Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

3,466 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: 3,466 | Ratings: 10,209
Photo of Dmann
5/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

In my opinion, this is the perfect beer. I had this baby on tap for the first time tonight and was blown away. It has a beautiful dark red/amber colour with a nice white head that left great lace down the whole glass. The smell was great;the hops jumped right out at you and did not let go, and the citric bite was prevelant as well. the taste was pure beer goodness with the perfect mixture of hop bitterness and a touch of malty sweetness to balance it out. There were also great citric flavors in there and it was not really dry tasting like a lot of IPA type beers are, but it was very very drinkable. If you can find this brew on tap or in the bottle, you will definantly be hooked!

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

Copper color with a nice head and some good lacing.

More hops than malt, but enough malt to balance out the hops. It's definately bitter but nicely balanced with toasty malt flavors.

Good carbonation that lasts. Great mouthfeel.

Too bad this is seasonal. It's one of my favorite beers. I bought a case in December, and I'm down to my last six-pack. :(

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Photo of Sinsemilla
5/5  rDev +20.5%

First of all, I live in that hut on the label and I also love this beer. Being the first of my reviews i say YAY, Not nay, for there is a difference in this beer compared to the rest.. Freshness, its unbelievable, the hops literally jump on my tongue like last year's Christmas poon tang. In order to contain them I make sure to drink the entire bottle. With a 6.8 % abl. its priceless. Believe in yourself, believe that you will, pick this beer up for the Christmas time, you will my friends, enjoy!

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

The go to beer around Christmas time in my household! Even the guess seem to really enjoy it. It has a great taste and makes the celebrations come alive!

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

This is why I drink beer. All year long is merely a warm-up for the day when SN Celebration hits the shelf. Hops, Hops, Hops, accompanied by just the right amount of malt. Onslaught of flavor. Awesome.

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Photo of Erdinger2003
5/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a big thick pillowy head with a great lacing and a clear brown color with yellow/gold edges. Smell is a slightly sweet fruity hop smell with some pineapple grapefruit hops. Taste is sweet malty with some really good bitter that's light and well, well balanced. Mouthfeel is soft and pillowy too. Overall, a very good brew I will have more of this wonderful brew.

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Photo of MQ4188
5/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I am not a huge reviewer and I am going far out on a limb with this ale.

This is the best large production bottled beer I have ever tasted. Sierra Nevada hit a "home run" with this one in 2010. This is real close to the Sierra Nevada - Northern Hemisphere Harvest Ale they produced in 2010 in the 24 Ounce bottle.

The appearance was beautiful with a two finger, snow white head and a perfect copper color.

The smell had intense fresh hoppiness but floral and citrus notes as well.

The taste was amazing and hoppy and a bite that was not ridiculous.

Mouthfeel and drinkability was outstanding and one that was smooth and fresh with a lot of hop character that you don't see in an American IPA produced in volume.

If someone picked this one up thinking it was just like Sierra Nevada Pale Ale , then they got a big surprise! For the good; I must add.

If you are of the type that feel it is impossible to get all "5" ratings in a "mass produced" ale then I guess we will just have to disagree. I rated it as high because I wanted to give a "mass produced" beer the credit I feel it deserved.

Sure, I feel that there are many more that are different and better in, cask, limited 750ml, firkins, and the like, but this one was 12 ounce bottle and unbelievable for an ale which you can pick up in a grocery store. Find me another 6.8 abv. in a grocery store that is even close to the caliber of this, then we can compare. Until then, this one gets an A+ for an American IPA, in this category

Bravo, Sierra Nevada for taking it to the next level!!

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

Presentation: Poured into a tulip glass from a 12oz brown bottle with a vintage 2009 date on the label.

A: Slightly cloudy reddish amber color with off-white head and substantial lacing.

S: Strong citrus and minty pine hops.

T&M: Very crisp, medium to full bodied. Sharp hop bitterness, typical of a Sierra brew. Mild piney and fruitiness that finishes slightly bitter with a dry, malty sweetness.

This is always a favorite that I look forward to each holiday season.

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Photo of lester619
5/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is the stuff that expanded my mind beyond high life light from the can. It looks fantastic. Deep, dark copper to amber brown. Gigantic creamy rocky head. Lacing that slides down the entire side of the mug. Perfect. Very fragrant fresh hop smell. I've never been to a hop farm at harvest time, but this is what I imagine it smells like. The taste is ideal for an IPA. Thick, chewy bready backbone. Understated sweet toasty caramel malt with the perfect amount of fresh complex oily hop bitterness. It doesn't go too far with the hops and produce a bitter aftertaste. Again, perfect. This is hands down my favorite beer. It might be my favorite part of Christmas.

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

I got home after a shitty night at work and decided to do something nice for myself. So, I went to the fridge and got this lovely holiday brew. I was lucky enough to get a case on sale for $20, what a steal!

12 oz bottle and a 20oz wide mouth pub glass.

Color: It pours a rich copper color with a cream colored head that lasts a long amount of time.

Aroma: Lovely smell of fruity hops and a spicy hint of something I can't quite put my finger on but I like it.

Taste: A sweet and spicy beginning with a fruit and spice backend that leaves you floating in those wonderful hops. A bitter finish that gets stronger as it gets dryer. Medium mouth feel.

Overall: Love that spice and hop flavor, I'm not sure what they used here but it works, a very pleasant brew. My only wish is that they layed off the bittering hops just a tad, otherwise, it's a great brew.

Don't miss this one!

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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 vdread
5/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale 2009
bottle to glass

Sierra Nevada Celebration has to be one of the best seasonals, if not THE best. it has everything a beer lover would enjoy. it's heady and leaves a nearly solid wall of lace behind it, it smells great, and tastes even better, perfectly blending hop bitterness with the maltiness of a winter beer. it's crisp, clean, easy to drink, and has a hefty ABV. in short, it maybe the perfect beer.

a beautiful dark orange, bubbly, with a thick foamy head that leaves a WALL of lace down the side of the glass. there is some sediment at the bottom.

hops jump out at the nose. lemon, grass, grapefruits, bready malts. you can tell this is a hop-dominant brew.

taste is the clean, hoppy, with the solidly bitterness that sierra nevada is known for making. the malt presence is bready and thick. it's crisp up front, slightly spicy in the back.

very creamy and goes down thick on the palate, leaving bready malts and hops in the aftertaste. you can definately tell there's some alcohol in there. easy to drink and enjoy. an all around awesome beer, seasonal or not.

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

5.0 all around. there's not much i can add to the accolades of this 2010 release.

so i guess i'm just chiming in.

tremendous hops. just tremendous! V. TREMENDOUS!!!! my only "criticism" is that SN should make this a year-round brew. but i guess torpedo is their hop hound. and it wouldn't be celebration if this brew was all year round. but the "celebration" ale each year makes the new england winter easier to bear for sure!

and kudos and all dap to SN for charging a fair price.

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

Bought 2 cases this year at Costco before Christmas. The following week they were sold out. This is my all time favorite treat. A hop heads delight and a Christmas tradition.

appearance: burnt orange with a head that never settles down

smell: fresh and lively

taste: the mother's milk for Sierra Nevada hop heads

mouthfeel: full and refreshing

overall: although I consider myself a novice - this is the only beer I go out my way to find. Its a special beer for a special time of year.

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

Ok, first thing... it's 30 degrees outside right now. Frickin cold!! So I meant to buy a 6 of this before Christmas but, I ended up not getting it until now. And I'm sooo glad I bought a whole 6 pack!
Pours a nice slightly hazy amber from a 12oz bottle to a standard pint glass. Big foamy sticky head. Super clingy lacing going on here. Very pretty beer.
Smells piney...very piney! But also sweet malt chilling in the background. Maybe detecting some alcohol fuming around in there too. Smells like a bad ass beer. Very big smelling beer going on here. It smells absolutely wonderful! Very complex. It's hard to pick up on everything that is going on here. But none the less, it smells amazing. Maybe some oak or something in there too.
The taste is amazing! Beautifully hopped. A strong hop punch right off the bat...Yes it is really hoppy BUT, in no way over done. The hops just slam your tongue with wonderful punch. and at the end you get the sweetness of the malt followed buy more hop punch. It's really hard to explain everything that is going on in this beer but It's simply wonderful.
Mouth feel is perfect for this beer. The hops balance out the sweetness perfectly. This is a big beer. The drinkability is great! It tastes so good you have to control yourself! I drink them slow and enjoy every last drop!

Simply perfect.

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

This is one beautiful beer.

Upon emptying the bottle into a pint glass, I noticed two things right away. The head and the color.

The foam settled into a creamy white head about two and one half inches high and filled the room with the scent of flowers and orange blossoms. Quite remarkable. The color was a deep, luminous copper-bronze, slightly cloudy when held against the light.

Before the first sip I stuck my nose in the glass and enjoyed the aroma. At first I could not place the scent, but as the liquid warmed and relaxed I finally determined that I was smelling apricots, oranges and honey along with the wonderful hoppy floral characteristics. The taste is primarily apricot and honey. The orange comes in through the nose as you tip the glass to drink. I spent a lot of time with my nose in the glass.

The mouthfeel is very nice, thick and creamy as it rolls around on your tongue and the carbonation is just right.

I plan on looking forward to each yearÂ’s edition of Celebration Ale.

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

Served from the bottle into a becker glass

A- Poured a clear dark copper color with a frothy off-white head that left glass coating lace

S- Huge hop aroma, pungent grapefruit, sticky pine, sweet citrus, and sweet malts. Very strong and aromatic

T- Huge hop flavor, big pungent grapefruit, sticky piney, citrus, floral, and grassy hop notes. About every possible hop flavor is present in this beer. Nice high level of astrigency and moderate bitterness with a nice sweet malt backbone

M- Very dry, prickly carbonation, medium body, almost creamy in its smoothness

O- One of the first craft beers I really fell in love with. I can't believe I have not reviewed it yet. Picked up a six pack for $6.99 and it certainly does not disappoint. You can hunt for all the whales you want, but the best beer might be in your grocery store beer aisle for $6.99.

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Photo of kdawg105
5/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I've yet to find an ale that can match this flavor. Appearance was way more than I was even expecting perfect in color with plenty of lace. The smell is of nutty malts with plenty of hop notes! The taste is of smooth beautiful ale is great! I love this BEER!!

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

SNCA has been my fave "hop bomb" year in and year out. I buy a case every year and end up "cellaring" some. I'm drinking the '08 edition as I write this (in a local watering hole, not a favorite, since they are NOT cigar-friendly...but that's another story!).

Once again...year after I'm pouring it, I notice the hops right off...Cascade and Centennial...and the taste, as usual, is to die for! Thanx Terrence (@ SN)! Thick head and a lot of lace. A GREAT cigar ale, especially if the cigar has a grassy, earth-like note.

Since most everyone, if not all, rate the current batch each year, I'd like to do something different. As mentioned, I "cellar" several bottles of each year's batch and conduct parallel tastings upon arrival of the new batch.

Last year we paralleled the '04 thru '07. You will notice different flavors for each year as the hops (i.e. ~ harshness) decrease with age, so the '04 was less harsh than the '05 and so on. The '04 and '05 both had an "oxidized" character. This is due to "ingressive" oxygen, which is caused by having bottle-caps versus corks (i.e. ~ allows oxygen into the bottle). The '04 and '05 had Sherry, "winey-like" notes, along with some "burnt" notes with the '04 being more so than the '05.

Re: hops...on the aromatic side, if I'm not mistaken, SN uses a 50-50 mix of Cascade & Centennial and for dry-hopping it's a mix of 70% Cascade and 30% Centennial. Primary fermentation is 3-4 days and is dry-hopped during this phase. Chinook is the bittering hop.

I'm looking forward to the first 5-year parallel this year...using up the last of the '04 and '05 batch through '08.

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Photo of wesl56
5/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2009 celebration ale

a- some sediment in the bottom of the bottle, so gave it a light swirl, pours really foamy with bubbles rising to form a large head, settling to a reddish dark amber with tiny particles present... heavy lacing all the way down

s- floral and citrusy, with a hint of spices and malts

t- strong floral hops, tastes like an ipa but has a very smooth, almost perfectly balanced finish

m- very pleasant, perfect amount of carbonation and after-taste

d- a moderately heavy slow sipping beer, excellent for cool weather

overall - i love this beer, since i first tried it last season, it has been one of my top five not just seasonal, but all time beers... its like an IPA at first but with a excellent balance, lots of hops there, but they dont overwhelm... like i said this is a perfect sippin beer for a cool evening, just relaxing around the holidays... i plan to pair this with a steak later, which i expect will go very well

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Photo of match1112
5/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

poured my 2010 celebration into a pint glass. had a nice fluffy four finger head. lacing all the way around till the end. has a nice dark copper color to it. smells exceptional, nice floral hops. speaking of hops, the taste is the same start to finish, nice full bodied hoppy beer. cant wait for my next one!

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

2001 Vintage
Sweet mother of god! This is the ambrosia I have been seeking. Fresh Celebration was always in my top 10, but an aged version... I think I need a change of underwear.
Appearance is a deep golden amber with a large white head and perfect lacing. The aroma is sheer bliss. Sierra Nevada should make a cologne that smells like this. The taste: Complex malts, honey, cinnamon, clove, and the best goddamn hop flavor I've ever experienced. This is perfectly balanced. Mouthfeel is smooth enough to bed the queen of England, and the drinkakbility: too good to be true.
If you've never had an aged Celebration, I can tell you that's it's a completely different beer. The only way this beer could possibly improve is by aging it another year or so.

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Photo of tbone53
5/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

this is not a beginers beer.only those who appreciate the way beer should taste will like this.pours a nice creamy head laces nicely down the side of the glass.nice hoppy taste.this is a good special occasion are not going to sit back and throw a six pack of these down.good taste good look good call.

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

Ok, I freely admit it I am extremely biased when it comes to this beer. I used to buy cases of this stuff every year. I finally broke down and started to buy a keg of it instead. The first time I had this it absolutely blew me away. The hops where so intense so fresh the just screamed to break free from the confines of the bottle. This beer is definitely best when fresh, because it is all about the hop flavor and aroma. The hops lend a wonderful spicy citrusy greatness to this beer. And wonderfully the brewers saw fit to outfit this paragon with a solid malt backbone that just carries and delivers the hop celebration to every corner of your mouth. Just a plain awesome beer.

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Photo of bosox941827
5/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from 12 oz. bottle into an Imperial pint glass.

A: A soothing clear amber/orange color - you know you're going to have a good beer when you see this color. Pour it rough and you get a nice rocky head that will leave its ring with each sip...
S: Right after the pour you get the the head dissipates a bit it becomes more balanced as you might expect.
T: The essence of a hoppy beer. Hops on the front, malt in the middle as some leverage, resolving back into hops, which linger for quite a while. What does it for me with this beer is the bit of sweetness you get in the middle that gives it balance as it resolves into the finishing hops. If you began with the hops and went right to hops again to finish it off, you could, with justification, label this as unbalanced (with the accompanying mouth-fatigue), but that bit of sweetness in the middle is what makes this beer world-class (said the unconverted hop-head!). What also distinguishes this beer from other IPAs, is the LACK of toasted malts, which usually make themselves known at the front of the palate (see: Titan, Stone, etc., etc.). In fact, I had a Titan IPA just prior to this, and even though the IBU are identical, the hop-punch of the SN is leagues ahead of the Titan. This IPA puts the hops at the front and at the end, with the malt in the middle, the way an IPA should be, IMHO.
M: Almost like a fine French Champagne, tiny bubbles that are almost not there.
D: I could drink this beer all day, although I can see how a non-hophead may get mouth-fatigue. Also, the somewhat high ABV of 6.8% (though non-discernable on the palate) will sneak up on you before you know it.

I LOVE this beer - it is the standard against which other IPAs should be judged. Another winner from Sierra Nevada.

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Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
4.15 out of 5 based on 10,209 ratings.
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