1. American Craft Beer Fest returns to Boston on May 29 & 30, featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers. Tickets are on sale now.

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

2,158 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,158
Reviews: 1,183
rAvg: 3.75
pDev: 13.87%
Wants: 59
Gots: 182 | 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.

65 IBU
73.1 AA
26.75º L
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
to view all ratings, reviews and sorting options.
Ratings: 2,158 | Reviews: 1,183
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

Photo of Spikester
3.88/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From a 22 ounce bomber.
Pours deep amber with a huge 3 inch head and good amount of lacings.
Smell is floral hops.
Taste is bitter, piney, resinous hops with a minor malt backing. At 44 IBUs this is closer to an IPA IMO. Nevertheless, this is a tasty seasonal ale with a big hit of bitter, rich hops. Just don't expect an amber ale. It still had a half inch of head at the bottom of the glass.
Mouthfeel if O.K.
Drinkability is very good if you like bitter complex hops. The bottle lists Chinook and Centennial as the hops.
Paid $3.99 US for the bomber.

Photo of Jablonski
4.15/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: once poured, it had a reddish-brown color; decent head and good retention

Taste: solid taste and quite bitter for the style; an initial citrus taste is soon overpowered by a lingering bitterness; malt and spice only apparent after a few sips

Drinkability: couldn't wait to pour another pint after I finished the first; at the price i bought it at, I'll purchase a few more 500 mL bottles.

Photo of dnichols
4.25/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I poured a capped 500 ml bottle into a pint glass.

A: It poured a copper and amber body with a foamy large head that settled to an even cover. There was moderate carbonation and even layered lacing.

S: It smelled of lightly toasted malts, hints of ripe white apples and pears, and spicy hops.

T: It had a solid toasted malt front with an equally dominant hoppy and spicy back. Underlying both were flavors of tart apples and unripened pears. The hops were spicy and piny.

M: It was medium bodied and had a moderate level of carbonation. It finished tangy and spicy but clean. there was a slight spicy bitterness that lingered into the aftertaste.

D: It was a solid and flavorful brew that was a great candidate for a session brew.

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.45/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. single for $2.49 at Total Wine & More in Kennesaw, Georgia.

Appearance: Clear, dark amber body with a fairly tall, bubbly, off-white head.

Smell: Hoppy nose with full, fragrant notes of citrus fruits, pine needles, and spruce tips. Some toasty, roasty malty hint in back.

Taste: Pale malts with a bit of toast and a bit of roast to it along with a restrained caramel sweetness. Citrusy hop character, maybe a faint, far off touch of spicy spruce, with a medium bitterness. A mild residual sweetness tries it's best to remain, but the beer still finishes dry with a light, lingering bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: A beer with a bold hoppiness, as is the way with Rogue. So, if you like a punchy, bitter amber, you should also dig this.

Photo of Dodo2step
3.85/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

P- Market Cross Pub in Carlisle

A- a somewhat clear yet foggy burnt orange color. A decent head but it dissipates quickly. Quite carbonated though.

S- very sweet smell with light malts. A nice citrus and spruce hop smell rounds out the nose.

T- a roasted citrus type of flavoring. Somewhat dry yet very crisp and smooth. Rounds out with some moist sweet spruce taste.

M- wet and dry at the same time. Refreshing and smooth. A nice hop left on the palate as well. A nice wintry and cold feel.

D- A nice hop to put down. Not bad in flavor but could be a little more dry. Leaves a touch of bitter in the back of the mouth that im not too fond of. Overall a good beer.

Photo of Stinkypuss
3.95/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A. Poured into a pint glass. Mahogany body with a off white head.

S. Smells fruity and sweet. Caramel malt and some roasted nuts.

T. Well balanced brew featuring a roasted malt body and an earthy hop bitter. None of the sweetness in the nose pulls through much here.

M. Medium bodied and creamy. Good overall mouthfeel with a semi-dry finish.

D. A fairly drinkable, sessionable red ale. Spot on for the style and good for what it is. 6% is a bit high for extended sessions. As it warms it becomes not as great.

Photo of bort11
4.26/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bomber, screen printed with glow-in-the-dark paint. That's cool. Poured into a standard shaker pint. Tall fluffy tan head very sticky lacing. Huge chunks of lace cling to the glass. Rings cascade down the glass with each sip. Awesome! Color is a clear, but dark coppery red. Small tracers of carbonation travel to the top.

Smell has a light spruce aroma, with mildly sweet malt notes backing it up. The taste kicks it up with the spruce flavoring. It's been a while since I've had hops go in this direction and I really enjoy it. It really reminds me of the smell of a fresh cut Christmas tree. The way that sap sticks to everything. It's very green and minty. Malts keep it very balanced and drinkable.

Mouthfeel has a medium body, but the wintergreen finish keeps it very crisp. Very, very good. Thank you Santa!

Photo of Gmann
3.68/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear amber brown color with a tight egg-shell colored head that left a wall of lacing as it dissipated, very nice. The aroma is a nice juicy fresh hop, some grapefruit. Good for an amber ale. On the taste, the hops are the dominate flavor; some piney and metallic hop flavor. The malt doesn't really add any flavor, it is just kind of there. Despite the look and apparent malt presence, the flavor reminds me more of an east coast IPA or EIPA. The feel is moderate to full, with good carbonation, finishes with a good hoppy bitterness. By the appearence the malt is there but it really doesn't come out in the flavor. I prefer a more hoppy amber ale but there needs to be more of a malt check, like the benchmark Nugget Nectar.

Photo of oneeye
4.03/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass.

Pours a dark red amber ale. A beautiful amber two fingered head. A frothy head that stays and leaves lots of sticky icky lacing.

The sweet aroma of fruit,hops,and sugary malts.

A very good tasting Amber Red Ale. Very malty with hints of candied dry fruit. A hop profile of citrus and pine. Rich caramel with a piny bitter finish.

Mouthfeel is thick and creamy, frothy. A solid body and a little bitterness at the end.

This is a very good tasting beer. I highly recommend Santa's Private Reserve. A tasty brew thats a pleasure to drink.

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

Rustic red with tawny stain, Santa's Private Reserve has a very nice blend of colours. Although spotlessly clear, its deep tone darkens the clarity of my fingers on the other side. The ecru tinted head fails to cover every spot on the top and leaves the sides of the glass completely bare.

The aroma is a tad harsh and uninviting. The hop profile is aggressive, saturating, and pungent. The malts that underline it are quite astringent and posses a very bitter roast quality. Burnt buttery toffee with spicy vegetable plant kind of smell. I don't mind it, but a bouquet showcasing pungent and astringent will not be for everyone.

This may be one of the more distinctive beers I remember trying in a long time, all due to a peculiar flavouring. Each smell was like a deep breath in the middle of a spruce forest. Similarly, each sip is like bitting the branches, chewing the leaves, nibbling on the needle tips and sucking out every last ounce of oil and resin from a gigantic spruce tree.

This is another Rogue beer that gives me a headache when trying to determine if it's more hoppy or malty. This brewery seems to have perfected the balance between hop and malt in many of their beers; the ratio seems to be 1:1. Notes of burnt toffee and a buttery diacetyl taste seem to have come with warming. They add to the astringency but don't detract much overall from the drinkability.

Rogue has offered a lot to be happy with for an amber ale - it is aggressively hopped, distinctly flavoured, balanced and gratifyingly drinkable. This wouldn't be on the top of my want list but if Santa did decide to share some of his private reserve it would certainly be a welcome find in my stocking.

Photo of Duffman
4.2/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A deep, cloudy amber-tinged brown with an incredibly dense, creamy, off white head thats appearance reminds me of a thick, round, chicken dumpling shared with me by a friend. A beautiful ale.

The hop aroma is strangely and eerily reminiscent of Surly Darkness (do they use the same, or similar hops?). Astonishingly fresh and fragrant. A nice creamy, dried-fruit malty aroma balances well with the hop aromas to create an inviting and complex nose. Excellent.

Pine, juniper, the taste just screams pacific northwest. Nice sweet, creamy maltiness. Citrus fruits and spice including nice clove and peppery tones. For me the nose is better, but not by too much. For me this is head and shoulders above most other christmas-themed brews I've ever had, Schell's Snowstorm being one exception.

Nice smooth medium body but for me this is the weakness of the beer. It's not at all a hindrance to the enjoyment of the experience but I find that it doesn't fit up to the other standards of the beer, lagging behind somewhat. All in all though a unique take on the style and a beer I will look forward to in winter past and future. One of Rogue's more successful and ingenious brews in my opinion.

Photo of KeefD
4.08/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark amber/red color with a two finger tan/orange colored head that becomes rocky as it recedes and leaves some nice lacing. Nice pungent hop aroma, sprucey and orangey, backed up by some sweet malt. Nice citrus-pine hop flavor, hints of orange, some bready, toasty malts and slightly yeasty. Almost a sourdough bread malt character. Hop bitterness is great! Creamy mouthfeel, average carbonation. A very nice Red-IPA and much tastier than the St Rogue's Red.

Photo of DavoleBomb
2.96/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 1.5

Poured into a pint glass.

5.0 A: Very inviting brown amber color with purple hues. I don't think I've seen such a color. Thick creamy lacing with awesome retention and tons of lacing. Near perfection.

4.0 S: Very pleasant herbal hop aroma. Nutiness mixed with a hint of citrus and spice. Could be a big bolder though.

2.5 T: Big tangy hop bitterness. The IBUs must be through the roof. Normally this would make my day, but there is seemingly no balance to this beer. I really must stress the hop flavor and bitterness. It reminds me of the time a couple weeks ago when I decided to try a few Cascade hops pellets straight up. I try to pick up on malt characteristics, but I fail because every sip leaves a massive bitter aftertaste that lingers.

4.0 M: Medium bodied. Good carbonation, good all around.

1.5 D: The beer is just too hoppy or, rather, not malty enough. I love hops, love them dearly, but I need some balance from the malts. Otherwise, there is no point of drinking beer since I could pick up a few ounces of hops and eat them like a salad.

I think if I cellared this beer for a few years, it could be really good.

Update: I think I'll have to try this again sometime. After writing my review, I read some of the other ones and a lot of people are saying how the malts really stand out.

Photo of abfraser
2.88/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A: Nice reddish copper. Pours with a nice thick white head. Pretty good lacing.

S: Sweet malt, orange peel, some faint spice like aromas

T/M: Very thin mouthfeel. Malt is the predominant characteristic here. It's not sweet like the initial smell, very bready. Some hop bitterness on the end. Overall, mostly blah.

D: Not feeling much of desire to even finish my glass...

Photo of oriolesfan4
3.93/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Rogue in a 12 oz bottle? I don't believe it! Haha, my usual store now carries this and Dead Guy in the non-bomber variety.

This beer pours a beautiful copper red color with a nice fluffy head. The lacing is incredible... the entire glass was coated all the way down. Taste wise it was good, but not great. It was a little thin on the body and I felt for the style it's better suited to be a tad thicker. Taste was hoppy and good though which it made it pretty drinkable. A pretty solid beer, but expected more for the price tag ($2.29/12 oz bottle)

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

A pours a three finger buttermilk head, very low carbonated, amber in color good lacing

S grains, hops, nothing over powering here, some roasted malts, a slight bit of sweetness here

T A little grainy, with a very roasted malt taste that really sits well, from the smell i thought this was going to be a lot drier then the taste proves. some creaminess which really sets a nice flow throughout each sip. Some pretty nice hops come through on the tail, leaving a nice finish on the palate.

All in all, I thought this would classify more as a christmas ale which comes as a slight let down. I would say this is was definitly one of the most interesting seasonal' for this time of year, and would highly recommend if you happen to come across a bottle.

Photo of kinger
3.95/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Nice holiday spice from Rogue, and the spice is a wonderful blend of hops. Light grapefruity aroma and a bit of spruce, not too powerful. Rich dark amber pour with a towering head and mild lacing. Easy and smooth on the palate, even go as far as to say lightly crisp. Taste is a wonderful fusion of sweet malt and hops. Again a well blended brew resembling something of an APA.

to view all ratings, reviews and sorting options.
Santa's Private Reserve Ale from Rogue Ales
85 out of 100 based on 2,158 ratings.