber reddish with a huge foamy 2 finger head that faded slowly and left excellent sticky lacing. Nose is on par with the other years and full of delicious fresh piney hops, citrus and a blend of herbal earthy notes that is wonderful to inhale. Tastes of fresh piney hops, juicy citra hops, tart grapefruit, orange peel, lemon, herbs, caramel, roasted grains, malt, floral hops and mild spices; the balance is near perfect for an IPA with a fresh hop presence that is so bold that it’s almost warming for this time of year. Mouthfeel is smooth yet chewy, with a medium body, light to average fizzy carbonation and a bitter grainy aftertaste that trails off almost dry like hop leafs were left over. I look forward to this beer being released every year, my favorite holiday and winter beer and one of my top 5 favorite all time beers. The past few years I’ve been lucky enough to enjoy in on tap here in NY and it’s equally as enjoyable on draft.

2013 was great again, this time with stronger piney notes IMO. Had at least a case as well as a few pints on tap this year and it is always a great beer.

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Photo of DevilDogBeer
4.87/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale was poured from the tap into a pint glass. The color was a great copper hue with a thin head. The head faded into a thin top layer but left some lacing down the glass. The smell was a combination of caramel malts and wonderful spicy hops. The taste was hoppy on the tongue and finished with a light caramel note. The brew was crisp and did not leave any off flavors on the palate. Very drinkable and very satisfying, this is a great choice and I highly recommend trying one if you have the chance.

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Photo of foglemgs
4.87/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

An excellent winter ale! Next to Torpedo, this is probably my favorite offering from Sierra Nevada. They don't try to dress this seasonal brew up (as other brewers do) with too many different flavors. Sierra Nevada sticks to what they're good at: hops, and it's damn tasty.

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Photo of MobBarley
4.87/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This brew knocks my socks off. Poured from a nostalgic looking 12oz. bottle into a pint glass. Above average, off-white head that persisted through the drink. And the color, oh the color! Beautiful and coppery with a festive reddish hue...quite fetching.

The smell of this sample was fresh bread up front, quickly moving into a crescendo of hoppy citrus notes before a final, mellow note of holiday spice.

Hops dominate here and for me that is usually sufficient. This ale is more complex than most, however. This has a strong, malty foundation that imparts slight (butterscotch?) notes and is a worthy counterpart to a truly delicious hoppy/spicy finish with big notes of yellow grapefruit.

Smooth and perfectly carbonated in the mouth. Teases the tongue all over, and is all at once refreshing and substantial.

The drinkability here is almost worthy of a 5.0, but the high ABV makes it a beer better served with a good, spicy meal. Not a session beer, but a special beer.

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Photo of hyuga
4.85/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Just picked up the first 2002 six pack of this sold by my local specialty grocery store, and with great anticipation, I cracked one open. Huge frothy head over an amber-brown brew. Head retains very well and leaves lace as the glass empties. Powerful hop aroma, mostly citrus, a bit spicy. Hints of sweet caramel malt. Wonderful! On the palate, bitter and spicy hops take the lead with malt struggling behind in the beginning, but showing itself more as more is consumed. Deeper in, more complex hop character comes through showing the variety used in hopping this beer. Citrus, oil, and fruit are all present. Malt backs all of this up very well with grain and caramel sweetness. Spicy and grain dry finish. This isn't what I would normally expect from a winter brew, but surprisingly, it fits with the season very well. The spicy hop character gives it that winter holiday feel. This is what I want to drink with Thanksgiving dinner. Insanely drinkable for a winter brew as well. This is an exceptional ale that goes beyond even high expectations, the perfect companion all through the winter!

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Photo of stevecee2003
4.85/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

What a surprise! Wow!

Generally I do not try 'seasonal" beers, thinking they might be inferior in some way. After all, if they are so good- then why do we not have them all year long? So now, what the Hell was I thinking?

From the pop of my 12 oz. bottle I could smell the difference. This would be one great beer. And it was. I simply must stock up for the long winter.

APP. A very nice head, with lots of lace. Always a very good sign. Could this be a nice surprise?

Smell. Wow, I can smell it already. Hops. Caramel. Being a hops man I can sense the smells coming in early. Where the Hell was I when they made this beer?

Taste. Simply sublime. The only fault I can find with Sierra Nevada is that they don't say on the packaging what a great beer you're getting. It was only by chance that I gave it a try. Clearly this should not just be a seasonal beer, but rather instead offered to the masses whenever a "great" beer is needed. Simply, "Wow!"

Overall drinkability. Exceptional. What Sierra Nevada has done here rivals anything else in the U.S. for a great beer.

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Photo of chicowildcatbeer
4.85/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Medium amber/fantastic head/very inviting.

Smell - Quite a nice mix of hoppy and pine.

Taste - Wonderful strong hop and citrus flavors, but the malt is still present.

Mouthfeel - Nice and creamy but at the same time cleansing, only downside is it's a bit high on the carbonation for me.

Drinkability - Definitely have been enjoying this year's version of Celebration and will look for it again next year.

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Photo of TastyTaste
4.85/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

12-21-03 Cranberry red colored, with an off white head. Smells of spice, fruit, and hops. Has a very nice spiced flavor, which peaks with a big shot of hops. This is a very tasty beer, it is up there with two hearted ale as my favorite. I definitely like it served at cellar temperature, a lot more flavor.

Additional Comments 11-13-04: The hops are smoothed over a lot, big initial hop kick, but that flavor does not leave you with a gigantic hop bitter aftertaste. Unique and delicious. I think I appreciate it more after a year apart.

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4.85/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

It's my favorite time of year again-- Sierra Nevada Celebation Ale is here! The 2009 version poured as beautifully as ever into a pint glass. The bottle had a bit of sediment at the bottom, so I poured carefully and stopped with about 1/4" remaining.

The first sip was as crisp and hoppy as I remembered from last year, and the year before that, and...well, you get the idea. It's the reason I only drink this beer from now until I can't get it anymore in February! The hops are floral but are balanced by an earthier or maltier quality. As the beer sits and warms it only gets smoother and tastier.

This is the perfect, hoppy beer for drinking one after another on a cold night. It can't get much better than this beer in my book, but I am an IPA lover!

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Photo of k3n
4.85/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

12 oz bottle, 2007.

A: Red-gold-orange, clear, massive off-white head that is crumbling down to rocky, craggy goodness. Plenty of lace.

S: Bright pine and citrus, backed by sweet malt. Smells delicious!

T: Smooth entry, leads into grapefruit, then caramel malt sweetness, then followed by citrus-rind bitterness in the finish.

M: Oh yeah. Just really great, really spot on. At first, it's really full in the mouth, and then the finish is really crisp and clean.

D: Why oh why is this only made in winter? I could see drinking this all through summer!

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Photo of taez555
4.85/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer poured a slightly yellowish tan/white head with a beautiful ruby brown/tan body.

The nose was a sharp crisp citrus spike with an almost woody touch. Rich malt and a slight floral note make the nose extremely inviting.

The taste was full bodied with a rich caramel malt taste. Huge citrus, pine needle and black pepper hop taste. An over the top bitterness that somehow isn’t distracting at all. The malt perfectly matches the bitterness. The bitterness itself lingers but is not a palette killer by any means.

So simple, yet so amazing. Not a desert beer like the Bigfoot or a session beer like the standard pale ale, this one sort of falls in between. Simply amazing. Every year I think to myself I should buy a few cases of this to just have around all year round.

One a side note, I review the ’04, but shortly after tasted an ’03 I’d been saving since the past year. The year old celebration was just as good, but slightly more subdued and a little more balance, sort of like a fine wine. A different experience with aging, no better no worse, just different. I highly recommend both ways.

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Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
4.15 out of 5 based on 10,209 ratings.
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