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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

2,150 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,150
Reviews: 1,181
rAvg: 3.75
pDev: 13.87%
Wants: 59
Gots: 176 | FT: 3
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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,150 | Reviews: 1,181 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of froghop
3.53/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

pours a dark mahogany with a small tan beige head that dissipates quickly, and good lacing.

smell of pine, caramel, some spice, citrus, hops, and a faint smell of roasted almonds.

taste is creamy and not as bitter as it smells, there are mellow hops, some pine, citrus, a wood like taste, and some roasted malts, ends a little bitter.

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

Nose is highly citrusy with beautiful floral and perfume notes on a bed of lush malt. Chocolate notes, kind of creamy. Smells good.

Pours a deep amber color, almost opaque, large creamy head with fair retention. Looks nice.

Unusually strong hops for a winter-type beer. Bitter, tart, and mildly pungent feelings go hand-in-hand with the same citric, floral, and perfume bright hop flavors from the nose. Fruity and quite juicy. Very hoppy. Finishes dry, and dry-hoppy. Tastes pretty good. Feels good - nice and thrashy/leafy/bitter.

The malt never seems to materialize under the aggressive hops. I like hoppy beers, but I was hoping for more rich malt. Even though it is very hoppy, it never approaches my ideal IPA threshold... it's just oddly unusually hoppy. Pretty good drinkability.

Photo of Blakaeris
3.06/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours brilliantly clear red-copper with a creamy white head that leaves sheets of lacing.

Aroma is malty, nutty and earthy with mild spices.

Taste is toasted, nutty caramel malt. Generous woody tobacco. Fruity, with piney grapefruit hop bitterness. Crisp, peppery finish is spiced with nutmeg and allspice.

Mouthfeel is light to medium bodied. A fuller feel would be appreciated.

Overall a drinkable, but uninspiring brew. Flavors are not unified, leaving an awkwardness that I can not overcome.

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

Pours with a small off white head. It is an attractive hazy amber to orange color.

Nice malty aroma of caramel, toffee, and a slightly toasty smell as well. Hop aroma is spicy and citus.

Flavor has a nice bready malt backbone with a sharp, spicy hop bite that that gives way to a nice caramel and orange sweetness.

Medium bodied with an almost sticky finish.

Pretty drinkable in my book. Wish I had another.

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

Poured from a 22 ounce brown painted glow in the dark bottle into a Samuel Smith pint glass.

Appearance: Sizeable light tan head on top of a dark orangish red body.

Smell: Nice malts and grapefruit and pine from the hops.

Taste: Very hoppy taste to it. Not overly hoppy but more hops than you usually get in red ales.

Photo of BamaBeerBuff
4.18/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a reddish-copper with a stiff, orange-tinted head that recedes slowly. Thick sheets of sticky lace on the glass. Well done.

S: Good amount of herbal/piney hops with a hint of citrus. Sweeter malt aromas, perhaps some toffee/caramel. A touch of fruitiness and spice, as well. Could be a bit bolder, but still good.

T&M: Piney/herbal hops are well balanced with a bready, slightly toasted caramel malt flavor. A good amount of complexity for being a smaller beer--some citrus, pine, caramel, bread, and a hint of tea-leaf character. Body is just fuller than medium with a sticky feel that coats very well. Finish is long and slightly bitter and drying as it beckons you to another gulp.

D: Big flavor, but it's easy to drink. I put this one down in about 5 or 6 gulps. Definitely would recommend this as a hoppy winter seasonal. Celebration's still top dog, but this is a close second so far.

Photo of seanbhudson
3.87/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark copper color with a medium size tan that dissipates at normal rate. Medium lacing.
Moderate aroma of alcohol, citrus, caramel and malts. Hints of gingerbread cookies.
Roasted malts and with some caramel like qualities.
Finishes with a piney hop bitterness and a little warmth of alcohol.
Medium to full body with slightly syrupy texture and then finishes dry. Moderate carbonation.
Pretty good beer but that bitter finish makes it difficult to drink too much of this.

Photo of dciBA
3.65/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked this one out for tree decoration day. poured from a bomber into a plain old pint glass. Nice reddish amber color with a small head that fades quickly. Smell is pleasant with mostly hops coming through and touch of light caramel. Taste is quite hoppy with a nice sweet malt backing. This is a good one from rogue, tasty, and very drinkable.

Photo of GJ40
4/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled on tap at Tyler's in Apex, NC.

A - A copper, reddish color with good clarity and a small white head with loads of lacing.

S - Floral and fruity hops. Nicely done.

T - A complex hop flavor with lots of citrus, big floral notes and a good bitterness level. Very crisp and clean. Somewhat dry.

M - Moderate carbonation and consistency.

D - Fun , interesting and smooth. Thank you Santa.

Photo of Mosstrooper
4.47/5  rDev +19.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 22oz into Guinness branded tulip pint glass.ce:

Appearance: Pours a mahogany color with a very big, epic off-white head that stays for a while and remains fluffy with lots of lace left behind as it dissipates.

Smell: Sweet and malty with nutty aromas and flowery hops.

Taste: Starts very sweet and malty with a dry hoppier finish. Has a slight finish like tea, too.

Mouthfeel: Medium, creamy body with a smooth finish.

Drinkability: Another exceptional beer from Rogue. I might be hunting this out for Christmas dinner this year and will look forward to it again next winter.

Photo of IronDjinn
3.98/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Deep transparent russet amber in appearance, massive chunky spongy light beige head with decent retention.

Crisp toasted and caramel malt on the nose, good dose of green leafy hops, seems well balanced so far.

Sharp metallic notes up front, very clean flavour, with herbal grassy hops tending to take the reigns in the middle and riding to glory into the sunset of the finish. The flavour isn't very complex, but can't be accused of being one-dimensional either. Crisp and clean flavour throughout.

Mouthfeel is also clean and slick, a foamy fullness in the middle, light on the finish.

A very approachable amber ale, one of the cleanest tasting beers I've sampled in a while.

Photo of OtherShoe2
4.3/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice amber with a foamy head, one that gradually resembles soap bubbles as it dissipates. Nice lacing.

Mild smell of toasted malt, some citric hop scents.

Toasted malt, some caramel, chewy bread crust, and citrus hop/almost pine cone like bite. Some yeast and wood (tongue depresser) like notes as well. Slight alcohol warmth comes through too.

Good body, decent carbonation. Finish is fairly clean and pleasant. Overall, you can put these down pretty easy. Had this in a bomber at the end of the season last year (on sale, and the last one available -- and I kicked myself for not grabbing it when I had the chance). A year later, I found a 6-pack. Wonderful, tawny, hoppy, balanced beer. I will buy this every week until they run out or the season ends.

Photo of ThreeWiseMen
3.53/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thank you lynx1245 for this free gift!

Appearance: Pretty vicious pour results in a fluffy, 2-finger head. Head is loose and off-white with fair retention. Fell to a thin tight cap after a few minutes, and drug some nice lacing behind it. Body is a hazy, reddish copper and steady carbonation can be seen within..

Smell: Immediately I get candied apples. Caramel and red berries seem to be caught up in the mix as well. Maybe a touch of bourbon in there too. Most of the aromas are quite sweet; this beer definitely reminds me of Christmas.

Taste: I don't know if it's candied apples like I got in the smell, but there's something quite sugary in there. Reminds me of cherry pie filling. A pretty hefty dosage of bready malts takes over from there before mingling with the Chinook hops in the finish. Some winter spice and alcohol hits the back of the palate.

Mouthfeel: Quite chewy and spicy, kind of like a maltier spiced lager. Stings at times, and alcohol provides some pretty good numbing and a surprising amount of dryness.

Drinkability: A little better than I remembered it, however this isn't one of Rogue's finest. It seems that you can either drink it quick and not really taste it (masked by spice), or drink it slowly and take in all the sweetness. I don't know... I'm just not a big fan of this one.


Photo of bum732
3.44/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a beautiful crimson red, absolutely beautiful. Great creamy head, very good lacing. Smells of sweet bready amber malt with a moderate piney hop presence in the background. Faint smells of fruit and maybe clove? Cherry fruit taste up front similar to an english ale melds into a pretty strong hop presence and pronounced bitterness. Finish is very dry and bitterness leaves an unpleasant metallic taste in the mouth. Mouthfeel is very good for an amber.

Not too bad, but i was expecting more from a Rogue beer. The taste up front is excellent, however, the finish is too dry and bitter. Really wanted to love this beer, still not too bad, but probably wouldn't buy again.

Photo of Bubslang
3.68/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Brownish red with a large tan head that sticks around for awhile, aroma is a quick hit of west coast hops. taste is of grapefruit and piney hops, some very mild spice, and a nice caramel malt sweetness leading to a bitter hop finish. a very solid and enjoyable beer

Photo of irishtjb11
4.2/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

great beer

has the nice of a real nice amber/red, with a nice frothy head that hangs around as well as leaving nice rings on the glass. perhaps one of my favorite things about this beer. the smell is wonderful balance between hops and malt, with both being able to stand on their own. the tartness of the hops goes pefectly with the warm, bready smell the malt produces. the taste is much more of the same; comes on very smooth with almost a buttery bread flavor thats truly great, followed by a nice hops finish. after a few sips you can feel yourself getting a bit warmer, couldn't think of a better beer i'd like on the holidays or to be snowed in with. its tough to get over how well the warm, biscuity flavor is followed by the strong presence of hops; pleases hops and malt lovers alike. this is helping make rogue one of my favorite american micros.

Photo of Applesauce1
4.62/5  rDev +23.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

ej285701 got this for me in our most recent beer exchange (we exchanged three bombers each...it was one for the ages :) )

Anyhow, enough of that....

Appearance: amber-brown color with a really large head...about 1 1/2"
Smell: apple cider with hops is what im picking up on
Taste: wow...awesome...nice hop variety...the hops definitely dominate over the malt...some smokiness actually and a very slight citrus flavor
Mouthfeel: medium body
Drinkability: goes down nice :)

A very impressive beer to say the least. Rogue's done it again.

Photo of glid02
3.58/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had this on-tap at the Brick Store in Atlanta.

Pours an amber color with a one-finger off-white head. The head dissipates into a patchy layer of bubbles on top and a medium-sized ring around the glass. Lacing is decent.

Smells of equal parts pine and citrus hops up front, but as it warms a smell that at first seems bready but later turns to diacetyl comes out more. By the end I wasn't a fan of the smell.

Tastes alright. Lots of malt up front backed up by light pine hop flavors. Again, as the beer warms the diacetyl takes over.

Mouthfeel is good. Good thickness and carbonation.

Drinkability is alright. It's good at first when the hops still have some say in the flavor profile, but as I drink the beer it doesn't get any better.

Overall I was a bit disappointed. I'll have to try this again to see if it tastes any different the second time around.

Photo of dogden3
4.05/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Hoppy, of course. Drinks crisp with malty body, especially interesting piney or spruce sort of finish to the ale. I wonder what hops they're using? The bottle advertises a roasted malt flavor, I don't get that in quantity but there may be a hint of it mid-palate. If you're a hop fan, than I recommend you give this one a go, though not all will return to the beer after a couple.

Photo of elniko
3.7/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from bomber into Chimay goblet.

A: Rich mahogany amber, oily head with some lacing. Decent looking brew.

S: Clean smelling, not the strongest nose. Picked up twinge of hops.

T & M: Different form the typical Christmas/winter ale that I've been trying this season. This is one hoppy amber/red ale however. Still quite balanced though.

D: As with any other Rogue that I've had, very drinkable. I'm just not quite sure where the Christmas designation is with this beer.

Photo of optiontwo
2.93/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. poured into generic pint glass. Note: This bottle went crazy and fizzed over the top when I opened it. I hope it is ok.

Appearance: Dark ruby red/brown with one inch white head.

Smell: Earthy hop smell mixed with caramel sweetness. Not much else.

Taste: Similar to the smell but hoppier. Nice amount of bitter but the aftertaste is somewhat metallic and kind of ruins the whole thing.

Mouthfeel: Not bad, but not great either. Carbonation seems to be a bit too much, but then again my bottle did erupt when I opened it so who knows.

Drinkability: Not bad. I could probably put back a couple bombers.

Overall: I'm not a big fan of Rogue but I definitely went into this one objectively. I'm not a fan of this brew. Not enough going on for me and the metallic aftertaste is less than desirable. I might pick this one up again just to see if my bottle was bad, but probably not.

Photo of popery
3.58/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A hoppy red ale with a taste that runs more toward the bitter than the rich. For me, this does not have the professional feel of other Rogue beers. The taste is underwhelming and somewhat bitter without enough of the favorable characteristics of hops. It's hardly without positive aspects, though, and I'm only being so harsh because of my expectations for a Rogue release. For one thing, it's a great looking beer. It has a spot-on color for an amber ale and a huge white-amber head. The nose is malty and sweet. It's nice but lacking the holiday stylings that I associate with a holiday ale. There's little spice or complexity. The taste is not incredible but far from bad. There are a fair amount of hops. They mostly come through with bitterness, which is rather unbalanced with an understated caramel malt. The mouthfeel is somewhat watery. As a somewhat watery and unbalancedly bitter beer, it's not the most drinkable brew in the world. The lack of spice and underwhelming flavor really hurt my enjoyment of this beer. I'm trying to evaluate it merely as an amber ale but Santa is right on the bottle. It needs some nutmeg, desperately. At least, a bit of cinnamon. I mean, why does Santa keep a private reserve of over-hopped amber ale? I need a ginger cookie.

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

A - This beer poured a reddish golden color which produced a nicely sized, fluffy white head which had goof retention and laced the side of the glass nicely

S - The aromas produced by this beer had a sweet malty characteristic, but was easily overshadowed by the hops

T - The taste of this beer had a nice, sweet malty beginning that was interrupted by the shear hoppiness of the beer, citrus and pine are present

M - The mouthfeel of this beer had a smooth, medium body with a moderate amount of carbonation

D - I do not know if it is because I expect so much out of Christmas beers, but this one does not meet with my criteria, however this is a good beer that should be relabeled and available year round

Photo of EStreet20
4.13/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle poured into a 20 ounce nonic.

A - Very nice looking red ale. Gloes with a slightly orange hue when held to the light. Nice two finger head forms, shrinks but leaves a nice coating head and laces the glass well.

S - Nice caramelly malt with balancing hop aroma in there.

T - Very nice flavors of sweet caramel malt. Good amount of hops comes through, goes more toward some citrus and pine rather than hop bitterness.

M - Nice and smooth. A medium body with an easy amount of carbonation.

D - An excellent American Red Ale that's been "winterized" a bit with some more sweetness coming through than Rpgue's other ambers/reds.

Photo of thain709
4.04/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Hard to explain...a clear but dark color...a light amber color i guess you could call it...left nice lacing down the glass

S - Nice earthy hops with pine notes

T - Sweet malts come out in the palate...very nice...the hops are present...with a nice piney finish...not very bitter but leaves an interesting taste on the palate

M - Medium body...left my mouth wanting more

D - A very nice seasonal ale from Rogue...I will be having a few more before winter is gone

Santa's Private Reserve Ale from Rogue Ales
85 out of 100 based on 2,150 ratings.