Santa's Private Reserve Ale | Rogue Ales

very good
1,197 Reviews
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

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User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,197 | Ratings: 2,338
Photo of IronLover
3.98/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Hazy copper orange in color with a thick, beige foam that left sticky lacings on the glass. Lightly burny caramel malt and fresh pine aromas. Smooth feel on the bottom and tangy feel on top with generally soft carbonation. Caramel malt uo front followed by spruce and emerging, puckering pine hop bigterness. Finished with long lingering pine hop bitterness.

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Photo of SmashPants
3.57/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: tall brown 650mL bottle, transluscent craft beer label.

Appearance: pours out a deep golden amber-brown with very little visible carbonation. A fantastic off-white head pops up to two fingers before dropping to a rocky half-finger. Stacks of lacing on the glass before settling to a thin cap.

Aroma: a pleasant aroma of caramel, citrus, earth and resin. A rather heavy and full aroma, which is quite nice.

Taste: more of the bitter earth and resin, with some of the caramel poking its head in. Not as nice as the aroma - definitely a bit more demure. Still, a nice red ale.

Aftertaste: lingers for quite a time, with the bitterness lasting well after the sweetness of the caramel has faded.

Mouth feel: the mouth feel is a bit of a let-down. The body is quite full which is nice, but the carbonation is too low in my humble opinion. Makes for a slightly flat feel.

Overall: quite a nice American red ale - good combination of flavours and a nice one to have throughout the evening. Pretty expensive per the Rogue Ale norm, but in this case it is actually a decent beer.

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Photo of jellikit
3.5/5  rDev -7.4%

Appearance: Amber. Clear. Thick, foamy, light tan head.
Smell: caramel. Sugar.
Taste: biscuity malts. Orange peel. pine hop bitterness lingers.
Mouthfeel: medium carbonation. Medium-big body. Sweet.
Overall: pretty decent hoppy red ale. Would rate higher if it was their everyday red ale. Unfortunately Wishing for more from Santa if this is his private reserve. Nothing special for a Christmas beer. Like getting a nice pair of socks Christmas morning.

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Photo of StoutHunter
3.77/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I picked up a bottle of Rogue's Santa's Private Reserve Ale a couple weeks ago for $2.39 at The Lager Mill. I've been meaning to try this beer for a little while now and when I saw it i thought I should take a chance on it, so lets see how it goes. 2014 Vintage. Poured from a brown 12oz bottle into a imperial pint glass.

A- The label looks nice and it goes well with the name, I think it's a little eye catching. It poured a cloudy orange amber color that took on more of a ruby amber color when held to the light with two fingers worth of creamy and bubbly tan head that died down down to a thin ring that stayed till the end and it left some spotty and patching rings of lacing behind. This is a good looking beer, I have no complaints.

S- The aroma starts off with a slightly higher amount of medium sweetness with the hops being the first to show up and they impart some citrus rind and floral hops aromas with some earthy and grassy hops showing up in the aroma. Up next comes some of that pacman yeast that kind of has a distinctive aroma and it's followed by the malts which impart a slightly grainy, bready, light sweet malt and doughy aromas. This beer had a pretty nice aroma, it had good balance between the malts and the hops.

T- The taste seems to be similar to the aroma and it starts off with a medium amount of sweetness with the hops showing up first and they impart the same aspects that they did in the aroma, but this time there's no single aspect that sticks out the most. Up next comes the pacman yeast that leads right into the malts which impart the same malty aspects that I got in the aroma with the doughy malts seeming to stick out the most. On the finish there's a slightly higher amount of medium bitterness that lingers just a little into the aftertaste along with some doughy malt and earthy hop flavors. This was a pretty nice tasting beer, it was very true to style and the balance was nice.

M- Fairly smooth, a little crisp, a little creamy, on the thicker side of being medium bodied with a slightly lower amount of medium carbonation. This beer had a nice mouthfeel that worked well with it.

Overall I thought this was a nice beer and I thought it was a good example of the style it had pretty much everything that I look for in the style along with the nice balance that I expect from a good Red Ale. This beer had nice drinkability, it was fairly smooth, a little crisp, a little creamy, not too filling and the taste did a good job at holding my attention, I could see myself drinking a couple of these and I think it makes for a nice change from the typical Winter Warmers. What I like the most about this beer was the how true to style it was and the balance, to me those were the highlights of this beer. What I liked the least about this beer was that more of those citrus rind hop aspects that I got in the aroma showed up in the taste. I would buy this beer again and I'm pretty sure I'll get a couple bottles when it's released next year. I would recommend this to anyone who likes Red Ales, it does a good job at representing the style. All in all I was happy with this beer, there was nothing fancy about it, it was just a good and straightforward Red Ale and I enjoyed drinking it. It's up there as one of the better Rouge beers I've had and I think it's above average for the style. Good job guys this was a tasty Red Ale, keep up the solid work.

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

Santa's Private Reserve Ale - Rogue Ales. Poured from the bottle into a pint glass, its got a 2 finger thick off-white head with secular lacing, and a clear rather dark amber body.

I can smell slight "spruciness" mentioned on the label, along with west coast style of hops(grapefruit-like), and caramelized malts. Interesting...

The taste here is pretty much a mirror image of the scent, albeit more hop than spruce. But JUST enough to my palate before it would need to enter pale ale territory. The caramelized malts are a great backbone to everything else going on with this beer. Very well done job!

Mouthfeel I've got going on is smooth with just a passing minute sprinkle of hop taste, not really even bitterness. I like that as well, 4.5 .

Overall, a very solid 4.5 for Santa's Private Reserve Ale - Rogue Ales. The mention of spruce had thrown me kind of for a loop, but I am now rejoicing at its subtleties. This is a very satisfying brew that I will probably purchase again.

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Photo of MNishCT77
3.11/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

22 oz. bottle drank as part if a Better Beer Authority shoot, unknown brewing/packaging date but 2014 vintage, poured into a BBA large bottom snifter, drank over 30 minutes

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Photo of Samp01
3.73/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a dark cloudy amber with a medium beige head, moderate lacing. Aroma is sweet dark caramel malt, toffee, yeast and earthy pine and herbal hops. Taste is sweet caramel malt, yeast, toffee with some spicy earthy herbal hops bitterness on the end for balance. Palate is a medium body, smooth with good carbonation. Finishes with a combination of dark caramel malts, yeast and earthy hops bitterness, has a nice nutty like lingering flavor, Overall nicely balanced and tasty brew.

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Photo of Ozzylizard
3.7/5  rDev -2.1%

$ 8.95/bomber at Vintage Estates, Boardman, OH
Undated bomber at 40 degrees into standard pint glass
Aroma of spice (Allspice?)
Head small (2 cm), light brown, frothy, diminishing to 2 mm layer
Lacing good – complete rings and stalactites of tiny bubbles
Body medium amber, cloudy (chill haze – starts to clear up as the beer warms)
Flavor begins bitter and malty, ends bitter. No distinct hop or malt flavors; no alcohol, no diacetyl
Palate medium, watery, lively carbonation

Appearance 3.75, Aroma 3, Flavor 4, Palate 4, Overall 3.6875. Final weighted score: 3.725
It’s an excessively hopped amber/red ale which meets the guidelines well. Meh.

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Photo of ordybill
2.66/5  rDev -29.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a bomber into a pint glass.
Aroma- Has a pretty nice aroma of pine, malt and some citrus or floral hints.
Appearance- This is a nice looking dark amber with orange highlights, has a fairly thick tannish head.
Taste- the other shoe just dropped, I did not care for the flavor. I didn't care for the mix of hops and citrus.
Palate- A medium bodied beer with moderate carbonation.
Overall- I just did not enjoy this beer, I will try it again next Christmas time to see if I was off that day.

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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 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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Santa's Private Reserve Ale from Rogue Ales
3.78 out of 5 based on 2,338 ratings.
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