Thursday, August 18, 2016

Sierra Nevada Celebration Clone

Every year I buy a slim keg of Sierra Nevada Celebration ale because I realized that I love that beer and normally buy close to that amount in bottles. Why not buy the same quantity and keep it in a closed system? In theory the beer will stay fresher longer than if I were buying it in bottles, but really time is not a factor since I try to consume it quickly. I’m a professional, remember? Due to the fact that I always buy a keg of it I’ve never attempted to clone it. I also generally don’t like cloning beers that I can buy, because what’s the point? However, I can only buy Celebration seasonally, which means if I want to drink it now I can’t. Unless I’m drinking really old bottles. After looking into it I realized I basically only needed two different hops, aside from one addition in the beginning, I just needed Centennial and Cascade. I was low on Cascade and its cheaper to buy hops in bulk, so I put in an order for a pound of each. I didn’t need a pound of Centennial, but it gave me an excuse to try a Two Hearted clone (which is also one of my favorite beers that I’ve never tried to clone). Before anyone says anything, I’m aware that Celebration ale is a wet hop beer and I’m not using wet hops, but I’m trying to make a beer as close as possible without using the exact same ingredients.

I’m going to start by saying there were definitely a few issues during this brew day. I normally brew alone so when I brew with someone else it usually throws me off and I become distracted. On top of that I thought I planned to rack off a gallon to be used in a cider, but I didn’t take into account the volume difference, just the gravity. Then just for good measure my whirlpool hose clamp decided to not hold the hose and spray hot wort all over the garage. All and all I ended up with about 3 gallons of beer when I was planning on 5 gallons. Slightly disappointing, but since this is the first time I’ve brewed this recipe I’ll probably want to tweak it and rebrew in the future, I just don’t have to wait as long with only 3 gallons.

Beer Stats
Batch size: 5.5 Gallons
Boil time: 90 minutes
Est Original Gravity: 1.067
Measured Original Gravity: 1.065
Measured Final Gravity: 1.018
ABV: 6.1%
SRM: 17.4o
IBU: 67

Grain Bill
12.5lbs Briess 2-row malt
1.75lbs Crystal 40L
0.5lbs Caramel pils malt
0.5lbs Acid Malt

Hop Schedule
60 minutes – Centennial – 1 ounces (Should have been Chinook, but I forgot to buy it)
15 minutes – Cascade – 1.5 ounces
15 minutes – Centennial – 1.5 ounces
Whirlpool - 15 minutes – Cascade – 1.5 ounces
Whirlpool - 15 minutes – Centennial – 1.5 ounces

5 Days Dry hop – Cascade – 2 ounces

Mash Schedule
155oF single infusion for 60 minutes


1.5 L starter WLP001


7/16/16 – Brewed with Melody. Added 5 grams of gypsum and 0.5 grams of CaCl to the mash. Sparged with RO water. Mash ph measured at 5.27. Racked one gallon from the kettle to do a side boil for the cider. Pre-boil gravity 1.055. Chilled to 80F, which is as cold as I can get it in the summer, added pure O2 for 45 seconds and placed in chest freezer to chill wort to 65F. Yeast pitched 3 hours later after wort is correct temperature.

7/21/16 – Increased temperature to 68F

7/23/16 – increased temperature to 71F

7/25/16 – Placed in bathroom downstairs and added dry hops

7/29/16 – Kegged and set psi to 30, gravity only down to 1.018

7/30/16 – Lowered psi to serving pressure

9/2/16 - First tasting, overly sweet, way too much Crystal malt. 


  1. Celebration is not a wet hop beer, but a "fresh hop" beer. The hops are dried pretty much as normal, but used as fresh as possible in leaf form. Best way to clone would be to order a lb of each hop from Freshops ASAP after they release this years harvest.

    1. Good point. I never really though about it, but you're right. My attempt at cloning was to be able to make a similar beer any time a year, versus seasonally.