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Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

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Sierra Nevada Celebration AleSierra Nevada Celebration Ale
10,330 Ratings
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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 10,330 |  Reviews: 3,495
Photo of mickeymac
4.42/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

It's here: 2002 edition. It pours a pretty golden-red with a somewhat bubbly off-white head. The trademark Sierra hops are definitely in there, but the smell isn't by any means overwhelming. In fact, the hops seem almost subtle for an SN beer. Notes of citrus abound, with a definite undercurrent of yeasty/bready flavors. The mouthfeel is surprisingly light and almost fizzy on the tongue. Despite its 6.8% abv and a definite warming quality, it doesn't want to go down like a sipping beer. I'm going to have a hard time keeping away from the remainder of the six-pack. Welcome winter!

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

This is a light chestnut colored beer that has a slight reddish hue and amber highlights. It pours with a nice, solid head that really covers the glass with lace and exhibits excellent head retention. The aroma is of malt and floral hops, with a hint of spices. The front end of the taste is sweetness with a strong hop finish. The hops seem to be very much in keeping with Sierrs Nevada's style. It has a very smooth mouthfeel, and drinks quite easily. I feel fortunate to have found and enjoyed this beer.

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Photo of allboutbierge
4.65/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Compared this to an Anchor Special Ale at the same time. This won though the Anchor was wonderful as well. Sensational mouthfeel: very silky, smooth, and luxurious tasting (the mouthfeel of this beer is like the ride of a Mercedes). Leaves attractive lace on glass and maintains a slightly foamy top through the whole beer. Alluring color of Mahogany amber and cloudy. Taste is herb and spice filled. Strong hops, bitter but not all that overpowering. Very complex. Can't picture drinking more than two of these though. Very enjoyable beer and will be awaiting this years version.

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Photo of RBorsato
5/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Deep Copper to Reddish Bronze. Huge Citrusy Aroma and Big Citrus Hop Flavor. High Bitterness but solid malt backing for good balance. Medium Bodied leaning to the Full side and very smooth.

This review was based on the 2001 Version. One of my favorite American Style IPAs - I buy at least 2 cases each year -- DRINK it fresh as it goes downhill after about 9 months. Still not bad but loses a good bit of it's citrusy hoppiness.

I have had the 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2004 versions.


Update: 03/13/05 Linear Tasting: Tasted 01, 02, 03 and 04 with much the same results - drink fresh!! Older versions did not go bad but hops were subdued to the point of having the Celebration Ale turn into a light English Barleywine... If that's what you like just buy a good BW instead of bothering with aging.

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Photo of jreitman
4.4/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Incredibly great color with an enticing aroma. Malt flavors are quite noticeable dominated mostly by nuts and some caramel. Hops also show themselves through some nice citrus undertones. The alcohol gives the beer a nice warming property and does not detract from the other flavors. Very interesting and complex brew that deserves several sessions.

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Photo of tang214
3.88/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I picked this up one day instead of the usual SN Pale Ale because I hadn't seen it before. I was a bit confused because the label said it was 1999 Celebration Ale, which seems kinda old to be on the shelf. I got it anyways and it turned out to be alright. It has a deep copperish-brown color with a lot of cloudiness. I love the hops that SN uses because it brings out such great aromas. This one even seemed to have some fruity aromas. This taste was good, hoppy and bitter. The drinkability was less than I had initially expected but defeneitly but would make a great brew to drink for the holiday season.

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Photo of sinistersteve
4.8/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

One of the things that make the long, cold, and wet winters here more enjoyable is Sierra Nevada's Celebration Ale. I decided to stash a bottle last winter and thought about comparing the 2001 with the 2002 version. Sadly to say it won't happen this year since I'm drinking the 2001 version tonight. It's amazing how well this beer is made. The amber color invites you to consume it's tasty contents, and once you drink it, you are hooked. It's a full flavored beer that does more than its share to keep you warm, even on the coldest of all nights. Also, at 6.8% ABV, it's not something to be played with. Take your time to enjoy the wonderful, malty taste. You'll even notice how much more the flavors stand out when the beer grows to room temperature. With that said, I suspect I'll see the 2002 version on my store shelves in about 3 months and enjoy winter with the best beer of the season.

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Photo of jtw5877
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a copper/orange color with a steady white head,A multitude of hop flavors, enough malt to hold it together plus various spices, One of the reasons I look forward to winter. This was the first holiday brew I have ever sampled, and it pretty much got be back into drinking quality beers.

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

Pours a slightly hazy copper with a pillowy cream colored head that leaves rings of lace on the glass. Aroma is a mixture of bread dough, pine and citrus. Flavor begins with some toasted maltiness, then becomes piney and bitter... very well balanced. Has a rough mouthfeel and a medium body.

Typical strong offering from Sierra Nevada.

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

Sierra Nevada has done it again with this brew. I was a little skeptical when it was recomended to me by Shangy's (my beer store listed on this site). It is clean and refreshing with a mild aroma of hops. The head is not all too thick and laces nicely by the end of the glass. This is a nice one if you can get your hands on it.

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

This is a very good beer....the color is very appealing and it has very good taste. The spices were a little to much for my liking but not enough to give this brew anything but a good rating.............CHEERS

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Photo of StevieW
4.88/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Magic in a glass....A great looking orange/reddish color with a nice fluffy white head, bubbles up to the top. Spicy nose, pine, florals, with whiffs of orange peel also hitting the nose. Spicy, bubbly, sticky resin filled hop bubbles fall over the glass. A very appropriate beer for the season. Nice spicy malty flavor paired with the big hop taste makes this one a winner. Creamy rich mouthfeel. Then a bitter hop filled belly warming finish. One of my all time favorites. The only thing I have tasted that comes close in flavor is the Hop Devil, but that is a little more fiery on the spicy hops side. This beer makes you grin from ear to ear and wish for more. As soon as the last sip is down, your are ready for the next one. Great Beer !

2002 Version sampled 11/22/03 Smoother more mellow flavors. Lots of hops still, but the malt undertone is much more noticable.Oily resin flavors match with a hint of slick chocolate flavors. Slightly oily. Very Smooth, rich and mellow. Not as much fresh hop sticky, resin bitterness.

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

Broke out a sixer tonight to see how a five months in the cellar has had on this classic. It pours into the glass with an off-white head...a bit of yeast haze to boot.The nose is predominately malty with a bit of hop in the background. First sip reveals more malt, with a nice long bitter finish. The time spent in the cellar has mellowed out the "green" hop attack it has when initially released, but not to worry...it's still kick-ass bitter. I plan to drink the last of the 2001 when the 2002 is out, so I can compare side by side. A holiday classic that should never be missed.

Notes from 2000: Another winner from S.N. Great fresh hop nose when poured into the glass. Wonderful head on this too. Be prepared for a blast of hops on the palate. A loooooonnnnnggggg hoppy finish on this one makes it a world classic, widely copied, look for it!

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

Excellent citric?grapefruit notes in aroma. Great hop nose. Nice frothy white head. Beautiful copper color. Nice bite present in this brew. A very good bitterness present. Huge rind characteristics. Very warming. Excellent IPA . Taste good even on the burp.

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Photo of RonfromJersey
5/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Red amber body with slight chill haze. A rocky head you can sculpt with. Incredible grapefruity hop aroma. Good malt background supporting marvelous hop smack to taste buds.
Drinkability? Had a six pack during a party and wanted more that night.

The first nationally available monster of an IPA. I am glad it is seasonal. Keeps me from taking it for granted.

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

What a treat. It looks terrific in a glass, with a subtle reddish hue. The taste is piney with hints of grapefruit and a touch of spice, though it's better after it's warmed a bit. I've got one left from this season, so I want to wait until the last possible traces of winter before I pop it open. Alas, this has become one of my favorite holiday traditions.

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Photo of ThreePistols
2.96/5  rDev -28.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Orange-amber color, good head with decent lace. Hops, citrus, pine, alcohol aroma. Bitter, hoppy, citrus, pine flavor. Bitter front, med-full body with a high hops middle and a bitter-sweet dry finish. Lingering grapefruit rind and spice aftertaste. IMHO; more malt for better balance and more spice for more flavor. Better character when allowed to warm. Tried it at ice-cold temp, way too bitter. This is a good beer, but it is too bitter and hoppy for my taste.

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Photo of bk3nj
4.7/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A very hoppy brew; spice hints abound. Very smooth, and easy to drink. Thank god for Sierra Nevada.

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Photo of garymuchow
4.56/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Very nice beer overall, but especially good for a winter warmer. Good steady head, nice color. There is definitely the flavor of grapefruit in the taste, but I guess I like it. It might be hard to drink more than a couple of these.

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Photo of AaronRed
4.7/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Hops all the way. Smooth and tasty, with a creamy taste that makes this beer richer than their ales. Not heavy, but hearty.

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

A fantastic winter beer. Pours smooth to a nice dark brown, almost ruby color with a decent head. Malt is prevelent on the sip and initial mouthfeel, but quickly gives way to a big dose of hops on the finish. A winter warmer sure to please, but in essence, this is a IPA, not really a specialty beer other than the time of year it is released. The log cabin picture on the label beckons you on a cold, fall or winter day. This brewery, overall, brews some of the best, widely available beer in the U.S.

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Photo of Jordan
4.7/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Many invading flavors here, a bit fruity, a bit flowery, a bit of tarty citrus, and a good kick of hops. It does have a malt edge, but it's the hops that comes through the strongest. Smells like fresh flowers and berries and leaf hops, but not quite as potent as I would really like(big deal huh?). There is a fine sediment floating throughout the glass(gotta love the sediment). Most importantly, this brew is down right delicious...

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Photo of John1985
4.6/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Beautiful orange-amber color, intensely fresh hop aroma, Malt stands it ground but the hops edges it out. The flavor of hops roll across the tongue with a pleasant long lasting bitter aftertaste.Surprisingly drinkable. A classic I look forward to every year.

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

Balanced? No way. But who gives a rat's ass? 2001 is something to kick the Winter into gear, with its incredible raw hopped character and warming alcohol. A beer to look forward to, regardless. I do recall previous years being more pronounced in the malt dept. and more balanced. But hey, whatever. Drink a few of these and nothing will really matter.

To give this year's a perfect 5 is a little extreme. Everything was great overall, the drinkability ... like crack. I'm off to the pawn shop ...

Notes from 2000:

Presentation: 12oz short brown twist cap bottle. Lovely little X-mas scene on the label. Bottled on date, on neck of bottle.

Appearance: Rich, deep amber/copper. Excellent slightly off-white head ... very creamy, sticky and retains like its fighting for its life.

Smell: There's an absolutely incredible aroma on this beer! A nose full of big herbal hops and fruity esters. Some yeast aromas are also present, but very minimal.

Taste: Dreamy. So smooth. So rich. So fortified with malt goodness. So hoppy. At first there's a creamy feel on the palate, that then opens up to toasty, sweet malt flavours. A bold herbal hop runs rampid on the palate with a semi-prickly, puckering, lemon-rind quality. After a few more mouthfulls the brew begins to warm the body, and you can really feel the alcohol kick in. Finishes a bit dry with grain/husk flavours, and some breadiness as it warms.

Notes: At 6.8% this is one hell of a Winter seasonal! Warms the body and soul. A brew for hop heads too. One of the best Winter Seasonals that I have ever had, and one of the best Strong Ales. Drink with caution as this brew will kick your ass.

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Photo of QXSTER1
4.46/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Orangish, red brew with light tan head that laces down the side of the glass. Hops explodes on the palate followed by toasted malts with a citric dry finish. Perfect beer to drink with a holiday meal. Hopheads will love this monster IPA.

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Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.15 out of 5 with 10,330 ratings
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