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Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

3,412 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: 3,412 | Ratings: 10,006
Photo of neonbrown82
4.62/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I've been waiting all year for this to come out since I didn't get around to reviewing it last year (and because it's really fucking good).

Pours to a dark amber color with minimal carbonation but a nice thick white head with a decent lacing. Yada yada yada, on to more important things...

This beer smells and tastes great! It's the next best thing to taking your cascade hops intraveinously. Very fruity and piney with a nice spiciness. Also a bit more of a full malt character than their Pale Ale.

I was so glad to see this on the shelves at work that I had to take home a case. Hopefully this will last past my birthday in a week, but the drinkability of this beer may prove me wrong.

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Photo of Reidrover
4.62/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is the 2002 bottle i got the very last one at my local store..all gone so happy i got it now.
Good appearance pours a nice murky brown with a smallish head that leaves a lace down the glass.
The smell is unbelievable..marvelous the last few nights I have had some great smelloing beers this is another!..malt and big hop smell combine, a work of art.
very treacly taste bitter aftertaste on back of tongue..strong coffee even..a meal in a bottle.
Lovelly over the tongue warming..
Very drinkable for such a strong brew..and none of the stringent alchol taste..great beer.

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Photo of marcpal
4.62/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass. This was an outstanding beer, what a great year for this SN.

A: Yellow gold and dark with a shiny nice foam head. Moderate lacing.

S: Floral hops. Not too subtle but ridiculously appetizing. True IPA aroma.

T: Contains both ends here- the grapefruit citrus hops with the spicy hops are in great combination. Really a treat to drink this one.

M: Bit of the oily hops with medium carbonation.

D: Not so much a seasonal only, really should be brewed all year around. The hops are great in this one and has nearly ideal balance of a terrific IPA.

Definite must try, pick some extra up before this season is out.

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Photo of sderenne
4.62/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

I have looked forward to this beer every year for a long time. It is always a great beer. Since I have had a kegerator/keezer for a few years I also like to buy a keg. The 2015 release is outstanding. It seems to have a little more punch this year than last years. It is great every year but I swear that this year it is close to being the best ever. Sierra Nevada wrote the book on craft beer and they still put out consistent, quality and affordable beer. You can buy 15 gallons of this for just a little more $ than 5 gallons of the popular craft beers. Truly an outstanding beer.

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Photo of JednoPivoProsim
4.62/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2010 Celebration. Poured from 12 fl oz bottle into Ommegang 10 year anniversary tulip. "Celebration Ale is a special ale for the holidays." Oops, I guess I'm a little behind. Do MLK and Presidents' Day count?

Appearance: Nice thick head, looks like you could balance a stack of coins on top. Cloudy amber color, definitely some sediment and "quiet" carbonation activity.

Smell: Hello! A citrusy hop surprise. I feel like this one's got a lot more aroma than some of my other recent IPA tastings. Could it be that seasonals are generally fresher by nature or is this due to the advertised "fresh hops?"

Taste: Full of flavor. This IPA is more on the citrusy, as opposed to the piney, side. I like it a lot - it's got a spicy kick on the tongue!

Mouthfeel: It's pretty smooth and coats the entire mouth...

Interlude: Yikes, I guess I liked this so much, I ran out before I finished the review, a first! Time to crack into #2 (holding the bottle up to the light, there is a ton of sediment swimming around)...

Mouthfeel (cont): Mouth feels good.

Drinkability: I could move through a few of these pretty easily. And SN always seems to be priced right for the job.

Overall: I like this better than Torpedo, but now I'm anxious to try these back to back. No doubt in my mind why Celebration gets the praise it does - and deserves!

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Photo of marksto
4.62/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This one is always the highlight of the holiday beer season for me - a true classic. It's never easy to find in this neck of the woods (Tampa Bay) - this year the search was made more pleasant by the excellent price ($29 a case) at the new Total Wine store.

A somewhat atypical holiday brew in that it doesn't feature any spices, herbs, or other unusual ingredients; this one lets the hops do all the talking. A big, woody, pine-tinged hop nose gives way to an explosion of classic american hop character typified by citrus/grapefruit essences; and it's all backed up by a sturdy malt backbone. It's an absolute must-have for any lover of american hops and what they can do in a beer.

Now, if only I could find some on tap someplace....

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Photo of ethosx19
4.62/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Big head, dark copper color, hop/fruity cherry smell, and a great spicy hop taste. The 6.8% alcohol gives a nice kick without any alcohol aftertaste. This is a great beer that is moving to the top of my list.

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Photo of therica
4.62/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I don't understand why seasonal beers that are variations or even totally different get clumped together like this one, but...

11-23-2010 review of Celebration 2010
4.5 / 5.0 / 4.5 / 4.5 / 4.5

Spectacular! A true beer experience.

A= deep orange-amber, nice fluffy slushy off-white head with huge rimming and lacing.

S= massive nose of pink grapefruit and sweet malts up-front, a fantastic bouquet of scents. Various complex hops and malts ranging from sweet into the grassy become very evident. The mix seems to vary depending on serving temp.

T= luscious, nice body with plentiful malts balancing the massive hops, both hops bitters and generous florals are very apparent. Moderate carbonation.

M= a light sparkle on the tongue, plenty of hops to the point of a sting on my lips but also nice chewy malts and bitters.

D= if you like complex hops and malts, beg Sierra Nevada to decide to make this a year-round beer.

12-13-2009 review of Celebration 2009
4.0 / 4.0 / 4.5 / 4.0 / 4.0

Very typical West-Coast trendy piney bitter IPA using generous amounts of West-Coast trendy Cascade hops in the wort.

IBU 62 (compared to the standard Sierra Nevada Pale Ale at 37).

A= nice, typical amber copper appearance for a strong Pale Ale, nice head but very little head if poured carefully..

S= pine and caramel malts, with grassy hints, some malts evident when it's warmer.

T= pine, mild florals, caramel, slightly grassy, very nice malts. Nice typical offering by Sierra Nevada although I don't know that it's much different than their standard all-year fare unless it's the extra malty flavor. I guess I expected more of a seasonal twist to the taste, maybe there's a touch extra caramel but not much else of seasonal note. Still of great merit on its own.

M= clean, with slight syrupy effect on the tongue; dusty grassy dry malts that stay around on the palate for quite some time. Mild astringency.

D= very drinkable if you're an IPA fan who appreciates the inclusion of bold malts.

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Photo of jeremyd365
4.62/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Oh my oh my! This 2008 batch poured a delightful coppery amber with a bit of light tan head. It smelled of rich, sweet hops. In the mouth it doesn't feel too thick and the bitterness can begin to be sensed. The taste isi wonderous! A crisp, hard hop bite while remaining quite sweet and piney as well. It finishes with bitter hops which leave a great flavor behind. Very drinkable and the 6.8% isn't noticable at all..at first. This is a great IPA which I think I'll be stocking up as my winter sipper of choice so far! YUM! Highly recommend!

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Photo of IPhantom
4.62/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I cannot believe I never got around to reviewing this beer. It's probably the beer that's most responsible for me going nuts for craft beer (that wasn't made by Magic Hat). This review is the 2011 version (obviously).

Goldenish amber in the glass, with a thumb-thick biscuity looking head. Lacing is sticky as hell and stays through the whole glass, with clouds hanging high over the pillow. The nose is, well...everything good about hops. You like pine? Herbs? Spice? They're all in there. I'd wear this beer like a cologne, but that might get me fired. There's a little bit of caramel back there too for good measure.

Taste is of course all hops up front. To me, this batch seems less grapefruity than in past years. There's still a lot of delightful citrusy hops up front, but less aggressive than I remember. As for the malt character, the best way I can describe it is like sweet potato fries with a little bit of an anise note. All of this tastes way better together than that description would indicate.

Mouthfeel is on the bubbly side, crisp and a little bit sticky with that citrusy aftertaste. The first few sips with a big head on it are the best. Virtually no alcohol at all for 6.8%.

This beer is one of my top picks for winter, pretty much perpetually. It's sessionable if you're careful and goes great with all that holiday food you're gonna be shoveling down. Highly recommended, as always.

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Photo of BitteBier
4.62/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very attractive, not-quite-clear amber orange. Active carbonation feeds a substantial foamy, light head that dissipates rather quickly but laces quite impressively down the side of the glass. Even when well-chilled, this beer has a strong, wonderful nose--very crisp and hoppy with some sweet fruit notes as well. Hops are omnipresent in the taste, muted at the start by soft fruitiness and by some dryness at the end. A bit oily in the mouth but a good mouthfeel nonetheless and eminently drinkable.

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Photo of barnzy78
4.62/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2012, and it's the 6th year in a row I've picked up this favorite of mine.
12oz bottle, a rocky, ivory head tops a bronze colored ale; excellent head retention & lacing is left all over the glass. The pleasant aromas of fresh, dank, piny hops coupled with caramely, bready malt fill the nose. Huge, fresh, piny hops (some pungent grapefruit in there as well) prevail through the healthy dose of malt. Notes of rye bread crust and caramel (a little burnt) try to balance out the pine, but can't stand up to it. Pine lingers & lingers on the palate while finishing dry and bitter. Medium body, smooth but resiny reminiscent of pine tar. Overall, although it's fairly one-note with not a whole lot of complexity, I love this seasonal IPA. I'm not sure why some complain about it being too piny...that's exactly the point they're trying to make.

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Photo of MP72
4.62/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-deep amber to almost orange color with a thick white head that lasts for days. Superb lacing.

S-Grapefruit, orange, and I could have swore maybe some corriander and of course HOPS!

T-Hops to the nines , and a strong malt presence.
Just enough bite to make you pucker and want more. This stuff is very good.

M-Medium bodied and not too much carbonation. I found it to be smooth for such a hoppy IPA.

D- Scary high,, I could drink several of these ,,, or at least I think I could. Cant say for sure how well I'd function but I am willing to find out.

If you see it buy it,, I had the 2008 and it was worth every cent.

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Photo of mrpicklerelish
4.63/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Apperance- This one poured a nice orangish copper color. The head was a nice light tan color that seemed to pretty much stick around the entire time that I drank it. Or maybe I just drank it a little to fast because of how great it tasted.

Smell- I smelt a floral and ctirus smell right off the bat. Along with a hint of herbs and spices.

Taste- A very nice hoppy IPA, one of the best that I have had. While strong on hops, it tasted very smooth and went down even smoother. There was also a glimps of malt which left a nice sweeteness in my mouth.

Mouthfeel- Despite the massive hops in this brew, it seemed to go very smoothly. Not a crisp beer by any means, but not to heavy either, just right.

Drinkability- Not a session beer do to the 6.8% ABV. But I will say, everytime I run into this brew I must pick up at least a six pack.

Comments- Wow, my first time with this beer and it sure made the last part of 2003 and the beginning of 2004 a blast. When I can no longer get this very special seasonal brew it will be a sad day. But it will sure give me something to look forward to next winter. One of my now all time favorites that I will be sure not to miss towards the end of the year.

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Photo of totallyrelaxed
4.63/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

First review of Celebration-

A- What a beautiful beer. A nice redish copper color which really fits the season. Beautiful off-white head about a finger thick.

S- Tons of juicy grapefruit. Some pine as well. A really crisp citrus smell with some nice malt in the background. A really great smelling beer.

T- Once again a ton of grapefruit and some resiny pine. The malt backbone in this is perfect. Just barely tames the bitterness from the fresh hops. Its what makes this different than other Sierra Nevada IPA/PA offerings. One of the most pleasant tasting beers i've had.

M- So drinkable. Not too creamy and some great carbonation.

O- I can't speak highly enough of this beer. Its not the best beer I've ever had but its definitely one of the most enjoyable to drink. Every Christmas I grow to love this beer more and more. It is Sierra Nevada's best beer IMO. It is perfectly balanced in a West Coast IPA kinda way. It is super drinkable and unique. I hear people say this is overrated but I personally think its underrated. What a treat. Worth the wait..

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Photo of mwolfe
4.63/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This is truly a great beer. Pours a nice copper orange color. A bit thicker but not as dry as the sierra nevada pale ale I am used to drinking (I prefer this for sure). Nice lasting head with decent lacing afterwards. The taste has nothing out of the ordinary but it has everything you need from a great tasting Ale. Hop flavor is strong but not overpowering. Its similar to a stone Arrogant bastard with a bit less hoppiness and abv.
There have been few beers i've enjoyed more than this beer. A definite winner all winter. I'll be purchasing this again for sure.

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Photo of dsa7783
4.63/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The first ever brew I had from the Sierra Nevada company, and what a way to start off! Absolutely slammin'... pours a dark brown copper color with carbonation present that gave way to a decent-sized frothy head... Smell is full of fresh hops and a faint aroma of spices... Taste is sublime... a great mix of hops and spices balanced out by the awesome freshness of the sample... Mouthfeel is equally great, but some points were lost to drinkability because of the relatively high alcohol percentage... Otherwise, an outstanding selection and a great example of a winter-warmer... Certainly recommended - an awesome brew...

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Photo of MirkoCroCough
4.63/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

2009 edition into pint glass.

Beautiful orange amber with nice foamy white head.

Hops, hops, and more hops. Touch of maltiness.

Sweet nectar of the gods. Pure bliss.

Smooth and glorious.

Six down and if I didn't have to go to work, I would drink these until I disappeared. Beer glorious beer. I raise my glass high.

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Photo of Gavage
4.63/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Just got my first 2003 six pack, and I was in heaven. Poured a amber / orange color with a thick bubbly head that remained through most of the drink. Lacing was beautiful. Aroma sported strong hops, with a sweet / sour sensation. The taste is great - strong hops with a nice balance of sweet malt. Some citrus seems to arrive on the tongue with the bitterness after swallowing. The carbonation level is perfect, giving some crispness to the mouthfeel. Alcohol level is barely detectable. One of the most drinkable beers I know, as several can be consumed in an afternoon or evening.

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Photo of twilight
4.63/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I've had this before, but I now realize the taste of other beers had influenced its flavor. So I'm reviewing it with a neutral palate. 2003 edition, 12 oz. bottle in nonick pint glass.

Beautiful bronze colour, with a ring of head around the outside that leaves beautiful lacing around the glass. The smell is a subtle and beautiful scent of hops, almost as though you were walking through a field of hops, but not overpowering. Taste is heavenly. Major hop taste without being too bitter or acrid. Perfectly balanced with malts. Neither sweet nor sour, but just inbetween. A delicately balanced beer. The other surprise about Celebration is that it goes down super smooth. Aftertaste is pure hops without being overly bitter. Just that nice smooth bitterness. All around an exceptional beer. Too bad I got the last sixer from the beer store. It's a crime to have this beer be only seasonal. But then again I suppose one will appreciate it better.

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Photo of jcompton
4.63/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

appearance: pours a reddish, very comparable to a red rye ipa. a 2 fingered head with fantastic retention

smell: hop dominant, with no questions about the style of this winter seasonal

taste: hop up front with a great finish. this is a west-coast IPA that isn't just hops kicking you in the teeth. well balance for the style

mouthfeel: once again SN has the ideal amount of carbonation to compliment the great flavor

drinkability: it's no wonder this is one of the highest "looking for to one of those this winter" beers. give me a sixer and i'm happy, give me a case and i'll send you a Xmas card every year for the rest of my life.

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Photo of lic217
4.63/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Look: light red, clear, with nice lasting head and lacing
Smell: Pine, Citrus, light malt
Taste: stars sweet, finished dry, bitter, with citrus, pine, and floral hops
Feel: Perfect thickness for style, not water, but not chewy, and nice carbonation level
Overall: a great brew

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Photo of TPoling
4.63/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This was my last coveted bottle of 2002 Celebration unless I get lucky and find some tucked away before late October when the 2003 comes in.

I still remember my first Celebration Ale several years ago. I thought I had found a close to perfect beer, and still go into ectasy when pouring the first one of the new batch each fall.

This ale pours an incredible bright reddish amber and has a creamy head that carries drapes of lace down the glass. Hoppiness is very pronounced in the nose and flavor, but does not take over the complexity of the malt.

2002 was not the best of the years, but was still one of the greats.

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Photo of strata39
4.63/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Copper-orange, like a shiny penny. Poured aggressively into a pint glass. I got a good 1.5 inch head, super fluffy like a vanilla ice cream cone that dissipates quickly into a thin lacing that lasts to the end.

Smell: Bright, like a flower growing on the x-mas tree farm. Tingly on my nose hairs.

Taste: Smooth malts hit first, then the hop fruitiness, then the hop bitterness on the back of the tongue.

Mouthfeel: Cuts well, leaving a fresh coolness. The XL head is creamy.

Drinkability: 3 of 6 in one night, max.

I only tried this because it was on special, and now it's one of my favorites. The only thing I don't like is that it's not always available.

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Photo of Hokies
4.63/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a nonic glass. Pours nice amber color with a massive off white head that leaves tremendous lacing on the glass.

Aroma is absolutely tremendous with a floral aroma of hops with grapefruit, citrus and pine.

A sharp taste of hops start off the flavor of grapefruit and light citrus kick through and then a slick oily pine flavor take over. It is balanced out by a nice malt taste that allows for this ipa to finish pretty clean with a nice bitterness at the end that is not overwhelming.

Not to much carbonation in the mouth which is nice and makes this beer dangerously drinkable.

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Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 3,412 ratings.
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