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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 BeerCon5
3.73/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a cloudy, dark reddish-orange color with about 3/4 inches of foamy, beige head that leaves thick, sticky lacing at the top.

The smell is of sweet roasty caramel malts, and floral hopps.

Mostly a roasty malt taste with very bitter hoppiness, also some spice.

Medium-bodied feel, a bit thick with not a lot of carbonation.

I'd say this was an average drinker, this is a pretty filling beer so it's tough to drink more than a few, but it is enjoyable.

Photo of beerthulhu
3.92/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Poured a medium, cloudy mahogany red with a slight dirty beige head.

S: sweet caramel, toasted malts and a floral hoppiness with some citrus.

T: For flavor there appeared to be signature Chinook hop presence that delivers a dry, pine bitterness with faint grapefruit notes. A moderate caramel backing and dry hoppy bitterness.

M: medium with ample carbonation.

D: Overall a moderately good drink by itself. decent and worth a look.

Photo of BeerAdvocate
4.12/5  rDev +9.9%
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.

Photo of Ragingbull
3/5  rDev -20%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Medium shade of brown color and head that quickly dissipated when poured into a pint glass. Spicy nose. This beer obviously had spicy hints to it given that it was a holiday warmer, but I couldn't help but think that it was too busy as far as the spices were concerned. There was something in the flavor that just didn't quite jive with me. I tried it again as I had purchased several 22 ounce bottle and while the second go round was a little easier on me I still couldn't quite appreciate this beer. It was just alright for me. I have no doubt that some will love it, but it was too busy for me.

Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.97/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a light reddish brown color, with a short off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of caramelized malts, floral hops and some citrus.

T: The taste is nicely balanced with flavors of caramel & citrus sweetness and a good floral hops bitterness. The malt character is hearty and the hops presence eventually takes dominance. The after-taste is slightly hoppy and slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, decent kick, this is a good beer with some substance and is worth drinking for a long time.

Photo of BoitSansSoif
3.97/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A-Pours a red-brown amber w/fluffy light-beige head, exhibiting nice retention, and leaving some sticky lacing.
S-Rich roasted malt, hint of nuts, bread, white raisin, citrusy American hops.
T&M-Upfront is slightly sweet toasted bready malt, midpalate is rich blend of malt and hops that mingles well with carbonation, although carbonation is quite active. Finish is ruled by hops' floral, resin, and citrus notes that linger into the aftertaste, leaving a dry, clean sensation mixed with grapefruit.
D-Quite good, but not one of my preferred varieties from Rogue. It's got the tasty malt edge of an English ale w/a little too much American hops.

Photo of biggred1
4.12/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Hazy chestnut brown with a rocky tan head that settles quickly into a fluffy ring that really sticks to the glass, a litte yeasty sediment also is present.

S-Rich and spicy cakebread and fruity malty aromas.

T-Very tasty and complex sweet toffee malt flavors fade into a zingy,crisp hop finish.

M-Medium chewy mouthfeel with smooth carbonation.

D-Overall this is good drinking.If you get the chance to grab some don't hesitate to snap it up come christmas!

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

Saw this on sale at the brewery, but didn't want to buy a case to find out if it was past prime. Instead I bought a single at my grocer.

The 12 oz label differs slightly from the 22oz bottle, though the beer seems to pour the same deep mahogany with a frothy brownish head. The surface is uneven and takes its time settling, though most of it ends on the sides of the glass.

The aroma is that of an earthy, musty British ale, probably owing to the malt constituents. The yeast, though Rogues, gives the overall aroma a well rounded and polite introduction.

The taste is neither overly-rich nor overly bold, but there is little room in each sip for anything but the flavor. From sip to swallow there's always some pleasing activity on my tongue. Carmel, sweetbread and raisins all come to mind, though everything is smooth and suggestive.

The mildish flavor and the way the beer drifts away from your palate after each sip makes for a deliciously drinkable beer. Now I kick myself for not snapping up a case.

Photo of happygnome
4.42/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

a: pours a nice deep dark ruby color with about a half inch of head that dissapears relatively quickly leaving a good amount of lacing around the edge of the glass
s: caramely malts and strong notes of citrusy hops
t: same as the nose, sweet caramley malts and some nice citrusy earthy hop bitterness
m: medium bodied beer with a good amount of carbonatoin

overall, this is a fantastic brew

Photo of Pencible
4.07/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This poured clear auburn with clashing yellowish head. It smelled like cinnamon malt, pine hops, and maybe a bit of sweet cream. It tasted fairly bland, with a blend of malt and pine hops. It was moderately thick with slight carbonation and a clean and mild aftertaste. Overall, it was good but not quite as sweet as I was hoping. Depending on my mood, this could be considered either boring, or a complex and subtle beer.

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

This beer was poured into an Imperial pint glass at 42° from a 650ml bottle with no date information. Over three fingers of off white head resulted from the pour with a little pour over. There was nice lacing atop this reddish copper beer.

A nice fruity and hoppy aroma greeted the nose. Malt was present in a subtle and enticing way under the hops. This created some anticipation for taste.

There was a good mixture of hops and malt with no detectable fruit in the taste. This is a very pleasant tasting beer.

The malt stayed around for quite a while. There was a good solid structure to this beer.

There were more and more hops as I continued to drink. This was good for a beer with a rated IBU of 44. I will be looking for this one again next year.

Photo of Sixpoint
3.4/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I don't get it...

it was labeled a "special reserve" ale, so I was thinking it was going to be a tasty treat.

Don't get me wrong, like all of Rogue beers, this brew was technically flawless and pretty sound all around.

However, that being said, it was a pretty standard Amber ale and nothing special about it.

It seems as if Santa only comes around once a year his special reserve ale would be a little more "special"

know what I'm sayin?

Photo of ryrust5301
3.24/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured out of a 12 oz. brown bottle into a pint glass. On the front there's a happy looking santa giving the rogue fist pump. When I opened the bottle the beer foamed up and spilled out a little bit. This is the third bottle that has happened with this year. Wonder if this has happened to anyone else?

Appearance - Poured a redish amber color with a healthy 2 finger clumpy white head.

Smell - Weird...I hardly picked up any nose with this one at all

Taste & Mouthfeel - This beer has a malty, chewy, sweet caramel body. Smooth most of the way until the end, when a hop bitterness comes through to help finish off the beer cleanly.

Drinkability - A little more malty than hoppy. I expected a lot more hops from Rogue. It is a christmas beer, and the sweet maltyness is perfect for the season. Not a bad winter brew to sip on.

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

Review from notes. 12 oz bottle poured into a flared pint glass. Copper colored with a light tan head of about a finger's height. The foam leaves modest lacing. Great aroma for the style, with ample maltiness and spicy hops. Flavor consists of a fairly standard malt profile, with grainy toasty sweetness, but it's the hops that push this above average. Just about every possible hop character in existence is detectable, with grapefruit, pine, floweriness, and spiciness. Finish is bitter and dry. Smooth and easy to drink.

Photo of charlzm
2.92/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottled, consumed on 01/29/08.

Had this chilling in the fridge for a couple of months; figured it was time to try it out. Pours cloudy orange/amber, tan head. Strong grapefruity hop aroma. Flavor is the same with bitterness as well. I couldn't make out any malt character or anything from the yeast. Just citrus hops. Okay, maybe a tiny hint of spruce hoppiness, too.

One dimensional hop juice.

Photo of Matty1918
3.76/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a frosted pint glass.

Poured a dark amber with a 3 finger creamy head that lasted about 2 minutes...good lacing down the whole glass.

Aroma was of hops and malt.

Taste was of hops but not overly hoppy like a good IPA. There was also a slight malt flavor with a slight nutty finish...good tasting.

This was a good tasting ale not as hoppy as I like but good tasting non the less.

I do wish they would put a date on the bottle also.

Photo of BigJTrucker
4.21/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked up this 12oz bottle on a recent trip to Newport. Pours an absolutely beautiful deep amber color with a thick creamy head. Excellent head retention. Aroma is very hoppy, but not to ipa level. Some malt and yeast notes as well. Taste is surprisingly hoppy. Wow. Very nice. Nice caramel malt sweetness. Mouthfeel is very thick, sticky, lingering aftertaste. Quite a nice brew. I tried a special version of this before at the holiday ale festival that was either dry hopped, or barrel aged, or both, and find that i liked that one just a bit more. Well done.

Photo of udubdawg
4.38/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bomber

(side note - put some f***ing dates on your bottles! I've had too many bad experiences with bottles of this otherwise-wonderful beer that were obviously left over from a year ago!)

Pours bright red/copper in color, excellent clarity. Forms a large creamy head just a little too yellow to call off-white. Lacing is fantastic over the entire side I'm not drinking out of.

The nose, even when fresh, is a small disappoint for me. I suppose as an amber it is excellent, but it drinks like a hoppier beer and i'd like it to smell as such. Anyway, there's some bready/biscuity sweet malt here, with surprisingly little initially from the hops. This would change as the beer warmed, eventually the aroma would be full of a citrusy, herbal, oily fresh hoppiness. Just hints at the bitterness to come. Nice.

Excellent flavor. Bitterness is right up front - I've seen several people caught off-guard by the flavor of this beer. quite the hop profile - There's pine, more than a bit of an herbal quality, and plenty of citrus, mostly grapefruit. When sampling an old bottle I see how much malt sweetness there is in this beer, but when opened in a more timely manner it is quite well covered up, mostly showing as a sweet/bitter lingering reminder in the finish.
Creamy soft, excellent. Medium body. Borderline "5" in mouthfeel.
I generally try to buy this beer in bomber size, as I hate the disappointment of opening one 12-oz bottle and realizing I've got 5 more old bottles to throw away. If I could be assured of freshness I'd buy this beer at least twice as often.

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

1 pt. 6 fl.oz. brown bottle

A: Slightly clouded, toffee colored amber with an off-white head. Leaves nice lacing when settled.
S: Not too much here. A mix of malt and hops overpower a nutty backdrop.
T: Hops dominate the taste. This is a bitter ale. The malt cuts the bitterness briefly, revealing a delicate citrus sweetness, but this is a bitter ale.
M: Light to medium bodied with heavy carbonation.
D: In case it isn't obvious, this was a little too bitter for me. I'm not sure if it is out of character for an American Amber, so I may revisit.

Photo of plaid75
3.66/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a medium amber hue with a two finger creamy white head. There was very good retention and sticky lacing.

The smell featured a light caramel malt, some citrus and grassy hops and a bit of a metallic aroma.

The taste was initially sweet and grainy, but soon gave way to the a spicy and rindlike hop.

The mouthfeel was of average fullness with a bitter finish.

Overall a tasty amber. Could use a bit more complexity however.

Photo of stcules
3.7/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Ruby red color. Half finger of a beige head, not too beautiful. Well, quite compact. Decent.
Malty smell, quickly subdued by a goo hoppiness. Almost spicy notes, and vanilla. Some mou. Good hop, good balance.
A full malty start in the taste, not heavy. And again hop and bitterness. Resolute, but not overwhelming. Maybe notes of heather? Nuts, almond, dry fruit. But even some fresh fruitiness, apricot.Full body, but not too much.
Overall, quite fresh, and quite balanced.
Good, but not in the best of Rogue.

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

12oz bottle purchased from Downtown Wines in Cambridge, MA. Pours a daark, clear ruby. Aroma isn't overwhelming, but is of very nice hops. Flavour is well balanced. Myself, I'd prefer the hops to be a bit more dominant - but then not everything has to be an IPA. Nice lingering hoppy aftertaste.

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

22 oz bottle poured into a pint glass

A: Clear brownish amber/copper with a very nice looking head. Off white/pale tan, very fluffy lots of little bubbles with great retention and lacing.
S: Malty with faint hop smell, I'm having trouble picking up anything more specific from this beer.
T: Mild malt taste throughout, not as strong as smell would suggest. Slightly piney and a little citrus as hops are very strong and take over in the finish.
M: Medium body, very creamy, but a little too much carbonation for me.
D: I feel pretty indifferent toward this beer. A slightly overhopped amber for my taste, biggest complaint was not getting enough of the malt sweetness to balance the hops.

Photo of irishkyle21
4.5/5  rDev +20%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is one of the better winter seasonals I have had so far. Pours with a large rocky head. Great retention and lacework. Has a clear copper color.

This beer has a solid hop presence that caught me be surprise when I gave it a sniff. Notes of grapefruit, pine and malts (almost like toast).

Tastes of pine, citrus, bready malts and caramel. Great beer I should have bought more.

Photo of 86sportster883
4.13/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I was impressed with Santa's Private Reserve from outset to finish.

When cold, strong piney hop aromas and slightly bitter hop flavors dominate. Initially, the fragrant and citrusy hops remind me more of a mild West Coast IPA than an American amber. However, as the beer warms, the malt flavors become more assertive to begin to achieve a more even balance. The hops never do loose the upper hand though, even as the beer approaches room temperature. At the warmer temps there is a good dose of caramel malt throughout, followed by a finish that is pleasant, with a lingering dose of gentle hop bitterness.

Overall, Santa's Private Reserve is very drinkable, very Northwest American, and just another all around excellent ale from John Maier.

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