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 Georgiabeer
3.59/5  rDev -5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark amber with a short head, little head retention,or lacing. Smells of faint hops, cinnamon, and stone fruit. Taste is very hoppy, but a little out of balance. Very thin and soapy in the middle. Just decent- there are many better winter brews.

 251 characters

Photo of GarthDanielson
3.59/5  rDev -5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a tumbler pint, the beer is a bright, slightly hazy, orange-brown coloring with a thin, frothy, foamy yellow-biege head that clings all over the glass. Good toffee and sweet aromas, with a slight hopping in the background. Flavors are more hop-forward, with a good caramel malt backbone and some roasty characteristics. Slight spicing throughout the beer gives a more festive flavor profile. The aftertaste is a slight resiny hops presence, with a caramel blend once again. The finish is slightly clingy and cloying, but the subtle spicing actually wins out in the end, and cleans out the palate quite nicely. Good, solid, sessionable Amber.

 667 characters

Photo of Zorro
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very brown brew with red color when held up to a strong light.

Smells of hops and malt, smells mildly sweet and of perfume.

Taste is very malty and surprisingly bitter. There is lots of caramel and nuts flavor to this too. A good strong ale.

Mouthfeel is astringent and full.

Fairly bitey beer, might be too much for some.

 342 characters

Photo of biegaman
3.73/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Rustic red with tawny stain, Santa's Private Reserve has a very nice blend of colours. Although spotlessly clear, its deep tone darkens the clarity of my fingers on the other side. The ecru tinted head fails to cover every spot on the top and leaves the sides of the glass completely bare.

The aroma is a tad harsh and uninviting. The hop profile is aggressive, saturating, and pungent. The malts that underline it are quite astringent and posses a very bitter roast quality. Burnt buttery toffee with spicy vegetable plant kind of smell. I don't mind it, but a bouquet showcasing pungent and astringent will not be for everyone.

This may be one of the more distinctive beers I remember trying in a long time, all due to a peculiar flavouring. Each smell was like a deep breath in the middle of a spruce forest. Similarly, each sip is like bitting the branches, chewing the leaves, nibbling on the needle tips and sucking out every last ounce of oil and resin from a gigantic spruce tree.

This is another Rogue beer that gives me a headache when trying to determine if it's more hoppy or malty. This brewery seems to have perfected the balance between hop and malt in many of their beers; the ratio seems to be 1:1. Notes of burnt toffee and a buttery diacetyl taste seem to have come with warming. They add to the astringency but don't detract much overall from the drinkability.

Rogue has offered a lot to be happy with for an amber ale - it is aggressively hopped, distinctly flavoured, balanced and gratifyingly drinkable. This wouldn't be on the top of my want list but if Santa did decide to share some of his private reserve it would certainly be a welcome find in my stocking.

 1,691 characters

Photo of barleywinefiend
3.03/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured a brownish red/amberish color with a frothy off white head. Nose is hoppy with malty notes. Taste starts hoppy and finishes like a red ale, with some bitter notes. The bitter lingers in the aftertaste along with some malty tones. I did not finish as I was disappointed in this brew.

 289 characters

Photo of wl0307
4.15/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Purchased at the BSF bar, GBBF 06. "13° Plato", so 6%abv. alright. No freshness info. available on the label, but I suppose the BSF bar manager wouldn't risk public health, so here it goes~~ served lightly chilled in a straight imperial-pint glass.

A: pours a translucent, dark reddish brown hue, very elegant; a nice foamy beige head with some retention, settling to a thin cap sustaining throughout the drink; very low in carbonation.
S: very sweet caramel malts mixed with incredibly dense and oily hoppyness—flower scent, longan-flower honey, ripe lychees and raisins, with roast tea-leaves in a remote corner... Overall it's a touch too sweet for me, as if a spoonful of brown sugar was tossed into the glass right after pouring. But apart from that sugary edge, the complexity is really good and quite “typically-American” in that hoppy composition... the sweet edge does soften to show a better balance after the beer breathes a little while.
T: softly fizzy in texture, very soothing… bitter-sweet fruity+caramely malts with a touch of toffee upfront gives way fast to an overwhelming hoppyness... tannic, bold, dried-flaky hops all over the place, with a faint tinge of sour/bitter grapefruit-zest at the fringe... yet the herbal and roasty-dryish bitterness takes over in no time, towards an almost "Chinese herbal-medicine soup"-like bitter aftertaste, creeping down underneath the tongue. So bitter and dry is the finish that it’s incredibly quaffable for a "Bitter drinker" like me!
M&D: great balance on the palate, the sweet maltiness is softened greatly by the formidible presence of hop-bitterness with a healthy kick of sourness; the carbonation is ideal, too, full of micro-scopic fizz to render a semi-creamy mouthfeel. All in all, this is a remarkably bitter malty ale, reminiscent of English ESB/Premium Bitter style, with an extra touch of hops on the nose and palate. Extremely quaffable indeed. But then again, it could've been even better if the nose shows a delicate balance.

P.S. a little challenge here: I wonder why this beer couldn't be categorised as ESB/Premium Bitter but as a poorly-defined "American Amber Ale". Does there just have to be new names/categories for every single traditional style "made in USA"? I don't get it--the whole "categorisation exercise", like some kind of endless quest for self-identities...

 2,369 characters

Photo of plaid75
3.66/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a medium amber hue with a two finger creamy white head. There was very good retention and sticky lacing.

The smell featured a light caramel malt, some citrus and grassy hops and a bit of a metallic aroma.

The taste was initially sweet and grainy, but soon gave way to the a spicy and rindlike hop.

The mouthfeel was of average fullness with a bitter finish.

Overall a tasty amber. Could use a bit more complexity however.

 432 characters

Photo of Wasatch
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a nice dark red/amber color, nice carbonation, small foamy head, nice islands of lacing throughout the drink.

S - Scents of sweet malts, hops, and some spices.

T - The taste is kinda sweet, and ends with a slight bitter dry finish.

M - Medium body, nice well rounded brew.

D - Drinkable. Another awesome brew in my book from Rogue. Quiet different than other Amber's I've had, but very tasty non the less.

 427 characters

Photo of jdhilt
3.21/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Nice coppery color, some carbonation and medium head for a short while, lace stays. The brewer has three different hops (brewer says double the usual) and five malts but the hops win with an initial balance but a definite and lingering hoppy finish. The ABV is 6%.

 264 characters

Photo of rhoadsrage
4.64/5  rDev +22.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

(Served in a tulip glass)

A- This beer has a deep reddish brown body that is a bit dense but glows in the light. There is a thick bubbly light tan head that sticks to the glass forming a meniscus. There is a strong carbonation of big bubbles that rise in strands to the surface.

S- This beer has a big sweet toasted malt aroma a nice caramel malt smell and a hint of dark malt in the background. The malt smell is big and rich like that of sweet boiling wort.

T- the sweet big malt flavor is mostly toasted malt both light and dark with a caramel flavor coming through and increasing as the beer warms. There is a faint buttery note in the malt and a hint of dark roasted malt in the background. The big bitter bite of hops has a dry grapefruit quality that finishes the beer nicely.

M- This beer has a medium mouthfeel and a pretty smooth texture to the finish.

D- This beer has lots of great sweet malt depth with a nice balance of hop bitterness to make it very drinkable. This will be great on winter nights I don't feel like leaving the house.

 1,067 characters

Photo of vfgccp
2.45/5  rDev -35.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

2010 bottle, drank 2/22/11.

A - Deep amber. Fluffy finger head with a nice lace.

S - Light malt breadyness. Some clove, sugar, vanilla, chocolate chip cookies.

T - Copper, metallic taste dominates the profile. Some light malt and cedar hops peak through on the back end.

M - Resiny bitterness paired with the copper character comes off fairly unpleasant.

D - Not sure what's going on with the metallic taste.

 414 characters

Photo of JohnGalt1
3.01/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle from the Boise Coop purchased for around $1.50. Enjoyed from a red wine glass while listening to Renaissance Worldwide Singapore; BT mix.

Big head floats for a short time over a deep clear amber.... lacing lingers on the sides of the glass for the entire time.

Aroma is hop dominant; big citrus shadowed by pine ... descent caramel balanced the hops ... barely.

Taste is the same though more balanced .... sorta thin though. A little oily hoppiness that I like.

Descent beer from a good brewery ... though it seems a little too much like many of their other beers. I am not really badmouthing Rogue; I really like most of their other high-end brews, but alot of the stuff in 12oz'ers is not real distinctive.

 725 characters

Photo of Axnjxn
2.48/5  rDev -34.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

12oz bottle into a snifter

murky orange color with a very small head. not an attractive pour. smell is extremely malty..,maybe too old right here. taste is undrinkable. bland, tad of spice...just eww. drain pour for me.

overall just disgusting. do not drink this

 265 characters

Photo of Tone
4.03/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy rich amber color. Good 5/4 inch head of an off-white color. Good retention and good lacing. Smells of hops, sweetness, and some slight earthy malts. So far, it fits the rather broad style of an American Amber / Red Ale. Smooth and crisp mouth feel with a low carbonation level. Tastes of hops up front with a strong secondary malt flavor. Neither is dominate, but instead a good blend of flavors. The aftertaste is mostly the bitterness of hops. A strong combination of malt and hops with an ease in the drinkability. A good beer worth a try, but maybe just a tad too sweet overall.

 597 characters

Photo of Rhettroactive
3.14/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From bomber to Bruges hybrid glass on 2/11/11

*I'm performing a "Spring Cleaning" of sorts, and finishing off the holiday beer in and around my home - this being one of them.

A: It looks as it should: golden amber with a surprisingly fluffy and dense 2.5 finger head. Substantial lacing remains.

S: Shocker! It's got that bland, undesirable "Rogue" nose. You know what I'm talking about - that grassy, earthiness which might appeal to a hamster.

T: Barley, bready, with hints of muted Chinook hops. As it goes down, I get an overwhelming amount of yeastiness on the back palate, quite similar to Rogue's Dead Guy Ale.

M: Reasonable enough - it's fairly smooth and robust. Good carbonation gives proper weight to this amber ale.

O: I've recently had this one twice: back in early December and then again last night. In my opinion, this was slightly better and a bit more complex when fresh. It's certainly drinkable now, but I highly recommend serving this one right out of the gate.

On a positive note: this is my favorite Rogue brew to date (which really isn't saying much). Santa would approve.

 1,103 characters

Photo of LiquidAmber
3.78/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Gulden Draak tulip. Pours a coppery red-orange amber with a nice one finger fine to medium caramel colored head. Good aroma of piney hops and light caramel malt. Nice presentation. Flavor is light herbal and piney hops with a bready malt finish. Somewhat underwhelming flavor, but what's there is very pleasant. Medium bodied. Would have some potential with a bit more assertive flavor.

 400 characters

Photo of aasher
3.35/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I received this as a gift, in the gift box with glassware.

It pours a light to medium bodied dark amber with moderate turbidity. The aromas are an array of malts with some bready notes as well as slight pine and a mild hop bitterness. It's ok. The flavors are somewhat dry, hoppy and bitter with slight citrus notes, with a solid malt driven finish. The malt profile is interesting. It has a muted sweetness but also a touch of honey. It drinks really dry and the bitterness is more than I prefer. Because of this, I'm not a big fan of this beer.

 547 characters

Photo of ppoitras
3.53/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22ozer from the Spirit Haus, Amherst, MA.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1" tan head over a somewhat murky red brew. Frothy head leaves chunky lace all over the place, nice. Aroma is malty, yet carries plenty of hops presence as well. Flavor is dominated by the hops, whoa is this hoppy, but does have a good grain backbone which attempts to supprt all the hops. Mouthfeel and drinkability are both good, with the hops bitterness kind of knocking things a bit down in my mind. Malt presence does become stronger as warming continues.

 551 characters

Photo of beerthulhu
3.92/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Poured a medium, cloudy mahogany red with a slight dirty beige head.

S: sweet caramel, toasted malts and a floral hoppiness with some citrus.

T: For flavor there appeared to be signature Chinook hop presence that delivers a dry, pine bitterness with faint grapefruit notes. A moderate caramel backing and dry hoppy bitterness.

M: medium with ample carbonation.

D: Overall a moderately good drink by itself. decent and worth a look.

 442 characters

Photo of beertunes
2.9/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Poured into 10oz glass. Poured a lovely red-amber color with a fluffy off-white head that had good retention and moderate lacing.

The aroma was a great blend of malt and hops. Nice malt sweetness up front, with a touch of pine and floral hops following along. After the great aroma, the average (at best) taste was quite the disappointment. Harsh uneven hops, no malt flavors and a rough, metallic finish.

The body was very thin for the style and the beer was barely drinkable, After my 10oz pour, I shared the rest of the bottle with 3 other folks and we all could barely finish our pours.

Overall, not one of Rogue's better efforts. Try it at your own risk.

 663 characters

Photo of Derek
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Being Christmas Eve, I thought this would be appropriate. I'm actually in BC for the holidays, and it's currently 15 C... so it's refreshing flavour is even more appropriate!

A: Copper-amber in colour, pours with a nice off-white head, not much retention, but it leaves a little lace.

S: Zesty citrous peel, a little piney, hint of bread.

T: Balanced to the bitter side, overwhelming Northwest Hop flavour (predominately grapefruit, with a little pine).

M: Moderate body and carbonation. Seems to have a little acidity associated with the citrous, but perhaps the taste buds are just playing tricks on my mind.

D: It's good, but not for the newbie!

 663 characters

Photo of tone77
3.68/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has a pretty amber color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is a good balance of hops and malts. Taste is hops up front, a malt backbone, a tad on the bitter side. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and overall is a quality brew.

 255 characters

Photo of DrJay
3.5/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Fairly clear, deep red/amber with a thin, rocky head of off-white foam. A little sticky with some lacing, fair retention. Herbal, minty hop aroma with mild malt sweetness in the background. Solid bitterness up front, sweet malts with a hint of caramel follow. Hop fill out the mid and lead into a lingering bitter finish, mostly pine/spruce in character. Medium bodied, average carbonation, slightly drying, decent mouthfeel. Overall, a neat beer. The hopping is interesting, giving it a bit of a unique quality. Worth trying.

 526 characters

Photo of cjgator3
4.15/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle poured into an imperial pint glass. Pours a dark red color with a nice off-white head with great lacing and retention. The aroma is a nice and pleasant mixture of malt and hops. The taste is malty up front with a kick from the citrusy/piney hops in the finish. Overall, this is a really nice amber that is one of my favorite winter seasonal. Recommended.

 366 characters

Photo of Bitterbill
3.88/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle(room temp) a cloudy deep red with a huge head that lingers quite nicely. Halfway through, there are "islands" of foam with sporadic lacing.

The smell has a very sweet caramelly air to it suggesting that the flavour will also be very sweet. We'll see.

The taste does have a sweet malty note up front but there's some hop bitterness in the background that is making for a nicely balanced brew and then, the bitterness takes over in the aftertaste and adds to the overall enjoyment of this amber. It's a good drop worth buying again.

 555 characters

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