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: 10,211
Photo of itfitz
5/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Celebration Ale has caramel, cereal, hints of herbs and spices; the overwhelming prevalence of hops brings about a citrusy, floral note. Honestly, the holidays wouldn't be the same without Celebration Ale, and I buy as much as I can stock in my home each year.

This is without question one of my Top 5 beers. Incredible from the first taste until the last sip rolls out of the bottle.

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

SNCA may just be my favorite beer in the world - certainly my favorite American beer. I twist off the cap of a 2003 bottle with much anticipation. It pours an orangey-red with with a thin, fine-bubbled head. The nose is full of piney hops, making me remember that this is the drink to set up a Christmas tree with - forget egg nog. Taste is all hops, but with a firm malty body to back it up. Just the perfect mouthfeel to keep you coming back for more - not too thick, not too thin. A perfect beer, hence the 5's in all categories.

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

Red amber body with slight chill haze. A rocky head you can sculpt with. Incredible grapefruity hop aroma. Good malt background supporting marvelous hop smack to taste buds.
Drinkability? Had a six pack during a party and wanted more that night.

The first nationally available monster of an IPA. I am glad it is seasonal. Keeps me from taking it for granted.

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

50th review!

A - Pours a rich copper/amber color with a thick bubbly head and fantastic lacing.

S - Strong hops smell; nice blend of citrus and pine notes. Just a tinge of caramel sweetness.

T - Rich hop flavor, just a tinge of hoppy bitterness. Both citrus and pine flavors are present. Malt flavors - particularly caramel malts - are present and provide a rich backbone for the hops flavors to work off. Very fresh tasting. A fantastic blend of flavors.

M - Medium bodied, a little creamier and smoother than your average IPA. Nice aftertaste - great hoppy finish.

O - Sierra Nevada's Celebration is the best "wide release" IPA out there. It's an amazingly well-done IPA with just a bit more malt presence than your run of the mill IPA. I'm now wishing I'd bought a 12-pack or case instead of the 6-pack. If you like IPAs, run to the store now and grab this. Absolutely world amazing beer.

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

Incredible on tap . Beautiful to behold in the glass and a wonderful aroma. I wish I had the vocabulary to describe the balance of this fine Ale. I have to give it a perfect rating.
I will look for it again at my local

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Photo of rajendra82
5/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I am blown away. Pours out with a dark amber orange body and an extra tall beige head that is creamy and smooth. One of the loveliest display of carbonation I’ve ever seen in a beer. There is a near constant stream of tiny bubbles rushing to the top the entire time I drink this beer. The aroma is pure hops with citrus, pine, spruce, and spices in every whiff. Body is medium with an appropriate mouthfeel enhanced by the tiny bubbles that coat your tongue as the beer warms in your mouth. Bitter hoppy taste is a delightful departure from the sweet and syrupy winter fare from others. Malt backbone is solid and creamy, but hops are front, center, and back. Many thanks go to nvsblman for this trade. Hopefully next year this beer will be on the shelves in Georgia. When I see it in the stores, I’m going to be celebrating for sure.


It is now fall of 2004 and by the grace of God, HB 645 is now the law of the land in the State of Georgia. I just picked up a Sierra Nevada Celebration off the shelf from Green’s. When pouring it in the glass I notice something that was missing last year. This year’s version is cloudy. The bottle conditioned release is much less bubbly than the force carbonated 2003 version. The mouthfeel also seems more soft this year, and the spiciness has gone down a notch. Still a classic IPA.

Update 2:

Got a 2003 bottle as part of Cellar Meat BIF 18 from pentathlete. After a year and a half, the hops had faded, and the beer could be considered balanced. The taste had taken on shades of an Old Ale at this age, with some chewy sweet malt. The hops lurked in the back as a peppery wispy presence. I much prefer the assertive fresh taste, but still much to like here.

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

I opened my first Celebration of the season and teared up, like some kind of girl. This beer is, easily, the best part of early winter. Every year it's like welcoming an old friend back into my life. And while it's pretty sad to refer to a beer as an old friend, it would be a lie to deny doing it. I'm honest, man. Beer matters a lot. And few, maybe none, matter as much as Celebration.

This was the first aggressively citrusy hoppy beer I ever had. It was one of--maybe THE--first aggressively citrusy hoppy beers. And it's still perfect. Right now, the best hoppy beers (like Kern River or Heady) taste like Snickers bars. This is not that intense. But it's still great enough to have invented an entire style, and you have no right to call yourself a BA if you don't give it its due.

Very red, pretty color. Excellent head that refuses to die. Great lacing.

It smells like sweet caramel and hops. There's a bit of a spicy smell that falls somewhere between cloves and nutmeg.

Tastes like hops upfront with warmer spices, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, pumpkin pie. More hops in the back, sweeter than the front, but still bitter, and with more spice. The aftertaste is bitter hops with sour leanings, kind of like an orange rind dipped in cloves.

What can I say? This beer lives up to the hype. Too bad the only store near me fucking gouges on the price ($11.00 for a sixer!!!) or I'd probably buy a case to enjoy until next year.

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Photo of maedhros09
4.98/5  rDev +20%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Deep amber color with full fluffy head, cloudy with yeast. Rich cascade hops aroma, deep grapefruit hops flavor with balancing maltiness about 2/3 of the way.

This was the beer that hooked me on IPAs. There may be some emotional bias, but I still think it may be my favorite IPA. I can't wait to pick up a six pack of these every winter.

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Photo of nortmand
4.97/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A vigorous pour produces a big, fluffy off whitish head atop a copper body.

Piney, resiny citrus aroma dominates. Some sweet malt in their somewhere.

Raisin, citrus, resin, so much going on in the front of the tongue. Ends at the back of the tongue with a bitter plumminess. Simply exquisite.

Full bodied, yet refreshing and very drinkable. Can't wait to get this by the mug at Crunchy's again this year.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.97/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Ahh, the return of an old friend. I await this one to come out every year, and every year pick up a couple cases and have one every night from now until New Years. This years I have to say is fantastic. A big hop presence was added and it really showed. Poured a nice amber, not as dark as years past, but with a very sticky and foamy head on top, this one was here for a while. The smell was obnoxious, it was so sticky and fresh with hop resin, I did not even know what to do. Such a great mix of pine nugget freshness with a little bit of spice mixed in, dare I say perfect. The flavor was nothing short of extraordinary with a deep rich and stick hop profile, it was much better then any I had tried the last few years. Overall this was great and far exceeded last years version. This is a huge hop monster this year and it really needed to be. I am thrilled to see this back around and it is a real treat. Go out and get some, you will not be disappointed.

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Photo of Remedynj
4.97/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is my favorite seasonal brew and something that I look forward to every year, and 2011 did not disappoint. I try to save some each time I get it, but this is a difficult beer to keep around.

This is one of the few beers that I would give an A+ to, one of my all time favorites

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Photo of kush6875
4.95/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

celebation 2007 vintage

serving type : bottle poured into a DT goblet

smell: fresh crisp hops, pine, lots of citrus

taste: again very crisp, dry and hoppy. This beer begs you to drink more. it really knocks the palat for a loop but in a good way!!

mouthfeel: smoooth, crisp and deliciously hoppy!

drinkabilty: for a hop-heap its tops! now that the weather is changing i could drink this all night. this is a great beer to drink while you shovel the driveway on cold winter evenings!!!

In 04 father law and i finished a half barrel in 19 days flat!!! damn that was a great christmas!


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Photo of beerdown77
4.95/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This ambrosial brew is truly the "nectar of the gods". It's one of my favorite beers because it is not overwhelmingly seasonal in taste. It doesn't have any weird, funky spiciness that guides you down a path of regret half way through. It is super refreshing and crisp; I think I could enjoy one of these in the summer. I pick up some pinyness. Thats right, pine, and do I taste poinsettias and sprigs of holly? No, those are just on the bottle. The big head lasts all the way to the end...great overall appearance. The subtle approach to this being a seasonal beer makes it awesome and drinkable. Plan to have a couple of these in a row, no problem.

Date: 2010

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

Aaaahhh its that time of the year, everytime the celebration ale comes out i know the winter warmers are on the way. But lets focus on the celbration. This years batch is better than last years imo, the smell is better all aroun. The lace in the glass is sticky stick icky lace, and that makes me happy. I wish i could get this year round, it is not one to miss.

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Photo of milwaukee512
4.94/5  rDev +19%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

It is truly a celebration when this beer comes out each year. Very unique in that I've never had an IPA that seems perfectly suited for winter; citrus hops and floral notes, but strong (slightly dark) malt balances it perfectly. Throw in the usual spectacular Sierra Nevada feel and quality, and you've got a one-of-a-kind standout, and a crazy value at the price.

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Photo of lic217
4.94/5  rDev +19%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Look: light red, clear, with nice lasting head and lacing
Smell: Pine, Citrus, light malt
Taste: stars sweet, finished dry and bitter, with citrus, pine, and floral hops. Absolutely wonderful balance of bitter resin hops and sweet caramel malt, with the assertive resin bitterness to finish out the experience between sips
Feel: Perfect thickness for style, not water, but not chewy, and nice carbonation level
Overall: a great brew

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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 matcris
4.93/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottle dated 10/09/15 from 12 pack.

LOOKS: Hazy, red amber. Small, slow streaming bubbles rising. Tan head that sits like whip cream on top and lasts forever. Great lacing you expect with most SN beers.

AROMA: Pine is the main scent. Caramel malt. Citrus is there, orange, grapefruit, lemon.

TASTE: Grapefruit, lemon, pine. Plenty of caramel/toffee malt. Balanced sweetness and bitterness throughout gulp. Finishes with a pleasant bitterness.

FEEL: Nice carbonation brings out flavors. Medium body, dry and refreshing.

Really nice IPA, first time having it. Similar to Flip side Red IPA, but better. Can't go wrong with this. There is an amazing balance between sticky sweet caramel malt and pine/citrus hops. Lingering!
Will be back for more.

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Photo of Extrajoker00
4.93/5  rDev +18.8%

Served in a pint glass

A : Hazy copper with a thin off white head- some lacing

S : strong with piny hops

T : strong hops bitter but well balanced

M : great balance of strong hoppy start bitter offset creating a clean finish

D : great taste and clean finish leaves me wanting more

Sierra Nevada really got this one right, just as other brewers are adding oranges honey and cinnamon, SN goes simple and smooth to create a holiday classic, I really look forward to and enjoy this one

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Photo of scottoale
4.92/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

One of my top 5 favorites for nearly 2 decades, I thoroughly enjoy this American IPA which IMO is just as much a strong ale. Really, really tasty stuff no matter how you look at it!

It pours a medium amber-gold with an outstanding almond colored head. The head is thick and frothy, lasting the entire time of consumption, with a nice sticky lacing trailing every sip. The bottle-conditioned carbonation is perfact and consistant, year after year.

Ah, the smell. Very piney fresh hop nose with floral, malty into citrus like finish. They should make air fresheners and perfumes using this fragrance.

Tastes just like it smells with a rich, full body that makes this a gourmet meal of a beer. Full of hoppy, malty mouthfilling goodness that hides the alcohol all to well. Must drink more! One helluva American IPA indeed, and a very well balanced one.

I truly can say nothing bad about this beer, even though it's filling, I can drink this strong ale into eternity...I recommend that you do the same...Cheers!

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Photo of redneckchugger
4.92/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

poured into a pint glass, careful pour gives m an inch of headm lots of lacing, beer itself is dark brown, beautiful.
smells of nothing but hops. piney resinous hops.
Taste mirrors smell. oily, piney hops, some malt tyo balance it out, but hops reign here.
lucious mouthfell, smooth, kinda think, decadent.
overall a flawless example of an ipa, two hearted is the only beer that comes close to it in this style.

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Photo of groovemonster
4.92/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

As is stated in my disclaimer (see below) i cant smell. but i can get a scent from this that i can only describe as fresh hops floral pleasant-ness. the fact that i can smell it is in itself note-worthy. But now, on to the drinking.
WOW! this beer rocks! perfectly balanced hop bitterness and floral notes. Definately not a dry finish, but rather, a lingering aftertaste that serves as the beer equivalent of after glow. A reminder of what a great beer you just had. For me there are generally four categories of beer. those that suck, those i would drink for free but wont spend money on, those i like and happily spend money on, and those that are particularly impressive and noteworthy. This one is in the latter category, and there are not a lot of beers i place in that category. I bought it as a single but i will be looking for a sixpack next time i go.

Put this beer on your must drink list!

Disclaimer: I cant smell but it hasn't curbed my ability to enjoy fine brews. It has only curbed my ability to tell you what it smells like.
I ALWAYS drink from the bottle...I almost never know what the beer looks like...not even sure why thats important.
I don't know the difference between a growler and a snifter, and I dont think anything shaped like a tulip should have beer in it!

Mouth feel? that just sound offensive...:) is this a serious thing?

I am an irreverent beer snob!

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Photo of theteleman
4.92/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Poured into pint glass from 6 pack purchased at Distellers Outlet in Poway CA. Every year I look forward to this brew and it never dissapoints. A beefed up Pale Ale from the folks who make quite possibly the best PA around. The smell on this beer is amazing, hops, fruits, pinecone/pine needle(did I mention piney) type smell. The head on this beer is like a fluffy marshmellow cloud, one of the best heads on a IPA I have ever come across, really superb. Lots of hops, this brew has its bitter side but it is matched in equal with malts and whatever else they are using...fruit, spices, crisp on the palate with a warming alcohol lingering towards the end. If this is on the shelfs it means the weather is colder outside, and this is the perfect beer to warm you up on a chilly night.

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Photo of sevopie
4.92/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance - Amber/caramel with a rocky tan head. Amusingly, as it started to dissipate it spelled out the letters SN in the head. Ghosts? lol

Smell - Caramel malts and citrus hops in harmony. So beautiful.

Taste - Hops take over here, and its both piney and citrusy. The malts still are very present trying to round it out, but not quite making it. Still provides an excellent taste. Slight hint of butter and a dash of sugar on the finish.

Mouthfeel - Smooth and creamy with a hearty amount of carbonation.

Drinkability - These go too quickly to fathom. This is just about my favorite session beer I almost wish it were year round (though, that would lessen the desire for it.)

I just realized this is my highest score. Its well worth it.

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Photo of mschofield
4.92/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2003 bottling
Nice orange-red color with a thick off-white head, laces very well.
Strong hoppy aroma with some spice, I already know I'll like this one.
Hops carry through to the taste, and theres some orange zest in there with spruce. A little bitter but oh so smooth.
As for drinkability.. this is a holiday present from Sierra Nevada to beer drinkers, I could buy it by the case.

2004 bottling
Pours a rich, clear copper-amber, topped with a two finger creamy khaki head, leaves webs of lacing.
Citrus and leafy hop, toasted malt, bread and spruce aroma.
Awesome hop flavor, citrus, flowers, pine, toast and caramel. Nice high bitterness, strong but not obnoxious. Dark toffee note.
Awesome at cellar (55-60) temperature.

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Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
4.15 out of 5 based on 10,211 ratings.
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