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.
BA SCORE
85
very good

1,938 Ratings
THE BROS
91
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,938
Reviews: 1,140
rAvg: 3.76
pDev: 13.83%
Wants: 42
Gots: 69 | 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: 1,938 | Reviews: 1,140 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Rumrunner
Rumrunner

California

4.03/5  rDev +7.2%

22oz. bottle.

Santa is holding a tankard of ale and has a clinched fist held up. Maybe he just finished his route and is celebrating his accomplishment?

Pours an orange brown caramel color. A good sized off white head. Tremendous lacing down the glass. Scents are malty with a creamy caramel. Sweet butter and some hop bite thrown in for good measure. Also there is some crisp spices and pine.

Flavors start bold but if this one is sipped is becomes more mild. Some burnt biscuit in this one. A charred wood flavor as well. Excellent hoppiness for a bitter bite. Then it mellows with some butter and creamy malts. Caramel and some piney spices and even some dried fruit. At the very end there is a sugary butter flavor that actually seems to warm the mouth. It must be the alcohol. The flavors start off unrefined but then settle in to a nice pattern.

Medium bodied, somewhat creamy with a crisp middle and a poppy finish. A real nice drinker and one I will search out and drink again. I would love to try it on tap.

11-15-2003 07:15:43 | More by Rumrunner
Photo of WVbeergeek
WVbeergeek

West Virginia

4/5  rDev +6.4%

Appearance: Pours with a caramel amber hue above the body sits a very nice sized mass of tan foam that as I take each swip forms a ring of fine lacing with dispersed specks of lace packed between each clear ring. Aroma: Deep pine cone scented hops full biscuit malt character with some caramel sweetness complementing the west coast hopping. Taste: Roasted malts, caramel malt tones backed by a whopping hop profile brings out piney and mildly citrus tones a great winter amber great brew. Mouthfeel: Medium in body, overall great crisp finish leaves the hop oils on the tongue pretty damn bitter. Drinkability: More hops than I want for a session brew but a very tasty seasonal offering from our friends at Rogue.

11-10-2003 18:26:21 | More by WVbeergeek
Photo of ManekiNeko
ManekiNeko

Virginia

3.93/5  rDev +4.5%

2002 edition. Served chilled in a pint glass.

Appearance: Hazy mahogany with a modest off-white head. So-so retention and lacing. Still, kinda pretty to look at.

Smell: Darker malt smells, almost reminiscent of a dubbel/BSDA. Nicely intense malt profile. A smattering of floral aromatics.

Taste: Quite bittersweet. Great blending of dark malts and hops. Toasted and smoky malt flavors on the finish. A bit raisiny at times. Again, reminiscent of a dubbel/BSDA.

Mouthfeel: Substantial body here, much like ol' Santa himself.

Drinkability: Definitely a Yuletide treat. A good hearty ale for the wintertime. I'd say one bomber would do you for the night... or Santa.

Other: Has this one a bit early (late September) since I didn't want to risk it getting stale. The aging probably toned down the hop flavors, but not to the beer's detriment.

09-29-2003 15:22:02 | More by ManekiNeko
Photo of beerguy101
beerguy101

California

3.8/5  rDev +1.1%

2000 release. Dark Red color, medium head. Caramelized malts, hoppy. Good balance. Full flavored. A double hopped version of their red ale. Nice balance. Full round Mouthfeel. Smooth and malty, slightly sprucy. Finish is smooth and clean. Aftertaste is spicy and slightly bitter. A very nice winter ale. Also a very nice etched beer bottle.

09-19-2003 01:40:37 | More by beerguy101
Photo of clvand0
clvand0

Kentucky

3/5  rDev -20.2%

Served in a 22oz. bottle at the local pub. This one pours a dark red color - very attractive - with a thick off-white head and a little lacing on the glass. The aroma is very hoppy with sweet malts and a nutty hint as well. The flavor is pretty bitter. There is a sweetness from the malts and quite a bit of spiciness as well. Not so sure about this one. Love the appearance, but the flavor is a little too bitter for my tastes.

08-28-2003 19:19:46 | More by clvand0
Photo of cerevisiaephilus
cerevisiaephilus

Michigan

3.78/5  rDev +0.5%

Very hoppy. The citrus, resinous smell explodes out of the glass and in your mouth as well. The malt side of the flavor equation I found to be slightly lacking, this may be simply because of the very strong hop character of the beer though. After another couple tastings (~2/04) I have to come in here and change my ranking of this beer. Found it very lacking. I suppose living in NC will do that to you. When you can't get anything over 6%, Santa's special reserve seems great, but now that I'm drinking Celebration Ale and Alpha king, this beer has taken a hit.

08-21-2003 16:15:54 | More by cerevisiaephilus
Photo of BierReise
BierReise

Florida

3.98/5  rDev +5.9%

A deep red color which reminded me of red velvet cake and a dark vanilla colored frothy head. An intense hoppy aroma followed by a sweet German malt presence and a little of something I can't seem to put my finger on. Flavor is hoppy bitterness and a slight spiciness. This is one bitter beer from start to finish.

07-22-2003 22:24:52 | More by BierReise
Photo of UnionMade
UnionMade

New York

3.6/5  rDev -4.3%

Had this on tap at Eli Cannons (Middletown, CT) during the Rogue tasting. It was listed as "Santa's Dry Hopped Red Ale". I'm assuming this is the same stuff. Deep red in color, with an almond tan head. Aroma is very hoppy and manly, almost surly. Almost a surly sea bass. Not much in the way of malt, as far as I can tell in the smoky pub. Flavor is hoppy, with a nice roasty malt balance. Semi sweet, with a grassy herbal hoppiness. Body is medium to full, with moderate carbonation. I wasn't disappointed.

07-21-2003 05:55:07 | More by UnionMade
Photo of StevieW
StevieW

Florida

4.5/5  rDev +19.7%

22 oz bomber. Pours a deep glowing burgundy color. Nice creamy, rich head, off-white to beige in color. Rich hop filled aromas matched with a bit of seasonal nutmeg, cinnamon spices ? Toasted malty flavors peak through. Taste is well balanced and smooth, full of flavors. Initial hop kick, striking. Subtle spiciness, very subdued and good. Malt and hops are well balnced with a lingering sweetness. Amazing combination of flavors and hop kick that you expect from Rogue. Medium to full bodied, carbonation held up fine after having this one in May, bought in March, and who knows how long it was on the shelf before that. This is one I will look for again this Christmas Season. (Christmas in July, from my notes when I was computer-less.)

07-20-2003 16:39:34 | More by StevieW
Photo of RBorsato
RBorsato

Virginia

4.6/5  rDev +22.3%

Reddish-copper with a full light brown head, good carbonation, and nice lace sheeting. Nice citrusy hop aroma. Nice hoppy citrus flavor which is more powerful than the malt base but decently balanced. Medium bodied with a hoppy bitter finish.

Very nice fresh and after 6 months. Didn't care for it in the past after aging a year or so. One to buy each year with S.N. Celebration Ale.

Per Bottle: 13 P, 44 IBU, 73.1 AA, 26.75 L & "Chinook and Centennial Hops"

Per website: 60 IBU (bottle is most likely wrong...)

2002 version
Tasted: 07/02/03

($3.59 / 22 oz.)

07-03-2003 07:50:53 | More by RBorsato
Photo of Quaffer
Quaffer

Nevada

3.68/5  rDev -2.1%

22 oz. Bottle

Appearance: I popped the top of the bomber and set it down beside my computer. About ten seconds later, I caught some movement out of the corner of my eye. What the . . . ? I looked over to find the bottle erupting like friggin' Vesuvius. I quickly got it over a trash can and waited for it to stop. But of course, it didn't. It kept coming and coming. Finally, I just poured the thing. Needless to say the head was out of control. But it looked great. It was a nice tan color and settled down slowly and chunky. It left a great amount of lace on the glass. The beer itself was a deep brownish-red.

Smell: This brew had a very straightforward ale smell. The were sweet and caramel malt aromas, mixed with a clean hops smell. The hops faded the longer the beer sat.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and pretty smooth. It left a nice tingle on the tongue.

Taste: Upfront, there were some short lived sweet (though the sweetness was very subdued) and caramel malt flavors. These were quickly overcome by a rising hops bitterness that seemed to surpass the 44 IBUs stated on the bottle. The hops had a floral quality that lingered well into the aftertaste.

This was a good beer, but not one to write home about. The malt flavors needed to be deeper, in my opinion.

03-07-2003 18:50:20 | More by Quaffer
Photo of ElGuapo
ElGuapo

New Jersey

4.05/5  rDev +7.7%

There is a very fluffy tannish foam on top of a red amber color after pouring this fine Rogue. It has very good retention, and I just have to comment on the unique shapes the head forms as it dies a little. I don't like to say a lot about the head of a beer, but this one does not go away, EVER! I have sheets of lace and chunks of foam all over my glass, and I have been done with it for 15 minutes. This may not happen to everyone, but mine had pits and peaks of foam. It looked like a mountain range on top of my beer. The aroma is wonderfully filled with hops and a piney smell, like a Christmas tree but covered in hops.

It is fairly crisp, but most of that is from the spiciness of the hops. There is not a whole lot of carbonation. There is a subtle presence of roasty malts, but this beer is all about the combination of hops. The spices are blended so well with a piney sort of flavor. The aftertaste has lingering spices, but you are also able to pick up some grains. This is yet another good one from Rogue. It is a very good drinker, and I want another one.

02-17-2003 11:32:55 | More by ElGuapo
Photo of RonfromJersey
RonfromJersey

New Jersey

4.1/5  rDev +9%

A copper-red body topped by a healthy, just-off-white, whip cream head. Head then settles into a solid table-top. Aroma? I was smelling hops as soon as I popped the top, without it anywhere near my nose. Enormous citrus aroma just floods the nose. Taste opens with a solid malt base, but is quickly engulfed by rush of hops. The hops are much more piney in the taste as contrasted with the aroma. Could use more malt balance, make this a fairer fight. Mouthfeel is full, but too hoppy to be considered smooth. In fact, at times it seems you almost have to come up for air from the hops. A fine hopheads delight, which is a good thing. Just not what I was expecting from a red/amber ale.

02-07-2003 21:07:08 | More by RonfromJersey
Photo of OldFrothingSlosh
OldFrothingSlosh

Pennsylvania

3.58/5  rDev -4.8%

Presentation: 22oz brown bottle.

Appearance: Pours a clear dark amber with a "soapy" head that refused to back down.

Smell: Like standing in a pine forest! Amazing how the pine scent came through. If there's anything else in the aroma, I couldn't detect it.

Taste: This really threw me for a loop. On my first sip, I immediately thought "This tastes like soap!" As concern and fear flashed across my face, I though perhaps I'd failed to rinse my glass from the last cleaning. Thus, the next step was to drink from the bottle. Unfortunately, the same thing happened. I just couldn't get that "saop" flavor out of my mind. I then consulted the other reviews for this beer and upon reading several of them, I saw that the "piney" hops really do dominate this beer. Now the taste made a little more sense. Given the IBU of this beer, I was very surprised at how dominant the hops were. I am a big fan of hoppy beers, but not this one.

Mouthfeel: Definitely smooth and crisp. Not bad.

Drinkability: The soapy flavor really made this score what it is. It was hard to get over and it was really tough to finish the bottle.

02-05-2003 05:21:29 | More by OldFrothingSlosh
Photo of stegmakk
stegmakk

New York

4.2/5  rDev +11.7%

Dark amber color a little hazy. Has slight offwhite head...not too much but enough...
Aroma is definately hoppy...slight floral and pine accents...
Taste is very hoppy, but not citrusy or too fruity...
Texture was good...not spectacular but good...
I could drink this all day...Very good beer

02-03-2003 17:16:19 | More by stegmakk
Photo of Kunsan90
Kunsan90

North Carolina

2.93/5  rDev -22.1%

Pours dark amber with a decent foamy head that left an extreme lacy foam as it receded. It smelled like a pine forest with a very slight hint of malty sweetness. The taste was over powered by a pine/bitter tasting flavor, which I did not enjoy at all. It had a good mouth feel, but the bitter pine after taste was over powering, at least for me. It’s drink ability would have been OK except for the excessive piney aftertaste. I feel there is a place and target market for this beer, but I don’t think I fit into either.

01-30-2003 18:16:31 | More by Kunsan90
Photo of mzwolinski
mzwolinski

California

3.9/5  rDev +3.7%

Clear, dark amber in color, with a billowy light-tan head. Good "Rogue lace." Smells of light citric hops and pine-forests. The taste is surprisingly bitter for what I expected to be a Christmas ale. Malt body is slightly sweet but mostly toasty. The toasted malts combine with a powerful American-hop finish to make a very bitter impression on the palate. Medium-body and very well-carbonated to give a very crisp feeling to this beer. Drinking it conjures up images of spending Christmas in the forests of Oregon, with the smells of grass and pine around me and the coldness of the night staved off by a healthy bomber of Rogue. Ahhhh!

01-27-2003 09:07:10 | More by mzwolinski
Photo of PhantomVodoo
PhantomVodoo

Ohio

4/5  rDev +6.4%

Pours brown in color with a good creamy, tan head that leaves lace. Aroma dominated by piney hops although some roasted malt does sneak through. Taste also dominated by piney hops. IMO the hops provide plenty of bitterness, but not the kind of hop flavor that I enjoy. Malt character is hard to detect. Good mouthfeel. Drinkability remains good despite the big piney hop bitterness. 44 IBU per the bottle, but my perception was that the beer finished at a bitterness level higher than that. Overall, a good beer, but is doesn't have the type of citrusy hop flavor that I prefer.

01-23-2003 13:48:28 | More by PhantomVodoo
Photo of doho95fu
doho95fu

California

4.25/5  rDev +13%

Tastes like Sierra Nevada Pale Ale to me. Copper in color with a thin white head and some lacing. The smell is hoppy and so is the taste. Basically, this REALLY tasted like SNPA, with maybe a bit more hops. Good brew, but not groundbreaking, which is what I have come to expect from Rogue.

01-03-2003 18:40:51 | More by doho95fu
Photo of jdhilt
jdhilt

New Hampshire

3.2/5  rDev -14.9%

Nice coppery color, some carbonation and medium head for a short while, lace stays. The brewer has three different hops (brewer says double the usual) and five malts but the hops win with an initial balance but a definite and lingering hoppy finish. The ABV is 6%.

01-02-2003 15:36:25 | More by jdhilt
Photo of Lupe
Lupe

New York

2.55/5  rDev -32.2%

Pours a dark red-brown color with a nice tan head and good lacing, excellent appearance. Floral hop aroma with some malt and spice in the backround. Somewhat thin mouthfeel and runs a bit coarse on the tounge. Hops, hops, and more hops. Too much hops. Overpowering hop character hides the other flavors. I like hops, but this was either too much or I was expecting something else. Finishes very dry with more hop bitterness.

01-02-2003 08:31:50 | More by Lupe
Photo of mophie
mophie

Delaware

4.03/5  rDev +7.2%

Ho-Ho-Hops! Yes, in typical Rogue fashion, this is a hoppy beer. And a red one at that. Chestnut-red in color. Light tan head that sticks around for a few, then slips away to leave a wispy lace on the surface. Smell is dominated by grapefruity hops, though some of the Munich maltiness comes through. Taste is not unlike biting into a pine tree (wasn't there an old guy on TV about 20 years ago who used to eat pine trees in a commercial?), though it's slightly offset (I wouldn't say balanced, because that would be lying) by a malty sweetness. Finish is, well, bitter. In a hoppy way. I'm sure Santa would not mind finding this by the fireplace instead of milk!

12-30-2002 19:05:13 | More by mophie
Photo of CharlesRiver
CharlesRiver

Connecticut

4.1/5  rDev +9%

Reddish-amber in color with a good size off white head that lasts. Nice floral smell with some great hop notes coming through. Very smooth, clean and malty in the beginning. The ending is hops and bitterness all the way. Nothing is too strong with this ale, it is very well balanced and a great winter brew. This beer reminds me a lot of SN Celebration Ale maybe with a bit more bittering hops. Another great brew from Rogue.

12-29-2002 17:55:20 | More by CharlesRiver
Photo of proc
proc

Michigan

3.53/5  rDev -6.1%

As I sat in my recliner on Christmas Eve, reflecting on the holiday at hand and looking out the window watching it snow, I drank this holiday offering from Rogue. It pours out to a brownish-amber in the glass. The aroma of hops and grapefruit are present. This is a rather bitter ale, but in a good way. Hops dominate, but you most certainly know there is malt in there. A nice diversion on a mellow, snowy Christmas Eve night. One bomber was fine for the evening.

12/31/03: Update. I had a bomber of this on Christmas Eve, per usual and can report this beer was hopped like crazy this year. The word is that Santa ordered 3x the hops as opposed to the usual 2x hopping this beer usually gets. It was a hop monster for '03. Wow.

12-26-2002 17:47:22 | More by proc
Photo of mickstepp
mickstepp

Ohio

3.55/5  rDev -5.6%

I've yet to meet a Rogue I didn't like and Santa's Private Reserve is no exception. Very deep amber color. Nice off-white head. Aggressively hopped (that's a compliment not a complaint). If you didn't know this was a Rogue Ale you might be able to guess anyway. Faint hop aroma but little else in the nose . Breautiful cascading lace action. Not Rogue's best offering but pretty good nonetheless. My biggest complaint is that it lacks the spicey complexity of other winter/Christmas ales I've had (or the spiciness is buried by the hops).

12-26-2002 15:20:10 | More by mickstepp
Santa's Private Reserve Ale from Rogue Ales
85 out of 100 based on 1,938 ratings.