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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

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Reviews: 3,439 | Ratings: 10,099
Photo of lstorie3
3.76/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

It's a good beer, perhaps a great beer, but it's not what I want in a winter seasonal. It's about what you'd expect from Sierra Nevada in terms of taste and aroma. It shows off the hop harvest well, so I guess it's mission accomplished on that part. If I'm judging it on it just on taste, it's a probably 8/10, but as a seasonal I'm giving it 7/10.

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Photo of mjaskula
3.76/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a pint glass. Pours a slightly hazy amber with a thick khaki head that thins to a film, leaves some lacing.

The aroma is hoppy and bitter. Flavor is a typical IPA, plenty of hop bitterness, some malt backbone. Hop flavor is more pine than citrus, and crisp and clean. Carbonation is high and refreshing. Easy drinking for IPA lovers.

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Photo of Atlas1
3.76/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This 2006 SNCA poured into a belgian-style snifter glass. Probably not the most appropriate glass for the occasion, but I wanted to see if I could capture as much of the aroma as possible. A nice burnt-orange-amber color from the pour, with a nice looking inch high head on top. Leaves a relatively thin and disconnected, but noticeable, lace along the glass as the beer recedes. The head then settles down as a nice thin cover over the entire beer, with its edges clinging to the glass. There is also a tuft of foam which comes to rest in the middle of the glass. I find this quality reminiscent of several belgian ales I've had before; it's nice to see.

The aroma is malty, but with clear notes of unknown spice and even a citrus/ginger-like faintness to it. I can't tell the spices in this. Maybe some cinammon? I'm not entirely sure. (Admittedly, I'm getting over a week-long head cold and my olfactory senses are not yet back up to snuff... pardon the pun.) But the taste of the SNCA is fierce and unexpected. There is an almost peppery hoppiness to this beer. The hops are in complete control here, and are most noticeable, as usual, in the finish. Some tart citrus in there as well, and a hint of fresh pine. This is not the usual spicey flavor that I (mistakenly?) associate with winter brews, and I like it very much. There is also a subtle sweetness that settles in quietly under the tongue.

I wouldn't sit down for a session with the SNCA, but I could see having one or two of these after dinner sitting around a fire on a cold winter night. Sounds cliched, perhaps, but this beer is anything but cliched. A solid outing by the gang at Sierra Nevada once again.

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Photo of jeffthecheff
3.76/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle code is 9286. This was bottled in mid September?

The pour is very foamy from the high carbonation. The head looks like a weizen. I was able to get the foam to rise 2 fingers high over the rim of the glass, and it took quite a while to settle down. The head is thick and hilly, and creates tons of lace all over the glass that you can't even see through. A lot of bubbles stream up the glass. There is a slight haze to the amber color.

The aroma has American hops with nothing getting in the way. It has a bright citrus hiding behind the pine and earthy, leafy character of the hops. The strength is good, and it's still fresh after 3+ months.

Carbonation is high, which is no surprise. The big, sweet body and creamy feel from the head contribute to accentuate the malt character, which has some nice, light sweetness to it. Maybe it's because of the interaction with the hops, but it has a red candy flavor to it. The hops taste dark and herbal and contribute a very strong, blunt, bitter finish that lingers. This is a nice big IPA. It's a good thing to have in the fridge for one or two pours, but I wouldn't make a session of this beer.

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Photo of Arbitrator
3.76/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

2009 vintage, chilled bottle into a glass.

Last year when I had this I didn't enjoy it; I was not a hophead and I felt it was imbalanced and bitter. My tastes have evolved immensely since then, and while I still won't call this balanced, I can give it more credit.

A: Pours a slightly hazy amber body with orange tones. The head is a finger of cream-colored head that retains for a minute or so before retreating into scattered bubbles on top of the brew and a thick collar. Nice lacing down the sides. That, and its viscous appearance (aided by slow bubbles up the glass) help it look very inviting and rich.

S: Grapefruit rind with a hint of pine needles and spice.

T: Starts off with grapefruit juice and caramel malt, which pulls into the mid-taste. It is then joined by an assortment of floral and spice notes. The finish is lightly dry with a definite pine character. These hop varieties combine in the aftertaste into a lightly bitter, long-lasting finish.

M: I prefer a cleaner finish in my IPAS, but this isn't nearly oily enough to complain about. Medium-full body with a chewy feel to it and creamy carbonation.

D: I'm quite happy having picked up a six-pack of this. It's a good beer and a great value. I'm not sure I'll get more than that; though. It's a good IPA but not head and shoulders above the rest of the pack.

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Photo of NatetheGreat
3.76/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is just such a different beer for a winter ale. But when you need a hop fix in the dead of winter, I guess this is a lifesaver.

Absolutely huge head, beautiful ruby color glowing with orange and scarlet highlights. The aroma is hoppy, very fresh, with orange peel, fresh cut leaves and floral and spicy notes.

Taste is not very balanced, IMO, even hoppier than aroma. It's a hop explosion with very fresh leafy and flowery notes and some bitter citrus fruits - malt is there, not totally overwhelmed, but still overshadowed. Some sugery candy-like flavor. The feel is smooth and creamy and the drinkability could be better if not the alcohol were not so noticeable and the hops weren't so assertive. But, like I mentioned, if you're looking for a hop moment, here it is.

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Photo of deejaydan
3.76/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thick and creamy head. Brilliant amber color. Aroma is piney as is the taste. The flavor is rather one dimensional, no malt balance to play the hops against. Mouthfeel is good. Drinkable, yes, but I feel that there are better and more balanced IPA's to be had.

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Photo of guityler83
3.76/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: In a tulip glass the beer built a head the hight of a finger and a half made of fine tiny bubbles just a few shades darker then white. Good retention and as it fell it left a thick coat of lacing all down the side of the glass and small piles on the top of the liquid. The beer is a dark amber to light crimson color with a strong amount of haze.

S: The nose is ripe with grapefruit, citrus and pine with a reisienous undertone. A faint whiff of toasty malt aroma but most is coming from the hops in this beer.

T: A crisp firm bitterness with the grapefruit flavor dominating the palet. Its more of a round hop flavor then the typical SPA and more prominant. The middle of the flavor shows some of the pine that was detected in the nose along with some bready, toast and bread crust malt flavors. The finish is strong in the hops department also, clean and refreshing grapefruit.

M: Moderate amount of body and carbonation. lots of hop oils are left on the pallet making the bitterness linger and giving the impression of a bigger beer but its still very drinkable.

O: A solid hop profile with some maltyness to keep it interesting and the signiture grapefruit/pine flavor that SN does like know other.

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Photo of strangefate
3.76/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2006 edition.

Pours a dark amber with a thick head that ends up as a thin film while drinking the second half. Great lacing all over the glass as you drink it. The smell isn't that strong as most other IPAs, but it is hoppy, somewhat malty, and faintly fruity. It tastes a lot hoppier than it smells. A lot of bitterness and a caramel malt character. It's medium bodied and very hoppy on the tongue, a great mouthfeel. Drinkability is pretty good. All in all, a good beer, but certainly not as tasty as say, Stone IPA.

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Photo of Pencible
3.76/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2008 vintage - fresh. This poured a clear copper with fluffy tan head. It smelled like orange and grapefruit hops with a bit of creamy malt. It tasted like strong grapefruit hops with pine and copper, and a bit of caramel malt and mulled spices. More of the spices came out as it warmed. It was slightly thick with some carbonation, and had a bitter aftertaste. Overall (fresh) this was very similar to Sierra Nevada's regular Pale Ale. It was fairly clean and easy to drink. It had nice body and a good flavor. I could see the flavor developing nicely with age, as the hops fade some, and the spices and malt become bolder.

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Photo of beercollector
3.76/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I tried a 2003 Celebration tonight. This one is reaching the end of its run. It poured a light amber the you could see through. Very little head and light carbonation.

This one had very little aroma. The taste sarted a little sweet and then went to bitter with a herb flavor. A very light mouthfeel and quick finish.

This is a short session beer for an evening but this vintage will soon be past its prime. I'd drink a few in an evening or use it as a starter to move to stronger ales or barley wines.

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Photo of Beaver13
3.75/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

The Celebration poured a copper-amber color with a nice thick, creamy head with fine bubbles that retained to the bitter end. Very nice smelling with a nice hop and spiciness balance with some floral tones. Interesting taste - medium to full bodied with a spicy, slightly sweet, initial taste with some subtle malt and fruitiness. Then come the hops! A very hoppy finish, a little too bitter for me. Overall, the Celebration is a very interesting beer. The hoppy, bitter finish and aftertaste is a little too overwhelming for me and detracts from the taste and drinkability of the beer.

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Photo of doomXsaloon
3.75/5  rDev -9.6%

Bottled early Oct, drinking mid Nov... Passed on the early Sept bottles.... Yeah, sadly, missing the fresh hop aroma. Very faint nose. Taste is somewhat muddled... No distinct pine; malty; darker than I recall last year's... Ha always been a hallmark of the season... Perhaps my taste buds have been alpha oil assaulted and I just can't go home again?

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Photo of TheMirrorOwl
3.75/5  rDev -9.6%

I've always regarded this as one of Sierra Nevada's best IPA's. Poured this year's batch from a couple 12 oz. bottles into a nonic pint glass.

Appearance: Copper, nigh amber in hue. Puffy, dense white head, substantial lacing. Cloud of particulates makes the beer softly opaque. Sparse little bubble colonies make their way to the top through the golden haze of hop particulates.

Smell: Sweet grapefruit, hint of tin, bready malts, fruity ester, bit of spice, hint of pine. Very round and aromatic.

Taste: Letting it warm, the flavors just explode out of the glass. Grapefruit hop burst mingles with masked biscuity malt up front, leading to a pure sugar pine and sweetbread wave, washing into a grapefruity, bitter hop finish. Pine and grapefruit rind on the tongue in the aftertaste. Alcohol is quite present in mid-to-late stage of flavor. The balance is superb, especially after about 10 mins. of warming.

Mouthfeel: Full body, alcohol noticeable. The almost syrupy heft is balanced by the fuzz of middling carbonation.

Overall: Good lawd. I remembered it was good, but not that it was THIS good. This beer is admirable. Sierra Nevada really knocks themselves out with this seasonal hop-head's masterpiece. Get you one!

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Photo of dhannes
3.75/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bought a 6-pack for a small get together. Drank out of bottle, so no valid data on appearance and smell.

T=Very herbal and floral...strong hops flavoring...too strong for the average beer drinker IMHO.

M=Nice light body and modest carbonation...tang makes it impossible to chug.

O=I'm not an IPA fan, and this was way too hoppy for my liking.

12/1/12 update: I tried another bottle of this and liked it much better this time--changed taste to 4.0.

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Photo of EricCioe
3.75/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This pours a really pretty, small particulate-laden copper with an off-white head that leaves nice lace. On the nose there is a nice grapefruit note with an underlying caramel note. In the mouth there is a good deal more malt than I was expecting. This is fresh, but the hops just aren't as present as I would have guessed. The bitterness that the grapefruit-centric nose would seem to indicate simply isn't there in the quantity I expect in a fresh hop ale. That's not to say it's a bad brew, because it isn't, it's just a little too balanced for my taste. The finish has a bit of bitterness, but the caramel malt sticks around together with it. The body is medium and a little sticky to me.

Overall, this is a decent fresh hop beer, but doesn't compare to the Deschutes Hop Trip I had last night.

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Photo of Antg8989
3.75/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

I don't really understand the hype over this one. It's a fine beer but to be getting scores in the 90's doesn't make much sense. I guess I just don't prefer the "first hops of the growing season" as Sierra Nevada says. Thought the aroma and flavor profile of torpedo was much more to my liking.

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Photo of brongladest
3.75/5  rDev -9.6%

A: amber red, clear, with a lazy white head with spme retention
S: citrus hops and toasty malt
T: citrus hops, toasty malt, bit of grapefruit on the finish
MF: medium body, highly carbonated
overall: likin this one extensively

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Photo of KodyBrannon
3.75/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass, This beer poured a light brown color with a lot of carbonation. It had a thick white foamy head. The overall scent was very hoppy and fruity, with a hint of pine, A definate change compared to other december seasonals. Had a very strong citrus and bitter taste. Very light mouthfeel, almost like water, just with some carbonation. Overall this was a decent beer to me, but not my favorite. I would pick somthing else besides this beer if given the oppertunity.

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Photo of BltByKrmn
3.75/5  rDev -9.6%

Maybe it's because I've had 2 Space Dust IPAs before trying this, but I don't get the hype. A very average IPA, good but not something I would seek out.

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Photo of Knapp85
3.75/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I had picked up 2 bottles of this around the holidays this passed year and was pretty excited to have this again. This beer pours out as a really nice looking Christmasy red color with a tan head on top that settles pretty quickly. The aroma is mostly hops which I like, it makes me want to dive right into this beer. The other aromas are subtle enough that they are almost nonexistent in this one. There is a little bit of spiciness coming through in the nose as well. The taste is just hoppy, I guess there are some malt flavors in the far background of this beer but mostly all hops here. The mouthfeel is medium I'd say. It's a really nice brew though and worth checking out.

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Photo of kbnooshay
3.75/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

had this at MacGregors on tap (20 oz). This was a nice clear amber brown with a small head. The smell was very hoppy and piney. The taste is malty sweet but the hops dominate. Nicely bitter. Moderate mouthfeel with a good amount of carbonation. For some reason i found this less drinkable than other strong IPA's but it is very enjoyable to have 1 or 2.

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Photo of Bierwolf
3.75/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12 ounce bottle served in a pint glass

Appearance/ Dark amber and cloudy. I could see decent carbonation rising up in the glass. A rich , foamy head of 2 fingers left nice sticky lacing all the way to the end.

Aroma/ Hoppy, piney like a pine tree branch, citrusy background.

Taste/ Big hops and piney citrus. Toasty.

Mouth Feel/ medium bodied and smooth. Easy drink with a residual hop bitterness.

Overall/ Very good beer that I would drink again.

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Photo of soulgrowl
3.75/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Darkish pumpkin pie orange, slightly cloudy, with a fluffy, lumpy off-white head. Lots of carbonation and big bubbles give this excellend head retention (but no lacing).

Smell: Toasty malts and nice spicy hops. There's also an egg-like tone and a hell of a pine scent. Yum! Reminds me of wheat toast with just a touch of cinnamon sugar.

Taste: Strong, very leafy hop character throughout. Some alcohol comes through along with a subtle flavor of pumpkin pie spice (clove, cinnamon, nutmeg, etc.). Malts take a backseat, but somehow this beer is still on the sweet side. Hops turn citric in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, fairly clean, and a tad sticky.

Drinkability: This is the winter brew I've been waiting for! Complex and spiced just enough.

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Photo of drummerben
3.75/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at Taco Mac Metropolis.

Celebration 08 recently tapped as part of Christmas in July. Nice amber color, very little head. Floral fragrance with pine and hops. Taste is much less hoppy than when first released, as the hop character has faded, but still a great balanced taste. Tastes of pine with grassy notes and a malty backbone. Very easy to put these away in short order.

This one is still great with a little age on it. Probably a good option for those who considered SN to be too hoppy, if that's even possible! The age downgrades a great beer to really good.

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Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
4.15 out of 5 based on 10,099 ratings.
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