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 bob3701
3.18/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I guess I should have expected a brew like this from Rogue. This is an excellently made brew. Nice foamy head with a great red/amber clear color and excellent lacing. Maybe I allowed myself to be mislead by the lable but was expecting something Christmasy. This is just a well made high hopped ale. I'm not much of a hop head so it was not good to me but my son loved it. We had picked up the 6-pack of 12 oz. bottles of this.

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Photo of LibraryTom
4.46/5  rDev +18%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Oh Rogue.. how I love your beers. I'm really not an amber drinker, and I found this one to be supremely pleasant. I had no idea what it was when I picked it up..

Pours a chestnut brown amber with matching tan-leather head.

Just easy grain and malt aromas, not too complex.

Beautiful taste profile. Rogue always has some sort of character to their beers that I cannot put my finger on, and this one surely has the trademark. A great malty sweetness drives you through the spices, seeming seamless. No radical flavors, just delicious and warming, with no burn at all.

Rich bodied, yet balanced and not overly done. I could put back quite a few of these.

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Photo of katan
3.78/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

22 oz bomber into a pint

A - Very red in color - meets the style for sure. Very clear, filtered. Zero hazing or pacman yeast. Head formation is light white in color, forms strongly, and is well retained. Carbonation overall does appear light.

S - A strong american hop nose, cascade or amarillo I would guess. Just a hair of malt note behind it.

T - Starts off with a light caramel roasted malty note, which then immediately turns to an overt hop flavor. Bitterness takes over. Finishes with the strong hop note that I detected on the nose. Aftertaste brings back some bready malts combined with a bitter resin.

M - Moderate to high beer body - has a strong backbone of malty sugars and hop oils. Carbonation does come through with a light bite. Leaves behind an oily texture.

D - Moderate drinkability. ABV is manageable. Carbonation is a bit filling - a downside. Hop attack does lead towards some palette fatigue.

I was hoping for a winter ale, but got a beer that is stylistically well done and correct to an amber/red ale.

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Photo of Chelsea1905
3.59/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz poured into pint glass.

Poured a nice ruby amber with a very large off white head. Nice and colourful, looks good.

Smell is ok,little bit of hops gives way to a bit of a malty back bone and some alcohol/almost vomit like.

Thankfully no vomit in the taste. More malty, wiht a good hop finish, that warms away into some more maltiness. however, this is very similar to an IPA for a seasonal, there really isn't anything that screams "seasonal" to me.

Mouthfeel is good, and drinks really well.

Decent beer, but I'm already burnt with overly hoppy "seasonals"

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Photo of PaleAlien2
4.35/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Beautiful cloudy amber with TONS of lacing sliding down the sides of the glass. Looks outstanding.

Smells even better. Nice caramel malt with notes of pine needles.

Not really much of any spice in this one, but a lot of hops.

Great mouthfeel. Absolutely perfect.

Probably my favorite winter seasonal.

Thank you Rogue.

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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 dondeez21
4.1/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served from a 22oz Bottle into a tulip glass.
A: Ruby Red with a finger thick creamy off white head with mild carbonation. Heavy lacing on the glass.
S: Smell of sweet malt and mild piney hops.
T: This beer is extremely balanced. There is plenty of sweet candy like malt and a slight taste of piney/citrus hops. Neither flavor overpowers the other instead they meet in the middle for a perfectly balanced flavor.
M: this beer had a medium body that wasnt to sticky or overfilling.
D: This beer had excellent drinkability. Not to much in any area but enough to keep you happy.

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Photo of noslenwerd
3.2/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Brownish amber red, nice lacing down the glass

S: Smells a bit hoppy

T: Tastes a bit more hoppy than I expected. Usually I can drink hoppy/IPA's as the hops fade a bit but they stuck around. That might be a good thing for some but, this is not my style at all. Nothing about this beer said "Christmas" to me as I did not taste any pine/butterscotch or anything you normally associate with a winter warmer

Summary: Will not be drinking this one again, hops are too strong for a seasonal for me..

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Photo of wahhmaster
4.12/5  rDev +9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a Macado's Halloween-branded American pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a translucent amber color with a thick foamy white head. The head dissipates slowly and leaves spotty lacing.

Smell: Smells strongly of sweet malts with hints of spices and a little hoppiness.

Taste: Hits you up front with some hoppy bitterness. Finishes sweet and a little piney. Also has some interesting spices in it.

Mouthfeel: Crisp and full-bodied.

Drinkability: A great amber ale and a good winter seasonal. One of my perennial favorites and one I certainly turn to for years to come.

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

Pours a copper/red/ruby with a well sized off white head that recedes to a layer of foam. Lacing throughout.

Aroma is of sweetish malts and hops.

Taste is hoppy with a good malt backing. Bready. Not much else, but what is there is pretty good.

Mouthfeel is fine..carbonation level is good. Drinkability is fine. Tastes good, and overall is pleasing to drink. I could have a couple more, probably.

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

From a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass, Santa's pours a light and clear copper amber with a bit of haze. A thin slightly off white head offers moderate retention, surrendering and keeping a surface ring.

Nice light malt nose, lightly roasted, and with a clean caramel sense. Earthy hops join in with a bit of agitation. Bits of cinnamon and allspice, along with spruce after some air, yet fleeting.

Roasted malts and a firm carbonation hit the tongue. Orange citrus comes in the middle, clean and clear though brief. Finishes with toasted grain and malt, somewhat coarse, and with a final citrus flash. Offers a dense and coarse feel accompanied with a finish that is somewhat drying for the style. A decent beer from a brewery that doesn't typically impress me.

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Photo of auroracrisis
3.28/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from the bottle into my Oberon pint glass.

The pour was a bit too aggressive. I couldn't fit the entire 12oz in the glass without it overflowing. Oh well, just a bit left in the bottle. No biggie.

Anyway, the pour resulted in a nice copper, orangeish red with a nice three finger head that dissipated into 1 finger with spotty lacing from where the previous monster head was. Little bubbles dance up to the surface of the beer and escape into the head but it doesn't look overly carbonated. Ah, now I can pour the rest of my beer.

Smells like sweet sticky malts with a bit of piney hops. The sweetness dominates for sure. Nothing spectacular here.

Taste is malts and a light sour dough bread with some hops there to round it out. Not the best tasting beer I have ever had but certainly not the worst. Hm, maybe there is some taste left over in my mouth from that peanut butter I just ate. Upon further sips I begin to taste a bit of spicing but it's subtle. Could just be the hops acting up a bit.

Mouthfeel is pretty good. Not too much carbonation, smooth body with a tongue tickling bite.

Drinkability is average. Not the worst beer I have ever had but I certainly could not see myself pounding a pitcher of this with a grin on my face.

Overall, typical Rogue. Nothing that impressive but nothing bad.

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Photo of soupyman10
3.63/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Orange-maroon color with a finger of slightly off-white head that leaves really nice lacing as it drains. Pretty good looking beer. Aromas and flavors are of the mild Christmas/Winter spice variety. Aromas lean on the toffee malt with some nicer fruitiness in there as well. Spices come through stronger in the taste. Again the smooth, fairly subtle malt. That clear, clean Oregon water actually shows up fairly obviously as well. Body is medium to slightly thin with fairly mild carbonation. Overall, this one is solid but great. Just not enough going on to keep me that interested. That said, it's tasty and drinkable, and I'd have no objection drinking it all night.

Cairo Wine/$6/22 oz

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Photo of drpimento
3.2/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A highly hopped amber ale that could use a little more balance. Poured with a nice off white foamy head that lasts and some lace. Color is a good clear. Aroma is massively hoppy along with some malt and yeast. Flavor is interesting - some parts I like others, not so much. The enormous hops are hard to get around, but there is a little black pepper too. Body is good and so is carbonation. Finish is ok.

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Photo of madtrixter787
3.63/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured Pint bottle into Ommegang goblet glass.

Appearance: About a 1 finger head that settled to a somewhat lacy covering. Amber brown in color that is pretty clear.

Smell: A lot of malt comes through at first with a hint of the spicy hops at the end.

Taste. I was hoping for more form the hops on this one, especially with some of the other reviews. I definitely got them, but the malt really overshadowed the hops.

Mouthfeel: Good bright carbonated feel that contrasts the malt quite well.

Drinkability: Overall, this is a pretty drinkable beer, and is very nice for the christmas season, but it is not my favorite.

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Photo of ditch
4.25/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a cloudy dark copper color with a thick 1.5 finger head which fades slowly to a covering across the top of the pint glass.

Aroma is of sweet malts (slightly bready), and citrus and pine. Grapefruit mostly.

Taste is closely following the aroma here. Sweet and malty with grapefruit and pine. More grapefruit than pine in the finish. This is well balanced!

Mouthfeel is near perfection here. Carbonation balances the flavors of sweet and bitter.

Drinkability is also good with this beer. I could drink these all night till standing became a chore.

Well done Rogue! I like the selection of hoppy beers during this season. Just after the harvest ales come out we get this and SN Celebration! Lucky us!

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Photo of hosehead83
4.2/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a twelve ounce bottle into a standard pint glass
Copper/amber in color, with two-inch head of foam
Aroma-Malt, spices, subtle hop notes
Taste-Nice onrush of hops, tangled with roasted malts, caramel, and some faint spruce notes, ending in a rather bitter finish. Surprisingly,(but not unwelcome) big, bold hop flavor throughout, dominating the sweeter malt and spices.
Who new Santa's a hop-head?

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Photo of RomaniIteDomum
3.85/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tasted at an event for their local distributor. Gotta love free beer and short notes.

Pours a golden honey color with a nice head and lacing.

Smells a bit like Dead Guy, nice malts and a little bitterness.

The taste is nice and sweet with a great hoppiness.

In the mouth it is smooth and very well-balanced.

This is a great holiday beer. I can't wait for my local store to get their first shipment in.

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Photo of mmva321
3.77/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a pint glass.

This is my first foray into amber/red ales, and if this is an accurate representation of the genre, then I would imply that it is an IPA that has a nice amber/red color as opposed to that hearty yellow; hence the name. I'm probably wrong, but in the end this tastes and smells like your standard IPA: lots of powerful hops and a hint of fruitiness. Many IPAs are much more complicated than that, but that's about as much as I get from this amber/red beer. The smell is very robust and I like it, but both the smell and taste are a bit too simplistic for my liking.

The appearance is fine for the most part, but anytime I use the words 'dirty' or 'murky' to discribe the look (as I would here), it's going to loose some points. I don't know, but I really find it unappealing that I could have gotten this out of an amber/red colored swamp. Still positive though. Nice head that dissapates at an average pace and lacing that vanishes faster than my Two-Hearted Ale review from this site. Mouthfeel fine (not watery and slight carbonation), drink fine (enjoyable enough for you to want to drink more). All in all a beer with positive attributes, but about as exciting as the first half of this sentence.

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Photo of FernMaster
3.76/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

This pours really well and looks great, crimson color and two and half fingers worth of head. The head stays around for a couple minutes so you can properly enjoy the appearance of the beer. There's a complete lack of lacing on the bottle, but that happens. This smells like an IPA, all I'm really getting from the nose is grapefruit, hops. It tastes like an IPA as well. There's some notes of other spices present, but I really get the full effect of the multiple hops as the main characteristic in the taste. It wasn't what I was expecting, but I really like the flavor. It's balanced well, not overpowering and just kind of an unique taste. I could see myself picking one of these up every year around Christmas time. Maybe two.

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

Poured from a Bomber into a pint glass.
It has a nice clear deep amber color. There was about a finger of head that settled at a decent pace to leave some nice lacing.
The aroma gives off a nice piney hop smell mixed with sweet spices.
Taste delivers the pine hop presence noted prior to sipping. I was expecting a little more sweetness and hints of spices from the smell. Those two are definitely there but mellow.
Overall a pretty good beer. It is very easy to drink and has a nice mouthfeel. Probably won't pick up anymore this season, but definitely it will be worth revisiting when it appears again next fall.

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Photo of jeffjeff1
3.93/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This was really good. I picked it up the other night at the little store I used to buy Jolt at with my friends when I was a kid in Clayton.

Appearance- reddish brown color, good head, left a nice lacing

Smell- malt

Taste- very interesting flavor, malt, bit of spices in the background

Mouthfeel- light to medium bodied

Drinkability- really good, I liked it a lot. One of the better winter beers

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Photo of aaronh
3.53/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

For whatever reason, I buy this beer every December. I give a few to friends and like to have this around Christmas. It's always a pretty respectable brew. Nice deep color, great malt aroma, sort of a funky odd bitterness in the flavor profile, but a great smooth feel on the tongue. The spiciness is much more notable on a fresh bottle, but even this one I've had for a while is good. Since it's an annual routine for me, I'd consider the drinkability good.

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

A- Deep-dark Copper or Redish-Brown in color, clean appearing, with good head retention.
*Note- I noticed that some of the other reviews for this beer mentioned head retention issues; they may need to check their glassware care habits. I've had multiple-separate samples of this beer, and have always experienced a nice thick head; with good retention. However, the glasses that I use to drink craft beers are only used for that, and are only washed in plain, clean, hot water--no soaps, detergents, or anything else!

T&D- The taste is nothing outrageous or exceptionally remarkable; but I think that is what makes it such a good and very drinkable beer, especially for the style. All too often, holiday beers are just over the top. I think Rogue did it just right. The spices are there, in the background--where they belong. They struck a very nice balance; which makes this brew very enjoyable--anytime of the year.

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Photo of kegger22
3.4/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a reddish brown with a moderate head that quickly faded to a skin. The aroma was rather mild; there was a malty smell as it warmed, but it didn't come forward in the flavor. The taste was lemony hops, bitter but not undrinkably so. The feel was light to medium bodied with good carbonation. Drinkability was good.

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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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