Dismiss Notice
Introducing: Project Extreme Brewing (a Dogfish Head + BeerAdvocate project)

Santa's Private Reserve Ale | Rogue Ales

Your Rating: None

Want it   Got it 
Santa's Private Reserve AleSanta's Private Reserve Ale
2,350 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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 2,350 |  Reviews: 1,201
Photo of BedetheVenerable
4.03/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 12oz brown bottle with festive, yet traditional Rogue label

Appearance: Nice ever-so-slightly hazed dark burnt orange beer, topped by a dark ivory head with great retention...awesome lacing

Smell: Earthy, herbal hops predominate, backed with nice medium-dry caramel/bread notes with a touch of minerality as well.

Taste: This is really nicely balanced; there's a sharp little kick of herbal hops up front, but it's balanced by a dry, malty/bready backing...simple, but nice and really quite tasty.

Mouthfeel: Pretty substantial; medium-bodied, rich and smooth

Drinkability: Not sessionable, but 2-3 of these perhaps with a dinner of ribs, spicy chicken wings, or onion rings (you know, typical pub grub) would be quite nice.

Conclusion: Nothing really stands out about this beer; but it's simple, straightforward, and perfectly balanced. The bitterness isn't overwhelming, and the hop flavors are well-defined. I'll look this one up again next Christmas for sure!

 983 characters

Photo of jujubeast6000
3.06/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Reviewed 1/22/2007 (22oz bottle):

Pours a light reddish/brownish color, white head, smallish, lasting. Good lacing. Very hoppy aroma, just bitter hops, not much else comes through. Hoppy fizzy taste, aftertaste of syrupy pine/spruce-y like taste. A little acidic aftertaste. Sweet taste of hops, tempered well with the malts. Letting it warm up a bit to hopefully improve the bitter acidic flavor. A little more tempered, but still a bitter taste. The aftertaste is improved, though. Too malty for my taste.

 508 characters

Photo of Monkeyknife
3.53/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle a slightly hazy reddish-orange color with two fingers of tan head.

Aroma of caramel malts, bitter hops, and some definite earthy notes.

Bitter grapefruit hops lead the way followed by caramel malts. Bitterness remains in finish.

Light-to-medium bodied, smooth, and lightly carbonated.

An easy drinking amber from Rogue.

 346 characters

Photo of Gyle41386
4.01/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bomber into a pint glass.

Pours a translucent copper...really nice red and orange in this one. Really nice big foamy beige head.

Hops in the nose...citrus and pine, with sweetness from the malt.

Flavor is excellent. It's more than an amber, but less than an IPA. The hops are there, but it's no hop bomb. The roasted bready maltiness gives great balance. Lots of bittersweetness. Nice dry finish. Floral hoppiness sticks to the tongue long after the swallow.

Medium body, medium carbonation. Once again, Rogue doesn't disappoint. I can easily see this becoming one of my favorite holiday brews.

 613 characters

Photo of thekevlarkid
4.23/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Out of the awesome glow-in-the-dark bottle this beer looked like a root beer with a towering three-finger head of khaki colored foam. The retention of the cap was excellent and the lacing in chunks. The aroma was semi-sweet, toasted and caramel malt, chocolate malt and a light hops. The flavors were very malty with excellent depth, all the aforementioned malts with some roasted notes and nuttiness. Touches of coffee showed up as I got further in along with some balancing bitterness from the hops. Rich but not too sweet. The mouthfeel was very smooth, the carbonation light and the body medium/full. Highly enjoyable.

 622 characters

Photo of GilGarp
4.2/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a six pack because it was three dollars off. I figured it had been sitting in a cooler case so it should still be reasonably fresh.

Pours into a pint glass with a hazy copper color with nice thick white head that sticks around well and leaves lacing down the glass.

Aroma is a nice mix between sweet malts and fresh citrusy hops.

Flavor is really excellent for the style. Often, I find American amber and red ale to be mostly malt but this one has a nice hop-forward aroma and taste. Pine and grapefruit seem to be the dominant characters but it's all pretty much in check by the malts.

Mouthfeel is smooth, well carbonated and medium plus body. Drinkability is good too but it's on the high side for what I would consider a session worth brew.

 759 characters

Photo of GWaters
4.03/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a cellar temperature 1 Pint 6 oz glass bottle.
No Freshness date

As good a seasonal American Ale as I have had yet. Rogue has yet to disappoint - they don't skimp on the good stuff such as hops and malt, and because of that - this is a winner

Pour: Nice even pour, clear copper color, that build up a frothy head - 3 fingers. The foam take a while to settle, and leaves a nice lacey coating on the glass. In the glass, the color is an inviting amber/copper color with some carbonated activity from the bottom.

Smell: At first open, Chinook Hops blast out of this bottle like a christmas elf that has a special gift. After the pour, the hops are stil prevelent, but a pine, spice, & citrus mix steps in to make this a true winter ale. The scent is not over the top, it hits the nose just right.

Taste: There is no doubt there is a hop flavor. The hops step out right away, but this isn't a blast your face of hop experience. After the hops settle, this beer helps you celebrate with a mouthful of taste - a sort of bready/malted sweet flavor with spicey undertones of citrus.

Drinkability: The only problem with this ale is it only comes once a year. So, for drinkability, the fear of running out is a problem.

 1,230 characters

Photo of WilliamD
4.02/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured this bomb into my pint glass. Hold it to the light- it's a perfect amber hue, whatever that is.
Smells okay- mild spices, beer.
Tastes ever-so-biscuity, with very mild spice flavor.
Mouthfeel- I'm fairly new at this. Feels like beer in my mouth.
Very drinkable, but almost anything other than that watered-down macro-brew garbage is drinkable to me.

Good, steady winter beer. Not exceptional though.

 407 characters

Photo of SRossman
3.78/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Lovely copper with red tones. Big thick head, obviously a sticky beer.
S: Fresh piney hops. Strong bitterness
T: Hop profile much more subdued than the smell let on. More focused on the malt character. Seems a little watered down but it would make an excellent holiday session beer.
D: Medium body with slightly lower carbonation. Very easy drinking.

 353 characters

Photo of theghost3
3.97/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy copper with a thin white head. Some lacing. Smells of roasted malts & wheat. The taste is strong on the toasted malts at first with some bitter hops on the follow-up, there are also hints of sweet caramel & spices. There's a bitter aftertaste. The mouthfeel is smooth, moderately thick. This is a drinkable brew--rich, yet not too filling.

 352 characters

Photo of zdk9
4.08/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a ruby red brown. A half finger of head leaves a wall of lacing on the glass.

S- A little boozy, combined w/ some tropical fruit flavors- pineapple comes to mind.

T- A lot of sweet malt and a lot of bitter hops. The hops lend a fermented tropical fruit, combined with a touch of grapefruit pith.

M- Sticky and sticking bitterness. Good.

O- Delicious. Hoppy. Definitely recommended.

 394 characters

Photo of Tone
4.03/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy rich amber color. Good 5/4 inch head of an off-white color. Good retention and good lacing. Smells of hops, sweetness, and some slight earthy malts. So far, it fits the rather broad style of an American Amber / Red Ale. Smooth and crisp mouth feel with a low carbonation level. Tastes of hops up front with a strong secondary malt flavor. Neither is dominate, but instead a good blend of flavors. The aftertaste is mostly the bitterness of hops. A strong combination of malt and hops with an ease in the drinkability. A good beer worth a try, but maybe just a tad too sweet overall.

 597 characters

Photo of finz925
4.41/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12z Bottle to Seidel Mug, bought at Christmas but saved for just the right time, now!

A: Dark Amber with a thick off white head that coats the side of the glass while enjoyed.

Smell: Spicey, piney, but still a bit sweet scents.

Taste: Malty, hoppy, with a hint of sweetness. Bitter and I sense a hint of tannin feeling. Pine, amber, grapefruit, and caramel notes.

Mouthfeel: medium to full bodied

Drinkability: Excellent flavors and bitter taste keep me wanting more, all-in-all a great beer.

This beer is exactly what I would expect from a Rogue Christmas Ale, and makes me want to go grab a Rogue Dead Guy downtown, and I will in due time. Very Good.

 658 characters

Photo of Kegatron
3.86/5  rDev +3.2%
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.

 990 characters

Photo of waldoiverson
3.7/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle into US Pint

A: Dark amber, fine head with small carbonation

S: vanilla, slight caramel malt and strong grapefruit

T: Woody bitterness, spruce, and alcohol

M: Dry and thin mouth feel given the strong body and flavors

D: If you like a serious bitter hit then this may be just the ticket for you. more than a couple of servings will be certain to fry the taste buds

 375 characters

Photo of MTNboy
4.36/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

It has a malty and fruity aroma with a little bit of hops in the background. It poured damn near picture perfect. It had about two fingers of frothy head. The head had a lot of staying power. The body was a red brown color. It has little bit of a candy gummy taste at first. It main flavors are that of coffee and caramel. The bitterness is mild and comes from chocolate malt and hops. It is a medium bodied beer that has a little bit of fizz burn to the palate. It has a mild liquor aftertaste.

 495 characters

Photo of Gehrig
4.33/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Somewhat cloudy amber sporting a thick patch of tan head; ample lacing and good durability start the judging out very well with a visually appealing beer. Plenty of hops but also caramel malt greet the nose.

The taste is bittersweet and complex. There is plenty of citrus in Santa's Private Reserve, especially grapefruit with some lemon. Yet in addition to the ample malt, there is no shortage of spice, especially pepper. It's a very busy beer, confronting the palate with something new and savory every sip; excellent stuff.

Nice effervescence and malty smoothness characterize the mouthfeel, nicely textured. In all, a very tasty and well-made amber, far better than the average macro offering and one I'll surely await every holiday season. Terrific.

 757 characters

Photo of CrellMoset
3.33/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Santa's Private Reserve, courtesy of edelweiss - thanks! 22 oz. bottle poured into a Terrapin snifter.

Appearance: A hazed reddish auburn bodied beer with plenty of active carbonation, relatively slow and fine-bubbled, that rises slowly around the curvature of the glass to one-finger of sticky, off-white head. The head has average retention and leaves glittery, snow-like banks of lacing, streaky, shiny.

Aroma: Dry, roasted malts, caramelly in places, though largely just musty and dry. Faint herbal and acidic hop notes top things off, and though everything's in balance, it's just not very full or robust.

Taste: Incredibly dry - big attenuation on this one - coupled with tons of piney and herbal hop notes. The hops lend a bit of a citric tartness, as well, which - when taken in conjunction with the complete lack of residual sugars - make this one pretty sharp.

Mouthfeel: Crisp, bright, and relatively light, with plenty of that carbonation that one can see, resulting in a big and fluffy though uneven and quickly fading mouthfeel.

Drinkability: I didn't care for this one too much. It was just a little too dry, and the malts and hop schedule not enough to carry this one on its own. A little complexity would be in order, or else perhaps Santa should think about getting a new private reserve.

 1,311 characters

Photo of whynot44
3.98/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Slightly hazy coppery red color with a decent frothy off-white head that retained well and left lots of lacing.

The aroma is fresh bread with a good dose of pine needles, grapefruit and a note of caramel.

The taste is similar - emphasis is piney hops, more than usual for an American red ale, almost a red IPA. Very nice winter brew for the hops lover. Finishes with a lingering grapefruit aftertaste.

Medium bodied and easily drinkable.

 443 characters

Photo of fitzy84
3.24/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bought a 22 ounce for Christmas, but I am drinking it before Battlestar Galactica premieres. Great appearance: clear, dark amber with great lacing and a thin head. Aromas are a bit weak with hints of spice and hops mixed with florals. Very unoffensive but lacked in the punch it had the potential for. Taste also was lacking compared to what it could have been: lightly hoppy, watery but with decent spice. Mouthfeel was pretty nice and light, making it pretty drinkable. Overall, it had some potential but rides into mediocrity for me.

 536 characters

Photo of ectomorph
4/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

24oz bottle lets me know that 'Snowflakes Glisten'...

A - Amber/dark copper in color, this brew starts with a tight off white head that fades slowly leaving a solid foam sheet on the pint glass.

S - Floral and piney notes picked up first. The malts are sweet and make me think of cookie dough.

T - Malty and sweet up front and then the hops (def Centennial) punch you in the face. Well balanced and clean, this is a hop monster for the style IMO.

M - Medium to big bodied but very clean finish. Nice.

D - Pretty high drinkability, and that's good on a winter night like this one.

 584 characters

Photo of RodBurg
3.85/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear reddish amber color with a small white head that slowly fizzes into a ring. Minimal lacing.

Lots of hops in the nose. Pine needles, grapefruit, orange zest. Lighter notes of caramel and breadcrust as well.

Great balance of sweet toffee, malt and caramel with piney hops. Nice bitter finish with a fresh baked bread note in the aftertaste.

I dug this one. More hops than expected for the style.

 410 characters

Photo of selecter70
3.88/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A lovely Santa cried out from this 1pt.6oz Rogue.
A rich, red-dark honey pour with full light beige head and decent lace throughout. The cellar temperature aroma was a sweet & sour hoppy ale with mild cinnamon. The body was smooth & the flavor a bit hoppy with minor malt & caramel. The overwhelming lemon-hop flavor detracted from the theme, in my opinion, although still a tasty one.

 385 characters

Photo of twiggamortis420
3.85/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a semi-cloudy burnt orange hue. Has a creamy, frothy beige head that has very nice lacing and retention.

I get a bit of malted milk smell from nearly all Rogue beers, and this one is no exception. It must be the pacman yeast they like so well. Other than that, I get some dried hop flower aroma and some toasty, sweet maltiness.

Taste has a distinctive leafy, dried hop flavor...toastiness and malted milk-esque notes only contribute more to the strange, but pleasant leaf-like taste of this brew. In some respects this beer makes me think of a cross between an O-fest and a winter warmer.

Overall, a solid beer that shies away from being too Christmas-y and has a unique flavor profile. I would buy this one again, no problem.

 737 characters

Photo of neenerzig
4.25/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Well Santa was awesome enough to bring be a bomber of this as a Christmas present a few weeks back. Split a bomber with my good friend Passow. Poured into my pint glass. This beer pours a clear, amber red color with a nice frothy looking head that is a good inch when poured. Eventually sets to a nice surface coating and a nice thick ring lining the inside of the glass. Decent lacing. Has nice caramel malty aroma with some hops and cinnamon present too. It also has a nice bready, caramel malt flavor upfront along with a bit of cinnamon and clove, followed by a nice hop kick, certainly the hoppiest Christmas beer I have ever had. Has a crisp, and smooth medium bodied mouthfeel with moderate carbonation. Easy to drink. Very good beer here!


 752 characters

Santa's Private Reserve Ale from Rogue Ales
Beer rating: 3.74 out of 5 with 2,350 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.