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: 2,338
Photo of mschofield
4.2/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark mahogany with a touch of gold, two finger rocky tan head, looks like a relief map of a mountain range.
Strong aroma, both in malt and citrus hops (orange), and toffee, very tea like.
Malt follows through to the taste, takes like a roasted cherry malt, cinammon, nutmeg, raisin and grape. Woody.
Strong malt presence in the aroma and taste. Medium feel, a good ale, nothing terribly Christmaslike about it. Good seasonal, good drinkability but I don't see this being my first choice.

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

The appearance of this 2003 winter beer is a brown/copper color, lacey, with a good head. After enjoying the fragant (hops and caramel) aroma I was a bit surprised by the bitterness of this beer. This full-bodied beer had a lot going on. It had a flavorful hop taste (grapefruit and orange peels) with a good bite. The malt was there, but not as much as I anticipated, just a relatively small dose of sweet caramel. The finish was bitter and very dry. While this is a well made beer it was a bit too hoppy and bitter for my tastes in a winter beer.

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Photo of johnrobe
3.78/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I wasn't sure what to expect with this brew, but as I am a card-carrying hophead and love a good IPA, I was pleasantly surprised with this brew. It pours a deep reddish amber and sports a light tan head that reduces quickly to a cap. The flavor profile is comparable to SN's Celebration although the hop bitterness seems more astringent and the mouthfeel a bit more thin in Santa's PRA, a bit of aging would take care of the former. I thought I detected a bit of diacetyl in the nose but if it's there, it is easily overwhelmed by the truckload of hops in each bottle. Yep, this brew is all pine, and to a lesser degree citrus, on the tastebuds. The barest hint of caramel breaks through a sea of hops to gasp for air but quickly sinks beneath the surface.

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Photo of HiroProtagonist
4.02/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22 oz into a pint glass... a medium light head formed, leaving behind nice lacing. Color was a vibrant ruby-brown. The most noticable aroma was hops....strong resiny hops. Since I love super hoppy beers like 90 mintue, I found this to be very pleasant and promising on what was to come. Taste was hops and more hops...almost like an imperial IPA. Also present was roasty malts and some charcoal. The flavor of this brew was like a cross between an imperial IPA and a winter brew. Not a bad combo, but not quite all it could be. Still, a very tasty choice here. Mouthfeel was ok, with a medium body. I found it to be quite drinkable. Overall an interesting and tasty brew that tries to please hopheads and roasty-philes.

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

Was a little dissappointed that they kicked the keg of Anchor Cristmas Ale at the Blue Dog Pub, but this was a good replacement. Deep mahogony in color with a thick creamy head. Spicy hop aroma and a little citrusy. Strong hoppy bitterness with a solid malt backbone. Maple syrup and plum flavors evident in here as well.

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

Cap with red writing.
Year: 1995/96
1 pt 6 oz bottle

This beer poured into the glass a mahogany/cherry wood color that when held to the light had orange highlights. It was thick looking and very opaque where little light passed through it. The head that was formed was a butter cream/vanilla color, it had the consistency of thick, sticky, dense cream. When first poured it had a rise of 1” – 1 ½” and seemed to last a good while, until it slowly fell to some thin foam that floated on the surface and a dense ring on the edges. There was some lace that was formed, spotty in places and sheety in others, and the sheets had the remnants of the rings where they were created. The aromas were well balanced, first some spices hit you (nutmeg), grated nuts, fruits (plums, and light black current), and cocoa powder, then as a second whiff was taken roasted malts, and hazelnut accompanied the smell. And as I got to near the bottom of the bottle a small waft of yeast became present. The flavors that swirled over my tongue were of very light hops, dark fruits (currents, plums), spices (nutmeg), grated nuts, big roasted flavors, malts and nuts, some tree bark became present as it warmed, a cocoa powder was present all through the sip, from first pour to the last sip, and ended with a light pine. And near the bottom, a yeast flavor slightly became present. The aftertaste was of cocoa powder and roasted malts and seemed to last for some time on the pallet. It was medium bodied. The over all beer was still decently carbonated. To be honest this beer was not what I would have expected. There was allot of cocoa powder flavors and a huge amount of roasted malts and nuts, with little to almost none of the hops coming through. I rather enjoyed it, and hopefully will get a chance to try a new batch.
SIEDNOTE: On the bottom of the bottle was completely covered with about a ¼” of residue.

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Photo of Dmann
4.48/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This beer definantly keeps up with the tradition of great holliday ales. It poured a dark ruby/brownish color with a very thick head that stuck to the glass like glue. The scent was hoppy but also had a very detectable scent of yeast. The taste was great, over hopped just enough to give the beer that extra kick. Also had a great citrus overtone to the flavor. This one is not as dry hopped as some of the seasonals I've had, and it is a refreshing beer indeed.

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

My kids got a kick out of seeing me come home with a beer with Santa on the label. It's billed as a variation on St. Rogue's Red and certainly tastes like it. They say double the hops. It's certainly hoppy, but it doesn't taste like double St.RR. After giving my olfactory senses more than enough time to give it a going-over, I kept smelling something that reminded me of adhesive tape. Somehow, it worked with the robust malty smell and the abundant hops. The hops don't bushwack the tastebuds and the malt is enough to keep things at least closed to balanced. This is good beer, but it didn't strike me as a Christmas beer in any way.

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Photo of Edwin
4.13/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a 22oz bomber bottle.

Appearance: Pours a beautiful amber color with a nice tn head that stays in the game for a full four quarters.

Smell: Some caramel, nuts and maybe some spices mixed within. Tough to put a finger on one alpha-dog in the mix.

Taste: A nice nutty taste with some type of spicy aftertaste. Some citrus or fruit mixed within.

Mouthfeel: Not bad. Low carbonation makes for a welcome feel. Nothing offensive in there.

Drinkability: Very drinkable. Not too overbearing so it can make for a good night. I could easily put away a sixer of this. I knew it was easy to drink when even my girlfriend said she could kill a bunch. Enjoy!

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Photo of beergeek279
4.45/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in the 22 oz. bomber. The color was a very dark amber, with a foamy white head with excellent retention. The smell was a very nice hoppiness. The taste was a nice dry hopping on top of a nice amber malt base. Mouthfeel was very nice and smooth. As for drinkability, could drink this one all day.

A fantastic offering from Rogue. A delicious amber ale that actually may be my favorite of the style. Certainly one I'll be looking for next year.

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Photo of crookedhalo
4.42/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Beautiful deep copper color with a nice, rocky beige head leaving good lacing in the glass. Strong hoppy aroma mixed with some decent malt notes; lots of dry hopping going on, obviously. Kind of like a souped up Rogue St. Red. Tastes initially malty then moving toward the cloying hops. Almost punishing. Gorgeous, though. Touch of cocoa in there as it warms up. Can't say I taste much other spices, other than the sprucy hops that one might find winter seasonal-tasting. Nice balance of intricate malt and aggressive hops throughout. Dig this beer a lot.

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Photo of ithacabaron
3.83/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a crystal-clear deep ruby, with a thickened foamy head that sticks around pretty much till the last sip.

Aroma is strongly maple and roasted nuts, particularly hazelnut, with dried orange peel overtones. Hops are quite active here as well, but not astringent or bright. Instead they are very much enveloped in the velvetine malt body.

Suprisingly, after this, the hops take the lead when the liquid hits your tongue. Again, these re not bright and "wow" hops, they are deep and potent hops, as if they had dry-hopped this for years to make it such an integral part of the beer. Orange peel, and light butterscotch play around on the palate, leading to a finish that tastes of the white vines and skin found surrounding segments in oranges and grapefruits. Very drying, and excellent.

Mouthfeel is right about where it should be, just like a velvet santa suit.

Drinkability is pretty good. Although definately a winter beer, this is certainly one I hope to enjoy more than once this holiday season!

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Photo of GreenWBush
4.36/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

There are just not enough good American christmas beers out there. After being strongly disappointed by most US micro's offerings, I knew that I would either love or hate Rogue's version.

And after the first taste, it is clearly love.

The beer pours out a "santa" scarlet with a nice pillowy head that leaves a nice lacing on the glass. The smell is beautiful, imagine somewhere in between SN Celebration and Three Floyd's Alpha King.

This beer's taste is amazing; strongly hoppy but also not hollow or lopsided - very supported by malt without the sweetness sometimes found in Rogue beers. I have serious doubts about the listed 6.0% ABV. The mouthfeel is also quite admirable.

I am starting to get the sneaking suspicion that Rogue is skimping majorly on their six-pack offerings and are focusing their craftsmanship on the bomber bottles. One small bit of proof for that is I am pretty sure the last Dead Guy I had was not bottle-conditioned.

This beer is amazing, not for everyone, but should please hopheads and be acceptable to the malties.

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

22oz. bomber poured into a Santa's Private Reserve flute glass. It pours a deep ruby red color with a tall 3 finger light tan head. There is lots and lots of lacing on this one. The smell is fairly hoppy. You can really smell the chinooks in it. The taste is also very hoppy, almost IPA status. There is a tiny bit of citrus and spruce on the finish. The mouthfeel is very strong and heavy. The drinkability is very nice as well. A good Christmas brew that can almost compete with Celebration Ale.

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Photo of shirfan
4.13/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A clear garnet-brown, topped with a creamy, tan head that refuses to quit. Over 3 fingers on the initial pour, it remains a solid cap to the bottom of the glass, with copious lacing.

Aroma of malt roasting in a pine forest.

Taste is very focused on hops; pine resin and a mildly spicy aspect lead the way. There's malt here somewhere, under the blizzard of hops. It does yield a clean but creamy texture, and a decently sweet finish before a fresh citrus and pine squall moves in.

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Photo of HardTarget
3.15/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Aroma: Pine and citric hops dominate a mild malt base with a whiff of cotton candy.
Appearance: Clear amber with a frothy off white head fed by a constant rain of carbonation. Solid lacing with tide marks. The head lasted throughout the beer and would break into sections during a sip before reforming ranks.
Flavor: Massive hop attack. Starts hop, ends hop, and leaves a hop aftertaste for about 2 –3 days. Doesn’t leave a hop bitter, it leaves a hop burn. The hops just crush all other flavors that might be in this beer.
Mouthfeel: Light to medium body, with an intense pucker.
Overall Impression: I’m a bit disappointed. I love hops, I love hoppy beer, but I really was hoping for something a bit more complex for a Christmas brew. Something with some subtle spice, some roasted maltiness, some, something besides HOPS. This is very one-dimensional; I could get this from Stone’s IPA, or just sticking a hop pellet up my nose. Sigh; forgive me Rogue Santa.

Aged bottle vintage 2003 sampled 12/25/2007.
Much nicer experience. Hops had all but faded leaving an old ale base. Very little paper in the back end, not distracting at all. Nice clean yeast element in a toffee malt base. A little pine hop flavor in the finish as well.
Not a GREAT beer to age, but it definitely improved in my book.

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

Super deep darkened amber color with an overall reddish tone with a evenly thick medium sized tannish head, lots O' bubbles at first, popping down to a creamy top that slowly dwindles down to a mixed thin & thick puffy haze and collar ring that stays the entire glass down. Tons of sticky moth-holed sheets of lace. Smell has a terrific caramel sweet malty aroma with some grassy hop notes. Taste comes across completely different from what the smell gives way to. A dry mild roasty feel and flavor lays immediately across the palate dropping notes of burnt buttered toast and caramel drizzled biscuits. Hops are super dry and leafy with a pine wood dryness and quick dry wood bittering that fades into the finish leaving hints of caramel and cocoa. But overall, quite dry and woodish. Feel is close to full with a nice textured carbonation and a nice hoppy drying finish. Rogue has another keeper with this holiday brew!

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

The beer pours a dark red color with a nice tan head that lasts. The aroma is tremendous. There are elements of pale, crystal, and munich malts here. Also, the aroma hops stand out. The taste is good. It is quite hoppy. This is a red/amber ale with a heavy load of hops in all respects. The mouthfeel is good. This is a medium bodied ale that is well carbonated. This is a great drinking beer. You gotta love seasonal gems such as this.

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Photo of Foxman
4.03/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It pours a ruddy red amber, clear in the glass, and sends up a thick, creamy, almost beige head, complete with bigger bubbles interspersed like little clear Christmas lights. The head stays around some time indeed, then settles prettily to a frothy topcoat of velvety foam. A fragile lace trails the beer down the side of the glass.

And the aroma, say hello hops, I say, yes, hello hops! They're a mix of a piney/floral potpourri. The malt comes through gently, with undercurrents of caramel, and maybe even a touch of plum.

The hops take the lead again on the palate, drying the tongue and roof of the mouth almost instantly with a nonetheless pleasant bitterness. Right on the heels of the hops comes the grainy, slightly doughy/roasty sweetness of the malt, swirling about and concocting further hints of tart cherry and slightly-burnt butterscotch. The flavor finishes with a sweet malt/yeast afterglow, leavened nicely by the spicy hops tingle.

It's a medium to full bodied beer, brawny in its Santa-esque way, making you want to chew as you drink, and it coats lithely and ebbs languidly, so that you virtually feel it sliding back, then down, leaving the hops behind for your pleasure.

This is one full beer, for want of a better phrase. The hops are aplenty, and while the ABV is certainly not high, this beer snuck up on me, like Santa, lurking quietly, then making his move. After the full 22 oz., I realized I'd garnered a nice little alcohol glow, more than I'd expected, but it was a glow of happiness, being the season and all, so I was all holiday smiles. After 3 hours hanging lights for The Betrothed, it warmed my belly and soul nicely. If I had more, I'd have had more, but this morning, I'm a bit thankful, as I may not have wanted to stop.
Santa is a lucky man to have this in his stash.

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

Just poured the beer and I can smell it from 2 feet away. Hints of alcohol, toasted malt, and NW hops. Head look’s about a finger pinky width thick, not bad. The taste is pretty smooth. I can’t believe there’s so many different types of hops in this. Man this is one complex ale and so good, It’s got some hops kicking around but the maple vanillia kicks right back. Harmony mid way through the pint. I love Rogue beer, but so some reason I’ve always shied away from this one….big mistake. This is soon to be my private reserve beer.

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

After drinking a few milder "winter" brews, this one comes screaming out of the bottle. It pours a ruby-tinged teak. A solid light tan head rests on top. A fresh hoppy, fist full of buds aroma burst out. Sweet malt, berries and light wisps of warming alcohol play a solid supporting role. The dark roasted malt is a sweet biscuity delight. Sharp grapefruit bitterness, peppery spices and a bit of metallic bite makes way for a taste of berries and piney esters. Notes of toffee, bittersweet chocolate and alcohol provide a bit of balance to an otherwise wild and sharp-edged winter brew. Santa's given himself quite the tasty gift this year!

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Photo of avylover
3.11/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Ahhh..the christmas season...GOOD BEER. Found this at my local farm fresh courtesy of TinusTime, and I could'nt wait to try it out. On with the review.

Pours a nice clear mahogony color with a healthy cream head, leaving some good lacing around my glass.Aroma of floral hops hits right away, letting you know this is a Rogue brew. Their hop profile is unique, yet this seems to lean toward the IPA end at least in the aroma. Taste is not quite what i would expect from a christmas ale. There is a hefty hop bitterness, with some major floral taste that is rather overpowering. There is no real spicyness to speak of in the initial taste, but somehow the hop bitterness ends up spicy. The beer finishes grainy, with some corn type tastes showing up. Mouhtfeel is well carbonated and finishes dry due to overhopping. This beer missed the mark for me. I'm a hophead, but this is not the sort of hoppiness I enjoy. There are much better seasonal ales out there.

Note - if you love that signature "Rogue Hoppiness" then this is for you. Think of their red ale X 4

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

Now Quaffing: Rogue Santa's Private Reserve

Pours a hazy amber brown with a fluffy, hop-empowered head that recedes with some nice residual lacing. Aroma is amazingly enticing with a surprising balance (this is Rogue here) between the malt and hop profiles. Taste is amber sweet at first with the expected dose of hops to follow. There is a medium body and somewhat mellow mouthfeel which increase the drinkability. The hops linger somewhat on the palate. Overall, another fine ale from Rogue. Surprisingly, more balanced than usual, which is nice for a change.

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Photo of nomad
4.1/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a dark tawny amber, like an oud bruin. Had tiny carbonation that created a lattice of microscopic stain, as well as a fair head. Smelled wonderfully of grapefruit and cherries, but with a melon rind edge to things. Its body was a big caramel malt with roasty accents, but round and full - nice for a holiday special. Had a big bitter taste, in fact quite salty until you get used to it. Occasionally a cherry note, the body was a roasty malt with a rough and grainy hop finish. Its moderate mouthfeel was right on, though it felt a bit filling.

One of the better Holiday Seasonals, mainly because they don't use the spice and fruit gimmick. Just beautiful big malts and hops, please.

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Photo of Weissenheimer
4.5/5  rDev +19%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This dense, brooding dark amber pint transforms into a deep, coppery red when held up to the light. It has a nice medium head which pillows slightly to become a dreamily sinusoidal cloudscape. The lacing forms the same distinctive shark's teeth that the bottled version produces, but this time the little teeth are mixed in with big, thick pillars. Overall it's a joy to behold, and the scent is similarly appealing. Each time I sniff this beer I break out into a smile. It's invitingly fresh and balanced, with the spices forming the backbone of the scent and the hops shoring it up.

My initial reaction upon taking a swig is "Hops, hops, and more hops!" The taste profile is essentially an inversion of the scent, with hops predominating and the spices singing backup.* At first I just let the various hoppy taste sensations climb over me like children on a jungle gym. Then, looking closer, I admire the way that the hoppiness coalesces on the middle of my tongue, spreads out to a bitter and tingling ring, and then finishes with a sharp, woody taste high on my tongue that never crosses over into unpleasantness. My overall impression is that the hoppiness is like a grill, and the spices are sizzling on it.

I could quite happily drink this all night.

*This is the main difference between the bottled and on-tap versions; the bottled one seemed to be about as spicy as it was hoppy; as a matter of fact it reminded me of a grand cru.

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Santa's Private Reserve Ale from Rogue Ales
3.78 out of 5 based on 2,338 ratings.
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