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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Reviews: 1,197 | Ratings: 2,337
Photo of BasementBer
1.18/5  rDev -68.8%
look: 4 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Hate to really slog a beer, but this one was god damned terrible.
I dont know if it was that I bought an xmas seasonal in April from Blue Max liquor in Burnsville, MN and thats why it was only $3.99 for 750ml, or if the batch itself of december 2010 was just horrid.

A: Nice amber to reddish color. Head retention is good, carbonation is good, lacing is good.

S: Wort. Just straight wort. Nothing doing leading me to believe that literally nothing had been done in the way of fermentation.

T: Again, absolutely nothing doing. Just straight wort. The finish was hoppy to be sure but that has no bearing on fermentation necessarily other than the aging out of the hop oils. And yet, boom there the carbonation and head were which baffles me to think that if this actually is the style of beer they are trying to make, why not make it a real ale society beer and serve with a ladle out of a barrel.

M: Bittering at the end but the flatness of the actual liquid was completely disappointing. Carbonation was visible but not effecting the mouthfeel.

D: Never again, of course. But its more baffling than anything. Did i get a bad bottle? did i get sold old beer even though its got live yeast in it still? Or did this batch go out and people like that?? Sorry rogue, hated it.

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Photo of Rumplemintz
1.24/5  rDev -67.2%
look: 5 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

This beer may be the best looking most inviting beer I have poured lately; while being the worst tasting beer of the season.
I poured it cold from the bottle 40-45. C into a pint glass.
It poured an amber golden color with an unfiltered look, similar to a Heffeweissen.
The head was tall and creamy and hung around until it was finished.
Smell was musty, flowery, and almost stale like.
Taste, was bitter and stale, very hoppy. The after taste had an awful bite, making every sip a chore. I stayed with this beer for I wanted it to get better, but after it warmed up a bit there was no change.
There is a possiblity that the beer was bad, but I cant try another.

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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 wlevando
1.43/5  rDev -62.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1.5

Bottle into 8 oz chalice

Appearance: Pretty copper-red. Weak head disappears almost immediately leaving a splotchy wake.

Smell: Immediate hop bite, followed by a rank, soft scent. First clue, there must be something off.

Taste: Uggh. Like rotting fir. Something is living in this beer that I don't want in my belly.

Mouthfeel: Get it out! Desiccating, evolutionarily unpleasant bitterness makes me spit out each mouthful I get. I swallowed one, and it was reminiscent of powdered Tylenol. Like I said, we only exist today because we can taste such compounds.

Overall: Beer was skunked. Rogue has always been decent, as I remember, so I was excited for this beer. I bought it as a single in a mix-your-own-six, and it must have been on the GTFO list.

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Photo of mdwalsh
1.89/5  rDev -50%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

A: Very large head, maybe too large. Nice, off white color though and good dexterity. Lots of texture. Sparse but consistent lacing. Brownish amber coloring, very clear. No active carbonation though.

S: Sort of old hops, mostly. Ok, I hate to say this, but I get an almost sawdust-and-vomit smell when I really dig my nose in. Nothing really appealing here, and not very strong.

T: Yep, really stale tasting still, and I still get vomit. It's pretty gross. I don't know if it's old or what, but no thank you. I'd love to review more, but no. This, sadly, is a drain pour.

M: Dry and flat

D: Drainpour.

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Photo of dubinsky
1.92/5  rDev -49.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Poured from a 20oz bottle into my FSW American Pint Glass.
A - Nice amber color with a white two finger foamy head. The beer leaves some nice lacing behind as the head goes down. Pretty standard.

S - Not much smell to speak of really. Some hop aroma which i suppose is spruce rather than pine and a slight hint of malt sweetness, but overall a very underwhelming aroma.

T - Santa must really not like good beer, or his "private reserve" is full of mediocre beers. I'm really disappointed with this one. I cant believe this is a Rogue product. Bitter hops and really not much else. I taste some biscuit on the back of the tongue, but even the hops they use here taste bad to me.

M - This beer is pretty thin, flat and dry. Not much mouthfeel to speak of.

D - Normally this would be a drain pour for me, but i spent almost $7 on this beer and i'm forcing it down my throat so that i can piss gold later on. Rogue has never been my favorite brewery, and this one may prevent me from trying another one of their products for a while. Too bad.

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Photo of Arbitrator
1.93/5  rDev -48.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1

Chilled bomber poured into a pint glass.

A: Reddish amber body, poured with moderate head that stayed for several minutes. No lacing down the glass.

S: Piney hops dominate, some malts waft underneath. I can understand a hoppy red, but not a hop-forward red... Weird.

T: Extremely bitter piney and grassy hops with an unpleasant chalky aftertaste. Caramel malt and maybe some toffee are there, but they are completely overwhelmed by the hops. Bleh. Imbalanced hop juice.

M: Medium body, moderate carbonation.

D: I split it with a friend and still had a hard time finishing it. It's simply bitter without much roundedness, and the aftertaste in particular did not sit well on the tongue. Would not buy again.

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Photo of TheDudeRules
1.97/5  rDev -47.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1.5

Poured into my Founders tulip.

Deep toffee and caramel color. Full finger of off white head. Dissipates somewhat quickly. Heavy lacing remains.

Smell is sweet raisin and spice. A little caramel in there too. Smells rather tasty.

Cough. Holy shit is this dry and bitter. Tastes like dust from old furniture. The smell doesn't translate to taste.

My drain is going to be drinking well tonight.

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Photo of harrymel
2.02/5  rDev -46.6%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

vintage 2011, unk bottle date.

A: ruddy copper with a finger of light yellow foam. this falls to a broken sheet of the same. spotty lace.
S: biscuit, butter, salty (oddly), some spice and noble, earthy hops.
T: malts, butter, spicy tones, not really appealing at all.
M: medium bodied with low on moderate carb. Semi dry finish.
O: Nothing special.

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Photo of Wanderlust89
2.06/5  rDev -45.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

I'm not sure why Rogue decided to change one of it's best offerings this year, but they did. What once was considered to be one of the better winter tastings is now an imposter. This year the offering is missing it's typical centennial hops.

Rogue has chosen to replace it with their own dare and freedom variations. You will also find changes in the malt used. The result is a beer that has lost it's trademark pine and spruce finish in favor of a hollow bitterness. One must ask themselves, why would Rogue change a beautiful thing?

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Photo of CortexBomb
2.2/5  rDev -41.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Pour is transparent red with a light white dusting of head on top. Nose is heavy on the pine hops. Flavour is fairly standard Amber style, a soft malt underbody pairs with the hops from the nose, definite off-bite to the flavour which others have compared to mineral water, and which I am also getting. It is not a standard off-bite from the hops, it as a distinct which I don't particularly care's borderline soap sudsy.

Mouth is average for the style, in terms of overall drinkability, I don't see myself picking this up again over other Ambers or hoppy PA beers that are available. It has a distinct bite, but that bite doesn't particularly appeal to me.

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Photo of 5dots
2.24/5  rDev -40.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

I'm not usually a big holiday beer fan, to be honest, but my girl had picked up a six-pack of this for us to try, so...

Expected warmth, spices - got hop bitterness and a ton of spruce flavor. Not really my thing, but the more I've drank it, the more I've come to understand the spruce - it suggests the season in a different way than other holiday beers. I drank one with Thanksgiving dinner, and it fought with my food a little too much.

Overall, not something I'd have again or be eager to recommend - I suspect that the spruce might put off most of my more hopheaded friends.

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Photo of huysmans
2.28/5  rDev -39.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

I'm sorry, but this beer offered nothing to the Christmas dinner it was brought to. It was watery and lacking in flavor. It had very little smell. It did not compliment the food I was eating in any way. It was not refreshing or warming or palate cleansing or anything I would want out of a simple holiday dinner beer. If you are going to put Santa in your title, at least give me a little spice! It was, as the 65 IBUs suggest, somewhat bitter, but I like my bitter with some flavor before it. Perhaps I made the mistake of drinking this with dinner. Perhaps on its own it is better than my review suggests. Perhaps I am not refined enough to discern the flavor of "free range coastal water." Perhaps, no, definitely, compared to the other beers I have had in the past few days, it just did not rate.

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Photo of Giggy
2.32/5  rDev -38.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

This one is not one of Rogue's best, Not much to this one. I had to re-axamine the label to make sure it was a Rogue beer and not an imposter.

A: Nice in appearance with a cloudy,copper red color. Appearance is the best thing about this ale.

S: Not much there. Maybe some fruity hops

T: Once again not much there. Just a bit of spice and citrus, totally dominated by the hops.

M: No body, dry

D: Drank the whole bottle but won't buy again.

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Photo of beldin96
2.33/5  rDev -38.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

I just had Rogue's Santa's Private Reserve. It started off well; it had a good head that lasted a decent amount of time. I was a good amber color. The nose though had a lot of spruce and pine. The body and mouth feel was light. The taste was spruce and a lot of bitterness. Unfortunately the bitterness did not give up and overrides everything else. I had high hopes but I do not think I would try this again.

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Photo of Caskaway
2.42/5  rDev -36%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Same as the other recent negative reviews. No smell, bitter taste with no complimentary flavors, and "dull," as another poster aptly noted. The positive is its appearance - vibrant copper color w/ good lacing.

Surprising stratification among the reviews. I'm in Chicago - maybe we got a bad shipment?

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Photo of SaCkErZ9
2.43/5  rDev -35.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

This has to be one of the most inferior beers from Rogue I have had. Not much to this one. Nice in appearance with a cloudy, red/purple color with a nice developiing head that stays around and leaves generous lacing around the glass. From here it goes downhill fast.

Smell is basically nonexistent. I smell some fruity hops. Not much maltiness, nothing special.

Taste is like sucking on a soap bar. Extremely astringent and bitter. Although it is only 44IBU, it tastes like 99.

Bitter mouthfeel, no body. Not good. Tempted to dump it down the drain but the USC Texas game is upcoming so I will painfully finish this one.

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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 jsh420
2.45/5  rDev -35.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

boy have my tastebuds changed(gave this an A- in 2008)

pours amber with a 1 finger white head.

nose is all malts - pale english malts and some caramel malts.

taste is biscuit malts with no hops?? this beer used to be hoppy and piney??

medium body wtih low carbonation that is very smooth.

overall very blah amber and a tad pricey $12 a sixer - glad i bought a single in a mix six

after this re-visit i better check some old reviews to see if i still like them

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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.

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

Deep reddish color, average head with average retention. Smell is malt and molasses. Flavor possesses holiday qualities only for an instant, then takes on characteristics reminiscent of beef jerky, only sour. Mouthfeel is appropriately chewy and sticky for the flavor. Not impressed with this at all. I think Santa should bring a big sack of dog shiite down Rogue's chimney for brewing this.

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Photo of pgroove
2.46/5  rDev -34.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

I've never been one for strict classifications but there is little 'Amber' about this besides the color (which is maybe all that's required for the distinction). Nonetheless, it's an IPA in disguise.

I used to get excited around Christmastime to taste the new and adventurous holiday beers. Not so much anymore, now that every brewery comes out with one and half-asses the effort. There is nothing notable about this beer. There are a dozen other beers exactly like it at your local beer store.

It's almost as if Rogue brewed up an accidental "rogue" batch of beer and said "Well shit, what we do we do with all this beer?" Someone on the brewery team replies "It's almost winter, let's slap a Santa label on it and call it a Christmas beer". And with that, Santa's Private Reserve was born. A shame, really.

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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

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Photo of livingregret
2.5/5  rDev -33.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Serving Type: standard 12 oz bottle

Appearance: Pours a deep reddish brown w/ no head

Smell: Malty and mellow. A lot like black tea. A touch piney in places. the alcohol does come through the nose

Taste/mouthfeel: A touch of sweet biscuit w/ something piney mixed in. This leaves the mouth feeling dry and bitter. The aftertaste of the beer is dry guessed it....bitter. This is a big hoppy ale. The odd thing is that this beer is pretty thin in the mouth

Drinkability: I was expecting a Winter Warmer and instead ended w/ something close to a IPA in terms of bitterness/dryness. This is a very hoppy dry beer and not one I will seek out again.

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Photo of righthereisay
2.5/5  rDev -33.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Bought this for the label and because I've enjoyed beers from Rogue.

The smell? Maybe hoppy. Fruity, maybe some spices. But from the smell you kind of know what you are getting into.

The 1st taste was a little too bitter for my liking. Bitter, some sourness, maybe some fruitiness.

Not much body at all, I would say light to medium. Carbonation was average. Not too much.

Will never buy again. Basically another brewery selling out for the winter holiday beer crowd. I'll stick to their other beers.

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Santa's Private Reserve Ale from Rogue Ales
3.78 out of 5 based on 2,337 ratings.
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