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

For Trade:
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 2,338 |  Reviews: 1,197
Photo of movingtrain
3.41/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle poured into a standard pint glass.

Pours a reddish-brown with a half finger head...relatively good lacing on the sides of the glass.

Smells a bit metallic...bitter, with hints of cinnamon, nutmeg, sugar, clove, and oranges.

Tastes pretty spiced...malty body, but a bitter taste on the tongue. Can taste some cinnamon here, nutmeg, lemon zest?, orange peel, light mint...

The bitter presence of the beer is offset by some different spices working their way through the beer. It is pretty effervescent...well-carbonated. There are some coffee flavors here, as well...maybe like a light, slightly watered down cup of coffee.

Overall, the beer is a bit too bitter...which is causing some of the more prominent flavors (cinnamon, brown sugar, nutmeg, caramelized sugars) to be hidden in the background. It's a decent beer, and one worth trying fresh, for sure.

 877 characters

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

taste- roasted malt, hoppy, sprucy finish

color- red-amber

clarity- clear

smell- malt

body- full, tart, smooth finish

appearance- nice color, nice off-white foamy head, good lace

overall impression- very good, want more hops

notes- yeasty malt flavor. 10 ingredients, great western harrington klages and munich, hugh baird carastan 30-37 and 13-17, crystal 70-80 malts, chinook and centennial hops, freerange coastal water and top fermenting pacman yeast. 13 degrees plato, 73.1 aa, 44 ibu, 26.75 degree l. this review is for a 2008 vintage tasted in 2008

glassware: pint

 579 characters

Photo of chilly460
4.25/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Very nice copper color, white/tan head with minimal lacing

S - Fantastic to the nose, big malty scent, some caramel. Piney hop scent.

T - Similar to the scent, great malty flavor up front, very smooth, no caramel detected. Nice piney hops finish.

M - Fine for the style, nothing out of the ordinary.

D - Very nice, would make a fine session beer.

 357 characters

Photo of jera1350
4.1/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Murky light brown color with sudsy one finger tan head. A couple of nice lace rings around the glass.

Nice big piney and citrusy hop scent coming off of this.

Real nice balance of roasted malt and citrus hops going on. Some light sweet caramel, grapefruit peel and a bit of pine.

Thinner than medium mouthfeel. Seems a little bit flat. Some more carbonation would help the flavor here, but it could just be because of the age of this bottle.

This would make a nice session beer. It reminds me of a good IPA. I will be looking for this next Christmas.

 554 characters

Photo of BeanBone
4.33/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: A crystal-clear, rich reg-orange body with brilliant orange highlights. Up top, two creamy fingers of off-white head that hang around a long time, leaving great lacing.

Aroma: Citrusy and somewhat piney hops over a caramel malt base. Basically a Red Ale with the hops cranked up.

Taste: Up front, a properly bitter splash of hops with citrus, tropical fruit and piney character. Underneath, a toasty, biscuity, and caramel-like malt backbone keeps everything balanced well. Bitterness continues throughout the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: A creamy medium body with smooth carbonation and a dry finish.

Drinkability: A great session beer if you're into hops.

Verdict: I'm always happy to find great Winter seasonals besides the typical Stouts, Barleywines, etc. and Santa's Private Reserve fits the bill well. If you're looking for a Winter seasonal heavy on the hops, but perhaps not as heavy as Celebration, this is a great option.

 943 characters

Photo of Hojaminbag
3.56/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

For some reason I was under the impression that this beer was a stout. It's not. No idea where that came from.

Pours a pretty bright red body that is darker in the center but when held up to light is a great red color throughout. A HUGE tan head here, I probably poured a little too vigorously to be honest, as I got more foam than I wanted. The head is rocky, lumpy, great retention, great lacing, a good looking beer. Also, I enjoy the picture of santa with one fist raised and the other curled around a frothy mug that adorns the bottle.

A ton of toasted and toffee malt dominate the aroma, with a hint of citric, bitter, hops.

Up front comes a good bit of of grapefruit flavored hops that fade and are quickly lost among a powerful toasted, almost darkly roasted malt backbone. Next comes some caramel malt flavor with some more hops in the finish. The hops at the end express the grapefruit a little more fully than the hops that I taste initially.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and pretty highly carboanted.

Fairly drinkable beer, the tosted malt dominates for sure.

 1,074 characters

Photo of TheTrevor
3.82/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured a reddish brown with a single-finger head and some nice lacing. The smell is mostly some citrusy and floral hops. The taste starts off with some piney malt that gives way to a bit of toasted malt that gives way to some citrusy malt. The mouthfeel is slightly thick with a moderate amount of carbonation. This isn't really a beer I equate with the Christmas season, but it's certainly worth trying whenever you can grab it.

 439 characters

Photo of aaronxsubaru
3.51/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

well balanced, but a little too dark and strong for my tastes when i had this. i mainly tried it because my local bar had some in and i figured i should get it while i could.

perhaps this really would be better around winter than summer. Still a decent beer. I can't say i've disliked any rouge beers i've had so far, and the mocha porter was quite good. If you get the chance i'd say this is a good beer for this style.

 422 characters

Photo of clayrock81
4.05/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a brownish-auburn tinted copper that is slightly murky and had a two-finger semi-tan head that died quickly but left sheath lacing down the glass. A wonderful hoppy aroma that contained citric and floral hops along with caramel and bread malts. Perfectly balanced brews with a sharp, citric hoppiness with a smooth, creamy body that has some sweet caramel malt along with toffee and roasted malts for a, combined with the good carbonation, a crisp, prickly dry backbite that is great after a smooth, hoppy passing over the tongue. A great red to try by anyone and has a slightly warming effect as you take your time sipping on it.

 637 characters

Photo of OlRasputin989
3.95/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Murky reddish copper with a thick bubbly head. little lacing with a thin layer of bubbles remaining til the bottom of the glass

S: Spicy, with brown sugar, and oarnge with a dash of cocoa

T: follows with the nose and has piney, grapefruit finish

M: smooth, refreshing, medium body with a tingly, resiny, dry finish

Overall, I really enjoyed this beer. I can see how it is a great winter beverage but it's also wonderful for the summer. It's really refreshing and has solid drinkability

 492 characters

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

Poured form a 22oz. bomber into my Sam Adams glass.

A - Very attractive amber (duh) with a off white head that is about 1.5 fingers tall. It is reduced to a mat that leaves some lacing along the glass but not too much and it recedes slowly.

S - Very attractive flowery, citrusy hops. It smells dry hopped but couldn't confirm it. Some bready grainy smelling malts seep through but mostly aromatic hops in the nose.

T - Initial hop bitterness turns into a semi sweet malt taste that is quickly balanced by grapefruit and flower tinges from the hops. The malts are bready and caramel tasting as well. Hops are very present and the balance between teh two stike a very pleasant and cris taste. Hops are a bit piney as well.

M - It is med to light bodied with perfect CO2 amounts and nice balance between bitter and sweet. Very good example of the style and in fact a very likable beer personally.

D - Very refreshing and crisp, balance allows for two or three bombers in my book.

Overall a very appealing Amber Ale. Well done.

 1,030 characters

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

22 ounce bomber bottle poured into a shaker "pint" glass. Appears a hazed rich copper color with about two fingers of dense light tan head. Smells and tastes of bitter citrus fruits, floral piney hops, toasted grains, sweet malt, and a subtle spiciness. A bit more than medium bodied and amply carbonated. A tasty red ale that's worth a try.

 341 characters

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, 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.

 1,440 characters

Photo of canucklehead
3.88/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This one had been sitting on the retailers shelf for awhile but since I trust the retailer and he told me that it is aging well I took a chance. Turns out to be a good purchase as this beer is the most malty beer I have had from Rogue. Tastes like their Amber with more malt , less hops and a slight Holiday fruit taste on the finish. The typical Rogue yeast smell was there but all in all this is real nice winter warmer that has aged well

 440 characters

Photo of lynx1245
3.58/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Found this one in the back of my fridge. Must have been there for a few months. About time I reviewed it.

Appearance: Orangish-amber with a good amount of head that recedes to a thin soapy layer. A bit cloudy.

Smell: Roasted malts with a bit of hops (kind of piney) bringing up the rear. Citrus as well.

Taste: This is interesting. Bitter hops up front with the roasted malts really present in the aftertaste. I can definitely detect a "sprucey" taste that makes this a holiday ale. I'm enjoying this one much more than the rest of the six pack I had a few months ago.

Mouthfeel: Medium body - seems a bit watery. Also there seems to be very high carbonation or alcohol burning. Nothing special here.

Drinkability: Nothing really stands out with this beer. Considering it took me 5 months or so to finish the 6 pack, I can't say I was dying to drink it. Still, a solid holiday beer.

 887 characters

Photo of UA8
3.51/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Pours a dark and slightly hazy burnt orange color with a tall tan head.

S- Scents of lightly roasted malts and a touch of herbal and piney hops. Very light nose hard to really pick up.

T- Starts with a bready malt richness and a slight yeast sourness. Finishes with lightly piney hops.

M- Moderate viscosity with slightly too high carbonation.

D- Its an interesting beer that has a flavor profile that is growing on me the more I drink. It's a solid beer that would be good for tipping back on a winter night or when you kinda of burned out on that overly hoppy stuff.

 576 characters

Photo of Beejay
3.38/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: A murky brownish red, with plenty of Head..

S: Hops, and citrus fruit... But mostly Hops.

T:Tangy, lot's of Hop character in that one. Bashing you with bitter... Some toasted malt taste in there, but hard to find with all those hops..

M: pleasant to begin with, then I feel the hop monsters attacking my tongue..

D: Not for me, maybe this bottle is past it's prime.. but not a huge winner in my book.. Drinks more like an IPA than an american amber me thinks, I would have liked a more balanced beer...

 509 characters

Photo of daliandragon
3.95/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is a Rogue selection I have seen many times and bypassed but I guess today was the day. I like the toasted amber color with a nice cream colored head and supporting lace. The body is translucent and the nose is vanilla and dark malts and a touch of citrus and nutmeg. Different.

The spices mostly disappear in the taste with heavy malt tones but a balancing hop attack lasts through to the finish. This is a tasty, drinkable beer, but hard to categorize. Within the style I'm not a big fan. It's really more of an American strong methinks, but not a winter warmer and certainly not a ho hum amber. Blah blah blah.

 619 characters

Photo of robbyc1
3.3/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Nice copper color, nice head goes away fast, clear but dark.

Malt dominates the nose, with spicy hops there too, malt is roasty, a bit of chocolate, deep nice smell, a bit boozier than expected at 6%.

Taste is solid like the nose. But the abv is there as a result of the condition of this beer. Not oxidized, just old and flattish.

This bottle with no freshness info, suffered from being on Binny's shelves, sold to me at $4 for a bomber, mouthfeels suffers, probably much better fresh, but they need to control the qualify better. Flattish and heavy, but slick as well, drinkability suffers from the lack of carbonation, hard to finish this bottle. Lots of promise, but beware the end of season bargains of Rogue on retailer shelves.

 737 characters

Photo of Brenden
4.06/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This one is a real beauty. The color is deep copper with reddish-brown hues and a thick, fluffy head that leaves a whole lot of sticky lacing all over the glass.

The smell is a nice balance of first hops then mildly sweet malt with a lot of complexity; citrus, nuttiness, floral notes and light biscuit notes all vie for attention beneath that backdrop of hops and malt.

That complexity translates exactly in the taste. The hops are strongest and the citrus, flowery hops with a well-balanced bitterness are first and foremost. The pine notes associated with good hops are also quite evidently present. The finish is fairly dry, lightly sweet and mildly bitter.

The body is medium and rich, crisp, smooth, and thick.

This is a great one and I was both surprised and fortunate to find this one in mid-March.

 811 characters

Photo of argock
3.23/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12oz brown bottle into a clear 16oz mug. Single purchased from Wine Warehouse (Charlottesville, VA) for $1.75.

A: Dark orange-mahogany with 1-2 finger off-white head with good retention and lacing.

S: Very malty and woody-cardboard aroma with sticky sweet Munich and caramel malts and earthy, herbal, floral hops smells.

T: Not my type of brew with its brutal woodiness and paper flavors. The maltload is impressive and the best part of this beer by far. The hops, on the other hand, are added by the truckload but are assaultively abrupt and woody.

M: Medium-bodied with medium carbonation and a medium-malty aftertaste.

D: I keep trying Rogue brews, but there have been very few things from them that I really like. They are no doubt carefully crafted, as betrayed by their heavy malting. But the earthiness of the hops is too much, and I don't care for their yeast flavor either. Not a good match for my taste likes.

 938 characters

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

Poured into a pint glass pours a reddish tan color with minimal head and zero lace on the glass. Smell is sweet malt with a bit of earth. Taste is very smooth and sweet with nice hints of toasted oats and walnuts with just a slight hint of hop bitterness towards the finish. Overall a pretty tasty and sweet beer with a clean and smooth finish.

 344 characters

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

The appearance of dark amber/brown with nice tan head is quite impressive in a pint glass. It has excellent lacing on the side of the glass.

I love the nutty and hoppy smell. It makes my mouth water before taking a drink.

The taste is of sweet malt with strong hops.

It has very good mouthfeel with an average amount of carbonation

I would rate the drinkability as good, but I would not consider this a session beer.

 420 characters

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

Poured into a pint tumbler. quite brilliant deep amber color. Inch of decent offwhite head. retention is great, right until the end. Lace is also a plus.

Smells like a malty sweet red ale with some spices mixed in. caramel maybe some cinnamon. some citrus from the hops but very mild: orange.

very nice balance of amber malts and citrusy hops. honey, caramel, spices. clean on the front of the palate, lingering bitterness at the back.

Mouthfeel is smooth primarily because the carbonation is low. just a slight bit meatier than a typical amber (i consider it a "winter beer" solely because of its name and seasonal release)

very drinkable. great sessionable wintertime brew.

 679 characters

Photo of jeremyd365
3.65/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a pale, reddish-copper with little to no head. Smells fruity, malty, and alcoholy. It is medium-thin in the mouth with seemingly low carbonation. The flavor is decent yet mediocre for Rogue standards. It's a slightly-spicy, slightly-hoppy amber. The bottle promised a "sprucey finish". WHERE IS MY SPRUCE?! This was a pretty solid holiday ale, but I guess I expected over the top from Rogue. Am I being too harsh? Maybe. Fine, I gave the "taste" category a 4.0. Even without sufficient Spruce.

 499 characters

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

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.