Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

3,465 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: 3,465 | Ratings: 10,202
Photo of jegross2
3.65/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Fresh 20`11 vintage bottle served slightly chilled in a Sam's Adams glass.

Appearance: 4 inches of bubbly, frothy head on pour. Very carbonated carmel-amber color. The see-thru of this beer falls somewhere between transparent and translucent. Carbonation fuels the foamy head for several minutes, leaving thin layer once the pour settles in.

Smell: A Lemony-soap bitter aroma dominates the nose. There is also a malty citrus smell at the front.

Taste: This beer is unlike most IPAs I have drank. The taste has a malty-caramel backbone, and the lemon-citrusy bitterness is very balanced. The finish is malty and slightly lemony, but not bitter at all.

Mouthfeel: Sticky medium-body beer with lots of refreshing carbonation.

Overall: The taste was very unexpected and unique for the IPA's I usually drink, which tend to be hop bombs. The malty-balance is not very apparent by the nose, but a pleasant surprise. This is an IPA that the more casual drinker can enjoy.

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Photo of beabear
3.65/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours an amber hue with a thick head. Heavy lacing.

Smell: First, second and third whiffs are all hops. Still, it's a mostly light and floral scent. A little citrus-y.

Taste: As the scent indicates, this is hoppy but not overwhelmingly so. Upfront taste is almost sweet. Goes down a little rough, and the bitterness only grows after you swallow it.

Mouthfeel: Kind of watery, and a little thinner than the smell or taste would indicate.

Drinkability: Given the alcohol, this is pretty easy to drink. Still, the lingering bitterness can become a little overwhelming after a few.

This beer looks and smells great, but the lingering aftertaste made finishing the growler a bit of a chore.

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Photo of PatrickJR
3.65/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had this on tap at Old Chicago in Wake Forest, NC; served in a pint glass.

A - Clear amber/copper with about a finger of white head. Retention is decent before falling to a thin cap. Great lacing.

S - Huge grapefruit aroma with elements of pine and earthiness keeping things intersting. Slight aroma of sweet malt is in the background.

T - Grapefruit is the dominating factor here with a hint of earthiness. Alcohol peeks through at times and semi-sweet malt kicks in near the finish to balance out a moderate to high hop bitterness.

M - Medium bodied with lively carbonation. Prickly on the tongue.

D - Celebration is certainly a great IPA, but I had hoped it would be even better on tap than from the bottle. Still good, but some of the harshness around the edges is still evident.

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Photo of misterscooter
3.65/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2005 offering.

I like what Sierra Nevada has done and they have some good beers. This one is a good beer but still not one that I just love. When I had one of their first batches several years ago, I hated it. Maybe they've refined their recipe over the years or my tastes have changed enough so that I don't hate it anymore.

An orange beer with a thick cream head. The lacing sticks to the side as the head slides down.

The smell is a piney bark, almost musky soap odor. Maybe a little spiced orange, too.

The taste is dry and very hoppy. Very woody in flavor with some nutmeg and spices in there for that "winter" feel. Warms you up as it goes down. The alcohol level means it doesn't take many to really feel warm.

It does alright but I still don't love it. Probably a little too woodsy for me. But definitely a good beer compared to a lot of the winter stuff out there.

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Photo of Microbrewtaster
3.65/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance:There is a nice yellow side of amber color with an off white head of about a finger and a half. there is a decent retention time and a good deal of lacing.

Smell: There is a loarge amount of hops in the smell and a hint of citrus to continue. maybe some caremel. this is a pleasent smell for thanksgiving.

Taste: There is a strong citrus smell and hops an a hint of grapefruit. There is a hint of pine and it is a solid beer.

Mouthfeel: This is a medium bodied IPA that has a little more excess carbonation than i would have liked.

Overall: An enjoyable beer one that was reccommended to me but not one that lived up to the hype.

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of seanyfo
3.65/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2006 Vintage poured into imperial pint glass.

A dark coppery muddy brown, 3 finger rocky white head with aggressive pour.Lacing is good

S Lots of floral notes, grapefruit, melon, vanilla. Some biscuityness on close inspection, perhaps syrup also?

T Lots of floralness. bitter bite is very apparent even after a year. No sweetness really.

M still a lively carbonation, clean and crisp

D Um for an american IPA, this was ok, i still cant get use to the harsh hoppy bitter bite. This wasnt as harsh as most. I can see why IPA lovers would enjoy this, a lot of nice complex flavours but this style isnt for me.

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Photo of ajm5108
3.65/5  rDev -12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Mostly citrus hops, but not stinging in its bitterness or hop profile...not particularly interesting or unique but fairly well balanced and medium bodied enough to be a good ipa option in the winter

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Photo of Fuller
3.65/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours an amber-orange color with a one-finger head that had great retention and left some nice lacing.

S - Smelled of citrusy hops and malt.

T - Starts malty and then leads to tons of fruity and piney hops. Very bitter.

M - very crisp and medium-bodied.

D - Very nice beer. A little bitter for my taste, but I think it represents the style very weel.

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Photo of chaduvel
3.65/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2003 edition. Ahh, first holiday beer of the year. Dark amber, sticky head with good retention. Smell is hops, hops, hops, hops, and hops. Piney, sprucy strong hops. Touch of malt at the beginning and then painful Xmas tree hops flood the palate and leave a lasting intense bitterness. Not enough balance here. There seems to be a touch of clove or nutmeg or cinnamon in here. Pretty tasty but I would have liked to have these holiday spices have more presence, and overall this one isn't balanced for my taste.

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Photo of BottleOfPills
3.65/5  rDev -12%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a bottle into a I guess a standard pint glass. It was a cold bottle, produced a small head that quickly dissipated. Dark coppery in color.

Smells citrusy, smells pretty good in my opinion. Maybe I can smell the pine like others below, but isn't pine kind of a citrus smelling scent??

Taste - I'm not typically a season type of beer person. Most beers I taste it seems like we're throwing all kinds of seasonal spices in the mix just because we can. Yes there are some that stand out for me and Seirra Nevada's Celebration Ale is going to be one in the future. It's pretty damn good. I like the grapefruit flavors that take over at the end. The malt is there and some hops of course like any IPA, just not over powering like some I taste. Then you throw in just the right amount of seasonal spices.. This is pretty damned good.

Mouthfeel is like all my other reviews if I like that crisp carbonation I give it a high score, and this beer is definitely crispy and plenty of carbonation if that's your thing.

Overall this is a pretty damned good beer - least that's my opinion - I would say it's easy drinking and heck would be a session beer for some of my friends. I hate to knock it because of the looks and smells but otherwise I like it.

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Photo of PatandDavid
3.65/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This was the 2003 tap version...while still great, I am thinking that this would have been a bit smoother and the flavors a bit more meshed if I was drinking say a year-old version, but hey, here we go: Medium clear amber. Nice frothy head when served, but it settled down after awhile. Aromo was of a pine forest. Taste was of a meeting between the malt and the hops, with hops making it just slightly rough. Again, while drinking this, I thought, this is pretty good, but oh, it would much more enjoyable if aged! For a tap beer though, not bad, a bit rough and not really as smooth as it could be. pat

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Photo of wvsabbath
3.65/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Serving Type - Bottle

Appearance - Dark orange, tanish, with little head

Smell - Hops, malts, some yeast and spices. Lots of fresh hops!

Taste - Expectations were so high for this since i read the reviews about it. Well as i figured, very hoppy indeed. Burnt piney hops mixed with some yeast and malts give this a fairly bitter taste. Has what you expect for a ipa but its more thicker and bolder in taste.

Mouthfeel - Decent for mouth you get a bold hop taste but left with a bitter bite on the tounge. I can still taste the bitterness awhile after first few drinks. Didnt do much for palette after the drink.

Drinkabilty - I was hopping for this to be amazing but it is ok. I wish it was a little less bitter and a little more malts and spices. Its ok but not what i was expecting.

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Photo of doerickson
3.65/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Mahogany/deep ruby red appearance with a small fine white head. Big aromas of piney hops with some toasty malts as well. Medium carbonation; fairly big body. Taste of piney, citrusy Cascade hops with some grapefruity character, offset to some extent by a sweet caramel/brown sugar malty profile, particularly as the brew warms. A bit unbalanced towards the hop end for my taste, especially for a winter seasonal, but undoubtedly worth a try.

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Photo of Sheppard
3.64/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a copper, reddish amber hue. The head is between cream and tan. Light aroma of citrus fruits. It's got a very creamy feel with tempered earthy spiciness, especially on the finish. While it's a distinctly west coast IPA, it doesn't destroy the palate. It's pleasant, but it doesn't really have distinct or outstanding qualities. It's a very good option and value for something you can find in your grocery store, but it's not comparable to the elite IPAs that we see nowadays.

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Photo of FattyJLE
3.64/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

S - Citrus peel, pine, grassy with some malt sweetness.

A - Relatively clear, deep amber with a 2 inch, pillow-like, off-white head with excellent lacing all the way down the glass.

T - Strong earthy bitterness upfront but not overpowering. Hop flavors are a combination of earthy/piney/peppery with a slight caramel malt backbone. A hint of booze emerges as it warms. Pine lingers on the palate with a relatively dry finish.

M - Medium carbonation. Moderate body.

O - Definitely a drinkable session IPA. Hop flavor dominates with very little malt character, but no distinguishable flaws. A solid IPA, but nothing overly spectacular.

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Photo of blackie
3.63/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

appearance: The pour creates a .5" white head in the snifter. A layer of foam is left on top. Nice lacing. The beer is a light copper in color. 2005 edition.

smell: Nice level of piney hops here. Big aromas of tropical fruits (mango, citrus...), which I enjoy thoroughly. The hops are at the forefront, but there is some malt characteristic coming through.

mouthfeel: Carbonation is slightly above medium, and the body a moderate thin.

taste: Decent balance here, imo. A little more malt coming through would be nice. Some nondescript dark and light fruit flavors. Dominant bitterness from the hops, with a little malt flavor taking second stage. More malt, more hop flavor, more complexity, please.

drinkability: just a couple is plenty

I've seen some other reviews complaining about a lack of balance. Though I would like a little more malty sweetness, there is plenty here to keep me satisfied. It is an IPA, after all.

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Photo of Murchmac
3.63/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a festive glow of rudolphs nose.

Smells like sugarplumps and the elves malty brew, but not santas sleigh

When santa brews his confection pine caramel alcohol drink. this is it.

Mouthfeel not like a charleston chew, but more of a candy cane.

Excellent Holiday brew, ask for it in your stocking.

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Photo of KSac4115
3.63/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours an unfiltered copper color with a 1/2 inch slightly off-white foam head.

Smell is floral and hoppy. Smell isn't too apparent, but is light and sweet.

Taste is sweet. Slightly hoppy. Pretty good blend of flavors. Pretty good bitterness. Aftertaste is somewhat pleasant but the flavors tend to fade quickly leaving a mild bitter feeling on the taste buds.

Mouthfeel is very nice. Smooth in the mouth with just the right amount of carbonation. The bitterness is very apparent.

Drinkability is very good. Could definitely have quite a few of these. The higher alcohol percentage is not very obvious.

Overall a pretty good and drinkable beer.

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Photo of Raime
3.63/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours dark murky copper with a massive slightly off-white head. Left a great amount of lacing.

S - Lots of lemon up front along with some dank hops and coriander. Wheat comes into the mix upon a second sniff.

T - A bit of creamy lemon up front, a moderate amount of pine follows and then the taste pretty much tapers off.

M - Medium creamy body with medium carbonation.

O - Overall, this wasn't that great. Probably one of Sierra Nevada's lesser beers. Don't get me wrong, It would be wonderful as a session IPA or an IPA to introduce somebody to craft beers, but to a veteran reviewer it doesn't offer a whole lot since the flavor profile never fully comes through or develops.

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Photo of mellowmark
3.63/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. short brown bottle to Imperial Pint glass. 2010 batch. Don't know the exact brewed on date. $14.99 for a 12-pack.

Appearance: Rusty amber color with a generous 3-finger head. Mostly translucent. Head sticks around for a while and leaves thick lacing all down the glass. The appearance is definitely the high point of this beer for me.

Smell: Smells of earthy hops and bright citrus. Some bready notes as well and a caramel like sweetness. Pleasing.

Taste: Hop bitterness right at the beginning sustains to the end. A little bit of citrus and malt sweetness try and keep the bitterness at bay and even things out. Tastes of grassy earthy hops and mild grapefruit. It's pretty bitter and isn't for everyone. Myself I prefer a little more malt or citrus presence in my IPA to counteract that bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Mouthfeel is medium with high carbonation. More biting than I would prefer, even for an IPA.

Drinkability: Medium

It's pretty decent, but not something I would actively seek out again. Kind of surprised it's rated so highly, but I guess we all have our preferences. I'd like to try some aged and see if it doesn't change my mind.

---2005 vintage (3-16-11)---

Well speak of the devil! Found this 2005 bottle at my local beer store right next to the 2006 2007 2008 and 2009 versions. I figured I might as well go all out and get the oldest batch, so I did.

Appearance: Pours a copper amber color with orange highlights a 2-finger slow rising yellow head. Head retention is pretty mediocre, leaves a ring after about a minute. Murky as all hell, almost no transparency whatsoever. Little chunks floating around.

Smell: Very malty in the nose. Almost no sign of any hops. Spices like nutmeg and ginger. Fruity. Dark fruits like raisin and plum. Smells kind of like a Quad.

Taste: Surprisingly bitter up front then it just gets washed away by the malty sweetness. Earthy hops are very present, surprisingly. Spices and sweet malt. It's much sweeter than fresh. It's a little off to be honest. Kind of astringent.

Mouthfeel: Body is medium and kind of sticky with a medium to high carbonation.

Drinkability: Medium

Appearance: 3.5
Smell: 4.0
Taste: 3.0
Mouthfeel: 3.5
Drinkability: 3.0
Overall: 3.5

I would say I like 2010 a little better than the 2005, personally, but it's very close overall. It's a much different beer after over 5 years. Celebration is a rare example of an IPA that can be aged for years and still be very drinkable, however. Perhaps this one has aged just a little too long. 3 years would be about perfect I would think.

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Photo of LennyV
3.63/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown into my La fin Du Monde tulip. Little to no head. This was poured from a mini growler, so I may have lost some carbonation.

Intense smell of hops

Tastes of hops hops and some more hops. Very bittle, little to no sweetness.

Light bodied low carbonation.

Not one of my favorite IPAs. I prefer more sweetness balanced with hops. It will please the hop lovers well.

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Photo of warmstorage
3.63/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

$8.99 for a six pack at Gold Rush Liquors, Anchorage, AK. Bottle states 2007 edition, 6.8% ABV.

Appearance: Deep orange to light reddish. Dense, off-white head leaves significant lacing.

Aroma: moderate citrus and pine resin hop nose, slight malt notes.

Taste: mostly piney hops, but not a huge IPA hop presence. Like a lot of Sierra Nevada's interpretations, this is a relatively low hopped beer for the style. Some of the spicy earthy hoppiness of Chinook is evident.

Mouth: bright and tingly up front, to a smooth, sweet, somewhat thick mouth. Low to moderate alcohol warmth might account for the initial brightness.

Overall: A decent, drinkable session beer, but nothing special for an IPA, especially if it's considered a West Coast style, hop-pronounced IPA. I really have to think the very high ratings it gets are from those who just love Sierra Nevada. Don't get me wrong: it's good, drinkable beer. It could just be a lot more.

I am delighted to see that Sierra Nevada has made the switch to pry-off bottles that I can re-use for homebrewing. I've been doing a good enough job lately at drinking mostly kegged beer that I actually needed some bottles to bottle into!

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Photo of dav3290
3.63/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Always in my rotation around the holidays. Just a solid IPA. Nice color in the glass and smells of fresh picked hops. Readily available and super cheap too (paid around $7.99 for a six pack). Would recommend if you are on the fence about it. What to you have to lose?

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Photo of ztaylor1
3.63/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

appearance- nice fluffy, two fingered head that stayed a good deal longer than i expected. has a bit of cling that leaves a pretty lacing

smell- sweet, sweet hops. like maple syrup rubbed all over a pine tree.

taste- very crisp hops, very refreshing.

mouthfeel- fairly creamy. but about like any other ipa.

drinkability- a good beer, but im a little bit letdown.

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Photo of bbb099
3.63/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had on tap at Steve's Pizza.

A - Clear, orange-ish amber color with foamy beige head and good amount of lacing.

S - I could not get much of the aroma seeing how there were lots of food around at the time, but I picked up some citrus hops and caramel malt.

T - Moderate amount of hop flavoring that is followed by a sweet, caramel malt taste and citrus laced finish. Texture was very creamy.

M - Almost full-bodied. Moderate carbonation, smooth and creamy.

D - Drinkability is quite high. Exactly what you would expect from this brewery.

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Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
4.15 out of 5 based on 10,202 ratings.
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