Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

3,466 Reviews
Sierra Nevada Celebration AleSierra Nevada Celebration Ale

Brewed by:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
California, United States

Style: American IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.80%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
Fresh Hop Ale; no spices.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 11-02-2001

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Reviews: 3,466 | Ratings: 10,211
Photo of Lauthaha
4.58/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a beer taster.

Appearance: Beer is a mostly-clear deep golden hue with active carbonation visible through the glass. Head is super frothy and rich-looking, and dimples down beautifully over the course of several minutes. Great retention.

Smell: Bright, crisp citrus zest on top of some piney hops. Some caramel-type malt in the background. Tantalizing.

Taste/Mouthfeel: The malt lays down a nice thick base right off the bat. Carbonation creates a cool lava flow on the tongue, and hops begin to strike like lightning bolts on a placid lake. Very bitter, piney; some spicy notes thrown in for good measure. Finish is crisp and dry, and leaves you wanting more. A little on the bitter side for me (I'd like to see a little more citrus or malt sweetness), but an amazing brew, indisputably.

Overall: Wow. Definitely worth the $2.00 price tag! Sierra Nevada has impressed me again.

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Photo of Bonhoeffer
4.58/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Amazing that a brewery as big as SN can produce a beer like this. Also amazing that a beer with only 6.8% alcohol can age so well. I did a mini vertical last night of an 03 and an 04 to see what happens to this little guy over the course of a year.

Nice amber hue. Hops are very up front, lots of aroma. Flavor is dominated by Cascade, but the malt is there. Intensely bitter.

Holy crap. Is this even the same beer? This one is much more magnificent than its younger brother. Hops have mellowed and taken a step back, and there's some sort of amazing flavor here that i didn't detect in the 04. Very spicy and complex. This is indeed a world class brew. Makes me think that this beer may be one to not even bother with until the next year's batch is released.

I may be drinking 04s in 2006, 05s in 2007 and so on.

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Photo of Dix90
4.58/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: A red-brown amber body that cascades into an off white head with a hint of beige.

Aroma: Citrus and pine hops shine through with a background of spiciness. Followed by the sweetness of malts and the strong wintertime spices like candied caramels. Cinnamon, a bit of nutmeg. A hint of the burning sensation of alcohol ends it warmly.

Taste: Follows the aroma. Very sweet and spicy up front evened off by strong American hop boldness that cuts out with a tinge of alcohol and a dry finish. Very good

Mouthfeel: smooth and full but still light. Very pleasant and appropriate for the flavors

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Photo of BillyBrew
4.58/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I was eager to try this one out, and it exceeede my expectations.

A sexy, nutty-amberish colour with a rocky/chunky creamy-head that stays thick and leaves heavy rings throughout. The nose was chock-full o' hops; oils, flowers and leaves. Some rindy-citrus and a hardy crystaly-malt sweeten the nose a shade. This brew is more tasey-hop than strikingly bitter. All the strong hop-oils, and to the lesser, hop flowers are vibrant and present upfront. Although not balanced, the grain malts try to carry the hop burden. The malt adds a slight sweetness that cuts the bitterness some. Very solid medium, nearly heavy body that has a soft but present carbonation.

Something like this reminds me why IPA/heavy-hops were my first love. The power and presence of the hops head-off a perfect drinkability score as this brew is not one for easy/lazy drinking. The brew requires your attention. Snatch this brew up before the seasnos change. Enjoy, repeat! Cheers!

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Photo of decasere
4.59/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bought this as part of a four way split with some friends, we usually get some every year.

Marked 2009 vintage on the bottle

Pours a dark coppery orange with a huge head and leaves lacing all the way down the Pint Glass.

The Aroma is piney with grapefruit, alcohol and a caramelly sweetness.

The flavor is a bit deceptive, grapefruity and piney with a maltiness i wasn't expecting, you can also taste the alcohol the aftertaste is that of fresh whole flower hops like biting into a hop flower.

All in a a fully enjoyable experience.

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Photo of BittRnessabounds
4.59/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've had many of these fine beers from the 2002 batch. What a wonderful and warming beer. You don't need to be celebrating something to drink this beer, you should just be celebrating it's existence. I sure celebrated finding this beer (3 actually, shared with Marty and EmoBeerGuy) discarded in a dorm hallway next to a trash-can. I don't know who discarded it, but we were more than happy to give them a home. I finally drank mine, probably the last one I'll find until next year, today on a cool late summer day. It was just as good as I remembered all the others this year being. The wonderful deep amber and thick head with lace that does not quit is only a modest hint of greater things to come. The wonderful hop aroma is likely the most pleasant I've experienced. If you like very hoppy beers that are nearly perfectly balanced with malt and some fruit, you will love this beer. The medium body and near perfect carbonation make this beer a pure joy to drink. The 6.8abv doesn't hurt either, considering there is no hint at all of the strength of this beer. All in all this is just a great beer.

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Photo of rsmith232
4.59/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Just put a 1/6 barrel in my kegorator! I've had this from the bottle several times and was thrilled to find a keg at Total Wine dated 10/21/13! SN makes awesome beer and this one ranks among the best of the IPA style. HOPS are very distinct and balanced with no after taste.
Appearance is amber with lots of lacing. I love you SN!

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Photo of Seanniek91
4.59/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2012 12oz bottle poured into a Grey Sail pint glass.

Appearance- Kind of hazy amber with fluffy one finger head that dissipated relatively quickly leaving nice lacing.

Smell- Absolutely incredible. Fruity plum and apple with floral and piney hops. Alcohol is present as well.

Taste- Piney, floral hops with some flavors of apple and alcohol sweetness.

Mouthfeel- Very nice carbonation with a nice resinous mouth feel.

Overall- One of my favorite seasonals. Great IPA with some nice alcohol warmth to warm you up in the cold NH winter.

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Photo of MarkQ617
4.59/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is my fourth Sierra Nevada, had it poured from the bottle into a pint glass. Legit winter beer. Usually the winter beers are full of sugar and spice, but this one is just crisp and refreshing. You can smell the forest when you stick your nose in the glass, it's glorious. Lots of head just piles up as the glass fills. Pick up a case of these every Christmas just like decorating the tree or buying presents. Love it.

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Photo of GClarkage
4.59/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Consumed in October 2004 at the Toronado on tap. Was the first time I have ever had a Celebration before. I've seen so many people rave about; so I figure why not have it from the tap for the first time. Poured with a decent head and left little lace while drinking through the pint. Smells of flowers, fruits and hops come out in the nose. Tastes of the exact smells. More hops that I expected. I was thinking there would be a heavier alcohol taste aproaching a weak style barleywine. A nice carbonated and crisp beer. Very drinkable. It still wasn't as good as I thought it would be though. Maybe because I thought it was a different style. Still a good-very good beer worth picking up.

Update 2003 version-

Tastes pretty much the same except maybe a slight bit less hops. Still an excellent beer. I have had several samples of the 2004 and now that I know what to expect, I think I will change my original rating. This is a very class beer.

Update 2005 version-

Finding myself now drooling over this beer. Purchased a case of the 2005 from Costco for about $24. This years seems very hoppy with a big pine or woodsy flavor to the hops. Almost feel like raising drinkability to a 5. Already looking to buy another case to get me by until 2006.

Update 2006 version-

This version is as good as it always is. Seems even more like a traditional IPA this year. Plenty of hops and a nice caramel malt base. Very well balanced.

Update 2007 version-

Again, a winner. Maybe one of the best yet. Of the three bottles I've had, they seem more sweet, but maybe not quite a hopped up. Compare this years version to Lost Coast Indica. Very good as usual.

Update 2008 version-

Seems to bit a bit more malty this year. Still very good, but I've enjoyed all the past years a bit more. Still won't stop me from buying a case each year...and from drinking the rest of this years stash. Still an above average IPA.

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Photo of godlessape
4.59/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Tis the season can mean a lot of different things to different people, but to me, I think not of candy canes, shopping malls, annoying as shit carols, or eggnog; I now think of Sierra Nevada Celebration.
I poured this one into a Samuel Adams pint glass. The body has a dark rich copper color to it that's topped off with a massive beige pillow of fluffy goodness that sinks some but not much.
The aroma seems dominated by grapefruit, and pine, but lurking not to far behind comes the fruity, caramel sweetness.
The hop bitterness cuts through your tongue and shatters the jaw, then mercifully lays flat a thin layer of sweetness.
The mouthfeel is thin to medium.
Overall this is my favorite seasonal. Another great one from the mighty Sierra Nevada.

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Photo of Ryan4120
4.59/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

L - light brown/amber with a nice light tan head that sticks around - nice amount of lacing.
S - citrus, pine, malt
T- citrus and pine mixed with a smooth and sweet malt backbone - finishes with a nice hop bite. Very clean and pure tasting.
F - full body with medium carbonation - very smooth
O - A very solid winter IPA. Nice citrus and pine notes with a malt backbone.

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Photo of apr3940
4.59/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The beer I wait for every winter! I've never meet a Sierra Nevada I didn't like, and the Celebration Ale is no different. Full boastful flavor, with a great moutfeel, and even better after taste. Like with all Sierra Nevada products great whole cone hop taste, definitely a beer that will make you "merry" for the holidays!

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Photo of jp32
4.59/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: An aggressive pour creates a huge, frothy cream-colored head capping off a beer that is a nice bronze color. Leaves nice lacings all the way down the glass.

S: The nose is citrusy and piney. Oranges and Lime really stand out in the smell, lemons, and a little pineapple. Not fresh pineapple, but the kind that comes in a can. A sweeter version of hoppy.

T: That citrusy bittersweet-lime flavor really comes out in the taste. Lingers for a while in the aftertaste as well. Spicy and hoppy. The hop profile is wonderful. A very nice tasty and aromatic mix of citrus and floral hops. Quite extensive citrus flavors. Definitly has that tangy-ness on the sides of the tongue. Kick-ass Christmas time beer... Hell, this is a kick-ass ANYtime beer.

M: Excellent carbonation. A hair heavier and I'd call it medium-bodied. Its not thin or anything, actually very nicely done.

D: Awesome drinkability. Why did I only buy a single???

Quite similar to SNPA, maybe a tad fruitier? I've absolutely enjoyed this one, and will be enjoying it again as soon as I can. Very nice beer, I'm surprised its taken me this long to get around to it.

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Photo of mjtiernan
4.6/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12oz bottle poured into a NB globe

A: Rich copper with a perfect pillowy one finger head.

S: Citrusy/fruity hops and floral notes...mostly grapefruit, orange peel and grape juice. Add to that a touch of grass.

T: A sublime balance of pine resin and zesty grapefruit. That gives way to light-biscuity malt and a tongue tingling punch of bitterness in the finish.

M: Medium body, above average carbonation. Dryer than SNPA, but not nearly as parching as Torpedo.

O: I’m not going to lie..this is a beer that I always look forward to and drink in quantity during the holiday season. I could pretty much write this review from memory. Long live Celebration!

PS - Could hardly taste the nutmeg and cinnamon this year! :)

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Photo of Caesar1pup
4.6/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Brilliant! Top Notch! Oh how I will look forward to this every winter now as I look forward to pumpkin ale in the fall.

How do I love thee? A phenomenal flavor, enticing aroma, and addictive hoppiness that says “Merry Christmas ole pal!”

My advice to you young friend is get some while you can as next December is far too long of a wait to enjoy this holiday treat.

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Photo of jmerloni
4.6/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - Beautiful bright amber orange. Gorgeous white pillowy head. Bubbly. Awesome looking.

S - HOPS!!! A lot of hops! Pine, too.

T - A lot of hops, grapefruit, pine, and a nice mild malt backbone that is just enough to keep this in perfect balance. Some spices in here too.

M - Medium bodied'ish. Dry dry. Carbonated moderately but not overly so.

D - One of the 3 most drinkable beers I know of. This beer has been a go to for me since I started drinking beer and is the PERFECT beer for the holiday season. Pretty much the only IPA I have a desire to drink during the winter months, and I drink it more frequently than any other beer during this time of year. A favorite. One of the 5 or so beers I expect to consume most of in my lifetime.

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Photo of ElderBeagle
4.6/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Since there are a million reviews I will not go into details. This is the perfect example of a balanced beer. Both the malts and hops are in perfect harmony, neither one tries to overwhelm you. The carbonation is there but there is no prickly burn, its just right. I understand why this is so highly regarded now. It is the most balanced beer I have ever come across.

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Photo of CRJMellor
4.6/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12oz. bottle of the 2003 version reviewed

Pours a medium copper color with a huge thick white head. Aroma has very oily and citrusy hop profile with a cetain amount of spice. Taste is a classic mixof malt, hop spiciness and bitterness. Great mouthfeel as this beer slides down your gullet after having a party with your taste buds.

I've been away from Sierra Nevada for too long. I haven't had one for probably 10 years and been way too long. This is truly a great beer. To me its almost an Imperial IPA with all the hop to it. Amazingly quaffable beer and I can only dream and imagine how good this would be on draught.

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Photo of rdrummer
4.6/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I look forward to this every year. The 2003 Celebration Ale pours a clear, medium amber with a creamy head that foams nicely and than subsides to thin lacing all the way down. The predominant aroma is the hops in this one. I am a hops addict so this one is great. There is a fruitiness underlying the hops, and there are some spices that I suspect are nutmeg, clove, and maybe cinnamon.

The overwhelming taste is the hoppiness. The carbonation is right for this type of ale. I taste a little citrus in with the hops and a definite spicy taste deep in the beer. It is excellent, and feels great in the mouth. The spicy, hops taste lingers but this is a hop lovers delight in taste and feel.

This is the most drinkable of Sierra's seasonals, and beats its flagship Pale Ale hands down. This is something to look forward to each Christmas season.

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Photo of frank4sail
4.6/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2002 Vintage
Signature fresh hop sweetmalt nose. Cystal clear reddish color and look, Thick sticky, rocky, head that lasts and a lace that clings to ya like your college girlfriend did... The taste is dominated by a hoppy, earthy, signatures and the brew has a chewy caramal malt backbone. This brew can '"take a lickin and keep on tickin" (and no referances to my college girlfriend again). As the beer warms the mouth smoothes more and more.. Smooth medium to fuller mouth comforts the tongue. This beer is the perfect way to celebrate if you love hoppy brews. At 6.8% very drinkable. You will fall in love with it without thinking (like you did in college)!

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Photo of Neehan
4.6/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Finally got this in my area and well worth the weight. Pours a light and moderately hazy copper with a very nice, thick yet light head. Very nice lacing. Very floral and fruity in the nose with light grassy undertones. The taste is exceptional as well with a medium body and a welcome blasting of hops. Again the grassy grains are present. Very nice. Incredibly drinkable. When I had one, I absolutely had to have another. This beer will just make you happy-- period. Cheers.

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Photo of kels
4.6/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Had a bottle to ring in the new year! Poured into a pint glass as the ball dropped.

Appearance: Gorgeous plummy amber with good carbonation running throughout and a 1-finger tan head that shrinks to a skim quickly. Good lacing remains throughout.

Smell: Great citrusy hop smell, big on grapefruit and pine, combines really well with a warm, toasty grain tone.

Taste/Mouthfeel: The hops present very directly in this beer - there is strong citrus rind presence with a great balance from toasty, almost crunchy tasting grainy maltiness. The alcohol comes through, but isn't too strong. The mouthfeel is light and bright thanks to the good level of carbonation.

Drinkability: I could drink this all night. Nuf Said.

I have to mention that I've had plenty of these before, but I just got around to reviewing it because I enjoy it so much that I've never wanted to sit down and actually think on it enough to write it. I figured since my stock for the year is almost gone, I better get to it!

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Photo of Dodt
4.6/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Picked up a six pack of this last week finally decide to crack one open after a crappy day at work.

poured from the bottle to a pint glass

Appearance : deep amber color with a thick lacing

Smell very sweet hoppy

Taste very hoppy

this is the one of the best american ipa i have had so far .

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Photo of rayjay
4.6/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I'd like to dedicate this review to all the Celebration Ale bashers out there.

And, when it came time for my 100th review, I could think of no better beer! Released about 3 weeks ago. Served on tap from Tres Hombres, a Mexican restaurant in downtown Chico, CA. Keg was tapped yesterday.

What a great looking beer. Copper colored, and the head is off-white with a slight carmel color. The head persists for the whole beer and cakes the sides of the pint glass. One confident brew.

Nose is full of C-hops, which can also come across as Deep Woods Off bug spray.

This beer is the definitive C-hop beer. The first assault on your tongue comes in the form of fruitcake, with lots of dried fruits, pine, spicy carbonation, and hearty fresh-baked bread. About one second later, all is taken over by a dominant bitter wave, which persists through the relatively long fallout.

This one has a strong ale body, and is both balanced and taken over by the hops; balanced because it's heavy, but never sweet, and it gladly hands the spotlight over to the bitterness.

Maybe there's a novelty to drinking it in it's home town, a day after it's been tapped and 3 weeks after it's release and the chilly weather outside, but boy oh boy, this is one fine beer and I'm really enjoying it right now, and it's the absolute perfect pairing for these spicy fajitas in front of me. Perfect fall weather beer.

This would also pair perfect with fruity ice cream, like peach or mango.

Well, here's to another 100 reviews, and then some! Cheers!

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Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
4.15 out of 5 based on 10,211 ratings.
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