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Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

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3,439 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

For Trade:
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Reviews: 3,439 | Ratings: 10,103
Photo of wizmasta
4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Balanced. But those of us hopheads who feel "balanced" is a just euphamism for malty, I can't recommend. A perfectly fine beer but not for New England haze hunters.

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Photo of stevoj
3.29/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Bottle from Albertsons. Surprised its taken me this long to get to this one. And a bit disappointing to boot. I guess was expecting a bit more from SN for a seasonal. A touch more bitterness and bite than the norm. Still good, but I was hoping for a bit more "Wow!"

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Photo of 1000lbgrizzly
4.08/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Clear copper body, few lazy bubbles rise. Very pale tan rocky dense head with lots of 3D lace. Aroma is mostly citrus and malt: orange and grapefruit with equal parts caramel and bread. Flavor, too, is perfectly evenly balanced, with citrus notes being immediately balanced by bread, crisp bitterness being immediately balanced by sweet caramel and malt. Full body, smooth.
Incredibly balanced brew here. I don't care much for the huge grapefruit-y citric hops, but I can't deny the appeal to those who do, nor the perfect execution of the balancing malt. Big flavor, big aroma, great feel, sexy appearance. High score is mostly based on style, but if I were to rate subjectively it'd land just below 4.0.

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Photo of slusk
4.1/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L: pours a clear light ruby. Head dissipates to a thin tan.

S: Fresh floral hops, mostly pine. light caramel with some orange peel and a bit of bread crust.

T: Piney hops with moderate caramel sweetness. finishes fairly dry.

F: medium full body, velvety. moderate carbonation.

O: an outstanding brew with a big fresh hop flavor. Not overly bitter and balanced well with the caramel sweetness. Love the drier finish. Definitely a winner.

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Photo of colingaiser
4.24/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from 12 oz bottle into pint glass (after my Broncos beat the undefeated Patriots)

L: A beautiful beer ... nice transparent amber/gold with a thick, frothy head and gorgeous lacing ... super inviting

S: As advertised, it has a "fresh" aroma ... orange peel, pine, caramel, honey, a little fresh-baked bread

T: Just delicious ... a solid malty, caramel-esque base with notes of fresh-squeezed citrus juice and pine ... finished with pleasantly bitter notes of grapefruit and lemon peel ... refreshing and dynamic

M: Medium mouthfeel and fairly light on the carbonation, but that just helps highlight the awesome flavor profile

O: An incredibly tasty, malt-forward IPA that has become a winter classic for good reason

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Photo of StoutElk_92
4.47/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a beautiful red-orange with a fluffy, off-white, thick foam head. Smells like sweet caramely malts, mild sweet citrus and light pine. Taste is full forward with fresh pine, light citrus, and sweet caramely malt. Feel is medium bodied, slightly creamy and slick. Overall a delicious, sweet malty IPA with a pure, fresh pine needle bitterness to cut through and balance out the sweetness. Perfectly balanced and simply well made. Really great beer!

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Photo of ajchocholousek
4.24/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Aroma: incredibly fresh, incredibly green (in a good way), herbaceous, resiny, grassy hop character. Apricot, peach, strawberry (?), pine, and grapefruit make for an incredible hop bouquet. A touch of candied orange peel here too as well as just a bit of nice, warm malty sweetness to support it all.

Pours a deep red-orange amber color. Hints of darker brown. A nearly white, tight, dense, frothy head sticks around and leaves beautiful sticky lacing. Nearly perfectly clear, with a bit of haze, presumably from the hops.

A hop-forward palate brings a very resiny, sticky, piney, citrusy hop character. Pine, grapefruit, orange rind, and a bit of spruce greens prevail. It is medium bodied, with medium carbonation, and a very middle-of-the road, slightly sticky mouthfeel. The malt body comes in at the very end with just a touch of dark caramel and a bit of biscuit, but mostly stays out of the way. I get the tiniest bit of roast here as well - chocolate malt for color perhaps?

Overall this is a phenomenal beer. This year's is a bit more balanced in years past, but the complexity is through the roof. It goes down easy, but leaves you satisfied and wanting to crack another and another. Love the sticky lips. Beautiful.

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Photo of morrisseywilde
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

It is just not Christmas/Holiday time until I get a 12 pack of this. My second favorite SN after Hop Hunter, and maybe my first due to the limited release and those fresh hops. A beautiful orange copper color with a small head. Aroma is pine, grapefruit, melon. Taste is crackery, pine, plum, plenty of hops for any hophead with just the right malt balance. Love that this is a winter beer that is not heavy or too malty. ABV is just right. Mouthfeel is thinner but substantial, refreshing yet with some heft to it. This is one of my favorite beers that I always come back to, and I always associate it with a special time of year. Comes with that amazing Sierra Nevada value. First rate classic IPA full of fresh flavors and a beautiful color, with a label that just puts you in that holiday spirit like a Bing Crosby song.

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Photo of hman43
3.9/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Look: It pours a cooper color with slight hazing with a large off white head that leaves plenty of lacing.

Smell: It has a malt aroma of nuts and caramel. The hops are piney and citrusy with floral being prominent.

Taste: It has flavors of nuts and a hint of caramel with the pine and floral flavors taking over the majority of the flavor sensation. The are hints of dark fruits as well.

Feel: It is medium bodied in texture with a bitter knock on the palate that is long lasting, but enjoyable.

Overall: it is a medium bodies IPA with the malt more reminiscent of an English IPA. It has complex hops flavors with a long lasting bitter finish.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
4.18/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Another staple in the fall/winter. Pours brown but with ample clarity to it, and some deep red. Very professional looking beer. Aroma, c hops, centennial, chinook.

Taste, solid winter warmer type of ipa. Cornerstone. Bang at least a case of this every winter.

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Photo of SaltofOH
3.43/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Bottle dated 10/07/15. DFH Tulip.

A: Remarkably dark for an IPA. Looks like an amber ale. Pours a hazy amber with just under 1 finger khaki head that fades to pretty much nothing. Moderate carbonation. On a second pour, retention was much better. Lacing was good, but not great.

S: Grapefruit and sugar. Very sweet nose, some resin and pine. Smells like a malty IPA, but not really getting much complexity.

T: Initially a dry and malty arrival, with some pine. Mid palate fills out with resin and slight sweetness, closing out with a very firm and lingering resiny bitterness. Bitterness really lingers. Very traditional resin/pine hop character; not much in the line of tropicals or citrus on the palate for me.

M: Heavier side of mid-weight, but with little viscosity. Lighter carbonation.

O: I first had this been knowing nothing about it, and drank it from a nearly-three-month old bottle. I thought it was an okay, hoppy brown ale. Now knowing that it is a holiday IPA (and having it a lot fresher) I can see why it has the cult following it does. It comes off to me as a low-alcohol DIPA. But I am a fan of maltier beers, so I like it and would certainly buy it again. Just not an annual must-have beer for me.

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Photo of rjd722
4.24/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Look: What a classic. Pours a beautiful deep reddish-amber with a slightly tan rocky foam head.

Aroma: Light biscuit, floral and slight citrus hops accompanied by pine.

Taste: The flavor is somewhat malty upfront, but quickly yields to the robust hoppy bitterness you would expect from a longstanding IPA favorite. There is a pleasant level of spiciness throughout, it's just right for this variety of seasonal beer - definitely not overdone.

Feel: The bitterness from the hops lingers for a while, but doesn't make this beer any less drinkable; nice carbonation and very smooth.

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Photo of Tee76
3.56/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

As far as an IPA goes this is exceptional. Great lacing, great taste, very drinkable. My only complaint is its marketed and sold as a winter beer. There's nothing "Christmas" or winter about this brew. Sierra Nevada should sell it year round. I could easily drink this on hot day.

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Photo of rand
4.1/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Just picked up a couple of 6 packs of fresh, 2015 vintage, and realized I hadn't reviewed this. 12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

A: Clear, amber appearance, with a small, fluffy head. A couple rings of lacing are left after a few sips.

S: Hop-forward nose with a citrusy, floral bouquet. I just went through a lot of fresh-hop brews from the September harvest, adn this smells very similar.

T: The hop essence defines the flavors but it's floral, grassy and nuanced rather than bitter. NOtes of green apple and citrus rind are countered by honeyed biscuits and toasty grains. There is some bitterness toward the back of the sip, joining a touch of warming alcohol. Closes with a medium finish, with lingering bitter residuals.

M: Medium-light complexion with an oily slick mouthfeel.

There's good reason everyone clamors over this brew this time of year. It seems all of the fresh hop IPA's available have only made this more popular. Get it while you can.

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Photo of BrewUSA
4.36/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Sierra Nevada Celebration

Look 9/10
Smell 18/20
Taste 36/40
Feel 10/10
Drinkability 20/20

Overall 93/100

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Photo of Whiteturtle
4.14/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottled 10/02/15... consumed on 11/23/15. Wishing I got to try this a week or two after it was bottled, but wishes don't always come true.

Pours a nice transparent orangey-ambery colour. About a full finger head (pointer finger, not pinky). Some decent lacing building on the sides just from the head, haven't even moved the glass yet. **About halfway through the beer and there is still a misty foamy .0001 inch head on top. I love it when beers can pull this off. Ive noticed some of Sierra Nevada and Deschutes beers having this ability.

The nostrils pick up grapefruit, orange, pine, apricot, plus a wash of sugary malty goodness. There's actually not a strong aroma accompanying this ale, but I concede that this could be due to the style (fresh hop) and the time spent in the bottle.

First couple of sips are met with a lemon zest and grapefruit blockade. I know grapefruit is probably the most overused describer of IPA's.. but it is front and center for this celebration. With warmth, I start picking up a some caramel, some buttery biscuits, beechwood, and anise.

I love the body and mouth-feel that is the result of whole cone hoppage. It's like every nook and cranny inside my happy little cheeks (you know I mean face cheeks...come on guys) get the creamy yet bittery goodness. Landing on a 6.8% abv, it's a little stiff for me and needlessly heats up a would be remarkable feel.

I have had this beer for the past several years, but this is my first time reviewing it. Like I mentioned earlier, this review is from a beer that is almost two months old. While that may not be a big deal for most styles, I believe it does affect a fresh hop ale. It was still really really good. Celebration is one of the most accessible and well rounded fresh hops you can get. I wouldn't have minded the alcohol being tuned down just a tad. Otherwise: celebrate hops, celebrate tradition, and celebrate good beer.

Happy Holidays

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Photo of BigDaddyWarbuxx
3.83/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

An IPA that focuses on bitterness, first and foremost. Definitely not for the uninitiated, this is an IPA that packs a punch in flavor and dominates the palate.

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Photo of tempo013
4.06/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I would purchase this again. Very good ipa. A bit more spicy than other ipas. Drank from a 12 ounce bottle while watching a lifetime movie with the wife.

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Photo of MacMalt
4.29/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into IPA glass. The color is a lovely honey-orange with a thick, two-finger, creamy milk-colored head and thick lacing that did not dissipate. It's a beautiful pour. The smell features pine and floral hops; not a lot of citrus. The taste follows the nose: bitter, piney, with light citrus, and subtle malty sweetness at the finish. This is a light, crisp, refreshing ale and very drinkable at 6.8% ABV. This is a great ale to enjoy outdoors, at a sporting event or with a nice meal. It is ideal for tailgating! Another excellent offering from Sierra Nevada.

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Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4.24/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

On draft at Olympic. Served in pint glass. keg tapped yesterday. Glad to finally try this. Nice flavorful hops that aren't very bitter. Well done beer by Sierra Nevada.

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Photo of bobstockwell
4.24/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

great seasonal treat. Dark for an IPA. Really nice balance between malty backbone and piney/citrus of hops.

Very good beer, great beer for the price. $12.99/12pk

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Photo of exposd
3.38/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This is a different take on the normal traditional holiday Christmas ale that we see all the time nowadays. It's simply a fresh hop IPA brewed seasonally for he holidays and it really is a good brew for the season, but it doesn't have the spices, cinnamon, nutmeg, etc. that most Christmas ales have. It's refreshing but also a beer you could enjoy in the cold winter and savor the flavor of the fresh hops, the first hops of the season to be exact! It's worth checking out if you come across it, but not something I would bend over backwards to find.

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Photo of JLaw55
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Exceptional is the first word that comes to mind. I know an IPA can't necessarily be 'balanced' as far as beer is concerned, but this is the best way to describe this one. It is possibly the most balanced IPA I have ever had.

The color is a rich vibrant red/amber color. You can still see through it when you hold it up to the light, although just barely. A nice finger of white fluffy head. The aroma is that of pine, fruit, and malt.

The flavor is amazing. Layers of malt, citrus zest, pine, floral hops, and a bouquet of spices. It really tastes like the holidays in a glass. The malt is so supportive that the malt and hops really do dance on your tongue in harmony. Neither overpowering the other. The hops are still present and contribute a nice fresh profile to the beer, but they do not overpower or punch you in the mouth either.

Mouth feel is surprisingly light for a beer of this color and depth. It is very drinkable and smooth.

This beer is awesome. it isn't like all the other fresh hop beers out there, it seems like a labor of love and something that took a great deal of time and care to brew. Not like some of the options out there that seem like the hops were thrown in and it was bottled and shipped out immediately. This seems more like a beer that was brewed slow and steady, but still showcasing the fresh hops in the process.

Would Drink Again: Yes
Would Purchase Again: Yes

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Photo of mirp1
4.48/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Celebration Ale is one of the first holiday beers ever released in the U.S. I first had it many years ago, and was blown away by it's classy simplicity. It struck me as an in-your-face, rock solid craft beer, having no intentions on faking anyone out. I looked forward to it's annual November release, and not just for the quality of the beer, but also for the striking holiday-winter theme packaging. Like many reviewers, I have had all kinds of beer over the years, from EKU 28, to Scaldis, to Heady Topper, Pliny the Elder, Ghandi Bot, Hi Res, KBS, Bourbon County Stout/Barley Wine, Bells Hop Slam/Mars, Seeking Alpha, Flower Power, Creeker, etc, etc. Consequently, my palate is conditioned to not be as impressed as I was with the more regular craft beers of the world. When I was told last week that Celebration Ale was now in stock at local beer stores here in Utica, NY, I quickly went out and grabbed some. Modern holiday beers have become spice crazy, and so have jumped the shark. Celebration Ale is that rock solid holiday craft beer that never sold out. Great color, malty, crisp, with cascade, centennial, and chinook. Nuff said.

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Photo of Tonyjenlasc
3.81/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Look - Amber color, somewhat opaque in appearance
Smell - Floral, piney, earthy
Taste - Pine, floral, spice, earthy, some malt sweetness, very slight hints of citrus

Overall - Tastes like a hopped up SNPA to me. Nothing outstanding about this beer to be honest. Easy drinking but not mind blowing in any way.

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Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
4.15 out of 5 based on 10,103 ratings.
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