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
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Ratings: 2,339 |  Reviews: 1,197
Photo of wingman14
4.1/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Rogue says this is a variation of their St. Rogue Red with double the hops.

Pours a brownish red with a frothy off white head. The smell is hoppy with malty notes. The taste starts hoppy and finishes like a red ale, with some bitter notes. The bitter lingers in the aftertaste along with some malty tones. The mouthfeel is good, the emphasis is on the hops, but still has a good balance in flavor. A different take on an amber ale which is refreshing. This is a easy drinker, definitely worth checking out.

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Photo of irishevans
3.36/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Dark ruby/ amberish in colour, thin head but sticks to the glass nicely, smells like a mildly hoped I.P.A, decent bite like a hoppy red ale, not what i usualy think of when i think winter/holiday brew, and as a red ale a little more hoppy and crisp than normal but not turned into an IPA either, worth a try.

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Photo of Raymond69
4/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours with a nice clear dark red. Good head , some lacing.

Hops on the nose.

Very aggressive hopping , with mainly citrus/grapefruit. Decent malty backbone.

Mouthfeel is medium with some residual sweetness.

Overall a great hoppy seasonal , I'll enjoy drinking a sixer.

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Photo of MMAJYK
3.87/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- The color is a dark, deep copper color. The head is one finger after an agressive pour. It is semi transparent too.

S- The aromas are as follows: Hops first, then a gingery spice smell. I also pick up a buttery nut smell on the end of the nose.

T- Taste is bitter of hops, but also caramel and butterscotch. The taste ends bitter and dry.

M- Oily and mid thin on the tongue. The carb sting is high on the surface of the tongue all over.

D- Surprisingly drinkable. I was not expecting that from a "santa" or winter beer. This one is different than most in a lot of ways though.

Definitely a different spin on the winter releases. This one is more bitter than sweet which is contradictory to most releases. The ABV is also a little bit lower, which makes this a little easier to drink. The dry finish makes you want to take another drink. Very nice brew!

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Photo of edskirk3
3.9/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I find Santa hilarious in the Rogue label template.

Pours into a pint glass amber/red with a cream-colored head. It has staying power and there is some lacing.

Nice toasty bread smell with a pine accent to it.

Quite malty on the palate, nice and toasted. Husky. Dry, hoppy finish reminiscent of spruce. Not too warming but that's not to say it isn't comforting either.

I like what Rogue did here. A "Christmas beer" doesn't necessarily have to be spiced like a fruitcake. This ale is simple and tasty.

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Photo of Gambrinus1184
3.92/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in a 12-ounce bottle from G.W. Tavern in Washington Depot, Conn.

A: Poured a reddish amber with a very nice and sturdy one-finger head of tannish foam. The carbonation is there and the lacing is fairly good also.

S: Smells piny and hoppy; the pine scent is good because I was expecting a winter brew, what with Santa on the label and all. However, I didn't note any other spices that would be in a winter warmer.

T: Clearly not a winter warmer, and it;s good it;s not advertised as such. Instead, I was pleasantly surprised bu the full, caramel malt taste and big-time oily pine hop bite. Tasted like a great winter IPA, almost on par with Sierra Nevada's Celebration Ale.

M: Mouthfeel is thin but slightly oily from the hops. A great balance in the middle, but hops wash it all away.

D: I could drink quite a few of these, as it was a great flavor, nice and warming, and a great hoppy surprise.

It's not the most complex brew you'll come across this winter season, and it might not even be a red ale, but it's a hoppy winter delight.

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Photo of SaintsFan
3.48/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

It's Christmas time, so I'll review a holiday beer for review no. 1

Appearance -- Classic red/amber in color. The initial pour results in a nice, pillowy head with quite a bit of lacing. Nice looking brew.

Smell -- Smells like an APA to me...floral, slightly piney hops predominate.

Taste -- wow...hoppier than I expected. Sort of Celebration Ale-like, with biting hops that linger for quite a while. Definitely enjoyable.

Mouthfeel -- definitely the weakness of this one -- light, and slightly watery. I'm not sure if I've ever had a beer this hoppy which tasted so thin. It isn't bad, but I'd like it to be a little thicker.
Well carbonated.

Drinkability -- sessionable, certainly. A single bomber is probably ideal.

Overall, a fine offering from Rogue. I prefer Celebration Ale to this one, but it is still well worth trying.

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

Served from a bomber.

Tasty beverage. Good amount of flavor, malt, & hops. I didn't pick out any specific flavors, just a great mix.

Not overly strong in any direction, but definitely a good beer. I've always been impressed with Rogue's offerings, but this is definitely one of the best.

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Photo of NitroGen
4.35/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

1 pt. 6 oz. Bomber

A: Reddish amber pours brilliantly translucent, intense off-white two fingers head that very slowly lowers to ½ finger cover and huge lacing.

S: Herbal nose that is floral, roasted grains and a bit of caramel sweetness.

T: Sweet honey and roasted malt that is then overtaken with the slightly bitter hoppy citrus pith.

M: Find this really well balanced with the ying and yang of sweetness at the start and then a myriad of tastes and then an earthy pine and bitter hops ending on the palette.

D: This one is brilliant, one of the best seasonals I have had this year. Will be getting more for the holidays.

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Photo of bark
3.94/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The colour is medium brown/amber; the liquid is clear. The low head is pale beige; it leaves some very fine lacing.

The smell is very hoppy with sweet notes of lemon peels, toffee, oranges, dried apricots and some bitter flavours.

The taste is very hoppy and medium bitter with dry notes of lime, bitter oranges, some fresh herbs and spices, roasted nuts. The very long lasting aftertaste is sour-bitter; I found notes of limes, basilica, oregano, citric acid and a lightly roasted malty taste.

The carbonation is on the stronger side for an ale; the large bubbles are fresh. The liquid is a bit watery, but it suites the flavours quite OK.

A nice and surprisingly hoppy ale, not bad at all!

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

Pours a clear red amber color with a 1 finger off-white head that leaves some lacing.

Smells malty - slightly biscuity - with some piny hops.

I'm enjoying this one more than I thought. Pretty good biscuity maltiness with a respectable level of piny hops here. Finishes with a slight bitterness. A good red, all in all.

Mouthfeel is well carbonated, but not over-carbonated.

Drinkability is very good.

Overall, recommended.

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Photo of Stoneman78
4.45/5  rDev +19%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into a Sam Adams Special Lager glass
A- Pours a deep dark amber red, head is off-white layer of craggy foam that mostly dissipates, thick and sticky lacing from top to bottom
S- Aroma is caramel and toast malts, pine and citrus hops (Chinook & Centennial from the label), touch of butterscotch
T- Initial taste is surprisingly hops-forward for an amber, caramel malts fill out the backbone, touch of molasses, finishes with dry hops
M- Medium/full-bodied ale, oily texture, lively carbonation
D- Rogue definitely has the market cornered on hoppy red ales, this is a delicious amber that is easy to drink and within the session range, I could drink this all night long if only I had several more. . .

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Photo of elmore
3.35/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: poured a deep amber color from a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass. Thick fluffy head with decent retention and a good amount of lace down the glass.

S: strong citrusy, piney scent.

T: Strong hop flavor up front with a bitter dry aftertaste with very minimal malt sweetness. No detectable alcohol.

M: Somewhat watery with medium carbonation.

D: Low alcohol and light crisp body make this a very drinkable beer.

Overall a decent beer and very drinkable. Not typical for a winter warmer beer - no real spice flavor, which is not a bad thing, but not what I expected. I like a little bit of a alcohol burn to warm me up in the winter, which this didn't have.

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

22 oz bomber, served in a pint glass.

A - red/amber color with a big fluffy beige head that hung on for most of the glass, leaving globs of sticky lace.

S - sweet citrus and pine hop aromas.

T - good hoppy flavor bites at first balanced off by mellow malt flavor finishing dry and bitter.

M - light bodied, seemed watery on first sip, but this seemed to improve through the session. carbonation was light as well.

D - this beer grew on me as I drank it and I will have it again this holiday season.

Final Note: I believe in Santa Claus!

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Photo of briman
3.8/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served from bottle into standard pint glass.

Pours a medium dark reddish copper color. About a half inch cream colored head, with excellent retention, setting into decent lacing.

Aroma has toasted malts, pine, along with orange and tangerine citrus.

Flavor is hoppy throughout. Some slightly sweet toasted malt peeks out, but there really isn't any citrus coming out. Big bitter finish, some pine & some floral components lasting well into the aftertaste.

Medium body, moderate carbonation. Good balance, but hops dominate. Kind of in between a strong ale and an IPA. Not really enough malt presence for a strong ale. Can't really say it's an IPA either in my opinion, since even though it has citrus in the nose, surprisingly there isn't really any in the flavor. I think it's a fairly decent, but not really complex beer, with a heavy bitter finish. Pretty easy to drink, but not too sure I would have more than one in a sitting.

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Photo of BeerBelcher
3.3/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured nicely and had a very pleasant citrus-hop aroma, but I felt a bit let-down by its flavor, which while good, was not citrus-y and a bit watery.

This beer poured a clear coppery-color which was brilliant and sparkling with nice sticky lacing. Aroma was of citrus hoppiness with a nice malt backing. Compared to appearance and aroma (both I thought were quite nice), taste was a bit of a disappointment, but still OK. It had a nice clean bitterness with a bit of wateryness and a minimal amount of discernable citrusness. Mouthfeel was a bit more watery than I would've preferred.

Still, a strong beer and definitely recommended.

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

12 oz bottle dedicated to the rogue in each of us, poured into a pint glass. No born on/drink by date, but given it's holiday release and low alcohol those dates are pretty easy to figure out.

A really nice ruby red color that almost resembles cranberry juice frames up two fingers of really nice off-white head. The head dissipates slowly and evenly, leaving a real sticky lacing on the glass. Some initial carbonation present, but that slowly dies out.

Smells good...if it was an IPA. Really a lot of pine flavors in the nose along with some hops and some underlying caramel malt sweetness that almost has a hint of butterscotch present in it. Not a bad smelling beer, just not what I had expected.

And to be honest, the taste really isn't what I expected either. It almost tastes like Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale light; not aged, because there is some hop bitterness, but light. The floral hop presence is there, but it isn't a pronounced or attacking. A nice pine needle finish, some sweetness on the tip of the tongue and an almost raspberry seltzer/club soda on the mid palate. Not half raspberry half seltzer, but the America's Choice brand that has raspberry flavoring in it. Nice logical progression of flavors.

There is some nice mouthfeel going on here. Some pleasing carbonation, some refreshing qualities, not bogged down with spices like a lot of winter beers plus is comes with a real crisp finish. Does not really get a lot of the palate involved; pretty focused on the tongue, front to back, not much else. From front to back it's a smooth beer to drink; the hops and pine don't really hit you until the finish. Probably one of, if not the best made beer of both the Winter Brew series and one of the better made American Amber's.

Drinkability is pretty solid. It's got some finishing characteristics that might make this beer not so appealing for some people. But there are a lot of people who if they don't at least like this beer, they will be able to appreciate and respect this beer for what it is; a super well made, super easy to drink seasonal beer that is not full of spices. Really light, almost too light, kind of wished it had a little warming alcohol, given it's winter release and all, but now we're just nitpicking. Top to bottom a solid, solid beer. It's quietly and unassumingly one of the better ones out there, and there are a ton of Amber's, a ton of IPA's and a ton of Winter releases that could learn something from this beer.

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

Currently in my top two for holiday beers along with Sierra Celebration. Definately a good beer to have in the winter time for those who like beer to taste like beer.
Pours amber brown with a white/tan head that stays slightly present as I drink. The aroma first hits me with citrusy and piney hops balanced with slightly roasted malt, not very complex but good. Flavor is similar with sweet roasty malt flavors and medium hop flavor and bitterness. A very balanced and drinkable beer.

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

Poured from a 22 oz bottle to a pint glass. The liquid is a clear dark reddish amber with good carbonation. The head is smallish a little over one finger, off white and leaves little to no lace.

The smell is hoppy with some good malty goodness.

The taste is good kinda like a Yulesmith little brother. We have a good malty back bone of caramel and fruit, and a whole lot of hops.

Th mouthfeel is good medium body and nice carbonation.

The drinkability is good. goes own nice the beer as a whole is good and the parts ar just as nice. It just lacks any characteristic that sends it over the top. I will keep hunter for something else. MK

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Photo of pmcadamis
4.35/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The Santa on my bottle is a bit more slender and menacing looking than the one on the BA avatar bottle, and he's not doing the Rogue "Black Panther" fist raise or anything. He just looks a little miffed....musta just had a fight with Mrs Claus or something.

A - Dark amber brew, slightly hazy, with a nice fluffy two finger head floating on top. Looks appetizing!

S - Smells a lot like a really strong IPA to me. Loads of pine and wood hop notes along with some sugary but firm malt notes. Smells a lot like SN Celebration Ale to me.

T - Again, I really think that this is an IPA and not an amber ale. It's much too aggressively hopped to be a nice mellow amber is reddish in hue though. Big time pine...almost more than any other hoppy beer that I've had. This is nicely malted with touches of cinnamon and a little brown sugar too.

M - Full bodied, aggressive attack, with a nice super-dry piney finish. This has a major Christmas tree vibe going on.

D - Really nice! I'm always pleased when someone does a Christmas beer / winter warmer that is stylistically off the beaten track. This really does remind me of SN Celebration Ale though...but I think I like this a little bit better!

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Photo of ccrida
3.25/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

22 oz. bomber poured into a nonic, Santa's Private Reserve is a copper shaded amber with a large, tight, long-lasting light tan head that is slow to subside and leaves sheets of thick lace. Very nice.

Smell is all PNW hops, balanced by a nice gingerbread like maltiness. Really yummy, this reminds me a lot of Lagunitas's Mondo Amber, which I love.

Taste is really disappointing after those great looks and fantastic smell. So much more subdued, thin really, just another bland American amber, heavy on the bitterness, but very lacking in the hop and malt flavor that comes across in the aroma. Not bad, but a big let down. Actually, I've had this on draught at their Issaquah pub, and thought the exact same thing then, although I think the aroma is better from the bottle, especially since this one's so new and fresh.

Mouthfeel is oily and watery.

Drinkability was on the lower side. The looks and smell and great, and it was all downhill from there. I basically just wanted to smell it instead of drink more. A bit on the weak side for a winter offering.

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

The spouse brought home a bottle of this for me about a week ago. Decided to try it right away as I haven't had anything from Rogue before.

It poured a nice classical red, caramel color with a healthy, if not particuarly rocky, head. Nice lacing left on the glass as I let it settle and warm a bit. Strong hops aroma coming out of the glass, creating anticipation of dry and bitter--the only place I know where that's a good thing. Taste is quite heavy of malt, the hops are actually quite subdued. Rather the opposite of what I expected, and I'm not sure I like it. Must drink more to be certain...

Must give this one time to breathe, I thought to myself. Further tastes give way to a pronounced nuttiness. It tastes to me like someone added almonds to my beer. Now if you like almonds, which I do, it's a good thing. If you don't, well--not your beer, then.

The bottle describes the taste as a "roasty malt flavor with a hoppy, sprucy finish." While I don't dispute the first part, the second might be a bit suspect to me. I get a little bit of dryness in the mouthfeel, but for taste, the hops just seem buried. Especially when you consider how well they come through by smell at first pour. The alcohol comes through a little in the mouth but seems fairly mild. I wonder if this one will sneak up on me?

With continued samples, and more time in the glass, the hops starts to come forward more. It still doesn't seem as pronounced to me as other reviewers have found it. Sometimes I wonder if I'm tasting the same beer. Of course, my idea of a good, hoppy beer, has the word double or Imperial at the front, so take that as a caveat.

Overall, I would drink this beer again. Not bad, I am a bit disappointed in the missing hops, since they were so pronounced at first whiff, I expected them to be right up there on the tongue. Instead I had to search a bit for them. Still, the flavor isn't bad and it finishes well. It's a much better introduction to their products than some other brewers have given me, and I'll look for some of their other wares in the future.

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Photo of joekfsu
3.67/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle. Pours a cloudy amber with a thin off white head that is mostly lasting. Aroma is gingerbread and a little spice. Initial flavor is balanced between citrusy hops, caramel malts, and a hint of pine. Aftertaste is dominated by the bitter hops. Light to medium body.

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Photo of Traquairlover
3.8/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12-oz bottle poured into a pint glass

A = Good clarity, medium reddish, brown. Thick tan head, dissipated relatively quickly leaving thin lacing.

S = Pine, grapefruit, bark. Good hops and some slight sweetness of caramel.

T = Fair amount of bitterness, hops predominate, slight taste of pine and caramel as in the smell. A little thin tasting.

M = Good medium body with pleasant carbonation.

D = Not too hoppy, could serve as a nice relaxer by the fire.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
3.01/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle from the Boise Coop purchased for around $1.50. Enjoyed from a red wine glass while listening to Renaissance Worldwide Singapore; BT mix.

Big head floats for a short time over a deep clear amber.... lacing lingers on the sides of the glass for the entire time.

Aroma is hop dominant; big citrus shadowed by pine ... descent caramel balanced the hops ... barely.

Taste is the same though more balanced .... sorta thin though. A little oily hoppiness that I like.

Descent beer from a good brewery ... though it seems a little too much like many of their other beers. I am not really badmouthing Rogue; I really like most of their other high-end brews, but alot of the stuff in 12oz'ers is not real distinctive.

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