Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

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3,413 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

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Reviews: 3,413 | Ratings: 10,014
Photo of WCBCFrank
4.53/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Every holiday season there is at least a 12 pack of these wonderfully hopped beers in my fridge...pours a crisp bright amber with a great fluffy head; awesome amount of hops (dry hopped with Cascade and Centennial) and great crisp tasting, it makes you want another sip almost immediately....a masterpiece of brewing.

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Photo of dacrza1
4.53/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

DATE TASTED: December 29, 2013... GLASSWARE: Howard's Pub pint...OCCASION: last day of 2013 for Browns fans... APPEARANCE: beautiful amber brown body with a creamy white head that sits resiliently; lacing is total and impressively cumulus... AROMA: cinnamon, nutmeg, and cascade hops; hints if honey assuage the pinecone explosion... PALATE: active, medium-to-full bodied presence; at 6.8% ABV, packs a palatable punch...TASTE: nice malty presence; the balance is impeccable-- "whole cone" aptly describes this IPA impact... OVERALL: among the many holiday brews I've tasted, this one continues to consistently provide a warm, welcoming friendship at an un-Scroogelike pricetag--sessionable despite its weight and strength...

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Photo of swamiswamu
4.53/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

It pours with a rich, reddish hue and one inch head that doesn't quickly dissapate. In other words, it is a beautiful beer. The smell is dominated by hops and illicits a piney reaction. Here comes the hops. This is a highly hop dominated beer, but at the same time it is balanced. It has a malt finish that raises its mouthfeel. I could drink it all night.

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Photo of ewright
4.53/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a DFH snifter, I got a decent finger's worth of head that was slow to dissipate. There was a small amount of lacing on the side of the snifter. The beer pours a beautiful copper color. The aroma is outstanding... would have received a 5 if it were a bit more bold.

This beer hits the tongue with a vengeance. Hops up front, hops on the back side, malt showing through in fits and spurts. The lupulins dance on the tongue, producing a tingling sensation that cannot come merely from the carbonation. Unlike many winter beers, this one has no added spices... with such a big hop profile, none are needed.

This beer is a bit too strong to be a session beer, but it is an outstanding example of an IPA, which happens to be my favorite style. I'd love to see this one year round!

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Photo of cdmop
4.53/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Great Ipa.

Look forward to it every year. This year is no exception. Awesome head and great lacing the while way down. Dry finish that leaves you wanting more.

Taste is fresh oily hops citrus grapefruit and drinkability is very high. I have a case on hand throughout the season. Very refreshing. If you like the wet hop ale you will love this. For the price it is a steal. Too bad this isnt available year round or it may just be my goto beer. Well done.

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Photo of irishkyle21
4.53/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I really enjoy this beer and am very happy to have a case. It pours with a huge frothy foam that holds up superbly and leaves behind an abundance of lacing. Has a rich amber color.

The first whiff is all hops ( lots of pine, citrus and some tropical fruits). Then the malt, fruits ( and spices?) start coming through only to get pushed aside by the hops.

The on slot of hops continues on the palate. Lots of citrus and pine, a good malt bill, spices and a dry finish. The mouthfeel is very creamy and smooth. Another excellent brew from one of the most respected breweries in the U.S. (IMO).

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Photo of SchmichaelJ
4.53/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2002: I've grown a strong liking for hoppy ales lately, and I was very, very satisfied upon drinking the Celebration Ale. From the bottle, it poured a nice, dark orange / brown color. A beautiful full head stood atop the glass, and was very well-retained throughout. Complex and tight lacing was also present, and I'd have to describe its overall appearance as creamy and full on top, sharp and mellow below. A luxurious hop aroma was present, and a nice spiciness added to the wonderful smell. A very pronounced hop bitterness was noticed in the taste, along with a subtle and pleasant maltiness. The higher alcohol presence was noted but not intrusive...most welcome, in fact, on this cold December night. A full, creamy mouthfeel was cut sharply by the prickly carbonation and felt great in the mouth. Overall, the Celebration Ale has been one of the best brews I've tasted since I began seriously reviewing beer. It's a great seasonal brew, and will very likely accompany my holiday celebrations for years to come.

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Photo of DNICE555
4.53/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

What a great beer. Got a 12 pack and had a bunch of times at Eli's fresh on tap. I think the tastiest one I had was the one I enjoyed when I was playing black ops. So smooth and drinkable. Hops are so refreshing. Very dangerous at 6.8 percent. I could drink a ton of these. Very crisp. Sierra Nevada is such a BA brewery. Their stout, torpedo, pale ale, celebration, bogfoot... ect ect. They rarely miss for me.

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Photo of iconoklaztor
4.53/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

FINALLY got this!

The appearance is very nice! A great head and a nice body! The head is an ivory white and a dark golden body!

The smell is very hoppy and great for the IPA! Its wonderful! The taste is crisp and citrisy.

This is very drinkable and refreshing.

Overall, its a very clean, hoppy, and refreshing brew! Well done!

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Photo of Sam-VW
4.53/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

2013 bottle kept in cellar poured into Belgian goblet

A - very dark, almost red. Thick white head that eventually fades down leaving a little bit of lacing

S - Fresh citrus hop aroma. Very unique as far as hoppy goes.

T - initial grapefruit, citrus that leaves behind an earthy finish

M - Very smooth indeed. Just the right amount of carbonation. No dryness.

All in all a fantastic beer on a cold night.

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Photo of BrewMaster
4.53/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: 2004, Poured from a 12 oz bottle. Color is golden amber with an off white head. It has a nice fluggy head with great retention and lacing on the side of the glass as the beer is consumed.

Smell: Sweet hoppy floral nose. I had no idea this was supposed to be an IPA, but as soon as I smell it, it was clear that this was an IPA in very true California style.

Taste: Very sweet with a clean hoppy flavor up front. Notes of cinnamon, clove, fruity esters, and a hop bitterness lingering at the end.

Mouthfeel: It's medium bodied and smooth on the palate without any uncomfortable stickiness.

Drinkability: Easily one of the best Christmas releases I've had. I will gladly enjoy this again.

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Photo of stealth
4.53/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 batch poured in a tulip.

As I've mentioned before - I'm not into hops much - but this is very nice beer, and I will definitely have it again. Nice golden honey with a foamy everlasting head. Strong bitter, citrusy taste which is balanced well with the sweet malts. Nice, nice, nice.

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Photo of onewetpaw
4.53/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass.

A- Piney notes along with some mild citrus hops.

A- Brilliant light amber and slightly ruby hues. Thick off white head.

F- Firm bitterness and piney hop flavor predominates. There some warming effect along with some rich malt notes and a little caramel sweetness.

M- Typical SN carbonation and dry finish. Quickly leaves the palate and leaves you wanting more.

O- An IPA turned to 11. Really nice IPA character along with more malty character and mild alcohol warming that fits perfectly as a winter seasonal. Something to seek out each winter.

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Photo of ckeegan04
4.53/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2007 bottle into mug.

A - Amber color with excellent head and lacing. Good retention.

S - Hops. Nice fresh citrusy hops. Could also pick up some spice and a hint of the alcohol.

T - Everything it was hyped to be. Great bitterness and some nice toasty malts as well.

M/D - Very smooth and well balanced. Hits you with all the right tastes in the right sequence. Just top notch.

I didnt learn of the wonders of the SN Celebration until late this winter and by then I couldnt find it anywhere in Nashville. Figured I would just have to wait until next year but I ended up in California last week and stumbled across a shop that had some around. Lucky me. One of the best beers I have had.

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Photo of budgood1
4.53/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5


my first celebration!

pours out a hazy bright amber colour...slight and tight off white head and lots of festive lace. looks delicious. huge hop aroma...spruce and pine...followed by a citrus punch. a x-mas tree jammed into every bottle. the taste is all about the bitterness and the hop load that provides every perceiveable angle at hop nirvana. cascade hops run roughshod over my taste buds. a bit harsh for non IPA lovers but just right for me. malt backbone is ample and telling, but seemingly meek and mild in comparison to the sensory overload that is the mighty hop. mouthfeel full and explosively bitter. finish is zesty and hopliciously bitter. i can see why this is a classic beer to age just for the intrigue that surrounds what this ale could morph into.

as it is fresh and full of is unbalanced and extremely bitter. delicious nonetheless. because a steady supply of SN has finally reached my area, i will be buying as much of this as i can to drink this holiday season and a bunch more to lay down and age for future reference. wow is this a killer IPA.

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Photo of BeerBelcher
4.53/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The only other Sierra Nevada product I'm really familiar with is the IPA...I must say I am very impressed with this one!

It pours a beautiful sparkling copper color with an abundant tan head. It looked great in the pint glass.

Smell is pleasant but not overpouring, and is honestly the weakest attribute of this excellent beer.

Taste is slightly sweet and hoppy. Mouthfeel is slightly seems to stick to the roof of your mouth like an IPA. I regret I only bought one of these...I could drink several more. Not much more to say, except that I highly recommend this beer!

(2006 edition)

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Photo of jjanega08
4.53/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A=a dark amber almost straight red color with a 1 and a half finger head that grew surprisingly after the pour. I thought it was just gonna be a tiny head at first. Great lacing along the sides of the glass
S= Lots of floral hops and some piney hops to go with it. Smells fresh just like I like um
T= Just like the nose. Large amounts of pine hops with a nice bitterness to them. Some very muted spices in it, cinnamon amybe deep in there with some cloves?
M= highly carbonated which I enjoy for this style. medium body feels great
D= very high. over all it's a great beer, the hoppy taste to it reminds me a lot of the surly's furious that I enjoy so much. Very nice replacement for anyone who is not in the surly's area. Great beer love it

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Photo of t0rin0
4.53/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Update: I should probably reveiw this new as that's how most people are going to be drinking it. Appearance and body are the same but the hop flavors and aromas are mostly floral with plenty of pine and woodiness. It can be a very nice beer if you drink it within the first month or so from bottling but it can turn into something fun after a few years. It oxidizes in a nice way.


I recently aquired bottles from a number of different years. These include 2006, 2005, 2002, 1999, and 1990. I tried them all this month (August 2007). Believe it or not the bottle from 1990 (almost 17 years old now) was still quite good. It seems to have mellowed more than the 1999 bottle though.

The appearance is as it has always been, a reddish color with a bit of brown in there. Nice color.

The fresher years smell spicy and hoppy but the older they get the sweeter and less hopy they smell. Not necesarily a bad thing, just the malt coming out.

Fresh celebration ale is fairly bitter. It has a very dry aftertaste. The flavor is malty but that is overpowered by the hop flavor, which is not a bad thing. The older they get the more chocolatey and sweet they taste. Its unfortunate that I couldn't try some more years between 1990 and 1999 because the 1999 seems to be the best that ive tried whereas the 1990 seems to have lost a bit of flavor and is most certainly over the hill. If I get to try some more years I'll update this post.

Mouthfeel was the same for all years. Very smooth and thin. That seems to be a characteristic of Sierra Nevada beers.

Drinkability is a tough one to describe. Judge for yourself based on the flavors that ive described.

Overall this is one of my favorite beers of all time (out of the 460 or so that ive tried)

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Photo of sleazo
4.53/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5


A-Reddish/orange brown clear hue with a four finger head produced by a hard pour. Beuatiful cream coloured head has significant retention like perfectly whipped cream or root beer float. The lace here is a thing of true beauty

S-super concentrated Sierra piney/grapefruity hops. A nice malt backbone here.

T-More of those Sierra hops. Really good strong hop flavour that is well balanced by the biscuit like malt backbone. This is a hop bomb that is balanced. A great lingering bitterness coats the tongue. This is better fresher but it has held up well.

M-Nice creamy body with a medium low ammount of carbonation. the hop character has a certain oil feel.

D-Sierra Nevada does it right despite their size, this is a great IPA and a wonderful seaonal treat.

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Photo of pat61
4.54/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

L: Brilliant copper amber under a 3” thick cream colored foam collar that hugs the glass.
S: citrus, malt and some grass.
T: Big citrus and herbal hop entry supported by a sturdy malt backbone leads to a bitter citrus rind finish.
F: Creamy smooth, medium soft, medium full body.
O: A hop driven beer that is at its best young.

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Photo of Chris585
4.54/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

One of the best fresh hop ales out there. Still impressing me to this day. Just the right mix of hops and malt. Prior year releases at least in last two years were a little hot, this year is absolutely amazing.

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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 coasterfreak75
4.54/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The pour was a nice amber/orange with a two to three finger head that slowly dissapated and left a nice lace on the glass throughout the drink.

The smell was citrus up front with a nice hop spice mixed. Also, there is a hint of apricot in the rear of the nose.

The drink starts with a hop kick up front and goes quickly sweet with a fruit tone. The finish is nice hops that linger, but not too long. The hops are there but not oily, just a nice hop flavor.

This is a great IPA! Good for a newby in IPA's and great for a seasoned beer drinker. Great flavor, great look, very drinkable.

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Photo of Erix
4.54/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

From bottle to pint glass
Appearance: A moderately vigorous pour yielded a substantial, lasting, pale khaki head. The beer itself looks allright, and is a reddish gold, but there is rather a lot of sediment in there.
Smell: Citrusy hops here, with sweet malt to back it up. Great aroma to this beer.
Taste: Hops are of course the most assertive flavor here, hitting you right up front. Bitter grapefruit primarily, and a little bit of oak in there too, towards the end. The malt is present, and does a good job of providing some depth and balance to the hops, but they dont really try to compete. Bitterness stays for a while after you've finished each sip. Delicious.
Mouthfeel: Full and oily, but the sharpness of the carbonation seems to power the oil away. Actually rather refreshing.
Drinkability: I don't think that I could ever tire of this beer. Truly fantastic, and it leaves me wanting another.

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Photo of twaddlac
4.54/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A- Burnt orange, caramel color with light brown, yeasty head. Graded bubbles with many nucleation points. Sticky head that never gets too big but it doesn't disappear quickly.

S- Very hoppy, a pinch of citrus and undertones of toasted malts. Very smooth smelling, not very astringent.

T- Mild hops with a very nice malty taste, balanced very nicely. Toasted malts are very strong in the after taste, with a touch of caramel.

M- Sticky and a bit dry and mildly carbonated; the right combination to enrich the flavors of this beer.

D- This is one of those beers that everyone should try. I could quickly put away at least a 6 in one sitting because the taste is just that good! If anyone says: "I don't like the beer you drink!" give them this beer (obviously you will have to wait until it's in season).

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Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 3,413 ratings.
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