Celebration Fresh Hop IPA | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

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Celebration Fresh Hop IPACelebration Fresh Hop IPA
10,425 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: 10,425 |  Reviews: 3,524
Photo of Stubbie1
3.95/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a nice copper/reddish color with a nice off white head. As soon as you put your nose to the glass you get hit with the hops then a small hint of fruit and malt. It’s a nice aroma! Mixed with a smooth mouth feel and a pleasant after taste of hops. A very enjoyable seasonal beer. Enjoy!

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Photo of powoo19
3.93/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The Celebration is good. The color is a fine dark reddish colour, not much of a head.. The smell is very hoppy and somewhat fruity, but pleasent.
The taste is strong but smooth, very good aftertaste. I did like this beer, but certainly not a session beer.Good Christmas beer..
Happy Drinking!

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

Wow! This is an exceptional beer! Reminds me of a hoppier, stronger version of Liberty Ale (one of my absolute favorites). If you don't like a beer that's extremely "hopped-up", avoid this. Otherwise, seek it out! Very smooth, easy to drink (had to slow myself down!). Pours a very large head, impressive lace. I finally found this a couple of towns away. I'll be returning on payday to buy a case!!

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Photo of BeerAngel
4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a very clear amber/copper color with a large off-white head. Looks very appealing! The smell is a very pungent grapefruit aroma with citrusy hops well pronounced. The taste is a reflection of the aromas and includes a very bold dry hoppy citrus including strong grapefruit notes. Whew! This medium bodied brew is one that will "wow" you and drinkability is not quite as high as like-ability...but I can say "I Love It!". Pineywoodsrooter brought this up from Houston and shared a few bottles of it with me -thanks again! Cheers!

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

Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale 2002.
It’s early - I know, I know, but I am from England, and I have never had this beer before, and I impatient to try it. So there!
It comes in a very festively labelled squat 12 fl.oz brown bottle, with a picture of a Dickensian snow covered wooden log cabin, which no doubt never existed, decorating the obverse. It does look good though, it fooled me and I’m a Scrooge. F**k you Bob Cratchet. Has a huge off-white cream colored head, massively dominant that leaves a great smattered lace look on the walls of the glass. The beer pours with a deep-orangey brown light chestnut color that is totally clear and lucid, luminescent against an illuminated background, it looks simply resplendent. With the huge rocky foamy off-white head comprised of a myriad of contemporary sized bubbles, this beer really does look like the Dogs Bollocks.
Bitterness announces its dominance in a way that the school bully elected to have the best locker at school, unquestioned and unchallenged, until the little petite child favourite stood up and questioned him. When he did, everyone ganged-up on the bully - flavour hence rears his head and challenges this bitter brute to a show down. Just as in life, it’s not fair, bully boy bitterness wins hands down and bloodies the nose of fair play and integrity.
The aromas are of an egalitarian Captain hoppiness, First Mate bitterness lingers in the back of the nasal passage. This beer makes no bones about its intentions. Kick Ass Hops and Bitterness. The freshly mown and harvested hop smells punctuate the two nostrils as the beer enters the aural cavities and politically announces “Vote Hops” with fascist tendencies. Belligerent bitterness introduces this Ale with militaristic precision.
Celebrate the end of year with Hummulus Luppulus, forget the fallacy of that fat bastard Father Christmas, the red nosed white bearded pseudo bringer of joy, I stopped believing in years ago – for only this Ale can do that without any false modesty.

Bloody Bitter, Bloody Marvellous, Bloody Better get some…..

Merry Xmas and Happy 'Hop-Head' New Year.

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

Clear red-amber body, with a nice cream-colored head. Head is rather short-lived, but a bit of lace stays atop the brew and clings to the side of the glass. Grapefruit citrus and a solid presence of the deep pine forest dominate the smell. A bit of caramel malt noticeable as well. Rich, wonderfully hoppy and bitter flavor - but not overwhelming, by any means. The citrus flavor dominates most of the way, but the herbal, piney taste takes over in the finish. Nice mellow caramel malt backs up this excellent IPA. Incredibly smooth brew, went very well with a nice rare sirloin.

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

Once again, Sierra pulls off another great balancing act, managing to produce a warming, holiday brew while staying true to their signature west coast hoppy style.

This ale pours a beautiful rust, honey, orange color with a creamy off-white head. Scents of pine, spicy hops, and grapefruit dominate. The taste is of spicy, "gritty" hops with notes of caramel, apple and citrus, especially grapefruit. A buttery mouthfeel and backnotes of nut, wood, allspice?, nutmeg? The richer, spicier "holiday" taste elements are all beautifully tamed and balanced with bitter hops in what is essentially an IPA. Probably the ultimate hophead holiday beer.

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Photo of shirfan
4.05/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A nice dark amber, just a hint of cloudyness, and a long-lasting head.

Clean, hoppy aroma. Taste is solidly cascades, but toned down just a bit from the standard pale ale. A touch of carmel malt flavor, and very drinkable. There's a hint of bitterness in the finish, but overall, well-balanced and very drinkable.

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Photo of Bierman9
4.33/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

My first celebration in a long time, and first time bottle-wise. A deep, rich, copper colored bier sits beneath a frothy, fine, tan head. Lacing is excellent...looks real good in the glass!! Nose has a robust, citrusy (Cascade?) hop twang. I like it, much more so than some biers that have mild, subdued nose that you really have to search for. Body came in at a medium-grade, as well as the smoothness, also a medium-grade. There is a good combo of malt and hops; about 1/3 malt to 2/3 hops, imo. The malt is underlying and toffee-like, to some extent. The hops are citrusy and gutsy. A good whack, though very pleasurable, to the palate!! Zum Wohl!!

overall: 4.35
appearance: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | mouthfeel: 4 | drinkability: 4.5


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Photo of cokes
4.52/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Cloudy orange liquid with a hefty, pale yellow froth.
Nose is very all about the hops. Piney and citric. Though not as much as past years?
Taste is similar. Pine sap, resin, pine twigs and bark and roots all mixed together in a grapefruity punch. The hops here are equally juicy and bitter. Toasted caramel backbone. Nothing truly noteworthy, but definately sufficient. Amidst all the hop carnage, There is an upswelling of cherry near the close as pricks of brandied alcohol dot the finish. Bitterness is deep and lingering.
Smooth and creamy in the mouth. Glides across the tongue to slowly assassinate braincells.
Literally poundable. One to be careful with.
Very good stuff...stands with Sasquatch as my fav SN product.

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

A hop head's dream for a winter brew.

A huge head left the bottle, accompanied by a super-strong pine scent. The color was almost a dark, golden-orange.

The flavor of this ale is huge! It does not merely linger along, it asserts itself with full force. There is a raw flavor and smell underlying the hoppiness...a super floral presence. I even pick up a flavor of iron. Interesting and an exciting beer for the senses to experience.

The malt is definately a side note. The main feature is the hops. I highly recommend this warmer for a nice, red meat dinner.

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Photo of doerickson
3.65/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Mahogany/deep ruby red appearance with a small fine white head. Big aromas of piney hops with some toasty malts as well. Medium carbonation; fairly big body. Taste of piney, citrusy Cascade hops with some grapefruity character, offset to some extent by a sweet caramel/brown sugar malty profile, particularly as the brew warms. A bit unbalanced towards the hop end for my taste, especially for a winter seasonal, but undoubtedly worth a try.

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Photo of Lupe
4.33/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

This is a woderful Christmas present for hop lovers.

Pours a hazy amber color with a thick, rocky, off-white head that leaves sticky lace all the way down the glass. Aroma is hops all the way, herbal and citrus with some spice in the backround. Medium to full bodied with an incredible creamy mouthfeel. Taste starts off with lbig with hops, a bit hard to handle at the beginning, but don't give up on it. After the first sip or two, you get used to the barrage of fresh hop flavors, and the chewy malt comes through along with a hint of spice. Very good drinkablility for the amount of hops and the amount of alcohol.

Not balanced at all, but it is damn tastey. At once I was not fond of high hop brews, but this one has changed my mind. And you have to love the scene on the bottle!

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Photo of AtrumAnimus
3.5/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

My expectations were a bit high for this beer. The hop blend is ok. The 2001 was better. This one is lacking in maturity. The initial taste is very good. However the second half as it rolls past the palate is not a clean finish and is rough. Almost a bit of a ugh factor. Reminds me of a more mature version of the Arogant Bastard. Nice Seasonal - but needs more seasoning.

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Photo of brakspear
3.9/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A perfect winter holiday beer for the west coast hophead in all of us.

2002 Review

The beer pours a slightly hazy chestnut/amber body with a fantastic rocky head that reduces to a creamy cap on top of the beer below.

The aroma is pure and explosive Centennial/Cascade hops, surrounding and dominating the malt below, but with no harshness.

The taste is scouring from the Chinook hop base, but a full-flavored malt chewiness breaks through at times as well. Not balanced, but who says all beers must be.

I am glad this Celebration Ale makes its way to the Middle West.


Reviewed again after a comparison to some of the other hophead westcoast beers and it does not hold up as well.

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

Deep amber, thick head is pockmarked. Nose is huge. Floral, citic hops over a crip toasty malt. Flavor: Grapefruit and pine sap hops, tingly, Crisp maltiness. Butter and flower nectar. Damn good. Much better than the regular Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.

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

I like everything about this ale. Big nose, big head that lasts with ample lacing. Spicy taste followed by a smooth, very drinkable body, not overly carbonated. Of course the traditional big hoppy finish that is the Sierra trademark. One of my favorite seasonals.

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Photo of IrishRedRock
4.05/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2003 vintage-- sampled 12-2-03 -- Seems pretty similar to me as the '02, though a bit less carbonated, resulting in less head retention, and the aroma seems to come out a little less than last year's. Same delightful spicy hops. Is the alcohol more pronounced in this bottle? Sure seems like it to me. I've got quite a few aging. This should be interesting, and very tasty, down the road.

2002 vintage -- A fantastic offering from Sierra Nevada. Deep copper color with a rocky head that lasts straight on through til morning. A bit of hops are present in the aroma, and balance nicely with the citrus and mild spice.

This brew is ever so smooth. Hoppiness and maltiness blends well and hits at the same time. Spice is mild, I could have used maybe a little more to give me some additional holiday cheer, but the 6.8% ABV warmed me nicely. An excellent seasonal!

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

Exactly like what you would expect for an IPA from Sierra Nevada. An excellent offering each winter, this one pours a glowing copper color with a very frothy head that lasts infinitely. Aroma is mainly of citric, piney hops. Taste is similar, with a huge hoppy profile that's balanced quite well with a thorough malt character. Mouthfeel is pretty good, maybe a little carbonated. For an ale of 6.8% ABV, I find this to be an easy drinker for sure. I, too, am all for this as a year-round offering from SN. There's always something to celebrate, right?

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

Appearance: Beautiful orange/copper with a nice, off-white head that sticks pretty well.

Smell: Aroma of cascade hops: grapefruit, pine, and a slight floral note. Great nose on this beer!

Taste: Has a good malt background, but this brew's all about the hops! Despite this, there's still of good balance of flavor. This is beer with cascade hops done right. Does a great job of arousing the appetite.

Mouthfeel: Pretty good for the style. Light to light/medium body. Sits more to the dry side. Nice...

Drinkability: Very high if you're a hop-head. If not, stay away because the incredible flavor will only come across as blinding bitterness.

This is my first year trying this brew and I must say that I'm quite impressed. It's like their fantastic Pale Ale, but taken to the next level. I'll look forward to this next year...

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

The label's quaint scene of a snow-covered cabin works well in announcing the themes of winter and Celebration, reflecting feelings of warmth, safety and comfort. The beer pours amber, with a creamy white head. A sharp nose, with strong elements of citrus, suggests an impending hops explosion. Hops, hops and more hops. Even at the finish a bitter hops flavor lingers, as elements of grapefruit and pine recede, but in a way that is inviting, rather than overwhelming. With a full mouthfeel and nice carbonation, this is a big beer, appropriate for a big and festive holiday season.

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Photo of mjohn27603
4.12/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Amber in appearance. The aroma is wonderful smells of citrusy hops with a slight piney smell. Well, I'm not reporting anything different from other reviewers when I describe the taste as hoppy. I would agree that it is more a taste of hops without a ton of bitterness. Not as bitter as other IPA's I've had. I did get a very subtle orange taste on a few sips. I got this one in the store from the refrigerator plus the 2002 on the label so at least it wasn't sitting out for a while. A pretty good brew but I guess I'm a little puzzled by all the fuss. Maybe it is narrow mindedness on my part but it also doesn't match what I was expecting out a winter offering. I don't penalize the beer for that.

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

Amber orange color with a big head of white foam that leaves a curtain of sticky lace.
Big aroma of grapefruit rind with a bit of a piney character from the abundant hops.
Flavor comes on all bittersweet and seemingly well balanced, then the malt fades and the hops really take over. Hop flavor is fruity and citrusy more than bitter,with a super long drying finish. This stuff tastes like an Anchor Liberty on steroids.
An awesome beer, I can see why it is so highly rated, must get more before it dissapears from the stores.

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Photo of astrobrewer
4.17/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It poured yellow-amber and very clear, but seemed to get a little cloudy as it warmed in my glass. The head seemed coarse, with large-ish bubbles rather than a smooth white foam. All of that is secondary to the aroma. Hops. Lots of 'em. Heavy duty pine and citrus aroma slaps you in the face. The hops are also very evident in the flavor, but the the beer is more hop-flavor than just bitter. Not what I expected from a holiday brew, but overall it is an enjoyable beer.

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Celebration Fresh Hop IPA from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.15 out of 5 with 10,425 ratings