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Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

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3,441 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: 3,441 | Ratings: 10,107
Photo of joeseppy
4.52/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Deep reddish mahogany, quad fashion, with a white dense head and moderate lacing.

Smell is earthy pine, sweet malt and citrus.

Taste is extremely balanced with the hop and malt. Nothing bitter or offensive.

Mouthfeel is creamy, moderate carbonation and some stickiness. Hop and grain linger.

This beer is engrained in my brain that Christmas celebrating starts now. This is so crushable. Bonus is that distribution here is silly and SN made this so freakin affordable-what's there not to love. Well balanced craft, affordability, no nonsense, sessionable, Christmas and something everyone could embrace. This is a staple for any festive event. Kudos to you folks at SN for keeping this real!

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Photo of cokes
4.52/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

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.

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Photo of bditty187
4.52/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Bottle, 2003 Edition

Very lightly hazy coppery-amber hue, the off-white head reached a perfect height of a fat finger. The retention was great, firm and long lasting; it slowly compacts to a small tight cap. Modest lacing. Either this version is much hoppier in the nose that last year or I missed something previously because this is a hoppy treat. The bouquet is largely citrus (heavy on the rinds), piney, floral hops, very deep, complex, each attributes comes to the foreground, then fades, which allows a different quality to shine. Inviting. The palate is raw with hops; SN amazes me with this brew. Upfront is heavy with citrus rinds, bitter as all get out, a quick hint of floral mixes in the middle, an implication of clean malts too. The finish is a grapefruit and pine fest. I love the long lingering hoppy, bitter, raw aftertaste; Michael Jackson must have been drinking a Celebration Ale when he coined the phrase “more-ish.” This is a very special brew; winter would be pointless without it. At this young age it is not balanced and any mention of malts is ephemeral. Worth cellaring to mellow, if that is your bag. Medium-full in body, sturdy carbonation, very appropriate for a hearty, hoppy, winter warmer. Astonishingly drinkable! Especially if you consider the alcohol content, it is a well-hidden 6.8% abv. Highly Recommended.

Bottle, 2002 Edition (4.5 / 3.5/ 4.5 / 4 / 5) = 4.3

Terrific amber hue with a massively rocky, tan head with fantastic lace. A citrusy grapefruit dominates the nose but a noticeable hops aroma is present as well. Occasionally I could detect a note of pine. Balance was not the objective; the flavors are mainly hops... damn tasty pine (and grapefruit). Faint malt sweetness could be perceived as well. This beer is surprisingly firm, yet smooth, in the mouthfeel department. The 6.8% abv makes this a true winter warmer! This brew is lip-smacking, mouthwatering good! This is a must try! The lack of balance may deter some and the “power” of the hops may deter others. I think this beer is worthy of the praise, even though it is not as hoppy as I had expected.

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Photo of baiser
4.52/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a dark amber colour, nice head, good retention. Floral aroma, fruity, great hop aroma. In terms of taste, I was expecting something more unique. But it's a typical west coast, hoppy ale, which is fine by me. Taste was fruity, hopped up. Great balance between malt and hops. Juicy and flavourful. Drinkability is exceptional.

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Photo of M_C_Hampton
4.52/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass, copper colored with a big fluffy off white head that lingers leaving excellent lacing, clear

S: rich citrus and pine hop aroma, grapefruit, orange, caramel malt

T: bitter grapefruit and pine resin up front, sweetens slightly in the middle as flavors of caramel malt come out, finish is dry and bitter hops

M: full bodied with good mouth coating, good carbonation, dry aftertaste

O: great winter seasonal to look forward to

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Photo of RichieS2
4.52/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a 12 oz bottle into a Sam Adam's glass.

A - A nice copper-orange that is translucent. Pretty typical for an IPA, the cloudiness adds to the character.

S - Like the appearance the smell is typical for an IPA with a pleasant floral scent. There is also a hint of holiday spices.

T - Respectable malt sweetness with the first taste that quickly gives way to the hops. Interestingly enough the hops are strong but not overpowering. On the way down I am debating with myself if I am picking up some holiday spices or if it just the placebo of a winter beer.

M - Satisfyingly full.

O - I really liked this one, so much in fact that I am going to have another one. Also would not mind this as a follow up to a Sam Adam's Winter Lager. A must try for the winter season,

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Photo of tmitch75
4.52/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice copper color with huge creamy head (way too big for my pint glass). Head drops to about one finger thick, but what's left stays strong and leaves sticky lacing all the way around the glass.

Smell is floral and fruity with a little malt in the background - just enough to balance out the hops.

Taste is similar, with pronounced grapefruit flavor and hoppy bitterness balanced by just enough malt backbone. Simply delicious.

Mouthfeel is rich and full-bodied. Very creamy. I could swish this around in my mouth all night.

The only problem with this beer is that its not available all year round - but I guess this gives us another reason to look forward to the holidays. A delicious and well-made beer.

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Photo of AustinBeerLvr
4.52/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: 12 ounce bottle w/a freshness date (although a bit challenging to find if you aren't familiar with Sierra Nevada's freshness dating method).

S: Nose of this brew is simply exceptional. The deep cascade hop character is simply fantastic. There are a few other scents in there as well, but the cascade hops purely dominate.

T&M: Just a touch of caramel sweetness and then this brew takes off into one huge cascade hop bite--in an awesome way! The hops linger for a very long period of time, but the whole way through a very faint caramel backbone keeps everything well in check. Especially during the first few sips, the aftertaste of the hops is very prevalent. Mouthfeel is awesome, as it firm, a little creamy, and then thins out just a bit at the end leaving you wanting more.

D: This is simply an awesome brew, something I actually wish Sierra Nevada would just brew year round, as it's without a doubt one of the top IPAs I have ever had. The thing is, if you want a "Holiday Beer" or "Winter Warmer", this may not be you beer, as it doesn't have the holiday spices or typical "Winter Warmer" feel. That being said, the drinkability is very good, although after a few, I think I might have to slow it down, as the high hop character as well as the high ABV are nothing to be fooled around with. To sum up, this is one awesome offering from Sierra Nevada. Buy it while you can. Better yet, buy a lot and save some up, as IPAs tend to age fairly well.

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Photo of CharlieMopps
4.52/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A: A dense wall of white, fluffy head forms from a moderate pour, nearly four fingers worth when allocated to a curvy Samuel Smith pint glass. The head dissipates incredibly slow, leaving behind small trails of lace on its descent. The color is a deep ruby-amber, clear and letting in much light so that it shimmers a bit, looking rather enticing.

S: The aroma of floral hops pervades the nose, with a bit of spiciness, a grassy touch, as well as even a small showing from citrus hop notes. Smells rather well-rounded, and definitely not a hop bomb, but a beer with a defined array of bitterness, in addition to a somewhat sweet side.

T: Introduction is rather mild, but eases right into a hoppy middle that asserts itself, but doesn't kill the palate. A rather herbal and grassy set of flavor profiles enter gradually and lead to a smooth finish. Aftertaste of hop oil lingers pleasantly and then fades out nicely.

M: Solid carbonation and full mouthfeel, which is creamy and effervescent. Hops leave an oily feel on the palate, but as mentioned above, the taste is enjoyable.

D: This is one I look forward to each year, as I find it to be a mild IPA that still brings forth a great deal of hop flavor. Even though it's a seasonal release, Celebration Ale seems quite versatile, as it could work really any time of the year. Great hop profile, plenty of aromatic goodness, and quite a level of drinkability make this one a perfect go-to beer around the holidays.

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Photo of thegodfather1076
4.52/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer was served out of a 12oz. bottle dispensed into a glass....

Presentation - Label artwork is very tasteful and classy in the traditional SN style. Give one the feel of a sunny winter day. Always love SN bottles and artwork!

Appearance - SNCA pours out a orangish/copper color with a loose white head that sticks around and laces nicely down the glass.

Smell - This is def an IPA like it claims. I cold smell different hints of citrus and the classic IPA piney smell. Absolutely wonderful!!!

Taste - I want to start of by saying that I love IPAs so and this is one of the 3 best that I have had!!!! Taste goes along with the smell. Citrus/Piney taste throughout with a nice smooth bitterness on the backend.

Mouthfeel - A thinner light bodied beer which makes for a smooth feel in the mouth with a nice amount of carbonation that gives the feel of a more full bodied offering.

Drinkability - Very drinkable if you like IPAs. Smooth, tasty, and very enjoyable.

I really enjoyed this offerening because it was an IPA which is different from most holiday offerings. I would definitely recommend this to any IPA lover as a good holiday brew(Note: 2010 edition).

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Photo of JonathanL7890
4.52/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on tap at the Dig Pub.
Poured into a pint glass with about 1 finger head that dissipated slowly.
Color is a rich amber, very clear.
Aroma: citrus (grapefruit), piney, some caramel malt, a little biscuity.
Taste: The sublime hop presence of this beer is announced! A perfect balance of malty sweetness and back of the tongue bitterness.
Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel of this beer is remarkable. a "Comfort beer".
Drinkability: This is my go to beer for the winter months. But, alas, Bigfoot and Torpedo Extra IPA will soon be out and I'll have to find something else to session. I'll be looking forward to next year's batch.

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Photo of spycow
4.52/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Celebration Ale
Poured into a Nonic glass from the 12oz bottle

A - Poured an amber-light brown color with small but constant head. It coats the glass nicely when drinking.

S - Smell of a good hoppy beer. Chinook hops are noticeable with a smoky, strong yet pleasant smell with a light floral character.

T - Can taste the use of the various hops typical of a good IPA. IPA's are one of favorite styles. I love the bitter but not overwhelming flavor that leaves an aftertaste that lasts for minutes after. Even though slightly strong you can't taste the alcohol.

M - It has a great feel in the mouth. I like how it coats your mouth for an IPA leaving you wanting more.

D - Extremely drinkable and excellent example of an american IPA. One of those you can sit down and drink several wanting more.

A great example of an american ale that is worth spending the extra dollars for. It is always a staple for me during the holiday season.

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Photo of Judgie
4.52/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Jumped on a 12 pack as soon as I saw one this year (2015). Always in my top 5 and no exception this year. Beautiful copper/red and clear. Fragrant piney hops. Incredible taste of sweet malt & bitter hops (Cascade!). As close to the perfect IPA that there is in my opinion. My only issue with Celebration Ale is that it forces a hiatus of trying new beers for 2 months as there is really no point.

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Photo of joelbb14
4.52/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is my second year drinking Sierra Nevada's Celebration Ale. I remember last year, before I had turned 21, my (now) wife picked this for me because she though I would like it. She knows me well, I loved it. Now that I can obtain this fantastic drink on my own, I think it will be a major part of every winter from here on out. I was thrilled to see it on the shelves and quickly bought up the first two six's of the year.

Appearence. Definately orange, not completely clear, slightly hazey. Decent head, still lingering as I write this, but definately does not stick around forever. A little lacing as the head dissipates.

Smell. This is my favorite part of Celebration Ale. I think this one smells very sweet and also very earthy. This definately reminds me of cutting christmas trees, because of the "pine" scent. Hops, yes, but not as strong as I remember a year ago.

Taste. God I love the tase of this beer. It is fairly bitter but to me the taste is really does tast like the holidays. It is fairly bitter but not too much. The beer is also pretty sweet which is something I do not remember my first time around. I also taste the pine or earthy taste I was able to smell earlier.

Mouthfeel. This too is a feature of this beer that I absolutly love. It is pretty strongly carbonated which helps bring out the flavors of the beer. The carbonation is "uplifting" and fits perfectly with this beer as a whole.

Drinkability. If drinkability refers to the amount of beer that can be drank, this is not the beer for you. The flavor is very powerful and it would be impossible for me to drink a ton of these. I would rather drink this one slowly and enjoy the flavors because that is how I consider this beer to be drinkable. The beer is super dynamic, so it is definately best enjoyed in a slow and deliberate manner.

A Beer in Review. I think it is evident that I love this beer. The flavor is perfect for the season, and its availability sort of hypes up my excitement for the beer. The earthy flavors make this beer stand out, and it is a great choice for a nationally available seasonal brew.

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Photo of canucklehead
4.52/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

What this beer is to me is a bigger and badder version of their pale ale with more hops, more alcohol and more body. I like how this beer gets better sip after sip with a warming effect taking place after half a bottle. There are heavier winter warmers and more exotic winter warmers but this is one the best drinking winter beers.

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Photo of JoEBoBpr
4.52/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Edit of original review in 2006.

2009 version.

Poured into the Sam Adams pint glass.

A - Pours a beautiful, oil like, dark honey color, with some beautiful orange hues. a nice chunky off-white head that is about 1 inch tall and recedes slowly leaving some nice lace.

S - Piney and grapefruit citrus hints. Expected from an IPA, but the freshness is exquisite. Nice biscuit malt smell as well.

T - Grapefruit citrus hints are exceptional, with the biscuit malt finishing off with a nice bready taste. The piney hints are there at the beginning hidden behind a nice and light alcoholic ester. Very warming IPA and perfect for cold winter months. Cant wait to have more over the holidays. This beer goes very well with pepper jack cheese and spicy food in general. To date one of those things i look forward every year.

M & D - complex and medium bodied with a nice oily character. I love this beer every time.

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Photo of Lacesoutcody
4.52/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from bottle into a tulip glass.

A: Beautiful ruby, and caramel. Nice frothy head, and lacing.

S: Sweet, minty, piney, a great hoppy IPA smell.

T: The star of this brew, nice upfront spice, with a clean finish, hints of tobacco, a little ginger, licorice, spring up on my palate.

M: nice, not to slick or heavy, and good balance between the two.

D: My first celebration, and it won't be my last, whether to session, or have by the case. Great stuff.

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Photo of BravoTwo
4.52/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A - Copper, amber hued with very nice coloration and a white creamy head with good retention

S - Hops, piney lovely hops. Smells like a christmas tree. Very seasonal and appropriate.

T - Great hops flavors, very aromatic and flavorful without being too overly biting and bitter. Great tasting beer.

M - Clean mouthfeel, stays in the mouth and and on the palate comfortably

D - Overall, I could really drink this throughout the winter, and throughout the year even. This beer was a real joy to drink and really was an exceptional, tasteful, seasonal offering from SN.

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Photo of Chugmonkey
4.52/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Deep reddish/brown with massive pillowy off white head. Exploding with piney/citrus hop yumminess and flavor.

Solid mouthfeel. Get six cuz one ain't nearly enough. Does get a little sweet/full feeling after a couple. An outstanding beer. I love it.

On the darker/fuller feeling of the IPA spectrum, almost winter warmer like in the fullness. But if ya got that hop itch, this will satisfy.

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Photo of sweetbrew82
4.52/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

12 oz. bottle into a tulip; no freshness date

P: Pours gold from the bottle and sits deep amber with a slight orange tint. 2 fingered off-white head is creamy, yet rocky with large bubbles on the surface. Great retention and left globs of lacing as it sank down to form a halo that surrounded an island of foam.

A: Sweet bready, caramel malts, grapefruit and piney hops, honey, yeast, and some spices. Smells like christmas trees!

T: Starts with some good initial hop flavors that follow the nose, accompanied by sweet bread and caramel malts. This is followed by a great addition of spices and flavors including; a little cinnamon, (nutmeg?), honey, ginger, and what tastes like pine needles. As they become more pronounced, they really play off of the base of the grist quite nicely. Finish is adequately dry and features some prominent yeast and a citrusy twang that adds yet another layer of flavor, and another increase on the enjoyment meter. Very pleasant aftertaste lingers for quite awhile. Damn tasty!

M: Medium-full body, mouth-coating, smooth, crisp and sharp, and gently carbonated.

D: Through the roof. Incredibly easy to drink due to the great christmasy flavors that keep you coming back for more.

Notes: What a perfect beer to enjoy with my dad as we watch USC beat the living daylights out of the Nittany Lions on New Year's Day. This is the definition of a festive beer that is best enjoyed on such special occasions, as it reminds you why this time of the year is so magical. The best session beer on the planet when the holiday season rolls around!

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Photo of CTbrew32
4.52/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance- Dark orange-red, amber color with very little visibility through the glass. Pours a two finger pillowy/soapy white head.

Aroma- Very big on the pine aromas with a little bit of citrus sweetness as well.

Taste- As the nose indicated this is big one the pine flavors which is big upfront and reemerges in the finish as well. Towards the middle the pine is balanced out citrus and orange fruit flavors along with a mildly sweet caramel malt. Finish is rounded out by slightly toasted malt and the pine bitterness as mentioned before. As far as the "spice" goes if I hadn't read up on it already I think I could have confused of the piney flavors at the end for being spice.

Mouthfeel- Medium bodied with an almost chewy mouthfeel. On the bitter side as first but as it warms up the malt helps mellow out the big bitter pine flavors. Clean finish and highly drinkable.

Overall- Easily one of my favorite Ipas, which is kind of weird because I'm not usually a fan of pine forward ipas. However, there is just enough citrus/orange fruit flavor and caramel malt to balance the pine, which is really evident as the beer warms up a tad. Very glad I bought a case of this, but I doubt it will last the winter as planned.

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Photo of leantom
4.52/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a change from an earlier review. Tried another bottle and found it to taste better than I had initially thought. Here goes:

A: Looks great. Dark but clear amber with a one-inch head. Plenty of carbonation to boot, too.

S: Very good. Piney, lemon, grass and grapefruit but also some lightly-kilned caramel malt. A good balance of malt and hops.

T: Can taste lots of pine and grass from the hops, and these flavors are backed up by a nice amber malt backbone. Very toasty.

F: Great.

O: This is still a very good beer despite not tasting as good as in recent years.

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Photo of FacistCannonBall
4.52/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

2007 version. Loved this beer. The hops on the nose carry through to the taste in wonderful bitterness and flowery notes. The malt flavor does a nice job of balancing and adding to the taste. I loved the dark amber color. I could drink lots and lots of these.

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Photo of KroMagnon
4.52/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This was the 2004 edition. The beer is a slightly hazy amber color with a decent light-tan head. The aroma is nice, although a bit underpowered, with a nice blend of malt, a touch of a grainy complexity that's a little like caramel but not quite, and a spicey hoppy / ester character that is kind of a blend of cinnamon, cherry, and oak aroma (I have no idea where that comes from but it reminds me of that - I'm not suggesting the beer is aged in oak, though!!) The flavor is nice, with maltiness bordering on sweet without being the least big cloying - I don't know how they pull it off but SN always does. There is a bit of hop note as well. PRobably my biggest hit on the beer is that its been topped by other offerings in terms of "bigness", but this remains one of the more drinkable beers in its class and is consistent year-after-year without being boring and predictable.

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Photo of keifffff
4.52/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Look forward to this Ale every season. It is one of those staples that is very easy to drink and very good on your palete. This one is highly recommended. Has the perfect holiday season taste. Always bummed when I can no longer find it around. That is why I buy cases of this stuff.

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Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
4.15 out of 5 based on 10,107 ratings.
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