Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

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3,413 Reviews
Sierra Nevada Celebration AleSierra Nevada Celebration Ale

Brewed by:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
California, United States | website

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: 3,413 | Ratings: 10,016
Photo of rfgetz
3.58/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a pleasing orangy amber color, fairly clear with only light haze. Rocky white head, great retention and lacing. Smell is strong of piney, earthy and spicy hops. Faint kiss of floral and citrus plus a hint towards a nice malt presence. Taste is a big punch of piney, earthy hops - very cologne like, which is a slight turn off - faint floral and citrusy hops noted right before a slight malty backbone presents itelf. Finishes very bitter and dry with a noticible aftertaste. Not in my wheelhouse as far as IPAs go, had higher hopes for this but the hop profile just turns me off from full enjoyment. Still i respect this as an IPA.

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Photo of Wikipeteia
3.58/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

As a hop head, I felt required to buy and drink a very nicely hopped IPA-slash-christmas ale. I'll say the following: I'm glad I have Great Lakes Christmas Ale as a local beer and benchmark. This is a great American IPA, and a fairly marginal Winter Warmer/Holiday Brew.

The first pour was much hoppier than expected, the bouquet of the hoppy aroma overtaking my nostrils almost immediately. The head was creamy, sticky and thick, hardly fitting the pint glass I poured it into. The lacing lasted a good long time after the head died down a bit.

The first sip was good, each sip getting better, and more flavors becoming clearer on the palate. I've tasted the slight hint of summer fruits (like peaches and plums in very trace amounts), citrus, and even the very hint of a smoked, almost hickory taste. The carbonation is actually a compliment to the beer -- It's neither too much or too little. Put some in your mouth and hold it for a few seconds, and you'll see what I mean. You'll get pure beer taste before you get the effervescence of the carbonation on your tongue.

All in all, this is a good AIPA, and one that I'd love in the middle of the summer, as I sit outside tending my grill. As a winter warmer, however, there's something important missing that I can't quite put my finger on. Maybe it's the lack of seasonal spice, or maybe it's the abundance of my favorite hops. Whatever the case, I like this beer a bunch.

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Photo of willgro
3.58/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is a great new generation brewery in the US and is in the mountains, near Chico, California. The brewery is known for beers full of character and complexity. This one is for winter and is aromatic and lively in flavor, with hints of oily dark chocolate and lots of lemony hop bitterness. I personally don't like a lot of hops, but this one is pretty good. Sierra Nevada is famous for India Pale ale, which to be honest, i'm not a huge fan of. But check this one out, it is a good christmas ale. Not quite St. Arnolds, but close.

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Photo of gabe23
3.58/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Reddish-orange color with a nice fluffy head. Good retention and lacing.

S - Hops, pine sap, and a bit of malt.

T - Very hoppy to the point of overpowering the spices and malt. Very 'green' tasting and bitter.

M - Lots of carbonation and fairly thin. Not the cleanest finish, either.

D - This one is definitely made for the hopheads, which I am not. When I think holiday beers, I envision something a bit more malty with spices. But this is more like chewing on a branch off the Christmas tree. But it's an interesting brew, and worth a try if you're looking for a bitter winter brew.

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Photo of unclejazz
3.58/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I finally got around to having one of these for the sake of review. It let me down a bit. It looked like a good winter ale and was not to sweet or heavy on spices. My problem was the classic SNPA hoppiness was all I really tasted. It wasn't bad, but I hoped it would differ more from the flagship pale ale.

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Photo of cpetrone84
3.58/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

16 oz draught in pint glass at McGrath's in Harrisburg

A-a redish golden color, nice cloudy white head

S-faint aromas of spice, mostly cinnamon and maybe a hint of nutmeg balanced with some floral hops

T-light flavors of cinnamon, pale malt, some sweet caramel, and a light bitter hop finish that is also accompanied by a tinge of citrus

M-smooth texture, cooling on the back of the throat, medium body with a light carbonation

D-it goes down easy but the flavors are a little mild. I'd like to see more and expected as much from all of the previous reviews.

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Photo of JMBSH
3.58/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a hazy burn orange. Under strong light, I can see a large amount of unfiltered sediment in the beer. The thick head reduces to a thin coating on top of the beer but there is a large amount of foam clinging to the sides of the glass.

S - Piney, grassy notes. Smells like frshly cut in spring/summer.

T - Very herbal. A slight sweetness up front on the tongue but the bitterness rules afterwards. Bitter aftertaste is quite strong.

M - Thin but the hops stick to every part of my mouth, tongue, and throat giving a thicker feel. Mild carbonation.

D - For hopheads this might be a good beer. I prefer more of a malty beer but this is good.

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Photo of tmcelvain
3.58/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

L: Clear copper, with a very little head.
Very light malt smell, with lingering acidic bitterness.
T: I'm very unimpressed with this. I'll not go into the lack of adherence to a winter style, but suffice to say that this is a hop-bitter beer. Slighhtly piney with lemony-citrus overtones. Not a well-balanced taste - relying on too much hop character, which to me tastes too much like a bitter stalk of celery.
M: A little over-carbonated.
D: Pretty high, despite my low impression on the other aspects. The hoppiness and carbonation are refreshing and palatable when considered for a sessionable beer, but I would be putting in some effort to drink more than 2.
Overall, this tastes to me like an amped-up SNPA, which is ok, but lacks balance.

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Photo of barrelman
3.58/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2007- served in a tulip in an unheated office, typing with Bob Cratchit type cut-off gloves. Ahem.

This beer even looks like it uses Cascades.

Smell is floral with wet wheat flour (take that snobs!).

I think from now on I'm going to list mouthfeel before taste because it's always a let down to do this one. Cut and Paste.

Taste is terrific, at first. The more I drink it, the stickier the hop aftertaste becomes. Don't get me wrong, I love the icky sticky, but an IPA can present an abundant amount of hops and still finish clean.

Drinkability took two steps back after about 6 ounces. Beer was certainly well hopped with decent balance, but it stayed with me for the next 2 to 3 hours.

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Photo of hoppytobehere
3.58/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Been drinking this beer for years, first time I get to review it.

A: Pours a dark amber/ruby color. Opaque, cloudy. Generous foamy head that leaves nice lacing along the glass as it disappears.

S: Aroma shows up after the beer warms up a little. Lots of malt, some piney hops and spices.

T: You know it's a Sierra Nevada product as soon as you taste it. Bitterness up front, nice toasty malts to balance it out. Sublte hints of citrus and spice. Alcohol is noticeable.

M: Nothing to complain about here.

O: Solid beer but overrated.

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Photo of ImusBeer
3.57/5  rDev -14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I've had a few of these for quite some time in the beer fridge. There was a bit of sediment on the bottom which got into the glass since I wasn't really looking for it.

It poured a copper-gold color with an off white head, about two fingers that stayed for quite some time and died to a small quarter inch that stuck around. There was a bunch of lace that accumulated on the glass as I drank.

My daughter even voiced that the pine sap aroma was quite strong. Also sensed some citrus in there as well.

The taste was dominated by bitter pine and all the hops you would expect. The mouth was bitter with a very dry aftertaste, what you would expect from a nice IPA and why it is one of my favorite styles.

It's a little too much bitterness for a session beer but a really nice and enjoyable brew.

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Photo of drmeto
3.57/5  rDev -14%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

-starts with sweet malt and strawberries
-then huge resiny,piney notes
-orange,citrus,mango,peach take the backseat
-well carbonated
-finishes with grapefruit and a huge hoppy note
nice, but too bitter for my tastes

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Photo of roblowther
3.57/5  rDev -14%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bought a sixer of this in honor of the season. Its light gold copper and smells of cherries and pine, with a hint of spice. The taste is much more subdued than I expected, more balanced than the usual hop-heavy signature of most CA brewers in general and SN in particular. Not much head retention. The mouthfeel is soft if a bit thin. The drinkability is good, although hops-dominant beers are always an uhill climb for me. A good way to end the year but the name made me expect a winter warmer rather than an ipa. Something about trying to survive the heat of a long southern boat journey doesn't put me in the Christmas spirit!

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Photo of clabaugh
3.57/5  rDev -14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance: Clear pale amber with a bubbly, cream-colored head. Retains lustily, with faint lacing.

Smell: Pungent, piney hops complimented with some hearth-roasted malts. Floral and vinous, accented with spice.

Taste: Intensely bitter as piney hops inundate the taste buds. Beyond the hops, there is a bountiful roasted maltiness. Some burnt chestnut emerges through a bitterness that is really persistent.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied with some palate-deadening properties. Soothing and smooth on the tongue, and warming on the way down.

Drinkability: Richly flavored, but perhaps overly bitter. Deceptively inebriating, but ideal for providing sustenance for the long winter months. Above average brew.

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Photo of delta490
3.57/5  rDev -14%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Poured a deep ruddy orange, slightly clouded with a big beige head. The head slowly settles down and leaves small sticky lacing. The aroma isn't bad, but there isn't much to it, with just barely there and nondescript hops. The taste is pretty bland, as well. The most prominent flavor note is bitter hops, but without anything specific. Just...bitter. The body has a nice weight and feel to it. I've had this in the past and this year's edition is just not as good.

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Photo of mschantz
3.57/5  rDev -14%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Sampled on tap. Mahogany brown with slight head that diminished quickly into a Lacey ring. Nose was nutty and piney with a bit of nutmeg. Flavor was hoppier than the subtle nose but well balanced by a brown sugar sweetness.

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Photo of divineaudio
3.57/5  rDev -14%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2011 batch into a tulip.

a - amber in color with a light haze. gave me a big bubbly tan head that calmed slowly to a thin cap. leaves thick swaths of lacing in my glass.

s - amazingly sweet toffee, ripe berry, tangerine, faint grassiness.

t - toasted malt with notes of juniper and huge pine resin hop character. pungent bitterness hangs on the tongue for quite a while. unfortunately, taste exhibits none of the qualities found in the nose. very one dimensional here.

m - medium in body with more carbonation than i prefer usually. finer co2 profile.

o - easily drinkable and enjoyable, but kind of a let down. this bottle is 86 days old by my calculations, so maybe this is one beer that must be had as fresh as possible. maybe i'll try again next year.

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Photo of heliosphann
3.56/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz snubby poured in a pint glass.

A: Half a finger of light brown, soapy head. Fades moderately quickly and leaves a nice oil slick on top. Looks a crisp, crystal clear amber in the glass. Good visible carbonation and some decent lacing for an IPA.

S: Upfront are bright, resiny hops. Some biscuity malts in the mix add some sweetness. Not overly fragrant.

T: Pretty similar to how it smells, hops are there with plenty of pine and resin. Malts are there providing some balance, but fall short. Sweetness, followed by a very sharp bitterness on the finish.

M: Pretty typical of the style. I found it to be slightly over carbonated however.

D: Sessionable to a degree (for me it could be) with an under 7% ABV. The strong bitterness on finish though would wear your palate down quickly. After one 12oz serving, I'm already feeling it.

I'm somewhat disappointed with SN's Celebration Ale as I found it overall to be too unbalanced. I remember really enjoying it a few years ago. I think that bottle might have had a year of age on it, which could really cut down on the bitterness factor. I think I might pick another bottle up and see how it ages for myself. Especially since a lot of people think this is a solid IPA for cellaring.

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Photo of biking4beer
3.56/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2007 Vintage.

I felt like this one was different enough from last year to merit another review.

Beautiful beer. Crystal clear copper. Pours a big foamy 3 finger head that dissipates to 2 fingers. Nice lacing before I even take my first sip.

Smell is of HOPS. Chinook all the way. Pine and grapefruit. Centennial and Cascade can barely get through. Slight skunk that some people refer to as "catty."

Super bitter. My tongue has been pretty immune to hop bitterness lately, but this beer smacked those taste buds back into line. Grapefruit bitterness overwhelms everything else. No balance whatsoever.

High carbonation and dry. Hops sting your mouth.

It was nice to feel that hop bite again. Reminds me of the first time I had a Stone IPA. Very good beer, but the ratings are a little low for me for a complete disregard for balance. I know it's an IPA, but some sweetness is good in my book. Maybe in a couple of months, this one will even out a touch.

Hey, I reviewed this beer 1 year ago to date.

2006 vintage review moved to here due to impending deletion.

12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

Pours a nice big, foamy, and white two finger head that leaves a nice sugary looking lace. The head sticks around nicely. Beer is a nice pale golden color with slight red hues. Good looking beer.

Slight citrus and pine aromas. Nice and crisp like a wet/fresh hop brew.

The first thing I notice about the taste is the really nice balance of malts and hops. What a nice, even beer. Slight bitter grapefruit finish.

I thought the carbonation and overall feel of this beer was about perfect for it's style. I could definitely drink a few of these, but it definitely takes some warming to get the good flavors out. The last sips were definitely the best.

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Photo of jakon
3.56/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle

Pours a golden amber with a quick rising but controllable off white head that displays nice retention while leaving splotches of sticky lacing in its wake. The aroma is primarily of "c" hops and caramel malt, though it isn't huge and in your face. The taste is quite balanced between the hops and malt as far as west coast IPA's go. Not extremely hoppy like certain others, or extraordinarily complex or really special in any way. There is a lingering aftertaste that includes both the bitterness of the hops and sweetness of the malts. The carbonation is just right, and the overall mouthfeel is pretty much the same as you'll find with most other beers of this style. Just a nice solid beer that everybody should look forward to each year.

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Photo of dhchatfield
3.56/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2006 - Poured into my Duvel Tulip after a brief refrigeration. 50-55 degrees. Very nice active carbonation.

A - Nice reddish mahogany. 3/4 inch head didn't stick around long. Very little lacing.

S - Honestly, I was dissapointed. I've read a number of posts (not reviews) referencing this beer and expected a more complex aroma. I can't pick anything out that comes to the front.

T - Good enough. I used to drink a ton of SNPA. I t was my staple summer neighborhood outing/Canada fishing camp/camping beer for years. This certainly tastes better to me, with a stronger bitter hoppy presence, but again, nothing spectacular.

M - Full bodied, creamy, spreads broadly across the palate with a very nice bitter finish. This I like for sure.

D - Like the SNPA, I could drink these all day. Nothing to object to, but also nothing to write home about.

Maybe I've conditioned myself to "BIG" beers and Belgian's filled with complexity, but I can't find a real standout feature to this beer. It's certainly a pleasant enough drinker, and its' low ABV will make it sessionable for sure, but all in all, I'm not blown away by any means.

I saw a local watering hole has it on tap. I'll try that and also re-visit this one in a few weeks to give it another chance.


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Photo of br3wmeister
3.56/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Big off white foamy head that is very sticky and leaves great lacing. The beer is a translucent copper color. Head dissipates to a thin cap that lasts almost to the bottom.

S- Nice light maltiness, hints of table sugar and earthy sweetness. Light hop character, nothing special going on in the nose here.

T- Lots floral and piney hops with some earthy herbal spiciness going on. Some malty balance but definitely not the focus here. Some caramel and hints of fruit, overtaken by piney hops and dry bitterness.

M- Medium bodied with lots of hoppy bite. Could use a little more malt to thicken it up a bit.

Overall- This is a decent beer but could use a bigger malt profile. Good display of hops.

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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 chuckpalka
3.55/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Just picked up one in Chicago
L: Poured in a Goblet a medium copper with a very light tan foamy head that settled some but never went away.
S: Pleasing moderate smell of a easy mix of pine and grapefruit.
T: Slightly bitter as expected but not overboard. Maybe just a little more than I care for.
F: A soft mouth feel and dry aftertaste and a empty glass with plenty of lace.

A good beer as expected from Sierra Nevada.

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Photo of mountdew1
3.55/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2006 poured into a pint glass. A light reddish brown color, with a nice thick foamy head about 1 1/2 fingers. Head clung to side of glass during drinking and disappated reasonably fast. Aroma was hard to detect, slight hint of something I couldn't place. Taste was reasonable. Started off slightly bitter, but that quickly changed and became very slightly sweet. Very easy to drink. Felt right in the mouth, not to watery, and not to clingy. Pleasant beer, but not what I was expecting for a holiday brew.

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Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
4.15 out of 5 based on 10,016 ratings.
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