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Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

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3,441 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: 3,441 | Ratings: 10,109
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 Gagnonsux
4.03/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Celebration Ale is copper in color with a foamy, creamy head. The head sticks around till the end of the glass and stays fairly foamy for most of the glass. Aroma is entirely of strong citrusy hop smell. The taste is big and hoppy. Strong bitterness in the finish, which lasts a good while after the sip is complete. This is maybe just a little too bitter for it's own good, a little more tasty hop flavor profile might kick the taste up to a 4.5 in my rating scheme. Then again, this is only my 3rd IPA, so what do I really know. Anyhow, I still very much enjoyed Celebration Ale and will be picking it up again next winter.

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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 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 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 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 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 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 vfgccp
4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Great looking bright copper body.  Mixed bubble, white head with low retention and lace.

S - Herbal hops with thyme, rosemary, and sage.  Light resin.

T - Aggressively bitter.  Pine-like hops are sharp and bright up front, and deep and resinous through the finish. Light malt center.

M - Medium/full body with a bitterness that coats your palate.  Nice carbonation.

O - Pine-loaded hop bomb.

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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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 TheSevenDuffs
4.45/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - Poured a slightly cloudy amber with a small amount of white, fluffy head. Some visible carbonation.

S - A sweet, hoppy nose with hints of citrus and pine.

T - Hoppy but well balanced with sweet citrus. Some floral notes too. A very well balanced ale.

M - Medium body; slightly chewy. Some carbonation but not too much.

D - An excellent ale that almost seems like an IPA at times. A must try and winter time staple.

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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 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 Mebuzzard
4.6/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A very nice amber/burgundy pour. Some haze and cloud. Foamed head to about 2 fingers.
Aroma bursted out of the head with some orange peel, cinnamon and pumpkin spices. Over taken by hops and citrus zing.
Tastes fantastic. Good balance between the chocolate hints, spice, alcohol and hops. the citrus and piney hops are very well maintained and not overpowering, but it is an IPA. Very nice drinking. Easy finish. Crisp. I should get some more!

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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 WesWes
4.45/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a dark amber color with a thick frothy white head that fades to lacing. The aroma is awesome. It is full of piney hops, pale, and crystal malts. It has a nice balanced aroma. The taste is great. It has the best of both worlds. It has a very intense hop flavor which is accompanied by a complex malt bill. The mouthfeel is also good. It is a medium/full bodied beer with excellent carbonation. This beer drinks great. It goes down easy and shows little sign of it's elevated abv. . This beer ranks along side the best I've had; a real good beer.

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Photo of DoubleJ
4.48/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I last enjoyed this a year ago on-tap, so I'm excited to retry it, this time from the bottle. The pour is shimmering with copper, and the aroma is soft. It's still delicious as I remembered, but oh mama, it is dangerously drinkable! I might need to run back to the Wine Exchange and buy some more.

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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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Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
4.15 out of 5 based on 10,109 ratings.
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