Dismiss Notice
Get 12 monthly issues of BeerAdvocate magazine and save $5 when you select "auto-renew."

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join our email list →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.

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

1,186 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,186
Hads: 2,274
Avg: 3.78
pDev: 13.76%
Wants: 70
Gots: 264 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Rogue Ales
Oregon, United States | website

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: 1,186 | Hads: 2,274
Photo of crookedhalo
4.42/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Beautiful deep copper color with a nice, rocky beige head leaving good lacing in the glass. Strong hoppy aroma mixed with some decent malt notes; lots of dry hopping going on, obviously. Kind of like a souped up Rogue St. Red. Tastes initially malty then moving toward the cloying hops. Almost punishing. Gorgeous, though. Touch of cocoa in there as it warms up. Can't say I taste much other spices, other than the sprucy hops that one might find winter seasonal-tasting. Nice balance of intricate malt and aggressive hops throughout. Dig this beer a lot.

 555 characters

Photo of JamisonM
4.42/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Reddish Amber color with and eggshell colored head

S: hoppy pine and some sweetness from the malt with caramel

T: hoppy pine goodness with a bit of citrus notes caramel notes on the tip of the tongue finish is fresh and a bit of sticky pine finish is bitter and clean

M: med to light mouth with med carbonation

D: very drinkable and enjoyable

Overall: this beer reminds me of Celebration just with different hop notes, A great session beer. Drinking this with Celebration 1 after the other sounds like a damn fine drinking session to me.

 548 characters

Photo of BigRedN
4.42/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Poured from the 22 oz bomber into my pint glass a dark red/amber. A 3/4 inch thick off-white fluffy head sits atop the liquid. The head has some staying power, lingering until it falls to a tight cap and ring around the glass. Good layered lacing as the beer is consumed.

Smell: Strong aroma of hops, perhaps the most I have smelled for the style. Aroma is primarily piney (tree) with a mix of floral and a touch of citrus as well. There is some mellow malty aroma as well. Very nicely done.

Taste: This beer really shines here. Very well balance with a nice roasted caramel malt backing, but this has hops at the start, middle, and dominating the end. The hoppiest Amber Ale I can remember having. Big taste, very enjoyable.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, lightly carbonated, a little prickly. A bitter finish that lingers in the throat. Plus, I am getting some hop burps as I finish off the bomber. Alcohol is a little noticeable.

Drinkability: Unfortunately this is a very drinkable, very enjoyable beer. This is bad because it packs a little more punch than a "standard" beer, making it a little much to session with, but that is perfectly ok. Purchased at the Still for $3.49. I may try to pick up another before they are gone. Definitely a beer that I will look forward to getting again next year.

 1,323 characters

Photo of inebrius
4.42/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2002: After the initial shock of having a Spruce tree jammed down your throat, Rogue's Santa seems to mellow into a kind of grapefruit juice/amber ale half-and-half. Perhaps my taste buds have evolved, or simply been stripped away, but I found this beer much more enjoyable this go round. Don't mistake this brew for your typical malt heavy Winter Warmer, 'cause it's all about hops. If you can't find Santa's Private reserve where you live just get a bomber of St. Rouge Red and lick your xmas tree.

2001: In my dream it felt like someone was pounding my head with a giant hop flower. Wait, this is no dream, it's Santa's Private Reserve. I expected an attempt at a malt balance to this serious hophead beer, but found none. My bottle may have been a little long in the tooth. I will try to find this fresh at the end of the year.

 834 characters

Photo of becktone
4.43/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Looks great in the glass. Watery-blood red or perhaps garnet in color. Head starts with a pour of a creamy two and a half fingers and diminishes to about 1/2 finger width. Lacing is superb.

To the nose this beer is well balanced. Sweet caramel malts take the foreground and are nicely balanced by the spicy character of the hops. Aroma is potent and easily detectable.

The ode this brew sings to the taste buds is as follows. Malty sweetness and a bit of roasted grain bitterness combine to form a nice malt profile. The sweetness is nicely balanced by a spicy hop character, a bit floral as well. The label says it truly when it states " Reddish-Copper in color with a roasty malt flavor and hoppy, sprucy finish."

Medium bodied with just the right amount of carbonation, this beer feels quite good in the mouth. It is easy to drink and I could easily drink this brew all night.

 888 characters

Photo of MattyG85
4.45/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 650 ml bottle into a Sam Adams perfect pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a brownish ruby red with some orange and lots of rising bubbles. Big five finger off white head with good retention and lots of sticky lacing around the glass.

Smell: Bready and moderately sweet caramel and toffee malts are the primary aroma. Also a fairly strong aroma of pine resin and earthy noble hops along with a light hint of cinnamon like spice. Kind of smells like a Christmas tree. Quite appropriate.

Taste: Sweet bready caramel and toffee malts up front. Following is a fairly strong taste of spicy pine resin and noble hops. Also some light hints of nuts and cinnamon. Bold flavor in both the malts and hops and very well balanced. Pretty tasty.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a moderate level of carbonation. Creamy and smooth. Finishes a little bit dry.

Overall: A very solid red ale. Bold flavor and well balanced.

 918 characters

Photo of bradybeer
4.45/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A= Light red
S=As it warms a nice hop aroma comes through
T=Nice hop bitterness
D= A good sessoon beer with medium mouthfeel and body

Picked up a case at COSTCO around xmas and have been working on it since. I was not impressed at first-but as the beer as aged I think it has improved. Could drink more than a few of these at a time

 348 characters

Photo of Stoneman78
4.45/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into a Sam Adams Special Lager glass
A- Pours a deep dark amber red, head is off-white layer of craggy foam that mostly dissipates, thick and sticky lacing from top to bottom
S- Aroma is caramel and toast malts, pine and citrus hops (Chinook & Centennial from the label), touch of butterscotch
T- Initial taste is surprisingly hops-forward for an amber, caramel malts fill out the backbone, touch of molasses, finishes with dry hops
M- Medium/full-bodied ale, oily texture, lively carbonation
D- Rogue definitely has the market cornered on hoppy red ales, this is a delicious amber that is easy to drink and within the session range, I could drink this all night long if only I had several more. . .

 706 characters

Photo of beergeek279
4.45/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in the 22 oz. bomber. The color was a very dark amber, with a foamy white head with excellent retention. The smell was a very nice hoppiness. The taste was a nice dry hopping on top of a nice amber malt base. Mouthfeel was very nice and smooth. As for drinkability, could drink this one all day.

A fantastic offering from Rogue. A delicious amber ale that actually may be my favorite of the style. Certainly one I'll be looking for next year.

 452 characters

Photo of craigreed
4.45/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

22 oz bottle poured in to my DFH snifter glass

Appearance - pours a beautiful deep amber color with one finger of stiff off white head. Leaves a nice lacing behind as the head goes down. Great.

Smell - Citrus and pine immediately. Hop aroma is perfect for me and is combined with a caramel sweet smell. Good combination of pine and sweet.

Taste - Taste of pine resin is what hits me first followed by a citrus/grapefruit taste. Taste starts out sweet with hints of caramel, but surprisingly finishes dry with a rather bitter finish. Definite lingering of pine on your pallete.

Mouthfeel - A bit on the lighter side with perfect carbonation.

Drinkability - Overall I really enjoyed this beer. Basically this is a hopped red ale that I really do enjoy. I am a bit of a hop head, so this is a perfect beer for me this time of the season. Easy to drink, and overall a good beer.

 879 characters

Photo of yesyouam
4.45/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Rogue Santa's Private Reserve is a crystal clear copper ale topped with a lumpy, yellowish foam that fades to a film and leaves fluff all over the glass. It smells like a Christmas tree with lots of fresh, resiny pine. It's medium bodied, smooth and fluffy. he dry finish leaves the mouth a little bit sticky. It tastes similar to the aroma. It's quite hoppy with notes of pine and resin. Grapefruit really surfaces in the aftertaste. his is an excellent example of what I'd call a red ale.

 490 characters

Photo of HeroJH
4.46/5  rDev +18%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A wonderful holiday tradition. I now always pick up one of this to have on Christmas Day.

A - Huge foamy soft head with lacing. Dark chestnut brown in the glass.

S - Nice aroma of hops most notably. Background of some roastyness.

T - Nice hop flavor. Full range, seems dry hopped perhaps as it's quite flowery and fresh tasting. Some slight roastyness in the body. A more hoppy beer, but with some body and other flavors that emerge as it warms.

M - soft carb, dry, refreshing

D - Supreme. So easy to drink. Lovely hop balance with some other things going on, but nothing overwhelming and certainly not a heavy beer that you might expect from a wintertime seasonal.

 670 characters

Photo of LibraryTom
4.46/5  rDev +18%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Oh Rogue.. how I love your beers. I'm really not an amber drinker, and I found this one to be supremely pleasant. I had no idea what it was when I picked it up..

Pours a chestnut brown amber with matching tan-leather head.

Just easy grain and malt aromas, not too complex.

Beautiful taste profile. Rogue always has some sort of character to their beers that I cannot put my finger on, and this one surely has the trademark. A great malty sweetness drives you through the spices, seeming seamless. No radical flavors, just delicious and warming, with no burn at all.

Rich bodied, yet balanced and not overly done. I could put back quite a few of these.

 656 characters

Photo of beernut7
4.47/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Coppery color with creamy lasting head. Deep roasted malt flavor enhanced by Rogue hoppiness and complimented by clean spruce finish. Very nice and warming winter brew.

 170 characters

Photo of Mosstrooper
4.47/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 22oz into Guinness branded tulip pint glass.ce:

Appearance: Pours a mahogany color with a very big, epic off-white head that stays for a while and remains fluffy with lots of lace left behind as it dissipates.

Smell: Sweet and malty with nutty aromas and flowery hops.

Taste: Starts very sweet and malty with a dry hoppier finish. Has a slight finish like tea, too.

Mouthfeel: Medium, creamy body with a smooth finish.

Drinkability: Another exceptional beer from Rogue. I might be hunting this out for Christmas dinner this year and will look forward to it again next winter.

 594 characters

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

Santa's Private Reserve Ale from Rogue Ales
85 out of 100 based on 1,186 ratings.