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Santa's Private Reserve Ale - Rogue Ales

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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

1,950 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,950
Reviews: 1,141
rAvg: 3.76
pDev: 13.83%
Wants: 42
Gots: 71 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Rogue Ales visit their website
Oregon, United States

Style | ABV
American Amber / Red Ale |  6.00% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
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 added by: BeerAdvocate on 11-29-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,950 | Reviews: 1,141 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Wtfrangel
3.5/5  rDev -6.9%

Wtfrangel, Aug 02, 2014
Photo of kzczp0
3.28/5  rDev -12.8%

This ale has nice copper color, half inch head, with medium lacing between sips. The predominant taste is hoppiness with over-powering bitterness during the taste. I noted slight honey smell/taste overtone that fell short from hop predominance. Some malt that again is over powered by bitterness. Expected more yule flavors of spice and so this one falls short of holiday fare for the time of year. Hop heads will love it.

kzczp0, Jan 16, 2006
Photo of artruism
3.95/5  rDev +5.1%

Deep Reddish Orange with strong head and lacing.

Nose is strong, sweet and coppery...like sugar coated pennies!

Peppery bite upfront followed by the coppery flavor and a citrus finish.

Medium Body with a light mouthfeel.

decent drink...fun bottle!

artruism, Jan 02, 2011
Photo of jleslierogers
3.63/5  rDev -3.5%

I poured Rougue’s “Santa’s Private Reserve” from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass and enjoyed it at an approximate 42 degrees F.

Appearance: The color is a bold amber-red. A very thick and foamy, tan head stays in the glass for several minutes. A truly beautiful pour.

Smell: Because of the strength of the hops, it’s difficult to smell anything but flowers. About half-way through the glass, however, once the head starts to dissipate, there is a faint scent of… candy of some kind? I know my ignorance of the nuances of the varieties of hops present here prevents me from truly appreciating the layers of aroma. My apologies.

Taste: Again, the hops take center stage, or rather, they share center stage with each other, seeing that there are several varieties present. Bitterness prevails, almost uncomfortably so after each swallow. But if you cater to your bitter taste buds often (as I do), you will find you hand reaching for the glass over and again. (p.s. look for some spicy peach salsa leftovers a minute or two after that last mouthful :-)

Mouthfeel: There’s quite a punch at the front that comes from (again!) the hops but also, I assume, the ABV, which is 6.0%. The burn is constant from lips to mouth to throat, building a fire in the belly.

Overall: Throughout my enjoyment of this beer, I felt like someone enjoying a ginger snap for the first time. They taste the several varieties of ginger, the cloves, the cinnamon, and all the rest, but even though they like the experience, all they can manage to say is “It’s spicy!” In my case, of course, it was all of those wonderful hops. I loved them, I just don’t know how to tell you. (Time to up my hop game!)

jleslierogers, Mar 23, 2012
Photo of kirkhorse
3.65/5  rDev -2.9%

Poured from a bomber into a abbaye du val-dieu glass. No freshness date noticed.

Deep reddish-brown in color, 1/2" head breaks up quickly into a few large bubbles.
Smell is of hops, slight caramel malt, slight fruit.
Mouthfeel is carbonated, oily slick, and light bodied.
Malt comes through in the beginning, then backs off for the pepper and hops. Hops stick around for a while, too.
I don't know if I would want more than one of these in a sitting, but definitely quaffable.

kirkhorse, Nov 05, 2007
Photo of ffenski
3.85/5  rDev +2.4%

Picked up at Bella Vino, Springboro.

Pours a rich, deep amber. Leaves an abundance of thin yet creamy lacing.

Hoppy notes yet overshadwed a little by biscuity malt blanket.

Piney citrus flavors with malty background- good balance. Hops touches palate at first sip then malts enter the picture. Finishes with nice hop bitterness.

Medium feel with moderate to high bubbles.

Good drinkability- nothing too special- would buy again but not before many other ales of this type.

ffenski, Dec 16, 2009
Photo of Needsbeer
3.65/5  rDev -2.9%

22oz Bottle Pour into my 16oz unmarked pint class.

Appearance: Pours copper brown, with vigorous carbonation and tremendous head retention. Head is on the creamy side with persistent lacing

Smell: Lots of caramel, malt, with grassy resiny hops persistent, but light.

Taste: Caramel, with light malt sweetness followed by dulling wash of resiny hops that sits very mildly on the palate. Mild alcohol warmth.

Notes: A good mild winter warmer, nothing spectacular. Widely available, with a good informative label that lists 44 IBU and 13* Plato however lack of visible ABV is annoying.

Needsbeer, Jan 07, 2009
Photo of HeavyHopStalker
4.25/5  rDev +13%

HeavyHopStalker, Dec 23, 2013
Photo of blackhammer
3.25/5  rDev -13.6%

The spouse brought home a bottle of this for me about a week ago. Decided to try it right away as I haven't had anything from Rogue before.

It poured a nice classical red, caramel color with a healthy, if not particuarly rocky, head. Nice lacing left on the glass as I let it settle and warm a bit. Strong hops aroma coming out of the glass, creating anticipation of dry and bitter--the only place I know where that's a good thing. Taste is quite heavy of malt, the hops are actually quite subdued. Rather the opposite of what I expected, and I'm not sure I like it. Must drink more to be certain...

Must give this one time to breathe, I thought to myself. Further tastes give way to a pronounced nuttiness. It tastes to me like someone added almonds to my beer. Now if you like almonds, which I do, it's a good thing. If you don't, well--not your beer, then.

The bottle describes the taste as a "roasty malt flavor with a hoppy, sprucy finish." While I don't dispute the first part, the second might be a bit suspect to me. I get a little bit of dryness in the mouthfeel, but for taste, the hops just seem buried. Especially when you consider how well they come through by smell at first pour. The alcohol comes through a little in the mouth but seems fairly mild. I wonder if this one will sneak up on me?

With continued samples, and more time in the glass, the hops starts to come forward more. It still doesn't seem as pronounced to me as other reviewers have found it. Sometimes I wonder if I'm tasting the same beer. Of course, my idea of a good, hoppy beer, has the word double or Imperial at the front, so take that as a caveat.

Overall, I would drink this beer again. Not bad, I am a bit disappointed in the missing hops, since they were so pronounced at first whiff, I expected them to be right up there on the tongue. Instead I had to search a bit for them. Still, the flavor isn't bad and it finishes well. It's a much better introduction to their products than some other brewers have given me, and I'll look for some of their other wares in the future.

blackhammer, Dec 02, 2007
Photo of cmula
3.7/5  rDev -1.6%

Nice pour
Wonderful body.
Sharp hoppy nose with a touch of citrus.

This beer pours nice. A beautiful amber with a small head, looks fantastic when held to the light. The hoppiness caught me off guard a bit at first, but mellowed out as I dug into it.. A small hint of pine and citrus.

cmula, Jan 06, 2011
Photo of
3.5/5  rDev -6.9%

You rated this beer. Add a review.

, Nov 27, 2012
Photo of jeremyrbrown
4/5  rDev +6.4%

jeremyrbrown, Dec 19, 2012
Photo of Yanks8000
3.88/5  rDev +3.2%

Dark amber color with a tall head that dissipated quickly.

Strong hop aroma, that fades to malty.

Flavor is mostly caramel, reminds me of a SNAP without the citrus. Nice hop character, finishes with happy bitterness.

Overall a delicious beer. I don't taste the spruce though.

Yanks8000, Dec 04, 2010
Photo of dogden3
4.05/5  rDev +7.7%

Hoppy, of course. Drinks crisp with malty body, especially interesting piney or spruce sort of finish to the ale. I wonder what hops they're using? The bottle advertises a roasted malt flavor, I don't get that in quantity but there may be a hint of it mid-palate. If you're a hop fan, than I recommend you give this one a go, though not all will return to the beer after a couple.

dogden3, Dec 03, 2008
Photo of jperls
3.58/5  rDev -4.8%

This is my first review so bear with me here.

I picked up a sixer of this in anticipation of a long, snowy night. Only the second offering from Rogue that I've tried. I really enjoyed the Brutal Bitter so I'm eager to try this one.

A-Clear, amber/reddish in color. Impressive head, off white and rocky. Good retention, leaves a lacing, which is always a plus

S-Very mild smell. Although I just came in from an hour of shoveling so I may be a little stuffed up

T-Biscuity malts up frony. Clean hop finish. Hops arent overpowering but do plenty to balance out the malts

M-Smooth up front. Medium carbonation kicks in with the hops.

D-With its balance and reasonable ABV, this is, in my opinion, a very sessionable winter beer. Perfect for holiday gatherings with friends and family. Perfect for the macro drinker who occasionally enjoy a "good" beer.

jperls, Dec 20, 2008
Photo of agileh
4/5  rDev +6.4%

agileh, Dec 01, 2011
Photo of numbeercruncher
3.38/5  rDev -10.1%

Spotted this Rogue offering in the beer case at my favorite local store. Not what I was expecting. It was served at 55 F in an imperial pint glass. Burnt amber in color, with off-white head, approx. three fingers high. Look and feel as pouring was light in body with good carbonation. Head stuck around for a couple of minutes, before lacing.

Aroma of this was a nice crisp hoppy scent with very light pine notes.

Nice clean dry hop taste on the front end with a good bitter backend. Bitter finish stays in the mouth for a few minutes. A hint of pine in the taste, I could not find any maltiness. Nice easy feel in the mouth, no “carbonation burn.” I would probably prefer to drink this more in fall or spring than winter, but would be okay year round as it is easy to drink.

numbeercruncher, Nov 11, 2004
Photo of 5dots
2.2/5  rDev -41.5%

I'm not usually a big holiday beer fan, to be honest, but my girl had picked up a six-pack of this for us to try, so...

Expected warmth, spices - got hop bitterness and a ton of spruce flavor. Not really my thing, but the more I've drank it, the more I've come to understand the spruce - it suggests the season in a different way than other holiday beers. I drank one with Thanksgiving dinner, and it fought with my food a little too much.

Overall, not something I'd have again or be eager to recommend - I suspect that the spruce might put off most of my more hopheaded friends.

5dots, Nov 28, 2006
Photo of ABOW
4.1/5  rDev +9%

A. Nice amber color, not as dark or reddish as some. somewhat less head than I desire but sufficient.
S. Interesting aroma. A I can say about it is it has a nice typical "brewery" smell, not dank or must, but that nice old brewery aroma you get when first walking into a brew pub.
T. Very nice, definately not mainstream. The sweetness is not overpowering and has a nice dry, hoppy finish. Not so much as a good IPA howeever.
M. Full bodied, smooth, fills you up pretty fast.
D. all in all, this is really a good beer. Not as distinctive as some Belgians, basic color and flavor, but hey, I'd buy it again. Typical of the "Oregon" syles of pub brews, honest and good quality for the buck.
Santa has definately had more than one,. tipsy glass and the old "one eye" leigh driver tonight..

ABOW, Sep 10, 2008
Photo of finz925
4.5/5  rDev +19.7%

12z Bottle to Seidel Mug, bought at Christmas but saved for just the right time, now!

A: Dark Amber with a thick off white head that coats the side of the glass while enjoyed.

Smell: Spicey, piney, but still a bit sweet scents.

Taste: Malty, hoppy, with a hint of sweetness. Bitter and I sense a hint of tannin feeling. Pine, amber, grapefruit, and caramel notes.

Mouthfeel: medium to full bodied

Drinkability: Excellent flavors and bitter taste keep me wanting more, all-in-all a great beer.

This beer is exactly what I would expect from a Rogue Christmas Ale, and makes me want to go grab a Rogue Dead Guy downtown, and I will in due time. Very Good.

finz925, Jan 25, 2009
Photo of katgordon
3/5  rDev -20.2%

katgordon, Dec 02, 2011
Photo of Wanderlust89
2.05/5  rDev -45.5%

I'm not sure why Rogue decided to change one of it's best offerings this year, but they did. What once was considered to be one of the better winter tastings is now an imposter. This year the offering is missing it's typical centennial hops.

Rogue has chosen to replace it with their own dare and freedom variations. You will also find changes in the malt used. The result is a beer that has lost it's trademark pine and spruce finish in favor of a hollow bitterness. One must ask themselves, why would Rogue change a beautiful thing?

Wanderlust89, Nov 12, 2011
Photo of BrDazey
3.5/5  rDev -6.9%

BrDazey, Dec 06, 2013
Photo of WRCREX
4.76/5  rDev +26.6%

Appearance- Fantastic looking bottle, very festive. Almost didn't notice the case of this with the other Rogues due to the similar look of all of Rogue's cases.

Nose- The smell is intriguing, hops and caramel.

Taste- Fantastic. Extremely PINEY and almost seems wet-hopped. This almost lives up to the wet-hopped characteristics of one of my favorite beers of all time - Sierra Nevada Northern Hemisphere Harvest. This is a very hoppy/wet-hoppy (tasting) full flavored beer with no "light" characteristics. Deep floral flavors that linger on the palette forever. More please!

Mouthfeel- Lots of carbonation and as another reviewer put it - a hoppy oily type feel. I think it's fantastic and I'm very strict about my ales.

Drinkability- For me personally, this is the type of thing I'd like to have around all year. This is a memorable beer that I will be seeking out each Christmas.

Overall- It's certainly festive, it's a perfect choice for Christmas, and it's a full flavored hoppy and thick ale. This is my type of beer through and through. Nothing off-putting about it for me. If you like bold hoppy creations with a hint of festive cheer, this one's for you my friend.

WRCREX, Dec 24, 2013
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Santa's Private Reserve Ale from Rogue Ales
85 out of 100 based on 1,950 ratings.