Celebration Fresh Hop IPA | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

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Celebration Fresh Hop IPACelebration Fresh Hop IPA
10,432 Ratings
Celebration Fresh Hop IPACelebration Fresh Hop IPA

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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Ratings: 10,432 |  Reviews: 3,525
Photo of indiapaleale
4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2009 - Pour - Light amber almost golden in appearance. Nice clean, clear pour with a big fluffy white head. Looking pretty damn good.

Aroma - Fresh pine along with lots of citrus such as lemons and oranges. Not so much the pineapple or grapefruit like some other West Coast IPAs. Very nice floral hop profile with just a touch of heat from the alcohol percentage involved.

Taste - Tongue and nose tinglingly hoppy. Plenty of piney goodness for which this beer has become known. The bitterness is right there from the start followed by a decent amount of malty sweetness to even things out. Very crisp and dry in the finish.

Overall - Very solid IPA. This is a pretty classic hops forward California IPA that has been around much longer than most other American IPAs. Big hoppy flavor with an ABV that warms the stomach nicely.

Would I buy more of it? - Yes, yes I would. I'll be buying some every year for the rest of my life probably.

Note: This year, 2009, marks the first time Sierra Nevada has released its Celebration Ale in their signature 24 oz. bottles. Perfect for sharing with a good friend on a cold night and also great for storing away for next winter to do a little side by side comparison with a fresh bottle.

Vintage: This bottle rolled of the line on Friday, October 2nd, 2009.

2008 - Pour - Dark amber and slightly hazy. There might be some suspended yeast making this a bit murky. Time has definitely taken the clarity away from the '08. The off-white head however is very thick and quite impressive.

Aroma - Burnt sugar/caramel is the big dominating smell. This is some malty stuff with a very slight hint of citrus. The hops have all but gone away. Reminds me of a Barleywine almost.

Taste - As far as flavor goes, this may smell like a Barleywine but the taste is more like a Scottish Ale. Big malty sweetness with only a tiny bit of bitterness in the finish. It has an apple cider thing going on and all the fresh, piney hop flavors have long been diminished.

Overall - After a year this has become a whole new monster. Malty sweetness has replaced bitter hoppiness and morphed this into something akin to a Scottish Ale or a Barleywine. The hops may be long gone but this is still a very drinkable beer. The past year has really smoothed things out. Definitely a delicious beer but I prefer the fresh stuff.

Would I buy more of it? - Absolutely, although this vintage is no longer available as the 2009 bottles have now hit the shelves. I may have to put away several of the 09s for 3 or 4 years down the road.

Note: Celebration Ale is the second highest selling beer for Sierra Nevada, falling behind only the almighty Pale Ale in volume sold. I can't seem to lock down a date in which Sierra Nevada first released their Celebration Ale but it was sometime back in the early 80s. Anyone know the answer?

Vintage: This bottle rolled off the line on Friday, October 17th, 2008.

2002-Crisp and intensely hoppy. A nice clean light amber color with floral scents and almost a bitter lemon feel. It leaves the tongue beat up with hops, but you need to go in expecting that. I really like this stuff and am glad it changes both every year it is made as well as every year it ages.

1996-Very malty in taste, that hoppiness that is so present in the unaged stuff is gone. It is a darker amber color with many complex flavors. Sample as many years as you can, its a great beer to put aside and let age.

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

One of my all time favorite beers. A beer that screams with hop flavor, like someone squeezed a grapefruit in the bottle. The chinook, centennial and cascade hops stand up proud for sure. This beer also has a very stiff malt backbone that makes the beer very enjoyable overall...and quite drinkable...just don't drink it first in a flight cause it will ruin you.

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

Appearance: Amber, light tan head.

Aroma: Hoppy Aroma, more piney than citrusy, but citrus is present as well.

Taste: Very balanced. The hops follow the malt sweetness and the two merge on the tongue.

Notes: In my opinion this beer gains nothing from aging. It's perfectly balanced now. I've tried one aged 6 years or so lately, and while it was still good, it had lost most of its hoppy characteristics. Find something to celebrate about this year, and buy a case or two!

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Photo of bierman2000
3.8/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A strong IPA that is almost like a Winter Ale, very smooth yet hoppy in the final taste. Copper colored with the smell of floral and hops that are strong in the nose.. a nice winter ale that is warming and actually grows smoother as the beer gets warmer.

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

Presentation: 12ox. brown bottle with no "bottled on" or "best buy" date; $6/6 pack from Signature Wine and Spirits in Santa Monica; label's bucolic Christmas imagery makes me wish I weren't Jewish; 2002 batch.

Appearance: Pours a deep, clear copper; beautiful 1"-1.5" off-white/pale-orange head; said head hangs around for the ride; heavy, intricate, sheet lacing. Pretty beer.

Aroma: Large dollop of cirtus hops may smack your nose, but honey-sweet malt undertones not to be denied.

Taste: Vibrant grapefruit-like hops compliment a delicious caramel malt backbone; floral notes abound; subtle traces of orange lurk in the background. Suitably carbonated with a nice, full mouthfeel.

Notes: Beautiful, well-balanced IPA. Mustard says drink.

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Photo of oberon
4.12/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A nice find in the middle of summer,a 2002 offering.Pours a nice copper clor with light to medium head that has some nice staying power,the aroma is hop zesty with a slight sweet background.The taste is very hoppy and citrus like but there is caramel malt taste that lingers as well.Very well done stays real well.

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Photo of jcalabre
3.36/5  rDev -19%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Originally samploed on 9 November 2002. I am writing this review from mynotes. This pours a clear harvest gold in color. The flavor has lots of hops on the palate. In my humble opinion, this is not an outstanding beer, but it is far better than average

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

2002 Bottle: Yep, liked it, like their Pale ale, this was nice and soft, with a perfumy flowery, piney hop nose, i could sniff this for a while. Very well balanced flavour, the start is sweetish malty with a bit of raisins or something, with a failry sharp, bitter, grapefruity hop finish, very tasty, and thankfully not over the top, very yummy.

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

Nice looking deep amber ale reminds me of a glass of apple cider. Millions of tiny particles floating giving it a cloudy like appearance. Thick creamy head with an almost blanket like lacing. Aroma is predominantly cascade hops, a trademark of this fine California brewer. Very smooth on the palate, a medium to full bodied ale which finishes with a little crispness. This is a great winter time ale and one worthy of celebrating.

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Photo of pheurton
4.28/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2002 edition bottled 11/02, sampled 06/03. pours a clear dark mahogony with a long lasting, tight, creamy head. roasty malts and citrusy hops on the nose. spicy, oily, roasted malty flavor followed by a lemony hoppiness. full, smooth, creamy body with a good level of carbonation. the hops have mellowed somewhat and aren't as "green" as upon initial relaese. i taste a more pronounced chocolate character as well. has mellowed nicely in 8 months while still retaining the characteristic hoppy snap. and all around great beer to look forward to at xmas, and one that seems to stand the test of time well.

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

celebration ale, you wonderous creation. pours ruby red and lovely with big aromas of citrus/piney hops that make you drool. the flavor, full and robust, some nice malt is there, but the whole story is about the hop. from the first sip, a mouthwatering twang hit the back of your jaws and from then on its a wonderful pine/grapefruit hop experiance. clean and crisp is the mouthfeel, lightly filling but in a comforting way. finishes with a tangy mouth puckering zip and the 6.9 % alcohol makes this brew so very deceiving. and thats just fine by me.

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

I'm re-rating some of the winter beers I rated when I first got on board and have since tried several more times..

-"Hop-a-long" winter beer....very hoppy with flowery and citrus tones...creamy finish...not a lot of malt balance but hops seem to settle as you drink deeper..Very solid beer particularly if you like a "hoppy" winter style.

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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 PhantomVodoo
4.12/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Copper in color with an off-white head. Chill haze present.
Nice aroma of piney, citrusy hops with pale malts underneath.

Taste shows a big piney, spicey hop flavor. Pale malts try to keep this one in balance, but the hops win out.

Good mouthfeel.
Good drinkability.

Overall, a good beer and a nice change of pace from the usual winter seasonals.

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Photo of Loki
4.2/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale 2002 sampled in a 12 oz. bottle.

Poured a rich copper with a 1/8 inch think, bubbly head.

Aromas of malt, hops and fruit, poured from the nose.

This ale tasted of hops first and foremost, then malt with some fruit and hints nutmeg. Great mouth feel, low carbonation, and decent lacing. A great seasonal brew. Thanks tavernjeff for the samples.

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Photo of SheepNutz
4.65/5  rDev +12%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had this in a 12oz. bottle poured into a tulip glass. There is a good 1.5 fingers of off-white foam, as I drink a fair amount of lacing is left on the glass. The color is a cloudy brownish red. The smell of spices and hops are very overwhelming, but exceptional! The taste is all spice and hops. There is maybe a little bit of clove or nutmeg in this one, and it has a good bitter finish from the cascade hops. The drinkability is very good for this style. The mouthfeel is heavy, yet smooth on the tounge. This is one great Christmas brew!

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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 marburg
4.12/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Wow. More hops than a pogo stick, folks.

Fairly big, fluffy, white head. Farmer's market aroma -- fresh flowers and citrus fruits -- that includes the very floral and evergreen hop aromas. Nicely medium-bodied. The hops are definitely the predominant flavor generator in this brew; they creep over the tongue from start to finish. Very subtle -- a wee bit of an unbalanced flavor here -- malt sweetness upfront and through the middle, but this finishes with a clean, big hop presence. I had two, but I don't think I could have any more; it just lies a bit to far over the hoppy line to drink a lot, but the high alcohol content is very deceiving. I really love Sierra Nevada, and this is another great offering from them.

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Photo of tavernjef
4.28/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Just finished drinking the first I've ever had of this Celebration, not only did it go great with my spicy sausage pizza for dinner, but is one hell of great beer. Quite a pleasant surprise, thanks SN.

Color is a golden orange with a off-white head about a finger high, top is lumpy with some big bubbles: settles to a nice even skimming with some nice clingy, patchy light lace.
Smell is a nice floral, lightly citrusy sharp hop, super clean and fresh. Taste is very smooth and bright with brightly floral hop thats a little bit spicy and bitter as well.
Feel is a lighter-medium body with a very crispy sweet dryness that starts in the middle and settles down through the finish and has a great evenly smoothed out bite with a very subtle but potent alcohol warming, which only now I'm starting to feel. Wow, some damn good stuff. I think I'll have another, yes I will.

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Photo of Marty
4.7/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I love this beer! It's beautiful; pours a golden amber hue with a tall, foamy, lasting head that leaves a sticky lace down the inside of the glass. The taste is crisply hoppy and malty sweet. I was having trouble characterizing the smell, but one of my friends hit it right on the nose... peach! There are definitely hints of peach in this beer. One of my all-time favorites.

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Photo of EmoBeerGuy
4.35/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Consumed a bottle of this years Celebration Ale (2002). A little late but it seemed to be kept fine by the guys over at the beer yard in Wayne.

Not the first time I've had this beer and certainly not the last. Deep golden-amber hue, deeper than most IPA. Nose is straight hops, to warn you of whats about to hit your palate. The flavor is a hop lovers dream. Straight hops all the way, classic over the top American IPA. What I think is so amazing about this beer is the ABV which is totally inconito. I would have never know. This is a beer that, if drank in large quantities, would surely sneak up on you. While IPA isn't may favorite style (I find it a bit too one dimentional) this beer takes that dimention and does it perfectly. Want an IPA. Drink this!

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Photo of Denali
4.47/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Package: 12 ounce bottle with a picture of house in the woods in winter. 2001 vintage.

Appearance: Slightly opaque orange-amber with thick off-white head that laces incredibly.

Smell: Very sweet malty aroma. Citrusy and hoppy as well. Alcohol is also noticeable.

Taste: Initial hoppy bitterness. Citrus flavor comes in next followed by a strong malt balance. Aftertaste is bitter and fruity, with some malt sweetness making an appearance every so often.

Mouthfeel: Slightly syrupy with moderate carbonation.

Drinkability: Wow is this smooth. Very easy to drink. It did not last long.

Comments: Very fine brew. Great flavors and extremely well balanced. Thank you Keith (stegmakk) for the "other two bottles".

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Photo of GeoffRizzo
4.57/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Vintage 2001--picked up at Blue Max.
Pours a dark orange with an initial sensational smell of hops and fresh fruit. The taste is primarily floral hops throughout with just a hint of orange peel, banana and very slight roasted malt, but overall powering on the hops. The ABV seems to be mixed in wonderfully for a nice, but not overpowering warmness. A wonderful beer all around, today I agonize over not buying the entire rack of this version.

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Photo of Scooter77
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I’d been looking forward to trying this brew for the longest time and it was well worth the wait. Pours a beautiful reddish/copper color with fluffy 3/4-inch head, which leaves a medium-thin, sticky lace on the glass. The aroma is all about the hops! Hints of citrus peel were detected amongst the intense scent of hops. This is one great full-bodied beer that packs a full arsenal of hops. The sweet bitter aftertaste of orange peel and hops left me begging for more. I will most definitely seek this one out again, once it’s released next year.

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Celebration Fresh Hop IPA from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.15 out of 5 with 10,432 ratings