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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 babyhobbes
3.83/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I poured this and thought, where's the head, darnit! Answered the phone and came back to a nice 1/2 inch creamy head that now won't go away. It's all good.

Taste is really pine-tree hoppy to me. It's good and doesn't linger. It's not like sucking on a pine-cone. I get a more malty scent than the taste lets on.

This is a highly drinkable beer because there isn't a whole lot going on. Seems like a pale ale not a red ale, maybe I need to try more red ales to get a better idea about them. Whatever this is, I like it.

Photo of Durge
3.75/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Clear dark copper with big light tan head and medium lace. It has a fruit nougat aroma with toffee malt and light pine hops. It's relatively light bodied, finely but solidly carbonated, peppery biscuit flavor with an odd suggestion of mild fish! Roasted malt and a touch of charcoal at the back. Pretty drinkable once I got by that hint of flounder!

2009 Update:
A light mahogany color with a chunky oatmeal colored head and tons of thick lacing. The aroma is a nice mild malt and piney hops with a goodly pissy bitterness. The flavor brings a tangy bite to the tongue with clean wheat malt and pine with good carbonation but a tad thin. Smooth though and very drinkable. Grows on you as you go I think. Nothing particularly Christmasy here, a nice drinkable hoppy brew.

Photo of ReDave
3.63/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark amber brown.
Nice hoppy bite.
Nice aftertaste.
I was given this by someone at work who said this was "bad" I though he he.. probably not that bad... This is almost a sprucy IPA.
Probably a little past it's prime, but still very drinkable!
Some holiday spices (?) great lacing, lingering filmy head. mouth-feel a little light, but OK.
Will have to seek this out next year!

Photo of BMan1113VR
3.37/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Not the biggest fan of this stuff. The aroma is pretty nice, equally bready malts and spruce or resin hops. And some Rasberry and Apricot smells to that. Color is more a clear brown than an amber, maybe copper. The Tan colored head is largish and stays a bit. Lacing is only Okay. Taste is nutty and malty and too bitter for my liking with a lack of character to the bite. Astringent and unbalanced. The mouth feel is a mixture of sandpaper carbonation and water texture. I'll pass on this next time.

Photo of mountdew1
3.28/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into standard shaker pint glass. Color was a dark slightly reddish brown. Head was very thick and long lasting, clung to the sides of the glass the entire time. Smelt slightly sweet, but with noticeable spruce also. Taste initially reminded me of chocolate chip cookies, but then shifted to hops and spruce. Felt ok in the mouth. It didn't coat very well, and was slightly carbonated. I didn't find it to be very drinkable as the hops and spruce made it bitter and acidic.

Photo of ballewblake
3.41/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Not fluent on all the Rogue's so not sure why i was expected something totally different (was thinking sweet for a winter ale...). Poured into a pint glass, immediately lots of piny hops float the noise. Head was decent but fell pretty quick for me. Hoppy and lightly bitter on the tongue. I love hoppy brews but this one was some what off for me, not in a rush to sample it again.

Photo of DoubleJ
4.1/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bomber purchased from BevMo, and poured into an Oktoberfest mug, on to the beer:

An excepionally sized head sits on top of the red-amberish colored beer. The aroma is big on the hops and the tropical juicy flavors it brings along. It looks like it's going to be a monster of a beer to get down, but isn't. Lots of hoppiness to be found in the taste, which is tea-like. Burnt sugar, wood, and a light fruitiness are found in the crowd. Faint doughiness in the aftertaste. Not a very carbonated brew, but a good one to quaff on.

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

A- Pours a amber brown color. 2 fingers of tan creamy head, and some nice lacing.

S- Hoptastic, pine. Wonderful malt notes.

T- Hop bitterness imediately. Grapefruit second. A good pineapple flavor, and sweet malt.

M- Medium carbonation on the tongue. Medium bodied. Lingering hop flavor.

D- Not my style, but I do appreciate what they were going after.

Photo of AMo
3.88/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Rogue Santa's Private Reserve pours a brilliant dark amber with a one inch fluffy head. The smell is strongly hopped and very evident in the taste as well. A slight hop bitterness lingers in the aftertaste. Mouthfeel is highly carbonated, but it does go down smooth. Overall this is good beer to drink, however its bitterness is a point that slightly detracts from its drinkability.

Photo of Jmamay22
4/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is the last bottle of a six pack. For some reason this one gushed out on me, but I saw it coming and managed to save it in my new Boston Lager glass. The hard landing created a large head that faded leaving a beautiful rocky sea foam lace. The beer itself is a cloudy dark amber.

This is a fairly well hopped American Amber and it shows in the nose, but there is also an aggressive amount of malts to round things out nicely. A mix of biscuits and citrus hop oil.

Tastes smooth, nutty and sweet at the start. Finishes with a sharp zip of the hops. Not your stereotypical Christmas ale, but this is Rogue and they do hops well as they have hear.

Mouthfeel is medium with a surprisingly creamy quality. At 6.0% this becomes drinkable on some of the more bitterly cold evenings, but it will catch up to you. A Pacific Northwest Holiday ale.

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

12Oz bottle poured into my Duvel tulip

A: A reddish-amber with a thin light tan head that dissipates quickly. A little cloudier than I'd like.

S: The nose is pretty much hops - fruity pine with a strong caramel backbone. The bitterness comes out towards the end. Nice!

T: There is a definite caramel and toffee presence but the hop astringency is a little higher than i'd like - a little more muted and it'd be great. Right before the hops kick in, I taste a nice nuttiness.

M:Pleasant, lively cleaning carbonation

D: Nothing to complain about here

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

At first I didn't care for this beer but after the first few sips I thought it was quite good.

A - Pours a nice dark copper with hints of dark red. Nice head that fades pretty quick. some lacing, not a lot.

S/T - Sweet caramel malts and plenty of bitter hops. A nice mix.

M - Crisp and dry. I don'tcare for the aftertase but it isn't terrible.

D - Very drinkable. Good solid beer.

Photo of zymurgy4all
4.18/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

This is quite a nice beer from Rogue. I was expecting it to have weird spices and be brown, and I was wrong--this is a nice Red ale.
It pours a nearly clear deep reddish brown with a nice off-white long lasting head. The lacing stays well on the glass.
Nice large hop aroma--more like a fresh pale ale smell.

This packs a lot of hops and good malt bill balanced well as Rouge always does. It has flavors of refreshing grapefruit from the hops, and has a nice smooth mouthfeel--not biting from the hops, which sometimes happens.
It goes down well and leaves a nice aftertaste that begs you for more.
Great Beer!

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

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a New Belgium globe glass.

A: A dark brownish copper color with a very good light tan head. Good lacing as well.

S: Lots of hops in the nose along with some sticky sweet malt.

T: A very nice bready slightly sweet malt base with a wallop of bitter hops at the end. Nice balance, even with all the hops in it. The middle is slightly sweet but the hops quickly ends that.

M: Smooth, a little bit creamy, and medium-bodied.

D: An excellent winter brew, especially if you love Northwest hops.

Photo of auxiliary
3.62/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

appearance - Deep amber color. Some lace. Nice head that formed on this one.

smell - Toasted malts, spices, and hops here.

taste - Toasted malt here and a bitterness and spices has a nice balance.

mouthfeel - Medium body, bitterness.

drinkability - Not a bad beer, worth a try. ine was in a 12oz, but they come in a 22 too.

Photo of Douglas14
4.32/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an amazingly clear amber color with a nice tan head that leaves very good lace. The aroma is strongly of hops and a moderately roasted malt...very roasty aroma overall...maybe even a little bright. The taste is very much of hops and pine. It has a medium body and an extremely dry finish (this really accentuates the pine flavor). The pine taste suits this Christmas/ Santa beer perfectly. Some breweries tend to just make holiday seasonal beers, but Rogue went a step further and really stuck to the theme. The only downside is that I wish it had a bit of a higher ABV in order to "warm you up" in the cold winter...which it doesn't.

Overall, awesome brew...way to go Rogue!

Photo of Ch1mpy
3.75/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Impressive head with large amounts of foam almost gushing out of the bottle. Beneath the beige head lurks a dark reddish amber toned beer.

Aromas of malt and coffee. Overall, the first impressions are excellent. So far it is precisely what I expect of a high quality christmas beer.

However. The actual taste is surprisingly mild, dominated by hops and a citrus aftertaste. Not what I had expected, but not necesarilly disappointing.

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

MMAJYK- thanks for the trade!

into a standard pint glass, amber to red color- after all this beer isnt too much of a winter ale- really leans more toward red or amber ale style. Next to no head, even after a decent pour.

The aroma is hoppy and sweet, and the taste is quite similar. A lot of IPA-style aromas, including grapefruit, pine, and after reading some other reviews, this caramel/toffee scent is becoming more evident.

I felt like it couldve used a bit more carbonation- but that didnt ruin it for me. Pretty drinkable, and the low-ish ABV wont sneak up on you after a few of these.

I enjoyed this, and would definitely look to buy it if it was available around me-and i liked it better than the dead guy.

Photo of cameraman
3.63/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A deep amber color with a light beige colored head, two inches thick, that slowly dissolves away, tremendous retention. At first scent there is strong citrus and grass fragrances. Then it blends itself to a mild malty aroma. A toasted bread flavor hits the palate at first, but soon after grapefruit, grass, and pine flavors take over and dominate the flavor till the end. The feel is watery at first, it soon becomes heavier to become more medium bodied. At first I felt this was an okay beer, but as I drink more, the flavor and aroma begin to grow on me. I was expecting some more flavor from the malt, that would balance the flavor more. This is still a solid to very good beer.

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

Poured into a standard pint glass. The beer pours a rich reddish amber with a slightly tan head that rises about half an inch. Crisp hop aromas steam from this amber ale that can be described as both piney and citrusy with a hint of sweetness. The first sip almost reminded me of one of my favorite breakfast dishes, half a grapefruit with honey drizzled over it. Wonderful hops in this matched with that sweet malty background with a trace of spices make this delightful. That grapefruit flavor lingers on the palate for a while. I love winter beers and John Maier definitely didn't disappoint.

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

Kenny Rd. Market selling sixers for $5.99 (thanks guys).

Pours a fluffy, massive, tan head. Plenty of lacing. Attractive copper-amber color with medium carbonation.

Toasty, caramel hop on the nose with a metallic, floral hop finish. A somewhat doughy aroma with a mild potpourri, hop character.

Smooth is a good adjective to describe the taste and mouthfeel. The malt presence is bold and the hops finish out the taste with a lingering dryness. Can make out the sweet malts with a flowery, berry hopiness.

Overall this is a great seasonal and with the ABV - very sessionable. I am enjoying this at around 55' and it really brings out the aroma and flavor. Definitely worth a ride.

Photo of NCBeernut
3.48/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Vibrant coppery red. A vigorous pour yields a nice big fluffy head with pretty good retention, leaving plenty of lacing. The hops are clearly behind all of this. Plenty of earthy hops with a decent doughy malt backbone. Oxidation burns the nose a bit but really bites the tongue. It still manages to keep a creamy mouthfeel under the bite of oxidation. I can tell it was a pretty damn good beer under the oxidation and I want to try it again and re-review. Hopefully it will be a better experience. I will cut it a little slack in this review.

Photo of dsa7783
3.53/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This was one seasonal beer that almost got away from me this Winter... Waltzing into a small, non-descript Morris County liquor store, I stumbled across two bottles left in the cooler, and was absolutely shocked after searching high and low for this one and continually coming up disappointed... Although this brew is considered a winter selection, it is nothing like a typical winter-warmer at all, and very much indeed an American Amber / Red Ale... no sweetness detected here, but instead, strong hops followed by a crisp, clear, slightly astringent taste with subtle bitterness... as the style name suggests, pours an amber-red color with minimal head... smell is full of grains and hops, with a bitterness noticeable in the aroma... good, clean mouthfeel and decent drinkability for this 6% ABV... good stuff from Rogue... Recommended...

Photo of Ricochet
2.9/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Orange amber pour, darker brown than most with small head but a good lace. The amber was stronger under light and the red became apparent. Smelled of light grapefruit hops with a twinge of malt. Smelled older though, I'm really starting to notice the fresh/or older hop smells. There was a coffee note to this too? Mouth didn't sit right. It had a thin finish, and a hoppy overtone to the aftertaste, but the initial kick was not right to me. A sandy like mouth, that ruined the experience. Flavors? Well, the sweetness of malt and the bitterness of hops were not mixing well, like they were suspended in a burnt malt center and outer bitter, like a hole?

This struck me. A beer so unpleasant, yet, I kept drinking despite it all, so not worthy of a pour, not worthy of much else either.

Photo of jwc215
4/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours reddish-copper with a thin foamy off-white head.

Rogue's signature Pac-man yeast is in the forefront of the smell, backed up by toasty caramel, citrus and earthy notes.

The taste is of the Pac-man yeast, caramel/toffee and bitter citrus with a touch of spruce. Toffeeish malt gives way to a bitter finish. Medium-bodied (not quite as full as many other winter offerings, but a nice body for an amber/red ale.

With the ingedients, I expected to like it even more. Bottom line though - I liked it and certainly found it to be highly drinkable and a good "hop-fix" for a change from the large line-up of malty/spicy winter brews (along with a few other hoppy winter brews that come to mind).

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