Santa's Private Reserve Ale | Rogue Ales

Santa's Private Reserve AleSanta's Private Reserve Ale
Liked This Beer
3.74 w/ 2,339 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

User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 2,339 |  Reviews: 1,197
Photo of Sixpoint
3.4/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I don't get it...

it was labeled a "special reserve" ale, so I was thinking it was going to be a tasty treat.

Don't get me wrong, like all of Rogue beers, this brew was technically flawless and pretty sound all around.

However, that being said, it was a pretty standard Amber ale and nothing special about it.

It seems as if Santa only comes around once a year his special reserve ale would be a little more "special"

know what I'm sayin?

 443 characters

Photo of ryrust5301
3.24/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured out of a 12 oz. brown bottle into a pint glass. On the front there's a happy looking santa giving the rogue fist pump. When I opened the bottle the beer foamed up and spilled out a little bit. This is the third bottle that has happened with this year. Wonder if this has happened to anyone else?

Appearance - Poured a redish amber color with a healthy 2 finger clumpy white head.

Smell - Weird...I hardly picked up any nose with this one at all

Taste & Mouthfeel - This beer has a malty, chewy, sweet caramel body. Smooth most of the way until the end, when a hop bitterness comes through to help finish off the beer cleanly.

Drinkability - A little more malty than hoppy. I expected a lot more hops from Rogue. It is a christmas beer, and the sweet maltyness is perfect for the season. Not a bad winter brew to sip on.

 830 characters

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

Review from notes. 12 oz bottle poured into a flared pint glass. Copper colored with a light tan head of about a finger's height. The foam leaves modest lacing. Great aroma for the style, with ample maltiness and spicy hops. Flavor consists of a fairly standard malt profile, with grainy toasty sweetness, but it's the hops that push this above average. Just about every possible hop character in existence is detectable, with grapefruit, pine, floweriness, and spiciness. Finish is bitter and dry. Smooth and easy to drink.

 524 characters

Photo of charlzm
2.92/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottled, consumed on 01/29/08.

Had this chilling in the fridge for a couple of months; figured it was time to try it out. Pours cloudy orange/amber, tan head. Strong grapefruity hop aroma. Flavor is the same with bitterness as well. I couldn't make out any malt character or anything from the yeast. Just citrus hops. Okay, maybe a tiny hint of spruce hoppiness, too.

One dimensional hop juice.

 398 characters

Photo of Matty1918
3.76/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a frosted pint glass.

Poured a dark amber with a 3 finger creamy head that lasted about 2 minutes...good lacing down the whole glass.

Aroma was of hops and malt.

Taste was of hops but not overly hoppy like a good IPA. There was also a slight malt flavor with a slight nutty finish...good tasting.

This was a good tasting ale not as hoppy as I like but good tasting non the less.

I do wish they would put a date on the bottle also.

 448 characters

Photo of BigJTrucker
4.21/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked up this 12oz bottle on a recent trip to Newport. Pours an absolutely beautiful deep amber color with a thick creamy head. Excellent head retention. Aroma is very hoppy, but not to ipa level. Some malt and yeast notes as well. Taste is surprisingly hoppy. Wow. Very nice. Nice caramel malt sweetness. Mouthfeel is very thick, sticky, lingering aftertaste. Quite a nice brew. I tried a special version of this before at the holiday ale festival that was either dry hopped, or barrel aged, or both, and find that i liked that one just a bit more. Well done.

 561 characters

Photo of udubdawg
4.38/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bomber

(side note - put some f***ing dates on your bottles! I've had too many bad experiences with bottles of this otherwise-wonderful beer that were obviously left over from a year ago!)

Pours bright red/copper in color, excellent clarity. Forms a large creamy head just a little too yellow to call off-white. Lacing is fantastic over the entire side I'm not drinking out of.

The nose, even when fresh, is a small disappoint for me. I suppose as an amber it is excellent, but it drinks like a hoppier beer and i'd like it to smell as such. Anyway, there's some bready/biscuity sweet malt here, with surprisingly little initially from the hops. This would change as the beer warmed, eventually the aroma would be full of a citrusy, herbal, oily fresh hoppiness. Just hints at the bitterness to come. Nice.

Excellent flavor. Bitterness is right up front - I've seen several people caught off-guard by the flavor of this beer. quite the hop profile - There's pine, more than a bit of an herbal quality, and plenty of citrus, mostly grapefruit. When sampling an old bottle I see how much malt sweetness there is in this beer, but when opened in a more timely manner it is quite well covered up, mostly showing as a sweet/bitter lingering reminder in the finish.
Creamy soft, excellent. Medium body. Borderline "5" in mouthfeel.
I generally try to buy this beer in bomber size, as I hate the disappointment of opening one 12-oz bottle and realizing I've got 5 more old bottles to throw away. If I could be assured of freshness I'd buy this beer at least twice as often.

 1,583 characters

Photo of FleeVT
3.68/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

1 pt. 6 fl.oz. brown bottle

A: Slightly clouded, toffee colored amber with an off-white head. Leaves nice lacing when settled.
S: Not too much here. A mix of malt and hops overpower a nutty backdrop.
T: Hops dominate the taste. This is a bitter ale. The malt cuts the bitterness briefly, revealing a delicate citrus sweetness, but this is a bitter ale.
M: Light to medium bodied with heavy carbonation.
D: In case it isn't obvious, this was a little too bitter for me. I'm not sure if it is out of character for an American Amber, so I may revisit.

 550 characters

Photo of plaid75
3.66/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a medium amber hue with a two finger creamy white head. There was very good retention and sticky lacing.

The smell featured a light caramel malt, some citrus and grassy hops and a bit of a metallic aroma.

The taste was initially sweet and grainy, but soon gave way to the a spicy and rindlike hop.

The mouthfeel was of average fullness with a bitter finish.

Overall a tasty amber. Could use a bit more complexity however.

 432 characters

Photo of stcules
3.7/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Ruby red color. Half finger of a beige head, not too beautiful. Well, quite compact. Decent.
Malty smell, quickly subdued by a goo hoppiness. Almost spicy notes, and vanilla. Some mou. Good hop, good balance.
A full malty start in the taste, not heavy. And again hop and bitterness. Resolute, but not overwhelming. Maybe notes of heather? Nuts, almond, dry fruit. But even some fresh fruitiness, apricot.Full body, but not too much.
Overall, quite fresh, and quite balanced.
Good, but not in the best of Rogue.

 510 characters

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

12oz bottle purchased from Downtown Wines in Cambridge, MA. Pours a daark, clear ruby. Aroma isn't overwhelming, but is of very nice hops. Flavour is well balanced. Myself, I'd prefer the hops to be a bit more dominant - but then not everything has to be an IPA. Nice lingering hoppy aftertaste.

 295 characters

Photo of yourefragile
3.73/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle poured into a pint glass

A: Clear brownish amber/copper with a very nice looking head. Off white/pale tan, very fluffy lots of little bubbles with great retention and lacing.
S: Malty with faint hop smell, I'm having trouble picking up anything more specific from this beer.
T: Mild malt taste throughout, not as strong as smell would suggest. Slightly piney and a little citrus as hops are very strong and take over in the finish.
M: Medium body, very creamy, but a little too much carbonation for me.
D: I feel pretty indifferent toward this beer. A slightly overhopped amber for my taste, biggest complaint was not getting enough of the malt sweetness to balance the hops.

 690 characters

Photo of irishkyle21
4.5/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is one of the better winter seasonals I have had so far. Pours with a large rocky head. Great retention and lacework. Has a clear copper color.

This beer has a solid hop presence that caught me be surprise when I gave it a sniff. Notes of grapefruit, pine and malts (almost like toast).

Tastes of pine, citrus, bready malts and caramel. Great beer I should have bought more.

 381 characters

Photo of 86sportster883
4.13/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I was impressed with Santa's Private Reserve from outset to finish.

When cold, strong piney hop aromas and slightly bitter hop flavors dominate. Initially, the fragrant and citrusy hops remind me more of a mild West Coast IPA than an American amber. However, as the beer warms, the malt flavors become more assertive to begin to achieve a more even balance. The hops never do loose the upper hand though, even as the beer approaches room temperature. At the warmer temps there is a good dose of caramel malt throughout, followed by a finish that is pleasant, with a lingering dose of gentle hop bitterness.

Overall, Santa's Private Reserve is very drinkable, very Northwest American, and just another all around excellent ale from John Maier.

 746 characters

Photo of babyhobbes
3.83/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I poured this and thought, where's the head, darnit! Answered the phone and came back to a nice 1/2 inch creamy head that now won't go away. It's all good.

Taste is really pine-tree hoppy to me. It's good and doesn't linger. It's not like sucking on a pine-cone. I get a more malty scent than the taste lets on.

This is a highly drinkable beer because there isn't a whole lot going on. Seems like a pale ale not a red ale, maybe I need to try more red ales to get a better idea about them. Whatever this is, I like it.

 520 characters

Photo of Durge
3.75/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Clear dark copper with big light tan head and medium lace. It has a fruit nougat aroma with toffee malt and light pine hops. It's relatively light bodied, finely but solidly carbonated, peppery biscuit flavor with an odd suggestion of mild fish! Roasted malt and a touch of charcoal at the back. Pretty drinkable once I got by that hint of flounder!

2009 Update:
A light mahogany color with a chunky oatmeal colored head and tons of thick lacing. The aroma is a nice mild malt and piney hops with a goodly pissy bitterness. The flavor brings a tangy bite to the tongue with clean wheat malt and pine with good carbonation but a tad thin. Smooth though and very drinkable. Grows on you as you go I think. Nothing particularly Christmasy here, a nice drinkable hoppy brew.

 772 characters

Photo of ReDave
3.63/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark amber brown.
Nice hoppy bite.
Nice aftertaste.
I was given this by someone at work who said this was "bad" I though he he.. probably not that bad... This is almost a sprucy IPA.
Probably a little past it's prime, but still very drinkable!
Some holiday spices (?) great lacing, lingering filmy head. mouth-feel a little light, but OK.
Will have to seek this out next year!

 376 characters

Photo of BMan1113VR
3.37/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Not the biggest fan of this stuff. The aroma is pretty nice, equally bready malts and spruce or resin hops. And some Rasberry and Apricot smells to that. Color is more a clear brown than an amber, maybe copper. The Tan colored head is largish and stays a bit. Lacing is only Okay. Taste is nutty and malty and too bitter for my liking with a lack of character to the bite. Astringent and unbalanced. The mouth feel is a mixture of sandpaper carbonation and water texture. I'll pass on this next time.

 500 characters

Photo of mountdew1
3.28/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into standard shaker pint glass. Color was a dark slightly reddish brown. Head was very thick and long lasting, clung to the sides of the glass the entire time. Smelt slightly sweet, but with noticeable spruce also. Taste initially reminded me of chocolate chip cookies, but then shifted to hops and spruce. Felt ok in the mouth. It didn't coat very well, and was slightly carbonated. I didn't find it to be very drinkable as the hops and spruce made it bitter and acidic.

 479 characters

Photo of ballewblake
3.41/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Not fluent on all the Rogue's so not sure why i was expected something totally different (was thinking sweet for a winter ale...). Poured into a pint glass, immediately lots of piny hops float the noise. Head was decent but fell pretty quick for me. Hoppy and lightly bitter on the tongue. I love hoppy brews but this one was some what off for me, not in a rush to sample it again.

 381 characters

Photo of DoubleJ
4.1/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bomber purchased from BevMo, and poured into an Oktoberfest mug, on to the beer:

An excepionally sized head sits on top of the red-amberish colored beer. The aroma is big on the hops and the tropical juicy flavors it brings along. It looks like it's going to be a monster of a beer to get down, but isn't. Lots of hoppiness to be found in the taste, which is tea-like. Burnt sugar, wood, and a light fruitiness are found in the crowd. Faint doughiness in the aftertaste. Not a very carbonated brew, but a good one to quaff on.

 527 characters

Photo of iasanlee
3.65/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours a amber brown color. 2 fingers of tan creamy head, and some nice lacing.

S- Hoptastic, pine. Wonderful malt notes.

T- Hop bitterness imediately. Grapefruit second. A good pineapple flavor, and sweet malt.

M- Medium carbonation on the tongue. Medium bodied. Lingering hop flavor.

D- Not my style, but I do appreciate what they were going after.

 356 characters

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

Rogue Santa's Private Reserve pours a brilliant dark amber with a one inch fluffy head. The smell is strongly hopped and very evident in the taste as well. A slight hop bitterness lingers in the aftertaste. Mouthfeel is highly carbonated, but it does go down smooth. Overall this is good beer to drink, however its bitterness is a point that slightly detracts from its drinkability.

 382 characters

Photo of Jmamay22
4/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is the last bottle of a six pack. For some reason this one gushed out on me, but I saw it coming and managed to save it in my new Boston Lager glass. The hard landing created a large head that faded leaving a beautiful rocky sea foam lace. The beer itself is a cloudy dark amber.

This is a fairly well hopped American Amber and it shows in the nose, but there is also an aggressive amount of malts to round things out nicely. A mix of biscuits and citrus hop oil.

Tastes smooth, nutty and sweet at the start. Finishes with a sharp zip of the hops. Not your stereotypical Christmas ale, but this is Rogue and they do hops well as they have hear.

Mouthfeel is medium with a surprisingly creamy quality. At 6.0% this becomes drinkable on some of the more bitterly cold evenings, but it will catch up to you. A Pacific Northwest Holiday ale.

 846 characters

Photo of DefenCorps
4.04/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12Oz bottle poured into my Duvel tulip

A: A reddish-amber with a thin light tan head that dissipates quickly. A little cloudier than I'd like.

S: The nose is pretty much hops - fruity pine with a strong caramel backbone. The bitterness comes out towards the end. Nice!

T: There is a definite caramel and toffee presence but the hop astringency is a little higher than i'd like - a little more muted and it'd be great. Right before the hops kick in, I taste a nice nuttiness.

M:Pleasant, lively cleaning carbonation

D: Nothing to complain about here

 553 characters

Santa's Private Reserve Ale from Rogue Ales
Beer rating: 59.7% out of 100 with 2,339 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.