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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 Rantingfury
4.82/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I poured this wonderful beer from the bottle in a conical shaped glass. It has a nice creme colored head about two fingers thick that slowly fades back. The lacing is nice and really sticks to the glass. The color of the beer itself is a nice amber that borderlines on almost copper.The aroma is heavenly to a hop head and well balanced. The hops' citrus, pine, and spice notes tickled the nose then faded to the caramel of the malt. The aroma balance is spot on. The flavor starts off tart from the spices and hops and goes to the sweetness of the malt. The after taste is a bit on the pine side. The mouth feel is medium, it clings to the palate much like the lacing of the head does to the glass.

Over all this a very drinkable winter beer. It successfully blends an IPA with a spiced malt beer. I look forward to next year's batch.

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

This is one of those beers that you wish was brewed year round. I always make sure I stock up on Celebration when it arrives each winter. Celebration has a very pleasing nose that reminds me of most holiday brews - a buffet of unique spices, fruits, and hops. The appearance is a deep amber hue with a remarkable light brown head. At first sip your tastebuds jump for joy as the complex, but smooth, structure falls down the back of your tongue. A perfect combination of hops and malt. This is one of Sierra Nevada's jewels and should be enjoyed all winter long.

The King recommends drinking this beer with a slice of Mom's home-made rhubarb pie.

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Photo of Morbo
4.41/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A somewhat aggressive pour yields a frothy two finger off white head atop a beautiful crystal clear coppery-orange body. There is so much lacing you could count my sips, like growth rings on a tree.

And a mighty tree it is, the nose exudes resinous pine. In the background there is some citrus, mostly grapefruit but I'm getting sweet and juicy tangerine as well.

There is a hint of sweet caramel on the tip of the tongue and then the hops takeover. Grapefruit dominates with pine playing second fiddle, basically the reverse of the nose. Finishes moderately bitter with some spiciness and floral accents.

Medium in body and carbonation with a nice creamy mouthfeel and long oily finish.

This one is very hoppy, but not abrasively so. There is just enough caramel maltiness to keep the bitterness in check. For a hoppy IPA coming in at almost 7% abv this is extremely sessionable, I could drink it all night. For me this years Celebration Ale belongs to the highest tier of IPAs, its release makes Chicago winter a bit more tolerable.

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Photo of n0rc41
3.93/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Serving type= bottle into a pint glass+ straight from bottle

Appearance= Great with great head of milky brown color (what I look for myself, good head and good lacy finish lol)

Smell= good smell, pine tree christmas-y smell def a holiday beer smell to it.

taste= good taste, piney tree christmas taste of pine and tree if you could imagine. good bitter taste with strong hops flavor. great taste in my book.

Mouthfeel= good mouth feel. not for the weak. this is a strong and powerful beer. I like it alot. but its for someone who loves GOOD beer in my book and understands what goes into making a beer. this has astrong pine tree almost taste and pale ale taste at the end. very good I think. "b" in my book

drinkablity= dont know how to judge it being I have had 7-8 already. for someone who cant handle deep harty beers dont waste your time on a 12 pack, try a 6r for starters, for the MEN who know what they like "A-" great beer!!!!

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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 calicaliente
4.4/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Aroma of grapefruit, earthy hops, pine, sweet malt. Appears a deep copper with hints of ruby; small off-white head that lasts; notable effervescence of tiny bubbles. Flavor is pine bitter but quickly gives way to chewy toffee malt, and finishes with a noticeable pine-resin astringency. Palate is medium and chewy up front but is dominated by astringency at the finish.

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Photo of Hop-o-saurus
3.8/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

This is a really good seasonal beer, probably the best IPA session beer for the cold.

The color is nothing less than what you would expect, it looks like regular Sierra Nevada Pale ale but I feel like Celebration doesn't poor with such a good head.

Malty more than citrusy

Really good for what it is, not an everyday beer.

Lacking fullness, would be better with a slightly more velvety mouthfeel to match the unique malt flavors.


I have and will continue to buy this beer when the mood is right. I give it a 3.5/5.

Give it a try; Cheers!

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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 foxmul924
4.32/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: A cloudy golden-orange color, excellent head retention and lacing on glass.

Smell: Floral and Citrucy--a direct result of the Cascades, Centennials and Chinooks. A bit of a Bready/yeasty characteristic as well.

Taste: Bready/Yeasty with an underlying sweetness from carmel malts, which is quickly suppressed by a burst of flowers and citrus acidity as it flows over the tongue.

Mouthfeel: Full-Bodied. A bit of a yeasty slur which is soon followed by lingering citrus notes. Somewhat of a thick buildup of residue on tongue that entices the drinker to wash it down with another sip (a proverbial Catch-22, indeed!)

Drinkability: Delicious, to be sure--but I might only care for two at most at any given time.

Other: Yet another find product from Sierra Nevada with a little more kick than their traditional Pale Ale. Looking for an American style IPA??? Look no further.

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

Poured into a standard pub glass, temp is 58 F.

Color is like a burnt sienna. Cloudy appearance, and with a shift to the better light I notice suspended what-nots floating consistently throughout. Very small, like the head of a pin and translucent.
Nice head forms, and it dissipates to a 1/4 inch shortly, but after that it is around for the duration. Good lacing.

Taste is slightly hoppy, also a little burning aftertaste of alcohol...very faint though. Has an aftertaste but it is not unpleasant or overpowering.

Overall drinkability is good. I have always had a good opinion of Sierra Nevada, for 12-13 yrs. I think this stuff is another solid offering.

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Photo of mayor55
3.07/5  rDev -26%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Copper color with patchy head. Pungent odor. Decent taste with unpleasant, metallic aftertaste. It has a strange head. definetly a winter beer, why? I don't know. I would definetly categorize it as an IPA. Very hoppy nose. not my favorite from Sierra Nevada.

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Photo of Colt4540
4.41/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Is a deep read that has a gold tint when held to the light. Poured into a pint glass, had a two finger peach head that leaves a one finger throughout the beer and leaves really good lacing.

S- HOPS. Alot of hops and a little bit of sweet maltiness.

T- It's wonderful. A Hoppy bitterness that finishes clean. Just enough hops to give it a good flavor and a good sticky bitterness taste.

M- BAM! It's crisp clean and bitter and goes down smooth.

D- Could easily drink a six pack. The only thing holding you back from drinking more is the high ABV.

Note- This beer even froze solid in the back of my truck and still tasted like a bitter sweet candy.

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Photo of Dirty1
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I bought a six pack of this last night and poured one into a pint glass. I was pretty stoked to try this after hearing it talked about whith alot of love. This was the 2008 Celebration.

A- Poured an orange copper color with a really nice 2 finger cream head that lasted about half the glass. It had a nice cloud of sediment that kind of floated in the middle untill it finally settled to the bottom. Nice haevy lace rings to the bottom.

S- First smell is of fresh hops. Nice citrus smell of grapefruits with a floral piney smell. I could also detect some malt and a light grassy note.

T- Very citrus with alot of grapefruit and lemons. It also had heavy floral pine note with hints of toasted malts and white pepper. Not much alcohol bite as expected, but a very balanced flavor with a slight bitter after taste. Over all impression was of fresh hops.

M- It had a very nice rich mouthfeel that worked well with the amount of carbonation it had.

D- I loved it! I could drink several of these at one session. I have heard the 2008 is less hoppy than the past years and if thats the case I would love to find a 2007! I will definatly seek this out a season long. Its a nice alternative to the winter spiced beers. Cheers!

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Photo of Chapter40z
3.98/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A. Light amber color, completely translucent. Poured 2 solid fingers of off white head into a tumbler. Extremely appealing to the eye.

S. Some sweet citrus hops, Slight bitterness on the nose.

T. HOPS! and Christmas. All joking aside this is a great example of the American IPA. Definitely a hops-head beer but a solid beer all around.

M. Mid-full body on this on. Mild carbonation with a smooth lingering bitterness.

D. I'm not exactly a hops head and I still liked this beer. Strong representation of the style. After this beer ill have to try more IPA's in the future.

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Photo of BottleOfPills
3.65/5  rDev -12%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a bottle into a I guess a standard pint glass. It was a cold bottle, produced a small head that quickly dissipated. Dark coppery in color.

Smells citrusy, smells pretty good in my opinion. Maybe I can smell the pine like others below, but isn't pine kind of a citrus smelling scent??

Taste - I'm not typically a season type of beer person. Most beers I taste it seems like we're throwing all kinds of seasonal spices in the mix just because we can. Yes there are some that stand out for me and Seirra Nevada's Celebration Ale is going to be one in the future. It's pretty damn good. I like the grapefruit flavors that take over at the end. The malt is there and some hops of course like any IPA, just not over powering like some I taste. Then you throw in just the right amount of seasonal spices.. This is pretty damned good.

Mouthfeel is like all my other reviews if I like that crisp carbonation I give it a high score, and this beer is definitely crispy and plenty of carbonation if that's your thing.

Overall this is a pretty damned good beer - least that's my opinion - I would say it's easy drinking and heck would be a session beer for some of my friends. I hate to knock it because of the looks and smells but otherwise I like it.

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

Poured out of a refrigerated bottle into a pint glass.

Caramel brown clear color with white thick fluffy head over an inch thick.

Crisp, floral aromas with a hint of spice, perhaps nutmeg.

Bright, acidic crispness with spiced flavors.

Light mouthfeel contributes to a refreshing and enjoyable drinkability. Ready for another.

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Photo of viaingo
4.1/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Type: American IPA
Color:Amber red hue
Body: Lightly carbonated,
Head: Short white head. Did not last but was delicious!
Taste: Malty with hops. Bitterness was not over the top. Citricy.
Aroma: Citricy, hoppy, pines.

Overall this is a great variation of a classic IPA. The bitterness does not put you on your ass and the finish is very crisp and smooth. This is definitely a beer that is drinkable all night.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!


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Photo of I3eck
4.75/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Bottle -> Wine Glass

A: Dark tea-colored with a sweet red hue, 3/4" light beige head that hangs around for a long time, suspended sediment, nice thick lacing that still coats the glass long after the beer is gone.
S: Citrus and pine hops, slight dried fruit and floral notes, and more hops.
T: Surprisingly malty up front, caramel, grapefruit, citrus hops with a nice long lingering finish. This thing is solid.
M: Great CO2, medium-full bodied, nice warming effect at the finish.
O: This is one of my favorite beers. This has everything I would hope for in a beer: balance, complexity, presentation, and of course plenty of hops. Well done Sierra Nevada.

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

2001 Cellared

Appearance: Amber in color witha slight hazyness, nise full head that did not fade.

Smell: mmm. hops some spices. hops did i say hops. cellared it and still mmm hops

Taste: full body mmm hops.

Drinkability: Could drink alot if i had it. but in short supply

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Photo of redwolf1
4.12/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a 12 ounce bottle of Sierra Nevada's 2005 edition of Celebration Ale. A very nice golden amber color with a rather huge frothy head that stuck around awhile. Very good lacing along the edge of the glass. A strong, but not overpowering, hoppy aroma that somehow started out a little fruity and then mellowed. The aroma itself literally made me salivate. The amount of hops in this beer explodes in the mouth (really meant for those who love their hops). A nice crisp finish to the beer, in spite of the level of hops present. A very drinkable beer in itself, but I'm not sure if I would have more than one in a sitting. The amount of hops used may mask the flavors and aromas of other beers one would want to enjoy afterwards.

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Photo of djwilson
4.27/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2008 celebration ale.
Poured from a 12 oz bottle into an hour glass shaped beer glass.

Pours a nice dull orange copper color with tiny bubbles rising to a thick foamy head that lasts, slowly disappearing to a thin layer sticking to the sides of the glass. When sipped leaves a nice lacing behind.

Smell is heavy on the hops with a sweet toasted malt aroma in the background, maybe a little caramel.

taste is what I expected since it's one of my favorite seasonal beers. Light toasted malt on the tip of the tounge, with a nice hop bite hitting in the back of the mouth and throat. Slight alcohol finish also.

Full bodied beer, like a maltier IPA. Very smooth.

Drinkability I would have to say is pretty darn good. Can drink plenty of these on cold Cleveland winter nights.

Will be comparing soon side by side with the 2007.

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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 Pedro07
4.45/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12 Oz. bottle poured into a pint glass.

A- Wonderful rusty, amber color with an amazing 1 inch rocky white head. Beer is rather clear with a little haze.

S- I get some fruity-ish citrus notes, but I get a TON of delicious earthy, grassy, piney goodness. It really is quite pleasing, I think aside from Bell's and Founder's IPA/DIPA offerings, this one is one of my close seconds!!

T- Very well balanced, mightly delicious. I just want more, the taste is fantastic. Hops roll across my tounge in grassy orange rhind and pine-cone beer-waterfalls. Mmmmm, next sip....:)

M- Quite smooth, and you can really tell there is a body to this one. It feels like it has substance and I like that!

D- Oh my, DANGEROUS...in all the good ways.

This one has been a seasonal favorite of mine for a while, and if you have not had it, GET SOME.

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Photo of positiverpr
4.12/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a: copper-orange, nearly brilliant. 2" off-white head with large bubbles that faded to a 1/4" mottled raft. decent lacing. lower than average carbonation.

a:hop complexity with initial grapefuit/grassy mixed with fruit-loop(centennnial) later more spicey-pine. malt only present after significant warming.

t:bitterness is up-front and dominates. malt is present is searched for but is overpowered. later, the base grain pokes its head out mid-taste and is quickly gone along with the wisp of crystal malt presence. no alchol note. bitterness is lingering

m:fairly low carbonation. medium fullness but sort of dull mouthfeel with rapidly appearing bitterness induced dryness that stays. mild hop residue but my mouth remained parched throughout.

o:the bitterness decreases drinkability. not your typical holiday beer. hop aroma, flavor and malt impression are too far buried for me. i enjoyed this beer but i wasnt craving the next taste. i would appreciate a more delicate bittering hop or either more balance.

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Photo of wesl56
5/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2009 celebration ale

a- some sediment in the bottom of the bottle, so gave it a light swirl, pours really foamy with bubbles rising to form a large head, settling to a reddish dark amber with tiny particles present... heavy lacing all the way down

s- floral and citrusy, with a hint of spices and malts

t- strong floral hops, tastes like an ipa but has a very smooth, almost perfectly balanced finish

m- very pleasant, perfect amount of carbonation and after-taste

d- a moderately heavy slow sipping beer, excellent for cool weather

overall - i love this beer, since i first tried it last season, it has been one of my top five not just seasonal, but all time beers... its like an IPA at first but with a excellent balance, lots of hops there, but they dont overwhelm... like i said this is a perfect sippin beer for a cool evening, just relaxing around the holidays... i plan to pair this with a steak later, which i expect will go very well

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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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