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Santa's Private Reserve Ale - Rogue Ales

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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
85
very good

1,980 Ratings
THE BROS
92
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,980
Reviews: 1,144
rAvg: 3.76
pDev: 13.83%
Wants: 48
Gots: 80 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Rogue Ales visit their website
Oregon, United States

Style | ABV
American Amber / Red Ale |  6.00% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
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 added by: BeerAdvocate on 11-29-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,980 | Reviews: 1,144 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by kkipple:
Photo of kkipple
3.55/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Grabbed a box of 12 bottles last December from a convenience store (of all places!) for something like $30. Been working my way through 'em all year, figured a review was in order.

Good St. Nick has seen fit to grace us with a deep burnt red ale, hazy with some sediment and topped with a spotty, uneven dirty tan head.

Smell is thick caramel and acidic, slightly musty citrus / pine hops. Possibly a hint of spice, although I'm sure there's no actual spice included. Orange peel comes to mind, as does a bit of muted clove.

This tastes alright... a heavy sweet burnt malt flavor carries the day, and fights with a bitter, oily hop bite for control of your tongue. The finish is dry and bitter, with an Earl Gray tea-like astringency. There's a buttery slickness that pervades both the taste and mouthfeel... and something in this brew reminds me of Anchor's Old Foghorn, but I can't place it. Overall it's not a bad taste, just doesn't grab me.

Mouthfeel is medium to low carbonation, slick and finishes bitter and dusty.

Santa's Reserve isn't a bad beer by any standard, but it's not particularly memorable or unique, either. It's an highly-malted, bitter dense red ale and not a lot else. Worth a try but don't expect greatness.

kkipple, Oct 26, 2007
More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
3.6/5  rDev -4.3%
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?

oberon, Nov 20, 2006
Photo of RoyalT
4.13/5  rDev +9.8%
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.

RoyalT, Dec 01, 2003
Photo of JudgeRoughneck
4.22/5  rDev +12.2%
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.

JudgeRoughneck, Feb 01, 2007
Photo of Mac19872
5/5  rDev +33%

Mac19872, Nov 17, 2011
Photo of tbryan5
3.5/5  rDev -6.9%

tbryan5, Dec 27, 2013
Photo of 5dots
2.2/5  rDev -41.5%
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.

5dots, Nov 28, 2006
Photo of Shakerman
4/5  rDev +6.4%

Shakerman, Dec 20, 2012
Photo of sprestridge
3.75/5  rDev -0.3%

sprestridge, Dec 03, 2013
Photo of explosivebeer
3.7/5  rDev -1.6%
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.

explosivebeer, Sep 26, 2008
Photo of BeerAdvocate
4.1/5  rDev +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.

BeerAdvocate, Jul 23, 2008
Photo of Dmann
4.5/5  rDev +19.7%
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.

Dmann, Dec 20, 2003
Photo of skybluewater
3.9/5  rDev +3.7%
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.

skybluewater, Dec 20, 2004
Photo of orbitalr0x
4.33/5  rDev +15.2%
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!

orbitalr0x, Dec 26, 2004
Photo of Marc33
3.5/5  rDev -6.9%

Marc33, Dec 27, 2011
Photo of blitz134
3.8/5  rDev +1.1%
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.

blitz134, Jan 08, 2005
Photo of nickadams2
4/5  rDev +6.4%
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.

nickadams2, Nov 20, 2010
Photo of chOAKbarrell
4.28/5  rDev +13.8%
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.

chOAKbarrell, Dec 15, 2005
Photo of TheAdamConners
1/5  rDev -73.4%

TheAdamConners, Aug 03, 2012
Photo of BigMarty1980
3.52/5  rDev -6.4%

BigMarty1980, Nov 07, 2014
Photo of lordofthewiens
3.85/5  rDev +2.4%
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.

lordofthewiens, Nov 26, 2006
Photo of 3HovsepiansBrews
4.05/5  rDev +7.7%
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.

3HovsepiansBrews, Nov 19, 2011
Photo of Todd
3.78/5  rDev +0.5%
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.

Todd, Apr 28, 2002
Photo of Beaver13
3.03/5  rDev -19.4%
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.

Beaver13, Nov 02, 2005
Photo of babyhobbes
3.88/5  rDev +3.2%
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.

babyhobbes, Feb 15, 2008
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Santa's Private Reserve Ale from Rogue Ales
85 out of 100 based on 1,980 ratings.