1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. 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.
BA SCORE
85
very good

1,957 Ratings
THE BROS
91
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,957
Reviews: 1,142
rAvg: 3.76
pDev: 13.83%
Wants: 44
Gots: 72 | 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.

13º PLATO
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: 1,957 | Reviews: 1,142 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of far333
3.8/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Amber-copper color with a thick phat head of lumpy meringue, with dimples and divots. It's an inch high and not sinking. Malty, biscuity aroma, with light hints of fruit and cinnamon. Flavor is tangy, almost biting upfront, morphing to a sweeter taste of light brown sugar and toffee and cinnamon as it rolls over the tongue, turning back to a bitter twinge of citrusy hops and clove in the finish, perhaps a little smoke. Even mouthfeel, some tingly carbonation on top of the tongue, sort of a dry finish. Sticky dots of lace decorate the insides of the glass. Thanks to BuckeyeNation for sharing.

far333, Mar 12, 2005
Photo of neonbrown82
4.35/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bombers of this had been on sale since after Christmas (when I first indulged) so I figure I would help the store sell out their stock before it got too old. Still tasted as good as it did fresh. Best described by the words on the bottle:

"Reddish-copper color with a roasty, malt flavor and a hoppy, sprucy finish"

Not much else needs to be said about this beer other than it was very excellent. If you like Rogue beers, this is a good one. The caramel malts are perfectly roasted... not too dry and stouty, but not too light and pale. The hops are well accented as well, complimenting the roasted malts with the piney finish as well as providing a sensational bittering backdrop. The nose reels you back in for another sip. I might even buy another of these before it is sold out for the year. Very Rogue-like.

neonbrown82, Mar 07, 2005
Photo of KoG
2.53/5  rDev -32.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

2 words: Hop Bomb.

Beautiful dark red color with a very light tan head that lasts forever and leaves mountains of lace on the glass.

Smell is overtly hoppy. Slight citric behind the predominately estery nose. Small amount of malt somewhere in there.

Taste is bitter as bitter can be. Super estery with slight citrus and really no malt at all. Very bitter aftertaste, but double the hops of any brew and you'll get hop juice so I got what was coming to me.

Not my cup of tea at all. If I want uber hoppy, I'll find me some Hop Wallop.

KoG, Mar 06, 2005
Photo of Truh
3.5/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Walked in a winter wonderland with this one on 11/29/2004. Bomber poured twice in an Allagash snifter.

Holding, down pillow fluff at start that recedes to a nice sheeting and some immediate stick. Red/brown hue with medium clarity and almost completely mute. Pleasant, light torching note on nose with a brisk malt backing. Interestingly, this is almost entirely composed of smoke and mirrors, and more the former than the latter = initial malt is drowned out by a biting cinder/ashen smoker char, to a fault. Maybe that’s what they were going for, the charcoal character, but I was hoping for something more balanced.

Truh, Mar 05, 2005
Photo of beerluvr
4.05/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A short off white head settles over clear dark ruby liquid. Tons of floral hoppiness in the nose with a fruity background...not unlike an amped up Celebration Ale. Very piney hoppiness dominates the palate, could use a touch more malt/body to balance the bitterness, but good nonetheless. Finishes lightly astringent, bitter and a bit unbalanced, but still a hopheads delight.

beerluvr, Feb 27, 2005
Photo of blitheringidiot
4.25/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Label Lingo and bottle babble: Cool 22 oz. 650 mL. Browner with a cool Santa.

Murky brown yet filtered and ominous russet ruby pour with no carbonation topped off with a sticky khaki cratered surface of the moon statuesque ½” head cap and excellent head retention leaving superlative spotty pillowy lace.

Initial Chinese tea and juicy orange citrous hops aromas leading to Vanilla yogurt.

First Swigs: Santa, have I been a good boy? Crisp caramel malts and deep tangerine grassy hops balance. Oooo, this is good. Powdery resin pine and cake icing acidic sizzle. Lingering crystalline sugar malt character and juicy orange peel hops. Spices of almond extract round out the flavors. Bone dry hop resin induced finish.

Simply fine carbonation, top notch medium feel and quite quaffable despite being bold and dangerous. (thank goodness I’m home for the holidays.) A drinkable brew, despite not fitting a traditional Winter Warmer style.

Last Swigs: A superb Am. Pale with spiced malts backing and yogurt nose. Hops are quite prominent yet restrained by the varied flavors. I’d hump Rudolph for another. Heck, I’d let Rudolph hump me for that matter. Excited to try a new rogue. A welcome side street for the Rogue lover. $5.25 Circle Liquors NJ. Might be my second fave WinterWarmer of 2004. Qualms? It doesn’t go all the way over to Hopland, but rather suggests the way while leaving some brewed tea as an anchor.

Beer is good. Happy beering.

blitheringidiot, Feb 23, 2005
Photo of Pegasus
3.68/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Crystal-clear reddish-amber color; sports a huge off-white and lingering head and excellent lacing rings the glass walls. The carbonation is abundant.

Aroma: Massive pine tar hop aroma with lesser honey-like malt notes.

Taste: A wave of extremely bitter hops utterly dominates the toasted malt notes throughout. A lingering medicinal hop bitterness carries well beyond the end of the taste. This beer is all about the hops.

Mouth feel: Smooth and extremely full, almost syrupy.

Drinkability/notes: Strong and very rich, a feast for hopheads.

Pegasus, Feb 08, 2005
Photo of Mitchster
4.03/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Per the website:
"This holiday elixir is brewed with two-row Harrington, Klages and Munich malts, along with Hugh Baird 30-37, Carastan 13-17, and Crystal 70-80 malts, plus free range coastal water and John's proprietary top-fermenting Pacman yeast."

13 degrees Plato, IBU 60, Apparent attenuation 73.1, Lovibond 26.75.

2004 Edition. Given as a gift in a wooden crate with Rogue's own Santa's Private Reserve glass. Pours out to a sparkingly clear garnet hued amber, forming a large dark beige head with excellent retention and very good sheets of delicate honey-combed lacing. The aroma is all hops...resinous, pungent, light skunky marijuanna, and citric. A touch of trademark Rogue residual sugars is evident despite the heavy hops, though this smells like a Stone brew. Mouthfeel is astringent from the hops with a medium body and tacky finish. The taste is a recapitulation of the aroma. Tons of hops, but not overwhelmingly so. Some roasted crystal malts are hanging out there providing some toast, especially in the finish. Cleanly fermented, alcohol imperceptable.

This is a good brew, but it's quite average for the style considering 1)The price ($23 for the box set), and 2) It's brewed by Rogue. I was expecting a bit more. This isn't all that different from most other West-Coast IPA's out there, so there really isn't a reason to pursue getting it. It's not as special as it thinks it is. Thanks to Kelsey for the thoughtful gift!

Mitchster, Feb 06, 2005
Photo of arizcards
4.38/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a 22 oz bomber at AJ's for $4.99.

Poured a reddish brown with a fine head that is leaving significant lacing. Smell is a wonderful combo of bread and malts. The taste is something right up my alley, a total in your face malty, bready, hoppy experience when it first hits the palate. Mouthfeel is very full and lively enough to awaken all the taste buds. Overall drinkability is near perfect! I'll definitely grab one this time next year!

arizcards, Jan 30, 2005
Photo of CVC
3.78/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Came in a 22 oz. brown bomber; served in a pint glass.

Pours a reddish amber color with a thick, light tan, three-finger head. It sticks around for a while, and leaves lots of thin lace. Smells malty, with hints of nuts and lemon. Tastes hoppy, dark, and piney, with a sharp bitterness. Leaves a long aftertaste. Has a thin-to-medium-bodied creamy mouthfeel. Is very drinkable.

Rogue has many beers that are better than this one, but I really like to have this around the holidays. The appearance is exceptional, good smell, and is very drinkable. It's a better than average brew which can pair-up nicely with just about any warm dinner meal.

CVC, Jan 26, 2005
Photo of allengarvin
4.03/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Hazy mahogany reddish-brown with a solid half inch of foam and lacing that coats very well.

Aroma: Spicy hop nose with a malt foundation of dark breads and caramel.

Flavor: High bitterness greets the palate, providing the dominant flavor character. Lots of malt, but lots more bitterness. Hop flavor tends to the herbal. Finish lingers around, forcibly dry from the hops.

Mouthfeel: Pleasantly creamy texture, with a fairly big body.

No major faults here: It's big, it's hoppy, and it's tasty. On the other hand, not a lot to make it stand out for a special once-a-year beer.

allengarvin, Jan 25, 2005
Photo of Dogbrick
3.4/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On draught at Winking Lizard. Dark copper color with a thin and fluffy off-white head. Thin lacing. The aroma is mildly hoppy with flashes of spice and roasted malt. Medium-bodied and not as hoppy as expected. Tastes like any straightforward holiday beer, mildy spiced with earthy malt and hops. The finish is pretty short and spicy. Rogue could definitely do better with this.

Dogbrick, Jan 24, 2005
Photo of Gavage
4/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear amber / copper in color with a nice 2" bubbly tan head. Aroma is malty, piney bitterness, with hints of citrus and spice. The flavor follows what is picked up by the nose, with plenty of maltiness and bitterness, followed by some grapefruit, caramel, and a touch of pepper.

Mouthfeel starts smooth with a touch of crispness, but ends crisply and lightly dry. The maltiness and pine lingers. Medium in body. Minimal carbonation bubbles noticed. As with most Rogue products, very drinkable and quite tasty.

Gavage, Jan 19, 2005
Photo of connecticutpoet
4.5/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was a gorgeous crystal-clear red brew with a one finger head that left a LOT of lcing.

The aroma was of bitter hops, pine, some citrus (mostly grapefruit but a touch of lemon as well) and hints of malt. Hops were definitely predominant, much to my delight.

The taste was kick-ass. A firm malt backbone held together a blend of bitter and citrusy hops, with a slight astringency that balanced it all.

The mouthfeel was wonderful, well-balanced, and not overly heavy... that would have weighed down the hops too much.

Damn, I would love to have more of these... but given the cost ($3.99) and the availability, it will have to be a Christmastime treat.

connecticutpoet, Jan 14, 2005
Photo of RenoZymurgist
4.05/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a rich redish brown brew with a white head that subsides slowly to a thin ring. Aroma is of dark caramel malts with no hops and only a touch of fruity esters. The flavor is excellent as the hops and the dark caramel malts blend perfectly leaving only the slightest hop bitterness to linger. Excellent as both a winter warmer and a red ale. Mouthfeel is smooth and viscous with only a slight carbonic bite which gives the hops a bit of an edge but not much. This ale is a nice and flavorfull ale though as a session beer the flavors could tend to get a bit numbing making other beers seem flavorless.

RenoZymurgist, Jan 10, 2005
Photo of blitz134
3.8/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Review from notes of having this one Christmas night.

Poured red/caramel in color with a half finger off white head. Smell was light but mostly of citrus and pine hops. A nice malt backbone to this one with a slight resin hop finish. Very crisp taste overall, typical of all Rogue brews. Mouthfeel was relatively thin with little carbonation. Flavor lingers for a bit. I found this one very drinkable and I'll be sure to have another next year.

blitz134, Jan 08, 2005
Photo of Southernbrew
4.33/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a delightful dark brown with a fine head.

Aroma would suggest that Rogue brewers appreciate hops, oh wait I already knew that. Potent hop punch, tons of citrus and bitterness here, wonderful.

Full bodied, hops pack a punch but a level sweet maltiness comes in along with a faint caramel, diacetyl? Becomes a bit dry and the Chinook hops really come out to shine. Becomes slightly bitter and leaves a pleasant tea/sweet flavor in its path.

A delightful winter time beer. I will be sure to pick up a couple more for year round enjoyment.

Southernbrew, Jan 03, 2005
Photo of FormatKid
4.13/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

I poured this one out of a 22oz bomber into a standard tumbler pint glass. The body of the beer is a translucent but slightly hazy shade of deep-garnet. The head is off-white and rolls up impressively a nice finger’s width of head manages to retain and leaves fat clumps of lace on the glass. The nose on this beer is very nice, the malt is soft and subtle with tea-like aromas, overborne by the brash aroma of piney, citrussy (grapefruit) and apricot smelling hops. Up-front on the palate are the soft and caramelly malts, again the hints of tea-like flavor are present. The bitter character of this beer is middle of the road. The finish is dominated by pine-sap/floral hop flavors which are almost a bit perfumey in their bite. The mouthfeel is spot on, a tad velvety and smooth going down. This beer almost reminds me of a cross between Dead Guy Ale, and their American Amber Ale. A nice seasonal that I will be looking forward to trying again.

FormatKid, Jan 03, 2005
Photo of beertaster13
3.13/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Not bad but Rogue has others. As far as style, to me more like IPA/barley/winter-warmer. Pours a hazy orange/ruby with off white head. The smell is of pine and lemon zest. The malts are sublte and light, caramel detected. The taste is of citrus and floral. The hops are definetely strong in this one, not to over-the-top however. The malts kick in and round out this beer, Medium bodied and good for one bomber.

beertaster13, Dec 28, 2004
Photo of orbitalr0x
4.33/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Deep chestnut red pour with a frothy off white head sitting on top. Magenta tones shine through when held up to the light. Roasted caramel covered nuts and hints of piney hops on the nose. Subtle frutiness.

Nice roasty, caramel maltiness upfront with a generous helping of pine sap hoppiness. A bit of citrus fruit comes through in the hop as well. Lingering biterness on the back of the palate. Quite a tasty and enjoyable holiday brew!

Mouthfeel is creamy and has adequate body. This is a nice holiday brew that I could easily drink in large amounts. Has a nice balance and a unique hop character. Check this one out if you haven't yet!

orbitalr0x, Dec 26, 2004
Photo of Hibernator
4.08/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

It only seems fitting to have this beer on Christmas, so I have decided to indulge. Merry Christmas!

Sampled from a Rogue bomber and served in a tulip pint glass. Very cool looking bottle with none other than Santa on the front. Rogue makes some really good looking bottles.

Pours a reddish brown color with a really nice head on top. Layers of sticky lacings.

Aroma of floral hops with some light caramel. Hop induced amber ale. Juicy, citrusy mouthfeel. Almost reminds me a liitle bit of a baby SN Celebration ale. Very tasty.

I had this on tap one time at Redbones in Somerville and it was even better. A nice winter time treat if you can find it.

Hibernator, Dec 25, 2004
Photo of lackenhauser
3.3/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Nice red color. Slight head that quickly receedes. Nice floral aroma-somewhat of toasted malt. Hops upfront-almost too bitter to me-doesnt balance out with the floral or "brighter" aroma. Good body for the style. First impressions dont measure up to the final product. OK enough beer, though it seems to be lacking a certain "kick" to bring it up a bit in my estimation.

lackenhauser, Dec 25, 2004
Photo of Gagnonsux
3.9/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've never seen this in Texas before so I had to pick it up. Santa's is dark ruby-red in color with a creamy light brown head. Aroma is hoppy with some nutty malts mixed in. Taste is a nicely balanced (at least from what I hear about all the different products by Rogue) mix of tasty hops and mildly nutty malts. Hops are diffenently emphasized here, but aren't overwhelming. Mouthfeel and drinkability are great as predicted. So far this is one of my least favorite beers from Rogue and it's still great. Pick this up!

Gagnonsux, Dec 24, 2004
Photo of TastyTaste
4.95/5  rDev +31.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I had been waiting months for this to be released, and when I found it I was excited to try it, for good reason, it turned out. This is the best Red I have ever had (I have reviewed 16). Deep brown/red color, fluffy off-shite head that fades to form a thick layer of nooks and crannies. Smells of grapefruit tinged hops, and slight carmel sweetness. I served it at cellar temp, so this stuff was bursting with flavor. Taste matches the citrusy/carmel of the smell, but adds to it nicely, making this beer as excellent as it is. My new definition of the style, and what I will judge all other reds against.

TastyTaste, Dec 24, 2004
Photo of merlin48
4/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bomber pours a slightly hazed, reddish brown body with a generous beige head that retains well and leaves a lot of sticky patch lace.
Aroma is citrusy hops, mostly grapefruit, a hint of pine, and some background aromas of caramel.
Mouthfeel has effervescent carbonation and a medium body, as well a mild peppery hops bite.
The taste begins with dry and bitter pine and citrusrind hops. Caramel malt flavors lurk underneath. There is a surprising transition as this reaches room temperature as the hop bitterness transforms into a slightly sweet orange and pink grapefruit presence. Very nice. The citrusrind bitterness reappears at the finish and survives into a long, pleasant aftertaste.
Another solid offering from the good folks at Rogue, but I don't really see this one as a winter seasonal other than the appearance of Santa on the bottle. Very drinkable amber ale, in any season.

merlin48, Dec 23, 2004
Santa's Private Reserve Ale from Rogue Ales
85 out of 100 based on 1,957 ratings.