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Santa's Private Reserve Ale | Rogue Ales

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very good
1,190 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: 1,190 | Ratings: 2,292
Photo of Sammy
3.92/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A hopped up beer, an amber. Not bad, with some complexity like a 1.5X IPA. As they say it, its the Rogue with twice the hops. On the bitter side and a melange of hops that are difficult to distinguish. Bitter despite all the malts, and still a carmel taste, the bitterness from the C hops with a citrus finish and aftertaste.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.65/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a murky orange-red with a foamy beige head that settles to a thick cap on top of the beer. Foamy rings of lace line the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt and some herbal and grassy hop aromas. Taste is much the same with a medium hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer but I think it smells better than it tastes.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.91/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a great great christmas beer. pours a sensational hazed bronze color with a tan head and lace at every sip clinging to the glass. smells a bit hoppy, west coast. also smells malty and strong, possibly cask conditioned in the nose to, rich earthy overtones. taste is balanced and the mouthfeel is so so smooth. not holiday in the traditional sense, but very much appropriate for the season. complex yet drinkable. warming from the inside out. fantastic brew

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Photo of Knapp85
3.3/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured out with pretty nice looking red color, the head was fizzy and creamy colored. The lacing wasn't really all there. The smell was of some sweet malts and had a bit of spiciness on the nose. The taste has more of the spice than anything else. The finish was bitter and dry. The mouthfeel was medium bodied and has a decent feel to it for a winter brew. Overall I'd never buy a whole case of it. It's not a bad brew but I wouldn't need to have it on hand.

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Photo of metter98
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.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.17/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed durring the Christmas season and then again yesterday. Christmas in August for me. The beer had matured nicely; much more nutty and toasty than I remembered. The mahogany, amber colors, carbonation, and head criteria are consistent. To the nose, the hops still jump out with spruce-like, floral aromas. Flavors are high in the amber malts, spices (allspice, nutmeg, cinnemon), nuts (almonds and walnuts), and hops (citrus, pine-ey, ginger-ey). Still a full, round mouthfeel; leaving mild drying and alcohol sweetness behind as the beer disipates. I beleive that the hops had subsided a bit leaving the beer more nutty, malty, and smoother. I'm happpy with my choice in cellering.

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Photo of largadeer
4.23/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Dark reddish-amber with great transparency. Pours with a couple inches of head that slowly works its way down to a quarter-inch, leaving sticky lace all over the glass. An awesome looking beer.

Smell: Malty and caramelly with that distinct chinook hop aroma of grapefruit and spices.

Taste: Spicy and floral with notes of grapefruit. A solid caramel backbone holds up the big hop character of this beer. The finish is a balance of sweet malts and bitter hops, with bitterness eventually taking precedence.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied and slightly oily on the tongue; soft, natural carbonation from bottle conditioning.

Notes: This is a great red ale - possibly one of the best coming from the US right now.

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Photo of brentk56
4.15/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a hazy amber color with a nice beige head that persists well and splashes the glass with lace

Smell: Rich biscuit and caramel undertones with a piney hop element wafting above

Taste: Starts out with a caramel and biscuit flavor that is joined, mid-palate by the piney hops; citrus elements build after the swallow and the long finish is dominated by the hops with just a hint of toffee underneath

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: A very enjoyable amber that is just a bit unbalanced in the hop direction; the early presence of the amber malt elements wind up getting overwhelmed, in the final analysis

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

22oz bottle. I shared one of these during the hubbub of New Years' Eve, and recall having quite enjoyed it - well, I guess I only remember that it tasted like Rogue...so, another bottle now, on a much quieter evening. The label, with its stein-hoisting Ol' Saint Nick and white snowflakes, glows in the dark, just as the 'Snowflakes Glisten' proclamation indicates. Cool.

This beer pours a slightly hazy, dark copper amber colour, with a few fingers of thick, foamy off-white head, that leaves a fair bit of sticky lacing around the glass as it slowly recedes.

It smells of bitter citrus hops - orange and grapefruit, mostly - a little pine resin, and a subdued caramel malt - very nice. The taste starts with rather tart, dry piney hops, some tangy citrus cream, and quickly moves through to a slightly roasted caramel/toffee malt body, some juicy fruitiness, all followed closely by more bitter grassy hops.

The carbonation is about average - a bit too noticeable at first, but it dissipates quickly enough, the body maintaining a decently weighty medium bearing, with a tentative smoothness. It finishes off-dry, the malt and bitter hops still dancing a pleasant tango.

A damned fine Yankee amber ale, hopped up, quite near to the groin. Not much in the way of any actual holiday affectations, beyond the label, of course, but the malt is decently hefty, and worthy of those who want something different with their Christmas baking.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.23/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle: Poured a light brown color ale with a medium light brown foamy head with average retention. Aroma of spices is quite dominant with a nice touch of sweet malt. Taste of spruce(?) and pine is quite dominant with some liquorice. Hops seems to be a bit subdued and body is a bit thinner then expected. Interesting beer but not necessarily something that I would seek out often.

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Photo of LXIXME
3.99/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Nice big light brown head with decent staying power on a clear reddish-golden colored ale.

Distant light citrus and fruity aroma.

Light citrus and some fruitiness in a warming and slightly bitter tasting beer.

Dryish aftertaste with some light bitterness remaining with this medium bodied beer.

This Santa is welcome at my house anytime of year.

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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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Photo of oriolesfan4
3.93/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Rogue in a 12 oz bottle? I don't believe it! Haha, my usual store now carries this and Dead Guy in the non-bomber variety.

This beer pours a beautiful copper red color with a nice fluffy head. The lacing is incredible... the entire glass was coated all the way down. Taste wise it was good, but not great. It was a little thin on the body and I felt for the style it's better suited to be a tad thicker. Taste was hoppy and good though which it made it pretty drinkable. A pretty solid beer, but expected more for the price tag ($2.29/12 oz bottle)

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Photo of zeff80
3.72/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours out a reddish/brown color with a small foamy head.

S - It smelled of malt and citrus. Also, a hint of grass or pine.

T - It tasted malty and a little spicy from the hops.

M - It was crisp and sharp on the tongue. A medium-bodied beer.

D - A very good amber with nice hops. It is another good brew from Rogue.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.67/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes.

Pours a moderate amber color with a several finger head and a decent amount of lacing on the way down. The nose brings forward some nice citrus and pine notes, and this is balanced out by some amber malt and bready characteristics. Moderate body and carbonation bring forward some bitterness, although there is a bit of sweetness coming over the edge.

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Photo of oberon
3.63/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This is one annual I look forward to every year I honestly didnt know it changed every year and maybe it doesnt but I did notice some changes this year.Poured a deep rich amber with reddish tinted well formed 1/2 finger head,the big dose of sprucey,piney hop is there along with some caramel and roasted grain as usual.The big diference I noticed in this years batch is really how thin and for that matter prickly the mouthfeel was it just didnt equate with the flavors,the hop profile is there and a decent sweetish malt base but the body really downgraded it this year.Hmm am I just dreaming or has it changed?

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

Poured into New Belgium Globe Glass.

Pours about a finger of creamy beige head. Really nice retention leaving lots of thick lace walls. Color is a dark, but clear, copper hued ruby. Very nice looking beer.

Aroma: Smells very hoppy with a decent amount of malts. Pine hop flavor with caramel and toffee. There also seems to be some spices and cookie flavors. Not to bad.

Taste: It reminds me of a hopped up red ale that wasn't drank fresh. The malts show a lot here, but there is a decent amount of hops. A big amount of pine and citrus flavors with caramel. It also has a metallic flavor in the aftertaste. Nothing I am overly fond of.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, dry, and bubbly. Lots of carbonation here with a medium bodied. Ends very malty and sticky.

Overall, It started out good, but it just didn't taste that amazing. I am a little bummed out that I still have a lot to finish from this bomber. It is drinkable, just nothing I want to drink a lot of.

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Photo of Kegatron
3.86/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a crystal clear deep amber with 2 fingers of frothy off-white head. This settles down into a thin creamy covering that leaves a massive sticky coating of lace down the sides of the glass. The aroma is a touch piney with additional accents of grapefruit, spice, and bready malts. Quite nice but it seems a little light at times.

The taste is similar but a little more assertive, with some lightly dry lingering resinous hoppiness, a smack of citrus and prominent spice, and some good balancing notes of bread and caramel. The mouthfeel is creamy and smooth but is coming off as a bit too light bodied. Not quite watery or anything but it seems that it could be a little more supportive of the flavors involved.

Decent stuff. I just wished that there was some more meat to it that would have really pushed it over the top for me. Still, this packed enough flavor and a good enough drinkibility to keep this Santa themed beer off of my naughty list.

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

22 ounce bottle into signature pint glass; no bottle dating, but is a 2013 release. Pours fairly hazy ruby red color with a 1-2 finger dense light khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Spotty soapy lacing clings down the glass, with some light streaming carbonation. Aromas of orange zest, grapefruit, lemon zest, caramel, toast, brown sugar, biscuit, floral, grass, herbal, pine, light nuttiness, and floral/toasted earthiness. Nice and pleasant aromas with good balance of malt and hop notes; with solid strength. Taste of orange zest, grapefruit, lemon zest, caramel, toast, brown sugar, biscuit, nuttiness, floral, grass, pine, herbal, and floral/toasted earthiness. Good amount of earthy pine resin bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of citrus, citrus zest, caramel, toast, biscuit, brown sugar, floral, pine, and floral/toasted earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Good balance and complexity of malt and hop flavors; with a good bitterness/sweetness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a moderately creamy and sticky mouthfeel that is good. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a slight warming present after the finish. Overall this is a nice amber ale style. Good balance and complexity of malt and hop flavors; and smooth and crisp to drink. A nicely enjoyable offering.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.2/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear, very reddish-copper color with a full, foamy, light tan head that holds quite well and leaves some very nice lace. The aroma is hoppy! Piney/gently citrusy and lightly fruity. The body is medium with a fine & median carbonation. The flavor starts softly fruity and lightly nutty. A nicely sweet caramel maltiness comes through before becoming engulfed in resiny hop flavor and bitterness. And yet, the bitterness never really builds on the palate. Extremely well balanced for such a boldly hopped beer! It finishes quite dry with just some residual maltiness and a bold lingering bitterness. This beer reminded me of their St. Rogue Red but with more hop character. Very nice. An excellent choice for the hop lovers among us!

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Photo of mactrail
3.46/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dark amber in the big globe with a sensational head. Lacing lingers around, and it's altogether a nice sudsy experience. I swear it smells faintly of camomile and not much else.

I didn't expect the smoke. It's fairly understated so it took me a while to place the flavor and scent. Definitely enhances what is otherwise a rather thin and sharp beer. The hops come along to claim the stage. Not excessively bitter, but more than I'd like in a winter seasonal.

If this is really an Amber Ale, it's one of the better ones. And I guess with no spice additives, that's what it is. Just a touch of malty sweetness, but some kind of candy in the nose. It's an odd one, and worth a try, especially if you would rather have more hops than less.

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Photo of chinchill
4.11/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

650 ml bottle (2010) served in .5 liter glass mug

A - Red mahogany with good amount of tan head. Head has good retention. Slight haze.

Medium strength aroma that is primarily hoppy gives way to a flavor with more malt balance than anticipated. Malt is clearly in aroma too, but the balance changes.
Slightly too earthy: otherwise, flavor = 4.5. Nice dynamic and lasting finish.

M - nice smooth feel, medium body with good level of carbonation.

O - Think, Imperial Red Ale. Good enough to go out and buy a couple more bottles to stow away for next Xmas.

Follow-up: we'll, it is now Xmas 2011, and the 2010 vintage is excellent ... Perhaps even better than a year ago. Particularly excellent balance!

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
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.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.45/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. single for $2.49 at Total Wine & More in Kennesaw, Georgia.

Appearance: Clear, dark amber body with a fairly tall, bubbly, off-white head.

Smell: Hoppy nose with full, fragrant notes of citrus fruits, pine needles, and spruce tips. Some toasty, roasty malty hint in back.

Taste: Pale malts with a bit of toast and a bit of roast to it along with a restrained caramel sweetness. Citrusy hop character, maybe a faint, far off touch of spicy spruce, with a medium bitterness. A mild residual sweetness tries it's best to remain, but the beer still finishes dry with a light, lingering bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: A beer with a bold hoppiness, as is the way with Rogue. So, if you like a punchy, bitter amber, you should also dig this.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.97/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a light reddish brown color, with a short off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of caramelized malts, floral hops and some citrus.

T: The taste is nicely balanced with flavors of caramel & citrus sweetness and a good floral hops bitterness. The malt character is hearty and the hops presence eventually takes dominance. The after-taste is slightly hoppy and slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, decent kick, this is a good beer with some substance and is worth drinking for a long time.

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Santa's Private Reserve Ale from Rogue Ales
3.78 out of 5 based on 2,292 ratings.
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