Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

3,465 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: 3,465 | Ratings: 10,201
Photo of FLAbeergutinMASS
3.97/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Finally I got my hands on some of this elixir. It was worth the wait. The only unfortunate drawback was in its appearance, very pale, not what I had expected. Weak color, almost like a halfhearted attempt at a Pale. Reeks of hops and apricot. The hops blow you away. Not entirely sure what the IBU's are on this one, but they are way up there.

I've been going through this sixer I acquired pretty easily. Thumbs up on the drinkability end.

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

I was shocked and shall we say pleasantly surprised to find this--one of my favorite brews--at the local Bello Vino today. Had to pick it up, despite the early season.

Celebration Ale pours a nice amber/light red color with a good sized tannish head. There is plenty of bubble activity throughout the glass. Good lacing too. A very good looking pour.

Smells malty and hoppy right off the bat. A good presence of spice follows with a slight floral/pine aroma. A very nice and full sniff.

The taste is beutifully light malt with an equal hop kick. Fruit and spices are there as well, rounding out an awesome flavor. SNCA is well carbonated and full in the mouth as well.

Overall, this is an excellent beer. Malt and hops are equal in their presence. A nice kick is also there--probably due to the relatively high alcohol content. Great session brew for any cold late fall or winter night. Time to Celebrate beer!!!

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Photo of battlekow
4.21/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is the 2005 version, just released. Pours a reddish-amber with a good off-white head that fades to leave the typical IPA skim. Smells sweetly malty with a substantial infusion of floral and spicy hops. My eye watered a bit when I got my face right in the glass and took a whiff. Flavor has a very malty backbone with hop highlights, a toasty finish, and lingering oily bittering from the hops. The toastiness reminds me of HopDevil. Celebration is a very solid and balanced IPA.

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Photo of ggroller
4.22/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is 2005's rendition.

Light amber in color.

Smells hoppy, spicey, cinammony, malty.

Tastes bitter. Very bitter. This one could use some time in the cellar, I think. Only because the bitterness of the hops dominates the taste buds while the spices and malt I smelled don't make it through.

Nice beer overall, though.

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

Pours amberish-orange with a nice head. Nose was pretty hoppy- cascade was present (typical of Sierra Nevada). Initial taste was a hybrid between herbal and spicy. I didn't get a good taste of the malt bill because the hops took over the flavor quickly. The mouthfeel is spicy and a little bitter. It is not overpowering but definitely had a kick on the back of the palate. I would recommend this to someone who is a fan of west coast hopping and is a must if the person is a fan of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.

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Photo of Dewey0603
4.38/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A real reddish amber color with a tan two finger head.A very hop filled aroma with hints of spices and a bit malty.This is a great tasting beer.Like the smell,this is very hoppy,then you taste some holiday spices,then you finish with some maltyness.This has a nice medium feel,not too heavy or light.As far as drinkability goes,there aren't too many beers better than this,if you see it ,buy it.

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

If you like Sierra Nevada's pale ale, but are curious what it would be like if it was taken-up-a-notch, this should be on your "must try" list.

A beautiful deep amber color with frothy head that leaves plentiful lacing around the glass.

Taste those trademark S.N. cascade hops. Mmm... A good medium bitterness. Like I said - a bit stronger and more bitter than the pale ale.

The carbonation is just right - no stinging-tongue sensation. Just smooth, pleasurable drinking the whole time.

If you're looking for a great, hop-filled beer, here you go. I'd place Celebration ale right inbetween Sierra Nevada's Pale Ale & Harvest Ale in terms of intensity/bitterness. It's a good step up from the P.A., but not powerful enough to turn off the casual drinker.

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

My first bottle of '05 edition

Lots of floral hop aroma. A tinge of the citrussy/grassy American hop types but definitely more floral and herbal than standard SNPA (Pretty much how I remember most years' Celebration.) A little bit of malty honey aroma gets through but it's mostly hops. Hop aroma is fresh and clean.

Nice orange color, good clarity, think white lasting head that leaves nice lacing.

Hint of malt on the front of the tongue, mostly 2-row and a generous amount of crystal. But very quickly hops take over. Pretty high bitterness. There's also a nice spicy hop flavor (almost peppery) and some citrussy hops too. Not grassy at all. There's a nice wash of malt in the mid palate too.

Medium bodied, fairly high carbonation level, creamy.

Still a classic. SNPA with a little more oomph.

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

Bought a sixer of this about two to three weeks ago. It obviously has already aged somewhere around a year depending on the date that it was bottled, as I am holding a bottle that boasts "2004 Celebration Ale." It pours to be an orangish amber color, the beer is more of an opaque color, and does not allow light to pass through it, rather it sucks it in and traps it. The head to begin with was a nice size. It has fairly decent head retention, although after agitated the head quickly returns to little more than a film on the top of the beer.

The aroma of this beer contains both a malty and hoppy smell. To my nose the maltier smell is dominant over the hoppy smell. Actually when I come to think on it the two smells are pretty well balanced. First I smell a sweeter, maltier smell which seems to be the only aroma this beer has to offer. (this is why I assumed it was predominant) However the aroma finishes with a hoppy bitter smell.

The 2004 celebration ale is very very good. I really like this IPA. When it hits the lips you taste a hoppy beer with a semi sweet but still hoppy aftertaste. The beer has a great balance, the frist thing I taste is the hoppy taste on the back of my tounge followed by more bitterness in the after taste. On first inspection this was all I noticed, however there is a sweet malt taste that hits the front of the tounge at the same time as the hoppy after taste. It isn't quite as strong, and that's why I missed it during the first few sips. In my opinion this is a great balance for an IPA. Plenty of hoppiness with a bit a malt flavor.

In the mouth Celebration Ale is fantastic. It is a full bodied beer as suggestied by it's murky, opaque color. It also has a nice level of carbonation, and is not percieved as under or over carbonated.

For drinkability I have to say only this, I will definitely buy more of this celebration ale, perhaps some of this year's batch, or maybe next year's doesn't really matter when, but I will definitely be buying more of this in the future.

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Photo of DogFood11
4.67/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2005 version. Poured into a miniature tulip it forms a loose white head that has nice reteintion and leaves sliding lace. Copper body.

Hops are up front. Its the spices that steal the show in the taste though. Cinnimon, all spice, coriander and then the hops smack ya back to reality. Malt presence is ideal, a perfect dance partner that doesn't step on your feet.

Notes: At this household celebration is a masterpiece and requires owner permission for gobblage. I usually stock up a few cases and drink it over a year. It changes over the year and I find that after a year its starting to fall out of favor. Drink it fresh and stagger it for a vertical for fun.

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Photo of Golden2wenty1
4.08/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a sixer at my local corner store, Pinkus McBride, here in Madison.

Pours a vibrant golden yellow with a finger of off-white head which fades to a spotty coating. Smell is harshly bitter, piney hops, and citrus, and grassy grainy malts. Taste starts off heavily bitter with floral/piney hops but smooths out and sweetens up as it warms with citrus and tropical fruits. Mouthfeel is rich for an IPA and nicely carbonated. This is a tasty IPA once it warms, a little harsh if cold - which goes with its winter seasonal theme. Didn't blow me away, but this is a tasty, vibrant pale ale worth trying as the weather gets colder.

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

A big thanks goes out to George at Westy's. They were unloading the truck while i was shopping and he was thoughtful enough to ask if i wanted him to grab one for me. I am so glad i said yes.

Pours a wonderful dark gold with a big off white head that gets clumpy and leaves wonderful lacing. The smell just blows you away, citrus hops and caramel malts. This is one of the few beers that i've had that the first taste just makes you say WOW. Wonderful level of hoppiness but so smooth on the finish. Caramel malts balance the hops perfectly. Just a great beer. Ultimate smoothness on the palate and a perfect carbonation level. I stongly recomend this beer to anyone. I will be drinking as much of this as I can over the next couple of months. I don't see how it can get much better than this but I guess i'll keep looking.

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

12 oz bottle, 6 packs of this stuff have invaded town, 2005 version

I first had this beer this time last year, the 2004 version. I have longed for it since the day bigfoot came out last winter, marking the end of the celebration.

appearance: pours a pale amber/golden color with a bubbly head and nice lacing. very clear in appearance. and i really do like that label!

smell: smell is quite nice...some fruity citrus hops and some deep caramel malts dominate...hints of nutmeg and other spices, faint molasses

taste: quite glorious...juicy citrus hops throw this into the American IPA category but the sweet caramel malts are the heart of this thing...the balance plays out wonderfully and the flavors of spices are quite a nice compliment as well

mouthfeel: amazingly smooth and creamy, slight hop bittersweet in the aftertaste

drinkability: pretty filling but very easy drinking

I definately prefer this beer at cellar temperature. Sierra Nevada Celebration is still one of my favorite seasonals...I will be drinking plenty of this in the coming months

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Photo of TheBungyo
4.75/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I just started drinking craft beers a little over a year ago. I tried this one last year just before the new year and thought it was good but not as amazing as many others were saying. I think I even drank it straight from the bottle the last time I tried it. Now I know better. What a difference a year makes for your palate!
You yank off the cap and your nose detects the mouth watering scents of sharp citrus and pine before you can even put down the bottle opener. Yeah, this is the stuff!
The pour gives way to a burnt orange topped with more than a finger's worth of creamy head. Luscious and tantalizing!
You can see the lacing forming as you take the first drink, your mouth full of piney and citrusy goodness. The carbonation is perfect and the mouthfeel full and creamy. I can't see how an IPA could be crafted any better. Thank god my palate has matured because this is truly divine.

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

Saw the 2005 Celebration Ale out yesterday at Discount Liquor in Milwaukee. I wasn't sure if I wanted to have it in mid-October so far from the holidays, but what the hell? It's not available year round. The 2004 Celebration Ale was spectacular.

Appearance -- Poured a clear, light orange with an impressive two finger, creamy head. Most of the score is for the head; I personally find an unfiltered IPA to be more visibly appealing. Wet lacing.

Smell -- Nice resinous hop nose. Slight grapefruit. Very faint scent of hay.

Taste -- Bitter hops, but not overwhelming. Kind of tangy. Citrus finish.

Mouthfeel -- Medium feel. Creamy. Nice carbonation.

Drinkability -- Very nice. This is a great holiday ale. You could just as easily enjoy it on a hot summer afternoon. I'm sure I'll be drinking quite a few of these in the next couple of months. Cheers!

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Photo of roan22
4.21/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer in my opinion is a "spiced" winter ale that retains the hoppiness of an IPA or pale ale. It's very lacey if you pour it into a glass, and the spices make it very rich-tasting, yummy. It's filling however, so you won't be able to drink too many after eating a holiday dinner. I tried a similar style locally, last year, at Sly Fox, but I can't remember what it was called.

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

This was the 2004 edition. The beer is a slightly hazy amber color with a decent light-tan head. The aroma is nice, although a bit underpowered, with a nice blend of malt, a touch of a grainy complexity that's a little like caramel but not quite, and a spicey hoppy / ester character that is kind of a blend of cinnamon, cherry, and oak aroma (I have no idea where that comes from but it reminds me of that - I'm not suggesting the beer is aged in oak, though!!) The flavor is nice, with maltiness bordering on sweet without being the least big cloying - I don't know how they pull it off but SN always does. There is a bit of hop note as well. PRobably my biggest hit on the beer is that its been topped by other offerings in terms of "bigness", but this remains one of the more drinkable beers in its class and is consistent year-after-year without being boring and predictable.

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Photo of Bonhoeffer
4.58/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Amazing that a brewery as big as SN can produce a beer like this. Also amazing that a beer with only 6.8% alcohol can age so well. I did a mini vertical last night of an 03 and an 04 to see what happens to this little guy over the course of a year.

Nice amber hue. Hops are very up front, lots of aroma. Flavor is dominated by Cascade, but the malt is there. Intensely bitter.

Holy crap. Is this even the same beer? This one is much more magnificent than its younger brother. Hops have mellowed and taken a step back, and there's some sort of amazing flavor here that i didn't detect in the 04. Very spicy and complex. This is indeed a world class brew. Makes me think that this beer may be one to not even bother with until the next year's batch is released.

I may be drinking 04s in 2006, 05s in 2007 and so on.

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Photo of mdavis31481
4.17/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2004 Edition

As I surveyed my refrigerator in search of a libation to celebrate my recent move to New York I was first tempted to imbibe a Dreadnaught or Hercules, but upon further inspection I came across a brew so aptly titled it proved impossible to ignore. Obviously I speak of Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale.

The beer pours a hazy dark amber hue with tiny particles seen floating around. The rich, fluffy off-white head slowly dissipates leaving decent lacing. The piney hop aroma is joined by subtle bready malt notes.

The initial sip yields obvious piney hop flavors that are soon joined by malty sweetness. The hops once again assert themselves, but are soon met by malt to finish off the experience. This is one superbly balanced brew. In both taste and aroma, the alcohol becomes more apparent as the beer warms.

The mouthfeel is slightly heavier than the typical IPA and quite enjoyable.

I feel it is important to note this beer is coming up on a year in age. In that time I believe the hops have become somewhat subdued and the carbination has settled down a tad.

Overall Sierra Nevada has produced a fine brew that many do and should envy. I look forward to the 2005 release.

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

Served at just below room temperature in a pint glass. Strange that I had a hankering for this beer on a 94 degree summer evening...

A - Very gently hazed, sunset orange and copper color with aggressive carbonation and an airy, fluffy off-white head. Tons of rising bubble action inside the glass. Excellent, resiny head retention that refuses to let go of the glass.

S - Piny floral hoppiness with grapefruit citrus undertones. Well tamed fruitcake spices. Candy maltiness. Quite excellent.

T - Slightly vinous on the tip of the tongue, changing to a pronounced west-coast hoppiness and malty sweetness in the middle. Citrus flavors and alcohol reveal themselves and the beer moves towards the surprisingly sweet finish. Then comes the big hop bite and the bitter aftertaste that makes you reach for another sip to calm the back of the throat and douse the warm alcohol embers.

M - Slippery as it enters the mouth. Slight foaming turns it into a round, liquid sled that pushes right off down your throat without a hitch.

D - Delicious and well crafted. This one is a staple for any hop lover who wants a spicy kick without being hobbled by the bitterness.

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Photo of nickss
4.23/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a beautiful amber with big frothy white head. Head slowly subsides.

Smells hoppy, which is not such a coincidence, with a bit of citrus and floral aroma thrown in.

Huge taste... lots of hops and a looong dry aftertaste.

Very creamy in the mouth, almost buttery. Coats your tongue completely.

Definitely a beer I drink frequently... no obvious mistakes or wants out of this beer. While I don't find it spectacular, I must say that this is a very very solid brew.... yet another great brew from SN.

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

Deep orange glowing pour with settling carbonation and tiny miniscule suspended particles floating around, topped off with a pillowy tan foamy head, leaving impressive lace.

Juicy orange citrous scents and some cedar wood notes.

First swigs: Grapefruit slices citrous and dry aftertaste. Nose meets the flavor with woody hints. Malt presence offers a good balance. Acidic yet not overly so.

Generous carbonation with a medium body and feel that lends to an easy Drinkability.

Last swigs: Just a bit less hoppy that the standard SNPA.

Beer is good. Happy beering.

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

I got a bottle of 2004, as a gift. Thanks LGM.
I saved it till pre-vacation for Sierra Nevada would be along the way. Thisone poured a nice looking amber/copper with a slight haze. The head was almost two-fingers and laced well.
The aroma was pleasing of hop, pine and spice. The taste was complex, but very well done.With a smooth caramel malt and a stronger hop texture, the beer is mixed by a nice alcohol blend that warms the body. The taste also brings pine, spice and fruit.
The mouthfeel is smooth, alcohol warmth with a finish that dries, like grain/husk. Drinkability, oh ya, easy to let its alcohol sneak up.

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Photo of CAMRAhardliner
4.94/5  rDev +19%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Wow! SNPA on steroids.

This flawless IPA has a bewildering array of hop flavors and aromas. It pours a reddish copper with a nice dollop of dense foam. The aroma is fruity with floral and resiny notes, very hoppy. The tate is a {celebration} of hops with a firm juicy malt backdrop.

An initial burst of pithy bitterness gives way to beautiful notes of passionfruit, guava, citrus and mango notes. This fruityness is probably from the yeast and the hops. The finish is very piney and lasts forever. Malt is evident even in the finish, making this a perfectly balanced beer. The mouthfeel is luscious and creamy, with the perfect level of carbonation (minimal). I could drink this beer in place of water.

Sierra Nevada makes such kickass beers, the hype is totally justified. This is probably my favorite IPA.

Worthy of my 250th review.

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

This beer is a 2004 I have had cellared since Oct of 2004. I also love this beer fresh. SN nudged me to the hoppier side years ago so I will always have a special place in my heart for their beers.

The beer poured a deep clear copper color with a wonderful rocky off white head that left plenty of lacing as I polished this off. This is a great looking IPA. The nose no longer has the traditional IPA smell. The malt really comes out to the forefront with a subdued hop smell. Also still has that same smell all SN beers seem to have, I guess it is from their yeast strain.

The beer still tastes great but different than fresh. This is much more mellow a beer with a great malt to hop balance. The hops are very present on the front and backend with the malt all in the middle. Very nice lingering bitter on the back of the tongue with a good medium mouth feel.

Luckily I have cellared more to compare later. This is a great drinking beer in its current state so I will have to get busy with the ones I have left!

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Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
4.15 out of 5 based on 10,201 ratings.
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