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 ericj551
4.24/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I picked this up for only $1.99, probably since its a little out of season. I don't think its too far off from Christmas for it to be fresh. Appearence is a hazy deep red with a wispy head and a lot of clinging lacing. Aroma is amazing, rich sweet dark fruits, caramel, toffee. It smells like a barleywine. Taste is a dry maltiness, the same dark fruits as in the aroma, but more subdued, as well as plenty of bitterness. There is a light roasted flavor in the finish that works really well with the grapefruit citrus flavor of the Chinook hops. Some people complain that Rogue beers are over the top with hops, but I think they ussually manage some balance, like in this beer.

 677 characters

Photo of objectivemonkey
4.01/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Into a pint glass, pours a dark copper amber, real nice head that never breaks, from a finger to a thin foam, spiderwebbing lacing down the glass. Aroma is on the faint side but nice, a dominant sweet caramelized malt, good hopping of citrus character with piney, spicy hints.

The hops get more bittering effect in the taste, good bunch of piney, resinous hop oils swimming about. The malts take a step back from the nose, still sweet and delectable, but even as it warms the hops desire more attention, becoming more dominant, more lively, more bitter, more better. Somewhere between the abundant carbonation and medium body, it feels a bit too light at times, kind of a funny thing for a beer named after Santa, but otherwise its a smooth brew, tasty, and one I'd definitely drink again.

 792 characters

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

Poured from a 10oz bottle into a Ruination glass. The appearance was real nice, especially the thick foam cake. It looked just like the yeast cake on top of fermenting ale. mmmm....

By all measures other than appearance I felt this beer to be slightly above average but not stellar. It seemed to be made form the house yeast, giving a similar aroma / flavor as many other Rogues. The flavor was a little toasty and a little caramel, body was nominal viscosity.

Easy call for a recent convert from mass-produced lagers, maybe not a gateway beer but more of a second stop after the gateway.

 595 characters

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

Appearance: A big huge pillowy air head, almost like a root beer float head without the cream. Reddish copper in color and big lacing.

Smell: Big malty nose with a nice blast of hops. Hops are sprucey just like the bottle points out. Sweetness is like dark fruits. Figs and dried fruits.

Taste: Chinook and Centennial hops try to balance out the big maltiness. There's a unique roasted maltiness that is sort of like a liquid trail mix, roasted but sweet.

Mouthfeel: Medium mouthfeel with tingling on the tongue.

Drinkability: A good winter ale for when you need a break from the big winter beers.

 609 characters

Photo of bjohnson
3.68/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to dubbercody for sending this along to me. Bottle says Salmon Nation Ale, but the bros say this is an alias for Santa's Reserve.

Pours a deep dark chestnut reddish color with a soft frothlike one finger cream colored head. For some reason the fat man's red nose and white beard just came to mind. Excellent malt profile with some sweet caramel and toasted grain notes. Slight hop profile of grassy hops, but not much else in that department.

Caramel malt notes are the first to hit the taste buds. Toasted grain flavors intermix with the sweet malt giving it a slight crispness. Slick on the palate leaving a sweet residue. Grassy hops with a tad of fruitiness to them. Quite drinkable, though I wasn't too thrilled with it. It was definitely nice, with a hefty malt base, but didn't wow me. Medium to full body.

 826 characters

Photo of jasonjlewis
3.68/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Beer has a good head that stays around for quite a while. It has a nice amber color to it as well. Smell is of chinook and centennial hops (commonly found in stone beers, and I know to identify them because they smell similar to stone hops.) Caramel malting comes out as well.

Taste is fairly hoppy although bitterness is not that high. Hops are in the forefront with a light malt profile attempting to balance this brew, yet take a backseat, while still providing a sessionable beer. Didn't really achieve this balance as the hops dominated and the malts struggled to much to stay alive. However there is a maltiness to the beer, it just doesn't seem to blend with the hopping.

The mouthfeel could be improved with some more crispness and fullness. This beer was a little too one sided for me for the style. I love hoppy beers (again this is not that bitter), but i would have liked to see more of a malt backbone to make this more sessionable.

 951 characters

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

Tawny red color with sweet head architecture. Off white, and billowy, eventually diminishes to about a half inch and persists the length of the beer. Citrusy Chinook hop oil in the aroma, also some sweet brown malt.

The flavor somewhat surprised me with its mildness. I know that this would be an extreme beer in a lot of countries, but this is the land of hard livers, Big feet and triple IPA. More Hops Maier didn't outdo himself with this beer, although I personally enjoy it a great deal. Distinctive hop profile and balanced nicely, almost like an overhopped nut brown ale (the lack of hoppiness being my chief complaint with nut browns).

Not quite a session beer, not quite a nightcap. It's a great beer to 'spruce' up the appetite and to cleanse the palate after a digestif. One note: although the hopping is not overpowering for a left coast micro, an oily pine taste does persist. If you're at the bar I would recommend a glass of water or some salted nuts or something.

 986 characters

Photo of woemad
4.32/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle purchased at Huckleberry's a few weeks ago. I think I paid $1.49 for it, but it might have been more.

Poured a clear, dark amber/copper color, with a 1 1/2 " beige head and lots of small bubbles shooting skyward. Medium amount of lace.

Big, sprucy hop scent, with a subordinate caramell smell hding in the background. This smells like it just might be a hoppy seasonal beer.

Definitely a hoppy seasonal beer. The hops are not rampaging all over the palate - the caramel sweetness of the malts, while dialed down below the hops, are enough to provide a contrasting balance, and are not sweet enough to seem cloying, by any means. The fadeout is a very pleasing dryness. Still, this being marketed as a Christmas beer (hey, freakin' Santa's on the label!) made me think this would be a little more traditional, with some spices thrown into the mix.

This is a little thinner than I thought it would be, but not to an unpleasant degree. Definitely an oily mouthfeel to this one.

A very tasty beer, though not quite what I was expecting. Now that I know it's a piney hop dominated amber ale, I would still drink this again. This beer might come as a shock for someone who thought this would be an amber like a Redhook, though.

 1,253 characters

Photo of jeremiahjsmith
3.73/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - clean, clear amber/copper with a thick off-white head and some lacing. A very pretty beer.

S - strong pine/spruce hops character overlaying nutmeg and burnt sugar. Festive and enticing.

T - more piney taste accompanying lasting bitterness that almost overwhelms the malt. Finely balanced, almost to the point of complete cancellation, leaving a ghost of an impression of an aftertaste, but what is there is flatly bitter and not exactly awesome. Slight caramel, subtle spiciness.

M - very light for such a dark-hued beer. Palate-cleansing, refreshing even.

D - a bit too bitter and alcoholic for a session beer. Still, very good, and a couple of these would always be welcome in my fridge.

 705 characters

Photo of biking4beer
3.33/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2006 edition. 12oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

I poured this one a little aggressively, and it definitely foamed up as a result. Eventually in diminished to a 1 finger frothy head that stuck around until the drinking began. The color was a deep amber almost ruby. Slight copper. This is a very attractive beer.

Smell is mostly of piney hops with some butter aroma coming though.

Taste is almost singularly bitter hops of the grapefruit tasting variey. In fact, that was really about all I could taste. Kind of surprising considering this one has a few months on it now.

The carbonation level was good for the style and it had a decent thickness. I could kick back a couple of these pretty easily, but I don't think I would pick it over some other low ABV ales. Definitely worth a once a year taste, I can't imagine that ol Saint Nick stashes this deep in his cellar for special occasions.

 905 characters

Photo of jmbranum
4.05/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A very interesting beer. Extremely potent hop aroma that jumps out at you from first whiff. The appearance reminds of strong iced tea without ice, but with a giant head that settles down into an uneven fluffy head.

The flavor is a weird hodge-podge. Probably the closest comparison would be to the more hoppy years of Sierra Nevada's Our Special Ale, but with even more hops. The malt notes are present but for a Christmas seasonal I would prefer them to be more dominant. I also would have enjoyed more spiciness that is common with the style.

If you're a hophead though, this beer is quite the gem, with lots of bitter sprucy-tasting notes.

 648 characters

Photo of hero27
3.58/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle.
Poured into my "Santa's Private Reserve" glass. Nice to use this baby again..

Looks amazing. Bold bronze color. For whatever reason, the head generated by this brew is about as thick of froth you can get on a beer. Quite hoppy..but not quite as pungent as I remembered in the past, but isn't that always the way things are? Heavy caramel malts..hop flavors stick with this one long after each sip, yet not an extremely thick brew. Dry finish. I remember this being a bit better a few years back, but still a staple red ale from Rogue that delivers on the hoppiness..The fact that Santa always has rosy cheeks leads me to believe he drinks this fairly often.

 675 characters

Photo of cheers2beers
3.26/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a light hazy brown / dull ruby hue with a rocky tan head that stacked up quite nicely. Lightly laced and many columns can be found floating within.

Smell: The aromas is almost tea-like, biscuity, faint floralness, and a light maltiness. A hint of alcohol is noticed.

Taste: This beer has some sweet fruity malts and a crisp hop profile as well. A little nutty flavor is detected. This has a good clean taste but nothing really stands out to me.

Mouthfeel: Thinner side of medium bodied and this has a good amount of carbonation. Almost spritzy at first then settles to a bubbley finish.

Drinkability: I could drink a few of these with ease. It goes down easy, tastes good, and is an all around sessionable kind of beer. A must try, but nothing to crave.


 801 characters

Photo of treehugger02010
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I purchased this 22 ounze bottle from the Foodery in Center City Philadelphia, Pa. I poured it into a 24ish ounze bottle.
Appearance: It poured a brown color, what I thought was interesting was that there was no other adjectives to describe the brown, it was just that, brown. The head was huge and thick, very thick with a nice egg shell color. The head retention was above good, but great. The lacing was very thick and sticky
Smell: There was the obvious hop overtones, but what I thought was cool, was that it was so well blended. There were nice sweet malty undertones.
Taste: The majority of my palate was stimulated by nothingness. Again, another unique aspect was that the rear corners of my mouth were stimulated with the hops.
Mouthfeel: This had an oddly smooth taste. I was rather pleasently suprised at how easy this went down for such a hoppy ale.
Drinkability: This has a very high drinkability.
Don't drink and review.

 940 characters

Photo of Daehpoh
3.93/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass

Pour left a nice off-white head with good retention. Color was a nice amber-brown. Strong hop aroma for a winter style. Floral hops and caramel malts. This tastes like a winter IPA. Medium feel and body, as well as relatively low abv, leads to high drinkability. I love the strong hop profile in this brew and look forward to sampling future vintages.

 392 characters

Photo of cooncat
4.3/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Serving from a 2006 vintage 22 oz. bomber bottle. Reviewed on Feb. 9, 2007.

A moderate pour produced a very nice sized frothy looking off-white head that has good retention. Lacing is evident on the side of the glass, all the way to the bottom of the brew. I would call the color a deep amber/copper, with great clarity. The nose is mostly a malty bready/caramel mix, with a hint of piney hops in the background. Taste is very full, and while very malty, it is well balanced with hops. It has a medium to full mouthfeel, which is perfect for a beer described as a "Winter Warmer" (though at only 6% abv, there is no warming sensation in the belly). This is one Very drinkable beer, and would easily make a good session beer, given its moderate alcohol content.

Two thumbs up for this brew, another fine offering from Rogue Ales.


 845 characters

Photo of bradybeer
4.45/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A= Light red
S=As it warms a nice hop aroma comes through
T=Nice hop bitterness
D= A good sessoon beer with medium mouthfeel and body

Picked up a case at COSTCO around xmas and have been working on it since. I was not impressed at first-but as the beer as aged I think it has improved. Could drink more than a few of these at a time

 348 characters

Photo of Maestro
4.8/5  rDev +27%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This beer is amazing. I love a really hoppy, red ale. I have only found a few of these. The appearance is very dark red, with a frothy, tan head. The nose is chock full o' hops and biscuity malts. The taste is a classic red ale flavor, but with an awesome amount of Pacific Northwest Hops. Mouthfeel is full and has a nice bit. Drinkability...keep 'em coming.

 359 characters

Photo of Vancer
2.78/5  rDev -26.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Ho da hody ho. A deep amber pour, nice lacey little ivory head. Lots of malt with a pop of floral in the aroma. The taste really had a big push of pine and grass. Some coriander spice helped, but the overall taste was off for me.

Not enough malt to balance out the harsh hops. Dry and bitter in the finish. I had no problem finishing this, but was not generally pleased and will not seek another bottle.

 407 characters

Photo of rhoadsrage
4.64/5  rDev +22.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

(Served in a tulip glass)

A- This beer has a deep reddish brown body that is a bit dense but glows in the light. There is a thick bubbly light tan head that sticks to the glass forming a meniscus. There is a strong carbonation of big bubbles that rise in strands to the surface.

S- This beer has a big sweet toasted malt aroma a nice caramel malt smell and a hint of dark malt in the background. The malt smell is big and rich like that of sweet boiling wort.

T- the sweet big malt flavor is mostly toasted malt both light and dark with a caramel flavor coming through and increasing as the beer warms. There is a faint buttery note in the malt and a hint of dark roasted malt in the background. The big bitter bite of hops has a dry grapefruit quality that finishes the beer nicely.

M- This beer has a medium mouthfeel and a pretty smooth texture to the finish.

D- This beer has lots of great sweet malt depth with a nice balance of hop bitterness to make it very drinkable. This will be great on winter nights I don't feel like leaving the house.

 1,067 characters

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

A hard pour of this rosewood colored beer produces aromas of tea, ale fruit, dark stone fruit, red cherries, blackberry, baked bread. Amazing eggshell colored frapped rootbeer float style head that totally laces the glass.

Taste is more tea with a chewy amber malt body, metallic red ale twang, and floral to spicy hop bitter in the drying finish. This is definately a refreshing take on X-mas beer and this drinks way too easy.

 432 characters

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

i've had this kicking around for a while, hope it's not too old

pours a pretty clear deep brownish amber color. it's pretty dark. nice off-white foamy head. looks great.

smells strongly of both nuttyish malts and sharp citrusy hops. smells pretty good.

taste is pretty good. i worry that this sample is a bit past its prime but the beer is still pretty good. it's got a nice sweet malt character. very flavorful, and the hops kick in towards the finish and linger. very generously hopped.

mouthfeel is smooth with a crisp bite from the hop bitterness. i like it a lot, great example of an amber/red style ale.

 621 characters

Photo of barefootbrewer
3.62/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This beer was poured into a Rogue glass just to keep things equal. It was brown and a bit hazy. The head was average and didn’t have a lot of retention. The smell was refreshingly hoppy, with enough malt to detect. It has a bit of a roasted taste. The malt is noticeable. It also is a bit bitter. It has an odd, but nice balance of flavors. The mouthfeel is very full and suits it nicely. This is a hearty beer that is quite bold with the flavors, and while it is definitely yummy, I don’t think that I could drink several in one sitting.

 540 characters

Photo of Pete9094
4.08/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Serving type-bottle

A-Pours dark amber with fluffy amber head with great lacing!

S-Clean,fresh fruity aroma. Very nice

T-Crisp snappy hop backbone that meshes nicely with the malt that smacks your palate upfront! Really solid brew..Juicy!!

M-Full body with crisp,spicy mouthfeel. Nothing missing in this department

D-Overall, a very solid choice.Good session brew for the holidays. Enjoying the holiday excellent choice. Definately worth searching out for Xmas 2007.

Pitcher and catchers report in two weeks,baby! Lets go, Fightin Phils!

 571 characters

Photo of rrg1gb
3.83/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

S - It poured a dark ruby red hue with a thin laced head but retained very well. Highly carbonated - looks a lot like cream soda.

A - It has a slightly fruity aroma, almost like figs, but there was also a deep malty aroma to give it a faint biscuit smell too.

T - For maybe the first moment it was sweet to the tongue, but instantly followed with deep roasted malt flavor. Then, BANG! with the Northwest hop flavor. It almost tasted like an IPA for a second.

M - It has a high level of carbonation but still full of complex tastes. It's not at all watered down. Also, the hops give it a nice citrusy aftertaste, which is a delightful contrast to the roasted malts.

D - This is a good drink as the malty flavor hits all the tastebuds, but I just think that the malt/hop combo is a bit off. It's definitely hoppier than I expected, but I do have to consider where the brewer is located and what kind of hops is available. Sooo, the flavors are off the beaten path but the Private Resreve is good nonetheless.

 1,018 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.