Santa's Private Reserve Ale
Rogue Ales

Santa's Private Reserve AleSanta's Private Reserve Ale
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Red Ale - American Amber / Red
Ranked #124
Ranked #29,533
3.78 | pDev: 13.49%
Rogue Ales
Oregon, United States
Very Good
Santa's Private Reserve AleSanta's Private Reserve Ale
Notes: 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
Reviews: 1,209 | Ratings: 2,375 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by BeerMeister8:
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BeerMeister8 from New Hampshire

3.25/5  rDev -14%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Dec 20, 2014
More User Reviews:
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Zippy_TMS from California

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

For years, Rogue's Santa's Private Reserve Ale has been one of my absolute favorite beers. The double-hopped red ale is my perfect balance of bright hops and carmelized malty deliciousness. Well, Rogue went and ruined it.

I found my first bottle of the season and I was so excited! My excitement faded quickly when I saw the the logo had changed, and the words described something about a strong Belgian ale with cherry and raspberry. My favorite beer, a highlight of my year, was no longer and has been replaced. This new recipe is a fine beer. It's delicious and nicely balanced without slapping you in the palate with fruit or that Belgian hop flavor, but it's not the classic beer that I've loved for so many years. I'm not a fan of the Belgian taste, so I'll move on.

Maybe Rogue will hear some feedback and some day my beloved Santa's Private Reserve will come back in all its glory, but in the meantime I'll be looking for a new favorite beer.

Nov 08, 2017
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BuckeyeNation from Iowa

4.38/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bright red-orange-copper, a lovely hue that is in keeping with the festive, holiday theme. The head is stupendous and is made up of buttery, orangish beige foam that is hugely rocky and absolutely full of character. When it finally relents, the glass is chock full of tenacious lace in speckled, broken sheets. Very nice.

While the aroma is unquestionably good, it is a bit of a letdown. When I learned that Chinook and Centennial were in use and that this beer was brewed to be a hoppier version of St. Rogue Red, my expectation meter went instantly to 'drool'. The aroma is sweet and hoppy and spicy and everything else that I had hoped for, it just isn't as forceful as it could be since the hops are blunted to some extent by the malt.

The same applies to the flavor... very good but not outstanding and certainly not a hop bomb. I'd have to have them side by side, but Santa's doesn't seem much hoppier than the St. Rogue Red of my memory. It's still wonderful beer however. There's plenty of malt on hand with a toasted, bready flavor that keeps it firmly within the style guidelines. No one should confuse this beer with an IPA however.

Hops are present and accounted for. I especially notice the Chinook (they tend to dominate other varieties in my experience). One of the things that I love about Rogue is that they use plenty of ingredients; this beer is absolutely bursting with bittersweet flavor. Spicy, tangy, pungent, grapefruity, sprucy hops commingle with sweet malt in an increasingly harmonious manner as the beer warms. My impressions of the flavor are becoming much more favorable as I get deeper into the bottle.

The finish is long and hoppysweet, remaining relatively well-balanced (from a hop lover's perspective) until the deliciously bitter end. The mouthfeel is between medium and full with that characteristic Rogue lushness that I know and love. More often than not, these guys hit their marks in all aspects of the brewer's art.

Santa's Private Reserve (aka St. Nick Red) may not have been the 'Christmas in March' that I was expecting, but I got past that quickly enough. It's a big, hoppy, flavorful-as-hell ale that appeals to me in a big way. Although it doesn't do much to distinguish itself from the beer that it was patterned after, it's impossible to go wrong with either one. Highly recommended for Christmas lists everywhere.

Apr 01, 2005
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Ciocanelu from Romania

3.75/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Slightly cloudy dark amber color with beige head. Aroma is malt forward but you also get some earthy, resiny hops with dried orange notes. Taste starts slightly sweet and malty, even a bit nutty. Finish is more bitter and earthy with a bit of pine resin. Medium to light body, medium carbonation. Really well balanced overall, starting malty and sweet but the hops are present on the finish with a drying bitterness.

Feb 09, 2017
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feloniousmonk from Minnesota

4.37/5  rDev +15.6%
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!

Dec 22, 2002
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saintwarrick from South Carolina

4.35/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to the big guy for sharing, a shame this brew only comes along once a year, but absence makes the heart grow fonder. This deep garnet brew has a big fluffy whites head on it like an IPA. Malts and bready goodness really show through on the aroma with some piney hops there in the background. While the aroma focuses on the malts, the taste is very much rooted in the hops. It starts out a tad sweet, then the hops take over with some big hop oil flavors. Very bitter but nicely balanced, sort of a smoked wood taste at the end which I think really lends itself to the season. You don't have to be good to get a sixer of this under your tree.

Nov 06, 2007
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metter98 from New York

3.85/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is clear amber in color and has a moderate amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a finger high beige head that has good retention properties and never completely faded away.
S: There are aromas of moderate aromas of butter and caramel in the nose.
T: The taste is very similar to the smell and has a light amount of malty sweetness. There are some hints of bitterness in the finish.
M: It feels medium-bodied and very smooth on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: The beer isn't that difficult to drink, although there's no way that I could have more than one of these at a time.

Mar 18, 2011
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cp29 from New York

3.5/5  rDev -7.4%

Jan 06, 2012
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lancer42678 from New Jersey

4/5  rDev +5.8%

Nov 18, 2011
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jharris0624 from Missouri

3.5/5  rDev -7.4%

May 31, 2014
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jtw21 from Pennsylvania

4/5  rDev +5.8%

Dec 24, 2011
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Braz from Washington

4.5/5  rDev +19%

Nov 23, 2012
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Domvan from Texas

3.39/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Nov 11, 2015
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OldFrothingSlosh from Pennsylvania

3.6/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Presentation: 22oz brown bottle.

Appearance: Pours a clear dark amber with a "soapy" head that refused to back down.

Smell: Like standing in a pine forest! Amazing how the pine scent came through. If there's anything else in the aroma, I couldn't detect it.

Taste: This really threw me for a loop. On my first sip, I immediately thought "This tastes like soap!" As concern and fear flashed across my face, I though perhaps I'd failed to rinse my glass from the last cleaning. Thus, the next step was to drink from the bottle. Unfortunately, the same thing happened. I just couldn't get that "saop" flavor out of my mind. I then consulted the other reviews for this beer and upon reading several of them, I saw that the "piney" hops really do dominate this beer. Now the taste made a little more sense. Given the IBU of this beer, I was very surprised at how dominant the hops were. I am a big fan of hoppy beers, but not this one.

Mouthfeel: Definitely smooth and crisp. Not bad.

Drinkability: The soapy flavor really made this score what it is. It was hard to get over and it was really tough to finish the bottle.

Feb 05, 2003
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beermanbrian from Pennsylvania

3.98/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark amber/red color with a bubbly tan head. Tons of carbonation bubbles. Sticky lacing. A nice looking brew. Smell of mild citrus hops followed by some piney west coast hops. Taste is more on the piney resinous side. My only knock on this beer is the bitterness in the aftertaste. It's not the good bitterness but more of a cloying pucker your cheeks in a bad way bitterness. Overall a nice brew, but there are a lot of better choices out there for the price. Certainly one I would sample again just not my first choice for a Christmas seasonal.

Dec 05, 2006
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beerhast from Indiana

3.25/5  rDev -14%

Mar 26, 2014
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javincik from North Carolina

3.67/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz bomber into a nonic pint glass.

A-Color is an orange-red topped with a slightly off white finger thick head which dissipated very quickly.

S-Mostly hops. Lots of floral aromas with some fruit and grassy notes.

T-Sweet up front with some citrus characteristics. Hops kick in through the middle. Hops and malt fight it out briefly before a rather abrupt slightly bitter finish. Hops are crisp and focused, but the finish is quick-rather surprisingly so. Of course the hops come through more and more as it warms. Finish is still tight. Not much lingering.

M-About average for the style. Carbonation lingers a little on the tongue.

D-Easy to put down. Not something that really requires your attention. Nice while watching a movie or sports.

A solid amber, but nothing spectacular. Doesn't have anything that would make me reach for it over the myriad other choices in the style. Will not actively seek it out again, but wouldn't turn it down if someone offered me one.

Dec 13, 2009
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Phelps from Arizona

3.47/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Twelve-ounce bottle into a tulip.

Murky burnt orange. A silky, one-finger khaki head slowly fades to a soapy top layer and leaves Swiss cheese walls of lace.

Almost like a barleywine in aroma. Tons of caramel, overripe oranges, burnt sugar. I’m fairly sure this is an old bottle, but what hops remain impart a pithy orange brightness.

Flavor is almost identical. Lots of the malty flavors above, with additional toasted bread. Very mild bitterness with a subtle, dry finish.

High, prickly bitterness breaks the beer into a good amount of fizz. Smooth medium body. Bitterness increases the more I drink.

A very barleywine-like amber. Drinkable, but not good enough for a second visit.

Dec 25, 2011
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jheezee from Texas

5/5  rDev +32.3%

Dec 14, 2011
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beerguy36 from Tennessee

3.75/5  rDev -0.8%

Jan 08, 2014
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Falien02 from Texas

3.25/5  rDev -14%

Dec 09, 2012
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CorgiDad from Mississippi

3.75/5  rDev -0.8%

Nov 30, 2014
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far333 from Connecticut

3.78/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Amber-copper color with a thick phat head of lumpy meringue, with dimples and divots. It's an inch high and not sinking. Malty, biscuity aroma, with light hints of fruit and cinnamon. Flavor is tangy, almost biting upfront, morphing to a sweeter taste of light brown sugar and toffee and cinnamon as it rolls over the tongue, turning back to a bitter twinge of citrusy hops and clove in the finish, perhaps a little smoke. Even mouthfeel, some tingly carbonation on top of the tongue, sort of a dry finish. Sticky dots of lace decorate the insides of the glass. Thanks to BuckeyeNation for sharing.

Mar 12, 2005
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wl0307 from England

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...

Aug 31, 2006
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Rudgers73 from New York

3.48/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from a 22 oz bomber into a pint glass.

A- Deep red hue. Frothy, white head. Nice lacing.

S- Hoppy and dry. Slight spice.

T- Sweet floral hops that finish quite dry. A little piny.

M- Dry, crisp. Zesty carbonation.

D- Not bad. A little hoppy for me. I guess that is the trend with winter beers.

Nov 06, 2006
Santa's Private Reserve Ale from Rogue Ales
Beer rating: 85 out of 100 with 2375 ratings