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Santa's Private Reserve Ale - Rogue Ales

Not Rated.
Santa's Private Reserve AleSanta's Private Reserve Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

2,132 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,132
Reviews: 1,176
rAvg: 3.75
pDev: 13.87%
Wants: 57
Gots: 166 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Rogue Ales visit their website
Oregon, United States

Style | ABV
American Amber / Red Ale |  5.30% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 11-29-2001

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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,132 | Reviews: 1,176 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of FLAbeergutinMASS
4.03/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very nice beer. Magically appeared on right around the holidays, not sure if that was the intension or if it's an old bottle. Regardless it's good to go. Deep mahagony color, almost porter-like, but not that deep. Awesome lacing and head presentation.

Very spicy smell. Clove and pine and a little but of maple syrup in there too. Huge waftings of Christmas and sleigh rides. Kind of reminds me of a spiced cider after an afternoon sledding...only better.

Again, another fantastic offering form the West Coast.

Photo of oelergud
4.2/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep dark bronze body, clear and moderate carbonation. Light brown head that dissipates to a thin float. Pretty good lace and decent retention.
Strong hop fragrance and spice in the nose, some mild malt scent coming through.
Hops up front dominate the taste throughout and only reluctantly fades away at the end of the aftertaste. Some slight caramel notes does manage to punch through but only now and then.
Decent mouthfeel with some good coating. Sharp and rough on the tongue.
Great drinkability and a good winter warmer. Who knew Santa was a hophead!


Photo of DogFood11
3.79/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a mini tulip it forms a decent head that fades rather quickly into small islands. cherry red to dark in color.

An amazingly thick bready smell backed by unbridled hops that singe in the back of the nose. woohoooo what have I got myself into.

This is the breadiest malt front I've come accross. Hops are sharp and powerful. Wow what a complex offering again from Rogue. The only criticism would be that it takes a while for the hops to counter that strong doughy fresh bread beginning and it lasts too long in my opinion.

Notes: most rogue offerings have a permanent place in my beer stable but for the price this is just decent. And I use the word decent in context with Rogue. For most other breweries this beer would be upper tier, but this is average for these fellas.

Photo of battlekow
3.71/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The bottle lays claim to a "roasty, malt flavor," but the overarching character of this beer would be better described as butterscotch or toffee; that is to say, there's some roasted malts, but underneath a heaping portion of diacetyl. That has to be an off-flavor, right? Either way, it's not bad, just not what I was expecting. There's also the promised hoppiness, but it's hard to get past the butter bomb.

Photo of Terp96
4.03/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a fantastic winter warmer. Not as good as some of the Rogue offerings but a solid choice nonetheless.

22 oz. 2005 edition purchased for 4.99 at Well's in Towson, MD.

This beer poured a medium to deep red into my imperial pint glass. One finger thick head that did not seem to last too long.

Aroma is just as described on the bottle. Nice maltly, grainy smell with a little hop/pine mixed in. Not as floral as this beer has been in past years.

Taste is excellent. Reminds me of Hop Rod Rye with not as much of a hop kick at the end. Definite roasted flavor with somewhat of a dry finish.

Almost syrupy on the tonge at first. As it moves back into your mouth you get more of that signature Rogue hop flavor. Again, the dry finish prevails. Very balanced.

This beer is very drinkable. It goes down smooth and is very easy to get through. This is a very solid choice for those cold holiday nights.

Photo of Brewfan
4.1/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This was a '04 bottle consumed a year later. Didn't like this beer at all fresh. Didn't review it, but was way too hot/spicy/hoppy/etc. Didn't know what to expect a year later.
Poured a burnished hazy copper. Nice 1.5 finger beige head which petered out after a little while. Minimal lace clung to the edges throughout.
Smelled of baked nut fruitcake, biscuits, hops and chocolate malt. Very nice nose, inviting and comforting.
The spices have since taken a back seat to malt and chocolate. Man, this beer got really nice after a year. Chocolate and malt, malt and chocolate. What a beautiful combination. I really wasn't expecting this. Pleasant surprise. I'm really glad I have 2 more bottles downstairs. Hops and spices come through, but are nicely subdued.
Medium body to this beer with minimal carbonation. I think fresh, it was more carbonated.
Finishes sweet and biscuity with some more spices coming through. Very nice winter warmer....a year later.

Photo of KroMagnon
4.27/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The bottle is really cool with Santa in the Rogue power stance, and "snowflakes glisten" written on the side. The head, which was tan, subsided pretty rapidly. Otherwise the beer was a nice red and appearance was OK. The aroma was fairly heavy in caramel with some hoppy notes as well, a spicy almost cinnamon kind of hoppiness. The flavor was great - it has a hard, robust maltiness that is balanced and complimented by the hops. I was kind of expecting more hoppiness but the IBUs are at 44 according to the bottle which isn't excessively bitter. Delicious beer, very drinkable - not your typical "winter warmer" at all.

Photo of goschool
3.63/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The reddish amber color is inviting. The nose has caramel and butterscotch aromas with a hint of floral hops. The mouthfeel is well carbonated, but light. The taste is malty, with fruit and toffee, and the hops are spicy and slightly more apparent. This is a nice everyday beer, in the guise and with the price of an exciting seasonal release.

Photo of Beaver13
3.03/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22 oz bottle. Pours a ruby amber with a thin off-white head that quickly goes down to a thin film that leaves a little lacing.

The aroma is caramel/toffee malts with a little butterscotch and a fruity floral hoppiness.

The flavor is fruity (slightly acidic) butterscotch malts initially followed by a floral piney hop finish that lingers into the aftertaste. It's medium bodied, but with a watery finish that washes out a lot of the flavors except the bitter aftertaste.

Overall, similar to other hoppy ambers (Levitation, Cinder Cone, Red Seal). I really liked the first couple of sips, but the more I had of it the less I liked it.

4.07/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Head almost jumps out of the bottle as I opened it. Pours to a very deep brown almost black with a tint of red when held to the light. Huge erupting light tan head leaves nice lace as it crackles away.

Spicey gops on the nose are nice , cherry hard candy and light malt tones also present.

Dark layered rich malty bitter feel paints the mouth. A slight sweetness and hint of spice on the finish.

Maybe a bit of coffee on the mouthfeel. Helps Santa get through those long nights. A good sippingbrew all winter long. Just dark and warm enough.

Photo of jmz62565
4.33/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Excellant two and half finger head.The look is a crisp,clear,dark amber that looks like a hearty ale!This tastes full and crisp.Some brewers dump and bunch of cinnamon and nutmeg into a vat and call it a christmas beer.This is different.This has a hint of spices and a creamy taste.A true present for Christmas.Rogue,as usual,is above the rest of the beer world.

Photo of Fugazme
3.7/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep caramel... slight amber, but very brown.
1/2" off-white head. Stays nicely.

Smell is of chocolate and malt. I pick up some brown sugar and molasses. Third whiff has some slight hops.

Taste is somewhat chocolatey with a touch of cinnamon. Some slight alcohol. Full-bodied with a decent balance.

I remember it being better in December.

Photo of BEERchitect
4.17/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed durring the Christmas season and then again yesterday. Christmas in August for me. The beer had matured nicely; much more nutty and toasty than I remembered. The mahogany, amber colors, carbonation, and head criteria are consistent. To the nose, the hops still jump out with spruce-like, floral aromas. Flavors are high in the amber malts, spices (allspice, nutmeg, cinnemon), nuts (almonds and walnuts), and hops (citrus, pine-ey, ginger-ey). Still a full, round mouthfeel; leaving mild drying and alcohol sweetness behind as the beer disipates. I beleive that the hops had subsided a bit leaving the beer more nutty, malty, and smoother. I'm happpy with my choice in cellering.

Photo of methtlcai
3.45/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I always wondered where on earth people got the impression that some beers tasted like black liccorice...until now. This beer poured a light brown with deep red showing through especially in light, with an average sized yellowish white head that remained all the way down. The aroma was like most rogue beers, nice and crisp northwestern hops but this also had a honey-like sweetness too, which didnt prepare me for the taste- the taste was absolutely black liccorice. This is something that I had never tasted before in such abundance. Sadly, I have always hated that taste, but I still say it tastes damn good because I know a lot of people like that taste, and I am impressed that they can make it so pronounced. You can tell its a good beer, because even though I don't like the taste so much, I am about to go pour myself another glass.

Photo of ChrisBowers
3.5/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a chestnut red from a 22oz bomber. Very little lasting head. Taste was somewhat one dimentional to me, lots of very bitter hops, not much malt to balance it out. A little thin on the pallete. It did get better as it warmed. Perhaps I had a bad bottle? Maybe I just haven't had an american red in awhile.

4/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This bottle has about 9 months of age on it. It is a deep amber color with a 1" tan head that falls to a cap. There are a few floating particles. Awesome sticky lace down the glass.

The nose is full of malt and caramel. The hops are apparent, but are in the background(must be due to the age as this was double hopped). Nice light roasted aroma. Very nice nose overall.

The first taste is opposite of the nose. The hops take center stage and then melt into an almost perfect balance with the slightly sweet malt. Buttery, rich flavor balanced with a nice earth note and a little nuttiness. Some nice hop bitterness in the finish.

The beer is smooth and somewhat creamy. It is full and rich. This beer has aged well and I think I hit it at the perfect time. Very nicely balanced beer. I want to put one of these up against a fresh batch here in a few months and compare. Highly recommended.

Photo of Bierguy5
4/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cloudy chestnut color. Thick foamy tan head, disappears quick, but there is a great amount of sticky lace on the glass. Slight roasty aroma, citrusy and pine smells. Caramel malt flavor, roasty. Nice hoppy finish. Good amount of bitterness from piney flavored hops. Medium body, moderated carbonation. This is a solid beer.

Photo of woodychandler
3.75/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Xmas in July at The Grey Lodge! Whoo hoo. Thanks, Scoats, for another brilliant gathering.

This arrived with a really fluffy tan head that slowly reduced but never completely disappeared. It had a lovely malt nose which didn't seem spicy at all. The color was a deep amber, or better, caramel color, like cola. The mouthfeel was rather light. I noted a light combination of sweetness and spiciness in the mouth. Amazingly, the finish was more hoppy than malty. I found this highly enjoyable and I would have had another had it not been for all of the different beers brought out for the occasion.

Photo of Gaisgeil
3.28/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Fairly one-dimensional brew to be quite honest, fairly unbalanced to the bitter side. Pours a deep amber in color with a light tan head that held up pretty well all throughout. Nose is quite piney/hoppy, very aromatic. Taste follows suit, quite floral, very "west coast" as it were. Not a whole lot going on here, some malt balance, but the bitterness just dominates.

Not horrible by any means, I can definatly see the appeal to this one, but also not something I'll be looking for again anytime soon.


Photo of whartontallboy
3.68/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Caramel/coppery pour with a one-finger tight off-white head. Leaves lots of lace as I work my way through the bomber.

Smell is mainly West-Coast bitter, piney hops.

The bitter piney hops similarly dominate the flavor. The malt is there if you look hard enough on your tongue for it, but I would have preferred a little more balance with this one. I'm a guy who loves his hops, but this just sort of came off as a bit unbalanced. The slight caramel-malt character is pleasant, but it needed just a tad more. Maybe this one would have tasted better a little fresher, but I think it would only have exacerbated the hoppiness.

Still, a very pleasant drinking brew, if not perfect, that I enjoyed. Closer to an APA than an amber, and by no means my favorite Rogue beer, but not too shabby.

Photo of DrainBamage
4.2/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brownish red with nice head that thins put laces the edge of the glass and a little left on top. The first thing I smelled was the hops followed with a hint of roasted malts. The hops were strong and I was a little worried that the taste would be overbearing. Fortunately I was wrong and the taste is quite pleasant and there is a nice amount of carbonation in the mouthfeel. Drinkability is a bit above average and anyone who enjoys IPA will like this one.

Photo of BitteBier
3.95/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Slighty hazy amber color that falls between copper and crimson. Shows some lasting carbonation and is topped off with foamy tan head that reduces to a persistent cling. Nose boldens noticeably as the beer warms--the malts are decidedly secondary to the evergreen and hoppy notes. Malts are similarly smooth but muted in comparison to the hops, which are somewhat citrusy at first and then more evergreeny during the finish. Mouthfeel is a bit too astringent and oily for my taste given what seems like an underlying malty smoothness to this beer. Still a fine Rogue offering--always something of an adventure.

Photo of Vipsanius
4.12/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured an orangish amber color with a one inch off white head that lasted for a long time and left good lacing.

The aroma is mainly sweet and malty. It gives little warning to the hoppy overload that's about to ensue. The taste is very Rogue-ish. Hoppy, nutty, spicey, sprucey and more.

The mouthfeel is rich and a little tingly. Another good Rogue ale that I wish I could find locally.

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.38/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bright red-orange-copper, a lovely hue that is in keeping with the festive, holiday theme. The head is stupendous and is made up of buttery, orangish beige foam that is hugely rocky and absolutely full of character. When it finally relents, the glass is chock full of tenacious lace in speckled, broken sheets. Very nice.

While the aroma is unquestionably good, it is a bit of a letdown. When I learned that Chinook and Centennial were in use and that this beer was brewed to be a hoppier version of St. Rogue Red, my expectation meter went instantly to 'drool'. The aroma is sweet and hoppy and spicy and everything else that I had hoped for, it just isn't as forceful as it could be since the hops are blunted to some extent by the malt.

The same applies to the flavor... very good but not outstanding and certainly not a hop bomb. I'd have to have them side by side, but Santa's doesn't seem much hoppier than the St. Rogue Red of my memory. It's still wonderful beer however. There's plenty of malt on hand with a toasted, bready flavor that keeps it firmly within the style guidelines. No one should confuse this beer with an IPA however.

Hops are present and accounted for. I especially notice the Chinook (they tend to dominate other varieties in my experience). One of the things that I love about Rogue is that they use plenty of ingredients; this beer is absolutely bursting with bittersweet flavor. Spicy, tangy, pungent, grapefruity, sprucy hops commingle with sweet malt in an increasingly harmonious manner as the beer warms. My impressions of the flavor are becoming much more favorable as I get deeper into the bottle.

The finish is long and hoppysweet, remaining relatively well-balanced (from a hop lover's perspective) until the deliciously bitter end. The mouthfeel is between medium and full with that characteristic Rogue lushness that I know and love. More often than not, these guys hit their marks in all aspects of the brewer's art.

Santa's Private Reserve (aka St. Nick Red) may not have been the 'Christmas in March' that I was expecting, but I got past that quickly enough. It's a big, hoppy, flavorful-as-hell ale that appeals to me in a big way. Although it doesn't do much to distinguish itself from the beer that it was patterned after, it's impossible to go wrong with either one. Highly recommended for Christmas lists everywhere.

Photo of Naerhu
4.36/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Beautiful pure red body with huge off-white fluffy head. Eternal lacing.
Aroma: Nice big pine-hop aroma.
Flavor: Nice smooth bread crust maltiness. The hops are intense, but the bold malt balances perfectly. Only sweet enough to balance the hop bitterness. A fantastic beer.
Mouthfeel: Nice smooth body to balance the hop-perkiness.

Santa's Private Reserve Ale from Rogue Ales
85 out of 100 based on 2,132 ratings.