Santa's Private Reserve Ale | Rogue Ales

very good
1,197 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

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User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,197 | Ratings: 2,335
Photo of TastyTaste
4.95/5  rDev +31%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I had been waiting months for this to be released, and when I found it I was excited to try it, for good reason, it turned out. This is the best Red I have ever had (I have reviewed 16). Deep brown/red color, fluffy off-shite head that fades to form a thick layer of nooks and crannies. Smells of grapefruit tinged hops, and slight carmel sweetness. I served it at cellar temp, so this stuff was bursting with flavor. Taste matches the citrusy/carmel of the smell, but adds to it nicely, making this beer as excellent as it is. My new definition of the style, and what I will judge all other reds against.

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Photo of budgood1
4.95/5  rDev +31%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

deep hazy dark ruby appearanace with a head that sticks to the glass as i quickly consume all 22 oz. full bodied and the taste is hops hops hops! the caramel malt tries to peek through but is viciously beaten down by the intense hops that almost burns the back of your throat. it provides a hoppy aftertaste that lingers on your lips and palate (and mind). an intense winter red and a hop lover's delight! santa certainly is a hophead!

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Photo of ArchaeoFiero_TheDelorean
4.94/5  rDev +30.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I really wasn't prepared for how great of a beer this was going to be. It's rich and bitter, and is the hoppiest red ale that I've had the pleasure of imbibing.

I suppose that it's called "Santa's Reserve" because of the hops' pine notes, which are incredibly strong. It is not your typical "Christmas Beer" though, and I'd be happy drinking this all year round.

It's a home run from Rogue, and has me tracking down more of their other offerings.

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Photo of nortmand
4.92/5  rDev +30.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours with amber brown hue with a huge ass lace producing foam.

Ruby red grapefruit and pomegranate hop aromas dominate the nose. Very hoppy. Nice.

Caramel notes up front are balanced by a very citrusy hop flavor. Aftertaste is a resiny/ white grapefruit bitterness.

Very hoppy for an amber/red but I wouldn't expect anything less from Rogue. A very nice beer.

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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 Brad007
4.85/5  rDev +28.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a beautiful ruby red color with a thick frothy head and minimum lacing. Aroma is strong and hoppy, malty too. Taste is very hoppy/malty with a very nice bitterness in the middle. Towards the back, it takes on more of a fruity/spice essence and is somewhat chewy and dry. A second sip notices the hops more. Very smooth and drinkable for an amber ale. Can you imagine yourself sitting in front of a roaring fireplace, sipping on a glass of this beer?

I wouldn't doubt that Santa himself would do so.

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Photo of StoutishDan
4.82/5  rDev +27.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Seasonals aren't around forever. I had to try this one. This is my sixth or seventh winter seasonal beer this season so far, so this is gonna be fun!

A - Mine's a little hazy looking. "reddish-copper" says the label on the bottle, and Rogue is dead on. Nice dark reddish color.

S - Floral hops hit me first, then come the sweet malts.

T - Creamy and sweet up front with a slight hop bitterness. Wow, this is good! Not as spicy as New Belgium's Snow Day or Abita's Christmas Ale, which is nice. I could definitely drink more than just one of these. The bitterness lingers a little...but there's the malt right there. It's like the two flavors are wrestling to see which one is the primary taste. Makes things more exciting that way.

O - Best of the winter seasonal beers I've had. Maltiness is a plus for me...gotta have my sweet malts. Won't be the last time this season I buy this brew. On my scale from 0 to 100 I give this beer a 98.

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Photo of Maestro
4.8/5  rDev +27%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This beer is amazing. I love a really hoppy, red ale. I have only found a few of these. The appearance is very dark red, with a frothy, tan head. The nose is chock full o' hops and biscuity malts. The taste is a classic red ale flavor, but with an awesome amount of Pacific Northwest Hops. Mouthfeel is full and has a nice bit. Drinkability...keep 'em coming.

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Photo of randal
4.77/5  rDev +26.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer reminds me a lot of their American Amber which is a favorite of mine. The beer is a brilliant red color, with a fine white head. The aroma contains the telltale citric Chinook blast, although there is a little malt in there asswell.

The taste is a changing river of malts and grapefruity tastes. I just love this combination. The bottle doesn't list it but i sure tastes like there is a little chocolate malt in there somewhere. The flavors sort of fight each other as you drink it. Truly a beer that will keep you interested.

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Photo of WRCREX
4.77/5  rDev +26.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

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.

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Photo of arboristfish
4.75/5  rDev +25.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

The appearance of this beer is a amber to brownish hue. The foam is nice thick! You can smell the hops right off the bat. The hop smell is slightly citrus, with earthy and flowery notes. The taste of the beer is a full malt character with a hop backbone to pair with it. Very complex and yet balanced! You can taste a caramel toasty flavor from the malt. The mouthfeel isnt overly thick its at a very acceptable level. I would say it has the mouthfeel of what an amber ale should have. This beer is drinkable. Its balanced enough where you could have a few.

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Photo of mcnabb0001
4.72/5  rDev +24.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle

A - Pours an reddish amber brown good clarity. nice sized eggshell colored head.

S - Wow, this beer smells amazing like a perfume of spice, pine, citris, sugar cookies, vanilla so much going on here.

T - one word "perfect" in the combination of spice, malt and hops. I detect gingerbread cookie, nutmeg, cinnamon upfront with orange zest and pine hops in the aftertaste. The hops are very subtle in this and do not dominate the flavor. The malt backs up the hop flavor respectfully. Neither hop nor malt winning out in this horserace.

M - Smooth, goes down with a nice slickness. Nice moderate carbonation.

D - Not as drinkable as one might think. The sweetness and spice of this beer can make it a little less drinkable. This is definitely a beer to enjoy one maybe two of and then you got to cut it off.

Overall the best winter seasonal I have had to date.

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Photo of thebrood1987
4.68/5  rDev +23.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I get that floral citrus and slight pine smell that I'd find in a lot of West Coast IPA's. Upon tasting it you get a bright hoppy flavor in the begnning followed by the doughy bready malt that you can find in their Dead Guy Ale and then mixing with that chalky spruce pine finish.

It also a pretty nice mouth feel because of the well mixed malt variety. I also get an almost wheat malt in there as well with a bit of yeasty flavor. My favorite thing about this beer is that you can taste the hop flavor up front on the tip and beginning of the tongue and then that classic piney spruce chalky bitter finish I'd expect to find in top notch IPA's.

This and Sierra Nevada's Celebration Ale are top notch examples of hoppy winter beers. This one gets looked past but I think should get more recognition. Its very well crafted especially with how the tastes of the beer jump out in different waves across your palate.

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Photo of MrHurmateeowish
4.68/5  rDev +23.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber purchased at McKinnon's in Salem, NH. Pours a deep red translucent body with a good inch of khaki-colored head that leaves some very decent lacing. Lemon grass, grapefruit, lemon, pine, and pith characterize the aroma. Hops hit the palate first, with pine, lemon, and pith the most notable flavors. Malt isn't far behind though, with with just enough flavor to balance the hop presence - caramel, nut, and dark chocolate notes within. Malt take the lead toward the finish. Medium bodied with moderate carbonation, just enough to enhance the drinkability. Wow, in a sea of ESBs, spiced beers, and stouts, this one stands out from the pack. Perfectly balanced, complex, and super-drinkable. Nothing wrong with this brew. One of the best ambers I've ever had, and possibly one of Rogue's best by quite a margin.

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Photo of EnojysAnyBeer
4.65/5  rDev +23%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Now my favorite winter seasonal. God bless Rogue Ales

A- Very impressive frothy off-white head on top of an apple-red translucent body. Lacing rings the glass and sparkles

S- Loads of citric/piney hops in front of sweet/earthy malts.

T- Reminds me of an AIPA with all the hop resin flavor. Overall has a good crisp flavor that is also sweet and warming.

M- Great layered body caresses the mouth and prickly carbonation excites the taste-buds

D- Most drinkable red I have had so far. Refreshing with no off flavors

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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.

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Photo of hyuga
4.63/5  rDev +22.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2002 release. A deep, thick, syrupy amber brew, with a very large off-white head that stays quite well. A good amount of lace is left behind as it is consumed. Thick, rich malty aroma with many types of hops mixed in. Citrus and pine are the most noticeable products of the hops, with leafy and earthy tones directly beneath. A bit fruity as well. Wonderfully complex hop character in the flavor profile! Leafy and earthy hops are noticeable at first, rushing in with the big malt character, which is sweet, a bit roasted, and slightly bready, combining well with those hops. Rind-like bitterness follows closely behind. Pine and citrus are also present, but subtlely. Crisp and sweet at the same time. More crisp in the finish, though. This hop and malt combination makes for a great and pleasing mouthfeel. Spicy hop character is abound, and stays in the aftertaste. Well, I should have expected a lot more from this beer, I'm quite impressed! I love it! Extremely tasty in that earthy way. Not your typical winter beer, but it does warm you, and the hops provide spiciness where spices would be in other winter beers. I'd really love to have this beer available to me year-round. I might just stock up so I can keep it around for a while. Another winter must-try!

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Photo of RBorsato
4.62/5  rDev +22.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reddish-copper with a full light brown head, good carbonation, and nice lace sheeting. Nice citrusy hop aroma. Nice hoppy citrus flavor which is more powerful than the malt base but decently balanced. Medium bodied with a hoppy bitter finish.

Very nice fresh and after 6 months. Didn't care for it in the past after aging a year or so. One to buy each year with S.N. Celebration Ale.

Per Bottle: 13 P, 44 IBU, 73.1 AA, 26.75 L & "Chinook and Centennial Hops"

Per website: 60 IBU (bottle is most likely wrong...)

2002 version
Tasted: 07/02/03

($3.59 / 22 oz.)

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Photo of Applesauce1
4.62/5  rDev +22.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

ej285701 got this for me in our most recent beer exchange (we exchanged three bombers was one for the ages :) )

Anyhow, enough of that....

Appearance: amber-brown color with a really large head...about 1 1/2"
Smell: apple cider with hops is what im picking up on
Taste: wow...awesome...nice hop variety...the hops definitely dominate over the malt...some smokiness actually and a very slight citrus flavor
Mouthfeel: medium body
Drinkability: goes down nice :)

A very impressive beer to say the least. Rogue's done it again.

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Photo of John
4.61/5  rDev +22%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap. Deep ruby color with thick, creamy tan head. True pleasure in a pint glass. Heavy hop aroma and initial flavor. Full, rich body and moderately malty backbone balances the equation nicely as it warms. Outstanding brew, highly recommended.

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Photo of sam_bliss
4.59/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

22oz bomber

The sound upon uncapping the bottle insinuates that the contents are well-carbonated. It pours a coppery, bright beet-red color accented by copious bubbles lining the sides of the glassware and topped off with a magnificent four-finger head. As this dissipates down to a centimeter-thick foamy cap to seal in the brew's aromatic bouquet, beautiful lacing is deposited on the glass walls of the drinking vessel. A slightly sweet, complex concoction of malts anchors the aroma, which is accented by red fruits and fresh floral hops. The taste is less sweet than the nose; it is built upon the roasty, biscuity, caramelly, and slightly nutty blend of malts that includes Carastan, Crystal and two others from Rogue's own barley farm. From this intricate foundation rises some not-quite-ripe fruitiness, a mixture of sweet and sour that both excites and intrigues the taste buds. A sprucy evergreen finish gives way to a citrusy aftertaste and lingering tingling, advocating the next sip or gulp, even if merely to further analyze the multifaceted flavors of this inimitable ale from Santa Clause's private reserve.

This is a truly exceptional piece of brewing. It is distinctively fascinating, an unrivaled amber that is unique for its listed category and matchless in the field of winter beers. I love Christmas ales; this is a special one that they make a bit differently each holiday season.

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Photo of Neehan
4.57/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I got this on-tap at the Mellow Mushroom in Charleston.

This was brought to me because the bartender suggested it after another Rogue selection on the menu was not available. This beer was so damn good that I can't remember what I had originally ordered. It had a small head with minimal lacing and a bright, rich amber appearance. The taste is incredibly smooth with light malts and a pleasant bready taste. Outstanding. The taste lures you in and this makes this one of the most drinkable winter selections I have had to date.

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Photo of pezoids
4.57/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Wow! Taking a while to savor this one. From the big bomber this Rogue poured out with a cherry amber glow. Very clear and topped with a delicious looking creamy head. The aroma is perfect. Sweet cherry malt, floral, fruity hops, chocolate, ripe apricots, pine and oranges (among other things…). Very complex and extremely appealing.

The brew takes an about face when you take the first sip. I was expecting a sweet malty body, but all I got was dry fruit, spices and a big dose of grapefruit rind bitterness. It’s medium bodied, and as it warms, it lets off a big dry spice punch and finishes peppery. Also leaves a faint cherry tang left in the throat.

This truly is a witches brew of the highest order. Complex, dry and bittersweet. A beautiful beer and an excellent winter warmer. Thanks, Rogue!

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Photo of kosmoraios
4.55/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Reviewing for the style here (Rogue says this is an "Double-Hopped" American Red) as this ale is almost an IPA.

Pours a golden-orange color into a pint glass, with a 1.5 finger white head that lingers and laces the glass quite well.

Aroma is of hops. Very piney and citrussy - a hint of juniper berry, sweet orange, grapefruit. I'm a hophead, so I love the taste. Amazing for a Red - very hoppy, but excellently balanced with the malts. The tiniest bit of toffee sweetness balances the bitterness of the hops. The "Rudolph" strain of hops is supposedly proprietary to John Meier according to Rogue.

Mouthfeel was smooth and well-carbonated. An amazingly drinkable ale, great session ale, and a good one for the uninitiated to gateway into the hoppier side of life.

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Photo of bboven
4.55/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Beautiful amber/red clear body with a big puffy head and lacing that covers the entire glass. Phenomenal.

Big, piney hops meet a huge malt backbone for great balance and huge hit to your nose.

Sweet at the beginning followed by lots of layered hop flavor. There is a bit too much bitterness at the end, but that's me looking for something to pick at.

Even carbonation that doesn't cut at your mouth; Fills your mouth without feeling heavy because somehow the body remains per-style thin as a red should be.

This beer is pretty awesome but very pricey. As it's a seasonal, I recommend checking it out, but the St. Rogue Red is very similar and not as expensive. I really don't think this is a true amber/red because of the hop bill, but hops work very very well with this style, as Rogue proves again and again.

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Santa's Private Reserve Ale from Rogue Ales
3.78 out of 5 based on 2,335 ratings.
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