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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Reviews: 1,197 | Ratings: 2,338
Photo of scottfrie
2.84/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12oz bottle into Delirium Tremens snifter. Thanks to mjyoung for buying this for me.

A: Pour a dark ruby-amber with a thick light tan head that faded into a thin scum and collar around the glass. Pretty solid sheet of lacing left.
S: Faint notes of fruits and spices. I get notes of orange cream popsicles too. Not a lot of odor on this one.
T: I get some bitter notes of hops right off the bat which they taste like dried orange peel. After that it tastes like a mixture of sweet malt and spicy rye, which isn't too bad on its own, but the way all the flavors come together don't really agree with me. Finish just barely sweet before the bitter roasted aftertaste kicks in. Tastes kinda skanky and sour. I don't think this beer has gone bad, I think it's just kinda nasty.
M: Medium body, with soft, even carbonation. Not really much to complain about here.
D: I didn't really love this beer. I guess I'd give it another try, maybe it's better on tap, but there are so many better amber ales out there that I would rather spend my money on.

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Photo of abfraser
2.88/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A: Nice reddish copper. Pours with a nice thick white head. Pretty good lacing.

S: Sweet malt, orange peel, some faint spice like aromas

T/M: Very thin mouthfeel. Malt is the predominant characteristic here. It's not sweet like the initial smell, very bready. Some hop bitterness on the end. Overall, mostly blah.

D: Not feeling much of desire to even finish my glass...

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Photo of kojevergas
2.89/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

I'm walking into this with below average expectations on account of the brewery.

BOTTLE is 12 fl oz and brown glass, with fun label art and a sleek label layout. Pry-off cap is branded, and the label tells me nothing about the style of the beer. Rogue's website calls it a red ale, so I'll review it (live) as such...

Served cold into a pilsner glass in Austin, TX (low altitude).

No bubble show forms as it's poured.

HEAD: Healthy, with an off-white colour head of fair frothiness and cream. Decent thickness and fullness, coming in at ~3-3.5 inches wide. As it recedes, it leaves a ring of thick coating lacing about the sides of the glass, and it retains rather well at that - ~6-8 minutes.

BODY: Deep dark auburn. The "reddish-copper" suggested by the label's description is fair. Has no bothersome yeast or hop sediment visible. Translucent; nontransparent.

Appears well-carbonated. Attractive, certainly, and apt-looking for a red ale, but not mind-blowing or unique.

AROMA: The description on the label uses words like "roasty" and "sprucey"...huh? Spruce, maybe, but there's zero roast here. I wouldn't even call it malty; the amber and pale malt presence is minimal at best. The hop profile - if anything - dominates, with notes of muted floral character and some resins coming through. As it warms, I get a glimmer of caramalt.

All in all, this is a muted, minimal aroma that suggests a fairly insipid red ale. Aromatic intensity is light at best.

I find no off-notes, booze, or yeast.

TASTE & TEXTURE: Hops dominate here, with a sprucey (yes, touche Rogue) and somewhat fruity hop profile bolstered by subsidiary notes of hop resins, fruity ale yeast esters, and general floral hoppy bitterness. The malt backbone comes on a bit too strong with its sweetness, offering amber malts, pale malts, Munich malts, and caramalts, but with insufficient roastiness and/or toastiness for the style. It comes off as a bit imbalanced, with the bitterness from the hops coating the palate and detracting from what should be the emphasis (the nonexistent toasty amber malts).

Depth of flavour is pretty shallow, but to give credit where it's due, this is shockingly cohesive for what it is - though it never quite comes off tasting gestalt. The smooth, wet, coating mouthfeel isn't a great companion to the taste, but the overcarbonation is only mild and the medium body is appropriate. Has adequate weight and heft on the palate, though it's a shame this texture services hops instead of malts.

It's a simple stab at a red ale and misses many key fundamentals. Even some winter warmer-esque spices would be welcome, if only to contribute needed complexity. I don't dislike it, but it needs some serious fleshing out.

Not oily, boozy, gushed, or scratchy.

OVERALL: Oddly hop-emphatic for an ostensible winter ale, with no real nods to the traditional red ale (English, Irish, or American) whatsoever. It's absolutely a drinkable brew, but its shallowness and simplicity leave much to be desired. I doubt I'll revisit this voluntarily, but it's by no means a bad beer - merely a mediocre one. The discerning drinker will be unfazed, and can safely skip this. Certainly average.

C (2.89)

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Photo of DocJitsu
2.89/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a mildly cloudy orange-amber color with a huge, fluffy light taupe head. Some tropical fruit and citrus on the nose. Mouthfeel is average. Pretty light-bodied, wet, but gets a little dryer toward the finish. The flavor is nearly off-putting. It tastes like I'd dropped my homemade Christmas pull candy in my APA. These flavors just don't blend well. The wrong hop/grain combination. If this is what Santa drinks, then he can stay out of my chimney.

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Photo of claspada
2.9/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A- Copper red with a fluffy tan head.

S- Very hoppy, lots of citrus with some earthy notes

T- Hoppy and smokey, just a bit of spice and lemon, totally dominated by the hops. Really not what I want in my Winter Ales, wish there was a more malty balanace

M- Soft and smooth initially, but the lingering hop bitterness ruins this one for me.

D- Average beer at best, I expected better from Rogue, very light/thin for the style. Won't be a repeat for me this holiday season.

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Photo of Ricochet
2.9/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Orange amber pour, darker brown than most with small head but a good lace. The amber was stronger under light and the red became apparent. Smelled of light grapefruit hops with a twinge of malt. Smelled older though, I'm really starting to notice the fresh/or older hop smells. There was a coffee note to this too? Mouth didn't sit right. It had a thin finish, and a hoppy overtone to the aftertaste, but the initial kick was not right to me. A sandy like mouth, that ruined the experience. Flavors? Well, the sweetness of malt and the bitterness of hops were not mixing well, like they were suspended in a burnt malt center and outer bitter, like a hole?

This struck me. A beer so unpleasant, yet, I kept drinking despite it all, so not worthy of a pour, not worthy of much else either.

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Photo of beertunes
2.9/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Poured into 10oz glass. Poured a lovely red-amber color with a fluffy off-white head that had good retention and moderate lacing.

The aroma was a great blend of malt and hops. Nice malt sweetness up front, with a touch of pine and floral hops following along. After the great aroma, the average (at best) taste was quite the disappointment. Harsh uneven hops, no malt flavors and a rough, metallic finish.

The body was very thin for the style and the beer was barely drinkable, After my 10oz pour, I shared the rest of the bottle with 3 other folks and we all could barely finish our pours.

Overall, not one of Rogue's better efforts. Try it at your own risk.

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Photo of KajII
2.9/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

[Best served in a English pint]

Poured a medium copper-red with an average sized off white frothy head that was mostly lasting and had excellent lacing. The aroma was of roasted malts,a doughy yeast and an herbal hop with a note of caramel and some spiciness. It tasted mildly sweet with a caramel overtone at the start and matured into a sweet-bitter-malty flavor that had a nice hoppiness at the finish. Mouthfeel was light to medium in body and dry in texture with a soft carbonation. Overall an OK brew but it's just lacking something.

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Photo of Tolann
2.91/5  rDev -23%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Review copied from previous notes

A - Red in color. Clear. Lots of head but not thick or heavy. Lingers a while. Leaves some lace.

S - Some spice and malt. Little hops sweetness

T - Heavier spice. Some bitterness that lingers. Tastes warm on the tongue. Hops sweetness.

M - Light/medium body. Warm on the tongue. Not overly carbonated feel, but lively.

D - Easy to drink and something different.

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Photo of bigkahunas4
2.91/5  rDev -23%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Poured from a bomber into a pint glass.

Body was orange, like Triaminic medicine, with a half finger cookie head. Nose was quite powerful, lots of pale hops. So pale though, it didn't smell too appetizing.

The taste is mainly of hops, nothing really jumping out and grabbing me here though. It's sticky, and has a vibrant viscosity.

Probably won't have this again - doesn't do anything for me.

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Photo of charlzm
2.92/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottled, consumed on 01/29/08.

Had this chilling in the fridge for a couple of months; figured it was time to try it out. Pours cloudy orange/amber, tan head. Strong grapefruity hop aroma. Flavor is the same with bitterness as well. I couldn't make out any malt character or anything from the yeast. Just citrus hops. Okay, maybe a tiny hint of spruce hoppiness, too.

One dimensional hop juice.

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Photo of optiontwo
2.93/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. poured into generic pint glass. Note: This bottle went crazy and fizzed over the top when I opened it. I hope it is ok.

Appearance: Dark ruby red/brown with one inch white head.

Smell: Earthy hop smell mixed with caramel sweetness. Not much else.

Taste: Similar to the smell but hoppier. Nice amount of bitter but the aftertaste is somewhat metallic and kind of ruins the whole thing.

Mouthfeel: Not bad, but not great either. Carbonation seems to be a bit too much, but then again my bottle did erupt when I opened it so who knows.

Drinkability: Not bad. I could probably put back a couple bombers.

Overall: I'm not a big fan of Rogue but I definitely went into this one objectively. I'm not a fan of this brew. Not enough going on for me and the metallic aftertaste is less than desirable. I might pick this one up again just to see if my bottle was bad, but probably not.

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Photo of MisterGone
2.94/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pour from 22/750 bottle. Reddish amber color, as advertised.

The aroma was virtually non-existent cold, and subtle at temp. Light malt, more dough than biscuit, some hop bitters that seemed a bit piney (which works well for a winter brew), a hint of spice and yeast.

Flavor was only distinct from the aroma in that it was hop forward, more than I had expected for a declared red. Nice piney, grassy hop flavor. The malt stayed in the doughy-rather-than-biscuity range and had a subtle sweetness. Slight spice with a return of the hop in the finish.

A good beer, especially those looking for something more subtle in the red genre. I do think the pine-grass and doughy-spice (cookie? is that what they are after?) flavors do well for a winter seasonal. I personally hoped for a bit more, those same flavors intensified.

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Photo of DavoleBomb
2.96/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 1.5

Poured into a pint glass.

5.0 A: Very inviting brown amber color with purple hues. I don't think I've seen such a color. Thick creamy lacing with awesome retention and tons of lacing. Near perfection.

4.0 S: Very pleasant herbal hop aroma. Nutiness mixed with a hint of citrus and spice. Could be a big bolder though.

2.5 T: Big tangy hop bitterness. The IBUs must be through the roof. Normally this would make my day, but there is seemingly no balance to this beer. I really must stress the hop flavor and bitterness. It reminds me of the time a couple weeks ago when I decided to try a few Cascade hops pellets straight up. I try to pick up on malt characteristics, but I fail because every sip leaves a massive bitter aftertaste that lingers.

4.0 M: Medium bodied. Good carbonation, good all around.

1.5 D: The beer is just too hoppy or, rather, not malty enough. I love hops, love them dearly, but I need some balance from the malts. Otherwise, there is no point of drinking beer since I could pick up a few ounces of hops and eat them like a salad.

I think if I cellared this beer for a few years, it could be really good.

Update: I think I'll have to try this again sometime. After writing my review, I read some of the other ones and a lot of people are saying how the malts really stand out.

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Photo of Kunsan90
2.96/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours dark amber with a decent foamy head that left an extreme lacy foam as it receded. It smelled like a pine forest with a very slight hint of malty sweetness. The taste was over powered by a pine/bitter tasting flavor, which I did not enjoy at all. It had a good mouth feel, but the bitter pine after taste was over powering, at least for me. It’s drink ability would have been OK except for the excessive piney aftertaste. I feel there is a place and target market for this beer, but I don’t think I fit into either.

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Photo of cjoc83
2.98/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a hazy, beautiful reddish-copper color with an initials fingers worth of slightly off-white head that dissipates quickly to a ring. Nice looking beer.

Surprising amount of resinous and tropical fruit hops in the nose, but the malty sweetness is definitely in there, intermingling with some caramel.

Initial taste is some malt sweetness and just a hint of caramel before segueing into some spicy, resinous hops that stick around for a while after the glass hits the table. The flavors are kind of all over the place, with the hops the dominant note. This doesn't really smack of a holiday ale to me.

Mouthfeel is on the lighter side of medium-bodied, carbonation is present but slight. A bit watery for a holiday beer.

This is kind of a mixed bag for me, but this beer failed to wow me where it counts; in the taste. While there are some spicy notes and a nice dollop of malty/caramel sweetness, the beer seems over-hopped and just doesn't come through on the mouthfeel. As I said before, this doesn't really taste like a holiday ale. It tastes more like a weirded-out IPA. Although I will give it a few bonus points for being made with locally sourced ingredients and having "no chemicals, additives, or preservatives" (per the bottle).

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Photo of mwagner1018
2.99/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A- Nice pour into a standard pint glass, about 3 fingers of nice creamy/airy/cloudy head, great release. Deep rasberryish/velvety red rusty color. Nice consistent lacing throughout.

T- Real nice deep hop bitterness, full bodied, smooth to the pallet, and refreshing. Strong bitter hops, distinct, with some slight malted undertones.

S- Dissapointed by lack of clarity, mostly hops, some spices and malt. Very quickly diminishing, never returns.

M- Nice blend of the carbonation and full body of the hops and malt, good balance on the tounge. Great depth as the beer warms, good at room temp.

D- Decent drinkability, with the full flavor of hops on this one, it tends to overwhelm the taste buds. Definitely a great ale, would place with similar styled IPA's. Always a fan of Rogue...and this one is no exception...Santa delivered a good one.

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Photo of Ragingbull
3/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Medium shade of brown color and head that quickly dissipated when poured into a pint glass. Spicy nose. This beer obviously had spicy hints to it given that it was a holiday warmer, but I couldn't help but think that it was too busy as far as the spices were concerned. There was something in the flavor that just didn't quite jive with me. I tried it again as I had purchased several 22 ounce bottle and while the second go round was a little easier on me I still couldn't quite appreciate this beer. It was just alright for me. I have no doubt that some will love it, but it was too busy for me.

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Photo of bigfnjoe
3/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bomber into a perfect pint

A- pours a really nice shade of amber with a real puffy three finger offwhite head. Lacing is stellar as you'd expect from Rogue

S- nothing. Nothing at all. Wait...very faint hop aroma. COME ON ROGUE, GET SOME AROMA INTO YOUR BEER

T- a little bitter. A little floral. A little perfumey. Aftertaste is a little juicy and bitter. I can't put my finger on any particular flavor though, there's a lot going on, and nothing dominates...really not the best combination

M- thicker than most ambers I've had...seems to be par for the course for Rogue

D- it's not bad, but I can buy a six pack of Hopback whenever the hell I want for 2 bucks more than this bomber cost. And Hopback is a stellar beer...I've officially noticed that all Rogue beers seem to have the same profile: look great, weak nose, average taste, super thick body. It's getting a little old

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Photo of jazappi
3/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Presentation: 22 oz bottle poured into a mug.

Appearance: Reddish Brown with a small head, Less then a finger width. Some lacing that dissappeared.

Aroma: Piney, sweet smell.

Taste: To me this is something that you have to drink in moderation, not 22 oz at a time. It has a very piney, hoppy after taste that dried out the mouth. Intial flavor is decent.

Mouthfeel: Good feel while drinking, but afterwards like a said above really drys out the mouth. That is my biggest issue.

Overall: I would recommend this to others, cause I just don't think it is my type of beer.

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Photo of alysmith4
3/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I'm sure this is a good beer, but I did not care for it at all. I must not be a fan of the American Amber/ Red Ale, so I'm trying to review the beer aside from my personal preference. The color was (obviously) amber with red undertones, and it poured with minimal head. Carbonation level was low as well. The smell was musky, syrupy, and spicy. It tasted exactly like it smelled, and I could only get a third of it down. It was way too sticky/syrupy for me. I know Rogue puts out some excellent brews, and I'm sure this one is up to par. Probably worth a try if you like this style.

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Photo of bjoyce12
3/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

One word: disappointing. It seems like Rogue just bottled some leftover Dead Guy Ale and labeled it for Christmas. I was hoping for some serious spice notes in the vein of a Christmas Bock or Winter Warmer, but nothing there. Slightly bitter. Maybe I'm being too harsh, but my expectations are always set on high with anything from Rogue. There are much better options out there from them, their Chocolate Stout for one...

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Photo of JohnGalt1
3.01/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle from the Boise Coop purchased for around $1.50. Enjoyed from a red wine glass while listening to Renaissance Worldwide Singapore; BT mix.

Big head floats for a short time over a deep clear amber.... lacing lingers on the sides of the glass for the entire time.

Aroma is hop dominant; big citrus shadowed by pine ... descent caramel balanced the hops ... barely.

Taste is the same though more balanced .... sorta thin though. A little oily hoppiness that I like.

Descent beer from a good brewery ... though it seems a little too much like many of their other beers. I am not really badmouthing Rogue; I really like most of their other high-end brews, but alot of the stuff in 12oz'ers is not real distinctive.

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Photo of BuffaloBill91
3.01/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

This brew was found at my local store on tap- so I got a growler- I didnt expect this to be one of these xtra big hoppy beers --I am trying to stay as objective as possible in my review--- but the hops in this one is just overpowering- maybe with age in a bottle this would mellow out --the hops just taste so fresh--- reminds me of a time at a brewfest that they were filtering an ipa with fresh hops--yikes
the Appearance is wonderful - its a awesome red-amber with a nice 1 finger head-
the Smell is citrus fruits with hops and more hops---its smells a lot like it tastes -there is a slight malt and some sweetness on the tip of he tongue going towards massive bitter in the back---mega hops here --
mouth feel is nice not to heavy but not thin either-
the drinkability just isn't there for me- im no hophead- maybe that is why----1 pint and im done maybe 2 if im really thirsty... I do like that the bitterness of the hops doesn't stay with you forever on this one---it definitely give you a hops shot up front but at least it doesn't linger on forever..

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Photo of Beaver13
3.03/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22 oz bottle. Pours a ruby amber with a thin off-white head that quickly goes down to a thin film that leaves a little lacing.

The aroma is caramel/toffee malts with a little butterscotch and a fruity floral hoppiness.

The flavor is fruity (slightly acidic) butterscotch malts initially followed by a floral piney hop finish that lingers into the aftertaste. It's medium bodied, but with a watery finish that washes out a lot of the flavors except the bitter aftertaste.

Overall, similar to other hoppy ambers (Levitation, Cinder Cone, Red Seal). I really liked the first couple of sips, but the more I had of it the less I liked it.

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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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