Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

3,466 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: 3,466 | Ratings: 10,208
Photo of Mark
4.43/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Wow! I have never paid much attention to this brew but now I'm regretting it. The 2005 offering is a knockout. A very clear amber body was topped by a white head that left nice rings of lacing. Slightly piney aroma did not prepare me for the piney, grapefruity blast of hops that assaulted me in a wonderful way. Refreshing and drinkable. Sierra Nevada, my apologies for always considering you a mainstream, pedestrian craft brewer, when in actuality you are along with Anchor one of the pioneers. Great beer.

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Photo of LPorter33
4.77/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I'd heard great things about this beer and missed it last year. The 2005 batch was on sale at Martignetti's (6 packs for $5.99) so I picked up a couple.

Appearance = Clear, crisp looking light, honey amber colored. 1/2'' head which faded quickly, leaves a nice thin line with respectable lacing.

Smell = A Fresh hop blast. Pine and citrus smells seem to share equal weight. There's a ton of flavor here.

Taste = Wow! What an exceptional IPA. So friggan fresh and clean tasting and bursting with hops flavor. The hops are not astringent nor completely overpowering and a thin malt presence backs up the flavor creating an amazing tasting experience. Mouthfeel is soothing and soft, not harsh in the least. I can't get over how drinkable this is, yet still powerful and full of flavor. The 6.8% will hit you but you'd never believe it based on the taste.

Overall = This might very well be the best IPA I've ever tasted. It should be brewed 365 and knowing it won't last, I'll be buying a ton of it this season.

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Photo of burnstar
4.75/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This beer is a dark amber with a thick off-white head which leaves lots of lacing on the glass. Aroma is all fantastic hops- spicy and citrusy. There are also some sweet and fruit notes in the background. The taste is also dominated by the hops. Again spicy and citrusy. Also some pine notes. There is also quite a bit of delicious sweet and caramel malt lurking in the background- which the pletiful hop easily keeps in check. Really just fantastic tasting stuff. Lots of nuances come together to really make this taste like the holidays without being at all gimicky. It really manages to have huge hop and malt flavor and still be very subtle. Mouthfeel is great- medium to full bodied, smooth and creamy. Definitely very drinkable. I don't find this at all cloying which I find can be a problem with other holiday beers' drinkability. I reallly love this stuff. I think it will definitely become a holiday tradition for me.

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Photo of mrasskicktastic
4.03/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

A - A gorgous amber with a monster frothy head. Lacing clings all over the glass. The lacing's disregard for gravity is uncanny. This is one hell of a pretty beer.

S - Pine and citrus hops with a slight malt and floral character - crisp, clean and clear.

T - Pine hops dominate but the citrus ones are well meshed. Very elaborate. Slightly malty with a nice bitter finish.

M - Smooth, refreshing, nothing special, nothing bad.

D - Outstanding. This goes down well. ABV is deceptively high. The hops completely mask it. 6.8 is higher than I ever would have expected from this delightful brew. Works fabulously as a session beer. Very good.

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Photo of jakester
4.23/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I got this as a gift from my dad. I drank it in a goblet. This is the 2005 model.

Pours a slightly hazy orange with red tints. A nice thick head of cream colored foam forms on top, which eventually falls to a good coating and a ring. Very good lacing sticks to the glass.

Aroma is herbal/piney hops, not overly done, and rich, clean caramely malt. A wee bit of spicy hop smell is there, also. Smells are somewhat muted, but very clean and pleasant.

First flavor is hop bitterness, but not too much. Then, big, clean caramel malt comes through, followed by herbal pine hops. Residual sweetness is minimal. Aftertaste is a pleasant bitterness and caramel malt. This beer is delicious!

Mouthfeel is fairly smooth, with medium carbonation across the tongue. Medium bodied, with a decent grab at the back of my throat from hop bitterness. Finish is semi-sweet and bitter.

As winter seasonals go, this is one of the best. It's slightly different every year, which makes for some intriguing tasting debates, but it's always good. Highly recommended.

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Photo of BrewRunner
3.71/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a light amber color with a nice white head. Looks nice in a glass.

Aroma is kind of disappointing. I couldn't really smell anything. That's better than having a bad smell, but there's nothing better than a strong aroma.

It's pretty bitter in taste, but not overwhelming. For some reason pine needles come to mind. But that could just be some odd mental thing I have from growing up among the conifers.

It is easily drinkable, with my 6 pack disappearing pretty quickly.

Overall, it's a very good beer, worth trying and I can't wait until they come out again next year.

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Photo of Sephiroth
3.68/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

No date on the bottle, but this is fresh, from 05. Pours with decent head, the body is a burnt orange color. The smell is of grassy, piney hops with barely a hint of caramel malt.

The taste is west coast hoppy. Dry, piney, bitter hops with slight grassiness. Slight caramel malt profile. Mouthfeel is leaning toward the heavy side for an IPA. This is a good beer, but it's not one of my favorites.

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Photo of neonbrown82
4.62/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I've been waiting all year for this to come out since I didn't get around to reviewing it last year (and because it's really fucking good).

Pours to a dark amber color with minimal carbonation but a nice thick white head with a decent lacing. Yada yada yada, on to more important things...

This beer smells and tastes great! It's the next best thing to taking your cascade hops intraveinously. Very fruity and piney with a nice spiciness. Also a bit more of a full malt character than their Pale Ale.

I was so glad to see this on the shelves at work that I had to take home a case. Hopefully this will last past my birthday in a week, but the drinkability of this beer may prove me wrong.

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Photo of ommegangpbr
4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Take their pale ale, turn up the volume (with some tinkering with the equalizer) and you have this concoction. I like this better than their pale ale because the use of hops here seems appropriate to me, with less of that discordant bitter twang than I find in some of the Sierra Nevada brews.
A big, strong IPA for the winter season.

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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 tempest
4.11/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Picked up a growler from Finger Lakes Beverage on a saturday trip to Ithaca.

Looks pretty damn good. Pours a dark amber with great head and lacing.

Stong smell, very similar to taste. A strong, but well-rounded hops aroma. A little citrusy.

Tastes pretty good, but could use a little balance in my opinion. While the hops did taste great, the beer lacked complexity.

Nice in your mouth, but overall, a little tough to drink (especially and entire growler). Recommended for any hop head.

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Photo of ChrisA
4.2/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Good copper color. Poured a two inch head with nice lacing. Heavy hop aromas and flavor up front. Very strong hop taste throughout with not much malt balance. Hops may be a bit overwhelming here, but it definitely is a good winter offering from Sierra Nevada. Second beer was much better. I may have had a bad one mixed into my six pack.

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Photo of stodbrew
4.6/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2005 Edition.

Pours a very slighty hazy deep copper, borderline red, color. Nice white head that lasts and lasts.

Aroma is all hops. Piney, citrusy, and a bit grapefruity.

Flavor is more hops. Grapefruit again, and some hop spiciness. All balanced with a very nice malt backbone.

Mouthfeel is full and round. Perfect carbonation.

This is a phenomenal beer. I look forward to this beer every year.

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Photo of akahn
4.13/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2005 batch, no date marked.

Pours a deep amber reddish hue, clear. A thick, creamy tan head that leaves ringlets of lace. In all a very good looking beer.

Smells of spices and fresh, citrusy hops, a bit of caramel sweetness in the nose too, maybe maple.

Moderate carbonation and a medium, smooth body. Very smooth, almost buttery. Earthy hop flavors. Slightly nutty, sweet malt flavor. Dry, spicy and floral in the finish, with alcohol showing up. The hops clearly dominate, with malt providing complimentary undertones.

Conclusion: This is one delicious beer. This is not as bitter as I remember it from last year. Very good again, though, and drinkable. Recommended.

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Photo of joedon
4.3/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Really excellent pale ale. A lot like their "Pale Ale" only better.
Nice copper color and long lasting pale tan head.
Nose has strong hop and malt aroma.

Perfectly balanced taste with lots of hops and malt as well as a little caramel-toffee flavor.

Very enoyable beer, easy to drink. Only had it from the bottle, never on tap. Not sure it is even available outside California from the keg.

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Photo of LarryV
3.85/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2005 bottle. Poured a deep golden amber color with a minimal head. I expected to be greeted with the usual piney SN hop aroma, but damn, there's hardly any aroma at all. I buried my nose in the glass, but I still could not pick up much of anything other than a bit of maltiness. Hops are very present in the taste profile, but not much of anything else going on. Leaves a pleasant hop bitterness lingering on the palate, but overall, it doesn't seem very balanced.

To me, it just doesn't seem as robust as in previous years. Still a good beer, but not delicious. Mouthfeel is a bit thin. I don't think this years is up to par with previous years, somewhat underwhelming.

11/16/2005 - My palate/nose must have been off when I commented about the beer not being as good as previous years. I had a bottle tonight, and all the characteristics I love about Celebration Ale were present. It's easily as good as last years.

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Photo of KarlHungus
3.49/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This brew pours a clear amber color. The head is white and creamy. Lacing is thorough. The aroma is of pine. The taste is piney and grassy. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with nice carbonation. Overall, this brew isn't bad, but piney, grassy hops aren't my deal.

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Photo of sopor
4.33/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Cear brilliant perfect amber with lots of active rising carbonation meeting almost an inch of creamy thick head.

Citrus rind, herbs and floral hop flavors are assertive and very appetizing.

HOPS!!! Beautiful hops! Resinous and herbal with touches of pine tar and citrus rind. Good toasted malt could be a little stronger, but is appropriate. Some sweet juicy hop flavor.

Moderate to light body and active but not frothy carbonation. Very drinkable and tasty!

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Photo of alemakesmestrong
4.61/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thank goodness it's Christmas time, a time when great seasonals are abundant and this is one of my favorites. I remember trying this beer for the first time last year and not expecting an IPA but I was pleasantly surprised. If one wants to know what a "floral hop aroma" is like then dip your nose into Celebration, god does love us. Hazy copper-orange color, appetizing head, and those great hops are up front on the nose. Upon your first sip you notice the great medium body mouthfeel and a dried grape fruit, orange marmalade taste. Long, long dry I need another sip.

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Photo of Luigi
4.7/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a rich amber color with a mild haziness. Large creamy white head. Sticks all over the glass with no end in sight. Love it! The aroma is rich in floral and piney hops. The flavor is a dream for hopheads. Has a nice sharpness on the tongue. Citrus and pine hop flavor dominate. There is a small amount of malts pull though. Has a semi-dry hoppy aftertaste. This is one of the best IPA's I have had in a long time. Gives me all the hops I need.

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Photo of orsulacp
3.44/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2005 Vintage
I poured this beer vigorously to get a huge egg-shell white head, with a clear light amber body. The smell is dominated by the hops, mostly piney some fruit, with a hint of nutmeg. The hops also dominate the taste, which is a good thing. I don't get much else in the taste. The malt is hidden by the hops, not getting much from the malts It has a medium body and leaves a slightly bitter aftertaste. I would like to have a little bit more malt to balance the great tasting hops.

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Photo of ghostwalker
4.3/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2005 edition.

Reddish amber pour with high frothy white head. Nice lacing.

Sharp citrus nose, grapefruit.

Piney, citrus bite up front. More hops on the finish. In between, hops. This is absolutely not what I expected from a winter seasonal, but I like it! Some spice flavors hidden in there too, but hard for me to pick out from the hops. I guess I agree with the black pepper mention from other reviews, but the glory that is Cascade hops is the star here.

Mouthfeel is typical of a good IPA. Crisp, sharp, highly carbonated and tasty.

Drinkability is great! I will be getting a couple of more 6 packs for a birthday party this weekend, cause I know it will be a hit. Or, if not, I won't mind drinking them all myself.

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Photo of sacfly
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2005 version
Pours a deep amber color with a thick tan head of large bubbles. Head dies down quickly, but maintains a thin layer.

Aroma is of sweet grapefruit. First sip rips at the tongue with a harsh astringent bitterness. But in a good way? For some reason the astringent character works here. Bitter, unsweetened grapefruit flavor wrapped in a medium bodied package.

At first the malt is undetectable but a hint of sweetness builds as I drink. Somewhat dry finish on the sides of the tongue, but the rest seems to be continually watering. Perhaps some Pavlovian response to hops I’ve developed begging me to drink another. And drink another I shall. Can’t argue with Biology/Psychology- at least if it tells me to drink more Celebration Ale!
Better than the 2004 IMHO.

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Photo of Bcant
4.38/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2005 vintage.

Gorgeous copper with exceptional clarity, toped by a white head made of tiny bubbles that leaves good lacing. The bouquet exhibits some light apple notes as well as delicate spice (nutmeg and coriander) and citrus, and gives only the smallest indication of the wonderful hop-bath your tong is about the take. When it comes to taste, the malt characters detectable in the nose are set aside and a strong American hop profile dominates, though some of the malts do come through briefly in the middle. The understated malts do not indicate a lack of warpath, you still get all the fireplace fuzziness you want from a winter seasonal.

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Photo of Dithyramb
4.3/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2005 vintage, purchased as a six pack from Chesapeake Wine in Bmore.
No discernable difference from previous years. You will receive a beautiful copper brew with a sticky off white head. Great carbonation, lacing, and retention. Big grapefruity piney aroma bouyed by a hefty caramel/bready malt body. The flavor will be full of Cascades, but expertly matched agains a caramel malt and slightly alcoholish background. You will want several. Though on the heavier side, this one will be enjoyed by non-beerknerds during holiday parties.

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Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
4.15 out of 5 based on 10,208 ratings.
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