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 russpowell
4.4/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours ruby red with a fluffy light brown head. Head retention good, not great. Lacing clings to the side of the .5L glass I'm drinking this from.

Smell: Hops (piney and some floral notes) and fruitiness, a slight earthiness with slight brown sugar notes.

Taste: Hops kicking ass & taking names from the get go, but still complimenting a malty/fruity body.

MF: Chewy & balanced, but straying towards over hopping, detracting drinkabiity...

Tasty effort, reminds me of buffed up brutal bitter..

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Photo of Brent
4.4/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Wonderful beer. Struck me as an IPA variation. Great full body with a kick-butt dose of hops, solid bittering at the finish. Santa is obviously a hop-head.

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Photo of eandolina
4.4/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A- Deep-dark Copper or Redish-Brown in color, clean appearing, with good head retention.
*Note- I noticed that some of the other reviews for this beer mentioned head retention issues; they may need to check their glassware care habits. I've had multiple-separate samples of this beer, and have always experienced a nice thick head; with good retention. However, the glasses that I use to drink craft beers are only used for that, and are only washed in plain, clean, hot water--no soaps, detergents, or anything else!

T&D- The taste is nothing outrageous or exceptionally remarkable; but I think that is what makes it such a good and very drinkable beer, especially for the style. All too often, holiday beers are just over the top. I think Rogue did it just right. The spices are there, in the background--where they belong. They struck a very nice balance; which makes this brew very enjoyable--anytime of the year.

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Photo of JoEBoBpr
4.4/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured form a 22oz. bomber into my Sam Adams glass.

A - Very attractive amber (duh) with a off white head that is about 1.5 fingers tall. It is reduced to a mat that leaves some lacing along the glass but not too much and it recedes slowly.

S - Very attractive flowery, citrusy hops. It smells dry hopped but couldn't confirm it. Some bready grainy smelling malts seep through but mostly aromatic hops in the nose.

T - Initial hop bitterness turns into a semi sweet malt taste that is quickly balanced by grapefruit and flower tinges from the hops. The malts are bready and caramel tasting as well. Hops are very present and the balance between teh two stike a very pleasant and cris taste. Hops are a bit piney as well.

M - It is med to light bodied with perfect CO2 amounts and nice balance between bitter and sweet. Very good example of the style and in fact a very likable beer personally.

D - Very refreshing and crisp, balance allows for two or three bombers in my book.

Overall a very appealing Amber Ale. Well done.

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Photo of barknee
4.4/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

2005-2006 S.P.R.A. pours a gorgeous reddish-copper color with a tight foamy manila colored head with outstanding retention. Santa's nose is a complex blend of malty hops, slightly roasted with a great nutty finish. Hints of warm pine and spruce are evident as well. This is a delicious ale; beautifully balanced with moderate bitterness and a trace of honey on the finish. The mouthfeel is slightly oily and creamy, just right for the various taste elements interwoven within this impressive offering. Although somewhat full bodied, the medium weight of this brew and the generally lean composition make for spirited and effortless consumption, with fresh hops never tiring the palate. The choice of hops used within should be applauded for never allowing this brew to go extreme in any way; very well planed and executed! This is a truly fantastic ale; may this winter season begin!!

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Photo of ShogoKawada
4.4/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A really fantastic hoppy amber ale. Can't get enough of this stuff, wish I saw it in a larger bottle format.

A- A brilliant shimmering copper, with a pancake-batter (in color) head that settles and laces immediately. Very nice. Hold it up to the light and it looks like a sunset.

S- Hops out the ass. This is a seriously hoppy brew. Floral, citrus, and a bit of pine hops come together on this one.

T- Same.. incredibly hoppy. I really dig it. Nice, moderate caramel base provides a springboard for intense, piny and citrus hops. A real overload of bitterness... and that's just what I was looking for!

M- Crisp, good carbonation, decent body, and great flavors. A winner.

D- High. Very high. I really can't get enough of this beer. Great job, Rogue!

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Photo of finz925
4.41/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12z Bottle to Seidel Mug, bought at Christmas but saved for just the right time, now!

A: Dark Amber with a thick off white head that coats the side of the glass while enjoyed.

Smell: Spicey, piney, but still a bit sweet scents.

Taste: Malty, hoppy, with a hint of sweetness. Bitter and I sense a hint of tannin feeling. Pine, amber, grapefruit, and caramel notes.

Mouthfeel: medium to full bodied

Drinkability: Excellent flavors and bitter taste keep me wanting more, all-in-all a great beer.

This beer is exactly what I would expect from a Rogue Christmas Ale, and makes me want to go grab a Rogue Dead Guy downtown, and I will in due time. Very Good.

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Photo of GeoffRizzo
4.42/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Deep amber hue, hoppy nose, resembling an APA style. A wam-bam smack ya in the mouth northwester'n hop feel is noticed off the cuff, some sprucy/piney notes as well. Medium bodied, and a tinge on the creamy end. A definitive hop-palate, with the ever so famous hop burps. Grapefruit rinds and citrus blend in quite nicely. What a hop-head treat, an amber-red, no way, regardless, this is quite the winter warmer for sure, another treat from Rogue!

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Photo of happygnome
4.42/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

a: pours a nice deep dark ruby color with about a half inch of head that dissapears relatively quickly leaving a good amount of lacing around the edge of the glass
s: caramely malts and strong notes of citrusy hops
t: same as the nose, sweet caramley malts and some nice citrusy earthy hop bitterness
m: medium bodied beer with a good amount of carbonatoin

overall, this is a fantastic brew

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Photo of yossarian14
4.42/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I love the seasonals that aren't over-spiced winter warmers, and this beer is festive and group friendly. I'll have a case of this and SNCA on hand for any holiday parties this season.

This is a hopped-up version of an American Red Ale. It still drinks like a malty, caramel and cookie batter red, but there are piney citrus bitter hops in the nose and finish. Not overwhelming but definitely there. The hoppiness makes you feel like your drinking a very dark delicious pale ale. Freindly enough for a BMC drinker to try this holiday season, pick some up for you and your guests.

Happy Holidays

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Photo of wiseguy142
4.42/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked up 2 of these- one for my friend and one for me to celebrate the end of finals. As I just finished, it's time for drinking.

Pours a pretty standard darker APA-style color. Mostly brown with a touch of orange and red. Not a brilliant level of clarity but a glowing yellow head with lots of different isize bubbles and nice looking lacing. Head remains thick and frothy minutes after pouring the beer which was admirable.

Aroma is surprisingly strong on hops. I was expecting more of a winter warmer type of beer. It's sort of like an aggressive SN Celebration or a slightly subdued Arrogant Bastard. Mostly citrus with a husky grainyness in the background and a tobascolike spice deep in the nose. Really interesting.

Taste is.. wow.. I'd describe it as "tricky." Really deep malt with sort of a standard top shelf beer hop character. I'm not sure where the spice character comes from but it's great. I'd normally say it was rye but a look at the ingredients refutes that. It seems it's the mix of Chinook/Munich malt that's really driving the spicy flavor here. More earthyness coming from the Munich malt meets the super citrus charcter of the Chinook. Usually I'd think it'd be hard to get the mix right but they really nailed it. After the amazing hop aftertaste there's a sweetness that sticks in the mouth long after you're done drinking. I think this may be one of my favorite Rogue beers ever, competing for that spot with the Chocolate Stout.

Medium carbonation.. the bubbles seem to sit in there and errupt the second the beer enters your mouth. I'm about to plow through this bomber so drinkability must be really good. This beer is only 44 IBU's but it packs a ton of hop flavor, which I love. Plus it's balanced out by an unbeatable maltiness. I think I chose well to have this be my celebration beer.

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Photo of crookedhalo
4.42/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Beautiful deep copper color with a nice, rocky beige head leaving good lacing in the glass. Strong hoppy aroma mixed with some decent malt notes; lots of dry hopping going on, obviously. Kind of like a souped up Rogue St. Red. Tastes initially malty then moving toward the cloying hops. Almost punishing. Gorgeous, though. Touch of cocoa in there as it warms up. Can't say I taste much other spices, other than the sprucy hops that one might find winter seasonal-tasting. Nice balance of intricate malt and aggressive hops throughout. Dig this beer a lot.

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Photo of JamisonM
4.42/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Reddish Amber color with and eggshell colored head

S: hoppy pine and some sweetness from the malt with caramel

T: hoppy pine goodness with a bit of citrus notes caramel notes on the tip of the tongue finish is fresh and a bit of sticky pine finish is bitter and clean

M: med to light mouth with med carbonation

D: very drinkable and enjoyable

Overall: this beer reminds me of Celebration just with different hop notes, A great session beer. Drinking this with Celebration 1 after the other sounds like a damn fine drinking session to me.

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Photo of BigRedN
4.42/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Poured from the 22 oz bomber into my pint glass a dark red/amber. A 3/4 inch thick off-white fluffy head sits atop the liquid. The head has some staying power, lingering until it falls to a tight cap and ring around the glass. Good layered lacing as the beer is consumed.

Smell: Strong aroma of hops, perhaps the most I have smelled for the style. Aroma is primarily piney (tree) with a mix of floral and a touch of citrus as well. There is some mellow malty aroma as well. Very nicely done.

Taste: This beer really shines here. Very well balance with a nice roasted caramel malt backing, but this has hops at the start, middle, and dominating the end. The hoppiest Amber Ale I can remember having. Big taste, very enjoyable.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, lightly carbonated, a little prickly. A bitter finish that lingers in the throat. Plus, I am getting some hop burps as I finish off the bomber. Alcohol is a little noticeable.

Drinkability: Unfortunately this is a very drinkable, very enjoyable beer. This is bad because it packs a little more punch than a "standard" beer, making it a little much to session with, but that is perfectly ok. Purchased at the Still for $3.49. I may try to pick up another before they are gone. Definitely a beer that I will look forward to getting again next year.

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Photo of inebrius
4.42/5  rDev +16.9%
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.

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Photo of becktone
4.43/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Looks great in the glass. Watery-blood red or perhaps garnet in color. Head starts with a pour of a creamy two and a half fingers and diminishes to about 1/2 finger width. Lacing is superb.

To the nose this beer is well balanced. Sweet caramel malts take the foreground and are nicely balanced by the spicy character of the hops. Aroma is potent and easily detectable.

The ode this brew sings to the taste buds is as follows. Malty sweetness and a bit of roasted grain bitterness combine to form a nice malt profile. The sweetness is nicely balanced by a spicy hop character, a bit floral as well. The label says it truly when it states " Reddish-Copper in color with a roasty malt flavor and hoppy, sprucy finish."

Medium bodied with just the right amount of carbonation, this beer feels quite good in the mouth. It is easy to drink and I could easily drink this brew all night.

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Photo of MattyG85
4.45/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 650 ml bottle into a Sam Adams perfect pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a brownish ruby red with some orange and lots of rising bubbles. Big five finger off white head with good retention and lots of sticky lacing around the glass.

Smell: Bready and moderately sweet caramel and toffee malts are the primary aroma. Also a fairly strong aroma of pine resin and earthy noble hops along with a light hint of cinnamon like spice. Kind of smells like a Christmas tree. Quite appropriate.

Taste: Sweet bready caramel and toffee malts up front. Following is a fairly strong taste of spicy pine resin and noble hops. Also some light hints of nuts and cinnamon. Bold flavor in both the malts and hops and very well balanced. Pretty tasty.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a moderate level of carbonation. Creamy and smooth. Finishes a little bit dry.

Overall: A very solid red ale. Bold flavor and well balanced.

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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

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Photo of Stoneman78
4.45/5  rDev +17.7%
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 beergeek279
4.45/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in the 22 oz. bomber. The color was a very dark amber, with a foamy white head with excellent retention. The smell was a very nice hoppiness. The taste was a nice dry hopping on top of a nice amber malt base. Mouthfeel was very nice and smooth. As for drinkability, could drink this one all day.

A fantastic offering from Rogue. A delicious amber ale that actually may be my favorite of the style. Certainly one I'll be looking for next year.

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

22 oz bottle poured in to my DFH snifter glass

Appearance - pours a beautiful deep amber color with one finger of stiff off white head. Leaves a nice lacing behind as the head goes down. Great.

Smell - Citrus and pine immediately. Hop aroma is perfect for me and is combined with a caramel sweet smell. Good combination of pine and sweet.

Taste - Taste of pine resin is what hits me first followed by a citrus/grapefruit taste. Taste starts out sweet with hints of caramel, but surprisingly finishes dry with a rather bitter finish. Definite lingering of pine on your pallete.

Mouthfeel - A bit on the lighter side with perfect carbonation.

Drinkability - Overall I really enjoyed this beer. Basically this is a hopped red ale that I really do enjoy. I am a bit of a hop head, so this is a perfect beer for me this time of the season. Easy to drink, and overall a good beer.

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

Rogue Santa's Private Reserve is a crystal clear copper ale topped with a lumpy, yellowish foam that fades to a film and leaves fluff all over the glass. It smells like a Christmas tree with lots of fresh, resiny pine. It's medium bodied, smooth and fluffy. he dry finish leaves the mouth a little bit sticky. It tastes similar to the aroma. It's quite hoppy with notes of pine and resin. Grapefruit really surfaces in the aftertaste. his is an excellent example of what I'd call a red ale.

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Photo of HeroJH
4.46/5  rDev +18%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A wonderful holiday tradition. I now always pick up one of this to have on Christmas Day.

A - Huge foamy soft head with lacing. Dark chestnut brown in the glass.

S - Nice aroma of hops most notably. Background of some roastyness.

T - Nice hop flavor. Full range, seems dry hopped perhaps as it's quite flowery and fresh tasting. Some slight roastyness in the body. A more hoppy beer, but with some body and other flavors that emerge as it warms.

M - soft carb, dry, refreshing

D - Supreme. So easy to drink. Lovely hop balance with some other things going on, but nothing overwhelming and certainly not a heavy beer that you might expect from a wintertime seasonal.

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Photo of LibraryTom
4.46/5  rDev +18%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Oh Rogue.. how I love your beers. I'm really not an amber drinker, and I found this one to be supremely pleasant. I had no idea what it was when I picked it up..

Pours a chestnut brown amber with matching tan-leather head.

Just easy grain and malt aromas, not too complex.

Beautiful taste profile. Rogue always has some sort of character to their beers that I cannot put my finger on, and this one surely has the trademark. A great malty sweetness drives you through the spices, seeming seamless. No radical flavors, just delicious and warming, with no burn at all.

Rich bodied, yet balanced and not overly done. I could put back quite a few of these.

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Photo of beernut7
4.47/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Coppery color with creamy lasting head. Deep roasted malt flavor enhanced by Rogue hoppiness and complimented by clean spruce finish. Very nice and warming winter brew.

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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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