Dismiss Notice
Sneak peek! BeerAdvocate magazine #104 (September 2015) featuring Leah & Oscar from Highland Brewing in Asheville, North Carolina. Learn more ...
Dismiss Notice
Subscribe to our newsletter and get the latest BeerAdvocate updates delivered to your inbox.

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

1,169 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,169
Hads: 2,181
rAvg: 3.8
pDev: 9.21%
Wants: 60
Gots: 197 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Santa's Private Reserve Ale Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,169 | Hads: 2,181
Photo of gillagorilla
2.64/5  rDev -30.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

Bomber poured into a Burley Oak snifter ($8 at JP's in Ellicott City, no bottle date)

A: Nice amber dark copper color. Poured with a 1 finger head and ok lacing.

S: Almost all malt on the nose with just a bit of pine and almost no citrus.

T: Tasty like a watery and malty mess of a hoppy amber ale. It is a mess of flavors and not good ones at all.

M: Quite prickly with lots of carbonation.

O: Not good, but at least I get a glow in the dark bottle out of it. This is my second Rogue and the other one was even before I was into craft and it was for the growler of Dead Guy ale since I was born on All Souls Day and it was a present for my dad. I didn't even know it glowed in the dark, but I didn't like; however, I was still a cider guy at that time. (759 characters)

Photo of scratch69
3.45/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

I poured a bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance- Clear reddish brown color with two fingers worth of lingering tan head. Fair amount of lacing.

Smell- Faint aroma of malt and baked bread.

Taste- Herbal hop flavor with notes of caramel malt.

Mouthfeel- Smooth medium body with a slightly below average amount of carbonation.

Overall- A decent beer but not something I would buy again. (388 characters)

Photo of ISmith87
3.21/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

A - 3.5 - Pretty good looking beer with a nice clear red-amber color that has a white head which leaves a nice lacing. Great lookin bottle, perfect to top off anyone's christmas decorations.
s - 3.0 - Lacking a little in the smell. Good but distant hop aroma, you can tell it's citrusy, but it seems so far away. Some bready malts.
T - 3.25 - Lots of bready/darker malts. Hop bitterness, but more earthy and undefined rather than citrusy. A little bit dissapointing.
M - 3.25 - Mouthfeel is fine. Light-Medium. Pretty bitter from the hops. Alc covered. Aftertaste is hop bitterness.
O - 3.25 - I like the bottle, but I wouldn't have it again. Perfect example of why you can't judge a book by it's cover. (707 characters)

Photo of LXIXME
3.99/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Nice big light brown head with decent staying power on a clear reddish-golden colored ale.

Distant light citrus and fruity aroma.

Light citrus and some fruitiness in a warming and slightly bitter tasting beer.

Dryish aftertaste with some light bitterness remaining with this medium bodied beer.

This Santa is welcome at my house anytime of year. (349 characters)

Photo of laglocal
3.51/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Thought I had enough wiggle room pouring a 12oz w/ no freshness date into a Pint glass. Wrong. Roaring head envelops more than half the glass before I finish pouring it all. I did pour aggressively anticipating low carbonation. Kind of dark for an amber/Red? Maybe just me. Tan head retains extremely well

S: Couldn't pick up much on the smell save for a very light hop funk. I know this beer is malty but I can't pick up on any of it in the smell.

T: Woah. Intensely sweet and dark malt overpowers, interesting since I only got faint hops on smell. Very tasty and drinkable. Lingering hoppy bitterness on the finish. Rich. Balanced with finish but definitely on the malty side.

M: Carbonation kept to low levels despite the crazy head I got, makes for a wet mouthfeel.

Overall, this beer is tasty and rich, but just not my type of brew. Guilty hop head. This is still a great dark winter ale. Didn't pick up on the hoppyness as much as I should have I think, I don't see how this seasonal could be stale unless it was last year's which I doubt. (1,053 characters)

Photo of screamking
3.89/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

22 oz bomber poured into wine glass.

Appearance-pours red-brown with 1 finger light khaki head. Decent lacing around the edges. 4

Aroma-Very sweet smelling beer. Strong brown sugar with hints of citrus throughout, orange, grapefruit, and apricot. Vanilla is very prevalent as well. Aroma on this is delightful 4.25

Taste-The sweetness from the aroma continues in the mouth. A lot of brown sugar up front, also vanilla and maple syrup. Im also getting some black pepper towards the middle. After the sweetness fades the bitterness comes in strong and lasts. 3.75

Feel-medium body, coats palate well, abv is only 6% but it feels stronger. 3.25

Overall-I'm actually surprised how much I like this. I've never been to big of a Rogue fan, but this beer is by far the best that I've had from them. It is perfect for cold winter nights. The bitterness in this one is a little too much at the end but the sweetness up front makes up for it. 4 (941 characters)

Photo of dheacck11
3.53/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle -> pint glass

Nice ruby amber with finger of almond head, rapidly fading. Lots of fine lacing

Malty nose with hints of subtle spice, i.e. clove

Full blast of malt up front. Notes of caramel, pine, maybe a smidge of tangerine. Closes with a gently spiced bite with soft cinnamon and clove. Hint of dry hop on the finish

Medium to light body, bit of sharpness on the mouthfeel.

Overall, very drinkable. Would I choose it over many other common holiday ales though? Probably not. But a good, classic example of the style. Left me wanting more though (of something else...) (584 characters)

Photo of ujsplace
3.9/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pub glass.

A: Thick, aged white chunky head that is sticky, leaving nice lacing. Amber/copper in color.

S: Herbal hops and spices...

T: Herbal hops, roasted caramel malt, bready yeast and mildly spiced - maybe nutmeg and cinnamon. Definitely picking up on bit of spruce at the end.

M: Medium light and good carbonation...

D: Highly drinkable tasty ale...a good session beer.

Just re-reviewing this. (418 characters)

Photo of DMXLOX22
3.62/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Picked up a single of this brew from my local establishment. It's actually been sitting in my fridge for about 4 weeks...whoops. So let's see how this measures up.

Appearance: Pours a bright red, copper, hue that really reminds you of the holiday season. leaves behind light bubbles that rise to a nice, somewhat frothy, white head. Not so bad if you ask me. There is some room for improvement, i.e. maybe a slightly darker tone.

Smell: Delivers a nice, robust scent. Instantly, I get a reaction of malt hops, some spice, and an almost citrus-like scent. Not so bad, actually quite inviting for beer lovers alike.

Taste: The bitterness of malted hops and a light flavor of citrus is not so bad, even to a delicate palate. It has a nice balance of all together of the sweet and bitter. It's rich, robust flavor can be picked up along with a somewhat smoothness.

Mouthfeel: Has a nice, medium mouthfeel with a moderate to light moderate carbonation. Not so bad on the way down, and settles nicely, leaving behind somewhat bitter taste.

Overall: I can recall someone recommending this beer to me. Upon first pour, it did look alluring and it was worth the adventure. This beer brought a nice, warm, somewhat spicy texture. I would recommend this beer to a friend and if it were on tap at a local spot I happened to be at, I would have it again. Good sipping and doesn't offend the taste buds. Cheers! (1,402 characters)

Photo of sam_bliss
4.59/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

22oz bomber

The sound upon uncapping the bottle insinuates that the contents are well-carbonated. It pours a coppery, bright beet-red color accented by copious bubbles lining the sides of the glassware and topped off with a magnificent four-finger head. As this dissipates down to a centimeter-thick foamy cap to seal in the brew's aromatic bouquet, beautiful lacing is deposited on the glass walls of the drinking vessel. A slightly sweet, complex concoction of malts anchors the aroma, which is accented by red fruits and fresh floral hops. The taste is less sweet than the nose; it is built upon the roasty, biscuity, caramelly, and slightly nutty blend of malts that includes Carastan, Crystal and two others from Rogue's own barley farm. From this intricate foundation rises some not-quite-ripe fruitiness, a mixture of sweet and sour that both excites and intrigues the taste buds. A sprucy evergreen finish gives way to a citrusy aftertaste and lingering tingling, advocating the next sip or gulp, even if merely to further analyze the multifaceted flavors of this inimitable ale from Santa Clause's private reserve.

This is a truly exceptional piece of brewing. It is distinctively fascinating, an unrivaled amber that is unique for its listed category and matchless in the field of winter beers. I love Christmas ales; this is a special one that they make a bit differently each holiday season. (1,406 characters)

Photo of wlevando
1.43/5  rDev -62.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1.5

Bottle into 8 oz chalice

Appearance: Pretty copper-red. Weak head disappears almost immediately leaving a splotchy wake.

Smell: Immediate hop bite, followed by a rank, soft scent. First clue, there must be something off.

Taste: Uggh. Like rotting fir. Something is living in this beer that I don't want in my belly.

Mouthfeel: Get it out! Desiccating, evolutionarily unpleasant bitterness makes me spit out each mouthful I get. I swallowed one, and it was reminiscent of powdered Tylenol. Like I said, we only exist today because we can taste such compounds.

Overall: Beer was skunked. Rogue has always been decent, as I remember, so I was excited for this beer. I bought it as a single in a mix-your-own-six, and it must have been on the GTFO list. (755 characters)

Photo of chefhatt
3.27/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

I poured it into a ping glass, it has a reddish color body with 2' white head. The smell has a malty aroma that has a sweet aroma to it.
The taste has a sweet malty flavor,a little hop flavor on the back of the tonuge, it is faint but there.
the mouth feel is good and overall a ok beer. (289 characters)

Photo of tweeder263
3.49/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Pours out a hazy amber beer with 2 finger thick head. scent of grapefruit hops, with a slightly sweet background hint. Taste is slightly bitter, hoppy, dry. Mouthfeel is ok. Typically i love rogue beers, this one is mediocre. (225 characters)

Photo of vette2006c5r
4.17/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Santa's Private Reserve pours a hazy brownish color, with a small lacing head. There is a strong malty aroma, with some sweet sugar cookie like spices. The taste is the same, malty backbone, with lots of sweetness, candy like flavors coming through. Good full flavor, and enjoyable as well. Overall a very nice red ale with lots of flavors and spices. (351 characters)

Photo of thlayli87
3.36/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A - Ruby brown color with three fingers of cream colored head. Very good lacing.

S - Faint herbal hop aroma. Tomato? Not much else. Not terribly fragrant.

T - This beer has a rather unique flavor and it's difficult to pick out individual elements. I get lots of herbal hop flavor, saucy tomato, pine, lingering bitterness.

M - Medium to full bodied; rich vegetal flavors that linger on the palate.

O - Very interesting brew. It's not really what I'd expect for a Christmas beer. Quite hoppy with none of the usual spices to be found. Not really crazy about it but interesting nonetheless. I think this would pair well with marinara sauce-based pasta dishes or chicken cacciatore. (683 characters)

Photo of mjpolzin
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I have to admit that I had this beer right after having a fairly sweet mixed drink so I don't think my pallet was ready for a beer. I got a lot of bitter, hoppy flavors because I think some of the more subtle flavors were invisible to me because of what I had drank before hand. That said, this seemed like a solid representation of a red ale so I think my scores reflect that. (377 characters)

Photo of curasowa
3.9/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance: Clear, dark copper color with three fingers of fluffy head that fade with chunky lacing.

Aroma: Toasted, caramel malt with piney hops notes and a hint of honey.

Taste: Medium bodied with a lot of malt presence up front becoming a bit nutty and thinning out in the middle. The back end is dominated by earthy bitterness with some bready notes underneath. Finsih is fairly fast and clean with just some lingering bitterness.

The Rest: Not too bad; there's a bit of a harsh edge to the bitterness but otherwise a good beer. (535 characters)

Photo of kristiekatk
3.77/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a mahogany/amber. Aroma is full of hop oils, pine, citrus zest, caramel, and sweet malts. Citrus hops front the flavor, followed by the malty sweetness, all leading to a sprucy and bitter finish that doesn't want to end. Crisp and dry with a medium/medium-full body. Very tasty. (284 characters)

Photo of 1Nrwyscotch
3.56/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

A. A deep amber color with a solid three fingers of off white head which stays for a while and leaves some lacing.

S. Lots of pine but i"m not getting much else.

T. The taste is dominated by the piney hop bitterness, I'm not picking up any spices but very clean flavor.

M. A medium body with a dry finish.

O. I guess I expected more of the holiday spice profile but if your looking for a nicely hopped red ale you cant go wrong. (473 characters)

Photo of brewskifan55
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a snifter

A: Reddish amber with a white half finger h ead that morphed into big bubbles. Frothy lacing.

S: Piney hops. Resiny

T: A sleighful of hops rush in. Grapefruit. Some cinnamon and nutmeg. A dry finish. Nothing overwhelming

M: Medium with bubbly carbonation.

O: Just OK. For a holiday-themed ale, Rogue should've brought more to the table. (363 characters)

Photo of fatmusic14
3.57/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bomber into a pint glass.

Pours nice and dark - amber, rich and inviting.

Smells of cinnamon, spice, hops. Earthy, delightful, but not overpowering.

Tastes of pine and soot. Earthy smell translates through to the taste facet of this beer.

M - good carbonation, decent head, sparse lacing.

O - Good, not great. If a non-bomber size exists, worth a try. (371 characters)

Photo of seydou
3.79/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured out of a bottle into a winter glass. Had to really work to get some head on top, but once I did, it stuck around in a thin layer for a while. Beautiful barely-opaque reddish-brown color.

Tough to get any real smell from this one for me, or maybe it's my head cold??

The taste is strong, pleasantly bitter, and lingering for a while on my whole tongue with a similar red ale bitterness. Tough to pick out any flavor notes, but the whole thing just works.

Not really a winter ale for my tastes, but a good one. I'd have this with some turkey. (553 characters)

Photo of SerialHiker
3.97/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a light reddish copper…pretty transparent, there are a few bubles bubblin’ on the inside…ultra light tan head formed and about a finger remains…(3.5/5)

Smell: Toasted (and maybe roasted) barley and tons of it, there’s definitely a distinct smell…hints of yeast as well…there’s like a muddy/wild mushroom/burnt wood smell that is very unique & intriguing…very much an earthiness here…(4/5)

Taste: Hmm…definitely a malt and barley front…it’s toasted barley flavor I’m getting all over my tongue and gives a burnt wood taste…it’s strong and dominant and as it fades and blends with malt and hops, but still always apparent…earthy, mildly piney hops and a malt balance become more apparent in the middle…a malty, dryness in the finish…late citrus/earthy hops bitterness in the finish…there’s a strong lingering malt and barley flavor…(3.75/5)

Mouthfeel: Light to medium…tons of carbonation…wet and smooth with a dry finish…(3.75/5)

Overall: This is a good, solid brew that is very drinkable while being full flavored…the barley variety brings a unique flavor that does very well with the earthy malt and hops chosen to accompany it…there’s little I could knock about this beer, it’s a solid choice during this holiday season…enjoy! (3.75/5) (1,318 characters)

Photo of JuicesFlowing
4.32/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a shaker pint glass.

The beer is a rich dark cedar red color. A milky-espresso head stays around for a long while. Thick lacing coats the glass.

The beer smells of caramel malts, pine trees, and cedar.

The taste is exceptional. Woody pine gives way to a cinnamon spice note, with an earthy, burnt wood and bitter hop finish.

Mouthfeel is dry, sticky.

Overall, it tastes like Christmas. (405 characters)

Photo of Eeroomnhoj
3.65/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured the bottle and had a rich amber color. The beer had a real strong hoppy smell. I am hardly an expert and I usually don't drink or enjoy hoppy beers but I did enjoy it, not sure if I would drink more than one, but it is a good winter beer. I would definitely drink it again! (280 characters)

Santa's Private Reserve Ale from Rogue Ales
86 out of 100 based on 1,169 ratings.