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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.
very good

1,175 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,175
Hads: 2,204
Avg: 3.78
pDev: 18.78%
Wants: 66
Gots: 220 | FT: 2
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.

65 IBU
73.1 AA
26.75º L
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Santa's Private Reserve Ale Alström Bros
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Reviews: 1,175 | Hads: 2,204
Photo of Marraybay
2.45/5  rDev -35.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Pours a red amber with a finger of white foam. Nose is piney hops and citrus
and the taste follows suit. One-dimensionally bitter, without any deviation or
relief notes/flavors. Nothing noteworthy with respect to feel, probably due
to the crushing bitterness. Definitely not a fan on any level. (My 2nd strikeout
with a Rogue seasonal pour.)

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Photo of Back_in_the_Saddle
3.99/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Its that time of the year, yup, let's get these seasonals started.
This was poured into a pint glass.
The appearance was a muddy red color with a one finger white foamy head that dissipated within less than a minute leaving some light lacing here and there.
The smell had some toffee, caramel, toast and light lingering hop bitterness (somewhat dried pine).
The taste was malty with an ample amount of sweetness yet bitter through some light piney hops.
The mouthfeel was about a light to medium in body with a decent sessionability about it. Carbonation hits right on my tongue.
Overall, definitely one of the better red ales on the market. Rogue did everything they're supposed to with this one.

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Photo of EMV
3.54/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bomber into a pint glass.

L: Pours a clear copper/amber color. 3 fingers of creamy off-white head. Nice lacing and retention.

S: Biscuits and malts. Piney hops.

T/F: Taste is a malts and grains up front with more of a hop bite at the finish than expected for an Amber. A bit resinous with some evergreen notes. Dry, no spice detectable (this is supposedly a winter warmer?), crisp and drinkable.

O: Solid but not spectacular and a little boring overall. Very hop forward for a red ale, and not much to set it apart. Definitely NOT a winter warmer even though Santa is mugging on the bottle.

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Photo of DeadGuyRising_54
4.92/5  rDev +30.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

My favorite Xmas beer! There's really no reason to get it into the pours, look, head yadda yadda yadda

If you're a fan of REAL Rouge, it's great, old school, manly beer, and like Dead Guy, will only be topped by an XS version

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Photo of stevoj
3.38/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Bomber from Winco. amber body with thick beige foamy head. Nice hop bitterness lingers on the palate. Aroma is normal malt/hops combo, taste emphasizes the bitterness. Decent ale, but not strong or spicy enough to be a winter warmer.

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Photo of Dirtyhands
4.06/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A darker shade of opaque amber. A malty, nutty aroma, toffee and caramel preside. Taste is just awesome. Unique candy malt flavors, toffee and caramel. A very persistent dank pine & spruce flavor. A hop biterness that matches the malt, until the malt eventually overcomes the 74 ibus and leaves you with a pleasant nutty aftertaste.

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Photo of pat61
4.5/5  rDev +19%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Malts on the nose, brilliant deep amber, 1” head dissipates to a thick film, rich carmelly malts, ends dry, good hop finish into the aftertaste, some grapefruit in the finish, surprisingly dry, almost astringent in the finish. Like a hop blast. It begins with malt and fruit and then ends with a drying, astringent grapefruit rind resiny finish.

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Photo of kojevergas
2.89/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

I'm walking into this with below average expectations on account of the brewery.

BOTTLE is 12 fl oz and brown glass, with fun label art and a sleek label layout. Pry-off cap is branded, and the label tells me nothing about the style of the beer. Rogue's website calls it a red ale, so I'll review it (live) as such...

Served cold into a pilsner glass in Austin, TX (low altitude).

No bubble show forms as it's poured.

HEAD: Healthy, with an off-white colour head of fair frothiness and cream. Decent thickness and fullness, coming in at ~3-3.5 inches wide. As it recedes, it leaves a ring of thick coating lacing about the sides of the glass, and it retains rather well at that - ~6-8 minutes.

BODY: Deep dark auburn. The "reddish-copper" suggested by the label's description is fair. Has no bothersome yeast or hop sediment visible. Translucent; nontransparent.

Appears well-carbonated. Attractive, certainly, and apt-looking for a red ale, but not mind-blowing or unique.

AROMA: The description on the label uses words like "roasty" and "sprucey"...huh? Spruce, maybe, but there's zero roast here. I wouldn't even call it malty; the amber and pale malt presence is minimal at best. The hop profile - if anything - dominates, with notes of muted floral character and some resins coming through. As it warms, I get a glimmer of caramalt.

All in all, this is a muted, minimal aroma that suggests a fairly insipid red ale. Aromatic intensity is light at best.

I find no off-notes, booze, or yeast.

TASTE & TEXTURE: Hops dominate here, with a sprucey (yes, touche Rogue) and somewhat fruity hop profile bolstered by subsidiary notes of hop resins, fruity ale yeast esters, and general floral hoppy bitterness. The malt backbone comes on a bit too strong with its sweetness, offering amber malts, pale malts, Munich malts, and caramalts, but with insufficient roastiness and/or toastiness for the style. It comes off as a bit imbalanced, with the bitterness from the hops coating the palate and detracting from what should be the emphasis (the nonexistent toasty amber malts).

Depth of flavour is pretty shallow, but to give credit where it's due, this is shockingly cohesive for what it is - though it never quite comes off tasting gestalt. The smooth, wet, coating mouthfeel isn't a great companion to the taste, but the overcarbonation is only mild and the medium body is appropriate. Has adequate weight and heft on the palate, though it's a shame this texture services hops instead of malts.

It's a simple stab at a red ale and misses many key fundamentals. Even some winter warmer-esque spices would be welcome, if only to contribute needed complexity. I don't dislike it, but it needs some serious fleshing out.

Not oily, boozy, gushed, or scratchy.

OVERALL: Oddly hop-emphatic for an ostensible winter ale, with no real nods to the traditional red ale (English, Irish, or American) whatsoever. It's absolutely a drinkable brew, but its shallowness and simplicity leave much to be desired. I doubt I'll revisit this voluntarily, but it's by no means a bad beer - merely a mediocre one. The discerning drinker will be unfazed, and can safely skip this. Certainly average.

C (2.89)

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Photo of Trombone69
2.57/5  rDev -32%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.25

It's a beautiful amber color. Nasty bitter flavor. Tough to get through, especially for only 6 percent ABV. A buddy left this at my house in January. Maybe it's a year old? Maybe it went bad. I expected better from Rogue. And from Santa.

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Photo of Brutaltruth
3.77/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Enjoyed from the bomber in a Liefmans snifter. This holiday ale pours a bright ruby red with a tenacious off white head that lingers long till dissipating to a thin layer and thick ring of foam with moderate lacing. Nose of spicy hops, sweet raisins and caramel, and an underlying earthy tone. Flavors follow the nose with a rich caramel and juicy hop notes that vies for dominance. Sweet raisins are noted in the background but are overtaken by the bittering hops. Light carbonation to moderate carbonation and a smooth mouth feel finishes wet and bitter. Remember past years being a bit sweeter, but then again only have this once a year. Reminiscent of a red Mogul ale which is an awesome brew. Improves a lot with warmth. Nice.

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Photo of Burgz
3.71/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Single 12 oz bottle picked up at my local co op. Poured into a Pilsner glass. Pours a wonderful copper color with 2 finger long lasting off white head. Scent of pine bark and hops. Very hoppy taste and a slight hint of cinnamon. reminds me more of an IPA than an amber. Overall a beer I would recommend for the hopheads out there.

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Photo of barczar
3.78/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

I'm guessing this was last year's, but picked up at a deep discount, so who knows.

Deeply caramelized and fruity specialty malt characters abound in aroma. There's a sharp note that I'm hoping is hop derived.

Flavor reveals that signature amber malt profile of sweetness and fruitiness, along with floral, perfumey, and citrusy hops. The bready malt and fruity hops give way in the finish to bitter earthiness and herbal notes.

Nice brew. Not the most exciting, and a bit too earthy got my liking in the finish. But the malt character and hop profile are interesting.

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Photo of RyanK252
3.97/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into a BarrelHouse Brewing Co pint glass

A: Pours a deep red-orange amber with a frothy tan head that settles and laces very well.

S: Bready roasted malt, pine, a little floral, some dankness, and a touch of malt sweetness.

T: Big hit of pine hops, some light grapefruit follows, a touch of fruitiness, a bit floral, maybe even a bit spicy, with nice roasty bready malt, and a touch of light caramel sweetness.

M: Medium body, moderate yet prickly carbonation.

O: Not your typical Christmas beer, much more hop forward and notably bitter, but it is pretty darn solid.

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Photo of BEERMILER12
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a copperish amber color with 2 fingers of head that fades down to a nice cap that leaves decent lacing

S: Floral, spruce-like hops at the front, with hints of pine and fruit. A solid maltiness backs this up, providing a light roast. Very nicely balanced

T: Follows the nose. Starts off with the floral notes from the hops and goes into a nice fruitiness that compliments the lightly roasted malts very well. A very light pine note comes in towards the end, finishing with a toasted malt note and a hint of bitterness

M: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Smooth

O: A very nice amber for this time of the year, as it works with the floral hops very well. Mostly brings to mind the spruce and pine notes, as they are really accented by the hops. An easy and mellow drinker for the winter season for sure

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Photo of VirginiaBeerMan
3.37/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle - Nonic
This was a leftover bottle from 2013, but stored/refrigerated for the year

A - A dark copper/amber orange color with thick off white foamy head of about 1 inch or more, which settles to a surface covering, good lacing

S - Very light citrus, weak spice, not much more

T - Pretty bland taste unless it's all just blended away, nothing dominant, finishes with a healthy bitter

F - Watery, good carb

O - I really don't know what to make of this, there wasn't a lot of initial flavor, but it drank pretty easily; the bitter was a bit too strong of a finish for me; yet, none of these would dissuade me from having this again; after reading this, I'm not sure why I liked it

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Photo of Caskaway
2.42/5  rDev -36%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Same as the other recent negative reviews. No smell, bitter taste with no complimentary flavors, and "dull," as another poster aptly noted. The positive is its appearance - vibrant copper color w/ good lacing.

Surprising stratification among the reviews. I'm in Chicago - maybe we got a bad shipment?

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Photo of Pukstopper
3.36/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

I have to agree with one of the reviewers who said if u r going to put Santa and Christmas in your title make it taste like Christmas
Pours a deep cooper color with a almost 2 finger head that dissipates quick. Leaves lacing which isn't to bad.
Taste; Not Christmas at all if I didn't know it said Christmas I would think it is a very nice IPA.
The hops come out on the back end and are actually nice
If I was reviewing as a IPA it would score well
As a Christmas Ale it lacks The Christmas flavors. I would expect better from Rogue.

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Photo of Sirwootalot
4.14/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Received as an anonymous christmas gift from someone wonderful in Oregon; I'll be reviewing the entirety of the magical bounty provided.

Poured in its entirety into a 16 oz pilsner glass, leaving a perfect head. The smell is very subtle, but has notes of juniper and biscuit. This beer is absurdly well balanced and has damn near the best body I've ever encountered; Hoppy as hell but not cloying, powerfully malty but not filling; and refreshingly smooth without being too watery or too thick. This shit is like Baby Bear's Porridge - just right. There isn't much in the flavor to make this especially wintery or christmasey; the flavor, as perfectly executed as it is, is a no-nonsense american ale with no one flavor coming out to declare an invasion on my taste buds.

As long as you close your eyes and just want to go for a plain ol' beer, this stuff is nirvana - but if you like your beers a little unhinged and are expecting anything unique, walloping, or robust, you might be a bit let down. This is the only bomber I've had no problem downing all by myself, as it's that outlandishly appealing and drinkable.

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Photo of coasterfreak75
4.32/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pour: as a red ale, not a Christmas ale the pour was deep amber/red with a nice two finger head that held on throughout the drink. Nice lacing is noted on the glass.

Smell: Hints of apricots, caramel, dare I say apples. Generalized fruit sweetness.

Taste: The front is a light sweetness with fruity undertones continuing through the middle of the drink. The finish is a light kick of hop spice with a hop aftertaste that only lingers for a few seconds.

Overall: A well made and quite drinkable red ale, do not let this beer fool you into thinking it is a Christmas or winter spiced beer.

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Photo of huysmans
2.28/5  rDev -39.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

I'm sorry, but this beer offered nothing to the Christmas dinner it was brought to. It was watery and lacking in flavor. It had very little smell. It did not compliment the food I was eating in any way. It was not refreshing or warming or palate cleansing or anything I would want out of a simple holiday dinner beer. If you are going to put Santa in your title, at least give me a little spice! It was, as the 65 IBUs suggest, somewhat bitter, but I like my bitter with some flavor before it. Perhaps I made the mistake of drinking this with dinner. Perhaps on its own it is better than my review suggests. Perhaps I am not refined enough to discern the flavor of "free range coastal water." Perhaps, no, definitely, compared to the other beers I have had in the past few days, it just did not rate.

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Photo of leaddog
4.12/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - Pours a copper with two fingers of frothy off white head.

Smell - citrus and piney hops, pine resin, bready caramel malts, hint of yeast, hint of dark plum.

Taste - Citrus and piney hops followed nicely by the pine resin, bready caramel malts, yeast and dark plum.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Finishes off dry with a lingering bitterness.

Overall - A nice hopped up red from Rogue. This one is just an all around good drinking red. Nice way to close out Christmas day with it snowing outside.

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Photo of logicalparadox
4.14/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: Pours a luscious, sticky foam head when decanted into my 16 oz tulip glass. Deep, amber honey, with a reddish, brown copper or rusty color.

S: Surprisingly hoppy, with some piney and citrus notes. A good bit of resinous quality I would expect from an IPA, not an amber. Smells good!

T: Follows the nose, but with less bitterness than the aromas suggest. Spicy finish. Enough malts to carry the hops, but not too sweet. Could easily confuse this as an IPA, but for the malts, which are a bit grainy.

M: Medium body, slightly sticky.

O: Not sure this screams "holidays", but could easily become a new tradition. Will try this again if I have the chance.

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Photo of Flounder57
3.71/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle was poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: A one finger off white head was poured that reduced to a puffy layer. It is a copper amber color with good clarity and vision of bubbles coming up through the glass. Frothy lacing down the glass as the beer was drank.

Smell: Some fruitiness, citrus, spruce, toasted, and caramel malts.

Taste: Same as above with light bitterness in the rear.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, a little chewy, some bitterness, light to medium bodied, and medium carbonation.

Overall: A nice amber ale. Wouldn't mind trying this one on draft.

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Photo of MisterGone
2.94/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pour from 22/750 bottle. Reddish amber color, as advertised.

The aroma was virtually non-existent cold, and subtle at temp. Light malt, more dough than biscuit, some hop bitters that seemed a bit piney (which works well for a winter brew), a hint of spice and yeast.

Flavor was only distinct from the aroma in that it was hop forward, more than I had expected for a declared red. Nice piney, grassy hop flavor. The malt stayed in the doughy-rather-than-biscuity range and had a subtle sweetness. Slight spice with a return of the hop in the finish.

A good beer, especially those looking for something more subtle in the red genre. I do think the pine-grass and doughy-spice (cookie? is that what they are after?) flavors do well for a winter seasonal. I personally hoped for a bit more, those same flavors intensified.

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Photo of Jaysauras
3.85/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

L: Pours a beautiful deep amber color which turns to a bring deep red when held up to the light. Thin cream colored head with plenty of carbonation supporting it. Plenty of solid lacing when sipped.

S: Subtle nose. Malt is the most prevalent scene along with a slight hoppy sweetness. Slight bit of butterscotch on the back end as well. Probably the most underwhelming aspect of the beer overall.

T: The taste is simply superb. Perfect balance of sweet up front, spice in the middle, followed by a nice blend of hops and malt in the end. The brief sweetness is akin a very subtle buttery sugar cookie almost. It's not overpowering, but does just enough to tickle the palate. It fades as quick as it arrives and smooths into a blend of heavy hop spice and malts. Finishes subtly with some biscuit and bread flavor. This beer is big on hops, and I mean BIG. If you don't like a hoppy punch in the junk than steer clear. It's a delicate balance that is easy to mess up, but Rogue seems to zero in on this one. Great hop flavor which settles into a fantastic smooth maltiness that blends well but also stands out on it's own in each stage of a drink. Wonderfully done.

F: Good feel sip from start to finish but it packs a punch due to the hops. Not a beer for the faint at heart, and that's what makes it so good. Chewy and tingly, while also being a bit heavy.

O: I don't sample too many Red Ales but I'm really glad I picked this one up. Real solid holiday release from Rogue. Brash and daring in almost every regard outside of a pretty pedestrian nose. Good flavor and balance, and that's to be expected of Pacman Yeast. Little hard to drink on a 22oz. but it's a solid solid beer.

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Santa's Private Reserve Ale from Rogue Ales
85 out of 100 based on 1,175 ratings.