Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale

One bourbon, one scotch, one beer! Talk about brews you've liked or disliked here.

Moderators: Brewer, brendaj

Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale

Unread postby Brewer » Sat Dec 04, 2004 7:26 pm

Here in NY there seems to be a very tight supply of this years Celebration Ale. I'm wondering if those of you in other parts of the US have experienced the same supply problems. One thing I know, its a damn good beer, and lots of folks eagerly anticipate its arrival to their local store's shelves. This years variety has a VERY fruity grapefruit flavor to it that I'm finding VERY tasty. I would imagine that they have used some different strain of yeast &/or hops to result in this flavor. :D
Bob
User avatar
Brewer
Moderator
Moderator
 
Posts: 1481
Joined: Sun Oct 10, 2004 11:44 am
Location: LI, NY

Unread postby Mark » Sat Dec 04, 2004 7:42 pm

Bob brought some of this beer over last weekend and man, was it good! I also tasted the grapefruit along with a perfect amount of bitterness. Bob is getting me to appreciate hoppy beers now. I put this one up there with Blue Points Hoptical Illusion because of the grapefruit...
-=_Mark_=-
User avatar
Mark
Site Administrator
Site Administrator
 
Posts: 2269
Joined: Fri Sep 10, 2004 9:11 pm
Location: SI, NY

Re: Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale

Unread postby Oregone » Tue Dec 07, 2004 1:29 pm

Brewer wrote:Here in NY there seems to be a very tight supply of this years Celebration Ale. I'm wondering if those of you in other parts of the US have experienced the same supply problems. One thing I know, its a damn good beer, and lots of folks eagerly anticipate its arrival to their local store's shelves. This years variety has a VERY fruity grapefruit flavor to it that I'm finding VERY tasty. I would imagine that they have used some different strain of yeast &/or hops to result in this flavor. :D


We've got so much of it here in Portland that there are huge stacks at pretty much every grocery. No, seriously. Usually pick it up for $5.99 on sale.

Sierra Nevada is *never* going to change yeast strains for their ales. Never. You can take that to the bank. It's been working for them for years, and they know down to the atom how much they need to pitch for bottle-conditioning.

"Grapefruit" is essentially a product of their hops, especially "C" hops like Cascade, Chinook, etc. Very typical for the variety and more pronounced with a higher hopping rate.

I think this is a pretty good year for SNCA but not at all out of character. I've been sampling it for what must be 15+ years now and have even brewed very successful clones. Old-timers tend to complain that the beer isn't as malty or as hoppy or as strong or ??? as it used to be, but I don't believe they've changed much over the years. Variation is likely a product of variation in the year's hop supply, more than anything else. They may tinker with the proportions of the hops, as well, but nothing major.
User avatar
Oregone
Registered User
 
Posts: 112
Joined: Tue Oct 19, 2004 4:07 pm
Location: Portland, Oregon

Re: Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale

Unread postby Brewer » Wed Dec 08, 2004 10:29 am

Oregone wrote:We've got so much of it here in Portland that there are huge stacks at pretty much every grocery. No, seriously. Usually pick it up for $5.99 on sale.

"Grapefruit" is essentially a product of their hops, especially "C" hops like Cascade, Chinook, etc. Very typical for the variety and more pronounced with a higher hopping rate.

I think this is a pretty good year for SNCA but not at all out of character. I've been sampling it for what must be 15+ years now and have even brewed very successful clones.


Oregone,

Thanks for the info. I'm jealous that we don't have the supplies that you do, but I'm happy for what I've got. I too have enjoyed the Celebration Ale over the years, and usually I've noted a predominant hop flavor and aroma. As I've previously noted, this years grapefruit flavor is the big flavor that I notice, with a bit of hops.

Could you give me a tip on your clones that you've brewed?
Bob
User avatar
Brewer
Moderator
Moderator
 
Posts: 1481
Joined: Sun Oct 10, 2004 11:44 am
Location: LI, NY

Re: Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale

Unread postby Oregone » Wed Dec 08, 2004 12:20 pm

Brewer wrote:

Thanks for the info. I'm jealous that we don't have the supplies that you do, but I'm happy for what I've got. I too have enjoyed the Celebration Ale over the years, and usually I've noted a predominant hop flavor and aroma. As I've previously noted, this years grapefruit flavor is the big flavor that I notice, with a bit of hops.


Well, like I said, the grapefruit (which I get in all Sierra Nevada beers) is a product of those hops, so they're not really separate from one another. But, yeah, grapefruit and spice, I'd say.

Brewer wrote:Could you give me a tip on your clones that you've brewed?


I'll see if I can dig out the original, which was published years ago in American Brewer magazine. It was provided to the publication by one of the SN head brewers, so it's much closer than the average "clone." I actually improved it (IMO) by using British pale and caramel malts instead of American. Darker, maltier and seriously delicious. I always dry-hopped in the keg and the beer just got better and better for several weeks until the whole 10 gallons was gone. Never did find out if it would change much over months, because it never lasted that long.
User avatar
Oregone
Registered User
 
Posts: 112
Joined: Tue Oct 19, 2004 4:07 pm
Location: Portland, Oregon

Re: Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale

Unread postby Brewer » Wed Dec 08, 2004 2:09 pm

Oregone wrote: the grapefruit (which I get in all Sierra Nevada beers) is a product of those hops.

I actually improved it (IMO) by using British pale and caramel malts instead of American. Darker, maltier and seriously delicious. I always dry-hopped in the keg and the beer just got better and better for several weeks until the whole 10 gallons was gone. Never did find out if it would change much over months, because it never lasted that long.


So you get grapefruit flavor from their standard Pale Ale as well? I never picked up on that myself, prior to this years Celebration.

The recipe as you describe it sounds great! No wonder you couldn't compare it over time. :D
Bob
User avatar
Brewer
Moderator
Moderator
 
Posts: 1481
Joined: Sun Oct 10, 2004 11:44 am
Location: LI, NY

Re: Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale

Unread postby Oregone » Wed Dec 08, 2004 3:41 pm

Brewer wrote:
So you get grapefruit flavor from their standard Pale Ale as well? I never picked up on that myself, prior to this years Celebration.

The recipe as you describe it sounds great! No wonder you couldn't compare it over time. :D


We get a lot of very Cascade-y beers out here and some of them are really grapefruit-y. I think SNPA was more assertive (and more citrus) in the past, but honestly, I haven't had one for awhile.

I've also noticed that my sensitivity to various flavors and compounds varies from day to day, probably as a result of whatever I've been eating (or smoking -- them seegars will knock the tastebuds down). I sent a pitcher back years ago before realizing I'd just finished eating a serious Korean dinner and everything was going to taste of garlic for a couple of days!

:oops:
User avatar
Oregone
Registered User
 
Posts: 112
Joined: Tue Oct 19, 2004 4:07 pm
Location: Portland, Oregon

Unread postby Mike » Thu Sep 15, 2005 2:53 pm

Well, I am asitting here drinking a flavorful Sierre Nevada Celebration Ale and enjoying it and myself hugely. To use the old 'Desert Island' analogy, if I were stranded and could only have one kind of beer.............it just might be SNCA. Not that I don't enjoy plenty of others, but Celebration Ale has so much character it would be like taking along a friend. Just like Tom Hanks took to talking to 'Wilson' the soccer ball in 'Castaway', I would soon be talking to my friend 'Celeb' on that 'Desert Island'.

I now have 4 left in my cubbard from the 2004 vintage. I don't note any skunkiness, I guess the 6.8% alcohol and the amount of hops in this beer would extend the shelf life to a year or two or even more (that is in the nature of a question for those who might know).

I must say I never really picked out the grapefruit taste until it was noted in this topic, but now SNCA will never taste the same again.

Today I am having it after having a 'southern' meal of fried chicken and vegetables. It doesn't seem to be in conflict with that meal. But, I really have found SMCA to go particularly well with sausage........any kind of sausage. In the past, I have had it mostly with Bratwurst.

I am slap dab full from lunch but I bet I could get a Brat down with this SNCA!!!!!

Anybody know if the 2005 vintage is due?

Happy Hopping!!
Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rage at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light. - Dylan Thomas
Mike
Registered User
 
Posts: 2106
Joined: Tue Feb 15, 2005 5:36 pm
Location: Conyers, GA

Unread postby Brewer » Thu Sep 15, 2005 5:36 pm

Mike,

As long as the beer is protected from light (kinda like Dracula), I've never had beer go bad on me. Brown glass protects the most, then green & lastly clear glass. I've stored some beers for 10 years, and they're still good. As you speculated, higher alcohol beers age well and highly hopped beers shouldhave no problem aging, as hops are a preservative. In fact IPA's began the trend. When British sailing ships would leave port for long sailing journies to their colonies which included India, they realized that something was needed to keep the beer from going bad...so, they added lots of hops to their pale ales, and the beer would not spoil during the voyage.

I've also been able to keep homebrewed beer for extended time in my beer cellar. They're bottled in brown bottles, I put 'em in case boxes, they aren't disturbed by sunlight. As Mark can attest, they're still good & sometimes the aging just makes them better. :beer: :cheers:
Bob
User avatar
Brewer
Moderator
Moderator
 
Posts: 1481
Joined: Sun Oct 10, 2004 11:44 am
Location: LI, NY

Unread postby Brewer » Wed Nov 09, 2005 7:40 pm

OK beer lovers...the 2005 Celebration Ale was seen by yours truly today in one of my beer stores. Grabbed a sixer, and I figure I'll have to save up my non-bourbon change for a near future case purchase. It's as good as ever! It has become a rite of late fall, early winter like so many other things that we associate with this time of year...the much anticipated arrival of CA! Life is good.
Bob
User avatar
Brewer
Moderator
Moderator
 
Posts: 1481
Joined: Sun Oct 10, 2004 11:44 am
Location: LI, NY

Unread postby Mark » Wed Nov 09, 2005 9:01 pm

Just spoke to Bob on the phone and he told me about this years Celebration Ale... Sounds just as good as always, can't wait to get together with him to taste this years release. Mmm Mmm.

Its nice to know that Sierra Nevada always gets this release just right each and every year. Bob has been drinking it much longer than I, he said maybe 10 years or longer, and each year has been spectacular.

I bought a sampler pack yesterday from Michelob. (They release it every year around this time and it comes with 2 glasses that also change design every year.) This year it contined regular ol' Michelob no big deal, their honey lager which I think is very good, Amber Bach (spelling) which is also a great dark beer from them, and 3 others not normally found which included a Michelob Pale Ale that is dry hopped, a Marzen from Michelob and lastly a Pumpkil Spice Ale which I have to say was one of the best pumpkin ales I have had to date! Yeah, strange that Michelob did a very good pumpkin ale, better than brooklyn brewery's :o ! I've yet to try the others but I'll let ya know what I think later on, if they turn out to be different and good. :cheers:
-=_Mark_=-
User avatar
Mark
Site Administrator
Site Administrator
 
Posts: 2269
Joined: Fri Sep 10, 2004 9:11 pm
Location: SI, NY

Unread postby gillmang » Wed Nov 09, 2005 9:43 pm

Sounds like an excellent sampler, Mark.

In fresh condition, Michelob (the regular beer) is very good and certainly (by my lights) a classic. It has a distinctive, "eggy" taste. It needs however to be very fresh with almost a "fluffy" character, if you know what I mean, e.g., dated to say 3 weeks (no longer) before consumption date. I had some when in Bardstown for KBF that was less than 3 weeks from bottling date and it was superb, as good (in its way) as the best micro beers I know, in fact. It would be better if the spec was all-malt (as it was when the beer was first released in 1896 as a draft-only) but it is still very good - but you have to get it in absolutely top form. Just curious, but what is the date on the bottle neck of the regular Michelob in your pack?

Gary
User avatar
gillmang
Vatman
 
Posts: 2140
Joined: Mon Jan 24, 2005 4:44 pm

Unread postby Mark » Wed Nov 09, 2005 9:57 pm

I'll have to check in the basement later and update this post Gary but I remember that the born on date on the pumpkin bottle was Sept 15th so I'd guess sometime around then perhaps. Ok, just checked and on the Michelob the BOD is September 9th, 2005.

I'll have to now look for very very recent brewed bottles Gary and buy one to try. While I think for one of the 'giants' Michelob is ok, it still jsut doesnt do much for me in the way of a regular ol' beer. Like compared to what I had today (now don't kill me Bob!) Bud almost has a bit more flavor. It jsut seemed too light and crisp to me. Definitely not fluffy Gary, and I know what ya' mean by that too...
-=_Mark_=-
User avatar
Mark
Site Administrator
Site Administrator
 
Posts: 2269
Joined: Fri Sep 10, 2004 9:11 pm
Location: SI, NY

Unread postby gillmang » Thu Nov 10, 2005 12:54 pm

Well, two months old is certainly fresh beer but not the most fresh. If you had it two - three weeks old you would see how much better it is. This is not as important with a beer that is well-hopped, or spiced, or uses dark malts, but the regular Michelob is a delicate beer that needs to be drunk very fresh to see its merits. I wish though it was all-malt, as it was when first issued in 1896. The company changed the spec in around 1962, which is too bad. The underlying Michelob flavour is very good, and replacing the rice adjunct with barley malt and adding more hops (the same blend, just more of them) would produce a sensational beer. It would taste much closer to the Czech Budweiser Budvar, in fact (called Czechvar in North America). In other words, even in its altered, New World form, and even after 100 years, Michelob and Budweiser still have a discernable connection to the Czech beers that inspired their creation - they are essentially lighter versions of the Czech lager original. The current Budvar brewery was set up in the 1890's and American Budweiser predates it but I believe there were similar beers in the Czech lands when Augustus Busch visited there in the 1870's (I think it was) to get ideas how to make great beer for St. Louis.

Best Michelob I ever had was at the Busch brewery in Tampa.

Returning to the thread, Sierra Nevada beers are superb including Celebration Ale, which is available in at least one restaurant here in Toronto.

Gary
User avatar
gillmang
Vatman
 
Posts: 2140
Joined: Mon Jan 24, 2005 4:44 pm

Unread postby Mike » Mon Jan 09, 2006 9:40 am

I have been unable to get any of the 2005 Celebration Ale. A couple of the stores claim they can't get it. They laid in a lot of last year's and still have some so it may be that the demand in Georgia just isn't there.

I don't like this because CA is a great beer.
Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rage at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light. - Dylan Thomas
Mike
Registered User
 
Posts: 2106
Joined: Tue Feb 15, 2005 5:36 pm
Location: Conyers, GA


Return to What Ales You

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot] and 2 guests