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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

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: 10,021
Photo of bucko
3.9/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This one came as a pleasant surprise! The color is a darker copper tone with an off-white head. The smell of the cascade hops is a nice punch in the mouth and you can definitely smell and taste the other dry-hopped additions, in this case chinook and centennial hops. Flavor wise, this beer packs a punch as well... clean, smooth, warm, balanced. Mmm. This is the kind of seasonal beer you can look forward to.

 410 characters

Photo of shalowlou
3.83/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I bought a six pack and started the celebration...

Appearance: It is quite the beautiful brew, nice and amber, very very handsome.

Smell: the cannabis (not that cannabis guys...the hops!) family meets the rose family in a feast for the nostrils. It smells amazing, but the problem might be the taste...

Taste: Ok people...flowers smell good...but they don't really taste so hot. The brew is quite extraordinary but I must admit that I gave this beer three tries over a couple of weeks and the first two I was simply disgusted. It's bitter and has a taste which inflames the senses but is hard to describe as being good. I finally had my third bottle about a week after I had first tried it and was able to appreciate it. It was a shock at first, but after my taste buds were able to anticipate the taste, it became quite an experience and I can safely say now that I am going to try this again next year.

Mouthful: A litter thicker than the pale ale.

Drinkability: If hops are your thing, this brew certainly can be a session beer.

Notes: I had quite an experience with this beer, almost as if my palate had matured through the experience of a six-pack of Celebration Ale. For that, this beer will always have a special place in my heart.

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Photo of beercollector
3.76/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I tried a 2003 Celebration tonight. This one is reaching the end of its run. It poured a light amber the you could see through. Very little head and light carbonation.

This one had very little aroma. The taste sarted a little sweet and then went to bitter with a herb flavor. A very light mouthfeel and quick finish.

This is a short session beer for an evening but this vintage will soon be past its prime. I'd drink a few in an evening or use it as a starter to move to stronger ales or barley wines.

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Photo of axisjones
4.42/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dusty orange amber with a nice head, light lacing down the sides. The smell is a clean cascade, a bit citrusy with pine notes and a notable grapefruit aroma. This is a hoppy beer, but really well balanced and smooth. The hops are flavorful and not just bitter with notes of grapefruit, floral and piney flavors and a clean bitterness in the back. For an IPA this is pretty drinkable, it is balanced and smooth and very warming. This is a great beer to go to bed on on a chilly night.

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Photo of sprackops
4.29/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From a recently unearthed notepad:

SNCA 2003 sampled 12/25/04
Presentation: Classic stubby bottle adorned with red and white, poured into a nonic imperial pint glass.

Appearance: Dark red bordering on brown. Quite a lot of sediment.

Smell: Pine, tea, nutty malt.

Taste: Sweet malty character with accompanying bracing hop bitterness on the finish, subdued piney and citric hops.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, highly carbonated.

Drinkability/comments: Much better balanced with age. Drinkability has improved, but the alcohol content will sneak up on the unwary drinker.

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Photo of Opethsprite
2.08/5  rDev -49.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 1.5

Taken from a written account a few weeks back...

The bottle claims that this ale is unique, and....well, I suppose it is. (Not that this is a good thing.) The nose was a whacked-out combination of cedar, bitter orange, and menthol. I should have quit right there. I can't figure out why everyone loves this stuff: the taste of burning wood and mint leaves with a powerful jolt of alcohol was too much for me. There was a perfect level of carbonation, though! For me, this beer is not worth the hype. It's good for keeping around to drink once in a decade when you're just bored with the usual beers. Gross!

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Photo of bceaglejoe
3.97/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: Poured something like a cherry-wood color with about a half-inch white head. The retention was excellent, as it stayed with the beer until I finished it. Hop aroma dominated the nose, and I caught a bit of pine as well.

Tasting: Very hoppy on the tongue. Not quite as malt-balanced as other beers of this style, but tasty nonetheless. There also was a little bit of spice flavor. I scored mouthfeel and drinkability slightly lower because the bitterness was a little more than I liked. Plus, the higher alcohol content would make this less drinkable as a "session beer."

This was an excellent beer on tap. Wonder what next winter will bring...

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

12oz short brown twist cap bottle. No freshness date but the label on the neck of the bottle has brewed for. *2003*
Appearance: Pours a nice amber chestnut hued brew. On top….a fluffy froth foams up to a thick rocky head. On the nose a nice hop aroma with hints of citrus and herbs with a touch of spiciness in the nose.
Taste: Fresh hops with a bitter sweet oil flavor; malt flavor and a nice whole grain breadiness; and slight hints of caramel. Decent hop bitterness comes through; and then a nice fruitiness. Great holiday brew!

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Photo of ypsifly
4.57/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

'04 vintage.

Amber with a touch of orange with a generous white head That sticks around and leaves decent lacing.

Smells of strong floral hops. Has that typical west coast hop aroma kicked up a few notches. Very nice. Enough to make a hop head salivate upon first sniff. This is what I want an AIPA to smell like. Its as if someone at SN took a sip of Two Hearted and said, "Oh yeah...take this!"

Tastes like Bigfoot's little brother. Starts off with a mouthfull of malt and then quickly changes to strong hops, but the transition is a lot smoother than Bigfoot. Perfect mouthfeel for the style. Full but not chewy.

Celebration is a good name for this fine brew as its quite drinkable and makes for an excellent party beer. Not your typical holiday brew as most breweries are making spiced winter warmers while the good folks at SN are kicking this one out, but I like it. I look forward to this one's release every year. They should brew this as their year 'round IPA and introduce a spiced spruce ale as their holiday seasonal....just an idea.

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

Thanks to Oliver Twist!

Pours a reddish, golden beer with nice white head that clings on to the glass. Quite some carbonation visible through the all clear brew.

Comes on nice and hoppy (as expected) bearing traces of pepper, citrus, lemon, maybe some more fruit and carbonation.

Hits palatte string with pepper and hoppy citric aroma soothed by strong malts. Some alcohol, nice sweet flavour throughout until finsih wich is rich, with a long bitter aftertaste that is also somewhat dry.

Nice and tasty ipa, but no way what i think a christmas brew should be like. Remove the christmas stamp on this since its just good beer.

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Photo of warchez
4.42/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Previous years of this have not pleased my pallete at all. This years batch (2004) however is near perfection for the hop lover. In clear west coast style this beer is screaming with hop character. This beer's color is as attractive as a good Pale can get, with a nice light head.
The hop character here is the main experience. Such a nice blend of Hop flavors. Each sip of this beer leaves you with a great citrusy tartness; not for the faint of heart (or pallete). The maltiness is hard to really detect behind all the hops, but you now its there because the beer doesn't appear thin at all.
Don't recommend this as a session brew, but it is great to have 2-3 with a belly filling dinner of meats and potatoes.

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

2004 vintage.

pours a wonderful deep orange/red that glows a bit in my unibroue tulip. it's capped with a nice fluffy but thick sand-colored head that lasts as a good cap for the entire beer.

an engaging aroma of hops pour out of the beer, though it is fainter than i usually remember. citrusy all the way, with grapefruit, orange, tangerine showing up first and then some pine and melon, and a hint of baking bread. sweet and invigorating, with just a spicy edge that suggests band-aid-like aroma.

The beer greets you with a sharp hop bite. It's more than just bitterness or aroma--it's like the hops are integrated into every aspect of the beer, like a resin or sap that adds body. I imagine similar flavors would arise if you chewed on hops. Personally I find this very inviting because it provides real hop flavor on top of the biting bitterness. ymmv.

taste reminds me of orange peel-- there is a strong citrus overtone with a bitter and slightly astringent middle. a nice light citrus sweetness comes through on the front of the tongue, while the back is lashed with wave after wave of hop flavor, culminating in a deep and long-lasting spicy, almost herbal finish and aftertaste. The resin quality just seems to sit in the back of the mouth forever. The malt peeks its head out in the sweet fruit flavors and a bready quality, but the hops are the star.

I know some have said this vintage isn't as good, but i sure as hell like it. I don't remember 2003, but nothing is wrong with 2004 imo. This is a hop onslaught, brilliant because of the amazing depth of hop flavor pulled from the beer. this thing must have been dry hopped like mad. a great, powerful IPA.

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Photo of sinistermadman
4.05/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served from Sierra's standard stubby 12 Oz'er. I sampled the 2004 edition.

This brew pours a medium bronze color with a billowy head which retains well. Slight lacing on glass walls.

Smell is quite good. The first thing I notice is a citrus aroma, followed by hearty hops. Smells spicy and cheerful, just as a celebration ale might I suppose.

Taste is quite smooth considering alcohol content. A crisp edgy hop taste is at the forefront giving way to small citrus and spice nuances. Each taste leaves a lingering pucker. Mouthfeel is delightful. This ale has a certain astringent quality to it, but it is hardly invasive to the overall flavor.

Overall a very drinkable ale worthy of its name. I just wish I would have tried this during the colder winter months. This brew packs a sneaky punch which will warm you from head to toe. Cheers!

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Photo of beersarang
4.26/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2004 Edition

Pours a beautiful carmely copper color with a light beige head. The head is quite persistent and frothy with uneven bubbles leaving thick lacing down the glass.

Smells citrusy with mostly hop aroma.

Flavor is at first bready, then toasted malts. The citrusy hop bite comes in just strong enough to balance but not overpower. Finish is dry and delicious with a lingering pleasant flavor.

Mouthfeel is creamy and smooth, very drinkable.

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Photo of beveragecaptain
4.22/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle. This beer is a hazy amber color with a creamy white head. A good amount of lacing is left on the side of the glass. Very hoppy aroma. Nice hop flavor and bitterness. More maltiness than most beers this hoppy. The finish is very bitter. Terrific drinkability – having one always leaves me craving another. This is my favorite beer from Sierra Nevada, and one that I like to pick up a sixer of a couple times a year.

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Photo of clvand0
4.05/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2004 version. This one pours an amber color with a medium head that falls fast, but leaves a little lacing on the glass. The aroma is quite hoppy with some spices thrown in for good measure. The flavor has a caramel malt backing, but it is dominated by the American hops. Citrus, grapefruit, slight grassiness. Good body and easy to drink.

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Photo of kmpitz2
4.32/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a slightly oranged amber color with a 2 finger head that falls to sit healthy atop the beer. The nose is nice, with spicey and citrus hops sitting over a nice healthy caramel malt base. Smells good. The flavor is very hoppy, with a good citrus blast and a nice sweet caramel malt. I relaly like it. The feel is moderate. This beer makes me smile every time I drink it. Its a very nice winter beer, but I think I could enjoy it all year long.

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Photo of Puddleglum
4.31/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Yummy. Someone pawned this six pack off on me because it didn't taste like the label I suppose. I was more than happy to receive it and enjoy it thoroughly. It has a nice amber, chestnut color with a head that fizzled out pretty quickly. Other than that I was very happy with the snap of the hops and the twang of the malt. I thought it was a nice balance. They may have overdone it with the bitter hops if they were hoping to make it highly drinkable. But one or two will do for me.

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Photo of goodbyeohio
4.01/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

red against light, brown in a windowless room. bubbles upon bubbles with mild lacing.

smells like essence of hops. hops. hops. real hops, not like the traditional sierra ipa.

tastes tangy, like a berry sherbet.. with hops quickly taking over with bitterness all over the mouth. yet drinkable and light. the best product in the SN family. wonder how this one would be after a year of sitting in a cellar. unfortunately, that was my last one and the bodega local is out.

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Photo of Backer2004
3.73/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Beautiful reddish-copper hue, thick head, and nice carbonation, like a frothy cloud atop the pint glass. Floral hops accentuated more in the smell than the taste. Very hoppy, can understand why this is considered an IPA instead of a Winter Warmer since it also lacks the spice and cinnamon. Too bitter to be a session brew.

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Photo of CortexBomb
3.38/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2004 bottling

Pours out dark orange with black edges and an off-tan head which settles to a solid 1 inch thickness. Nose is lovely with a strong, yet not overwhelming hop presence to go with some undefined sweet aspect and the vaguest hint of pine.

Taste is almost textbook IPA all the way though, the variety of the nose gives way to what I would call a standard American IPA hop bitter on the back of the tongue which almost completely dominates the taste. I get faint hints of malts in the creamy note, and some off-nutty tones when I go fishing for them, but this is predominantly a generic IPA IMO.

Mouth is a notch above average though, good full, carbonated feeling that goes well with the style. The drinkability I only rate average though, largely due to my opinion on over-hopped beers, which this certainly qualifies as.

Strange brew, I bought this thinking it was a warmer, and ended up disappointed when I realised it was only a seasonal IPA. I'm not normally a fan of over-hopped beers, and this offering by SN is no exception. For the hop heads only.

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Photo of baiser
4.52/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a dark amber colour, nice head, good retention. Floral aroma, fruity, great hop aroma. In terms of taste, I was expecting something more unique. But it's a typical west coast, hoppy ale, which is fine by me. Taste was fruity, hopped up. Great balance between malt and hops. Juicy and flavourful. Drinkability is exceptional.

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Photo of GuinnessSmurf
3.52/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a red/orange color with a very small head that dies off quickly. The body appears thin.

Smell is mostly hops - floral and spicy.

Taste is full of hops as expected. There are some subtle sweet flavors that I can't place but round off the flavor nicely.

Overall, its great for long sessions, but doesn't offer much for a single beer experience.

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Photo of oracle
4.32/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

20 oz draft pour served in a traditional english pint glass.

Beer pour a hazy golden brass/bronze with a dense slightly off white head that left a slight amount of lacing

Aroma was hoppy citrus and pine. Some ripe mild fruit in there as well.

The more Sierra Nevada ales I drink, the more they are all starting to taste the same to me. Maybe they use the same kind of hops in everything, but I think I'm beginning to detect a distinct "SN" profile to most of their beers. Upon my first sip of this beer, my first thought was "Hey, this tastes kinda like the Bigfoot barleywine, with a lot less intensity".

Still tasted pretty darn good, with lots of hops in front and sweet fruity middle with a dry bitter finish.

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

Pours a deep orange/copper with a orange-white head that clings to my glass. Smell is very hoppy, but the malt backing is in there, too, along with some orange. Hoppy taste with some fruit and caramel thrown in for good measure; these citric notes are heavenly. Medium-bodied mouthfeel with a great hop aftertaste with lingering orange notes. It's downright tasty, but I usually only have one or two in a sitting; lot of complexity in there to think over.

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Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
4.15 out of 5 based on 10,021 ratings.
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