1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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.
very good

1,957 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,957
Reviews: 1,142
rAvg: 3.76
pDev: 13.83%
Wants: 44
Gots: 72 | FT: 1
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.

65 IBU
73.1 AA
26.75º L

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 11-29-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Santa's Private Reserve Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,957 | Reviews: 1,142 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of mikesgroove
4.08/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I was very happy to be able to take part in this special cask tasting of this years Santa’s Reserve down at Barleys the other night. Whenever you get to take part in something like this it always makes my day and this was no exception. Arrived early and got to try some goodies downstairs and made my way up around the upstairs and right up in front of the cask for a while. After blowing up to the ceiling, it mellowed down enough to let them pour and what came out was just great. A nice and hazy, thick dark brown poured into the glass leaving a good two inches or so of tan colored head on top. This rested nicely down and laid on top to form a good half inch or so that lasted until the end. Smell was nice and richly spiced with an evident dry hopping to it. Lots of very fresh pine and cinnamon aromas coming off of it. This translated perfectly over to the taste where a nice rich brown ale was welcomed and mixed with a generous amount of hoppiness. A great creamy and smooth feel was nice and full bodied and never let you down on the carbonation. An almost chewy consistency could be detected as well. I wished I could have had more, but this was a one pint per man night so I loved every last sip. Overall this was really fantastic. It was very rich and fresh tasting and just had a tremendously good texture and feel to it. I could have made this one all night, but alas I had to go home. It was great and I am glad I made it. Truly one that I will remember.

mikesgroove, Nov 02, 2007
Photo of dbalsock
3.05/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

App: Poured a dark red/amber with an amazing off white head, very frothy and thick with lacing just like a christmas snowfall.

Smell: Piney hops and grapefruit with a caramel malt backbone.

Taste: More pine and graepfruit with the caramel and the nice addition of biscuit. It's too hoppy of a taste for my liking, with not enough malt. The aftertaste is all grapefruit. Could use more complexity.

Mouthfeel: Too bitter from the overload of hops, but the body is an alright consistancy and the carbonation is good.

Drinkability: Not something I'd get again, but there are better and worse red ales out there.

dbalsock, Oct 29, 2007
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
Photo of jtrockchalk
3.48/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a 22oz at Marchette Liquor in Shawnee. No freshness date, but I can confidently assume that the 2007 hasn't been released yet, so even though I was told it hadn't been there for a year, I'm highly skeptical.

Further proving my hunch was that I picked up a sixer of 2006 Sam Longshot too....it was only 3.99 so what the hell. Right?

Onto the review:

A - Deep orange shade of amber what a good American Red should look like. Two finger haed that disapated quickly. Huge hop holes as I like to call them. Decent lacing.

S - Not as malty as I expected. Sweet and a bit bready and hops were there in the floral, citrus sense not really much pine or resin to speak of.

T - Soild. Again not as malty as I expected after a year of the hops oils diminishing. Just a touch of sweet malt and citrus hops, the kind that you now are there, but don't kick you in the jaw. Kinda atypical of Rogue, very likely from the age.

M - Smooth. Coats your pallette enough to linger long enough until you're ready for another sip.

D - Very solid amber even with age on it. I'll definitly look for a fresh one to compare in the next couple months. If fresh is a little more balanced or if they drop the price by $1 a bomber, I could have a new go to beer for the winter season...Only if.

jtrockchalk, Oct 20, 2007
Photo of morimech
4.08/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz. bomber

Pours a clear reddish brown with a thick 1 inch head leaving heavy lacing. A very attractive looking beer.

The smell is mostly malt with a little pine.

The flavor is mostly malt with hop flavoring of pine or spruce. Not especially complex but is nicely balanced. Nicely carbonated and clean and crisp finish. Feels medium bodied. I really enjoyed this beer and will come back for another if I can find it again.

morimech, Oct 11, 2007
Photo of NCSUdo
3.75/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Slightly hazy red/copper with some rusty/brown hints. No head with little lacing. Very plain looking. Head would only appear with a vigorous pour.

S: Not a whole lot in the first few sniffs. Hard to find roast character with hints of caramel. Maybe the slightest hints of piney/grassy hops.

T: Sweet up front with some slight hop bitterness in finish. Finish is mostly dry. Hop character is piney.

M/D: Pretty high on the carbonation. Medium bodied but a little watery. Drinkability is high but the beer overall leaves something to be desired.

I could think of this beer as "American Amber Light". I feel that Rogue's American Amber offering is far superior to this brew.

NCSUdo, Oct 07, 2007
Photo of livingregret
2.48/5  rDev -34%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Serving Type: standard 12 oz bottle

Appearance: Pours a deep reddish brown w/ no head

Smell: Malty and mellow. A lot like black tea. A touch piney in places. the alcohol does come through the nose

Taste/mouthfeel: A touch of sweet biscuit w/ something piney mixed in. This leaves the mouth feeling dry and bitter. The aftertaste of the beer is dry and...you guessed it....bitter. This is a big hoppy ale. The odd thing is that this beer is pretty thin in the mouth

Drinkability: I was expecting a Winter Warmer and instead ended w/ something close to a IPA in terms of bitterness/dryness. This is a very hoppy dry beer and not one I will seek out again.

livingregret, Sep 17, 2007
Photo of Floydster
3.5/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle bought from Cooke's for only four dollars, great deal

Poured a deep reddish brown into my goblet with thick white head

Smell was dominated by raisins and chocolate, interesting mixture, but good at the same time

Taste was sweet because of the malt and dry as a result of the hops, good combination

Could drink lots of this, nice winter brew that can be drank year round

Floydster, Sep 14, 2007
Photo of horshack7
4.25/5  rDev +13%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Appearance: It pours a deep and dark red with nice amber hues. With about one inch of head that is foamy and a little lacey. Bubbles rise up from the depths to keep the head from thinning out to quickly.

Aromas: Nice hop notes hints of allspice and nutmeg. Mild hints of roasted malts.

Taste: The hops in the this beer dance all around my pallate. The malts linger around only a little bit they add a slight sweetness. The mouthfeel is very crisp with a little bit of a dry finish but too dry.

Notes: This one although a winter season brew could definately be enjoyed on a cool summer night. The lace lines the glass from start to finish such a great beer. Cheers

horshack7, Sep 04, 2007
Photo of mshallah
3.93/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottles in a 6-pack. 22oz bombers also sampled. Dark reddish amber. An inch of foamy, sudsy head. Sticky with lots of lace. Evergreen nose of hops with a roasted malt aroma similar to that of red ales. Taste includes these same characteristics with the malt being sweeter than the aroma would indicate. Hop flavor is full on christmas tree with sap. Love the stickiness and ale carbonation for the mouthfeel. Definitely breaks away from citrusy beers with its pine/spruce flavor and aroma.

mshallah, Aug 31, 2007
Photo of hustlesworth
4.53/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

it's august, it's hot and sticky, and when i went to the bier depot i saw a shiny brown 22oz bottle with santa cheersing me on the label. so a jingle and a jangle, lets drink some xmas beer. ho ho ho.

A- poured a warm reddish copper amber from the side, but if you look down into the glass (after the head recedes) it's a copperish brown. the brew was only slightly hazy but mostly transparent beneath 2in of fluffy spongy beige foam that held its ground for awhile before settling to 1/4in eaving sticky wispy lace that almost spelled out the word "america"

S- citrusy hops and caramelized malts first, followed by gingerbread, tobacco, sun dried tomatoes, raisins, yeasty bread crust, and wild mushrooms

T- barely noticeable metallic and mild coffee, then burnt caramel, butterry praline, and pine needles! pine cones! pine sap! this is seriously tasting like a spiced up xmas tree and a joyous noel to me. more complexity follows with woodsy dried flowers, passionfruit, roasted malt, dried figs and dates, cranberries, toasted sourdough bread, and a nice bitter citrus almost "angostura (aromatic bitters)" hop aftertaste.

MF- resinous and slick but not quite oily, SPR goes right down even in the summer. medium carbonation level, finishes crisp and dry with pine sap on the roof of my mouth.

D- i wouldn't have known this was a holiday ale if it wasn't labeled as one. all the same, this is a tasty red ale that i WOULD drink in session, but realistically couldn't due to its limited availability. the bottle i snagged was left over from xmas 06 was stored properly. we'll see if the 07 is just as good.

hustlesworth, Aug 11, 2007
Photo of DrJay
3.5/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Fairly clear, deep red/amber with a thin, rocky head of off-white foam. A little sticky with some lacing, fair retention. Herbal, minty hop aroma with mild malt sweetness in the background. Solid bitterness up front, sweet malts with a hint of caramel follow. Hop fill out the mid and lead into a lingering bitter finish, mostly pine/spruce in character. Medium bodied, average carbonation, slightly drying, decent mouthfeel. Overall, a neat beer. The hopping is interesting, giving it a bit of a unique quality. Worth trying.

DrJay, Jul 21, 2007
Photo of jayfarley3
4.1/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

from a 22oz bottle into a pint glass poured a dark brown reddish color with a nice light tan head.

smells very delicious, malty with lots of piney hops.

has a very nice balance of piney hop bitterness and a sweet malt flavor.

on the lighter side of medium-bodied beer with medium carbonaion.

drinkability is very good, i could drink this all the time.( i guess thats why im drinking on in july)

jayfarley3, Jul 19, 2007
Photo of brentk56
4.13/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a hazy amber color with a nice beige head that persists well and splashes the glass with lace

Smell: Rich biscuit and caramel undertones with a piney hop element wafting above

Taste: Starts out with a caramel and biscuit flavor that is joined, mid-palate by the piney hops; citrus elements build after the swallow and the long finish is dominated by the hops with just a hint of toffee underneath

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: A very enjoyable amber that is just a bit unbalanced in the hop direction; the early presence of the amber malt elements wind up getting overwhelmed, in the final analysis

brentk56, Jul 06, 2007
Photo of jasonpeckins32
3.15/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

The appearance was a burgundy/copper color.

Wonderful citrus aroma.

A bit roasty and heavily hopped. Souring citrus whallop. The taste is extreme, almost too much so.

Medium-bodied, light carbonation creates a thick, oily mouthfeel. Harsh. One for the xmas season will be enough.

jasonpeckins32, Jun 16, 2007
Photo of Sammy
3.93/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A hopped up beer, an amber. Not bad, with some complexity like a 1.5X IPA. As they say it, its the Rogue with twice the hops. On the bitter side and a melange of hops that are difficult to distinguish. Bitter despite all the malts, and still a carmel taste, the bitterness from the C hops with a citrus finish and aftertaste.

Sammy, May 25, 2007
Photo of Redwood21
3.9/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into nonic
A: A deep reddish brown color with a mostly white head that sticks around for a while
S: there is some sweet hop smells, but nothing very strong imo.
T: I enjoy the taste, and i feel it fits the style pretty well, it has a hoppy finish but nothing to strong on the flavor. its not as balanced and smooth as some other amber ales, but its good robust feeling. its a little dry, with a little something i cant define. bottle claims a finish of spruce, i dont pick that up, but then again i dont partake in many spruce flavored things.
M: creamy medium bodied, a little dry bitter finish.
D: enjoyable, one id come back to. not my fav rogue but good just the same.

Redwood21, Apr 25, 2007
Photo of younger35
4.38/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a nonic glass from a 12oz bottle. Picked up a 6 pack of these little guys a couple months after Christmas for a damn good price. Drank and reviewed this beer on 4/12/2007

Appearance- Poured a clear dark brownish red with hints of a burnt orange depending upon the light. Got very little head from a fairly aggressive pour that didn’t last long. Left a nice collar but had very little, if any, lacing.
Smell- Nice piney hops that really stand out over the toasty, sweet malts. Has tinges of a grapefruity citrus that helps cover the feint alcohol odor. Overall pretty nice.
Taste- Nice big citrus grapefruit that is bitter upfront but gives way to a nice sweet malt backbone. The nice sweet toasty malts are reminiscent of dark cherry’s and hints of brown sugar. Has a burnt sugar/toffee like finish that does a very nice job of balancing the bitterness (one of the nicer Rogue balances). Feint hints of alcohol.
Mouthfeel- Nice medium carbonation that fits the beer nicely. Medium to light body that finishes semi dry. Very feint alcohol warming.
Drinkability- This is a pretty darn tasty brew and if you can find a sixer, it’s worth grabbing. Great job by Rogue (yet again)!

younger35, Apr 20, 2007
Photo of demcorhip
4.03/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a hazy chestnut brew. Not much head formed on a gentle pour, to keep Pacman in the bottle. Finely and mildly carbonated, not much head formed, and only the thinnest collar of lacings rimmed the glass.

White grapefruit and hints of pine. Malts take a backseat to the hops, but have a toasty, biscuit character with hints of toffee and nuts.

Much like the nose, no surprises here. White grapefruit and pine from the chinook and centennial hops overtop of the toasty biscuit malts, and hints of toffee and walnut.

A good beer with a good feel. Just on the light side of medium bodied. Decent bitter hops almost balance this slightly hop forward brew. Nice malts with a toasty character, and a decent level of complexity. Some what astringent, and with a dry finish, making for a refreshing drink.

Another solid Rogue brew thats only too easy to drink. Just enough hops to hold a hophead's interest, and just enough rich and tasty malts for those who prefer malt bombs. Glad i picked this up, will look for more next winter.

demcorhip, Apr 10, 2007
Photo of ericj551
4.2/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I picked this up for only $1.99, probably since its a little out of season. I don't think its too far off from Christmas for it to be fresh. Appearence is a hazy deep red with a wispy head and a lot of clinging lacing. Aroma is amazing, rich sweet dark fruits, caramel, toffee. It smells like a barleywine. Taste is a dry maltiness, the same dark fruits as in the aroma, but more subdued, as well as plenty of bitterness. There is a light roasted flavor in the finish that works really well with the grapefruit citrus flavor of the Chinook hops. Some people complain that Rogue beers are over the top with hops, but I think they ussually manage some balance, like in this beer.

ericj551, Apr 08, 2007
Photo of objectivemonkey
4.03/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Into a pint glass, pours a dark copper amber, real nice head that never breaks, from a finger to a thin foam, spiderwebbing lacing down the glass. Aroma is on the faint side but nice, a dominant sweet caramelized malt, good hopping of citrus character with piney, spicy hints.

The hops get more bittering effect in the taste, good bunch of piney, resinous hop oils swimming about. The malts take a step back from the nose, still sweet and delectable, but even as it warms the hops desire more attention, becoming more dominant, more lively, more bitter, more better. Somewhere between the abundant carbonation and medium body, it feels a bit too light at times, kind of a funny thing for a beer named after Santa, but otherwise its a smooth brew, tasty, and one I'd definitely drink again.

objectivemonkey, Mar 28, 2007
Photo of TurdFurgison
3.98/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 10oz bottle into a Ruination glass. The appearance was real nice, especially the thick foam cake. It looked just like the yeast cake on top of fermenting ale. mmmm....

By all measures other than appearance I felt this beer to be slightly above average but not stellar. It seemed to be made form the house yeast, giving a similar aroma / flavor as many other Rogues. The flavor was a little toasty and a little caramel, body was nominal viscosity.

Easy call for a recent convert from mass-produced lagers, maybe not a gateway beer but more of a second stop after the gateway.

TurdFurgison, Mar 24, 2007
Photo of Schwarzbart
4.03/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: A big huge pillowy air head, almost like a root beer float head without the cream. Reddish copper in color and big lacing.

Smell: Big malty nose with a nice blast of hops. Hops are sprucey just like the bottle points out. Sweetness is like dark fruits. Figs and dried fruits.

Taste: Chinook and Centennial hops try to balance out the big maltiness. There's a unique roasted maltiness that is sort of like a liquid trail mix, roasted but sweet.

Mouthfeel: Medium mouthfeel with tingling on the tongue.

Drinkability: A good winter ale for when you need a break from the big winter beers.

Schwarzbart, Mar 24, 2007
Photo of bjohnson
3.68/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to dubbercody for sending this along to me. Bottle says Salmon Nation Ale, but the bros say this is an alias for Santa's Reserve.

Pours a deep dark chestnut reddish color with a soft frothlike one finger cream colored head. For some reason the fat man's red nose and white beard just came to mind. Excellent malt profile with some sweet caramel and toasted grain notes. Slight hop profile of grassy hops, but not much else in that department.

Caramel malt notes are the first to hit the taste buds. Toasted grain flavors intermix with the sweet malt giving it a slight crispness. Slick on the palate leaving a sweet residue. Grassy hops with a tad of fruitiness to them. Quite drinkable, though I wasn't too thrilled with it. It was definitely nice, with a hefty malt base, but didn't wow me. Medium to full body.

bjohnson, Mar 14, 2007
Photo of jasonjlewis
3.65/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Beer has a good head that stays around for quite a while. It has a nice amber color to it as well. Smell is of chinook and centennial hops (commonly found in stone beers, and I know to identify them because they smell similar to stone hops.) Caramel malting comes out as well.

Taste is fairly hoppy although bitterness is not that high. Hops are in the forefront with a light malt profile attempting to balance this brew, yet take a backseat, while still providing a sessionable beer. Didn't really achieve this balance as the hops dominated and the malts struggled to much to stay alive. However there is a maltiness to the beer, it just doesn't seem to blend with the hopping.

The mouthfeel could be improved with some more crispness and fullness. This beer was a little too one sided for me for the style. I love hoppy beers (again this is not that bitter), but i would have liked to see more of a malt backbone to make this more sessionable.

jasonjlewis, Mar 11, 2007
Santa's Private Reserve Ale from Rogue Ales
85 out of 100 based on 1,957 ratings.