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: 10,193
Photo of wvmi
2.6/5  rDev -37.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

A- Side poured about 1/2 inch head. Good lacing. Rusty red color, slightly hazy.

S- Smelled average. Nothing remarkable, good or bad.

T- Heavy malt at the start. Very piney, acidic. Decent hops finish.

M- not a pleasant feeling. Over carbonated, irritated the back of my tongue and throat. Oily and sort of Nyquil feeling.

D-I won't go looking for this.

The age of this bottle may have affected it's quality. Brewed in November 2006, drank in July 2007.

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Photo of KyleVick4
2.62/5  rDev -36.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1

A: Very bubbly, copper amberish color. Nice head that consists of big bubbles. Head dissipates pretty quickly. Leaves a nice lacing on the glass.

S: Hoppy. Can not distinguish any subtle smells bc the hop aroma is to big. Not a very strong smelling beer, but I could only pinpoint one smell.

T: Spicy, and dry with a kick of mild hops coming in the end. The combination of carbonation and hops makes for a spicy first hit followed by a hoppy aftertaste. Very little malt taste, kinda weakly IPAish.

M: Medium - Light with a fair amount of carbonation.

D: Overkill on spicyness and carbonation makes this beer tough for me to finish. It would for sure be a one beer drink for me, Id drink it again bc it tastes good but it gets old quickly.

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Photo of dalimsta
2.63/5  rDev -36.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

I had high hopes for this beer based on all the positive reviews, but I was unfortunately incredibly underwhelmed by it. Nice dark amber color, small head that dissipated quickly, generally a decent representation of the style... but the taste left a lot to be desired. Overpowering bitterness, with little else--some nice breadiness and spice hid under there, but it was hard to detect.

I'm really hoping this was just a bad batch since I respect Sierra Nevada's other brews, but every bottle in the six-pack I got was disappointing.

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Photo of johnbonham1980
2.66/5  rDev -35.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

*2006 edition*

I'd heard all kinds of good stuff about this beer, but was frankly disappointed with it. I suppose it's just that I've found my taste in extremely hoppy beers has waned and I've started to enjoy the more malty end of the taste spectrum, but still, I've had much better beers within this style in my time.

Poured with a 1/2 finger head into a wide mouth pint glass. Decent lacing, decent head retention considering the amount initially.

I really liked the color of this beer, a pleasant, festive orange-reddish with crystal clarity. Carbonation was lively.

Aroma is all piney, perfumey hops with some citrus. Underdeveloped sweet bread dough malt background... as it warmed, a nice grapefruit character came out which did improve the overall taste.

Mouthfeel was impressive. I really enjoyed this aspect of the beer, as it was a nice creamy, smooth mouthful.

Overall I felt this beer was a bit imbalanced and way too hop-focused. For what they're going for I think Sierra Nevada did a good job but it's just not for me.

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Photo of mattfungus
2.67/5  rDev -35.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

This is way too bitter for me. I used it to make things like mgd and coors tolerable.

Its abv is over 100 in my mind and though the hops are good, when they are this strong its just too bitter. The closest thing I can compare it to is biting into the side of an aspen tree, you'd like it but you wouldn't want to do it again from your mouth puckering and your teeth hurting.

Hinterlands ipa is similar, but this is still pushing the envelope even farther. You might as well pop five aspirins in your mouth and spit them back out without drinking any water.

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Photo of skillerified
2.68/5  rDev -35.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Orange-amber brew with a good sized, white, foamy head. Looks a little hazy actually. Lots of carbonation coming up from the bottom of this one. Looks pretty good.

Scent is malt first, then a little spicyness, and then a citrusy hop scent. Aside from the early malt aroma, it's really dominated by the fruit scents. It's a good smell, but not a wow kinda smell either.

Taste reminds me of a non-sugary breakfast cereal. There's a hint of the spicyness too. Not too impressive actually. I had hoped for more.

This feels like a horrible off-balance brew to me. There's a light sweetness early on, but there's an awful bitterness on the finish. I like beers with a bitter character, but this is a strange bitterness that is not appealing to me. It's a bitterness that coats the inside of the mouth and is devastating when you dry swallow after a sip.

It seems to be getting better as it warms, but I really don't want another of these. I'll finish this bottle, but won't be looking for this one next holiday season. This seems to be quite popular, so I guess it's just my particular palate that this doesn't agree with. This was a 2005 bottle.

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Photo of AWolfAtTheDoor
2.68/5  rDev -35.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

First tried this years ago, and wasn't impressed. Am formally revisiting it for 2010.

Pours dark copper in color. Nice head with nice lacing throughout the session.

Citrus, pine, grass on the nose. Nothing that blows my hair back.

Taste is all unriped grapefuit and pine. Incredibly unbalanced. Zero malt backbone to balance the bitter hop profile. Yuck.

Bitter grapefruit taste lingers far too long. Can't wait to have a different beer once this one is done. Am not impressed at all. I love IPAs but this one just lacks any balance. If you want to drink a grapefruit that has had sex with a pine tree, then this is the beer for you.

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Photo of TheGarvenator
2.68/5  rDev -35.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

A - A murky orange color with a remaining head

S - overwhelming citris smell from the hops

T - tastes extremely bitter with the sting of citris and hops

M - medium bodied with carbonation, sting from citris

I clearly am not a fan of IPAs since the taste immediately threw me off and it went down hill from there...Amazing color and smell but the bitter taste of the hops, pine, and other spices were just not balanced right for me...I'll stick with the pale ale...

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Photo of wowbagger
2.69/5  rDev -35.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Very little aroma. Taste is mostly of hop and malt, I don't detect very much else. It's full bodied, decent for an IPA, but I can't say that I'm a great fan of the style and this one isn't enough to turn me. I've enjoyed one or two but I probably wouldn't request it again.

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Photo of ChestSplitter
2.7/5  rDev -34.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

Got this after reading all the good reviews and discussion on this site. Gonna have to write a contrarian review. This beer is hops, hops, and more hops. It's not wickedly bitter, doesn't finish like dish soap, actually smells pretty good, but there's just nothing else here but hops. If you are a "hop-head" who spends the rest of the year drinking bitter IPAs then you may find this a great "holiday" version of that. It has a great hop profile, and I think I'd enjoy it more as a summer beer. But for me "Christmas" ales bring to mind malts and spices and toasty warming goodness, and I found none of that here.

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Photo of MuddyFeet
2.73/5  rDev -34.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Waiting for the backlash on this, but I just don't like the taste of wood polisher... errrr... pine in my beer. Wreaths stay on the door, they do not belong in my beer. While I do very much enjoy the hops in the beer, the pine just kills any joy I get from this beer. There are also hints of caramel and spices, but the pine just shoots them down in my opinion. I will admit this is not as pungent a pine as I've had compared to other beers, but I can still taste it.

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Photo of Dadoftwogirls
2.73/5  rDev -34.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

2010 bottling. I saw all the reviews and had BIG expectations. Pours nicely, nice head, lacing on the glass, looks great.... then taste it and... blah! I'm not impressed. It seems to be trying to do to much. A bitter hops flavor gives way to spice but to me just doesn't come together properly. Maybe it will grow on me.

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Photo of mat5175
2.78/5  rDev -33%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Bought this to try a little fall tour of the Winter Ales.

This pours a nice tan colored head, about a finger thick, that didn't last all that long and left some lacing. Great light amber color with pretty active carbonation.

This has a typical IPA smell. Floral, not as spicy as some of the type, 471 for example. Not as much aroma as some.

This has an average body in on the palate. Nice small and active bubbles.

The taste is very true to the type. Having said this, it isn't impressive for the type either. Very bland on the front, then the hops take over in the aftertaste. Very clean hop taste, bitter, but not as spicy as the IPA's i tend to like better than this one.

This is not a bad IPA at all. If you like IPA's a lot, give this one a try to add to your repetoire. Otherwise try some of the more varied and interesting special winter releases.

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Photo of alysmith4
2.78/5  rDev -33%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Decent holiday beer, nothing special though. Very similar to the pale ale in appearance and mouthfeel. A lot more clove, cinnamon, and all-spice notes in the smell and taste. Would probably go well with pumpkin or sweet potato pie. It's a decent beer reminicent of the holidays, but not one that I would crave or necessarily want again.

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Photo of Das_Reh
2.79/5  rDev -32.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

After hearing how popular this was around the holidays, and considering the recent cold snap, I figured it was worth purchasing the last 3 bottles of this winter seasonal from my local shop.

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a snifter.

A = Deep copper colored beer, darker than most IPA's I've had. Very good 2 finger head and nice, sticky lacing.

S = Nose is full of pine and some sweet malts hiding in the background, maybe a touch of grapefruit.

T = This is SN Bigfoot all over again... very green, pungent, bitter pine, with the malt struggling to let you know it's there to cut through the intense bitterness, albeit barely. There is a hint of warming alcohol as the beer warms. Dry and coats the tongue in bitter pine. I'm not a huge hop-head like some of the other BA's on the site, but I love a good IPA/DIPA. However, I prefer citrusy and fruity/floral over grassy/piney hop characteristics in my bitter beers, and this beer is overwhelmingly piney in my opinion. I have come to the conclusion, despite having tried only 7 of SN's offerings, that I am not a fan of their PA/IPA's, as they all taste similar in my opinion and lack balance. Not many beers make me cringe and shudder with each sip, yet every PA/IPA I've had by SN has... they're not bad beers (look at the ratings), I just don't like the way they're crafted. Taste is subjective, as I always say.

M = Medium, smooth mouthfeel, somewhat thick for an IPA but not syrupy or heavy.

O = I have 2 more bottles of this, and I'm going to struggle to get through them. I should have bought one to see if I liked it first, now I'm stuck with 2 beers I don't care for very much. If you're a big hop-head or love big, piney IPA's, then this beer is for you. However, if you're more like me and prefer your IPA's to be fruity/citrusy, this may overwhelm your palate as it did mine. This IPA left me wishing I had bought Jai Alai or Two-Hearted instead...

NOTE: After finishing this beer I was left with a sour stomach... definitely not the beer for me...

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Photo of adamette
2.79/5  rDev -32.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Served from a bottle into my Great Lakes Christmas Ale goblet. 2008 version.

A Generous 2 inch head sticks around for several minutes over a burnt orange but translucent body with visible sediment floating around. Actually a nice look!

S Hops bitterness dominates. I do not like this smell but it is appropriate to the style.

T Hops are too much, grapefruit bitterness that is so disagreeable to me. This bottle is a bit aged as compared with the version that I had on tap so I think that the hops are a bit more muted (thank God) but they are still very much there. This is a one note beer and a big disappointment.

M Full with hops bitterness. Appropriate to the style and boring.

D Not good. One and done for me.

Notes: I was curious to try this, rate it since it has about 4 months on it. I was hoping that a bit more of the malt came through but I was dissapointed. The unimaginative use of hops in this beer is annoying.

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Photo of Marraybay
2.8/5  rDev -32.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Look: Attractive gold color; decent lacing; No significant
head formation.

Smell: floral-pine hops and citrus

Taste: The 1st small sip or two produced the fleeting ghost of some malt and spice
perhaps, but the tsunami of grapefruit flavor that presents almost immediately,
just annihilates any such presence overall. Just really extreme citrus that lingers
on the palate: (If you momentarily disassociated yourself from the realization that
you were drinking beer, you'd swear you were drinking grapefruit juice). It felt stronger
than a 6.8% ABV.

Feel: Full, nicely carbonated.

Overall: I had this many moons ago before becoming a craft aficionado, so looked forward
to revisiting. In spite of the amount of press & +reviews this beer continues to garner, it just didn't
work for me. In the end, just not enough depth and nuance in flavor--holiday or otherwise--to
counterbalance the massive tidal wave of citrusy hop bitterness.

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Photo of dgallina
2.83/5  rDev -31.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

2004 vintage on-draft. Pours a very attractive clear golden copper color with a good, persistent head and substantial lacing. Enticing hop flower aromas. Strong hop oil flavors which finish with extremely potent and almost metallic hop bitterness. This vintage was far too hoppy for my taste. While the hop flower smell and flavors are interesting, they are ultimately overwhelmed by the hop bitterness and overpowering after-tastes. I found it very difficult to finish my pint.

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Photo of youcantmakeme
2.84/5  rDev -31.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

look: a nice copper brown, it looks to me that the head has a drop of brown in it too.

smell: smell mostly malt with a little pine. I don't smell any fruit at all.

taste: hops, grassy, bitter, slightly sweet (cinnamon?) And a hint of tang, and dry.

feel: medium.

overall: a six pack of 12 oz bottles was $9.50 + tax and it's not available all the time so for what it's worth (to me of course) I would have to say that I wont pick this up again. To me it taste a lot like the sn pale ale not much difference but the color? It's drinkable you are not going to get any off flavors in this but it won't knock your sock of either, with lagunitas born yesterday being also available right now I think that I will take that over this. Maybe I have been just getting used to drinking too much fruity stuff which this isn't or maybe it's just not my style.

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Photo of texasnomad
2.85/5  rDev -31.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured a rusty amber with a two-finger off-white rocky head that settled into thin smooth crust leaving lots of lacing.

All i got was hops in the bouquet - was hoping for a little more.

Piney taste was dominated by the hop bitterness.

Good light to medium-bodied mouthfeel with good carbonation.

Overall this tasted like an average IPA, which means I generally liked it, but looking to taste more than just hops.

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Photo of breyton490
2.85/5  rDev -31.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Update 2009 version

Nov 2009

I have had previous years Celebration and been much more impressed. This years version was a big disappointment. I did not find much in the way of aroma or hop taste compared to past years. I had a 24oz bottle, not sure if it was a bad one or not... may try a 12ozer to see if its any different.

App: Nice copper color, tight white head
Smell: Minimal hop aroma. Some malt notes
Taste: Med body, nice carbonation... just boring to drink
Mouthfeel: Nothing new or different than other SN beers
Drink: Average... good, but there are other beers I would go to first

2008 Version
A: Nice copper color with tight bubbles and a good foamy head. Bottle conditioned, so you may want to hold back on the final pour from the bottle

S: Lots of Cascade hop aroma, citriusy, Very nice. Clean.

T: Nice bittering up front. Lots of hop flavor. Caramel notes, medium body. bitter, but not overly so. Great drinkability. I am going back to buy the last few cases that are on sale at my local store.

M. Medium body, with a dry finish

Drinkabilty: Very!

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Photo of gromis
2.85/5  rDev -31.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

This was given to me by a friend; as I'm really not into hoppy beers but thought I'd give this one a try.

The pour was surprising, as it had a very nice head that lasted quite a while. The lacing was excellent.

The nose on this is straight away pine hops. Actually very pleasant.

The taste is right on with the nose, pine hops. While I can appreciate that this is a good beer for the style, I really don't enjoy hoppy bitter beers; and thus my scores reflect that; although it is a good representation of the style.

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Photo of davexisxrabid
2.85/5  rDev -31.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This ale poured a nice clear amber color. You could see faint carbonation climbing its way to the thick and foamy 3/4" head.

Nice aroma of biscuit dough, citrus, pine and grapefruit.

Semi-sweet taste at first immediately followed by a sharp bitter hop taste and a rather unpleasant metallic taste.

The very bitter unbalanced flavors seemed to stick to my palate, which didn't bode well for its mouthfeel or drinkability. The bitter metallic aftertaste sticks around on your palate and detracts from what should be an enjoyable experience.

Not very drinkable in my opinion - it was a bit too hoppy for my taste, even for an IPA and the aftertaste did not make the experience any better. I know a lot of people enjoy Sierra Nevada stuff, but just about everything I've tried has been disappointing and unfortunately I had higher hopes for this ale.

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Photo of jdhilt
2.86/5  rDev -31.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a three-fingered cream head that fades slowly leaving a good lace. Clear amber color. Hoppy, floral nose. Medium carbonation and medium bodied. Starts sweet and spicey but the hops kick in as expected with a bitter finish. $7.99 for a 6-pak of 12oz from Market Basket Concord, NH.

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Photo of SilentSabre
2.86/5  rDev -31.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

poured a copper like reddish brown with little head. Sweet smell with some spice and a bit chocolate. Alot of spice in the taste, but had a bit of bitterness to it as well. Had a little more carbonation than I was expecting but not too bad. No exactly something to write home about. Not totally awful, but not really impressed, either.

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Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
4.15 out of 5 based on 10,193 ratings.
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