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
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Ratings: 2,338 |  Reviews: 1,197
Photo of drxandy
4.1/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle to standard pint, pours a reddish copper shade, off white head fades to lacing

smells of hoppy pine/citrus, yeastly malts hideout

tastes of bitterness from the start to finish, hop blend is nice, grapefruit peel, grassy, dry, pine, earthy, bordering on astringent, crisp, good carbonation, malt is plain and hides behind the massive hopping, reminds me a little of sierra nevada celebration but not as sweet.

mouthfeel is of bitter lingering hops, pacman yeast brings out a nice body, good weight and carbonation, not bad indeed :D

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Photo of deltatauhobbit
3.92/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours from a 22oz bomber, great sized head that fades at a decent rate to leave some patchy lacing, bright and light amber hue color.

Smell has a strong hoppy aroma with a nice malt backing, very well balanced with a slight lean towards the hops.

Taste starts out strong with the hops, light on the bitterness which is helped out by the malt.

Not my favorite style but well done.

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Photo of bataround
4.22/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours light mahogany with glowing cherry edges when held to the light. The head has a rocky consistency, a solid inch tall, and leaves some bubble-wrap-like patches of lace on the glass.


Quick nudge of crispy hop freshness, bright and refreshing, followed by a sweet malt base, like cotton candy cut with a waft of cinnamon toast.


Sharp twist of bitterness on the tip of my palate. A deeper bitterness follows -- actually, the malts come through and provide a great contrast to the bitterness, giving it greater depth. The sweetness is like biting into a mildly spiced slice of holiday bread and finding a few small chunks of dried, candied fruit. Not overwhelming. The aftertaste is a receding sizzle of hop hoppiness.

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Photo of Bounty628
4.12/5  rDev +9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Brewed as an American Amber, this ale has a very nice ABV of 6.00% which makes it perfect as a nice snowy evening session beer.

Poured from a twenty-two ounce bomber, Santa's Private Reserve Ale pours a rich amber to copper color and yields a very faint white head that dissipates rather quickly. There is not much lacing left along the pint glass throughout the tasting, but the beer has a smooth mouthfeel that is not lacking.

The smell of the beer was a pleasant surprise for an amber ale as there was a much more well-defined hop presence than I have seen in other ambers. There is a mild note of sweetness in the nose perhaps a mixing of citrus and pine but clearly the hop complexity of the beer is what dominates the smell.

Santa's gift to all of us comes in the taste of this beer. There is an immediate welcoming to the taste by the hops that are strong and rich and truly hold the beer together. But just as the pallate is beginning to notice the hops there is a pretty smooth malted sweetness that comes bursting in. Though the malt presence was rather muted in the nose, there is no mistaking the malts at play in the taste. The caramel malt flavor works in symbiosis with the initial hops in the taste.

The mouthfeel of this beer is very good and has the right amount of carbonation for an amber ale. It is not as heavy as one would traditionally think a beer associated with winter might be therefore it really is a beer that many would probably find a nice change of pace during the colder months. As previously noted there is not much head or lacing in which initially led me to believe that the mouthfeel would be too light for my liking but I must say I was pleasantly surprised.

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Photo of SerieDNo3
4.13/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle, poured into a pint glass

A: Pours a beautiful dark copper, with a lightly tan one-finger head. The head recedes into a thin film, with a little more foam around the rim of the glass. Lots of lacing.

S: A pleasantly hoppy aroma backed by a slightly bready, malty note.

T: A well balanced beer. Slightly citric hop flavor; just a hint of oranges. A lot of malt sweetness on the back end. This beer would be good year round; certainly different from a winter warmer. Has a slight metallic note as it warms up, which hurts the score a bit.

M: Decently carbonated, and with enough hops to make it reasonably crisp, though the malt backbone makes it a bit thicker and more syrupy, especially as the beer warms up.

D: Good flavor, and just crisp enough to make this a very drinkable beer. It's a shame this only comes around in winter; it'd make a great spring beer.

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Photo of tkeHijacker
3.99/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Deep coppery red color w/ orange and tan head. Leaves a light lace around the top dissipating rather quickly. Little drops of foam left on the top floating all the way down.

S: Hops come out in the aroma here, thick earthy, piny smelling hops. Slight sweetness comes through as well.

T: Roasty sweetness that hits the back of my mouth and leaves a sweet dark fruit (slight). Smooth bitterness that has a nice bite. Not quite piny not quite earthy hop bite.

M: Light Card helps keep this crisp. Good body. Dry finish (may be due to the hops present).

D:Could drink all day long. Great.

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Photo of groovy24
3.85/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Serving Type: 12 oz bottle from Woodman's in Madison WI poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a dark red amber color with a little haze. Not much of a head here but a nice sticky lace as it goes down.

Smell: The aroma is very balanced a little sweet malt profile along with some hops.

Taste: A carmel malt in the front with a piney/grapefruit/citrus hop towards the end which leaves a nice oily hop profile behind.

Mouthfeel: A very smooth beer with nice carbonation and a prickly finish with piney hops.

Drinkability: For an amber/red ale this brew has a decent amount of hops which is not surprising from Rouge. A nice little spin which I enjoyed and will purchase again.

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Photo of TrevorGW
2.79/5  rDev -26.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

22 oz. bomber with Santa on it. Pours amber with a huge white head that dies off slowly.

Smell is fairly sweet. Hop resins also coming through.

Taste is real bitter. Hops dominate, but not in the way that they usually do. Very earthy, grassy hops with mild graininess from the malt. Finish is not pleasing. Very stiff and bitter due to the lack of citrus hop character. Not sure what types of hops were used, but they were not doing it for me.

Mouthfeel is prickly, but pleasing.

The best part about this beer is the bottle, so that is not a good sign.

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

Opened a few bottles on xmas eve. Pours reddish brown in color with a haze. nice head, 2-3 fingers at least. lots of lacing here. Aroma is very hoppy, citrus and piney as noted by others. Taste is malty, hoppy, some caramel here too, not too bready either. This beer as a great taste and is very drinkable. I enjoyed it very much. And the bottle (well the print does) glows in the dark.

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Photo of PatrickJR
3.35/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into pint glass.

A - Orangish red with a slight haze. Two fingers of tan head rise. Great retention and lots of lacing.

S - The hops are certainly the first thing to jump out with an interesting, almost tropical fruitiness with a touch of pine and earthy. Slight vanilla and caramel flavors from the malt hide in the background.

T - Mildly sweet malt enters early on, but after a split second the hops hit full force. Heavy on the piney and grassy flavors with underlying fruit that I can't put my finger on. Pineapple maybe? Kiwi? I'm not quite sure. Finish is grassy and chive-like with a growing and coarse bitterness that quickly overrides any subtle malt sweetness. Santa's Private Reserve loses half a point for the unnecessary bitterness.

M - Pretty good, medium bodied with a moderate to low carbonation.

D - A hoppy red was not what I was expecting when I cracked into this brew. There are some good flavors going on but the malt is relegated to an overwhelmingly secondary role, and the hop flavor is leaning towards one-dimensional. All of this is tolerable, but the bitterness is completely over the top and uncalled for.

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Photo of EnojysAnyBeer
4.65/5  rDev +23%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Now my favorite winter seasonal. God bless Rogue Ales

A- Very impressive frothy off-white head on top of an apple-red translucent body. Lacing rings the glass and sparkles

S- Loads of citric/piney hops in front of sweet/earthy malts.

T- Reminds me of an AIPA with all the hop resin flavor. Overall has a good crisp flavor that is also sweet and warming.

M- Great layered body caresses the mouth and prickly carbonation excites the taste-buds

D- Most drinkable red I have had so far. Refreshing with no off flavors

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Photo of elricorico
3.7/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Deep amber with three fingers of foamy beige head. Great retention. Spots of lacing all around.

Aroma is quite hoppy, citrus and pine blended. Some bready malt base, but balance is tipped towards the hops.

In the taste, balance is restored, and malt is much more notable. Toasty malt flavour is carried from front to back, mixing with a piney hop flavour from the middle to finish.

Quite a bit of body for and amber, and the carbonation is on the softer side.

Altogether a good beer. More of a winter session beer than a special occasion beer like most christmas brews.

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Photo of bigkahunas4
2.91/5  rDev -23%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Poured from a bomber into a pint glass.

Body was orange, like Triaminic medicine, with a half finger cookie head. Nose was quite powerful, lots of pale hops. So pale though, it didn't smell too appetizing.

The taste is mainly of hops, nothing really jumping out and grabbing me here though. It's sticky, and has a vibrant viscosity.

Probably won't have this again - doesn't do anything for me.

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

This beer poured a nice amber color with generous white head that dissipated fairly quickly and left decent lacing. Aroma was dominated by the hops. Flavor was also dominated by the hops and it screamed Pacific Northwest in its hop character. I thought at first this tasted a bit like Dead Guy, but with a much more pronounced hop character, but I think it had only a similar yeast tone to the taste. I liked it a lot and would enjoy again. At 6%abv is easily sessionable for me as I like hops.

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Photo of BuffaloBill91
3.01/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

This brew was found at my local store on tap- so I got a growler- I didnt expect this to be one of these xtra big hoppy beers --I am trying to stay as objective as possible in my review--- but the hops in this one is just overpowering- maybe with age in a bottle this would mellow out --the hops just taste so fresh--- reminds me of a time at a brewfest that they were filtering an ipa with fresh hops--yikes
the Appearance is wonderful - its a awesome red-amber with a nice 1 finger head-
the Smell is citrus fruits with hops and more hops---its smells a lot like it tastes -there is a slight malt and some sweetness on the tip of he tongue going towards massive bitter in the back---mega hops here --
mouth feel is nice not to heavy but not thin either-
the drinkability just isn't there for me- im no hophead- maybe that is why----1 pint and im done maybe 2 if im really thirsty... I do like that the bitterness of the hops doesn't stay with you forever on this one---it definitely give you a hops shot up front but at least it doesn't linger on forever..

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

Poured a bottle of this into a pint glass.

A: Pours a hazy, amber body with white head with pretty good retention and lacing until the finish of the beer.

S: A slightly hoppy smell with some citrus malt notes that were pretty balancing.

T: An earthy, bitter taste with some floral notes. A slight maltiness was evident as well that did well to balance the bitter taste.

M: A medium-bodied mouthfeel that was pretty smooth and nice on the palette.

D: A nice mouthfeel and taste combination. The malts and hops did a nice job ot compliment each other. The color of the beer made it pretty representative of the style.

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

A: Dark red color and bright. Nice head.

S: Malts and west coast hops apparent right away.

T: A nice malty start to get you ready for the Chinook and Centennial burst, but that is a little mellower than expected (in a good way). Balanced, hoppy, yet mellow. The sprucy finish mentioned on the bottle is nice, but a tad soapy.

MF: Light bodied and refreshing.

D: The santa on the bottle is a bit deceptive -- makes me expect a winter warmer. That is okay, though. The Christmas offerings from the west coast (special APAs) has been nice.

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Photo of Augustiner719
4.24/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz bomber into an imperial pint glass.

Appearance: Nice reddish amber color, like dark rust. yielded a nice frothy thick head.Decent lacing too.

Smell: Smells of deep rich hops and nice aromatic malts. Some wintery spices like cinnamon, cloves and a little bit of orange peel came through aswell. Very open on the nose.

Taste: Nice hops punch delivered but in a smooth non intimidating way. The heavy dose of dark malts helps retain some of the bitterness of the hops. Some great wintery flavors of molassas, oranges, honey, and some acidity, but just a little bit. The hops are very present but just the initial punch, there is not bitter aftertaste or lingering bite.

Mouthfeel: For all this flavor i would expect it to be much thicker and fuller, but its not. feels delightful on the palate.

Drinkability: I would love to drink this over and over again. The perfect winter night for me has now been re-defined. It starts with 2 bombers of santas private reserve

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Photo of n00tz
3.48/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A - Red-amber body, steady carbonation, and a tall yellowish white head.

S - STRONG Piney hops, a little floral, and spice. A bit of maltiness is hinted, but it tends to present itself more in spice form.

T - I'm really missing a lot of the scent but the unmistakable Centennial Hops. I was really hoping for the florals and maltiness to show itself on the tongue, but I didn't get any such luck.

M - Medium bodied ale clears the palate, leaves nothing but the IPA standard pine behind.

D - My expectations were fairly high after the scent, and unfortunately the parts I was really hoping to taste didn't really show through the hops even after warming up a bit. It's a great IPA, but the hops was really where it was tuned to the tongue.

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Photo of hoplover82
4.48/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The bottle that I snuck from Santa's Private Reserve pours a crystal clear amber color with a very thick creamy, tan head that clings strong to the glass and leaves very good lace. The head never goes away.

The aroma bursts with floral hops. Sweet, toasty, caramely malts sing there beautiful song in the back. As it warms in I detect pine and citrus hops too. Very nice aroma.

The flavor is mostly caramel and toasty malts, but the hops are in the back this time. In every drink, you know the hops are there in full effect. The perfect amount of bitterness helps Santa's beer to be perfectly balanced. The elves must have worked on this recipe for a long time.

Mouthfeel is full bodied and creamy. Very smooth.

Very drinkable. I highly recommend you sneek some of this from Santa.

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Photo of aeminter
3.63/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Absolutely beautiful ruby color when held to the light. Massive frothy head to start which dissipates to a constant 1/2 cm. Good lacing...makes me smile.
The use of Chinook & Centennial hops give a piney, herbal aroma...and the distant sent of dark toast.
To me the first couple of sips are almost overpoweringly bitter. However, as the beer warms a bit, and my taste buds get acclimated, the beer opens up. The diacetyl and subtle malts start to show. There is a lot going on with this beer, but I think it's just a little too hoppy for this style. (especially for a Christmas ale)
Still a good beer.

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

Purchased at Capital City Package in Atlanta.
22oz bottle.

A- Pours a clear amber color with a small white head. What head there is leaves little to no lacing, but this is still a good looking beer.
S- Not much in terms of aroma. I get a little bit of hops/citrus and not a whole lot else.
T- Decent mixture of malt and hops. The malt is very faint and is dominated by a beautiful citrus/hop profile. As the beer warms the malts start to pick up, but this is still a hop forward beer.
M- Medium bodied, a little bit dry, and slightly bitter from the hops.
D- A drinkable beer, and my bottle was finished rather easily. The high hop profile would prevent me from drinking too much though...

Overall, a great American Amber, and a good start to my Christmas evening. I'll look forward to having more next year around the holidays.

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Photo of dakid618
3.95/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Perfect to start off my Christmas drinking with an ale with Santa on the bottle. Poured into a pint glass out of a 650 mL bottle. Pours a deep, slightly cloudy mahogany with a finger and a half of frothy light tan head. Smells floral with citrus undertones and some hop bitterness hidden underneath. Taste is very hoppy. Leaves your mouth a little dry after each drink. Did I mention the hops? Definitely lots of cascade hops in this. Good ale but not what I expected from a winter ale. Expected something smoother and more boozy but still good. I don't think I could drink more than a few bottles considering the bitterness but overall another quality Rogue brew.

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Photo of Spidey13
3.82/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Santa's Private Reserve pours a slightly hazy, deep amber color with a big tan head. The aroma is very hoppy. Lots of citrus notes. Some pine. A bit of caramel underneath. Very nice.

Hops also dominate the flavor, with a somewhat harsh bitterness. A bit of breadyness underneath but mostly spicy hops. The mouthfeel is nice and medium/full with a medium amount of carbonation.

Overall, this is a nice hoppy red ale, though the hops can be a bit harsh.

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Photo of superdedooperboy
4.27/5  rDev +13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz. brown bottle into a pint glass.

Pours orangey-amber, slightly hazy, with a one-fingered, fluffy off-white head that doesn't stick around too long and leaves trace legs of lacing on the glass.

Bright and vibrant nose is festive and inviting, full of citrus, grapefruit, pine and spruce.

Delicious hop flavors match those in the nose, with perhaps a bit more resin being apparent on the palate, all wrapped around a nicely sweet and somewhat fruity character. Medium-bodied, finishing a little dry with just a bit of resinous bitterness.

Highly drinkable, with each delicious swallow urging another. Very well balanced and a nice winter variant that breaks the mold in typical Rogue fashion.

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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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