Santa's Private Reserve Ale - Rogue Ales

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

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
86
very good

1,169 Reviews
THE BROS
92
outstanding

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,169
Hads: 2,177
rAvg: 3.8
pDev: 9.21%
Wants: 60
Gots: 196 | 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.

13º PLATO
65 IBU
73.1 AA
26.75º L
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 1,169 | Hads: 2,177
Photo of russpowell
4.4/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours ruby red with a fluffy light brown head. Head retention good, not great. Lacing clings to the side of the .5L glass I'm drinking this from.

Smell: Hops (piney and some floral notes) and fruitiness, a slight earthiness with slight brown sugar notes.

Taste: Hops kicking ass & taking names from the get go, but still complimenting a malty/fruity body.

MF: Chewy & balanced, but straying towards over hopping, detracting drinkabiity...

Tasty effort, reminds me of buffed up brutal bitter.. (505 characters)

Photo of WVbeergeek
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours with a caramel amber hue above the body sits a very nice sized mass of tan foam that as I take each swip forms a ring of fine lacing with dispersed specks of lace packed between each clear ring. Aroma: Deep pine cone scented hops full biscuit malt character with some caramel sweetness complementing the west coast hopping. Taste: Roasted malts, caramel malt tones backed by a whopping hop profile brings out piney and mildly citrus tones a great winter amber great brew. Mouthfeel: Medium in body, overall great crisp finish leaves the hop oils on the tongue pretty damn bitter. Drinkability: More hops than I want for a session brew but a very tasty seasonal offering from our friends at Rogue. (714 characters)

Photo of kojevergas
2.89/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

I'm walking into this with below average expectations on account of the brewery.

BOTTLE is 12 fl oz and brown glass, with fun label art and a sleek label layout. Pry-off cap is branded, and the label tells me nothing about the style of the beer. Rogue's website calls it a red ale, so I'll review it (live) as such...

Served cold into a pilsner glass in Austin, TX (low altitude).

No bubble show forms as it's poured.

HEAD: Healthy, with an off-white colour head of fair frothiness and cream. Decent thickness and fullness, coming in at ~3-3.5 inches wide. As it recedes, it leaves a ring of thick coating lacing about the sides of the glass, and it retains rather well at that - ~6-8 minutes.

BODY: Deep dark auburn. The "reddish-copper" suggested by the label's description is fair. Has no bothersome yeast or hop sediment visible. Translucent; nontransparent.

Appears well-carbonated. Attractive, certainly, and apt-looking for a red ale, but not mind-blowing or unique.

AROMA: The description on the label uses words like "roasty" and "sprucey"...huh? Spruce, maybe, but there's zero roast here. I wouldn't even call it malty; the amber and pale malt presence is minimal at best. The hop profile - if anything - dominates, with notes of muted floral character and some resins coming through. As it warms, I get a glimmer of caramalt.

All in all, this is a muted, minimal aroma that suggests a fairly insipid red ale. Aromatic intensity is light at best.

I find no off-notes, booze, or yeast.

TASTE & TEXTURE: Hops dominate here, with a sprucey (yes, touche Rogue) and somewhat fruity hop profile bolstered by subsidiary notes of hop resins, fruity ale yeast esters, and general floral hoppy bitterness. The malt backbone comes on a bit too strong with its sweetness, offering amber malts, pale malts, Munich malts, and caramalts, but with insufficient roastiness and/or toastiness for the style. It comes off as a bit imbalanced, with the bitterness from the hops coating the palate and detracting from what should be the emphasis (the nonexistent toasty amber malts).

Depth of flavour is pretty shallow, but to give credit where it's due, this is shockingly cohesive for what it is - though it never quite comes off tasting gestalt. The smooth, wet, coating mouthfeel isn't a great companion to the taste, but the overcarbonation is only mild and the medium body is appropriate. Has adequate weight and heft on the palate, though it's a shame this texture services hops instead of malts.

It's a simple stab at a red ale and misses many key fundamentals. Even some winter warmer-esque spices would be welcome, if only to contribute needed complexity. I don't dislike it, but it needs some serious fleshing out.

Not oily, boozy, gushed, or scratchy.

OVERALL: Oddly hop-emphatic for an ostensible winter ale, with no real nods to the traditional red ale (English, Irish, or American) whatsoever. It's absolutely a drinkable brew, but its shallowness and simplicity leave much to be desired. I doubt I'll revisit this voluntarily, but it's by no means a bad beer - merely a mediocre one. The discerning drinker will be unfazed, and can safely skip this. Certainly average.

C (2.89) (3,197 characters)

Photo of smcolw
3.92/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Reddish, light brown. Slight coudiness. Nice lace as the beer is consumed. The head is light beige, about one-finger thick. It dies within five minutes to a single layer of fine bubbles.

A touch of chocolate malt in the aroma. Nice dry hop presence for balance--flowery.

Most notable is the dryness of this brew. It is also surprisingly thin in body with a relatively high carbonation. Bountiful amount of hops, but not overwhelming. Very brief aftertaste.

This is similar to a darkish high-hopped pale ale. (516 characters)

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.37/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark garnet/ rich,ruby color, big, creamy head. Aroma: hoppy, spicy, dazzling array of fruits, grapes, cherries. Sits wonderfully in the mouth. Tangy, sour taste. Bitter finish. It's described by Rogue as having a "hoppy, sprucy finish", and I obviously blinked on the spruce. I like it very well, but, although you can call me a hophead, I wasn't expecting quite so much hops in a brew of this style. Although, to be fair, the "winter beer" style is increasingly a broad one. In sum, I thank Santa for sharing! (511 characters)

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

I am slowly reviewing all the beers on beeradvocate that have more than 1000 reviews, this is one of them.

Beer served in a Rogue shaker pint glass because I can. Beer is red and mostly clear with a decent off white head of medium bubbles, leaves some lacing on the glass and carbonation is moderate to low.

Beer smells pretty malty, almost dark in the malt bill. Some piny hops rears up in the back and I can smell that horrid pacman yeast they use for everything, I call this aroma the Rogue bite.

Beer is thick and heavy on my palate...oh how I wish this was a 12 ounce bottle. It is not bad, it is a malty red but at this point in the night I'm not feeling such a heavy beer. The hop presence is fine in the back, moderately bitter, some pine on the palate. Overall it's a pretty OK red. I'd have it again but not 22 ounces in one sitting as my fifth beer of the night. (876 characters)

Photo of jwc215
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours reddish-copper with a thin foamy off-white head.

Rogue's signature Pac-man yeast is in the forefront of the smell, backed up by toasty caramel, citrus and earthy notes.

The taste is of the Pac-man yeast, caramel/toffee and bitter citrus with a touch of spruce. Toffeeish malt gives way to a bitter finish. Medium-bodied (not quite as full as many other winter offerings, but a nice body for an amber/red ale.

With the ingedients, I expected to like it even more. Bottom line though - I liked it and certainly found it to be highly drinkable and a good "hop-fix" for a change from the large line-up of malty/spicy winter brews (along with a few other hoppy winter brews that come to mind). (697 characters)

Photo of superspak
3.68/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle into signature pint glass; no bottle dating, but is a 2013 release. Pours fairly hazy ruby red color with a 1-2 finger dense light khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Spotty soapy lacing clings down the glass, with some light streaming carbonation. Aromas of orange zest, grapefruit, lemon zest, caramel, toast, brown sugar, biscuit, floral, grass, herbal, pine, light nuttiness, and floral/toasted earthiness. Nice and pleasant aromas with good balance of malt and hop notes; with solid strength. Taste of orange zest, grapefruit, lemon zest, caramel, toast, brown sugar, biscuit, nuttiness, floral, grass, pine, herbal, and floral/toasted earthiness. Good amount of earthy pine resin bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of citrus, citrus zest, caramel, toast, biscuit, brown sugar, floral, pine, and floral/toasted earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Good balance and complexity of malt and hop flavors; with a good bitterness/sweetness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a moderately creamy and sticky mouthfeel that is good. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a slight warming present after the finish. Overall this is a nice amber ale style. Good balance and complexity of malt and hop flavors; and smooth and crisp to drink. A nicely enjoyable offering. (1,382 characters)

Photo of chinchill
4.11/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

650 ml bottle (2010) served in .5 liter glass mug

A - Red mahogany with good amount of tan head. Head has good retention. Slight haze.

Medium strength aroma that is primarily hoppy gives way to a flavor with more malt balance than anticipated. Malt is clearly in aroma too, but the balance changes.
Slightly too earthy: otherwise, flavor = 4.5. Nice dynamic and lasting finish.

M - nice smooth feel, medium body with good level of carbonation.

O - Think, Imperial Red Ale. Good enough to go out and buy a couple more bottles to stow away for next Xmas.

Follow-up: we'll, it is now Xmas 2011, and the 2010 vintage is excellent ... Perhaps even better than a year ago. Particularly excellent balance! (707 characters)

Photo of WesWes
4.15/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a dark red color with a nice tan head that lasts. The aroma is tremendous. There are elements of pale, crystal, and munich malts here. Also, the aroma hops stand out. The taste is good. It is quite hoppy. This is a red/amber ale with a heavy load of hops in all respects. The mouthfeel is good. This is a medium bodied ale that is well carbonated. This is a great drinking beer. You gotta love seasonal gems such as this. (436 characters)

Photo of mothman
3.78/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into New Belgium Globe Glass.

Pours about a finger of creamy beige head. Really nice retention leaving lots of thick lace walls. Color is a dark, but clear, copper hued ruby. Very nice looking beer.

Aroma: Smells very hoppy with a decent amount of malts. Pine hop flavor with caramel and toffee. There also seems to be some spices and cookie flavors. Not to bad.

Taste: It reminds me of a hopped up red ale that wasn't drank fresh. The malts show a lot here, but there is a decent amount of hops. A big amount of pine and citrus flavors with caramel. It also has a metallic flavor in the aftertaste. Nothing I am overly fond of.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, dry, and bubbly. Lots of carbonation here with a medium bodied. Ends very malty and sticky.

Overall, It started out good, but it just didn't taste that amazing. I am a little bummed out that I still have a lot to finish from this bomber. It is drinkable, just nothing I want to drink a lot of. (954 characters)

Photo of mdaschaf
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark amber color with a nice one finger head. Good retention and nice lacing down the side of the glass.

S: Nice citrus/pine aroma upfront. Followed up by a nice caramel smell.

T: Starts piney and is followed up by some citrus and more floral hop notes. The caramel malts hit in the middle and has a slightly bitter finish.

M/D: Medium bodied with nice carbonation. Overall, very enjoyable. Love that this "winter" beer is a hoppy red ale.

Edit: 10/27/11
Had a very fresh bottle (Thanks Cory!). Bumped up the taste to a 4. Quite nice flavor profile, better than I remember. (591 characters)

Photo of GClarkage
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12/19/04- Purchased at Bevmo in San Mateo, CA

Presentation- 22 oz bottle with no freshness date. Poured into my 24 oz mug.

Appearance- Nice inch head with average lacing throughout. A darker amber color.

Smell- Lots of hops as expected from a Rogue brew. Maybe some fruity scents as well.

Taste- Yep, lots of hops and lots of malt too. Nice and balanced. Has a tad of a dark taste to it. Not sure if it's a nutty or raosted taste. My buds are failing me.

Mouthfeel- Above average carbonation, but with the hops tempting me, I don't care...

Drinkability- Quite a nice Christams brew. One of the better balanced beers I have had in a while. (657 characters)

Photo of woodychandler
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Xmas in July at The Grey Lodge! Whoo hoo. Thanks, Scoats, for another brilliant gathering.

This arrived with a really fluffy tan head that slowly reduced but never completely disappeared. It had a lovely malt nose which didn't seem spicy at all. The color was a deep amber, or better, caramel color, like cola. The mouthfeel was rather light. I noted a light combination of sweetness and spiciness in the mouth. Amazingly, the finish was more hoppy than malty. I found this highly enjoyable and I would have had another had it not been for all of the different beers brought out for the occasion. (599 characters)

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.73/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A highly carbonated beer that pours with a thick brown head. This beer is a dark brown color that is a clear deep amber color when held up to the light. It has a some what hoppy nose, though it is not too strong.

Definitely a hoppy beer in the taste department as well. It is fairly dry, but does have a caramel malt twang to it. There are interesting pine & citrus notes in this beer. It is fairly bitter in the finish, which is only accentuated by the light body of this brew. Perhaps a hint of buttery richness in the finish as well. As I dig deeper I find roasted malt notes in this beer, just as promised, though at first I missed them because of the hops. The hop notes primarily bring to mind pine & spruce. (717 characters)

Photo of Gavage
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear amber / copper in color with a nice 2" bubbly tan head. Aroma is malty, piney bitterness, with hints of citrus and spice. The flavor follows what is picked up by the nose, with plenty of maltiness and bitterness, followed by some grapefruit, caramel, and a touch of pepper.

Mouthfeel starts smooth with a touch of crispness, but ends crisply and lightly dry. The maltiness and pine lingers. Medium in body. Minimal carbonation bubbles noticed. As with most Rogue products, very drinkable and quite tasty. (514 characters)

Photo of tdm168
3.78/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A - dark amber wtih a huge, brownish, off white head that is dense and foamy with great retention

S - sweet caramel, bread, light piny aromas

T - faint bread, caramel, piny hop resin

M - medium bodied, perfectly carbonated

This has the makings of a very solid beer. All of the right flavors are there. this just isn't as full flavored as I would have liked, and it's also a bit simplistic. It has decent malt character and a good hop presence, but it's all underwhelming. All of the flavors need to be more forward. This was nice to try once, but I don't think I'll seek it out again. (588 characters)

Photo of Halcyondays
3.21/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22 oz. bomber, with the man himself on the cover,

A: Pours a dark red, with a thick, full, frothy white head, great retention, leaving medium lacing.

S: Has a sweet smell of caramel malt and some hops.

T: Kind of a letdown in this department. The hop flavour is nice, but it is kind of 1-dimensional, straight pine, backed with a red caramel malt flavour that is not my favourite in the world. Not a bad flavour overall, but I didn't find myself enjoying it as much as I thought I would.

M: Kind of thin, watery, holds up fairly well, but needs more heft, didn't feel it carried the flavour as well as it could have.

D: This is a beer I remember liking last year, but this year it wasn't exactly my cup of tea, tastes change I guess. I still think it tastes good overall, it just didn't excite me that much. I'll drink again, but I don't know if this one will be in my regular winter beer rotation. (903 characters)

Photo of Billolick
4.33/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Typical Rogue bomber, no freshness/vintage info. Offered. Pours clear, slightly reddish amber. Head is initially huge and luxurious , slowly recedes , leaves gobs of scattered and sheeted lacing. The nose I get is multifaceted, ginger bread, leafy hops, bready malts. Tasty, complex and clearly high quality offering. More mild winter spice, a modicum or resiny hops and then a smooth multi grain malt finish. More resins on the tongue long after the last sip. Nice creation from Rogue, fine winter/holiday sipper (513 characters)

Photo of billab914
3.67/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into my Southern Tier tulip glass. Poured a dark copper color with a thin white lacing covering the top of the beer. The head had decent retention and left some very good lacing on the glass.

The aroma is hoppy with pine, citrus and a earthy spiciness to it. A little sweet malt comes through a little in the nose as well. The taste has a lot of hoppy pine and spiciness to it along with a decent supporting malt backbone.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Drinkability is decent, it's a pretty good tasting beer with some good flavors that goes down pretty easy.

I have to say my favorite part of this beer was that despite it being a holiday beer it wasn't a spice bomb. What spices were there seemed to be from the verities of hops used and not from spice additions. A nice surprise in my opinion. (855 characters)

Photo of yourefragile
3.73/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle poured into a pint glass

A: Clear brownish amber/copper with a very nice looking head. Off white/pale tan, very fluffy lots of little bubbles with great retention and lacing.
S: Malty with faint hop smell, I'm having trouble picking up anything more specific from this beer.
T: Mild malt taste throughout, not as strong as smell would suggest. Slightly piney and a little citrus as hops are very strong and take over in the finish.
M: Medium body, very creamy, but a little too much carbonation for me.
D: I feel pretty indifferent toward this beer. A slightly overhopped amber for my taste, biggest complaint was not getting enough of the malt sweetness to balance the hops. (690 characters)

Photo of smakawhat
4.33/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle into a nonic pint glass. Christmas leftovers continues!

A very light caramel head in color, large fist full of foamy goodness off the pour with some nice clumping retention. Body color is a gorgeous amber red and hues of orange, copper, and all in between. This slight opaque character gives the beer a not quite frozen but a subtle orb glowing character, lots of lacing while finishing. Great looking beer.

Nose is clean malts, faint brown sugar, a little brown clove spice in there. Very nice.

Taste brings a nice play in the mouth. Soft bodied mouthfeel and just this tiny TINY lingering hop presence on the swallow. A mild sweetness comes through with a chewy density. Hints of orange in the palate, clementime zest bitter. Mouthfeel could be just a hint better, but doesn't get too wet or syrupy. Just a faint hop hint here which lingers and mixes with the malt body real nicely.

MMmmm I am enjoying this one. Great amber! (954 characters)

Photo of Stinkypuss
3.95/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A. Poured into a pint glass. Mahogany body with a off white head.

S. Smells fruity and sweet. Caramel malt and some roasted nuts.

T. Well balanced brew featuring a roasted malt body and an earthy hop bitter. None of the sweetness in the nose pulls through much here.

M. Medium bodied and creamy. Good overall mouthfeel with a semi-dry finish.

D. A fairly drinkable, sessionable red ale. Spot on for the style and good for what it is. 6% is a bit high for extended sessions. As it warms it becomes not as great. (515 characters)

Photo of DoubleJ
4.1/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bomber purchased from BevMo, and poured into an Oktoberfest mug, on to the beer:

An excepionally sized head sits on top of the red-amberish colored beer. The aroma is big on the hops and the tropical juicy flavors it brings along. It looks like it's going to be a monster of a beer to get down, but isn't. Lots of hoppiness to be found in the taste, which is tea-like. Burnt sugar, wood, and a light fruitiness are found in the crowd. Faint doughiness in the aftertaste. Not a very carbonated brew, but a good one to quaff on. (527 characters)

Photo of tempest
3.61/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Hops, I smell greapefuit hops, and whatever that house aroma is. Maybe from the Pacman yeast. Looks a gorgeous red with head and lacing that won't stop. Tastes of some caramel malt with lemon and grapefuit hops and spruce. Unfortunately, this beer suffers from a lack of distinct flavors. It just rushes in at once and leaves bitterness. This packs a punch for an amber/red. Definately a beer for the IPA crowd, not the Killian's folks. (436 characters)

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