1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. 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

1,950 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,950
Reviews: 1,141
rAvg: 3.76
pDev: 13.83%
Wants: 42
Gots: 71 | 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: 1,950 | Reviews: 1,141 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of GPHarris
4.35/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

a - poured a two fingers thick light tan and bubbly head into a snifter. the body is mahogany with red tints to it. it leaves sticky lacing and a thick ring throughout. excellent looking brew.
s - intense pine hoppiness.
t - big hop front of pine and citrus. light malt finish in each sip. this is like chewing on a pine cone.
m - crisp, bubbly and medium mouthfeel.
d - first time i've had this one and it goes down nicely. terrific winter release.

GPHarris, Dec 05, 2006
Photo of wagenvolks
4.05/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours golden brown into a mug with a cola-colored head, minimal lacing. Translucent enough that I can see carbonated bubbles rising from the bottom. Aroma is very hoppy with hints of spice and nut, maybe fig too...definately something "christmasy" happening in there.

Taste is definately hoppy and pleasantly spicy, leaving a lasting aftertaste that I could probably do without. Just the right amount of carbonation here. A drinkable beer, but not for the whole night. Try it with a candy cane. Cheers!

wagenvolks, Dec 05, 2006
Photo of beermanbrian
3.98/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark amber/red color with a bubbly tan head. Tons of carbonation bubbles. Sticky lacing. A nice looking brew. Smell of mild citrus hops followed by some piney west coast hops. Taste is more on the piney resinous side. My only knock on this beer is the bitterness in the aftertaste. It's not the good bitterness but more of a cloying pucker your cheeks in a bad way bitterness. Overall a nice brew, but there are a lot of better choices out there for the price. Certainly one I would sample again just not my first choice for a Christmas seasonal.

beermanbrian, Dec 05, 2006
Photo of cabsandking
3.95/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark red/brown with brighter red highlights and a thin but sticky light tan head. Spicy fruit fruit notes, rich malts, bready aroma, and rich malts make up the nose. Bitter hop characters are at play from the beginning which aren’t quite so prevalent in the nose. Malt and barley characters are nutty and slightly sweet. Chalky smokey notes, coffee and ripe fruits are lingering in the background. Vanilla notes here and there. Nice spicy, floral hop characters make this a good Christmas beer and are found well into the finish. Good crisp mouthfeel and a consistent carbonation.

cabsandking, Dec 04, 2006
Photo of DouggiePhresh
2.55/5  rDev -32.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours from the bomber a dark red-copper with a frothy beige head into my pint glass.

It smells spicy, slightly hoppy. Notes of nutmeg.

Tastes somewhat "watered-down", flat. If it were not for the spiciness in the beer, I dont think this beer would have anything going for it.

The mouth feel is watery, tight carbonation

Its drinkable (but to me, what isnt) I dont think I will be buying this beer again after finishing the bomber.

DouggiePhresh, Dec 03, 2006
Photo of bluejacket74
4/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was from a 22 ounce bottle. Served in a pint glass, the beer pours a reddish/brown color with a small white head. It smells like pine, roasted malt, and caramel. The primary taste is of citrusy/piney hops, with a hint of caramel malt sweetness too. It has a nice hoppy bitter finish. The hops are stronger in the taste of the beer, but you can taste the malt too. The mouthfeel is light/medium with there being some slickness to it. The drinkability is good, it has nice balance and it's not hard to drink this at all. Overall, it's a pretty decent beer. I'll pick some more up now, and then wait until next winter for the next batch.

bluejacket74, Dec 02, 2006
Photo of sacfly
3.93/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz No date.
Pours an awesome looking clear red with a thick head of large tan bubbles. Aroma is mostly of lightly toasted malts, biscuit. Just a hint of pine in there. Taste follows suit with a nice whole wheat bread and pine. Tastes better than that sounds… Resinous pine is most apparent in the aftertaste. On the heavy side, but does not seem overly alcoholic. Nice beer to sip by the fireplace.

sacfly, Dec 02, 2006
Photo of PBoegel
4.1/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A testament to hoppy goodness, 2006 is an excellent batch, and will be drank merrily.

Presentation is 12 oz poured into a "duvel tulip" glass.

A: wonderful deep reddish brown ale with great highlights in the light, great clarity speaks of good clean fermentation and conditioning. nice big light brown head on the pour that gives way to garlands of lace.

S: like someone just hung a set of fresh evergreens around my neck, piney balsam, pops of citrus and sit above caramel maltiness

T: lip smacking tastey fresh citrus resiny hops, rides over a delicate sweet lightly toasted and caramel infused malt with an absolutely clean yet powerful bitterness that says lets taste more hops and some malt to boot.

M: clean, medium body, no astringency, carbonated like a fresh cask bitter.

D: yes have some, I can't lie this is a beer that I look forward to each year and have yet to be disappointed, bravo once again JM.

PBoegel, Dec 01, 2006
Photo of Shaw
3.75/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12-ounce bottle, which I believe is a new serving size for this beer.

It's a lovely, deep red color with a foamy off-white head. It has a musty and hoppy smell that's classic Rogue.

The taste is musty as well, with a serious dry-hopping aftertaste. The body is a bit watery for my taste, though.

A fine beer from Rogue, but not one of their finest.

Shaw, Nov 30, 2006
Photo of MDekker
3.38/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This is a great looking beer - substantial off-white head that lasts throughout the consumption, and a glorious, rich red color. It really looks like Christmas in a glass. The rest of the beer doesn't hold up its end, though. The aroma is slight, a shadowy Christmas aroma of spices, while smelling light and refreshing. The taste is a bit dry and watery, dominated by the hops, for a bitter finish that lasts and lasts and lasts...which makes it not the most pleasant drinking experience. I did not expect this IPAish finish. It is decently carbonated but feels thin, especially compared to what it looks like it should feel. Overall, it's OK, but I don't finish it wanting any more. I assume my bottle didn't go bad - it's 4 weeks until Christmas, yet. Hmmm...

MDekker, Nov 30, 2006
Photo of hunteraw
3.95/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Brownish garnet in color, pretty clear. Good head and lacing. Attractive-looking.

Smell: Aroma is hoppy at first, but after the glass has warmed it's definitely more malty, with sweet caramel and grain notes.

Taste: APA levels of hoppiness, nice malt character as well. Hops are citrusy, and a touch harsh. Finishes nice and dry.

Mouthfeel: Medium-body, clings to the palate.

Drinkability: Went well with a homemade chicken quesadilla (even the tortillas were homemade!)

hunteraw, Nov 30, 2006
Photo of amstelcat
3.2/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Light brown color with some coppery hues. Almost no head at all and no subsequent lacing. Slightly spicy aroma of nutmeg and honey. Sweet with some maple syrup notes, very little spice and just a bit of hop bitterness. A little thin in the mouthfeel department.

Overall, a very average holiday ale. Wouldn't go out of my way to find it again but I would suck a few of these down if offered.

amstelcat, Nov 29, 2006
Photo of 5dots
2.2/5  rDev -41.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

I'm not usually a big holiday beer fan, to be honest, but my girl had picked up a six-pack of this for us to try, so...

Expected warmth, spices - got hop bitterness and a ton of spruce flavor. Not really my thing, but the more I've drank it, the more I've come to understand the spruce - it suggests the season in a different way than other holiday beers. I drank one with Thanksgiving dinner, and it fought with my food a little too much.

Overall, not something I'd have again or be eager to recommend - I suspect that the spruce might put off most of my more hopheaded friends.

5dots, Nov 28, 2006
Photo of mhaugan
4.03/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The night of Thanksgiving Eve, we ordered pizza and I decided to try out this Holiday seasonal to get me in the spirit. Nice dark color with a solid head. The head didn't go away the entire time I was drinking it, in fact one of my last swigs had a bit of the head still in it. The taste was big, perfect for winter. Lots of roasted malts with a great hop finish. Went great with the pizza, and I could have drank 2 or three.

mhaugan, Nov 27, 2006
Photo of flexabull
4.03/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Shared a bomber with a friend... deep dark amber color, with a nice white head.

Smells are a bit faint, but nice. Roasted malts and a touch of hops.

Taste is interesting. Lots of roasted malt flavors, also a bit of a tea like quality to this beer, and just a bit of hops to keep it interesting.

Mouthfeel is above average, a bit of alcohol there, but the flavors are well rounded and finish well.

An enjoyable amber ale. Worth checking out.

flexabull, Nov 27, 2006
Photo of CAMRAhardliner
4.38/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Mmmmm hops. I found a single of this at Premier Gourmet in Buffalo.

Pours a lightly hazy red/amber color with a small tan head and dense lace strata on the glass. The aroma is on the light side, a fresh honeyish malt mingles with resinous PACnorthwest hops, there is a struggle, but the hops come out on top. The taste is full of bitter, piney, grapefruity, floral hops. I love the taste of Rogue hoppiness. There is an ever present malt balast, biscuity and light. The finish is long and bitter. The mouthfeel is thick and suitable, this beer is big enough for winter.

A fantastic red ale, with a good balance. Very tastey and easy to drink, Id make this a session beer any day. Almost as good as Brutal Bitter.

CAMRAhardliner, Nov 26, 2006
Photo of lordofthewiens
3.85/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A 22oz bottle, this was a red/brown color with a medium head. It had a sweet, breadlike aroma, and I thought I could detect a piney aroma also. Yes, when I tasted the beer, there were the piney hops. A tiny bit on the astringent side, and I don't think I could drink a lot of these at one sitting, but a very good beer nevertheless.

lordofthewiens, Nov 26, 2006
Photo of maundythirsty
4.13/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reddish-amber beer with two fingers of very fluffy white head that turns out sticky on the glass. Smells of sweet and bready malt with floral hops.

Full, roasted malt taste with a very pleasant (and powerful) shift to bitter and piney hops. Fairly light and exceedingly smooth. Dry finish.

Santa's right to keep this stuff private. Really darn good.

maundythirsty, Nov 26, 2006
Photo of Grundle20
3.93/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours mahogony in color in to a snifter. There is a good two finger pillowy cream colored head that leaves minor lacing about the glass.

There is an unpleasant detergent presence in the scent. It's offset by some mellow piney hops and sweet malts, but the detergent smell took away from the experience of this beer for me.

Taste and Mouthfeel:
The beer is initially bitter and localized to the front of my tongue but trasitions in to a nice crisp finish that hits my mouth entirely. There's a lot of piney hoppiness with minor bitter citrus notes like grapefruit rinds. In the finish I can pick up just the smallest punch of sweet malts and I kind of taste cranberries but I think that's psychological.

Scent aside, I think this beer is pretty damn good. Since it's not outrageously alcoholic I could definitely see myself throwing a few of these back. I think it's a little better when server on the warm side.

Bottom Line:
Better then I remember it being last year, however, last year I was drinking pretty old stock. A fine addition to the holiday line up. A pretty good score for Rogue.

Grundle20, Nov 23, 2006
Photo of wavz
4.1/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a nice rose amber hue with a decent brown egg color.

S- malty, hoppy beer smell with a hint of christmas spices.

T- Dry malt taste, chocolate hints with a nice balance of hops.

M- Decent lacing with a bit too much carbination for a brown ale.

D- Good winter weather ale, but nothing exceptional.


wavz, Nov 22, 2006
Photo of BeerRun13
3.6/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy pinkish orange. Thin eggshell head quickly fades to a ring and leaves a touch of lace.
Malty sweet aroma. caramel and maybe a little spice.
Same in the flavor. Some decent hoppiness and bitterness.
Heavier side of medium bodied. Okay carbonation and some lingering bitterness.
Pretty good beer overall. I'll trty this one again.

BeerRun13, Nov 22, 2006
Photo of oberon
3.6/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This is one annual I look forward to every year I honestly didnt know it changed every year and maybe it doesnt but I did notice some changes this year.Poured a deep rich amber with reddish tinted well formed 1/2 finger head,the big dose of sprucey,piney hop is there along with some caramel and roasted grain as usual.The big diference I noticed in this years batch is really how thin and for that matter prickly the mouthfeel was it just didnt equate with the flavors,the hop profile is there and a decent sweetish malt base but the body really downgraded it this year.Hmm am I just dreaming or has it changed?

oberon, Nov 20, 2006
Photo of TheLiterati
2.58/5  rDev -31.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

“2006 – Snowflakes Glisten”

Pours a nicely colored amber with a tan head.

Smells of Christmas spices – nutmeg, allspice, etc. – with a HUGE piney nose that translated to the taste – but not necessarily in a good way. More in the way of, “Who left pine needles soaking in my beer?”

Still, intrepid advocate that I am, I kept sipping and hoping that this beer would achieve a balance in flavors.

Alas, while the mouthfeel was pleasant enough, this ale just never quite delivered on taste. I found it to be much too bitter with nary a hint of sweet to tone down those darned pine needles.

Not what I would call drinkable, especially with so many other well-done seasonals to look forward to.

TheLiterati, Nov 20, 2006
Photo of Pooba001
4.03/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a nice, clear medium amber color with light, fluffy head that dissipates very slowly leaving a nice lacing. Piney hops hit the nose first, with notes of citrus, sweet malt and fruit among those following.

Taste is better for a beer that doesn't have a high IBU count. Citrusy and spicy hop notes balance with caramel, tea, toast, and pine. A very good seasonal red ale.

Mouthfeel is a bit thin, slightly astringent, but somehow also smooth. Drinkability is good, as expected for even a hoppy red ale.

Pooba001, Nov 19, 2006
Photo of ryanismean
3.2/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Saw this for the first time this week and, as a huge fan of Rogue beers, had to grab a sixer.

I won't call it a mistake, but this is not as good as I had hoped.

The beer pours as I expected for a Christmas beer, an almost brown reddish copper with a decent tan-colored head that didn't immediately fade away. The first aromas are pleasant, spices and malt with a sprucey, almost juniper hop character that barely hints of grass. So far, pretty good. Then I taste it.

The flavor isn't bad, but it certainly isn't what I've come to expect from Rogue. The malt profile is all but buried underneath the hops, which are dominating. Their piney, bitter character does not seem to balance well. It almost tastes like it could pass for an IPA; it is certainly more brutally bitter than their Brutal Bitter. Not exactly unpleasant, but I'm looking for more sweet, soothing malt in a Christmas beer.

The mouthfeel is vaguely unpleasant to me, thin and watery with too much carbonation. Certainly the worst aspect of this brew, in my opinion. It is far from undrinkable, but it's not something I'd be likely to session. The bitter hops linger on the palate, giving me second thoughts about having another.

All in all a pretty good brew, if you're looking for a hop monster. Not really what I was looking for in a Christmas beer / winter warmer. If the intense hop bitterness was balanced by a sweeter, thicker malt this would be fabulous. As it is, it's still above average but not up to the lofty standards set by Rogue's other brews.

ryanismean, Nov 19, 2006
Santa's Private Reserve Ale from Rogue Ales
85 out of 100 based on 1,950 ratings.