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Santa's Private Reserve Ale | Rogue Ales

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very good
1,192 Reviews
Santa's Private Reserve AleSanta's Private Reserve Ale

Brewed by:
Rogue Ales
Oregon, United States

Style: American Amber / Red Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.30%

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

Added by BeerAdvocate on 11-29-2001

For Trade:
User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,192 | Ratings: 2,305
Photo of DovGibor
3.69/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12 oz bottle into snifter. Half inch of light cream colored, foamy head that lingers a minute or so. Color is dark amber to light brick red. Aroma is rich and powerful. Piney and grassy hops. Smells like a bitter forest, with good malt notes too.

Tastes rich, but bitterness seems somewhat one dimensional and unbalanced. The aroma made it clear there would be strong hop bitterness, but I'm still a bit surprised by how bracing it is. And I don't detect the same malt balance I got in the aroma. Mouthfeel is smooth, but a bit thin.

Overall, it has a great aroma and it's not a bad beer, but the bitterness lacks balance for me. I doubt I'll be picking it up again.

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Photo of delta490
3.94/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

It's a beautiful, slightly cloudy, with a nice cap of lightly foamy tan head. It's great retention leaves small sheets of small sticky lacing. The aroma is...crisp. It's mostly malty with just a slight earthy hops note. The taste is much the same. The body has just a little more carbonation for me but it has a nice medium weight body.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
3.52/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Impressive red and amber colors here, aroma of hops, Chinook.

Taste is an uncomplicated hoppy beer. Wow, they exist in the Rogue portfolio. Bitter, toasted pale malts and Chinook hops with some of that usual caramel like malt going on.

It works. Its expensive for what it is, but it is drinkable.

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Photo of Libeertarian
3.92/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

From notes taken 04/13/16:

Dark copper, almost brown. Mostly clear. Fluffy, even, tan head of moderate retention. Smells piney, brothy, rindy, and vegetal. Dank palate, and yet, somehow, seems watered down. Resin, pine, spiciness, soapiness from the hops. Tart throughout, a little orange-like, some caramel. Vegetal, piney, leathery finish. Medium-bodied, sloshy, medium-carbonation, gulpable, fairly astringent.

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Photo of q33jeff
3.18/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

French Toast, Cinnamon. Cloudy Brown pour, small head, but sturdy.Hops, Hops, Hops.
Very Hoppy for a seasonal.Thin beer, decent carbonation, but tough to drink with food b/c of the bitterness.Nice Flavor, but not my favorite holiday beer by a long shot. A bit disappointed since I Love Rogue.

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Photo of gandres
4.03/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12 ounce bottle from the brewery in Issaquah
Appearance: deep amber, clear, cloudy medium head, lacing
Aroma: malty, hay/cereal-strong smell of grains
Taste: very good, bitterness and minimal follow through
Palate: Medium-full body, very nice, sticky creamy, fizzy, strong bitter finish follow through
Overall: very good beer, good to repeat
Drank: March 17, 2016
Happy St Patrick's Day

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Photo of mnj21655
3.44/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep red mahogany in color with a finger of khaki head, decent retention. Faint bready aroma. Taste is very malty, lots of caramel, very sweet. Medium-light body and moderate carbonation. Overall not a bad beer but it is much too sweet for my tastes.

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Photo of Ghrymm
3.65/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 650ml bottle
L: Pours a dark copper thin white head minor lacing
S: Malt and a bread nose
T: Malt and caramel not to strong though nice bitter hops.
F: Moderate carbonation some bitter hops that linger
O: A nice winter ale with good hop bitterness

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Photo of puck1225
3.31/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Poured from a bottle into a snifter. A cloudy brown with a thin head but nice lacing. Malty smell and taste. A bit bitter no spice. Tastes like a brown ale. It is ok, but I think there are other holiday beers I like better.

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Photo of CNoj012
3.96/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a beautifully vibrant, slightly hazy amber color with 2 fingers of khaki head that receeds to a half finger caand lasts for the entire beer. There are some chunky sheets of lacing as well. Smell is sweet and bready malts with a hint of pine and hop spiciness. Taste is the same but the hop spiciness is much more prevalent. Feel is medium, a bit sticky and has good carbonation. Overall a very good beer. I picked up two bottles for $1.50 each as a seasonal closeout special, and I will definitely be going back for more.

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Photo of Motleydrunk56
3.66/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

22 ox bomber poured into a Stone glass.Smell is some kind of spices.Taste is a spicy taste with maybe a touch of Caramel.Got to say I was not that crazy about this.Maybe a bad bottle I don`t know but the taste was just not that good.Would not buy it again.

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Photo of GStone899
1.39/5  rDev -63.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Maybe I got a bad batch or a skunked bottle (don't think so as it poured fine) but this beer found its home down the drain after I drank around half of it. Super sour n bitter with an awful aftertaste. Really disappointed. Even had this on Christmas. Blah

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Photo of barnzy78
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle
A - frothy beige head caps a reddish-brown ale
S - malty nose with toasted grain, caramel, bread crust, spicy piny hops
T - malty with a moderately aggressive hop bitterness; bread crust, caramel, toasty grain, rye perhaps, piny earthy and spicy hops
M - medium body, dry spicy hop finish with some pine resin flavor coating the palate
O - better than expected; nice flavors here. I do have a couple of other seasonal staples that I buy every year, but I will look forward to a single bottle or two of this next year.

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

Pours a light coppery color with off-white colored head. Holiday spices, roasted malt, pine, and some caramel sweet notes; follows onto the palate. Medium bodied. Finishes with roast and pine.

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Photo of beantown_hopster
3.64/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

I had high expectations for this beer however it fell quite a bit short for me. Nothing was notably wrong with it, but it also did not stand out as WOW. I did love the malts and caramel and if you're doing a seasonal tasting, you can throw this in the lineup and have everyone be very satisfied. Solid beer, but didn't blow me away.

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Photo of lastmango
3.18/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Pours a deep red amber with a one finger white head. Moderate lacing. Nose is of piney hops with mild malt. Initial taste of caramel malt followed quickly by strong hops. This is a bit too bitter for me and seems unbalanced. Moderate carbonation with a medium body.

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Photo of WoodBrew
3.4/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Santa's reserve was decent. It poured a nice clear amber with white head that did not lace. The scent was fairly non-descript. The taste was slightly bitter and came off the pallet clean. Overall it was ok....I wouldn't go searching it out.

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

Pours a red amber with a finger of white foam. Nose is piney hops and citrus
and the taste follows suit. One-dimensionally bitter, without any deviation or
relief notes/flavors. Nothing noteworthy with respect to feel, probably due
to the crushing bitterness. Definitely not a fan on any level. (My 2nd strikeout
with a Rogue seasonal pour.)

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Photo of Back_in_the_Saddle
3.99/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Its that time of the year, yup, let's get these seasonals started.
This was poured into a pint glass.
The appearance was a muddy red color with a one finger white foamy head that dissipated within less than a minute leaving some light lacing here and there.
The smell had some toffee, caramel, toast and light lingering hop bitterness (somewhat dried pine).
The taste was malty with an ample amount of sweetness yet bitter through some light piney hops.
The mouthfeel was about a light to medium in body with a decent sessionability about it. Carbonation hits right on my tongue.
Overall, definitely one of the better red ales on the market. Rogue did everything they're supposed to with this one.

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Photo of EMV
3.54/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bomber into a pint glass.

L: Pours a clear copper/amber color. 3 fingers of creamy off-white head. Nice lacing and retention.

S: Biscuits and malts. Piney hops.

T/F: Taste is a malts and grains up front with more of a hop bite at the finish than expected for an Amber. A bit resinous with some evergreen notes. Dry, no spice detectable (this is supposedly a winter warmer?), crisp and drinkable.

O: Solid but not spectacular and a little boring overall. Very hop forward for a red ale, and not much to set it apart. Definitely NOT a winter warmer even though Santa is mugging on the bottle.

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Photo of DeadGuyRising_54
4.92/5  rDev +30.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

My favorite Xmas beer! There's really no reason to get it into the pours, look, head yadda yadda yadda

If you're a fan of REAL Rouge, it's great, old school, manly beer, and like Dead Guy, will only be topped by an XS version

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Photo of stevoj
3.38/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Bomber from Winco. amber body with thick beige foamy head. Nice hop bitterness lingers on the palate. Aroma is normal malt/hops combo, taste emphasizes the bitterness. Decent ale, but not strong or spicy enough to be a winter warmer.

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Photo of Dirtyhands
4.06/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A darker shade of opaque amber. A malty, nutty aroma, toffee and caramel preside. Taste is just awesome. Unique candy malt flavors, toffee and caramel. A very persistent dank pine & spruce flavor. A hop biterness that matches the malt, until the malt eventually overcomes the 74 ibus and leaves you with a pleasant nutty aftertaste.

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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.

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Photo of kojevergas
2.89/5  rDev -23.5%
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)

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Santa's Private Reserve Ale from Rogue Ales
3.78 out of 5 based on 2,305 ratings.
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