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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

2,150 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,150
Reviews: 1,181
rAvg: 3.75
pDev: 13.87%
Wants: 59
Gots: 176 | FT: 3
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: 2,150 | Reviews: 1,181 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of NClifestyle
4.07/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

So, as I drink this beer, I'm thinking what does Santa Claus have in common with beer? Well, for starters, Old Saint Nick gets his start in Germany. Next, Santa tends to have a red complexion, which could be due to wind burn or overindulgence in the malty goodness. Lastly, the guy lives in the North Pole, so of course he’s going to need a hearty brew to warm his insides as he prepares for the task at hand. He’s a jolly chap, so you know he enjoys a few pints!
The bottle depicts our favorite toy distributor in all his regalia, holding up one fist in the rogue way, in the other hand, a large, froth-topped stein of, presumably, Santa’s finest. Snowflakes glisten on this 1 pt. 6 fl. oz. monster of a bottle.
Santa’s Private Reserve Ale checks in at 6% ABV, so let the warming begin. It shows up clear and dark amber in a pint glass, with a huge tan head of large bubbles, some lines of carbonation bubbles continually stream from the bottom of the glass. Thick rings of lace are left behind.
Not exactly spicy, there is an aroma of warm cinnamon bread that wafts from the head, with a hint of syrup and just the slightest note of piney hop. The taste is surprisingly hoppy, of the citrus variety, although there is quite a bit of sweet malt flavor in the beer. The malt flavors become increasingly apparent as the beer warms. And while the sugary malt notes are strong, the finish gives a woody aftertaste. A medium mouthfeel can be found, with mild carbonation. Santa’s private ale is a beer with an enormous amount of flavor to offer, with a very warming effect . If you prefer a bit of hoppy tang with your Christmas brew, this Rogue is the beer for you.


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

Damn nice holiday brew. Poured from bomber into 24oz mug. Head rises quickly to nearly 3 fingers befor settling to a sustained two finger height. Look is brownish/hazel very deep hue, translucent...not much light gets through this one. Nice mocha tan head is full of small bubbles. The smell is sweet, fully malt, with a robust sugary fruit undertone, some nice hop patterns as well. The tast knocked my socks off. Maybe cause it's been about a month since I have had a "good" beer but this one is real nice.sweet, smooth and musky up front with a hint of some spiced organics. The middle is full and inviting but gives a hint to the nice hop punch at the finish well rounded and very nice. The mouthfeel is full if not a bit watery. A nice drinkable beer, Rogues comes through again.

Photo of silver0rlead
4.03/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a beautiful crimson-amber color with a thick, frothy tan head that leaves lacing everywhere. Aroma has a nice citrus, piney and floral hops punch, some sweet caramel malt, toasted bread and some dark fruits. The flavor starts off with big citrus and piney pacific NW hops, followed by some caramel malt, dark fruits, vanilla, toasted bread, and some almond. The mouthfeel is chewy but not overwhelming with moderate carbonation that keeps things crisp and the finish is lingering and bitter. Drinkability is also pretty good. Another solid Rogue beer, definately a step up from St. Rogue Red...i have to say i liked this one better fresh than with a couple months on it.

Photo of chOAKbarrell
4.25/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I have to learn to stop drinking my beers so cold. For the first half (glass) of this beer I was roundly unimpressed, but as it warmed to room temperature, and I poured the 2nd half, all the personality & character came out.

Attractive deep red, at any temperature. Lots of lacing. Malt & appropriate winter-ish spices in the nose. Toasty, malty flavor. Very full bodied, and the hops hit you at the finish. Nicely done. Highly drinkable.

Photo of kingjames1
4.08/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours darker than I had anticipated. Not so much amber as a dark ruby - looks like a carbonated iced tea actually.

I certainly smell the hops - those hop-headed western brewers! I detect grass, green apples, a slight hint of grapefruit, and beneath I smell some caramel (malt shining through).

I taste the grapefruit more intensely. This is a bitter amber brew. Reminds me of an American ESB, like Redhook, though with a more impressive hops profile and more dimension.

The mouthfeel is surprisingly (and delightfully) creamy, esp. given the IBUs (which I'm supposing is relatively high for the style).

Overall, a nice beer, and an interesting seasonal. Try it for something different than your typical winter warmer this season.

Photo of AlexJ
3.93/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Deep garnet tinged mahogany in color with a beautifully long lasting head of beige foam that absolutely coats my glass with lace.

Aromas of dark fruity malts, oatmeal cookies, and fabulously fresh Pac NW hops that are both floral and piney.

Flavor is a chewy mix of roasty malts, balanced by fkloral and pine drenched hops. Very balanced and quite a bit hoppier than Rogue Red, good session beer here.

Body is just above light and definately needs some beefing up. Not watery, but not big and chewy like the flavors are.

Photo of nickss
3.93/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy amber hue with a generous rocky cream head. Lots of lacing.

Big smells of cinnamon and malt... very rich and sweet smelling.

Quite a bit hoppier than I expected. Strong tastes of tea leaves, spice, cinnamon, brown sugar... very organic tasting. Not near as much malt in the flavour as I would have thought, although it becomes a bit more prominent as the brew warms.

The mouthfeel is a bit wattery for my taste.... was hoping for a bit thicker out of a winter seasonal.

Highly drinkable... moderately low abv makes this one a great session beer.

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

Rogue bomber poured into a pint glass, pours a dark mahogany amber with twio fingers of cream colored head, retains a nice cap throughout, some nice sticky lacing, very good looking beer. Smell is light floral hops over a nice doughymalt. Taste is more of the same, with the great piney Rogue hops hitting first but giving way quickly to a rich biscuity malt, slightly buttery, riding into the end where it gets overtaken by those hops for a nice bitter finish. Well balanced, with a medium/full body and a creamy smooth mouthfeel. This is really an excellent amber ale, rivalling the best I've tasted in BR's Red Rocket, and unlike the FestiveAle I'll be picking up more of this seasonal before the holidays are over.

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

Poured into my Imperial dimpled mug, the beer is dark amber, mostly clear with a huge creamy ,thick rocky head which is tan coloured.
Nice spicy, piney aroma, very fresh this sample.
mm mostly maltyin flavour profil until right at the end a sort of piney, spruce flavour emerges and unusually is creamy, its weird but it works, long lasting hoppybitterness after that.
Very smooth and delightful mouthfeel.
Nice drinkable winter beer when you dont want to go too strong in the alcohol department.

Photo of Illinick
3.44/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. Bomber
A: Dark amber and rich in color with a big, tan, fluffy head that stays amazingly fluffy throughout-looks like icing on top of a glorious holiday cake. Sticky, spider web lacing throughout. Great appearance.
S: Bread and sweet malts with a tart smell and some citrus and rind smells with "green" hop smell in there too. Mix an APA with an Amber Ale and you get the jist.
T: Again, almost a mix between an APA and an Amber Ale, but a bit more complex. Decent balance and the double kick of hop and malt flavors shines nicely. Malt seems to be the back bone with sweet malt flavors, sweet bread, and some oats. Definate hops on top (classic Rogue hops) with nice tartness and rind and grapefruit flavors. A bit piney/sprucey towards the end with a hop dominated, semi-pungent ending. At first I caught a more malty pungent aftertaste. Flavor doesn't warm well though (as most Rogue brews do not).
MF: Medium, creamy mouthfell, but turns toward the watery side when it warms.
Overall: A solid brew with the double hop and malt flavor shining. Nice for the winter time but tastes like it could be a year-round offering. Stays right in line with classic Rogue flavors and taste. Solid.

Photo of taez555
4.13/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Wouldn’t it make sense that Santa drinks a “red” ale. Ho ho ho and all that.


This beer poured a dark brownish red body with a thick off white head.

Smell was extremely malty with a mix of toasted malt, caramel and even hints of citrus fruit.

Taste was medium to full bodied. Very rich and yet a smooth malt taste. Caramel, mild citrus fruits, toasted of Munich or Vienna cracker type malt. A wood and citrus hop taste present and is complimented by a surprisingly large hop bitterness. It ends smooth with a mild lingering bitterness.

Overall a classic Red ale. Rather hoppy, my wife actually thought it was an IPA at first, but the malt character and color scream Red Ale. One of the best Red’s I’ve had in a while.

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

Deep hazy amber with a lumpy light tan head that sticks around 'till the end. Pleasant hoppy aroma with a toasted malt character. Taste is dark and complex - smooth malty sweetness with piney hops...nice. Low carbonation with a biting bitterness that lingers.

Very agreeable (jolly perhaps?). Good stuff from Rogue...glad I picked it up.

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

Nice hazy orange amber color with some ruby tones. Big fluffy head leaves nice foamy lace thats practically permanent. Smells like Santa's home might smell. A bit of piney hops, sweet and toasty, with a slight nut aroma. Taste is very well balenced with hops and malts. Earthy and piney, nice bitterness, and a good alcohol warming for the winter season. Very satisfying, good slightly chewy mouth, and real drinkable.

Great all around. Another good Rogue. 'Santa' should drop a keg of this under everyones' tree.

Photo of NiceGuyMike
4.05/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Local liquor store has two new cases on display with this brew. It looked fresh so I gave it a try. Very impressive this beer. The most perfectly balanced "hoppy" beer I know of. Very intersting scents that include hops and interesting buttery malt scent. Flavors include strong hops, but not cascade dominated along with beautiful toasty malts. All this in a dark amber redish color brew with nice fluffy light tan head. Lacing clings to the side.

Velvety smooth wit nice carbonation and medium to full bodied; very warming. I think I'll be getting another one of these before the season is out.

I'm drinking this with some home made vegi curry. I added a hotdog too (I dont know what I was thinking but it is not that bad). The brew and the hotdog along with the creamy curry goes very well. I'd recommend it in the future.

Photo of sabrills70
4.03/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a medium amber with a 2 finger head, good longevity and great lace. Malty brown sugar aromas with an underlying hop spice. Slight vanilla and raisin smells as well. Yeasty malt tastes mixed with some brown sugar and vanilla finished with a great hop flavor and bitterness. Rich, full bodied and well balanced. Another great beer from Rogue.

Photo of LPorter33
4.31/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Purchased a 22oz bottle from Martignetti's

Appearance = Great looking foggy, light brown/amber. Head fades quickly, leaves respectable lacing.

Smell = A little thin in the nose. Citrus hops dominate, smells more like an IPA. Not much else is there.

Taste = Outstanding taste as seen in nearly every Rogue beer I've tried. Initial hoppy flavor, leading into an absolutely delicious bready, malty aftertaste. I love the lingering malty flavor that stays on the tongue. Really well balanced, refreshing, clean, great drinkability.

Overall = Another awesome beer from the Masters. I don't know what it is but something about their beers totally coincides with my taste buds. Rogue is the best craft brewer in the world in my opinion.

Photo of Enola
4.2/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This is one of the best appearing red ales I have had. It has the color of a glass of red wine. It poured with a slight head. The smell contains,hmmm. Is that cinnamon? That taste is a little bitter. More so than than is typical for this style. The mouthfeel is fairly smooth with a bitter finish. I could drink these often. It is a very good red beer that is a good choice for fans of the style.

Photo of DarkerTheBetter
4.39/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Very red, almost cherry red with little head. The color’s very appropriate for the season. Smells of floral hops with nectarine, cherries, cranberries and a slight molasses malt. For the taste, sweet and sour hops come first, then a doughy malt flavor appears when held in the mouth with a fluffy carbonation, then it finishes dry and almost piney. The mouth feel is a little thin, but it works well with the flavor. This is a really tasty beer that’s fun to drink, but I kept thinking of ginger snaps and sugar cookies while I was drinking it. I don’t know if I was biased by the name or if Rogue really made an amazing beer. Either way, I’ll try it with the cookies next time.

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.

Santa's Private Reserve Ale from Rogue Ales
85 out of 100 based on 2,150 ratings.