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Nov 17, 2013 05:35 PM

Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale 2013

The beer I wait all year for. As usual it is worth waiting for. What I notice this year is that compared to the IPAs I've been drinking the rest of the year that Celebration seems LESS hoppy than other SN IPAs - or better balanced I suppose I should say. Certainly more so than say, Ruthless Rye which I believe was targeted at my hops-crazed segment of the beer market and is super harsh by comparison. Even more than Torpedo which I mostly really like.

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  1. I have found that beers like this one really benefit from six months in the refrigerator, upright, to age a little extra smoothness into them. Thanks for the mention!

    1 Reply
    1. re: Tripeler

      Interesting. I opened a 2012 Celebration a few months back and I can't say I liked it as much as a fresh bottle. The hops were definitely muted, so it was more balanced in that regard, but it was too much for my taste. But I am a hops lover.

    2. ruthless is definitely "harsh", but in a good way for my palate... looking forward to giving celebration a try this year.

      1. I find Celebration to have the best balance of all of SN's beers - although over the years I've had some that were rough on the palate and some that were malty/sweet. Don't know if I would say they are less hoppy than the rest of their amber/brown/reddish IPA's though.

        I thought Ruthless was a disjointed mess of a beer. All aspects seemed to clash for me with no cohesive theme to tie it all together. Compared to Celebration which is a "more than the sum of its parts" beer. Torpedo tips towards the cloyingly sweet side for my palate and hard for me to enjoy more than one.

        Wish they would make a modern hopped blonde IPA without all the crystal malt that they usually use.

        8 Replies
        1. re: LStaff

          As many people including me have said before many times, if they sold Celebration all year a lot of us would happily drink it all year - I prefer it to all the other SN beers and to other IPAs, as far as that goes. On the other hand I enjoy having something to really look forward to at Christmas :).

          1. re: ratgirlagogo

            I agree. SN Celebration is a gem of a beer and it's probably the best IPA out there. Most American IPAs are a harsh, young and green-tasting, unbalanced mess in my opinion (and I've been an IPA lover since the late 1960s).

            I've been enjoying Celebration for more than two decades and find that they have managed to maintain great consistency from year to year (the only slight variations likely due to crop variations from year to year). SN acknowledges that the recipe has not changed

            Celebration is quite good at initial release, but I agree that a few months (or even a year) of cellaring is very beneficial (especially considering that IPA is traditionally a beer with some months of age on it).

            I also agree that it is a very nice treat to look forward to for a few months every year. And it's a terrific surprise to occasionally find a store that has sixpacks from the _previous_ year's release.

            1. re: The Professor

              Awesome, I just bought some Celebration today, bringing it to a tasting on Friday... along with a bunch of wintery belgians...

              1. re: The Professor

                "a few months (or even a year) of cellaring is very beneficial"

                Until a couple of weeks ago I would have disagreed with you. But friends surprised me with two sixpacks of Celebration 2012 that they'd been storing in their basement, and decided they didn't like (!), and having tasted it I get what you mean. Still don't know that I will actually have the discipline to save any 2013......

                1. re: The Professor

                  Have you happened upon Lost Abbey 'Merry Taj', perchance? Sounds like you might groove on it.

                  1. re: The Professor

                    I like Celebration a lot, but there are so many better IPAs out there.

                    1. re: Josh

                      My BIL turned me on to Racer 5 IPA on Sunday, which was really excellent.

                  2. re: ratgirlagogo

                    Agree on all points. I look forward to this every year and I'm never disappointed.

                2. Just poured one... this is good... think a classic S.N. dry pale ale, only with a semi-sweet edge to it...

                  Not as sweet as a big imperial IPA like dreadnaught or maharajah, but not as dry as a SN-pale ale or ruthless rye.... sometimes these middle-brews don't come off well, kind of yucky on the palate, but this is done very well.

                  Wonder why they don't produce this year-round?

                  9 Replies
                  1. re: TombstoneShadow

                    If they produce it year round, you no longer have it to look forward to each year.

                    1. re: Jim Dorsch

                      yes, according to the label it may have something to do with the hop harvest somewhere ?

                      Otherwise it doesn't seem that overly complicated to produce something akin to this year-round

                      1. re: TombstoneShadow

                        If you want a similar beer year-round try Victory Hop Devil if its available in your area. When its fresh its just as good if not better than Celebration imo.

                        1. re: LStaff

                          yes, VHD is awesome, one of the first micro-IPAs to get my attention... maybe the first after SN-PA

                          Interesting comparison to Celebration, I'd call VHD maybe a more extreme version of celebration? A bit more dry on the bitter side, and a bit sweeter on the sweet side ?

                          1. re: LStaff

                            Victory's Hop Devil is a fabulous beer, and certainly worth looking for. IF you like hops.

                            1. re: LStaff

                              Funny you say that. I have always felt Hop Devil is the closest thing to Celebration one can get "off season".

                              1. re: tomjb27

                                To me, Hop Devil and SN Celebration are rather different beers. The malt body, the color and other major traits are different. Of course, they are both hoppy, and I like most all hoppy beers.

                            2. re: TombstoneShadow

                              I believe Torpedo was supposed to be the "something akin to Celebration" that would be available year -round? It's fine enough, but it's no Celebration.

                          2. Just opened my first bottle of SN Celebration 2013 here in Iowa ... I like how balanced it is and yet has a sneaky, subtle spicy finish. Cheers!