Celebration Fresh Hop IPA | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

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Celebration Fresh Hop IPACelebration Fresh Hop IPA
10,445 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: 10,445 |  Reviews: 3,525
Photo of GreatPondBrewer
3.48/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is a good beer, but not something that I would necessarily drink lots of on a cold winter night as it is designed for. The look is really good, with a nice deep, golden hue with a creamy, white head. The smell had nice fruity flavors and I was excited to drink it. the first taste was a bit of a let down. It came on much too bitter and the fruit flavors were way too citrusy for me. It did have a nice hop finish, and I must admit the further down the glass I got the better it tasted. I might try this again, this time letting it warm up for another 5-10 minutes, but I have had better IPA's.

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

Appearance: Deep golden orange color with a vast off-white cloud-top head and an abundance of carbonation. Lots of thick and sticky lace coats the glass walls.

Aroma: Aroma of bitter orange, pine sap, very prominent medicinal hops, and lots of spices.

Taste: Tasting yields devastatingly strong hops, riding beneath is a wave of smooth malt. Alcohol is prominent in the taste and quite warming. Towards the finish pine sap flavors appear, providing a counter-play to the hop bitterness. Finish is very smooth with a touch of lingering bitter orange peel.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and creamy.

Drinkability/notes: An absolutely superb beer; one that mere words are hard pressed to justify.

Presentation: Packaged in a stubby twelve-ounce brown glass bottle with a pry-off crown, served in a standard pint tap glass. The edition reviewed was 2006.

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

Amber in appearance with abundant frothy head. Hops are quite evident in nose along with spiciness. Taste has obvious hoppiness and spiciness (somewhat herbal). I could not really detect anything fruity about this, although others have mentioned a subtle fruitiness. In all honesty, I wasn't terribly big on the taste. I like hops, but this was a bit overpowering. Although, it went pretty well with some spiciness food. Very warming - no wonder this is for the winter. Mouthfeel was surprisingly smooth. Drinkable enough, although I wouldn't drink too much of this one.

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Photo of avylover
4.67/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

My friend had a keg of this brew for his birthday a few years ago and I've been hooked ever since. I had to wait until I could sit down with one in front of the PC to give an honest review, else bias would have made this an all 5s brew... Pours a nice golden/ruby color with a small head that dies quick. Scent is all malt and hops. If you like hops, you'll love this brew. Right away the hops explode in your mouth, nice & raw, with the sweet malt there to balance it out. Spicy citrousy notes. One thing that makes this one of my favorite christmas brews is the fact it's not too spicy like some other american breweries that seem to go over the top with strange,unidentifiable spices. This brew is great malty taste + tons of hops. Hops linger in the mouth for awhile after a swig. I could drink this all night (and have on occasion). A great brew, one of my favorites regardless of style.

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Photo of elmocoso
4.42/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I finally scored a sixer of this last night at the whole foods in Thousand Oaks, Ca. Home of Darva Conger from who wants to marry a millionare. That, though, will have no barring on my review - what-so-ever. The slot for the sixers was empty and i had to ask the guy behind the cheese counter to check in back. There were 2 six packs left, and if i wasn't a poor, out-of-work college boy, i would have splerged for both of them.

Now, for the review.

This glorious beer pours a deep carmel color, with a tight off-white head that dissipates into a very thick ring around the glass, and some slightly active surface lace. The head does kick back up when the beer is swurreled to release aroma. aaaahhh, and the aroma...

an excelent, and fully ritch and well ballanced aroma off of this one. Lots and lots of citrus-flowery aroma and a very present malt smell - together these attributes form on of the best aromas of any beer. Nose candy, for sure.

When drunken straight out of the fridge, the hops seem blunt and over powering, but after leaving the beverage on the counter for a 5 or 10, the maltyness peeks its head out and the bitterness forms itself into the perfect sharp acompanyment - resulting in a great sipping nectar.

The mouthfeel is definatly ritch and well rounded, and the overall drinkablity is great. Although, deffinatly not a session beer, this beer is one of those treats that makes being a Beer Advocate all the more rewarding!

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Photo of BeerGlassesCollector
3.98/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

SN Celebration Ale 2002: Slightly different from the other strong hopped character beers i've tried so far. I am not a big fan of hopped beers but i found this one a bit different and more balanced. It pours a cloudy light brown/reddish colour topped by a thick head that settles down rather easily. Flavour and aroma are dominated by hops but this Ale is very well balanced. The taste is not that bitter as i would expect from a strong hopped beer. Quality seasonal brew...

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

I sampled a 12 oz amber bottle with 1998 on the neck label. I could find no "bottled on" date on this bottle.

This ale poured to give a coppery colored, cloudy beer with very thin white foam that left nice lace on the glass. The aroma was interesting with the dominant aroma from barley and malt, but with some odor of hops and apples. The taste was dominated by hops - sharp and almost acrid with some fruitiness and spicy oakiness. There was a lingering aftertaste of bitter hops. The mouthfeel was smooth with a strong hop bitterness throughout but with a mild sweetness in the finish. The carbonation was moderate. The drinkability was good for this clean and crisp IPA.

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

With so many reviews available it would seem stupid for me to add my standard analysis. I would, however, like to simply note what makes this beer as good as it is. The hazy borderline-copper body is quite welcoming, but it's the magnificent creamy head that holds all the way through the glass that clearly shows how well made it is. The beautiful lace throughout the entire glass also adds to its majestic appearance - it's almost as if it were a nitro-beer! The beautifully fresh nose expresses an herbal, citrusy and spicy character that's as if you'd just stuck your nose into a bag of fresh hop flowers!
But it doesn't stop there; a juicy underlying fruitiness from the yeast adds to its vibrancy. The body is light enough to be highly drinkable, but also full enough to combine with the very fine natural carbonation giving it an exceptionally smooth and creamy mouthfeel. The flavor, like the aroma, is dripping with fresh floral and citrusy hop character - but it's not so bold that it's over-powering or minty. Instead, it's delicately balanced against a softly sweet, nutty and bready caramel-soaked maltiness that emphasises the hops. It showcases the soft, and almost sweet character of the Cascade hops! Balance is what this beer is all about, and it's bitterness is no exception. It's not intense (which would ruin the palate and overshadow it's supple maltiness, but it is quite solid and becomes drying in the finish. It pushes and pulls throughout the pint but never becomes the centerpiece. Finesse, not bravado, wins the prize here!!!

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Photo of kelticblood
3.86/5  rDev -7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

2002 celebration ale-
What an exceptional pour! The head was so huge I had to sip the foam twice so it wouldnt overflow a 20oz glass.The color is a cloudy orange-red color.The aroma is of hops..alot of them.The head dissolved into thick white clumps of foam like an ice cream milkshake.Tons of thick sticky white lace everywhere.The taste presented a creamy full bodied and very hoppy Ale.The mouthfeel tasted a bit flat.Lacked a crisp carbonated texture.Very smooth and silky with a long bitter grapefruit finish.I never tried this before and was expecting something else.Being a winter brew and named "celebration Ale" I thought it would be a bit hearty and thick with a higher ABV,but it turned out to be basically an IPA..Which is not my choice to fight off a cold winter's night..I can only rate this on being an IPA and not a true winter brew.

2nd review: After 2 Years of aging a Celebration Ale it has developed great carbonation with tons of bubbles rising up.Very bitter mouthfell and finish.A fine white lace with a swirling haziness.The color is a dark orange to light brown.Mouthfeel is not watery and has some body to it.Bitterness has overshadowed the hop taste.Aging does change a beer alot.

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

Package: Stubby "heritage" bottle. No date guidelines. Neck label with blurb notes "2002 Celebration Ale" and "2284" on lower left poinsettia. Nice winter scene. 6.8% ABV.

Cost: $7.99 6-Pack at Shop-Rite

Presentation: Pint glass at 50º

Appearance: Coppery, strong-tea color. A bit cloudy. Loose, moist white head, settling to about ½”, remaining for most of the glass. Nice strings of small bubbles from the bottom.

Smell: Hops are very evident with strong lemon peel citrus notes. Spices and malt struggle up through the sharper notes. A bit off-putting at first, but evens out as the head settles. Intriguing.

Taste: More balanced than the aroma. I am not normally a fan of “overly” hopped beers, but it works here. Nice hops complexity. I’m not sophisticated enough to differentiate, but this is not a one-note wonder like many hoppy brews. First bite of hops and citrus are quickly moderated by the malt; notes of clove, allspice, ginger; and fainter hints of raisins, plums, and grapefruit. Clean and edgy without being sharp.

Mouthfeel: Carbonation is well-matched to the fullness of the brew. Comparable to the Winter Solstice, with more body and viscosity.

Drinkability: Very drinkable. ABV is virtually undetectable and the body and flavors are both light and satisfying. I can see this both for savoring and as a regular quaffer.

In general, I’m not a big fan of very hopped beers. For me, it is the equivalent of salt or Habanero peppers. I love them, but used injudiciously, they dominate. Here, the Sierra Nevada succeeds. Its elements are well orchestrated, even with a heavy weighting on the hops end of the scale. Like a string quartet where the ‘cello dominates, the imbalance works if Yo-Yo Ma is the cellist, but would be a disaster otherwise. This works.

Backwash: This review is a tale of two Winter Seasonals. Compared to Anderson Valley’s Winter Solstice, this brew wins hands down. My tastes don’t run to the “hop-head” end of the spectrum, but the execution of the Celebration Ale is great. I’m a big fan of Winter Seasonals and would add this my list of favorites, although less "wintery" than many. I still lean to the maltier British offerings, but this is an excellent change of pace. Should be made available year-round. If it mellows with age as noted below, could be perfect.

NB: Had on draught, this WAS mellower and even better.

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Photo of SchmichaelJ
4.53/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2002: I've grown a strong liking for hoppy ales lately, and I was very, very satisfied upon drinking the Celebration Ale. From the bottle, it poured a nice, dark orange / brown color. A beautiful full head stood atop the glass, and was very well-retained throughout. Complex and tight lacing was also present, and I'd have to describe its overall appearance as creamy and full on top, sharp and mellow below. A luxurious hop aroma was present, and a nice spiciness added to the wonderful smell. A very pronounced hop bitterness was noticed in the taste, along with a subtle and pleasant maltiness. The higher alcohol presence was noted but not intrusive...most welcome, in fact, on this cold December night. A full, creamy mouthfeel was cut sharply by the prickly carbonation and felt great in the mouth. Overall, the Celebration Ale has been one of the best brews I've tasted since I began seriously reviewing beer. It's a great seasonal brew, and will very likely accompany my holiday celebrations for years to come.

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Photo of cretemixer
4.08/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours the color of fallen leaves, browns, reds and burnt orange hues all mingle together. Unbelievable thick and firm head that leaves a proficient lace down the sides of the glass. Sweet malt aroma is there behind a grapefruit wall of hops. Light Roasted malts leave a caramel taste in my mouth but the hops come to the forefront at the finish. Very drinkable "winter" brew.

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Photo of comat0se
4.42/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2002 Celebration Ale

Fluffy, off-white head with tiny silver bubbles. Bright copper color, slight chill haze. Aroma is slight fruit, with massive grapefruit peel. The taste starts with a malty, bready, slightly sweet flavor followed by a huge rush of nice citrusy, grapefruit hops, slight alcohol, with a very long lasting bitter finish. Nice, full mouthfeel punctuated by lively carbonation in the hoppy finish.

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

Based on 2002 bottling.
Celebration poured a sparkling copper red with a rich off-white head that clings to the sides of the pint. The aroma is pure hops with some backgrand odors of malt. The taste starts crisp and clean with malt flavors up front and then fades into citrus and coriander like flavors with hop spiciness and bitterness making their presence known in the finish. The aftertaste is a well balanced blend of carmel malt sweetness and the hop bitterness. The two flavors continue to undulate on your palate. The mouthfeel is pleasantly full with slight carbonation and alcohol tickles.
Another fine example of an American IPA. It gives warmth to your body, pleasure to your eyes, and spicy hop aromas for your olfactory.

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Photo of Mitchster
4.42/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Brewed with Two-row Pale & English Caramel. Hopped with Chinook for bittering, Finished with Cascade and Centennial, and dry hopped with Cascade and Centennial. 6.8% ABV, OG=16.0p, FG=4.0p, 65 IBU's.

A thick, meringue head forms atop a crystal clear deep copper/ruby liquid. The initial aroma is *wham*..grapefruit in bushels! If one concentrates, you can also detect a little alcohol escaping from those tiny bubbles. Head forms a nice brussels lace and stay with the beer until you're done. Bittering hops are well balanced to the sweetness and body of the malt, and finishes with strong hops bitterness and sugar cookies. Excellent mouthfeel...nice and chewy. Comparing the bottled version to draught of the same year, I would say that the draught had a thinner head, a somewhat milder hop profile (i.e.-a little more rounded and smooth), and had less bitter hop finish, which in my opinion made the draught more enjoyable. A great beer, and one I look forward to each year. If you like this, try Bell's Two-Hearted Ale. Get both on tap if you can!

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Photo of putnam
4.13/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Great brilliant reddish brass color. Freshly whipped head.
The aromas are dominated by grapefruit with some cinnamon candy and toasted hazelnuts for background music.
On the palate it's solidly hoppy (grapefruit) with slow, silky, rivulets of light caramel syrup raining down afterwards. Cured, dried herb is the theme here though. Feels like I'm working in a hop mine, taking a break to eat ruby red grapefruit...herb smoke afterwards. The guy next to me is eating red skin peanuts, and not in a polite way either...Someone lights the incense...

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Photo of BitteBier
4.62/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very attractive, not-quite-clear amber orange. Active carbonation feeds a substantial foamy, light head that dissipates rather quickly but laces quite impressively down the side of the glass. Even when well-chilled, this beer has a strong, wonderful nose--very crisp and hoppy with some sweet fruit notes as well. Hops are omnipresent in the taste, muted at the start by soft fruitiness and by some dryness at the end. A bit oily in the mouth but a good mouthfeel nonetheless and eminently drinkable.

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Photo of ethosx19
4.62/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Big head, dark copper color, hop/fruity cherry smell, and a great spicy hop taste. The 6.8% alcohol gives a nice kick without any alcohol aftertaste. This is a great beer that is moving to the top of my list.

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Photo of mrjimcat
4.42/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer when poured exhibited a generous lasting head. The aroma was hoppy with a sweet background. The predominant characteristic is the hop bitterness and flavor. This is soon followed by a background maltiness that serves as a perfect backdrop for the main character, the hop. The beer was a pleasure to drink being so well balanced.

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

Sierra Nevada 2002 Celebration Ale pours a turbid dark copper from a 12oz brown twist off cap bottle. Head was off the scale as it went over the side of the glass and when it was through with it’s jaunt, left huge amounts of foam all over the sides, both inside and out side of the glass.

Major floral hop in the nose and five star general floral and bittering hops in the palate. To say that Sierra Nevada 2002 Celebration Ale is well hoped would be doing it an injustice. The 6.8% alcohol by volume then takes over the mouth, throat, esophagus, and stomach, with a plesant after glow. Aftertaste is a persistant plesent bitter, that lasts and lasts.

Sierra Nevada 2002 Celebration Ale is a real hops treat for sure.

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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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Celebration Fresh Hop IPA from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.15 out of 5 with 10,445 ratings