Santa's Private Reserve Ale | Rogue Ales

Your Rating: None
Want it   Got it 
Santa's Private Reserve AleSanta's Private Reserve Ale
2,365 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: 2,365 |  Reviews: 1,205
Photo of proc
3.55/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

As I sat in my recliner on Christmas Eve, reflecting on the holiday at hand and looking out the window watching it snow, I drank this holiday offering from Rogue. It pours out to a brownish-amber in the glass. The aroma of hops and grapefruit are present. This is a rather bitter ale, but in a good way. Hops dominate, but you most certainly know there is malt in there. A nice diversion on a mellow, snowy Christmas Eve night. One bomber was fine for the evening.

12/31/03: Update. I had a bomber of this on Christmas Eve, per usual and can report this beer was hopped like crazy this year. The word is that Santa ordered 3x the hops as opposed to the usual 2x hopping this beer usually gets. It was a hop monster for '03. Wow.

 731 characters

Photo of mickstepp
3.56/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I've yet to meet a Rogue I didn't like and Santa's Private Reserve is no exception. Very deep amber color. Nice off-white head. Aggressively hopped (that's a compliment not a complaint). If you didn't know this was a Rogue Ale you might be able to guess anyway. Faint hop aroma but little else in the nose . Breautiful cascading lace action. Not Rogue's best offering but pretty good nonetheless. My biggest complaint is that it lacks the spicey complexity of other winter/Christmas ales I've had (or the spiciness is buried by the hops).

 538 characters

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

Red oak in color, looks great. Strong firm frothy head that Santa could land his sleigh on. Strong piney smell to go along with the malts. It didn't do it for me in the taste department though. The piney/peppery taste just wasn't for me. Not bad, just not to my liking. Nice aftertaste though.

 293 characters

Photo of marc77
3.95/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Slightly hazy light ruby hue. Off white dense creamy head leaves fluffy lace. Pungently piney hops dominate, w/ citrus and dark caramel malt secondary. Toasty Munich surfaces as the beer warms. Quinine like, spruce laced Chinook bitterness hits the palate at first and remains relatively unhindered other than the contrast provided by pronounced caramel and pseudosweet dextrin malt. Hop flavor is more citrusy than piney in nature. Light to medium bodied with a typically smooth, dextrinous mouthfeel aided copious use of speciality malts. Finishes cleanly bitter, w/ a slight caramel sweetness lingering on the palate. Yet another trademark rogue brew. Aggressively hopped, quite drinkable and very tasty. Superior to the non hop backed, less aromatic and generally milder St. Rogue Red version.

 797 characters

Photo of JISurfer
3.33/5  rDev -11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

I may be crazy, or maybe I just got a bad bottle, but I didn't fancy this too much. The taste was stale and of a burnt malty area. It had an awesome look to it, smell to it, and feel to it, but the taste was lacking in my book. I would be willing to try it again, because Rogue puts out quality products and it's unusual for a beer to be nasty made by them. Sorry.

 364 characters

Photo of Thrasher
3.99/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Sludgy brown with fuzzy head. Aroma of big caramel and chocolate malts with intense bitter hop. This is a big malty beer upfront, with a strong chocolate element and roasty malts reminiscent of a chewy doppelbock. That however is blown away by huge hops, with grapefruit and pine flavors. There's nothing especially Christmasy about this beer except for a tree-like element in the hops and the general extreme-ness which fits in with many winter brews. It's out there. The hops turned me off at first but the beer grew on me as it warmed. A nice, once-a-year treat. Now with this out of the way I can move on to my much anticipated bottle of Samichlaus. Ho ho ho.

 663 characters

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.37/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark garnet/ rich,ruby color, big, creamy head. Aroma: hoppy, spicy, dazzling array of fruits, grapes, cherries. Sits wonderfully in the mouth. Tangy, sour taste. Bitter finish. It's described by Rogue as having a "hoppy, sprucy finish", and I obviously blinked on the spruce. I like it very well, but, although you can call me a hophead, I wasn't expecting quite so much hops in a brew of this style. Although, to be fair, the "winter beer" style is increasingly a broad one. In sum, I thank Santa for sharing!

 511 characters

Photo of BeerBob
4.51/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Santa’s Private Reserve Ale from Rogue, pours a dark red from a 22oz dark brown glass bottle. The light tan head forms with no effort at all and will lift its self well above the glass rim. Massive layers of foam are still clinging to the sides of my glass as I write the rest of this review.

Nose is like a walk through a pine forest laced with garlands of hops plants hanging from the boughs. Palate is having your mouth dragged through a pine forest laced with garlands of hops plants hanging from the boughs, stopping at each and every tree for a bite.

This is by far and away, the most hoppy brew I have ever had the pleasure to consume. There is no need to repeat the list of ingredients that are listed on the side of the bottle, it is enough to say that this Rogue ale is the whole nine yards, the entire enchilada of malted hoppy ales.

Aftertaste? there is no aftertaste, its all the first taste and has yet to diminish, let alone fade to an aftertaste

 971 characters

Photo of bditty187
4.21/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark amber, almost cherry-brown, with a strong, long lasting off-white head, plenty of lace. It’s damn impressive sitting in my mug. The nose really doesn’t develop much intensity, acidic citrus, some fruit, and some faint malt. I love the taste, plenty of hops to tantalize the tastebuds with just enough malt to add depth. It leaves you wanting more! If this is a “red ale” then I am Santa Claus…

Recommended! A must have for the Holidays!

 450 characters

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

22 02 bottle, cloudy bright amber color, floral hoppy aroma, huge creamy off white head that clings to my glass. Starts sweet and malty caremel flavor, then finishes with a spicy dryness, the hops really stand out. Medium body, full soft mouthfeel, very tasty and drinkable, a great winter brew.

 295 characters

Photo of purplehops
3.23/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Rogue's 2002 x-mas offering pours a wonderful chestnut orange with a tan head. The aroma is a complex blend of malt and spice followed by notes of apricot and hops. Poured into a tulip glass I could sniff this all night long. The taste starts with a nice crisp carmel malt warmth and a stinging hop bite. The finish is very very very dry with a slight hop bitterness that lingers for a moment. The after taste is a very faint note of hop spiciness. The mouthfeel starts very bold and drops like a rock into complete nothingness. I feel very disapointed by this ale. Its aroma and appearance are so wonderful. The taste starts wonderful also but then it just disappears into a watery hop flavored aftertaste. Everything about this product screams wonderful except the lasting pleasure of an aftertaste. This ale makes me thirsty instead of quenching my thirst. IMHO

 864 characters

Photo of hyuga
4.63/5  rDev +23.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2002 release. A deep, thick, syrupy amber brew, with a very large off-white head that stays quite well. A good amount of lace is left behind as it is consumed. Thick, rich malty aroma with many types of hops mixed in. Citrus and pine are the most noticeable products of the hops, with leafy and earthy tones directly beneath. A bit fruity as well. Wonderfully complex hop character in the flavor profile! Leafy and earthy hops are noticeable at first, rushing in with the big malt character, which is sweet, a bit roasted, and slightly bready, combining well with those hops. Rind-like bitterness follows closely behind. Pine and citrus are also present, but subtlely. Crisp and sweet at the same time. More crisp in the finish, though. This hop and malt combination makes for a great and pleasing mouthfeel. Spicy hop character is abound, and stays in the aftertaste. Well, I should have expected a lot more from this beer, I'm quite impressed! I love it! Extremely tasty in that earthy way. Not your typical winter beer, but it does warm you, and the hops provide spiciness where spices would be in other winter beers. I'd really love to have this beer available to me year-round. I might just stock up so I can keep it around for a while. Another winter must-try!

 1,266 characters

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

This beer is from a most impressive bottle, the 650 ml has no paper label, it is painted on. This beer pour a dark red with about 2 fingers of fluffy head. The aroma is very malty with a hint of fruitiness. The dominate taste is grapefruit. It finishes dry. This is a very different beer for a winter. I enjoyed the taste of this one more than the dead guy ale. A very taste beer.

 380 characters

Photo of Winter
3.91/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a clear, deep, dark garnet color with a light tan head. Aroma consists of hops, caramel and a touch of maple. Mouthfeel is medium bodied. Initial mild hop front to it. Smooth, yet, bitter hop & fruit dry finish. There's also a bit of pine or spruce that lingers toward the end. Flavor seems more like an IPA than a traditional red ale due to the intense amount of hops in this one. A tasty winter seasonal offering for those who like intensely hop-flavored beers. I wouldn't mind stocking up on a few of these.

 517 characters

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

American Red/Amber Ale my ass. This beer can go head-to-head with most barleywines. The strong high-alpha hop profile is matched with a chewy, grainy, bready malt character. An extremely worthy wintertime warmer.

 212 characters

Photo of inebrius
4.42/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2002: After the initial shock of having a Spruce tree jammed down your throat, Rogue's Santa seems to mellow into a kind of grapefruit juice/amber ale half-and-half. Perhaps my taste buds have evolved, or simply been stripped away, but I found this beer much more enjoyable this go round. Don't mistake this brew for your typical malt heavy Winter Warmer, 'cause it's all about hops. If you can't find Santa's Private reserve where you live just get a bomber of St. Rouge Red and lick your xmas tree.

2001: In my dream it felt like someone was pounding my head with a giant hop flower. Wait, this is no dream, it's Santa's Private Reserve. I expected an attempt at a malt balance to this serious hophead beer, but found none. My bottle may have been a little long in the tooth. I will try to find this fresh at the end of the year.

 834 characters

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

Deep ruby red with nice off white head that left great lacing. This ale is the IPA of holiday beers, at least to me. Very hoppy and bitter finish, still was pretty smooth. ABV is on the high side so this is one to savour and sip slowly. Went well with ham, potatoes, green salad, the fireplace and Suzanne. P.S. She was having Fosters.

 335 characters

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

Appearance: Deep red, fairly cloudy body with a creamy tan head that sticks to the sides of the glass. It just looks delicious...

Smell: Sweet malt covered in hops. Slight spruce scent, from the Chinook hops. Great hop aroma!

Taste: A great combination of sweet fruit and malt, and hops. Lots of hops. I'm picking up on a touch of spruce as well. Finishes dry and bitter. Lots of flavor here...

Mouthfeel: Crisp and dry with medium-sized body. Very smooth.

Drinkability: Fairly high considering it's a winter warmer and not meant to be guzzled. Give me a cold January night, a blazing fireplace, a good book, and a pint of this and I'm a happy man!

This is my first time trying this beer and I think it's going to quickly find it's way onto my 'favorites' list. Too bad it's only a seasonal...time to go back to the store to stock up!

 849 characters

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

Golden amber with a thin, but lacy head. Aroma is a beautiful combination of spice, grapefruit, and pine... with a touch of breadlike malt. Flavor is straight on with the nose... some sweetness balances the hop bitterness, but there is an ample amount of bitterness... also some pine and citrus. Medium bodied with low to medium carbonation. This is quite unique, and since it's brewed as a winter warmer, I can't really dock it for not being like other Amber Ales. Very good stuff!

 482 characters

Photo of weissbierhead
3.95/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The first Rogue brew that I have tried. Santa's Private Reserve is a very red ale, and extremly hoppy (not that that is a bad thing!). If your into hops, this is a good choice for a winter beer. If your idea of a winter beer icludles a lot of spicy flavor, try something else.

 276 characters

Photo of Jon
4.32/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Probably the most aggressive "red ale" I've tried, Santa's Private Reserve is a typical Rogue brew. Big on hops in both the nose and taste with a variety of malts backing them up along the way. The finish is dry and quite bitter, making for a nice change-up on the traditional amber/red ale style. Looks great in the glass with a well-retaining head, too. A delightful wintertime brew if you're into hops. If not I'd suggest you leave this one on the shelf. Personally, I'll imbibe again.

 488 characters

Photo of DarthMalt
3.56/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Oooh! Spank me, Santa! If you are a naughty beer drinker, then this is a nice beer. [HA! HA! Crack myself up.]

Good winter beer I suppose. A little too much of the "more hops" Rogue credo, so it definitely lacks subtlety. But man, it sure does make you feel all warm and Christmas-y inside.

Not much else to peg on this one, except to say I'm glad I didn't have to classify this beer. I would have been trying to get all fancy with it, but sure enough, it's just a wacked-out-with-hops red ale.

 500 characters

Photo of Gusler
3.77/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a deep burnished copper color, the head is gargantuan in size, frothy in texture, the lace in thick sticky sheets to smother the glass and both a light tan color. Nose is citrus, hop floral, malt under tones and quite a “Sniffer”. Front is sweet malt, the top slender, the finish is strikingly hop spicy, pleasantly acidic, droughty aftertaste. Good drinkable beer for the “Hop Heads” in the audience, and well worth a sample. Ranks #361 on my current 1000 beer master list.

 493 characters

Photo of sinistersteve
3.93/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Deep, dark rich amber color. Very smooth tasting beer (for an holiday ale). Full flavored, yet doesn't knock you on your arse like most of the holiday ales tend to do. Sweet aroma on thge nose. This would be best described as a "lite" beer in the holiday ale genre. A good one to start with, but I need something a bit stronger for a holiday ale.

 346 characters

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

Great looking beer....Mahagony in color with a creamy lace on top...Not as much on the nose as I anticipated with this hopped up red ale...definitely some grapefruit notes on the nose but not real heavy....hops overwhelm the taste....the chinooks really shine through...This could be an incredible beer with a better malt load and's just too unbalanced for me to rate it as a spectacular beer....the hops are where's the rest...I'll definitely drink one of these each Holiday season, but it's not one I'll seek out for more..

 558 characters

Santa's Private Reserve Ale from Rogue Ales
Beer rating: 3.74 out of 5 with 2,365 ratings