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 nortmand
4.97/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A vigorous pour produces a big, fluffy off whitish head atop a copper body.

Piney, resiny citrus aroma dominates. Some sweet malt in their somewhere.

Raisin, citrus, resin, so much going on in the front of the tongue. Ends at the back of the tongue with a bitter plumminess. Simply exquisite.

Full bodied, yet refreshing and very drinkable. Can't wait to get this by the mug at Crunchy's again this year.

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

On tap at Wonder's Pub.

Nice amber with a fluffy white head. Good lacing.

Big western hops bring a hefty dose of juniper berries to the aroma. Citrusy. Herbal, maybe coriander and thyme. The cascade hop level isn’t quite Mt. Ranier but it is a close Mt. Hood.

There is a decent amount of malt in here to balance the bitterness of the hops but hops still rule the day. Citrus floral notes dominate the flavor. Esters swish throughout, warming the brew. Also touches of nuttiness and grain.

Dry, crisp, and quite drinkable.

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

Pours an amber orange, with a rising head that dissipates to a thin white cap. Some lace left behind.

Hoppy, leafy smell. Lots of citrus in the nose with an underlying sweetness.

The hops are prevalent in the taste as well, with a very earthy abundance of flavorings. There are sweet fruity notes as well, with grapefruit being the most obvious. Carbonation is biting and prevalent. Easy to drink.

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Photo of JasonCoop
4.8/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

poured into a regular pint glass. pours a good dark amber color with a nice white head. lace stays throughout.

very aromatic, hops jump from the top of the glass. a little piney, a little spicy. good smell

taste is great. agressive hops right up front, really from beginning to end. a little alcoholish. somewhat of a spiced taste. quite a bite. not balanced in that the hops dominate here, but i love hops and i'm not complaining. a great warming winter brew.

the best thing about this winter brew is that they dont add too many holiday style spices or additives and it tastes like a more genuine ale.

mouthfeel is somewhat full. hops dry it out in the end. really nice. very tastey and very drinkable. I really like how the sierra brews tend to have generous hops tastes. this is one of my favorites. i wish i could get it year round. one of the best IPAs i've sampled yet, and consistently good year to year.

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Photo of silver0rlead
4.23/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a beautiful deep copper color with a huge, frothy beige head that leaves sticky lacing all down the glass. The aroma is very hoppy, with notes of citrus (grapefuit and lemon), pine, spices, herbs, hearty bread and caramel. The taste begins with a big blas of hops: citrusy (grapefruit orange and lemon), pine resiny, and herbal followed by a spicy flavor, and a big toasted bread and caramel malt character that balances the hops. The mouthfeel is full and rich, but not overbearing and drinkability is quite good. An awesome holiday IPA, balanced and of the best.

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

bright, orangish amber with swirly particulates (hop bits?) and a decent head with largeish bubbles. nose is faint, but i'm mostly getting a mild citrus fruit hoppiness. the taste is bitter hops up front with peachy, citrusy juiciness. juicy is also the predominant mouthfeel, medium body. a nice bitter finish. this is really delicious and easy to drink. easily one to buy by the case every year.

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

2005 version, 12 oz bottle, seems like it's out a little early this year. Pours a nice looking orange/amber, absolutely clear, 2 fingers of desnse cream colored head, good retention and moderate lacing. Smell is fragrant hops, mainly pine but a little bit flowery, with a slight bit of spices. Taste is a flavorful burst of hops, grapefruit and citrus primarily, trailing into a bold spicey bitter finish. There's a malt taste lingering somewhere in the background, but it never really comes forward, but they do just enough to keep the hops from overwhelming. Medium body, dry finish, and a very smooth feel. And at 6.8% this is no slouch in the alcohol, but I could down these all night. Definitely a great drinkable IPA, wish they would produce it all year, as it is I'll just have to stock up in season.

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Photo of wcudwight
4.26/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Amber orange in color. Shows a little more red when held to the light. Solid 2 finger lightly golden head that last. Well laced.
Hint of spice with some sweetness and hopiness in the nose.
Nice balance of malty sweetness and some spice with a bitter backend taste.
The balance of sweetness, bitterness, crispness and dryness gives Celebration an excellant mouthfeel.
Very drinkable because it is just so good!!!
Do not wait for the holidays. If this beer is available go get it now.

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Photo of Sammy
4.08/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

2000 edition, scooped at Route 59 Liquor in Monsey, NY. 5 year IPA that still rocked. More like a top Belgian, still well hopped with spicey yeast and barley and grapefruit hop, tastes up front, followed by honey and then bitter finish. Drying. Copper with sizzling white head, lace. Rich full mouthfeel.This is the rating.
2007 edition, still a very good IPA with citrus, above average carbonation, and lacing grooming the glass. Very drinkable, but the 2000 was an award winner.

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

This brew is amber /orange in color with a one finger white head that leaves very little lacing.
The aroma is a nice blend of hops, malt and spice.
Hops and spice are the major players in the flavor. There is a nice bitterness near the finish, with a bit of grapefruit presence.
Mouth feel is medium in body and nicely carbonated. There is also a bit of oiliness.

This is a beer worth checking out, much better than I expected. It's not an in your face IPA, but still damn good.

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Photo of Px2GrafX
4.7/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

presentation: 12oz. bottle with a white label and the the same feel as other sierra nevada labels. banner across the top with "sierra nevada", and below that is a small winter wonderland with a cozy lookin' cabin. holly and poinsettas frame the scene and another banner runs across the bottom saying "celebration ale". sn's interpretation of their winter ipa is on the neck label. there is a black bar on the right of the label with the number: 5287. batch number? no abv or freshness date.

appearance: pours a beautiful, clear, heated copper with bright red highlights in a tulip glass. inch and a half off-white fluffy head with perfect retention and sticky lacing. a stream of bubbles rise emphatically from the stem of the glass.

smell: lightly spicy with intense citrusy, piney and floral hop aromas. excellent piney christmas tree aroma for the season.

taste: strong hop character. grapefruits with herbal, spicy hop flavors. good bitterness that dries the edges of your tongue. more fruit as the brew warms. oranges and even a nasaly apple flavor as well. there's a lightly sweet nutty malt flavor that's mostly noticible as the brew warms. finishes dry with a spicy hop bitterness. aftertaste is mildly bitter grapefruit.

mouthfeel: seemingly crisp and creamy medium body. super smooth although there's a good amount of carbonation. swallow is silky. near perfect mouthfeel for this style.

drinkability: beer is almost gone by the time i get to the drinkability.
6.8% is nowhere to be found. tasty with an excellent finish and aftertaste that keeps you sipping, or gulping, what have you. excellent quenching winter session.

overall: just an excellent winter ipa every year. i look forward to this release from the second i run out. bitterness is just a touch less than alpha king, but the hop flavor is better. perfect mouthfeel and excellent drinkability. drink it while you can. it seems to disapear as quickly as the season.

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Photo of asabreed
4.47/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2005 version, poured into my Corsendonk tulip, because I think this deserves something more than a pint glass.

Appearance: Great reddish / brown with slight hints of yellow haze at the bottom of the glass. Lacing's pretty sticky, nice wave-like patterns on the top of the glass, and the head, though dying slightly in the middle although slowly, is still thick around the edges.

Smell: Beautiful oily, piney hops, with some sweeter floral charactertistics and some citrus zest, orange and grapefruit mostly. Balanced as all hell. Also some yeastiness and slight dark bread notes.

Taste: The best thing about this is the slight malt balance that not immediately, but soon after it's swallowed, curbs the biting hops. Certainly for a hophead, so if you're not one you should at least try it, though it may not be your bag. The aftertaste is wonderful, lingering hops and citrus left on the tongue with some yeastiness.

Mouthfeel: Not silky but certainly creamy, a moderately thicker body than I expected. Moderate carbonation. Certainly extremely well done.

Drinkability: Wow, I think I'm going to have to snag a 6-pack to cellar for sure. I had this last year when I didn't know as much about beer, and still enjoyed it then. But now I'm liking it even more. I could see this doing well after just a year, though it's great now. I'd also like to pair it with some food and see what happens. All in all this is a great brew, and it certainly should be tried; it's a celebration after all, I suppose.

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Photo of Terp96
4.02/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Always one of my favorites but was knocked down a notch this year. Pours a deep clear amber with a half inch thick off-white head. Very aromatic. Hints of citrus and pine. Good head retention throughout. Nice hop flavor but not as expected. The aroma did not follow through as strongly in the taste. Definitely a strong hop presence with a complimenting malt flavor but there was an almost pungent finish. Very drinkable. I had three because I couldn't quite figure it out. Not SN's best year.

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Photo of doubleipa
4.35/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer has a nice hoppy aroma with pine and orange. Definitely smells like a SN. The haed was average with a white, rocky head. There was virtually no lacing and the head disappeared. Th body was clear with a nice color. There was moderate hop bitrterness initially that became stronger. The finish was long. It has a medium dry mouthfeel with a good bit of carbonation. There was a nice and surpirsing resin finish. I wish they brewed this one all year.

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Photo of numenor1
4.3/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a pale, quite clear amber with a half inch, stick head. Reduces to a nice collar. Smells up front of citrusy hops with a definite caramel, bready malt backbone. Sweet caramel upfront gives way to huge fresh juicy hop oils. Not as citrusy as the nose led me to believe, but equally earthy and spicy. Pith emerges through a very toasty, smooth finish laden with spicy hops. Also there's a definite, intriguing hint of of rosemary... Very nice hop character coupled with a tremendous malt backbone. Almost no brash, harsh bitterness, instead it seems restrained and subtle. Mouthfeel is beautiful, medium with creamy carbonation. Perhaps it could be a tad fuller. Sessionable. Didn't lay hop waste to my palate and leave it in ruin as many IPA's tend to. Definitely one of the better IPA's.

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

Finally I got my hands on some of this elixir. It was worth the wait. The only unfortunate drawback was in its appearance, very pale, not what I had expected. Weak color, almost like a halfhearted attempt at a Pale. Reeks of hops and apricot. The hops blow you away. Not entirely sure what the IBU's are on this one, but they are way up there.

I've been going through this sixer I acquired pretty easily. Thumbs up on the drinkability end.

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

I was shocked and shall we say pleasantly surprised to find this--one of my favorite brews--at the local Bello Vino today. Had to pick it up, despite the early season.

Celebration Ale pours a nice amber/light red color with a good sized tannish head. There is plenty of bubble activity throughout the glass. Good lacing too. A very good looking pour.

Smells malty and hoppy right off the bat. A good presence of spice follows with a slight floral/pine aroma. A very nice and full sniff.

The taste is beutifully light malt with an equal hop kick. Fruit and spices are there as well, rounding out an awesome flavor. SNCA is well carbonated and full in the mouth as well.

Overall, this is an excellent beer. Malt and hops are equal in their presence. A nice kick is also there--probably due to the relatively high alcohol content. Great session brew for any cold late fall or winter night. Time to Celebrate beer!!!

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Photo of battlekow
4.21/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is the 2005 version, just released. Pours a reddish-amber with a good off-white head that fades to leave the typical IPA skim. Smells sweetly malty with a substantial infusion of floral and spicy hops. My eye watered a bit when I got my face right in the glass and took a whiff. Flavor has a very malty backbone with hop highlights, a toasty finish, and lingering oily bittering from the hops. The toastiness reminds me of HopDevil. Celebration is a very solid and balanced IPA.

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

This is 2005's rendition.

Light amber in color.

Smells hoppy, spicey, cinammony, malty.

Tastes bitter. Very bitter. This one could use some time in the cellar, I think. Only because the bitterness of the hops dominates the taste buds while the spices and malt I smelled don't make it through.

Nice beer overall, though.

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Photo of poluti
4.08/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours amberish-orange with a nice head. Nose was pretty hoppy- cascade was present (typical of Sierra Nevada). Initial taste was a hybrid between herbal and spicy. I didn't get a good taste of the malt bill because the hops took over the flavor quickly. The mouthfeel is spicy and a little bitter. It is not overpowering but definitely had a kick on the back of the palate. I would recommend this to someone who is a fan of west coast hopping and is a must if the person is a fan of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.

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Photo of Dewey0603
4.38/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A real reddish amber color with a tan two finger head.A very hop filled aroma with hints of spices and a bit malty.This is a great tasting beer.Like the smell,this is very hoppy,then you taste some holiday spices,then you finish with some maltyness.This has a nice medium feel,not too heavy or light.As far as drinkability goes,there aren't too many beers better than this,if you see it ,buy it.

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

If you like Sierra Nevada's pale ale, but are curious what it would be like if it was taken-up-a-notch, this should be on your "must try" list.

A beautiful deep amber color with frothy head that leaves plentiful lacing around the glass.

Taste those trademark S.N. cascade hops. Mmm... A good medium bitterness. Like I said - a bit stronger and more bitter than the pale ale.

The carbonation is just right - no stinging-tongue sensation. Just smooth, pleasurable drinking the whole time.

If you're looking for a great, hop-filled beer, here you go. I'd place Celebration ale right inbetween Sierra Nevada's Pale Ale & Harvest Ale in terms of intensity/bitterness. It's a good step up from the P.A., but not powerful enough to turn off the casual drinker.

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Photo of czechsaaz
4.45/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

My first bottle of '05 edition

Lots of floral hop aroma. A tinge of the citrussy/grassy American hop types but definitely more floral and herbal than standard SNPA (Pretty much how I remember most years' Celebration.) A little bit of malty honey aroma gets through but it's mostly hops. Hop aroma is fresh and clean.

Nice orange color, good clarity, think white lasting head that leaves nice lacing.

Hint of malt on the front of the tongue, mostly 2-row and a generous amount of crystal. But very quickly hops take over. Pretty high bitterness. There's also a nice spicy hop flavor (almost peppery) and some citrussy hops too. Not grassy at all. There's a nice wash of malt in the mid palate too.

Medium bodied, fairly high carbonation level, creamy.

Still a classic. SNPA with a little more oomph.

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

Bought a sixer of this about two to three weeks ago. It obviously has already aged somewhere around a year depending on the date that it was bottled, as I am holding a bottle that boasts "2004 Celebration Ale." It pours to be an orangish amber color, the beer is more of an opaque color, and does not allow light to pass through it, rather it sucks it in and traps it. The head to begin with was a nice size. It has fairly decent head retention, although after agitated the head quickly returns to little more than a film on the top of the beer.

The aroma of this beer contains both a malty and hoppy smell. To my nose the maltier smell is dominant over the hoppy smell. Actually when I come to think on it the two smells are pretty well balanced. First I smell a sweeter, maltier smell which seems to be the only aroma this beer has to offer. (this is why I assumed it was predominant) However the aroma finishes with a hoppy bitter smell.

The 2004 celebration ale is very very good. I really like this IPA. When it hits the lips you taste a hoppy beer with a semi sweet but still hoppy aftertaste. The beer has a great balance, the frist thing I taste is the hoppy taste on the back of my tounge followed by more bitterness in the after taste. On first inspection this was all I noticed, however there is a sweet malt taste that hits the front of the tounge at the same time as the hoppy after taste. It isn't quite as strong, and that's why I missed it during the first few sips. In my opinion this is a great balance for an IPA. Plenty of hoppiness with a bit a malt flavor.

In the mouth Celebration Ale is fantastic. It is a full bodied beer as suggestied by it's murky, opaque color. It also has a nice level of carbonation, and is not percieved as under or over carbonated.

For drinkability I have to say only this, I will definitely buy more of this celebration ale, perhaps some of this year's batch, or maybe next year's doesn't really matter when, but I will definitely be buying more of this in the future.

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Photo of DogFood11
4.67/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2005 version. Poured into a miniature tulip it forms a loose white head that has nice reteintion and leaves sliding lace. Copper body.

Hops are up front. Its the spices that steal the show in the taste though. Cinnimon, all spice, coriander and then the hops smack ya back to reality. Malt presence is ideal, a perfect dance partner that doesn't step on your feet.

Notes: At this household celebration is a masterpiece and requires owner permission for gobblage. I usually stock up a few cases and drink it over a year. It changes over the year and I find that after a year its starting to fall out of favor. Drink it fresh and stagger it for a vertical for fun.

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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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