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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

1,957 Ratings

(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.

65 IBU
73.1 AA
26.75º L

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 11-29-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,957 | Reviews: 1,142 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of pezoids
4.55/5  rDev +21%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Wow! Taking a while to savor this one. From the big bomber this Rogue poured out with a cherry amber glow. Very clear and topped with a delicious looking creamy head. The aroma is perfect. Sweet cherry malt, floral, fruity hops, chocolate, ripe apricots, pine and oranges (among other things…). Very complex and extremely appealing.

The brew takes an about face when you take the first sip. I was expecting a sweet malty body, but all I got was dry fruit, spices and a big dose of grapefruit rind bitterness. It’s medium bodied, and as it warms, it lets off a big dry spice punch and finishes peppery. Also leaves a faint cherry tang left in the throat.

This truly is a witches brew of the highest order. Complex, dry and bittersweet. A beautiful beer and an excellent winter warmer. Thanks, Rogue!

pezoids, Jan 21, 2004
Photo of SetarconeX
3.75/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: wonderfully clear reddish hue, with a nice, well sustaining head.

Smell: Shap smell, you can definately smell the hops before you taste them. Impressive.

Taste: Very hoppy, much like Rogue's amber ale, though the bitterness is slightly different. Rogue's liberal usage of hops is on a completely new level this time.

Feel: Tingly, a bit rough.

Conclusions: A good ale, but not something I'd like to drink too often. A tad more bitter than I usually go.

SetarconeX, Jan 19, 2004
Photo of SixpointJMH
4/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

i've heard this is only slightly different than the st rogue red, but i'd say the difference is more than slight, with the private reserve holding a fuller flavour and body as well as a sweeter flavour as well. this one pours a nice copper/amber colour with a sizeable light tan head. smells of caramel and other sweet candy along with hop, malt, alcohol and a biscuit/bread smell. the taste is pretty much the same here and has a nice dry hop finish. an overall smooth tasty brew that isn't out of this world, but solid overall and certainly an improvement over the st rogue red.

SixpointJMH, Jan 19, 2004
Photo of kbub6f
4.28/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Biggish, crusty, light tan head leaves lots of hard, sticky lacing. The beer is a clear, dark garnet. Very pretty. Tons of hops in the nose with some sweet caramel. Sweet cream and bitter hops are a promising start. Nice, creamy, sweet malt bloom through the middle leading to a hugely bitter, grainsy finish. There's a lot of hops. There's a lot of malt, cream and grains, too (especially when warm). I like this beer a lot!

kbub6f, Jan 17, 2004
Photo of BCMan
4.18/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Ho Ho Ho! This beer poured nice and produced a descent head that instantly faded back into the beer from which it came. It had a deep amber color, not as red as you might expect from the artwork on the bottle as well as the style it's catagorized under. The nose is extremely bitter and is a direct representation of the flavor of the beer. The initial taste starts bitter and continues to intensify long after swallowing. The flavor was very consistant as the beer warmed. The people over at Rogue are doing a bang up job! The more beer I have from this brewery, the more I look forward to trying more of their beer.

BCMan, Jan 16, 2004
Photo of byrd
3.98/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Great clear deep red-amber in color with a huge light tan frothy head that reaches way above the rim of the glass. The head becomes rocky and recedes quite slowly. The lace stays very thick and frothy for ages with rings of foam around the sides of the glass. Good rich malty start with some graininess and breadiness and a touch of caramel malt. The middle is somewhat roasty, and there’s a good hoppy finish. Nice hoppy and roasty aftertaste that lingers for quite some time. …a well balanced brew with a medium mouthfeel and nice carbonation. Not an overly complex brew, but pretty good and very drinkable. I’ll have this one again, but there are other winter seasonals that I’ll be anticipating much more.

byrd, Jan 14, 2004
Photo of GCBrewingCo
4.22/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer poured deep amber, almost ruby when held to light. The head was tan and fell quickly, but laced the glass.

The aroma is sweet caramel malt and hops. The hops are definitely American and the label lists Chinook and Centennial.

The flavor is well done with caramel and hop bitterness in the front. In the middle is a slightly darker caramel flavor and good hop bittering.

The finish travels into a bitter dry toasted caramel flavor. The body is medium.

I like this beer, it is quite bitter and well done. It think the complexity of the caramel flavors comes from the Munich malt.

22 ounce bottle.

GCBrewingCo, Jan 09, 2004
Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: The usual eye grabbing screen printed Bomber, this time its red and white with a picture of a Pint-Totting Santa with a clenched and raised left fist. Lots of technical data is listed but no ABV curiously.

Appearance: A ruddy red copper color with some light oak brown hints, the body of the beer is a very beautiful color indeed. The head forms quickly and expands as the beer is poured into a light tan colored mass, it slowly settles to a clumpy mass that forms a cap like floating island head as it is drunk. Some light lacing forms on the glass sides.

Nose: Toasted Malts, Biscuit, Yeast, Dough and some Spicy Hops all invade the aroma. Quite an impressive nose that is very inviting.

Taste: The malt is quiet dominant in this Rogue offering; it starts toasted then slowly builds into a mild roasted flavor. Some bitterness balances this roasted flavor, which in turn alternates between a spicy bitterness and a fresh pine tingle that has a light spearmint character to it.

Mouthfeel: Pretty solid, the malt aspects all combine to lend a good strong body to this beverage. Spicy bitterness coats the mouth once the beer is swallowed and lingers for a good time afterwards.

Drinkability: I quite enjoyed this beer, I have only tried it once before, and that was back at a beer tasting at the Rock Bottom in Long Beach a couple of years ago. I enjoyed it then and I enjoyed this time. Very drinkable, though I like malty beers that finish with a crisp bitterness, so I could be ever so slightly biased!

Overall: Starts malty, toasty through roasty, and finishes with a lovely crisp hop bitterness that has a refreshing mint-pine character to it. Some yeast and dough in the middle at times. A nice malty Xmas beer that would definitely benefit most throughout the cold winter period so it is probably better referred to as a Seasonal. It has a good balancing of spicy hops and is a good pleasing drink.

TheLongBeachBum, Jan 09, 2004
Photo of Gueuzedude
3.75/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A highly carbonated beer that pours with a thick brown head. This beer is a dark brown color that is a clear deep amber color when held up to the light. It has a some what hoppy nose, though it is not too strong.

Definitely a hoppy beer in the taste department as well. It is fairly dry, but does have a caramel malt twang to it. There are interesting pine & citrus notes in this beer. It is fairly bitter in the finish, which is only accentuated by the light body of this brew. Perhaps a hint of buttery richness in the finish as well. As I dig deeper I find roasted malt notes in this beer, just as promised, though at first I missed them because of the hops. The hop notes primarily bring to mind pine & spruce.

Gueuzedude, Jan 05, 2004
Photo of mschofield
4.22/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark mahogany with a touch of gold, two finger rocky tan head, looks like a relief map of a mountain range.
Strong aroma, both in malt and citrus hops (orange), and toffee, very tea like.
Malt follows through to the taste, takes like a roasted cherry malt, cinammon, nutmeg, raisin and grape. Woody.
Strong malt presence in the aroma and taste. Medium feel, a good ale, nothing terribly Christmaslike about it. Good seasonal, good drinkability but I don't see this being my first choice.

mschofield, Jan 05, 2004
Photo of genaro
4/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The appearance of this 2003 winter beer is a brown/copper color, lacey, with a good head. After enjoying the fragant (hops and caramel) aroma I was a bit surprised by the bitterness of this beer. This full-bodied beer had a lot going on. It had a flavorful hop taste (grapefruit and orange peels) with a good bite. The malt was there, but not as much as I anticipated, just a relatively small dose of sweet caramel. The finish was bitter and very dry. While this is a well made beer it was a bit too hoppy and bitter for my tastes in a winter beer.

genaro, Jan 04, 2004
Photo of johnrobe
3.8/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I wasn't sure what to expect with this brew, but as I am a card-carrying hophead and love a good IPA, I was pleasantly surprised with this brew. It pours a deep reddish amber and sports a light tan head that reduces quickly to a cap. The flavor profile is comparable to SN's Celebration although the hop bitterness seems more astringent and the mouthfeel a bit more thin in Santa's PRA, a bit of aging would take care of the former. I thought I detected a bit of diacetyl in the nose but if it's there, it is easily overwhelmed by the truckload of hops in each bottle. Yep, this brew is all pine, and to a lesser degree citrus, on the tastebuds. The barest hint of caramel breaks through a sea of hops to gasp for air but quickly sinks beneath the surface.

johnrobe, Jan 03, 2004
Photo of HiroProtagonist
4.03/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22 oz into a pint glass... a medium light head formed, leaving behind nice lacing. Color was a vibrant ruby-brown. The most noticable aroma was hops....strong resiny hops. Since I love super hoppy beers like 90 mintue, I found this to be very pleasant and promising on what was to come. Taste was hops and more hops...almost like an imperial IPA. Also present was roasty malts and some charcoal. The flavor of this brew was like a cross between an imperial IPA and a winter brew. Not a bad combo, but not quite all it could be. Still, a very tasty choice here. Mouthfeel was ok, with a medium body. I found it to be quite drinkable. Overall an interesting and tasty brew that tries to please hopheads and roasty-philes.

HiroProtagonist, Jan 02, 2004
Photo of dmarch
4.1/5  rDev +9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Was a little dissappointed that they kicked the keg of Anchor Cristmas Ale at the Blue Dog Pub, but this was a good replacement. Deep mahogony in color with a thick creamy head. Spicy hop aroma and a little citrusy. Strong hoppy bitterness with a solid malt backbone. Maple syrup and plum flavors evident in here as well.

dmarch, Jan 01, 2004
Photo of Jarod
4/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cap with red writing.
Year: 1995/96
1 pt 6 oz bottle

This beer poured into the glass a mahogany/cherry wood color that when held to the light had orange highlights. It was thick looking and very opaque where little light passed through it. The head that was formed was a butter cream/vanilla color, it had the consistency of thick, sticky, dense cream. When first poured it had a rise of 1” – 1 ½” and seemed to last a good while, until it slowly fell to some thin foam that floated on the surface and a dense ring on the edges. There was some lace that was formed, spotty in places and sheety in others, and the sheets had the remnants of the rings where they were created. The aromas were well balanced, first some spices hit you (nutmeg), grated nuts, fruits (plums, and light black current), and cocoa powder, then as a second whiff was taken roasted malts, and hazelnut accompanied the smell. And as I got to near the bottom of the bottle a small waft of yeast became present. The flavors that swirled over my tongue were of very light hops, dark fruits (currents, plums), spices (nutmeg), grated nuts, big roasted flavors, malts and nuts, some tree bark became present as it warmed, a cocoa powder was present all through the sip, from first pour to the last sip, and ended with a light pine. And near the bottom, a yeast flavor slightly became present. The aftertaste was of cocoa powder and roasted malts and seemed to last for some time on the pallet. It was medium bodied. The over all beer was still decently carbonated. To be honest this beer was not what I would have expected. There was allot of cocoa powder flavors and a huge amount of roasted malts and nuts, with little to almost none of the hops coming through. I rather enjoyed it, and hopefully will get a chance to try a new batch.
SIEDNOTE: On the bottom of the bottle was completely covered with about a ¼” of residue.

Jarod, Dec 31, 2003
Photo of Dmann
4.5/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This beer definantly keeps up with the tradition of great holliday ales. It poured a dark ruby/brownish color with a very thick head that stuck to the glass like glue. The scent was hoppy but also had a very detectable scent of yeast. The taste was great, over hopped just enough to give the beer that extra kick. Also had a great citrus overtone to the flavor. This one is not as dry hopped as some of the seasonals I've had, and it is a refreshing beer indeed.

Dmann, Dec 20, 2003
Photo of mickeymac
4/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My kids got a kick out of seeing me come home with a beer with Santa on the label. It's billed as a variation on St. Rogue's Red and certainly tastes like it. They say double the hops. It's certainly hoppy, but it doesn't taste like double St.RR. After giving my olfactory senses more than enough time to give it a going-over, I kept smelling something that reminded me of adhesive tape. Somehow, it worked with the robust malty smell and the abundant hops. The hops don't bushwack the tastebuds and the malt is enough to keep things at least closed to balanced. This is good beer, but it didn't strike me as a Christmas beer in any way.

mickeymac, Dec 18, 2003
Photo of Edwin
4.13/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a 22oz bomber bottle.

Appearance: Pours a beautiful amber color with a nice tn head that stays in the game for a full four quarters.

Smell: Some caramel, nuts and maybe some spices mixed within. Tough to put a finger on one alpha-dog in the mix.

Taste: A nice nutty taste with some type of spicy aftertaste. Some citrus or fruit mixed within.

Mouthfeel: Not bad. Low carbonation makes for a welcome feel. Nothing offensive in there.

Drinkability: Very drinkable. Not too overbearing so it can make for a good night. I could easily put away a sixer of this. I knew it was easy to drink when even my girlfriend said she could kill a bunch. Enjoy!

Edwin, Dec 17, 2003
Photo of beergeek279
4.45/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in the 22 oz. bomber. The color was a very dark amber, with a foamy white head with excellent retention. The smell was a very nice hoppiness. The taste was a nice dry hopping on top of a nice amber malt base. Mouthfeel was very nice and smooth. As for drinkability, could drink this one all day.

A fantastic offering from Rogue. A delicious amber ale that actually may be my favorite of the style. Certainly one I'll be looking for next year.

beergeek279, Dec 15, 2003
Photo of crookedhalo
4.43/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Beautiful deep copper color with a nice, rocky beige head leaving good lacing in the glass. Strong hoppy aroma mixed with some decent malt notes; lots of dry hopping going on, obviously. Kind of like a souped up Rogue St. Red. Tastes initially malty then moving toward the cloying hops. Almost punishing. Gorgeous, though. Touch of cocoa in there as it warms up. Can't say I taste much other spices, other than the sprucy hops that one might find winter seasonal-tasting. Nice balance of intricate malt and aggressive hops throughout. Dig this beer a lot.

crookedhalo, Dec 15, 2003
Photo of ithacabaron
3.8/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a crystal-clear deep ruby, with a thickened foamy head that sticks around pretty much till the last sip.

Aroma is strongly maple and roasted nuts, particularly hazelnut, with dried orange peel overtones. Hops are quite active here as well, but not astringent or bright. Instead they are very much enveloped in the velvetine malt body.

Suprisingly, after this, the hops take the lead when the liquid hits your tongue. Again, these re not bright and "wow" hops, they are deep and potent hops, as if they had dry-hopped this for years to make it such an integral part of the beer. Orange peel, and light butterscotch play around on the palate, leading to a finish that tastes of the white vines and skin found surrounding segments in oranges and grapefruits. Very drying, and excellent.

Mouthfeel is right about where it should be, just like a velvet santa suit.

Drinkability is pretty good. Although definately a winter beer, this is certainly one I hope to enjoy more than once this holiday season!

ithacabaron, Dec 12, 2003
Photo of GreenWBush
4.38/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

There are just not enough good American christmas beers out there. After being strongly disappointed by most US micro's offerings, I knew that I would either love or hate Rogue's version.

And after the first taste, it is clearly love.

The beer pours out a "santa" scarlet with a nice pillowy head that leaves a nice lacing on the glass. The smell is beautiful, imagine somewhere in between SN Celebration and Three Floyd's Alpha King.

This beer's taste is amazing; strongly hoppy but also not hollow or lopsided - very supported by malt without the sweetness sometimes found in Rogue beers. I have serious doubts about the listed 6.0% ABV. The mouthfeel is also quite admirable.

I am starting to get the sneaking suspicion that Rogue is skimping majorly on their six-pack offerings and are focusing their craftsmanship on the bomber bottles. One small bit of proof for that is I am pretty sure the last Dead Guy I had was not bottle-conditioned.

This beer is amazing, not for everyone, but should please hopheads and be acceptable to the malties.

GreenWBush, Dec 12, 2003
Photo of SheepNutz
4.25/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz. bomber poured into a Santa's Private Reserve flute glass. It pours a deep ruby red color with a tall 3 finger light tan head. There is lots and lots of lacing on this one. The smell is fairly hoppy. You can really smell the chinooks in it. The taste is also very hoppy, almost IPA status. There is a tiny bit of citrus and spruce on the finish. The mouthfeel is very strong and heavy. The drinkability is very nice as well. A good Christmas brew that can almost compete with Celebration Ale.

SheepNutz, Dec 11, 2003
Photo of shirfan
4.13/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A clear garnet-brown, topped with a creamy, tan head that refuses to quit. Over 3 fingers on the initial pour, it remains a solid cap to the bottom of the glass, with copious lacing.

Aroma of malt roasting in a pine forest.

Taste is very focused on hops; pine resin and a mildly spicy aspect lead the way. There's malt here somewhere, under the blizzard of hops. It does yield a clean but creamy texture, and a decently sweet finish before a fresh citrus and pine squall moves in.

shirfan, Dec 10, 2003
Photo of HardTarget
3.05/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Aroma: Pine and citric hops dominate a mild malt base with a whiff of cotton candy.
Appearance: Clear amber with a frothy off white head fed by a constant rain of carbonation. Solid lacing with tide marks. The head lasted throughout the beer and would break into sections during a sip before reforming ranks.
Flavor: Massive hop attack. Starts hop, ends hop, and leaves a hop aftertaste for about 2 –3 days. Doesn’t leave a hop bitter, it leaves a hop burn. The hops just crush all other flavors that might be in this beer.
Mouthfeel: Light to medium body, with an intense pucker.
Overall Impression: I’m a bit disappointed. I love hops, I love hoppy beer, but I really was hoping for something a bit more complex for a Christmas brew. Something with some subtle spice, some roasted maltiness, some, something besides HOPS. This is very one-dimensional; I could get this from Stone’s IPA, or just sticking a hop pellet up my nose. Sigh; forgive me Rogue Santa.

Aged bottle vintage 2003 sampled 12/25/2007.
Much nicer experience. Hops had all but faded leaving an old ale base. Very little paper in the back end, not distracting at all. Nice clean yeast element in a toffee malt base. A little pine hop flavor in the finish as well.
Not a GREAT beer to age, but it definitely improved in my book.

HardTarget, Dec 09, 2003
Santa's Private Reserve Ale from Rogue Ales
85 out of 100 based on 1,957 ratings.