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Santa's Private Reserve Ale - Rogue Ales

Not Rated.
Santa's Private Reserve AleSanta's Private Reserve Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
85
very good

2,164 Ratings
THE BROS
92
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,164
Reviews: 1,184
rAvg: 3.75
pDev: 13.87%
Wants: 59
Gots: 188 | FT: 4
Brewed by:
Rogue Ales visit their website
Oregon, United States

Style | ABV
American Amber / Red Ale |  5.30% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 11-29-2001

10 Ingredients:
Carastan 30-37 & 13-17, Crystal 70-80 & Rogue Micro Barley Farm Dare™ & Risk™ Malts; Chinook & Rogue Farm Revolution & Freedom Hops; Free Range Coastal Water and Pacman Yeast.

13º PLATO
65 IBU
73.1 AA
26.75º L
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,164 | Reviews: 1,184
Reviews by TripelJ:
Photo of TripelJ
4.2/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Now Quaffing: Rogue Santa's Private Reserve

Pours a hazy amber brown with a fluffy, hop-empowered head that recedes with some nice residual lacing. Aroma is amazingly enticing with a surprising balance (this is Rogue here) between the malt and hop profiles. Taste is amber sweet at first with the expected dose of hops to follow. There is a medium body and somewhat mellow mouthfeel which increase the drinkability. The hops linger somewhat on the palate. Overall, another fine ale from Rogue. Surprisingly, more balanced than usual, which is nice for a change.

More User Reviews:
Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.38/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bright red-orange-copper, a lovely hue that is in keeping with the festive, holiday theme. The head is stupendous and is made up of buttery, orangish beige foam that is hugely rocky and absolutely full of character. When it finally relents, the glass is chock full of tenacious lace in speckled, broken sheets. Very nice.

While the aroma is unquestionably good, it is a bit of a letdown. When I learned that Chinook and Centennial were in use and that this beer was brewed to be a hoppier version of St. Rogue Red, my expectation meter went instantly to 'drool'. The aroma is sweet and hoppy and spicy and everything else that I had hoped for, it just isn't as forceful as it could be since the hops are blunted to some extent by the malt.

The same applies to the flavor... very good but not outstanding and certainly not a hop bomb. I'd have to have them side by side, but Santa's doesn't seem much hoppier than the St. Rogue Red of my memory. It's still wonderful beer however. There's plenty of malt on hand with a toasted, bready flavor that keeps it firmly within the style guidelines. No one should confuse this beer with an IPA however.

Hops are present and accounted for. I especially notice the Chinook (they tend to dominate other varieties in my experience). One of the things that I love about Rogue is that they use plenty of ingredients; this beer is absolutely bursting with bittersweet flavor. Spicy, tangy, pungent, grapefruity, sprucy hops commingle with sweet malt in an increasingly harmonious manner as the beer warms. My impressions of the flavor are becoming much more favorable as I get deeper into the bottle.

The finish is long and hoppysweet, remaining relatively well-balanced (from a hop lover's perspective) until the deliciously bitter end. The mouthfeel is between medium and full with that characteristic Rogue lushness that I know and love. More often than not, these guys hit their marks in all aspects of the brewer's art.

Santa's Private Reserve (aka St. Nick Red) may not have been the 'Christmas in March' that I was expecting, but I got past that quickly enough. It's a big, hoppy, flavorful-as-hell ale that appeals to me in a big way. Although it doesn't do much to distinguish itself from the beer that it was patterned after, it's impossible to go wrong with either one. Highly recommended for Christmas lists everywhere.

Photo of oberon
3.63/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This is one annual I look forward to every year I honestly didnt know it changed every year and maybe it doesnt but I did notice some changes this year.Poured a deep rich amber with reddish tinted well formed 1/2 finger head,the big dose of sprucey,piney hop is there along with some caramel and roasted grain as usual.The big diference I noticed in this years batch is really how thin and for that matter prickly the mouthfeel was it just didnt equate with the flavors,the hop profile is there and a decent sweetish malt base but the body really downgraded it this year.Hmm am I just dreaming or has it changed?

Photo of RoyalT
4.13/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance – Beautiful, dark ruby in color with a deep brownish hue. The head frothed up nicely and hung around for an eternity, pitting well as it laced the glass.

Smell – Sharp, piney hops along with a sweetish malt balance give this one a classic nose for the style.

Taste – Very sharp pine at the tongue along with some complimentary citrus hops. The malt base is smallish (lightly sweetened) but noticeable. There’s some nice floral hopping in there as well.

Mouthfeel – The flavors are sharp but the mouth is mild. It’s medium-bodied but just so. This ale is dry and very crisp.

Drinkability – This is a classic Rogue rendition of the style. Love it or hate it; I love it.

Update – I first reviewed this with a 2003 vintage so thought it would be fun to take another look at it with an ’05. It’s a bit bigger and maltier then I remember it, which improves the balance IMO. I’ll keep the ratings the same and high-five the Santa pic on the bottle as I drain this wonderful offering from Rogue.

Photo of JudgeRoughneck
4.27/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A hard pour of this rosewood colored beer produces aromas of tea, ale fruit, dark stone fruit, red cherries, blackberry, baked bread. Amazing eggshell colored frapped rootbeer float style head that totally laces the glass.

Taste is more tea with a chewy amber malt body, metallic red ale twang, and floral to spicy hop bitter in the drying finish. This is definately a refreshing take on X-mas beer and this drinks way too easy.

Photo of 5dots
2.24/5  rDev -40.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

I'm not usually a big holiday beer fan, to be honest, but my girl had picked up a six-pack of this for us to try, so...

Expected warmth, spices - got hop bitterness and a ton of spruce flavor. Not really my thing, but the more I've drank it, the more I've come to understand the spruce - it suggests the season in a different way than other holiday beers. I drank one with Thanksgiving dinner, and it fought with my food a little too much.

Overall, not something I'd have again or be eager to recommend - I suspect that the spruce might put off most of my more hopheaded friends.

Photo of explosivebeer
3.73/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Nice aroma of hops, caramel, and a little honey. Beautiful clear red color. Nice creamy, lasting head. Apparently Santa really likes his bitterness since this definitely leans that way, with only understated maltiness to balance it out. This has a decent lightly silky body. Overall I'd like this beer better if the bitterness didn't dominate the experience.

Photo of BeerAdvocate
4.12/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review from Inaugural Issue of Beeradvocate Magazine.

Rogue's annual holiday brew, an American Winter Warmer that's not spiced, but hopped old-school, with plenty of Chinook and Centennial hops. This year's packaging boasts snowflakes that glisten on the painted label. Um. OK. That's nice. Moving on ...

Tawny color glows in the light; the killer froth leaves big, sticky rings of lace after each sip. Huge cookie and caramel aroma, then slightly piney, spicy and citric from the hops' very aromatic. Rogue-style all the way, clean yeast leaves the malt and hops to duke it out. Rich, malty fl avor gives suggestion of caramel and cake batter with an undertone of dark bread. Hops wield bitterness to balance, with lots of fl avor on top of that. Citric, pine, spruce and deep herbal fl avors come to mind.

By far one of the best winter seasonals around. An easy-drinking, warming and flavorful ale that runs through hop fields with a tasty maltiness by its side, and weird glistening snowflakes illuminating the skies above.

Photo of Dmann
4.48/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This beer definantly keeps up with the tradition of great holliday ales. It poured a dark ruby/brownish color with a very thick head that stuck to the glass like glue. The scent was hoppy but also had a very detectable scent of yeast. The taste was great, over hopped just enough to give the beer that extra kick. Also had a great citrus overtone to the flavor. This one is not as dry hopped as some of the seasonals I've had, and it is a refreshing beer indeed.

Photo of skybluewater
3.9/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice cherry-red color. Smells like a typical Rogue beer. Taste is quite nice, similar to the American Amber and St Rouge Red, but with a spiciness that befits the season (although it makes this one less drinkable that those other fine brews).

Overall, this isn't a bad beer, although I really can't see myself drinking it more than once a year.

Photo of orbitalr0x
4.3/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Deep chestnut red pour with a frothy off white head sitting on top. Magenta tones shine through when held up to the light. Roasted caramel covered nuts and hints of piney hops on the nose. Subtle frutiness.

Nice roasty, caramel maltiness upfront with a generous helping of pine sap hoppiness. A bit of citrus fruit comes through in the hop as well. Lingering biterness on the back of the palate. Quite a tasty and enjoyable holiday brew!

Mouthfeel is creamy and has adequate body. This is a nice holiday brew that I could easily drink in large amounts. Has a nice balance and a unique hop character. Check this one out if you haven't yet!

Photo of blitz134
3.78/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Review from notes of having this one Christmas night.

Poured red/caramel in color with a half finger off white head. Smell was light but mostly of citrus and pine hops. A nice malt backbone to this one with a slight resin hop finish. Very crisp taste overall, typical of all Rogue brews. Mouthfeel was relatively thin with little carbonation. Flavor lingers for a bit. I found this one very drinkable and I'll be sure to have another next year.

Photo of nickadams2
4/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A_Copper/Amber color with a slight red tint. Fluffy white head tons of lacing.

S_An interesting mix of hops,caramel malt and spices.

T_Piny/floral hops. Sweet malt. Caramel,spice and nuts.

M_Creamy and medium bodied. Semi dry finish.

D_Pretty damn drinkable.

Photo of chOAKbarrell
4.25/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I have to learn to stop drinking my beers so cold. For the first half (glass) of this beer I was roundly unimpressed, but as it warmed to room temperature, and I poured the 2nd half, all the personality & character came out.

Attractive deep red, at any temperature. Lots of lacing. Malt & appropriate winter-ish spices in the nose. Toasty, malty flavor. Very full bodied, and the hops hit you at the finish. Nicely done. Highly drinkable.

Photo of lordofthewiens
3.85/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A 22oz bottle, this was a red/brown color with a medium head. It had a sweet, breadlike aroma, and I thought I could detect a piney aroma also. Yes, when I tasted the beer, there were the piney hops. A tiny bit on the astringent side, and I don't think I could drink a lot of these at one sitting, but a very good beer nevertheless.

Photo of 3HovsepiansBrews
4.05/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - An opaque burgundy with an off-white head and lace that lingers nicely.

S - Buttery caramel/toffee and a little bit of floral aroma from the hops.

T - Caramel and toffee with hints of roasted coffee and dark chocolate. The finish has some pininess from the hops, which is not too bitter.

M - It has a thick body with low carbonation.

O - This beer is quite tasty and has a fairly low abv, which makes this very drinkable and refreshing. Santa's Reserve has a fairly low IBU and is heavy on flavor so I would definitely recommend this beer.

Photo of Todd
3.8/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 750ml brown bomber with a painted label -- Santa with a mug and a raised fist. No freshness date.

Appearance: Brown with red-ish wood stain hues. Nice fluffy off-white head that sticks and stays. This is an unfiltered ale, so allow it to rest before serving.

Smell: Quite malty with mellow notes of prune and raisin, and alcohol.

Taste: Sweet, rich, full-bodied mellow maltiness with a buttery caramel character (diacetly), juicy fruitiness and breadiness. Goes crisp and dry with definite Munich malt characters, then raw, woody andcoarse with Chinook hops. A sugary candy-like sweetness appears towards the finish and rides along a tea-like flavour until the end.

Notes: Rogue's annual holiday offering, Santa's Private Reserve, is a variation of the classic Saint Rogue Red, but with double the hops--including Chinook, and Centennial, and a mystery hop called Rudolph by head brewer John "more hops" Maier! This holiday elixir is brewed with two-row Harrington, Klages and Munich malts, along with Hugh Baird 30-37, Carastan 13-17, and Crystal 70-80 malts, plus free range coastal water and John's proprietary top-fermenting Pacman yeast. Available in both 22-ounce bottles and on draft. Measurements: 13 degrees Plato, IBU 60, Apparent attenuation 73.1, Lovibond 26.75.

A wonderful winter seasonal to warm the brain. Hop character is very Rogue, very Pacific Northwest in its unbalanced hops, however this is still a very tasty brew.

Photo of Beaver13
3.03/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22 oz bottle. Pours a ruby amber with a thin off-white head that quickly goes down to a thin film that leaves a little lacing.

The aroma is caramel/toffee malts with a little butterscotch and a fruity floral hoppiness.

The flavor is fruity (slightly acidic) butterscotch malts initially followed by a floral piney hop finish that lingers into the aftertaste. It's medium bodied, but with a watery finish that washes out a lot of the flavors except the bitter aftertaste.

Overall, similar to other hoppy ambers (Levitation, Cinder Cone, Red Seal). I really liked the first couple of sips, but the more I had of it the less I liked it.

Photo of babyhobbes
3.83/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I poured this and thought, where's the head, darnit! Answered the phone and came back to a nice 1/2 inch creamy head that now won't go away. It's all good.

Taste is really pine-tree hoppy to me. It's good and doesn't linger. It's not like sucking on a pine-cone. I get a more malty scent than the taste lets on.

This is a highly drinkable beer because there isn't a whole lot going on. Seems like a pale ale not a red ale, maybe I need to try more red ales to get a better idea about them. Whatever this is, I like it.

Photo of wlevando
1.43/5  rDev -61.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1.5

Bottle into 8 oz chalice

Appearance: Pretty copper-red. Weak head disappears almost immediately leaving a splotchy wake.

Smell: Immediate hop bite, followed by a rank, soft scent. First clue, there must be something off.

Taste: Uggh. Like rotting fir. Something is living in this beer that I don't want in my belly.

Mouthfeel: Get it out! Desiccating, evolutionarily unpleasant bitterness makes me spit out each mouthful I get. I swallowed one, and it was reminiscent of powdered Tylenol. Like I said, we only exist today because we can taste such compounds.

Overall: Beer was skunked. Rogue has always been decent, as I remember, so I was excited for this beer. I bought it as a single in a mix-your-own-six, and it must have been on the GTFO list.

Photo of Doomcifer
3.78/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Well, it's Christmas so what the hell...very fitting.

Out poured Santa's Private Elixir into my pint glass a dark amber color with a beauteous, rocky, beige head. The great head retains lovely and the brew leaves behind plenty of rings around the glass with each sip taken.
Aroma is of citrusy hops, candied malts, biscuity malts, perhaps a tad grapefruit. Taste is very well balanced between the hops and malts. More hoppy than I expected which I kind of figured after the aroma. The citrusy hops and sweet, bready malts are evenly matched up throughout the entire experience, from front to back, with the hops lingering around on the palate. A little on the thin side but very enjoyable nonetheless. Good carbonation, slightly dry hop finish. Very drinkable.

Merry XMAS.

Photo of Jason
4.37/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A most excellent looking head, the hops are an obvious help in this department. Clear brownish copper color shimmers warm in the light. Nutty bready sweet malt, softly pungent hop oil infiltrates the nose with rind, wild flowers and citrus zest. So smooth, nice crisp bite towards the end. Body is creamy and of a solid medium size. Level carbonation. Citric hop and a nougat flavor up front on the taste buds. Waves of malt sweetness are white capped with a strong grasping hop bitterness. Both the hop bitterness and malt sweetness, even the residuals, don’t want to let go. The hops are more persistent and seem to cover more ground with layers of flavor.

As always in Rogue fashion there is no holding back on the hops, certainly enough malt flavor to go around. This one is a must for me each year.

Photo of merlin48
4/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bomber pours a slightly hazed, reddish brown body with a generous beige head that retains well and leaves a lot of sticky patch lace.
Aroma is citrusy hops, mostly grapefruit, a hint of pine, and some background aromas of caramel.
Mouthfeel has effervescent carbonation and a medium body, as well a mild peppery hops bite.
The taste begins with dry and bitter pine and citrusrind hops. Caramel malt flavors lurk underneath. There is a surprising transition as this reaches room temperature as the hop bitterness transforms into a slightly sweet orange and pink grapefruit presence. Very nice. The citrusrind bitterness reappears at the finish and survives into a long, pleasant aftertaste.
Another solid offering from the good folks at Rogue, but I don't really see this one as a winter seasonal other than the appearance of Santa on the bottle. Very drinkable amber ale, in any season.

Photo of Billolick
4.33/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Typical Rogue bomber, no freshness/vintage info. Offered. Pours clear, slightly reddish amber. Head is initially huge and luxurious , slowly recedes , leaves gobs of scattered and sheeted lacing. The nose I get is multifaceted, ginger bread, leafy hops, bready malts. Tasty, complex and clearly high quality offering. More mild winter spice, a modicum or resiny hops and then a smooth multi grain malt finish. More resins on the tongue long after the last sip. Nice creation from Rogue, fine winter/holiday sipper

Photo of warriorsoul
3.38/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Snagged one of these at Liquor World in Porter Square...
Amber in color with less than an inch of eggshell colored head...a thick lacing remains as the majority of head recedes.
Ok in the nose...not much jumping out of this one. Some caramel malt, a small dose of spice.
Taste is better...but not by much. At least it is clean, but was expecting more. The spruce flavor is there, but very muted...pleasantly bitter and extremely clean in the finish.
Mouthfeel is average...carbonation is a little high to make this one extremely drinkable for me. Certainly not a struggle to finish...just not wishing I had another bomber nearby.
I believe this brew would do real well as a introductory to amber or red ale fans.
Have to chuckle when I see how the bros. give this high marks and then crush a beer like Killer Penguin, but that is why we each have our say, right?

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Santa's Private Reserve Ale from Rogue Ales
85 out of 100 based on 2,164 ratings.