Dismiss Notice
Subscribe to BeerAdvocate magazine?

Learn more about beer and save over 53% with a 3-year subscription.

Subscribe now →

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

1,170 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,170
Hads: 2,184
Avg: 3.78
pDev: 18.78%
Wants: 60
Gots: 200 | 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: 1,170 | Hads: 2,184
Photo of YouSkeete
4.47/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark red with an amber hue. Slightly opaque. One-finger white head with moderate lacing.

S: Caramel malts and heavy hop flavor are the first aromas that make it to the nose. Dark fruits like raisins, plums and figs balance the bite of the hops and malty sweetness. Pine and cedar notes can be deciphered.

T: Sweet caramel malts, a boat-load of fresh yeast and moderate hop flavor. Dark fruits are more subtle throughout the beer, which is not what i was expecting. Yeast and malt are the front runners in the taste. Sweetness balanced by hop bite, and bitterness balanced by the softness of pureed dark fruits. Amazing.

M: Moderate carbonation, moderate body. An exceptionally well-balanced product.

D: Fantastic. One of my favorite out of the many Rogues i have sampled.

 778 characters

Photo of Dmann
4.48/5  rDev +18.5%
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.

 462 characters

Photo of hustlesworth
4.48/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

it's august, it's hot and sticky, and when i went to the bier depot i saw a shiny brown 22oz bottle with santa cheersing me on the label. so a jingle and a jangle, lets drink some xmas beer. ho ho ho.

A- poured a warm reddish copper amber from the side, but if you look down into the glass (after the head recedes) it's a copperish brown. the brew was only slightly hazy but mostly transparent beneath 2in of fluffy spongy beige foam that held its ground for awhile before settling to 1/4in eaving sticky wispy lace that almost spelled out the word "america"

S- citrusy hops and caramelized malts first, followed by gingerbread, tobacco, sun dried tomatoes, raisins, yeasty bread crust, and wild mushrooms

T- barely noticeable metallic and mild coffee, then burnt caramel, butterry praline, and pine needles! pine cones! pine sap! this is seriously tasting like a spiced up xmas tree and a joyous noel to me. more complexity follows with woodsy dried flowers, passionfruit, roasted malt, dried figs and dates, cranberries, toasted sourdough bread, and a nice bitter citrus almost "angostura (aromatic bitters)" hop aftertaste.

MF- resinous and slick but not quite oily, SPR goes right down even in the summer. medium carbonation level, finishes crisp and dry with pine sap on the roof of my mouth.

D- i wouldn't have known this was a holiday ale if it wasn't labeled as one. all the same, this is a tasty red ale that i WOULD drink in session, but realistically couldn't due to its limited availability. the bottle i snagged was left over from xmas 06 was stored properly. we'll see if the 07 is just as good.

 1,624 characters

Photo of hoplover82
4.48/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The bottle that I snuck from Santa's Private Reserve pours a crystal clear amber color with a very thick creamy, tan head that clings strong to the glass and leaves very good lace. The head never goes away.

The aroma bursts with floral hops. Sweet, toasty, caramely malts sing there beautiful song in the back. As it warms in I detect pine and citrus hops too. Very nice aroma.

The flavor is mostly caramel and toasty malts, but the hops are in the back this time. In every drink, you know the hops are there in full effect. The perfect amount of bitterness helps Santa's beer to be perfectly balanced. The elves must have worked on this recipe for a long time.

Mouthfeel is full bodied and creamy. Very smooth.

Very drinkable. I highly recommend you sneek some of this from Santa.

 789 characters

Photo of Risser09
4.48/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle pourd into my new etched crystal pilsners - Served at fridge temp

Appearance: Pours a transparent copper colored beer, nice golden orange highlights. The head is 2 inches high and is ivory. Cakiness is enormous on this head, and plenty of lace rests on the glass.

Smell: Hops and spice fill the nose. Pine and grapefruit make this one truly smell like an American amber. Cinnamon rounds everything out.

Taste: Hops dominate the flavor. Pine and grapefruit are the main flavors. Malt balance is well done and key. Bitter orange peel, a touch of cinnamon. Bitter lingering finish.

Mouthfeel: Slick and bitter. This one goes down easy and leaves a bitter, dry finish. It's hard not to keep drinking to quench the bittering dryness. Alcohol is present.

Drinkability: Great. This one was different than what I expected from a Christmas beer. Lots of hops and a ncie malt balance. A great beer.

 905 characters

Photo of TheBierBand
4.48/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

OK... so my wife bought me a sixer of Rogue's Santa's Private Reserve. I couldn't have been more psyched!... What a woman! I cracked open the first bottle high with anticipation.

I poured it into a pint glass and it produced a perfect 1" head, much to my satisfaction. The head dissipated slightly as I drank, but I never saw the surface of the beer even as I drained the last swallow. It produced thin lacing all the way down the glass. The color was a deep dark black and only a hint of red shown through when held up to the light.

I took a good sniff after I poured it and I immediately knew that this was gonna be a hoppy one. The hops came through more than anything else.

Then the initial taste. YES!.. The hops were right there... front and center. If you like a hoppy beer... this one's for you. I liked the bitterness of the hops. But it was not overpowering... it was well balanced. The feeling in my mouth was excellent! Just the right amount of carbonation to support the hoppy taste.

I would say that the over-all drinkability is well above average... although, I would say that I wouldn't want any more than three in one sitting

 1,156 characters

Photo of pat61
4.5/5  rDev +19%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Malts on the nose, brilliant deep amber, 1” head dissipates to a thick film, rich carmelly malts, ends dry, good hop finish into the aftertaste, some grapefruit in the finish, surprisingly dry, almost astringent in the finish. Like a hop blast. It begins with malt and fruit and then ends with a drying, astringent grapefruit rind resiny finish.

 347 characters

Photo of Caveworm
4.5/5  rDev +19%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Santa's Private Reserve Ale - Rogue Ales. Poured from the bottle into a pint glass, its got a 2 finger thick off-white head with secular lacing, and a clear rather dark amber body.

I can smell slight "spruciness" mentioned on the label, along with west coast style of hops(grapefruit-like), and caramelized malts. Interesting...

The taste here is pretty much a mirror image of the scent, albeit more hop than spruce. But JUST enough to my palate before it would need to enter pale ale territory. The caramelized malts are a great backbone to everything else going on with this beer. Very well done job!

Mouthfeel I've got going on is smooth with just a passing minute sprinkle of hop taste, not really even bitterness. I like that as well, 4.5 .

Overall, a very solid 4.5 for Santa's Private Reserve Ale - Rogue Ales. The mention of spruce had thrown me kind of for a loop, but I am now rejoicing at its subtleties. This is a very satisfying brew that I will probably purchase again.

 995 characters

Photo of irishkyle21
4.5/5  rDev +19%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is one of the better winter seasonals I have had so far. Pours with a large rocky head. Great retention and lacework. Has a clear copper color.

This beer has a solid hop presence that caught me be surprise when I gave it a sniff. Notes of grapefruit, pine and malts (almost like toast).

Tastes of pine, citrus, bready malts and caramel. Great beer I should have bought more.

 381 characters

Photo of Immortale25
4.5/5  rDev +19%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter. No readable freshness date.

A- Pours a dark brown color with a one finger head that retains quite well. Lessens to an inconsistently thick ring around the edge of the glass and shows great lacing that drapes around with it.

S- Has an exquisite aroma that's alive with heavy notes of pure clover honey and butter. Also some hints of pear and cinnamon.

T- The taste is more on the IPA side of things. Substantial hoppiness with a good malt base. Both very balanced with each other resulting in a high drinkability factor. While the aroma is very complex, it's complemented wonderfully by the simplistic flavor profile. How did they pull this off?

M- Medium-high carbonation expresses a perky feel on the tongue. Medium body.

O- Holy Santa! I'd had this a long time ago and liked it but don't remember it being this delicious. Now I'm gonna buy it every year.

 884 characters

Photo of StevieW
4.5/5  rDev +19%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.)

 740 characters

Photo of connecticutpoet
4.5/5  rDev +19%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was a gorgeous crystal-clear red brew with a one finger head that left a LOT of lcing.

The aroma was of bitter hops, pine, some citrus (mostly grapefruit but a touch of lemon as well) and hints of malt. Hops were definitely predominant, much to my delight.

The taste was kick-ass. A firm malt backbone held together a blend of bitter and citrusy hops, with a slight astringency that balanced it all.

The mouthfeel was wonderful, well-balanced, and not overly heavy... that would have weighed down the hops too much.

Damn, I would love to have more of these... but given the cost ($3.99) and the availability, it will have to be a Christmastime treat.

 667 characters

Photo of TheSarge
4.5/5  rDev +19%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Tried this beer for the first time about six years ago before I started reviewing beers. Let's see how this goes...

Promotes a strong two finger thick light tan head, and has a pretty clear dark amber colored body.

Has a decently fragrant aroma. Good balance between the malt and the hops. Nice caramel toffee traits, with an orangish citrus finish.

The taste is mostly hops with a grapefruit quality. The sweetness of the malt shines in the way of toffee.

Feels a little dry and a little oily at the same time. Overall a bit more complex than a standard red/amber. Saint Nick must be proud!

 598 characters

Photo of BeerMark
4.5/5  rDev +19%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Santa's Private Reserve Ale from Rogue is copper red in color with a slightly off white head. It smells of malt and hops. The taste is outstanding with a perfect balance of malt sweetness and a hoppy finish. I'm a fan of well balanced beer and this one delivers the goods. I now have an American Amber Red Ale to judge others by. I think that this beer is world class and would like to see it year round.

 404 characters

Photo of Weissenheimer
4.5/5  rDev +19%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This dense, brooding dark amber pint transforms into a deep, coppery red when held up to the light. It has a nice medium head which pillows slightly to become a dreamily sinusoidal cloudscape. The lacing forms the same distinctive shark's teeth that the bottled version produces, but this time the little teeth are mixed in with big, thick pillars. Overall it's a joy to behold, and the scent is similarly appealing. Each time I sniff this beer I break out into a smile. It's invitingly fresh and balanced, with the spices forming the backbone of the scent and the hops shoring it up.

My initial reaction upon taking a swig is "Hops, hops, and more hops!" The taste profile is essentially an inversion of the scent, with hops predominating and the spices singing backup.* At first I just let the various hoppy taste sensations climb over me like children on a jungle gym. Then, looking closer, I admire the way that the hoppiness coalesces on the middle of my tongue, spreads out to a bitter and tingling ring, and then finishes with a sharp, woody taste high on my tongue that never crosses over into unpleasantness. My overall impression is that the hoppiness is like a grill, and the spices are sizzling on it.

I could quite happily drink this all night.

*This is the main difference between the bottled and on-tap versions; the bottled one seemed to be about as spicy as it was hoppy; as a matter of fact it reminded me of a grand cru.

 1,450 characters

Photo of JasonCoop
4.5/5  rDev +19%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

i've had this kicking around for a while, hope it's not too old

pours a pretty clear deep brownish amber color. it's pretty dark. nice off-white foamy head. looks great.

smells strongly of both nuttyish malts and sharp citrusy hops. smells pretty good.

taste is pretty good. i worry that this sample is a bit past its prime but the beer is still pretty good. it's got a nice sweet malt character. very flavorful, and the hops kick in towards the finish and linger. very generously hopped.

mouthfeel is smooth with a crisp bite from the hop bitterness. i like it a lot, great example of an amber/red style ale.

 621 characters

Photo of CampusCrew
4.5/5  rDev +19%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

appearance: deep amber, kinda of reddish, nice head retention

smell: loaded citrus from this beer and strong hop aroma

taste: a nicely hopped ale, and I was very surprised. lots of citrus and decently balanced

mouthfeel: medium bodied

drinkability: awesome beer and I think it may be rogues best

 300 characters

Photo of madtappers
4.5/5  rDev +19%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Just cracked open a 2008 Rogue Santas Private Reserve, got to say it is as good as I remember it being last year.

The double red dry hopped is the perfect balance between hops and malt. Pours a dark red with a perfect white head. Recomend this beer even to those who do not like winter/christmas type beers.

This beer is very similar the their St Rogue Red.

 359 characters

Photo of brendan13
4.5/5  rDev +19%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a redish copper colour with orange hues. A 3cm slightly offwhite head hangs around for a fair while.
S - Piney, herbal and slightly citrus fruit hop notes a top a bready, caramel maltiness.
T - Much like the smell but the citrus comes through a bit more.
M - Lighter side of medium bodied, medium to high carbonation, fairly light mouthfeel and enough bitterness to make you take notice.
D - A very tasty, sessionable red ale. MORE!

 442 characters

Photo of BeerBob
4.51/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Santa’s Private Reserve Ale from Rogue, pours a dark red from a 22oz dark brown glass bottle. The light tan head forms with no effort at all and will lift its self well above the glass rim. Massive layers of foam are still clinging to the sides of my glass as I write the rest of this review.

Nose is like a walk through a pine forest laced with garlands of hops plants hanging from the boughs. Palate is having your mouth dragged through a pine forest laced with garlands of hops plants hanging from the boughs, stopping at each and every tree for a bite.

This is by far and away, the most hoppy brew I have ever had the pleasure to consume. There is no need to repeat the list of ingredients that are listed on the side of the bottle, it is enough to say that this Rogue ale is the whole nine yards, the entire enchilada of malted hoppy ales.

Aftertaste? there is no aftertaste, its all the first taste and has yet to diminish, let alone fade to an aftertaste

 971 characters

Photo of JahNoth
4.53/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very impressive, deep rudolph red color, with a frothy head. A sweet and hoppy bouquet greets you as you settledown with this beauty. The flavor has the dryness of a red ale with nice caramel flavor and pleasant hop finish. This is my favorite winter, english strong ale and will look forward to having many more.

 313 characters

Photo of kosmoraios
4.55/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Reviewing for the style here (Rogue says this is an "Double-Hopped" American Red) as this ale is almost an IPA.

Pours a golden-orange color into a pint glass, with a 1.5 finger white head that lingers and laces the glass quite well.

Aroma is of hops. Very piney and citrussy - a hint of juniper berry, sweet orange, grapefruit. I'm a hophead, so I love the taste. Amazing for a Red - very hoppy, but excellently balanced with the malts. The tiniest bit of toffee sweetness balances the bitterness of the hops. The "Rudolph" strain of hops is supposedly proprietary to John Meier according to Rogue.

Mouthfeel was smooth and well-carbonated. An amazingly drinkable ale, great session ale, and a good one for the uninitiated to gateway into the hoppier side of life.

 768 characters

Photo of bboven
4.55/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Beautiful amber/red clear body with a big puffy head and lacing that covers the entire glass. Phenomenal.

Big, piney hops meet a huge malt backbone for great balance and huge hit to your nose.

Sweet at the beginning followed by lots of layered hop flavor. There is a bit too much bitterness at the end, but that's me looking for something to pick at.

Even carbonation that doesn't cut at your mouth; Fills your mouth without feeling heavy because somehow the body remains per-style thin as a red should be.

This beer is pretty awesome but very pricey. As it's a seasonal, I recommend checking it out, but the St. Rogue Red is very similar and not as expensive. I really don't think this is a true amber/red because of the hop bill, but hops work very very well with this style, as Rogue proves again and again.

 815 characters

Photo of Neehan
4.57/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I got this on-tap at the Mellow Mushroom in Charleston.

This was brought to me because the bartender suggested it after another Rogue selection on the menu was not available. This beer was so damn good that I can't remember what I had originally ordered. It had a small head with minimal lacing and a bright, rich amber appearance. The taste is incredibly smooth with light malts and a pleasant bready taste. Outstanding. The taste lures you in and this makes this one of the most drinkable winter selections I have had to date.

 531 characters

Photo of pezoids
4.57/5  rDev +20.9%
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!

 806 characters

Santa's Private Reserve Ale from Rogue Ales
85 out of 100 based on 1,170 ratings.