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

2,077 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,077
Reviews: 1,159
rAvg: 3.76
pDev: 13.83%
Wants: 56
Gots: 137 | FT: 2
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:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Santa's Private Reserve Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 2,077 | Reviews: 1,159 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of warriorsoul
3.4/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Snagged one of these at Liquor World in Porter Square...
Amber in color with less than an inch of eggshell colored head...a thick lacing remains as the majority of head recedes.
Ok in the nose...not much jumping out of this one. Some caramel malt, a small dose of spice.
Taste is better...but not by much. At least it is clean, but was expecting more. The spruce flavor is there, but very muted...pleasantly bitter and extremely clean in the finish.
Mouthfeel is average...carbonation is a little high to make this one extremely drinkable for me. Certainly not a struggle to finish...just not wishing I had another bomber nearby.
I believe this brew would do real well as a introductory to amber or red ale fans.
Have to chuckle when I see how the bros. give this high marks and then crush a beer like Killer Penguin, but that is why we each have our say, right?

Photo of theWrkncacnter
4.28/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle from 2006

The only thing bad I can say about this beer is that the mouthfeel is a little acidic. Otherise this is a heavenly winter brew. The hops are definitely there in Rogue fasion, but nothing close to being overwhelming. The beer pours a dark amber with a good two finger head that remains in some form down to the last bit. The taste is lots of hops, but there's something sweet and rich going on behind that, something very nice. I've tried a lot of specialty winter brews, and this is, by far, the best. It's a bit pricey, but worth it.

Photo of chilidog
3.88/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Yes I set thisone out for santa, and in the morning, it was gone. Imagine that!

It poured a dark amber/red with a slight cloudy haze. An off-white, small head had to be worked at while at the pour.

The aroma was of caramelized malts, slight hop on the nose. The taste, while complex, goes down easy.

The taste starts out malty, hints of caramel and vanilla. Then hops take over to finish the job

Hop oil leaves the mouth a slight dry. I did'nt get that alcohol hit as do with other winter warmers

Photo of beerphilosopher
3.58/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a reddish/copper color with a tall, tan-colored head that lasts. Loads of lacing in the glass. The nose is of roasted malts, citrus, and floral hops. Smells nice. Palate is slightly sweet at the beginning with a dominant roasted malt flavor, with strong floral hop flavors balancing the beer. A prototypical example of an amberred ale for sure. Mouthfeel is light and the finish dry with hops. Light carbonation. A decent example of the style for sure, with a more aggressive hop profile than most. Pleasant, but nothing at all exceptional in my book ... though I'm a tad hard on amber beers.

Photo of Luchman
3.85/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: A very cloudy, dark, amber/brown color with some orange tinge at the bottom. Half inch, off white head that clumps on the side when its finished.

S: Smell is very subtle, which is a shame, as it seems it could be one hell of a scent. Diving deep, I smell Biscuity-malts, citrus hops (lemons and grapefruit) and even some burnt, roast ness… Or I could just be making this all up… it is faint sniffin.

T: Sweet caramel, biscuit malts come in at first. Citrus hops (mainly grapefruit) are strong, without getting out of control, in this one. Adds a spicy note to the taste and adds bitterness. Few more sips into it, I start to pick up a smooth cocoa flavor that really adds to this beer. The balance of those caramel malts, hops and cocoa is right on. Semi dry finish.

M: Medium body with a low level of carbonation that makes this beer go down easy and smooth.

D: Not too bad at all.Better than my expectations... I'll be picking this one up in the future.

Photo of Budlum
3.15/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pouring this ale produces three fingers of dense, tan head. Head retention and lacing on the glass are both very good. The body is a very translucent copper and red color.

The smell of this beer is densely populated with spicy hop aromas. The hops are best characterized as a mix of deep pine scents with a bit of mint. A grassy smell also blends with faint oranges for an increased sense of freshness.

Sweet malt flavors and spicy hops invade the mouth quickly. The hops provide an earthy and almost dirty flavor. Roasted barley is represented by a slightly salty taste with a smooth nuttiness. A brief sugar sweetness precedes a watery finish that brings back the initial dirty hop flavors.

This beer feels quite watery in the mouth but somehow leaves a slick feeling behind after each sip.

Drinkability is about average as the potent hops but watery feel confuse the palate. This is a nice beer but it just feels like something is missing.

Photo of Georgiabeer
3.58/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark amber with a short head, little head retention,or lacing. Smells of faint hops, cinnamon, and stone fruit. Taste is very hoppy, but a little out of balance. Very thin and soapy in the middle. Just decent- there are many better winter brews.

Photo of Kendo
4.03/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured from a bomber into a pint glass, it yields an amber-red ale with a fluffy, 1.5-finger tan head. Chunks of lacing cling to the glass on the way down. Nice looking, as the color is different than your usual ale.

S: Malty and bready with some roasted malts, as well as a bit of spice that I attribute to the hops. But the hops are restrained in the nose.

T: At first, it's drier than expected given the malty scent -- a metallic tang finishes it off, leaving a minerally aftertaste. The bottle says "spruce" but to me it seems more metallic (SNCA seems more like spruce to me) and it's pretty dominant -- not in a bad way, as there is plenty of malt underneath providing balance, and a hint of something spicy too. As it warms the malt takes center stage -- or it could just be that my tastebuds have adjusted to that metallic hoppy bitterness.

M: Light-to-moderate in body, appropriate carbonation levels.

D: Very good. An enjoyable holiday offering. I almost bought another bottle for tonight (NYE).

Photo of MuddyFeet
3.88/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on-tap at the Sawmill Tap Room in Raleigh. Reviewed from notes.

Poured a deep bronze color with a thick head that dissolved fairly quickly. Nose was not complicated and was simply malts and hops.

Flavor had a nice pepperiness to it. Some nice spicey and sprucey hops as well. Malts were a tad lighter than I expected and overall the beer was a bit underbalanced. Medium body with a strange--but pleasant--hop tingliness.

Photo of Neehan
4.63/5  rDev +23.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I got this on-tap at the Mellow Mushroom in Charleston.

This was brought to me because the bartender suggested it after another Rogue selection on the menu was not available. This beer was so damn good that I can't remember what I had originally ordered. It had a small head with minimal lacing and a bright, rich amber appearance. The taste is incredibly smooth with light malts and a pleasant bready taste. Outstanding. The taste lures you in and this makes this one of the most drinkable winter selections I have had to date.

Photo of sinstaineddemon
3.73/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - this Rogue offering pours very red, with a thin brown head and plenty of carbonation

S - bitter hoppy aroma, grapefruitty like an IPA, surprised it isn't, with a subtle sweetness

T - traditional IPA-esque flavors, grapefruit, pine, and big hops, subtle but noticeable spices of the season, coriande/ginger/nutmeg types

M&D - bitter and semi-sweet, not too bitter, not too sweet, but not terribly smooth, but a nice brew

Photo of montageman
4.18/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into an pint glass - very rich amber/red color with a creamy tan head that lasts a good while. Some lacing along the sides of the glass is evident as well. Smells like roasted malts with a little pine and some spice - very festive. Tastes malty up front with a hoppy bitterness in the finish. I can't place the spice, but it has a sweet character. Mouthfeel is a bit watery, but not bad at all. Overall, this is quite drinkable and a very well made amber ale. Recommended.

Photo of rayjay
4.35/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

An awesome Christmas present from my awesome girlfriend! This beer is one of my Christmas traditions from years back. Very hoppy ale. Deep red color, with a fluffy cask style head and thick lacing (almost Bear Republic lacing). The head is stained reddish brown from the beer. Medium thickness with light carbonation. Notable hop presence with a great bitter fallout. I'm not a big fan of Pacman yeast, but this is one great example of it (as is Shakespeare/Chocolate Stout and Yellow Snow/Juniper Pale). The body is very drinkable and reminds me of New York style Jewish rye bread (the dark rich kind). Santa knows what to stash. Cheers!

Photo of TheBierBand
4.47/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

OK... so my wife bought me a sixer of Rogue's Santa's Private Reserve. I couldn't have been more psyched!... What a woman! I cracked open the first bottle high with anticipation.

I poured it into a pint glass and it produced a perfect 1" head, much to my satisfaction. The head dissipated slightly as I drank, but I never saw the surface of the beer even as I drained the last swallow. It produced thin lacing all the way down the glass. The color was a deep dark black and only a hint of red shown through when held up to the light.

I took a good sniff after I poured it and I immediately knew that this was gonna be a hoppy one. The hops came through more than anything else.

Then the initial taste. YES!.. The hops were right there... front and center. If you like a hoppy beer... this one's for you. I liked the bitterness of the hops. But it was not overpowering... it was well balanced. The feeling in my mouth was excellent! Just the right amount of carbonation to support the hoppy taste.

I would say that the over-all drinkability is well above average... although, I would say that I wouldn't want any more than three in one sitting

Photo of frazbri
4.15/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Santa's Private Reserve from Rogue poured a rich deep red topped by a tall, cream colored head. Head retention and lacing was impressive. Initial smell of pine cones and flowers followed by malt syrup. Flavor begins with carmel sweetness with a hint of cocoa and nuts, but is overtaken by grapefruit. Body was medium-light with medium carbonation and a dry, bitter finish.

This was aggressive, drinkable, clean and bitter. In a way, the bitterness makes me think of a light barley wine. It's not your run of the mill amber.

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

Amber/honey color with reddish hues. Sparkling carbonation; rich, foamy white/tan head. Very nice to look at.
The roasted malts offer the strongest aroma backed up by a grapefruit follow through.
Surpsisingly the hops offered the most flavor with the malt in the background, very smooth.
Thin mouthfeel with a long, lingering grapefruit flavor on the tongue.
A little too citrusy for me to think about multiple glasses.
This is perfect for pouring in a flute for holiday guests. Beautiful appearence with a smooth mellow flavor. Most people won't be wowed by this but I can't imagine too many people being turned off.

Photo of Cresant
3.48/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured this 22 oz. 2006 edition into a tumbler on Christmas day. Frothy head of tan foam sat on a clear body of brown/amber. Lace clings to the glass.

Smell was floral, yet mild. Malt sweetness blooms late as it warmed further.

Taste was very hoppy, even more that I expected from Rogue in an amber ale. Nice bitterness. Caramel sweetness arrived very late.Clean yet spicy. Interesting, especially if you are a fan of hops.

Mouthfeel was medium bodied and medium in carbonation. I may look for this again.

Photo of therica
3.85/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Very nice and intriguing.

A= pours a light-amber with a nice white head that laces nicely on the sides of the glass as it settles.

S= I've just finished my glass while searching to describe the sort of candy-apple scent that's evading my more exacting identification. Very nice and inviting.

T= strong hops-bitters up front that didn't put me off because the complex and unusual taste was inviting me onward. Again, candy apple or maybe a touch of watermelon-esque taste, smoky burnt caramel, slight sweetness in the aftertaste.

M= a nice balance of bitter and sweet without either becoming overwhelming.

D= I doubt that I would buy this in large quantity for a party but if it was the beer being served, I'd surely do fine drinking it alone, unless the hops-bitters eventually caught up with me.

Photo of gmcfarre
3.55/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bomber poured into pint glass on this fine Christmas day.

A - Semi-opaque ruby brown with a lovely 2 inch latte colored head that lasts reasonably well. Lacing is chunky.

S - Smell is somewhat faint but hints at the balanced combo of hop and malt in this brew. Hops with a slight floral bitterness hit you first, then scent of candy malt follows.

T - Crisp sweetness with an equally crisp hop effect. The two marry well, each taking turns dancing with your taste buds (obviously malt first, then hop bitterness). Slight pine spice is evident.

M - Smooth and coating with a drying hop aftertaste. Nothing outstanding, but nothing disappointing either.

D - As a winter ale, I'm not sure it succeeds due to its relative lightness and low ABV. However, its still a fairly easy drinking beer that can be enjoyed at any time. Worth a try, but I won't seek it out again. In fact, the entire bomber can be a bit tedious if finishing it yourself.

Photo of mcallister
3.13/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Nearly opaque bronzen brick colored, small off white head fades quickly yet has great lace retention.

Floral hops stand out but not much to back it up. HInts of bread and other grain, and a slight toffee malt.

Good beer but the hops are slightly overpowering and gritty on the finish. More malt to balance could have been used in this case. Very floral with some pine hops. The grain shows through again.

If not for the harsh hop finish this beer would have scored higher in mouthfeel and drinkability.

Photo of jordanmills
2.65/5  rDev -29.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Poured into a pint glass. Looks dark amber with a thick rocky head. Looks great. Smells not so hot - pretty hoppy. I was hoping this wasn't another over-hopped winter warmer. I was disappointed. Not that malty, it's as hoppy as a weak IPA. There some slight taste complexity, but it's drowned out by the hops. Other than the bitterness, goes down smooth. The aftertaste is a little bitter, with all the hops. I don't think I'd drink more than one.

Photo of rodrot
4.08/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Whoa! This one was lively. Not sure what was going on inside the bottle, but upon cracking open the top a massive gush of foam went all over me, the floor and the kitchen counter. This made me wonder if the beer could possibly be infected and thus spoiled. After the foam settled down, the brew had a dark red appearance and a wonderful aroma of citrusy hops, pine and candyish malts. Taste was just as good and my fears of infection vanished. Grapefruity hops along with flavors of caramelly malts, juicy apricots and evergreen. Mouthfeel light to medium and quite smooth and silky in the palate. This is an unusual winter offering, being lower in alcohol and an amber ale, but it is quite tasty and sessionable. Another winner from Rogue.

Photo of garymuchow
3.95/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Finally able to purchase this in a 12 oz. bottle. So I go get a 6-pack right away. I guess that tells of what to market for me as I've eyed this beer for years. Which leads me to how impressive it is that over time the BA scores seems to settle into a pretty good reflection of where a beer should really lie, as compared to the other. Ya' I know "in who's opinion", but this beer is a good example of that the total score seems to really reflect what it is...
Nice solid aroma of northwest hops, including some citrus of grapefruit, grass and pine. Good base of toasty malt.
Clear. Amber of red-brown-orange with heaviness on the brown, unless held in the light. Full tan head with a somewhat erratic, rocky breakdown. Maybe my glass was wet, but the "lacing" is unusual in the largeness of the bubbles and the stamina.
Bitterness and hop flavors are most present. Bitterness pushes harshness, but the hop flavors are more appealing and are similar to the aroma. I like the malt character, as subtle as it is. The toast, when it shows is nice and the occasional caramel is pleasing too.
Rather full carbonation leaves me feeling full quickly. The bubbles are big, bold and sometime biting. This all detracts from a sense of smoothness. Otherwise body seems about right.
I was hoping for more on this. Having said that, it's an enjoyable enough beer. The flavors blend more nicely as it warms. Somehow, not that Christmas-like, unlike SNCA (go figure). As appealing as that beer is, this one just doesn't have it.
Why does the bottle say "Oregon Brewing Co"?

Photo of nortmand
4.93/5  rDev +31.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours with amber brown hue with a huge ass lace producing foam.

Ruby red grapefruit and pomegranate hop aromas dominate the nose. Very hoppy. Nice.

Caramel notes up front are balanced by a very citrusy hop flavor. Aftertaste is a resiny/ white grapefruit bitterness.

Very hoppy for an amber/red but I wouldn't expect anything less from Rogue. A very nice beer.

Photo of
4/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz. bottle

Faintly hazy, deep burnt orange color. Large, light tan head. Quite rocky.

Aroma seems mostly about fruit - raisins and plums - almost port-like. A bit of honey as well. This smells like it should be really sweet.

Nope - taste and scent part ways. Roasted malt and nicely bitter. Biscuity and caramel - really comes on strong as temperature increases. Good bittering at finish - grassy? - pretty mild.

Medium in body and carbonation. Mildly drying.

Overall, I like it. Without knowing what it was, I guessed an ESB (wrong answer), but it seems pretty close to me. Very well balanced and very sessionable

Santa's Private Reserve Ale from Rogue Ales
85 out of 100 based on 2,077 ratings.