Sunday, January 17, 2010

Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale



Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale

Brewed by:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Chico, California,

American IPA
6.80% ABV


 




Commercial Description:
Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale represents a time honored tradition of brewing a special beer for the holiday season. There are generous portions of barley malts and fine whole hops of several varieties, creating a brew with a full, rich and hearty character.
(RateBeer.com)

General Pricing:
12oz bottles: ~$8.00 6 pack, ~$15 12 pack
24oz bottle ~$3.30

Background:

I have had this many times before. It was a staple around the holidays last year. Although this years brew is a little different. It is much more hoppy then last year but I need to put it through a formal review and see how it holds up.

Review:
The beer pours a clear amber with ruby hues and an off white head. this is also highly carbonated with a lot of tiny bubbles rising up from the bottom of the glass.

Nice nose; sweet caramel malts, nice hop aroma and there is also a hint of some spice. This is a very inviting nose, can’t wait to dive into it.

Up front I have to tell you this is different then I expected and what I have already had earlier this season. It could be that this beer matured a little in the bottle.

Caramel malts upfront then a building hop bitterness along with effervescence at mid-sip. There is a strong but different hop bitterness on the back end still yet another hop taste on the finish. The lingering aftertaste is a hop bitterness along with a slight malty background. There is also some spiciness to this beer also but it is pretty well masked by the hop bitterness.

Make no mistake this is an American IPA. Personally I think this would be a lot better if it was a little more balanced but then again I’m not a hop head.

That brings me to a point I started to make after the first sip. Although this was still hoppy last year it had more of a malt balance. Because of the malts it let more of those Christmas spices come through. This years brew isn’t much more then an IPA. That is until I tasted this bottle. This 24oz bomber does not seem as hoppy as the 12oz bottles or the drafts of this beer that I’ve had this season. It gave me the idea to get one of these bombers and age it for next year.

I really don’t know why this beer taste better to me then the previous versions. I can only assume it may have matured a little in the bottle. Wait until next year when I open a 2009.

This beer warmed well. The last few sips were at room temperature. The hops were more subdued and the malts where more pronounced. The last few warm sips of this beer were my favorites.


Now for the difficult part of this review, the rating. It’s a good IPA. I don’t particularly like IPA’s so it’s difficult to give this a really high mark. This is a B. By comparison I would have to give last years a B+ or even an A-. This is a good beer that I think could use a little more malt balance.

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