Santa's Private Reserve Ale | Rogue Ales

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very good
1,189 Reviews
Santa's Private Reserve AleSanta's Private Reserve Ale

Brewed by:
Rogue Ales
Oregon, United States | website

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

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Reviews: 1,189 | Ratings: 2,287
Photo of ArchaeoFiero_TheDelorean
4.94/5  rDev +30.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I really wasn't prepared for how great of a beer this was going to be. It's rich and bitter, and is the hoppiest red ale that I've had the pleasure of imbibing.

I suppose that it's called "Santa's Reserve" because of the hops' pine notes, which are incredibly strong. It is not your typical "Christmas Beer" though, and I'd be happy drinking this all year round.

It's a home run from Rogue, and has me tracking down more of their other offerings.

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Photo of CalgaryFMC
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bomber decanted into an American pint glass. A rich cloudy bronze color with a copious quantity of light tan head, and a snappy, tangy, yet sweet aroma of caramel, pine, grapefruit rind, peppery spice, and faint pineapple. Tastes rather roasted and bitter, with an amazing green and spicy hop bouquet a la many of Rogue's offerings. Evokes orange spice black tea, young sweetish pine needles, red berry, nicotine, and an emergent butter tart sweetness. Fairly chewy and with a rather smooth mouthfeel despite the aggressive resinous hops. Reminds me of Captain Sig's albeit a touch thicker, roastier, and spicier, certainly less sweet. The Rogue farm hopyard varieties convey this peppery, grassy, juicy resin vibe that is borderline addictive. I will go ahead and say it, Rogue makes my favorite red ales to date. The combination of sweet malts and piney hops is tricky, and these sometimes nutty beek geek hippies out there on the farm have cracked the code and figured out how to do the style to near-perfection. Its probably best to pretend Voodoo Donut doesn't exist and not deprive yourself of these gems. YMMV of course.

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Photo of PolarBear3
3.74/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A - Pours a amber, reddish colour with terrific off white frothy head that retains well

S - Caramel, sweet candy, some light citrus and a hint of vanilla

T - Sweet toffee almost candy apple like with burnt caramel and light bitter and slightly dry finish with a little spice

M - Light to medium carbonation and medium body

O - Don't mind it. Although a little initially it does balance out quite nicely. Worth a try but reckon I couldn't down too many in one session

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Photo of mvanaskie13
3.86/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a standard pint glass: color is amber, transparent, head is tan, presents 1 inch thick, then lowers and lingers very well, creating some lacing on the glass.

Smell is very pleasant, biscuit and bread with a subtle caramel, hops are bitter, more neutral with grass and earthy aromas.

Taste is more bitter and hop oriented than the aroma, hops are earthy, grassy, floral; malt comes through similar to the aroma, though the caramel is more forward, with the biscuit/bready flavors backing up; pacman yeast flavor is noticeable, adding a neutral fruitiness, not to sweet.

Mouthfeel is more bitter than anticipated, lingering sharpness on the tongue, it is not unpleasant; bitterness dries as the last bit of ale is leaves the mouth.

Overall, an enticing brew that presents and smells great, flavor is good and finishes very dry.

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Photo of tmm313
4.09/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A- Semi hazy, rusty copper color. Thick creamy head with good lacing.

S- Big caramel. Beyond that, (and here's where it gets weird...) I swear it reminds me of a buttery yeast roll. Throw in a little citrus, some raisin, and a touch of pine, and there you go.

T- Caramel, dark fruits, pine, bread, and grapefruit.

M- Medium body with moderate carbonation. Relatively drying with a slightly bitter grapefruit/pine aftertaste.

O- Strange, but good. When I think of a Christmas beer, I think of sweet spices and fruity flavors... not the yeast rolls that grandma sits out for Christmas dinner. But that will be the feature I remember most of this beer! I couldn't keep my nose out of the glass! I'll definitely have again, but mainly for the aroma.

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Photo of TheSSG
3.47/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dense, foamy head that has good persistence and laces like mad. A sweet hop aroma; grapefruit/citrus notes. Burnt umber color. A big note of grapefruit hops comes in the front with a slightly sweet, caramel-biscuit from the malt. Moves into a nice medium bitterness with a little orange rind flavor coming out. Finish is lingering orange rind bitterness with the malt somewhere in the backgroud.

On the hoppier end of the amber scale, but I love all ambers. This one is quite solid. I don't mind the hoppiness, but I'd prefer less lingering bitterness.

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Photo of dexterk1
3.7/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours from the bottle with a very nice reddish color. Maybe dark amber. Nice head that diminishes quickly.
Odor is pretty much what I expected. Nice hop aroma with pine, citrus and a little malt.
Taste is not really all that complex. Nice hop pine and a little citrus. Malt is present is a decent way as well. Finishes a little dry. I would love to have more hops at the end.
Mouthfeel is fairly thin and a little underwhelming really. Lightly carbonated.
Overall, I would defiantly get this beer again and I guess that is the whole point. Very good look and odor lead to a slightly lesser taste. Could be more, but I would still give it a good score in its current state.

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Photo of Beer-A-Lot
3.59/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Nice cloudy, amber color, with thick, foamy head. A good start.

S - Hoppy, citrusy, piney. Smells nice.

T - Very hoppy and dry. But it doesn't live up to the aroma.

M - Light and thin. Leaves you wanting for more.

O - An ok ale that seems to need more. Just a bit lacking in flavors.

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Photo of tillmac62
3.14/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Pours a deep amber with a ruby cast. Nice head with long lasting lacing. Nose is of sweet malt against a hop, mostly spruce, background. Light medium bodied with a slick mouthfeel. Normal carbonation level. Not very flavorful, but it does have a nice moderate hop bitterness. Finishes smoothly with a pleasant hop bitterness that lingers.

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Photo of fourstringer
3.04/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured from 12 oz bottle into a pint glass with moderately aggressive hand. No date identifiable on the label.

A: Copper-amber with good clarity. 1/2 finger of off-white head with OK retention. Light lacing.

S: Roundish hop and light pine. Indistinct malt. Brown sugar notes. Earth.

T: Light malt semi-sweetness quickly yields to a very dry, resinous finish. Honestly, tastes rather hollow. Spruce notes and bitterness dominate. No alcohol presence of note.

M: Moderate to light carbonation with very light, almost watery body. Underwhelming.

O: Decent if you are a big fan of pine-centric flavors. You'll be left wanting if you are looking for more. Unbalanced and pretty lackluster overall.


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Photo of jj139
3.76/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A - clear, rusty-copper with an one finger cream head. Moderate lacing

S - Toasted malt, dough/yeast, with faint hints of citrus.

T - Malt, touch of caramel, toast with just a touch of bitterness.

M - Medium body with good carbonation. Nice and smooth on the palate with just a touch of bitterness on the finish

O - A very enjoyable Ale. Straightforward and quite drinkable. I'll be keeping my eye out for this next year at this time.

Enjoyed in a pint glass

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Photo of AwYeh
3.62/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours a nice copper color with a finger or so of white head and spotty lacing.

S: Deep caramel and bread aromas, with quite a bit of pine. Slightly earthy, just a hint metallic.

T: Big bitter pine flavors here along with a really strong bready malt backbone. Slightly herbal and earthy, with a bready yeast flavor complementing the bread well. A little metallic again on the finish.

M: Medium-bodied with moderate carbonation. Smooth with a dry finish, which makes his one go down pretty quickly.

O: Solid offering from Rogue, a bit more than the sum of its parts. It might not have some of the most outstanding flavors going on, but I could enjoy a few of these in a row, no problem.

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Photo of WRCREX
4.77/5  rDev +26.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Appearance- Fantastic looking bottle, very festive. Almost didn't notice the case of this with the other Rogues due to the similar look of all of Rogue's cases.

Nose- The smell is intriguing, hops and caramel.

Taste- Fantastic. Extremely PINEY and almost seems wet-hopped. This almost lives up to the wet-hopped characteristics of one of my favorite beers of all time - Sierra Nevada Northern Hemisphere Harvest. This is a very hoppy/wet-hoppy (tasting) full flavored beer with no "light" characteristics. Deep floral flavors that linger on the palette forever. More please!

Mouthfeel- Lots of carbonation and as another reviewer put it - a hoppy oily type feel. I think it's fantastic and I'm very strict about my ales.

Drinkability- For me personally, this is the type of thing I'd like to have around all year. This is a memorable beer that I will be seeking out each Christmas.

Overall- It's certainly festive, it's a perfect choice for Christmas, and it's a full flavored hoppy and thick ale. This is my type of beer through and through. Nothing off-putting about it for me. If you like bold hoppy creations with a hint of festive cheer, this one's for you my friend.

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

Rouge Santa’s Private Reserve has a very thick, creamy, cream-colored head, a cloudy deep amber, bubbly appearance, and good lacing left on the glass. The aroma is of sweet, brown bread crust, malt, and some acidity. Taste is of those elements, with a hefty hop bitterness, which smooth out as one continues to sip. Some tea character kicks in, too. Mouthfeel is light and watery. Rouge Santa’s Private Reserve finishes crisp, refreshing, and highly drinkable. Overall, this is worth checking out.


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Photo of mfnmbvp
3.8/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle, with no apparent bottled on date present. One of the seasonal winter releases from Rogue; I remember having this beer last year, but it's about time I revisited it.

Poured into a clear balloon snifter glass.

A - Pours about two and a half fingers of soft khaki fluff for a head on top of a dark ruby copper colored body. Looks pretty nice.

S - Smell is of clean bready malt, earthy yeast, some pine / lemongrass, & some nice floral and herbal hop presence.

T - Taste follows the nose: dry bready malt, light caramel, crisp earthy yeast, and some herbal / piney / grapefruit hop bitterness, but not as much as the nose leads you to expect. Faint coppery metallics on the finish.

M - Feel is dry, bready, and earthy, with some pine / grapefruit bitterness lingering. Medium-bodied with good carbonation.

Overall, a solid winter seasonal from Rogue. Clearly not the most complex beer around, but it is simple, flavorful and interesting. Highly drinkable with a moderate yet rewarding 6.00% abv. I will continue to look forward to this one yearly.

Rogue Santa's Private Reserve ---4/5.

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Photo of MarkQ617
3.14/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

My first rating of a Rogue beer, poured out of the bottle into a pint glass. Gorgeous reddish-amber color, especially for Christmas. Great smokiness with a chewy mouthfeel. Plenty of booze coming through. Thick fluffy head, kind of an off-white. Nice red, one of the better Rogue offerings I've tried.

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Photo of BurgeoningBrewhead
3.78/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured into tulip; clear copper-red with intermittent rising bubbles feeding a moderate white head that stays around, leaving great rings of sticky lacing as it slowly descends.
Smell is darker metallic malt, and lesser notes of fresh pine and juicier citrus hoppiness.
Taste is clear, slightly dark-tasting malt followed by a wave of bitterness with some citrus and pine hiding in it. Finish is one of those where as soon as you swallow, you can't remember what it just tasted like.
Mouthfeel is well-carbonated, light medium body.
Overall, this is a pretty tasty beer. For a holiday seasonal, I'd prefer something with a little higher %abv, but the flavor is certainly at that level.

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Photo of KYGunner
3.53/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This beer is a bewilderment in that it holds little in the way of Christmas spice or for that matter Christmas feel but holds a ton of hop pine and resin. So how do you rate a beer that does not follow the expectation, though there's little expectation in a Christmas Ale. All I can say is this is as close to a palate wrecking IPA as I've ever seen as it pulled the the very moisture from my tongue and provided little in the way of Festive cheer. That said it's still not bad...just not expected.

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Photo of Lemke10
4.09/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

This pours a dark amber color with a foamy, beige head. The aroma is quite malty with hints of hops. The taste is surprisingly very hoppy with underlying malt tones. This has a unique and strong flavor for an amber ale. This makes for a slow sipper that leaves you with a lingering yeast after taste.

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

22 ounce bottle into signature pint glass; no bottle dating, but is a 2013 release. Pours fairly hazy ruby red color with a 1-2 finger dense light khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Spotty soapy lacing clings down the glass, with some light streaming carbonation. Aromas of orange zest, grapefruit, lemon zest, caramel, toast, brown sugar, biscuit, floral, grass, herbal, pine, light nuttiness, and floral/toasted earthiness. Nice and pleasant aromas with good balance of malt and hop notes; with solid strength. Taste of orange zest, grapefruit, lemon zest, caramel, toast, brown sugar, biscuit, nuttiness, floral, grass, pine, herbal, and floral/toasted earthiness. Good amount of earthy pine resin bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of citrus, citrus zest, caramel, toast, biscuit, brown sugar, floral, pine, and floral/toasted earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Good balance and complexity of malt and hop flavors; with a good bitterness/sweetness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a moderately creamy and sticky mouthfeel that is good. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a slight warming present after the finish. Overall this is a nice amber ale style. Good balance and complexity of malt and hop flavors; and smooth and crisp to drink. A nicely enjoyable offering.

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Photo of gillagorilla
2.64/5  rDev -30.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

Bomber poured into a Burley Oak snifter ($8 at JP's in Ellicott City, no bottle date)

A: Nice amber dark copper color. Poured with a 1 finger head and ok lacing.

S: Almost all malt on the nose with just a bit of pine and almost no citrus.

T: Tasty like a watery and malty mess of a hoppy amber ale. It is a mess of flavors and not good ones at all.

M: Quite prickly with lots of carbonation.

O: Not good, but at least I get a glow in the dark bottle out of it. This is my second Rogue and the other one was even before I was into craft and it was for the growler of Dead Guy ale since I was born on All Souls Day and it was a present for my dad. I didn't even know it glowed in the dark, but I didn't like; however, I was still a cider guy at that time.

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Photo of scratch69
3.45/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

I poured a bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance- Clear reddish brown color with two fingers worth of lingering tan head. Fair amount of lacing.

Smell- Faint aroma of malt and baked bread.

Taste- Herbal hop flavor with notes of caramel malt.

Mouthfeel- Smooth medium body with a slightly below average amount of carbonation.

Overall- A decent beer but not something I would buy again.

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Photo of ISmith87
3.21/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

A - 3.5 - Pretty good looking beer with a nice clear red-amber color that has a white head which leaves a nice lacing. Great lookin bottle, perfect to top off anyone's christmas decorations.
s - 3.0 - Lacking a little in the smell. Good but distant hop aroma, you can tell it's citrusy, but it seems so far away. Some bready malts.
T - 3.25 - Lots of bready/darker malts. Hop bitterness, but more earthy and undefined rather than citrusy. A little bit dissapointing.
M - 3.25 - Mouthfeel is fine. Light-Medium. Pretty bitter from the hops. Alc covered. Aftertaste is hop bitterness.
O - 3.25 - I like the bottle, but I wouldn't have it again. Perfect example of why you can't judge a book by it's cover.

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Photo of LXIXME
3.99/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Nice big light brown head with decent staying power on a clear reddish-golden colored ale.

Distant light citrus and fruity aroma.

Light citrus and some fruitiness in a warming and slightly bitter tasting beer.

Dryish aftertaste with some light bitterness remaining with this medium bodied beer.

This Santa is welcome at my house anytime of year.

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Photo of laglocal
3.51/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Thought I had enough wiggle room pouring a 12oz w/ no freshness date into a Pint glass. Wrong. Roaring head envelops more than half the glass before I finish pouring it all. I did pour aggressively anticipating low carbonation. Kind of dark for an amber/Red? Maybe just me. Tan head retains extremely well

S: Couldn't pick up much on the smell save for a very light hop funk. I know this beer is malty but I can't pick up on any of it in the smell.

T: Woah. Intensely sweet and dark malt overpowers, interesting since I only got faint hops on smell. Very tasty and drinkable. Lingering hoppy bitterness on the finish. Rich. Balanced with finish but definitely on the malty side.

M: Carbonation kept to low levels despite the crazy head I got, makes for a wet mouthfeel.

Overall, this beer is tasty and rich, but just not my type of brew. Guilty hop head. This is still a great dark winter ale. Didn't pick up on the hoppyness as much as I should have I think, I don't see how this seasonal could be stale unless it was last year's which I doubt.

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Santa's Private Reserve Ale from Rogue Ales
85 out of 100 based on 1,189 ratings.
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