Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

10,212 Ratings
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: 10,212
Photo of timtim
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

just got a chance to have a couple pints of a 2006 vintage (one year old cellared keg obviously!!) at Dr. Dremo's in Arlington, VA... already reviewed this year's batch, but just in case anyone else is curious, it held up really, really well and definitely took on some new dimensions. beautiful appearance with that insane lace that lets you see every sip you took. taste and nose... the hop character held up nicely... the mix of hops that they use seemed to turn in to a nice hybrid that created a citrus flower - almost orange blossom like - taste. malt character really came out as well. soft and smooth. tasty and virtually no bitterness. a real treat. thanks bill!!!

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Photo of maxpower
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark copper color, foamy head, citrus hoppy aroma. Medium-Full bodied and unfilterd, thick head leaves a nice lace in the glass. Very hoppy with a good malt backbone, balanced creamy soft mouthfeel, I love this IPA.

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Photo of shabbtastic
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Purchased a growler full at Oliver's Beverage. This is definitely one of my favorites. Poured into a SN Pint glass a day after fill.

A - Pours a beautiful reddish brown. Plenty of carbonation left a two finger foam head that lasted the whole way. Lacing was pristine, as it left sticky trails all the way don the glass to the last sip.

S - Piney, citrus hops, with a nice balance of spice abound.

T - YUM, Hoppy and malty with the perfect balance of creaminess. God I love this beer.

M - Medium bodied with a full fell on the tongue. Very warming with a nice hop finish.

D - Very drinkable beer and much recommended from a growler. I finished the growler the same night as I opened it; just keep that in mind. I'll be sorry to see this one go away soon, but will be eagerly awaiting its release next time!!

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Photo of mjn5036
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2010 has arrived- it's a good night.

I love the bottle art on this one - not quite as much as the Tumbler bottle - but its close.

This one pours and amber and copper colors with a massive off-white head white, mostly due to my over zealous pour. The head slowly returns from whence it came leaving a ludicrous amount of sticky lacing clinging all over the glass. A generous amount of foam rests upon the meniscus long after the head has dissipated.

The nose is primarily of the generous amount of fresh hops added to this one - a lot of citrus, slight piney hop, faint spice and soft breadiness.

The hops hit the palate first - a rush of floral offerings and sweet citrus hops. Following the hops is a fantastic maltiness that balances out the flavor profile marvelously. It finishes with the Sierra hop bitterness I have grown to love.

This is a liberally drinkable beer with only a faint sense of alcohol presence. It is medium bodied and smooth on the palate. What we have here is a full-bodied IPA engineered perfectly to be drunk on a cold night whilst sitting before a fire. Not your typical winter warmer but a work of art in most ways - close to perfection in all facets.

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Photo of nomad
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a reddish amber, what I would call a beautiful iridiscent color. Had a bubbly pocky foam falling to a thin and sudsy head, and not always much lace. A wonderful color, though.

Smelled of sweet grapefruit with spikes of pine attached to it, like a syrupy hop juice. Great caramel malt in the background. Overall, for me this beer had the presence of when you're cooking a good piece food and it starts releasing its fresh essentials oils - that's what the wonderful hop presence smelled like. Always in front of a setting sun of rosy waves.

Taste was of a delectable bitterness: juicy, tart, cutting, and with abundantly high-grade freshness, it was all propped up on a rosy juice flavor. Had some lemon flavors right before the finish, like biting into a wonderfully balanced hop juice. The beer settled well with opening and my tastebuds adjusting to the bitterness. After getting used to this beer I noticed a masterful amber ale flavored malt, bordering on rosy but made even more spiky that big ol' bitter.

Nice drinkable mouthfeel, I call this the star of Sierra Nevada. I crave having this beer around through the cooler months.

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Photo of zymurgywhiz
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Consistently excellent. The San Francisco Chronicle said of this delicious beer... " Simply the best beer ever mad in America"-
and I'm not about to quibble - though I still have a penchant for Bell's Two Hearted Ale.

All in all, its color, aroma, mouthfeel and tatse are as good as it gets for an American IPA - beautifully balanced - a perfect winter warmer as its inviting label shall attest.

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Photo of microbrewlover
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This brew pours a copper brown color with a three finger head, good carbonation and thick lacing which stays on the glass until the end.

The smell is strong citrus and piney hops. Grapefruit, orange and pine dominate. A little brown sugar and carmel are present as well.

The taste starts with sweet malts then quickly moves to pine, orange, grapefruit with mint and another strong dose of pine hops coming in on the backend. The pine and orange, along with strong hop bitterness, reamain on the tongue at after the finish. The alcohol does not leak through into the taste but does leave a warming effect after swallowing.

The mouthfeel is smooth and creamy with just a little bit of grittyness left in the mouth after swallowing.

This is almost the perfect IPA for winter. It has plenty of hop bitterness and taste along with a warming effect. I could see myself hunkering down with a case of these on a cold winter night.

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Photo of StaveHooks
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a hazy amber copper. A rocky 2 finger off-white head retains very well.

S - Woody pine forest, fresh pine needles, orange and grapefruit citrus, strawberries, doughy caramel malt.

T - Citrus hits first and is more pronounced than the aroma lets on. Green pine cone hops come in and add some herbal bite along with earthy strawberries along a honey caramel malt.

M - Very creamy medium body with moderate carbonation.

I look forward to this every year and never disappoints.

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Photo of JohnnyP3
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 Celebration Ale into a standard pint glass. Pours a slightly hazy orange-gold with a lovely pillowy head of 2-3 fingers worth that grips the sides of the glass like a vice. Lacing goes all the way down the glass.

Aroma is a fresh pine forest in winter with a blanket of snow and a touch of citrus fruit from hops.

This beer has a fantastic, strong malt foundation that is capped by the fresh hops, providing great balance and a transition from bread-biscuit malt taste to wonderful fresh resinous bitter pine flavors. The malts also kick off some caramel flavors. Kind of like SNPA on steroids. The hops provide all kinds of interesting flavors, to include pine, slight citrus, pineapple, and tobacco.

Mouthfeel is rich from the malts and slick from the hop oils. Overall goes down very smoothly with a nice amount of carbonation.

In conclusion, this is a delightful holiday brew. Very festive and provides an added punch for cold winter days. Not a spiced beer, so again, sets itself apart from many other holiday offerings. Without a doubt a go-to winter seasonal brew. Go-to? What the heck, it's awesome fresh-hop glory!

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Photo of pianoguy
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle from a 12 pack
Full disclosure; Total wine has a clearance section for seasonal beers near the the end of their season. I picked this up for $9.99. Label says it was packaged 11/25/2014.

Pours murky orange with a fluffy 3/4 inch, "surface of the moon", like head, that sticks around for a while. I can't say enough about the appearance of this beer's head .I'm giving the look my first 5 ever.. Good lacing all the way down the glass.

Smells of orange citrus with a little nutmeg - cinnamon .

The taste is slightly different then the smell. I couldn't smell the malts but I can sure taste em . Got that slightly bitter hop finish.

Great feel. It's got that "quaff my thirst" vibe due to the excellent head

Overall an excellent beer. It's nice to find a great IPA that only comes out in the winter. I usually switch to porters and winter warmers in late September but I will be looking for this IPA next winter.

Bravo !

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Photo of mophie
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

What a treat. It looks terrific in a glass, with a subtle reddish hue. The taste is piney with hints of grapefruit and a touch of spice, though it's better after it's warmed a bit. I've got one left from this season, so I want to wait until the last possible traces of winter before I pop it open. Alas, this has become one of my favorite holiday traditions.

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Photo of Duttonic
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2010 batch poured into a Sam Adams pint glass.

A- Ruby red/orange in hue, two fingers off-white head that fades quickly, medium/large bubbles in the head, decent bubbling in the carbonation.

S- Spicy, dry, hoppy, pungent aroma. Pretty much what you want your IPA to be, if you are a hop-head.

T/M- Ka-pow! Hop bomb for your taste buds. Spicy at the front, smooth with just enough carbonation to tickle your buds in the middle, and a nice crisp and dry finish.

D- Wow. I wish this were year round. I love IPAs and this exceeded my expectations. Must stockpile for the long winter.

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Photo of jtw5877
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a copper/orange color with a steady white head,A multitude of hop flavors, enough malt to hold it together plus various spices, One of the reasons I look forward to winter. This was the first holiday brew I have ever sampled, and it pretty much got be back into drinking quality beers.

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Photo of GPHarris
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2005 release reviewed on 11/8/06

a - poured a one finger thick light tan head into a tumbler. bright amber color and slightly hazy. leaves a nice lace throughout.
s - citrus and piney hops hit you at first but floral tones begin to come through.
t - nice hop to it and the malt is also good. citrus and bready tones interchanging throughout.
m - crisp with a slick mouthfeel.
d - this is a good warming beer even though the alcohol content is not that high. the alcohol is definitely not evident. this beer is well-balanced and one of my faves.

i've heard mixed reveiws on the 2006 version. i hope it's at least as good as this one that i've been cellaring for about a year.

2007 release

a - poured a two-fingers thick bubbly tan head into a goblet that left great sheeting and lace throughout. the body was a bright amber color.
s - very strong piney hops with some cinnamon and other sweet spices and it had a nice malty caramel aroma too.
t -this is hoppier than normal, especially at first and they have a touch of spice. the malts come out a little more towards the finish.
m - medium thickness and tastes very clean.
d - another good offering, this seems much hoppier than past releases. i think this beer is as good as it gets after one year of cellaring so we'll see how this compares this time next year...

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Photo of peabody81
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%

I have enjoyed this beer many times over the years, but this year is the first that Sierra Nevada has been local to North Carolina, so I've never had one this fresh before. Bottled on 9/26/14.
Aroma: piney, but not overwhelmingly so
Appearance: very nice orangey-amber-brown with delicate lacing
Mouthfeel: just right, not too watery, but not chewy either (not that there's anything wrong with that)
Taste: More balanced than I remember, but my hop tolerance is so high now that what would be insanely bitter to others is meh to me. Leaves a very nice, just the right amount of bitterness, aftertaste. Very drinkable.
Overall: One of the all-time classics, getting it fresh - BONUS!!!!

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Photo of bigaltemple
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Amber/dark copper in color. Thick, foamy, off-white head becomes a rocky cap. Tons of sticky lacing.

S - Amazing nose! Lots of floral hops upfront. Almost tropical with orange and peach coming forward. Mild sense of pine and grass. Underlying malt presence balances this out really well.

T/M - Sweet and bready malt blends with floral and earthy hops to make this extremely well balanced. Bitterness is spot on and leaves just enough of a lingering aftertaste to make you take another drink. And another, and so on... Medium body with great carbonation.

O - Always a favorite, never let down by this one. Almost always have a couple in the fridge during the holidays.

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Photo of BamaBeerBuff
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2008 batch, drinking fresh. I intend to lay some down for a while and perhaps integrate reviews...

A: Pours a deep orange-copper hue with a sizable toffee colored head that pits nicely in the shape of an egg as it recedes. Retention is excellent and it lays down some serious lace on the side of the glass. A wonderful appearance.

S: Hops, fo sho. Huge pine and huge citrus aromas. I'm getting just a hint of caramel in the smell, too. Swirling and more warming reveals a sweeter spice aroma, too. Intense, complex, and pleasant--the aroma is solid.

T&M: Flavor is initially sweet with a substantial hop bite in the finish. The hop flavor is more piney/herbal than citrus, with a really solid malt backbone giving some balance and a slight sweetness midway through. The finish is long and bitter with an herbal/earthy character. Though it tastes great right now, I'll be most interested to see how it tastes as the hops mellow over the course of the year. Body is medium to full with an understated, tingling carbonation that really allows the full complexity of the flavor to develop unimpeded. Nice job.

D: For being a higher ABV, fuller bodied IPA, it actually goes down quite smoothly. I drank it in gulps, not sips, and my glass emptied quickly. SN definitely created a beer that would facilitate some Christmas cheer quite quickly.

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Photo of jsanford
4.51/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Fresh 2010, poured into a pint glass

A - Hazy copper with a thick and creamy white head. Retention is amazing and the lacing is out of this world!
S - Fresh, clean hop bouquet packs a pleasant wallop, tons of orange juice, grapefruit pith and pine resin. Caramel malt provides the balance.
T - Again, the hops dominate, very fresh and crisp with more orange, grapefruit and pine resin. Caramel/toffee malts smooth out the hop bite, but the finish is rather bitter (in a good way). Flavor and bitterness lingers on the palate for some time. Delicious!
M - Very creamy mouthfeel with a medium body and medium-high, crisp carbonation.
D - Drinkability is off the charts for me, I blew through this Sixer pretty quickly.

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Photo of KeefD
4.51/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Copper orange with dense rocky head and tons of fine particulates floating around. I love unfiltered IPAs and this looks like the best of em. The lacing on this thing is incredible as it quickly leaves my glass. Did I really drink this much in only a few minutes?? Nice citrusy aroma, orange, lemonpeel, grapefruit, pine. It has all you need, but there's always room for more. Very nice caramel flavor with citrus hop blast that makes me pucker up. Grapefruit and pine are present, which I like, good use of caramel malts, semisweet at first, but dry on the finish. It's pretty much everything you want and need out of an IPA. Creamy, smooth, yumm. Balanced and delicious. Probably the most drinkable IPA I've come across. Why is this not year round??? Well done SN.

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Photo of Tank880
4.51/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

This beer provides a very nice head. At times, depending on the glass, the head is a bit too thick. But the smell, the smell is superb. It is by far my favorite. The taste has a fine hop bite without being overpowered with the bitterness or the alcohol - but you know it is there. A favorite seasonal beer of mine.

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Photo of Offa
4.51/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is, for me, absolutely one of the best things Sierra Nevada makes. Hoppy it is, but not dominated by grapefruit, and well balanced, with solid, well-rounded character.

Pale, bright copper, it has a very big, pale tan head steadily shrinking to a thin, foamy frothy ring and leaving some nice rings of lace.

Aroma is orange, pine, grapefruit, caramelly raisin, caramelly grain. Grapefruit, though present, is not dominant even amongst the hops, so the hops have a good range of elements and overall it has nice complexity.

Taste is similar, light with grapefruit up front on the first sip, but soon fading into the balanced, complex mix of orange, pine, spicey leafiness, light toastiness, raisiny grain, and caramel underneath. It is overall very juicy, spicey, and aromatic, with alcohol just adding a warm fullness. It has balanced bitterness and sweetness, with lingering, faintly bitter spiciness. The feel is soft and full but light and not quite oily. It is excellent, complex, just assertive enough while still being restrained and balanced, and very drinkable.

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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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Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
4.15 out of 5 based on 10,212 ratings.
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