Santa's Private Reserve Ale | Rogue Ales

very good
2,338 Ratings
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 Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,338 |  Reviews: 1,197
Photo of MetalHopHead6
3.93/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Santa's Private Reserve Ale poured deep orange copper with a miniscule tan head. It did, however, leave a good amount of sticky lace.

The smell and taste were earthy, with notes of pine and wet grass. There was a hint of citrus rind, but primarily this has funk. The feel was bready and thick and maybe because I like funk, it was a pleasure to drink.

The only thing "holiday" about Santa's Private Reserve Ale is the beautiful orange . Otherwise, it's like many other year-round earthy ales. It's flavorful, aggressive, and anything but bland.

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

This brew pours a deep copper hue with nice carbonation that produces a two finger head that quickly resides to a nice ring of lacing around the top of the glass,the aroma is very hoppy with a stonefruit,boiled candy smell to it just from the aroma you can tell this is a nice display of hops and a few of them,it has a nice weighty mouthfeel to it with tastes of stonefruit dipped in alcohol,caramel candy and also a touch of passionfruit and this beer finishes nice and bitter but its just bitter enough to make you want to have another sip,this is definately a beer i will return to as long as my bottleshop still has some left.

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

I bought this one for two reasons. 1: Rogue rarely disappoints. 2: I liked the bottle. Sometimes it's okay to judge a beer by its cover.

Cool looking copper color with a pretty solid head. The smell definitely indicates it's a hoppy beer.

All around good flavor, but I can't help feeling that Santa held back a bit here. There's enough bitterness to call it a hoppy beer, but I kept waiting for it to go over the top. C'mon Santa, turn that amp up to 11.

Good creamy feel and an enjoyable holiday beer.

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Photo of Vengeance526
4.05/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a medium amber color with a half finger off-white head that immediately settles down and leaves light lacing.

Aroma shows off a lot of pine and citrus upfront.

Taste again reveals a nice hop presence. Very floral throughout with notes of lemon, grapefruit and pine also present. A touch of caramel comes in towards the end.

Medium body and medium carbonation. This turned out to be quite enjoyable. Not overly hoppy, just an almost perfect amount of hops to make this great as possible without hitting the extreme side. Easy to drink, I would have this again.

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

pour is deep ruby copper with a light creamy frothy head. nice retention.

big citrus, sweet grapefruit and powerful flowers. big sweet candied malts

very floral, like intense flower like kick that has a pine bitterness right behind it. light grapefruit and tangerine bitterness at the finish. malts are sweet but overpowered by the hops.

thick as hell and chewy

this is very easy to drink, not over the top but just enough hops. i think this years seems to be a bit more tame than years past, or i am getting too used to hops. i have always loved this release and this years is just perfect.

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Photo of isualum12
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Grabbed this over at the Boise Coop.

Looks amber in color. Came through with cream in flavor which I loved.

Citrus flavors with just enough malt to follow up.

Not to thick but just enough for my tastes.

Nice drinkability. Served it up at a beer tasting event at my house. We server up 8 winter beers to 12 folks and they ranked this beer 3rd on the list. It was great.

Serving: bottle

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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 ShogoKawada
4.4/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A really fantastic hoppy amber ale. Can't get enough of this stuff, wish I saw it in a larger bottle format.

A- A brilliant shimmering copper, with a pancake-batter (in color) head that settles and laces immediately. Very nice. Hold it up to the light and it looks like a sunset.

S- Hops out the ass. This is a seriously hoppy brew. Floral, citrus, and a bit of pine hops come together on this one.

T- Same.. incredibly hoppy. I really dig it. Nice, moderate caramel base provides a springboard for intense, piny and citrus hops. A real overload of bitterness... and that's just what I was looking for!

M- Crisp, good carbonation, decent body, and great flavors. A winner.

D- High. Very high. I really can't get enough of this beer. Great job, Rogue!

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Photo of YOOJ
4.09/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Little Helper is a good beer.

Defining it is a bit difficult, I would call it a hoppy but light(er than normal) red ale.

Very drinkable. Nearly no head.

Good beer, but the malt flavor is not very interesting, and not pronounced considering the color. But I am a hop fan so that is just fine.

All around great, hoppy, and drinkable red. Wish Rogue made less expensive beer!

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

Picked up at Bella Vino, Springboro.

Pours a rich, deep amber. Leaves an abundance of thin yet creamy lacing.

Hoppy notes yet overshadwed a little by biscuity malt blanket.

Piney citrus flavors with malty background- good balance. Hops touches palate at first sip then malts enter the picture. Finishes with nice hop bitterness.

Medium feel with moderate to high bubbles.

Good drinkability- nothing too special- would buy again but not before many other ales of this type.

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

appearance: deep amber, kinda of reddish, nice head retention

smell: loaded citrus from this beer and strong hop aroma

taste: a nicely hopped ale, and I was very surprised. lots of citrus and decently balanced

mouthfeel: medium bodied

drinkability: awesome beer and I think it may be rogues best

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Photo of brendan13
4.5/5  rDev +19%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a redish copper colour with orange hues. A 3cm slightly offwhite head hangs around for a fair while.
S - Piney, herbal and slightly citrus fruit hop notes a top a bready, caramel maltiness.
T - Much like the smell but the citrus comes through a bit more.
M - Lighter side of medium bodied, medium to high carbonation, fairly light mouthfeel and enough bitterness to make you take notice.
D - A very tasty, sessionable red ale. MORE!

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Photo of Long813
3.5/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Recieved from wordemupg via trade.

G: Pint Glass

A: Dark red (clear) body with two fingers of dark tan head. Half decent retention but dissipates into a thin blotchy ring. Leaves nice layered lacing.

S: Reminds me of St Rouges Red a lot. Dry hops are very forward, some floral aroma and caramel in the back

T: Dry hops are dominant here, but not to strong. Some citrus and malty notes.

M: Medium-light body with medium carbonation. It leaves a slightly sticky-dry feeling in the mouth and pleasant bitterness.

D: To me this seems like a less intense Rouge's Red. Every aspect just seems to be a weaker version. It's not bad though. It's easy to drink, nothing is off putting. Nice simple beer.

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Photo of MrDanno96
3.55/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Typical reddish/amber color. Started with about a finger of creamy off-white head, but quickly dissipated to a thin ring. Lots of sticky lacing.

S: Not a whole lot on the nose. Floral hops and some pine mostly. Some very subtle sweet fruit. I expected a little more.

T: Some toasted/burnt malts up front quickly give way to bitter hops. Some subtle citric/tropical sweet fruit can be tasted, but barely. Not quite what I was expected, but it's decent nonetheless. Pretty simple flavors, but a decent balance is struck between them.

M: Light to medium body and just a little sticky. Nice bite from the carbonation.

D: Meh. I wasn't impressed, but it's by no means a bad beer. I would have it again if offered, but probably won't seek it out.

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Photo of javincik
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.

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

Nice amber orange color, chill haze, excellent head and lacing.

Was expecting more in this dept. Nice balance between the sweet bread malt and the floral pine-like aroma, but it is quite mild.

I liked it, but to my palate it tastes a lot like a variation of their IPA, which is excellent btw. More English than Yank in the nice balance between the sweet bread malt and slick, slightly oily pine hop.

Smooth, balanced, easy to drink.

Expensive, but nice ans easy to drink...but for me...tough to peg where it falls in the Ale spectrum...but certainly a good brew if you like a well balanced, hopped up brew.

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Photo of cpetrone84
3.14/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A-very dark orange color with hues of red pouring almost two fingers of a light khaki colored head that dissipates relatively quickly but leaves a decent lacing on the glass

S-not much smell coming through, light pale malts hit first with a hint of cinnamon backed with light citrus taste and a hint of orange

T-very light flavor, pale malts come through on this with just a hint of christmas spice, really just a touch of cinnamon and a hint of vanilla with a touch of citrus and orange at the very back

M-a medium to light body with a relatively smooth mouthfeel, a lot of carbonation burning the throat with a crisp bite at the finish

D-not a lot of flavor, almost like a crappy pale ale with some cinnamon and sweetness

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Photo of cbutova
3.49/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a straight up clear amber red with a very robust two finger head that retains very well. The head is light tan and pretty creamy. Lacing is alright left in high quantities before I take a sip. Smell has a pretty large portion of hops, piney ones, and some pale malts can be picked up. Eventually it is just pale malts that dominate the nose. Nothing very special about the smell here. This beer has one of the strangest hop flavors to it. The individual elements of this beer are nice but they don't really blend well. The hops seem unchecked even though this isn't a hop bomb. I think there is too much piney hops and nothing else. Some citrus hops and sweets too. Also pick up some citrus peel and spices. I guess it reminds me of Xmas but the piney hops bitterness are just too much for me here. It is still better than average I would say because of the malt backbone once it shines through. Mouthfeel is way too light and I can tell right away. The carbonation is fine and there isn't any warming but it reminds me of water upon the first sip. Drinkability is not to bad besides the extreme pine hop bitterness factor. This beer was not expensive and the taste is not bad. Not sure if I will try this one again.

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Photo of bamadog
3.73/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pour is from the bottle to a pint glass.

Appearance: Pour is a beautiful golden honey with slight hints of ruby when held to the light; starts with a huge three finger off-whtie head that fades very slowly and becomes rocky; solid webs of lacing left on the walls of the glass; pour looks thick and viscous and shows strong carbonation; body is slightly cloudy; head fades to a very thick skim on the surface.

Smell: A nice combination of citric/oragne peel hops with very sweet and sugary malts -- scent is almost like a creamy orange caramel candy; slightly spicey aspect in the far back; smell is quite potent.

Taste: Not as nice as the smell, but still pretty decent. There is a firm balance of the sweet and slightly bready malts with the citric hops, however, the hop presence is more bitter in the mouth and there's a definite bitter and metallic/coppery flavor that tends to linger throughout; slightly spicey finish; overall, it grows on me as it warms a bit and as I drink it down, but the metallic aspect really kind of turns me off a little.

Mouthfeel: Body is a little thick, so that's good as it matches up with what it looked like on the pour; solid coating throughout the mouth; carbonation keeps a thicker beer pretty lively. Very nice.

Drinkability: I love how it looks and smells, and the taste isn't bad, but that metallic aspect just kind of makes me wince a little bit; ABV is pretty do-able as well. Overall, I'd probably drink it again, and wouldn't mind coming across this one on tap sometime to see how different it would.

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Photo of Stigs
3.61/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle served in a DFH signature glass

A - pour yields a bit over two fingers of huge soapy & pillowy light tan foam, lacing like mad as it slowly falls to a big mound floating in the center of the glass. the beer is a musty deep amber color, very festive.

S - had to let this warm up a bit as it didnt smell like anything at first. faint malty sweetness and some lightly roasted grains right off the bat, thats about it.

T - bitter citrusy (grapefruit) hops, sweet toffee malt and some holiday spiciness. unfortunately, none of these flavors are very pronounced. kind of dull.

M - nice big carbonation and sticky yet oily feel. one of the better parts of this beer.

D - this is one of those good ideas just not quite executed well. a real treat to look at, but im just searching and searching for both some body and character in the nose and mouth. like a SN Celebration Light.

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Photo of BrewIndy
4.18/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a bomber of this after hearing about it on the World Class twitter feed.

A: Poured with a nice thick head that went down a bit but retained nicely. Amber and close to the color of rum. Very nice looking actually.

S: Sweet and hoppy smelling. Makes me want to skip this section and drink it already! I bet this is what Santa smells like :)

T: Much different than what it smells like. A nice ale flavor at the front and actually at the end it reminds me of potato chips. I have no idea why and it's not a bad thing. It's actually like a cross between a red ale and a amber ale. Is there a difference? Sure there is.

M: Very nice, this is what I like my ales to feel like.

D: Whenever you want another of the same beer when you're finished you know the drinkability rates high. No problem with a bomber an dyou should probably get 2 or 3 to share with your friends.

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Photo of billyshears
3.34/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Tall, foamy head. Dark amber body.
S - Piney, cirtus hops
T - Hops take center stage here; quite bitter and lingers. Subtle malts in the background, though its just not as much there as it should be. A bit unabalanced.
M- decent mouthfeel, tingles tongue.

When I think Christmas/winter brews, I expect to see some yummy malts and a bit of spice; any bit of that here was hidden under the hops. I think an increase in malts could've made this a really great Christmas brew, but as it stands, I can't recommend it when there's better winter red ales out there (Yulesmith).

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

A: Pours a deep, slightly hazy copper-orange color. The tall, creamy head has a burnt orange tint and a dense, almost milkshake consistency. Retention is very good, and lacing is impressive. This is a good looking holiday beer for sure.

S: Freshly hoppy notes of pine and sweet citrus fruit. Some pleasant spiciness is also present. Behind the hop aromas, a moderate caramel/tofee malt presence is available.

T: Up front, sweetness is low, with mildly bready and faintly tofeeish malt flavor, along with some light roasted notes. A firm, spicy hop presence with primarily pine and citrus flavors. Perhaps some faint buttery notes as well.

M: Medium bodied. Carbonation is soft and fairly creamy. A dry, somewhat bitter finish.

D: A pleasant, hop-forward winter seasonal from Rogue. If anything, this could use a bit more malty sweetness, but this is still a well-brewed beer that hits the spot on this snowy afternoon.

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

12 oz bottle, last of my yearly six pack.

Appearance: Clear, dark red. Two inches of fluffy head. Sheets of sticky lace.

Smell: Spicy grassy and citrusy hops. Good ole Rogue Pacman yeast is pretty much unmistakable.

Taste: Good earthy hops bitterness. Toasty malts. Bitter and clean finish.

Mouthfeel: I think the carbonation is appropriate and the mouthfeel is probably about right for the style, but there's nothing especially interesting or lively about the mouthfeel-- nothing wrong with it either.

Drinkability: Well, I get this every year, and am always excited about it. I like Rogue's stuff, and this is reasonably priced, at least in 6 packs. I went to their website to compare this to their St. Rogues Red and found out that their ingredients and specs are identical. I guess they're the same beer. This is a nice, full flavored, hoppy red ale for people who like Rogue.

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Photo of huricrane47
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Deep amber in color with a tan head
S- Hoppy flower smell
T- Slight malt flavor is overtaken with a bitter hop flavor intensified by a dry citrus/flower flavor. Bitterness lingers along with a malty creaminess delivered from the head. very acidic.
M- medium water activity- just right for the style and flavor.
D- Drank it easily. Get if you like dry/hop flavor.

It is good if you want to try a variations of an IPA that has a dry more flower than citrus flavor and a fair amount of bitterness that lingers!! The Chinook (10-14AA) and Centennial hops (7-11AA) used to brew this beer probably adds to lingering bitter flavor experienced afterwards. One thing that I noticed about the beer that it interesting is that; the malt is slightly apparent at first, it is overwhelmed by hops/spruce, and then comes back slightly as you breath out. However, the malt flavor is very subtle and is overtaken by the acidic flavor. Good Beer Overall.

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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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