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

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 3,465 | Ratings: 10,193
Photo of doppelmeup
2.87/5  rDev -30.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

It poured with a 3/8 inch head and an orangish color into a pint glass. The head dissipated rather quickly, leaving a ring of foam around the outside edge of the glass and some nice lacing

Very fruity, hoppy aroma.

A dry, fruity, bitter taste that lingered a bit long after swallowing.

It left an aftertaste, and felt both dry and clingy at the same time.

This would be a good beer to have with some curry.

I don't like how the beer lingers in the mouth, even after several minutes have gone by since my last drink.

I have to say I'm quite dissappointed in this beer.

 585 characters

Photo of GimmeAles
2.89/5  rDev -30.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Crystal clear orange develops massive, semi rocky, cream-colored head that recedes, but hangs around leaving some decent lacing.

Faint metal-tinged grain dominates the nose. Leafy-herbal notes detected as well but not a lot going on here.

Tastes of zesty orange pith with very faint candy sweetness in the back. Hops are very upfront, leafy and astringent. Fleeting floral (rose) character. Warming produces a slightly increase of malty-sweetness and alcohol vapor, but flavor seems to showcase a coarse hop profile.

Astringency is heightened by prickly carbonation which only adds harshness – mouthfeel suffers accordingly. Decanting from a secondary vessel improves the smoothness, but a lingering mineral-harshness remains.

A classic that’s oft raved about, but nothing special to me. Certainly fresh and made to high standards with good ingredients - just not a combination that really works from the bottle least.

 932 characters

Photo of VTBrewHound
2.9/5  rDev -30.1%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

12 oz bottled "packaged on 10/02/2015"
Consumed 11/06/15
Pours a nice, clear Amber color with a frothy, rocky cream colored head.
Not any aroma detected. Slightest hint of malt.
Now, the taste to me is very one note, that note being bitter, very bitter. No fruit, no pine, no earth.
The malt is nice in the mouth feel, but is overpowered by the bitterness.
Maybe if I had it on 10/6 rather than 11/6?

 400 characters

Photo of Docer
2.91/5  rDev -29.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

6-pack bottles purchased. Poured into a tumbler glass.

Great copper-like amber color, very nice lacing.. hardly any head. Slightly cloudy appearance.

Mild smell, but with a sour-like barley wine odor. Can smell the alcohol for sure.

Taste is just "ok" for me. Caramel malt flavor with a wildly sour and bitter hop bite. Essence of barrel aged barley wine notes... slightly earthy and dirty notes with a bit of pine and dry hop. Tastes stronger in ABV than it's listed 6.8%.

Leaves mouth a bit dry and parched. Bitter/sour finish.

Not too easy to drink mainly because of the flavor. Not a huge fan of this one. Burns, heartburn from the alcohol... not much there to hide that taste. Too malty.

I am a much bigger fan of their anniversary ale. That's about it sofar. Most likely wont purchase again.

 804 characters

Photo of mbrown26
2.92/5  rDev -29.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

I'm still learning what I like and this is my second IPA. Just not getting into them. Take my review with a grain of salt.

A: A great looking beer that had a nice slightly off white head. Very clear amber/copper colors.

S: I could smell this all day long. Had a nice sweet spice to it.

T: I think it was the hops, but it tasted way too bitter for me. Not an awful product, but there was too much bitterness for me.

M: Had a little bit more carbonation than I like.

D: If you like the flavor and carbonation, this is probably a great IPA.

Not my cup of tea.

 567 characters

Photo of cameraman
2.93/5  rDev -29.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

The 2006 edition of celebration ale, it pours a deep amber color. There are visible signs of carbonation, with a quater inch off white colored head forming. The aroma has a slight citrusy scent, but surprisingly a strong malt aroma is very dominant. That malt starts the flavor off, and then midway, the citrusy hop flavors become present and linger on the palate long after the beer has passed by. A medium bodied feel, that slowly thins out as it reaches it finally destination, my stomach. This was disappointing, SNCA, to me the standard for being a hop monster beer. Perhaps, my expectations were high, it just seems it falls short.

 637 characters

Photo of Vancer
2.93/5  rDev -29.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Looks like this one is quite popular across the board – but didn’t do anything for me. Pour was very nice, a clear amber with fluffy ivory head – plenty of sticky laces all the way down the glass.

Strong floral hints did not bode well for the quaff, and yep, very hoppy brew, almost like an APA. No winter spices or enough malts to balance it out – but since this is an AIPA, suppose it meets the style.

Crisp and oily on the tongue, it will warm you up with the 6.8%

 477 characters

Photo of ThreePistols
2.96/5  rDev -28.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Orange-amber color, good head with decent lace. Hops, citrus, pine, alcohol aroma. Bitter, hoppy, citrus, pine flavor. Bitter front, med-full body with a high hops middle and a bitter-sweet dry finish. Lingering grapefruit rind and spice aftertaste. IMHO; more malt for better balance and more spice for more flavor. Better character when allowed to warm. Tried it at ice-cold temp, way too bitter. This is a good beer, but it is too bitter and hoppy for my taste.

 468 characters

Photo of betterbgood
2.96/5  rDev -28.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I've tried this beer on tap about a year ago, but i had to try it again because i forgot how it taste. the reviews from here were good, so i decided to buy two six packs for me and some friends. I knew it was another ipa or pale ale, i wasn't ignorant at all by the marketing scheme of a special spiced winter warmer and all the holiday decorations on the label. but alltogether its average, it might just be torpedo in sheeps clothing.

 436 characters

Photo of Oxymoron
2.96/5  rDev -28.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

If I lived in California and saw snow I don't think I would celebrate. Celebration pours a very clear (anti-hazy), light amber brown shade. Decent foam that hides to the edge of the glass and good lacing.

The smell is not overwhelming but still noticeable. Good hop notice that is mostly piney with some earthy smells kicked in. Overall it's light for an IPA. The malt is worth mentioning as it has a really grainy smell to it.

The taste is more noticeable then the nose. The bittering hops are first to really take notice. A good bite that isn't overbearing. A good bitterness the isn't too oily but pushes the limit and. Although it seems to dominate the rest of the beer. The malt is rather basic and doesn't really support the rest of the beer. The flavoring hops play second as well. Tastes more of a ESB then IPA.

The body is light but the beer is easy enough to drink. Other then the bitterness there is nothing wrong. Overall I wasn't too impressed.

 966 characters

Photo of sicilian
2.98/5  rDev -28.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

If you're a real Hop Head you will love this beer as it should be labeled as an Double IPA style. I really enjoy the regular SN Pale Ale and other PA's and even most IPA's are OK with me. I do enjoy the floral sharp hop flavors generally speaking.

This one has very strong flavors typical of a holiday brew, but they are totally overwhelmed by the bitter hop flavor and smell with little to no spice or malt flavors. This made it not so enjoyable to me as I wasn't expecting. About half way through my palate was numb enough to enjoy the remainder without wincing.

 566 characters

Photo of quincyships
2.99/5  rDev -28%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This used to be my favorite beer, but this year they seem to have screwed the pooch.

Appearance: Poured 12 oz bottle into Sam "perfect pint" glass. All looks well, with appropriate head and carbonation.

Aroma: Celebration has never been exceptionally fragrant, but this year it smells vaguely dank (an ominous omen).

Flavor: What once was a rock-solid malt-forward IPA has been transformed, sadly, to some tepid form of cold tea. Somewhere along the line, some marketing genius decided to append the "fresh hop ale" tagline to this brew and the recipe changed to fit the program. Now, the flavor is unbalanced - where once there was malt complexity, there is now the blandest malt backbone. Where once there was a complex interplay of Centennial and Cascade hops, there is now ... I don't even know what. Yard rakings?

Mouthfeel: Perfectly fine. They f'd up the recipe, but they still have quality control.

Overall: My disappointment with this year's Celebration is rivaled only by the memory of realizing for the first time that there is no Santa Claus.

Have also had this on draft, with similar disappointing results.

 1,125 characters

Photo of TechMyst
3/5  rDev -27.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Definitely not the Holy Grail I was expecting. How is this an IPA again? Ok, they got away with adding spices to a PA and it still tastes decent; I'll give them that. This, to me, (2006-07) had a red apple flavor, with some hard conditioning. This is better than any winter brew I can think of at the moment, but again; not something I would put high on my overall list...

 372 characters

Photo of denver10
3/5  rDev -27.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

So, tried this once last year and was a little underwhelmed. Coming back for seconds with this, only this time its a fresh one. See how round 2 goes.

Pours a nice firey bronze with a thick off white head. Great lacing. A great hoppy married to sweet aroma; floral and lemon hops on top a doughy malt base.Flavor is much the same with the lemony and floral hops shining on top a thick somewhat doughy malt base that offers hints of toffee hiding out there. A sharp, piney finish to this. A nice creamy, active mouthfeel. Overall, a nice beer. Kinda reminds me of Odells Town Pump Pale in that both seem like they could just as easily be labeled a dry hopped amber as easily as an (A/I)PA, though this one is certainly far more hoppier and complex than Town Pump. Definitely glad I gave this a second shot.

 805 characters

Photo of msmithphotog
3/5  rDev -27.7%

So I go to Costco to get stuff, and would like to find a case of Torpedo but no they don't carry that. I see Celebration IPA in a case. Its an IPA and i love most other Sierra Nevada beers so I think, it should be something special. After all it is a "Celebration" seasonal been and should be something special. I get it home, eager to try, pop one in the freezer hoping I haven't just bought a case of duds. Well, on my first try I am underwhelmed, in fact disappointed. The copy on the side of the case says "fresh hopped". I think that means at the very least a Hoppy experience like Torpedo (which I love and maybe that's the problem). It also says hints of citrus and PINE?!, Well if it were me I wouldn't use the word pine in copy about beer. Save it for the Potpourri at thanksgiving and Christmas.. and sure as hell leave it out of beer. The first taste in your mouth isn't bad.... then you get the after taste. If you want to say pine.. id say more like turpentine. Its not heavy its sort of a thin processed alcohol taste that's bitter, but not the good bitter an IPA should have but worse. If you are going to say Fresh hopped make it taste hoppy.. I'm so sad I bought a case of it. Xmas beer anyone?

 1,211 characters

Photo of logicalparadox
3.02/5  rDev -27.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Looks so beautiful in my glass. Like fall coming to life. Golden bronze with a slight red hue, like fall leaves. Topped by a gorgeous sticky head that retains well and eventually gives way to a crown fit for a king.

But the nose is dull and muddled. Not getting the hops

Same with taste. Hop flavors difficult to pick out. Bitterness with no personality. Not quite piney, not quite citrus, no florals. Nothing pronounced. Malts are there but bring a tad more sweetness than I'd like to see.

Overall, overrated. Way overrated. Not a fan, but not bad.

 552 characters

Photo of BlackHaddock
3.02/5  rDev -27.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Brown 2008 bottle, with 350ml of beer for 69 pence from a cut-price store in Wellington, Shropshire, couldn't believe my eyes when I saw them lined up on the shelf.

I poured it into a 'Hoegaarden Grand Cru' stemmed tulip glass, why not let it live a little before I drank it?

I allowed the whole bottle to enter the glass, so it looked a dull dark orange colour and was obviuosly cloudy. The head was a frothy off-white pile and the beer looked cool in its unfamilier glass.

Hops, hops and hops hit my nose, some yeast smells tried to get out too.

In the taste the hops took over again, wave after wave of them, nothing else could force its way through, a dry bitterness from the said hops appeared to be unchecked, but a slight fruity flavour (apples, pears and berries) did turn up in the aftertaste.

Plenty of body, not rich or creamy, just body.

Pleasant, but just a bit too hoppy for my palate.

 905 characters

Photo of miketd
3.03/5  rDev -27%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

On tap at The Brew Kettle, 2008 vintage. Pours a dark amber with a decent white head. Aroma is nutty and grain with earth notes and subdued hops. Flavor is malt, grain, wet grass and earth. Palate is ok. I have enjoyed this in the past, but now it just seems too grainy with no hops. Don't know if the recipe changed or if my palate is different. Not one I will drink again any time soon though.

 395 characters

Photo of nrpellegrini
3.03/5  rDev -27%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a dark red/ golden color. A decent head stays a while and tries to lace. Smells of spiced hops and light malts. The taste follows the same suit, a very bitter big hop flavor up front that bites at the tongue, then finishes with an easier malt flavor in the background. Mouth wasn't so pleasent with the hop bite, and drinkability wouldn't have lasted long, I did not want another. I guess I was just expecting something else, this isn't my style of beer.

 460 characters

Photo of Guinness4me
3.03/5  rDev -27%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

In an attempt to not offend the hop heads of the bunch, I'll be as kind as possible with this beer as it does seem like a good example of the style.

The color was a lovely golden/orange color with a white head full of tiny bubbles. The smell was 110% hops to nearly the point of a flowery perfume.

The taste was all hops with a slight, sweet malt and a very bitter finish that tended to linger on the back of my tongue.

The mouthfeel was neither offensive nor spectacular but again is indicative of the style. I'm glad to get this one over.

 550 characters

Photo of Truh
3.03/5  rDev -27%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Gave thanks to various deities with this one on 12/4/2004. 16-oz. angled shaker pour at the Sunset.

Initial head of ½ inch fluff that is creamy in appearance with some larger stuff going on at the outer edges. Celebratory hop front on nose with just a jack of candy cane sweetness flitting about aimlessly in the eaves. Gaudschalk frizziness of hop that almost stings on the tongue and back of throat and simply engulfs any washing holiday spices that I think must be hidden in there, somewhere. Really seems like this could do with some more mellowing; an oddly low-tide mud flat finishing to the pour brings the party down to a murmur for me.

 648 characters

Photo of Doppelbockulus
3.05/5  rDev -26.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Deep amber color.

Smells like sweet hops and a bit of caramel, but my sinus congestion isn't allowing much more in.

It tastes like a typical Sierra Nevada offering, so if you generally like Sierra Nevada you will like this, however not quite my flavor preference. Only slight Christmas notes. Of course there are hops right off the bat, slight hint of sweet, with a little earthiness. Then the aftertaste is burnt toast, and I don't like burnt toast.

The mouthfeel is comfortable, not too tingly.

 499 characters

Photo of founddrama
3.06/5  rDev -26.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Decently balanced. Hops are fairly strong but no stand-out flavors here. Quite drinkable though. The bottle talks about "pine and citrus hop aromas" and I get some of the pine but not so much the citrus.

 203 characters

Photo of MaltyHoppyGood
3.06/5  rDev -26.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

A : looks great! So excited to see the latest, freshest batch out. The 2010, 2011,and especially the 2012 batch were amazing. Huge, fluffy head, proper carbonation, deep amber/ copper color.

S: Mostly California/American ale yeast with some subtle hop aroma . Little, if no malt detected. Overwhelmingly yeasty while expecting so much fresh hop smell. Smells like Sierra Nevada.

T: some mild citrus hops, followed by medium sweet malts and a present back if tongue bitterness. There is a lot of balance here. Hops are hiding behind clean California yeast aroma. Drinks like a slightly bigger Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. This batch is particularly homogenous, having down played hops with an increase in balance. Can't taste fresh hops due to yeast/co2 aroma.

M: great drinking ale. Co2 is spot on, final gravity is perfect to balance sweet, bitter and alcohol. I enjoyed 12 oz quicker than expected. It is smooth, balanced and undistinguished.

O: 2013 aims to be an underwhelming, balanced IPA, a stark contrast to years previous. This beer lacked hop aroma, hop taste, notable character, and had an overly yeasty smell- It smells faintly like a macro. I had claimed this in years past as an amazing, highly recommended beer, but was disappointed this year. Perhaps SN is spreading their operation too thin? I loved their beer camp series, but it perhaps detracted from overall quality control on their most infamous craft beer. Better luck next year , old friend.

 1,465 characters

Photo of klewis
3.06/5  rDev -26.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

2006 edition

A: Pours golden with a 2-finger frothty head with good sustain and lacing.

S: Subtle aroma of vegetal hops.

T: Strong vegetal hops flavor balanced well with a dry maltiness. The hop bitterness creeps through and finishes with a kick.

M: Meidum bodied with moderate carbonation. Lingering flavor.

D: I remember this being better last year. Nothing offensive here, just nothing special. A very average beer IMO.

 437 characters

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

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    No fake news here. Get real beer content delivered to your doorstep every month.