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: 10,202
Photo of WVbeergeek
4.57/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

SNCA 2003

Appearance: Immaculatey forms with deep copper amber tone and a two finger sized cream colored head leaves behind scattered lacing very nice brew. Aroma: This one doesn't take you by the hand, it just wallops you with cascades and a huge layered malt profile, floral and piney with a caramel malt like sweet scent this one is amazing. Taste: Well, I this beer and I met early in my beer journey a few years back when I was first getting into beers I ran into this on tap in Fuel and Fuddle in the Oakland area of Pittsburgh. To this point my brother Dante' and friend Kolby had tried many different beers together, however after ordering the SNCA my bro and friend were totally turned off making statements like "this tastes like pine sol" and "that's overkill on the hops" well I am proud to say I didn't have that reaction. I absolutely love this beer from the first time I tasted it. Cascades slide upon the palate with an oily resin given them their lubricant capable of being so silky and smooth, while the hops do steal the show I still find this one balanced enough with caramel sweet sticky maltiness so good. Mouthfeel: Perfect carbonation, hop burps come after only three or four sips medium bodied well textured I love it. Drinkability: Definitely need to pick up a case of this beer this coming winter enough hops and malt to keep me happy for a long time.

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Photo of stakem
4.3/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very clear light amber/orange color with more than a finger of slightly stained yellow head; pretty solid retension. Lacing is clinging all over the glassware. Aroma is a nice mix of citrus, floral, spice and well kinda mint-like hops with a little backing of malt. Bitter in both the front and the finish with lingering hop character. Thin feel with a moderate amount of carb. Overall a very enjoyable beer. Only thing I would discredit this beer for is the lack of malt in the taste.

Enjoying this with some blocks of aged sharp cheese, absolutely awesome.

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Photo of johnnnniee
3.8/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2007 Bottling

Amber/copper color with a fluffy merangue like head, deep due to a vigorous pour. Strong smell of hops, citrus and pine, almost no malt present. Tastes of bitter resinous citrus hops. Medium carbonation and body with a bitter aftertaste. This is the first time I've tried the Celebration Ale, but now I can see where the inspiration for the Anniversary Ale came from. Descent brew, not an every day drinker, but nice for a hop fix.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
4.1/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2006. Off notes from 12-15-2006.Pours a clear very clear amber. Nose is a hop head heaven. Tan head. Flavor continues on the apparent hop theme. Hops. I don’t need to say more than that. Feel is basic and standard. Typical stuff. Drinkability? High. You could down a lot of these all night…or day. Whichever your preference may be. Whereas it is nothing special or unique as far as offerings go, it is very well crafted. Smooth and even and worth trying. Or worth buying more than one of.

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Photo of tdm168
4.03/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a ruby amber with a mountain of dense, foamy, pillow-like head that has great retention. The nose is all hops; earthy, piny, spicy. The taste is light bready malt; faint citrus; piny, spicy hops, and a clean bitterness that lingers on the palate after the finish. The mouthfeel is medium bodied, moderately carbonated, and quite smooth.

I love it! Every year I pick up a case. I wish this beer was year round. What a solid, balanced IPA that really does warm you up on cold days.

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Photo of WoodBrew
4.22/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

When I saw Fresh Hop Ale...from Sierra Nevada...I got excited!!!! You can smell pine and citrus at the pop of the top. The hop in this beer is probably what most people would like to taste in the Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. Color is fine and a good head after the poor. Cant go wrong with this one...enjoy!

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Photo of smakawhat
4.15/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Back for the re-review and checking this out at a time of release. Vintage 2011 poured into a nonic pint glass.

Appearance is not different, still looks great.

Nose is a soft hop green, small brown sugar, and small sweet cloves and nutmeg. Malt angle seems toned down a bit. Sense of cherry fruit.

Taste is a good hop pine, but also a real chili hot sting in the finish. Finishes sweet and malt rich also. Body seems a little rich as well, but nothing too sweet or cloying. Good hop presence on this, much of the brown spices and fruit sense on the nose doesn't come through on the palate as much with the noticeable hop presence that takes over.

Overall much better fresh by far, really enjoying this much more than in the past. A hoppy Christmas beer, enjoying that.


Poured from the bottle into a nonic pint glass. Vintage 2010. Seems kind of late doesn't it? How is this going to turn out for a beer that comes out in September? Well we shall see I guess.

Out of the bottle a VERY large head is created that is off white, slightly soapy, and has some REAL good retention. Body color is a solid perfect amber just barely getting into red. Some small carbonation from the bottom and some slight opaqueness. This looks real good! Some sheet like clumps of sticky lacing too.

The first thing on the nose is some sweet cherries and nutmeg. Christmas like spices, and a small hint of pine. No wonder this thing is a seasonal December beer, it feels like Christmas already! Dry spice and pine with a hint of cherry fruit. Just great I could dig this smell anytime.

Taste is lacking. A muted hop and somewhat wet body. I am a bit disappointed from what the nose was hinting at. That pine like sense comes on the finish, but there is no body or malt backbone on this at all. I'll give it some props for displaying some hop finish.

Well it's a little disappointing but I sure would like to try this again when it is in season and I will for sure! I was debating about trying this at such a time but couldn't help myself. No regrets, looking for better things come September! I will try it again for sure!

4.5, 4.5, 3, 3, 3.5

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Photo of ejimhof
4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a large head with lots of lacing.

S- Pine and hops are present.

T- Slighty bitter and slightly sweet which is how I prefer my IPA's.

M- Medium bodied and dry.

D- Like all other Sierra Nevada beers you can predict how this beer tastes and it most often is a very good beer. This one fits the mold.

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Photo of jwc215
4.58/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours amber with thick creamy head that stays around the entire time. Beautiful rings of lacing stick to the glass.

The smell is of fresh, floral, citrusy hops. Spiced breadiness. Slight alcohol.

The taste is of citrusy, chewy hops over wintery spices. Slighty woody. Sweet graininess in the undertone balances things out. Long, dry finish. Well-balanced for style with hops dominating, but with enough malt to give it a deep, complex richness.

Incredibly smooth and delicious. The alcohol stays in its place. Like in years past, this one is not to be missed this year!

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Photo of Billolick
4.55/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2000 vintage Celebration ale, from Sierra Nevada

I was lucky enough to find a sixer of this stunning beer from the 2000 vintage at Route 59 Beverages in Nyack NY. With a full five years in the bottle, this one now is a soft dark auburn stunner. Smooth mouthfeel, nose of subtle brandy and piney hops. Mouthfeel is pure velvet. Notes of smokey brandy, pine sap, vanilla and rum soaked blondies, yum. A few years in the bottle and the flavors are soft, balanced and meshed. Put Celebration away for a few years and you will have some wonderful, soft and smooth stuff.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.32/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Color is a dark amber,edging into red, with a huge, handsome, off-white head. Aroma explodes with hops, calling forth sensations of citrus, grapefruit, orange, peach, lemon, a beautiful, albeit bitter, fruit bouquet. Texture's tasty, body's light/medium, finish is quite delicious and lasting,. Overall, an exceptional overboard IPA!

My tiny complaint, though this is a brew that I sample and enjoy every year, like all beer lovers, is that it's character doesn't offer much than you'd imagine of a super-hoppy IPA. When I think of seasonal wintertime beers, I expect something darker, with extra flavors, suitable to the chilly days we have have to endure. (At least, those of us who have winter...). It's a pity they don't release this year 'round as an IPA, as that's the only staple missing from their portfolio.

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Photo of MasterSki
4.3/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked this up at Binny's. Served in a Pisgah pint glass. 2011 edition (obviously).

A - A finger-plus of white foam settles to a thick cap that features excellent retention and plenty of sticky lacework. Lightly hazed gold-amber body with visible streams of bubble.

S - As soon as I popped the cap the room filled with fresh tangerines and grapefruit rinds. In the background is a sugar cookie and icing sugar malt backdrop. There's a bit of festive pine for good measure, and the faintest soapy Cascade note.

T - The taste doesn't quite have the same punch, but it's a delicious mix of clementines and sugary pie crust malts. There's some medium-low bitterness, but this actually finishes surprisingly clean with a bit of lingering orange flavor.

M - Extremely resinous, with tons of lingering hop oils. Medium-light body, with moderate-to-low carbonation. Dry finish, with the aforementioned enamel-coating sensations. Never would have guessed this was 6.8%.

D - This year's celebration is great. Shame on anyone who questions the hoppiness this year. I remember being lukewarm on some previous iterations, but this one is a real winner. Get out there and grab a sixer.

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

Poured from a bottle into a beer mug. The beer is a cloudy, bright copper-brown with a decent, thick, foamy 2 inch head. Smells are heavy in malt, citrus and spice. The smells are pretty robust and full. The beer has a heavy hops undertone, with top flavors of citrus and spice. The spices taste like coriander and nutmeg, and they do a good job of not overpowering with the spice. The beer has a smooth and round feel in mouth, with a sweet, crisp finish. The beer has a slightly bitter hops aftertaste, with some of the spices present there, as well. Very decent holiday beer, and very easy to drink.

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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 Duff27
4.38/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Near full inch white head on a murky amber body. Great lacing and head retention.

S- Floral/citrus smell

T- Mmm pungent citrus taste from the hops. Caramel notes, slight biscuit. Would place the alcohol higher than 6.8% but that's fine with me!

M- Wonderful full mouthfeel, good carbonation.

D/O- One of the better IPAs most will have although I will admit I'd rather have it be a seasonal, add to the experience I feel. Brings back memories every winter I have it! Last year while ice fishing...this year beating my sister in Scrabble...

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Photo of Tone
4.1/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy amber color with 5/4 inch head. Great retention and great lacing. Smells of citrus hops, sweet malt, slight earthy malt, slight floral hops, and strong wet hop. Fits the style of an American IPA. Mouth feel is sharp and crisp, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of citrus hops, sweet malt, slight floral hops, and hint of wet hops. Overall, good appearance, aroma, body, and blend.

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Photo of drabmuh
3.88/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2009 vintage poured into a conic pint glass. Beer is copper / amber in color. No haze, it is clear, the head is thick and yellowish and collapses leaving lots of lacing on the glass.

The aroma is primarily hops but it is way too subtle for my tastes. Mostly citrus like hop aroma.

Time to drink, its a good IPA. There is some nicely balanced hop bitterness in the back, it is not in your face as you might expect. Some sweetness in the front makes it easy to handle. I'm a hop head and this isn't the hoppiest IPA I've ever had but its really good. The bitterness kind of coats your mouth. No aftertaste, but the residue builds as you drink it.

Mouthfeel is good, there is nice palate continuity and there is no real after taste. Drinkability is high. I would recommend this beer.

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Photo of aasher
4.18/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This one pours a light bodied auburn in color with a light off white head that sits atop the brew. It is light and well carbonated, releasing bubbles from the bottom of the brew the entire session. It smells very dry and hoppy and has a little musk to it. It drinks like dry, very dry and gives me cotton mouth. It's very hoppy but not piny or citrusy. I'd say it's better than the Sierra Pale. It drinks very crisp and light bodied. I like this one. You wouldn't know it's 6.8%.

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Photo of Hopheadjeffery
4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tasted in a pint glass from a 12 oz bottle. Look is bright amber, two finger head and lingering lacing. Smell is citrus fruit and hints of cocoa. Taste is bitter lemon and subtle dark chocolate notes. Feel is medium in body with a smooth finish.

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Photo of stevoj
3.29/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Bottle from Albertsons. Surprised its taken me this long to get to this one. And a bit disappointing to boot. I guess was expecting a bit more from SN for a seasonal. A touch more bitterness and bite than the norm. Still good, but I was hoping for a bit more "Wow!"

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Photo of LiquidAmber
4.3/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Review from 1/2010 notes. Poured into a Gulden Draak tulip. Pours a medium orange amber, one finger fine to medium white head with moderate retention and great lacing. Aroma of piney and herbal hops, sweet malt. Flavor dominated by herbal and piney hops, light grapefruit, decent sweet malt backbone, very nice. A nice IPA and great annual treat. Every year I'm surprised again how great this tastes.

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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 liamt07
4.23/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle from AJ's Fine Foods in on North Central in Phoenix. 2011 vintage, 12oz bottle into a chalice.

Poured a hazy, rust red/brown with a few fingers of offwhite head with some good density to it. Excellent 'whipped cream'-like retention, and laces sheets. Nose has a great wet hop character, raw and resinous citrus of orange and grapefruit character, some tropical notes and a general herbal/grassiness that I always seem to find in fresh hopped ales. Some sweet caramel breads behind the hops. Taste is bitter right off the bat, with some substantial citrus rind, pine, berries and floral/herbal hop notes again. Sweet caramell-y bready malts again that are secondary to the juicy and chewy hops. Medium full mouthfeel with a solid bitterness that hangs around long into the finish in a grassy fashion. A touch of alcohol and sweetness, with medium carbonation. Great flavours and complexity, I'm certainly curious as to how this ages.

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Photo of tempest
4.11/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Picked up a growler from Finger Lakes Beverage on a saturday trip to Ithaca.

Looks pretty damn good. Pours a dark amber with great head and lacing.

Stong smell, very similar to taste. A strong, but well-rounded hops aroma. A little citrusy.

Tastes pretty good, but could use a little balance in my opinion. While the hops did taste great, the beer lacked complexity.

Nice in your mouth, but overall, a little tough to drink (especially and entire growler). Recommended for any hop head.

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.49/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottles purchased at AJ's Beer Warehouse in Henrietta, NY.

Pours a crisp looking clear amber, with a 2 inch head, and lots of lacing.

Smells so piney and resinous, like a goddamn Christmas tree.

Tastes so sticky and great. Spicy herbal hop flavors, pine needles and pine sap, floral tastes, some light grapefruit and citrus flavors. Slightly peppery. Amazing that this beer isn't spiced- the earthy spices are all coming from the wet hops. Sierra Nevada is a master of this style of IPA.

Medium bodied, and well carbonated, creamy sticky mouthfeel.

One of my most anticipated seasonals. God status.

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Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
4.15 out of 5 based on 10,202 ratings.
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