Dismiss Notice
We're celebrating 10 years of BeerAdvocate magazine with $10 print subscriptions for US residents.

Subscribe now!

Santa's Private Reserve Ale | Rogue Ales

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
very good
1,190 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

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,190 | Ratings: 2,292
Photo of mikesgroove
4.08/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I was very happy to be able to take part in this special cask tasting of this years Santa’s Reserve down at Barleys the other night. Whenever you get to take part in something like this it always makes my day and this was no exception. Arrived early and got to try some goodies downstairs and made my way up around the upstairs and right up in front of the cask for a while. After blowing up to the ceiling, it mellowed down enough to let them pour and what came out was just great. A nice and hazy, thick dark brown poured into the glass leaving a good two inches or so of tan colored head on top. This rested nicely down and laid on top to form a good half inch or so that lasted until the end. Smell was nice and richly spiced with an evident dry hopping to it. Lots of very fresh pine and cinnamon aromas coming off of it. This translated perfectly over to the taste where a nice rich brown ale was welcomed and mixed with a generous amount of hoppiness. A great creamy and smooth feel was nice and full bodied and never let you down on the carbonation. An almost chewy consistency could be detected as well. I wished I could have had more, but this was a one pint per man night so I loved every last sip. Overall this was really fantastic. It was very rich and fresh tasting and just had a tremendously good texture and feel to it. I could have made this one all night, but alas I had to go home. It was great and I am glad I made it. Truly one that I will remember.

 1,472 characters

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..

 505 characters

Photo of Jason
4.37/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A most excellent looking head, the hops are an obvious help in this department. Clear brownish copper color shimmers warm in the light. Nutty bready sweet malt, softly pungent hop oil infiltrates the nose with rind, wild flowers and citrus zest. So smooth, nice crisp bite towards the end. Body is creamy and of a solid medium size. Level carbonation. Citric hop and a nougat flavor up front on the taste buds. Waves of malt sweetness are white capped with a strong grasping hop bitterness. Both the hop bitterness and malt sweetness, even the residuals, don’t want to let go. The hops are more persistent and seem to cover more ground with layers of flavor.

As always in Rogue fashion there is no holding back on the hops, certainly enough malt flavor to go around. This one is a must for me each year.

 806 characters

Photo of TMoney2591
3.4/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Served in a Chicago Bears shaker pint glass.

Well, my drinking must've helped, 'cause the Bears pulled off another victory, this time against the Chargers. Boom! Anyway, this stuff pours a lightly hazy amber-crimson topped by a finger of dusty off-white foam. The nose comprises pine, caramel, sharp ruby red grapefruit zest, and a touch of mandarin orange flesh. The taste brings in more of the same, with the pine and grapefruit (this time the rind) really taking center stage, forcing all else to the background. It's not bad, just a bit one-dimensional. The body is a light medium, with a moderate carbonation and a dry finish. Overall, a one-note song, nothing close to exceptional. It's good, but I can't really drink all that much of it at length. Kinda confused as to what this has to do with X-Mas (I mean, it is called Santa's Private Reserve, after all)...

 868 characters

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

A: Pours a dark amber color with a nice one finger head. Good retention and nice lacing down the side of the glass.

S: Nice citrus/pine aroma upfront. Followed up by a nice caramel smell.

T: Starts piney and is followed up by some citrus and more floral hop notes. The caramel malts hit in the middle and has a slightly bitter finish.

M/D: Medium bodied with nice carbonation. Overall, very enjoyable. Love that this "winter" beer is a hoppy red ale.

Edit: 10/27/11
Had a very fresh bottle (Thanks Cory!). Bumped up the taste to a 4. Quite nice flavor profile, better than I remember.

 591 characters

Photo of smcolw
3.92/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Reddish, light brown. Slight coudiness. Nice lace as the beer is consumed. The head is light beige, about one-finger thick. It dies within five minutes to a single layer of fine bubbles.

A touch of chocolate malt in the aroma. Nice dry hop presence for balance--flowery.

Most notable is the dryness of this brew. It is also surprisingly thin in body with a relatively high carbonation. Bountiful amount of hops, but not overwhelming. Very brief aftertaste.

This is similar to a darkish high-hopped pale ale.

 516 characters

Photo of billab914
3.67/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into my Southern Tier tulip glass. Poured a dark copper color with a thin white lacing covering the top of the beer. The head had decent retention and left some very good lacing on the glass.

The aroma is hoppy with pine, citrus and a earthy spiciness to it. A little sweet malt comes through a little in the nose as well. The taste has a lot of hoppy pine and spiciness to it along with a decent supporting malt backbone.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Drinkability is decent, it's a pretty good tasting beer with some good flavors that goes down pretty easy.

I have to say my favorite part of this beer was that despite it being a holiday beer it wasn't a spice bomb. What spices were there seemed to be from the verities of hops used and not from spice additions. A nice surprise in my opinion.

 855 characters

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

Appearance: Pours with a caramel amber hue above the body sits a very nice sized mass of tan foam that as I take each swip forms a ring of fine lacing with dispersed specks of lace packed between each clear ring. Aroma: Deep pine cone scented hops full biscuit malt character with some caramel sweetness complementing the west coast hopping. Taste: Roasted malts, caramel malt tones backed by a whopping hop profile brings out piney and mildly citrus tones a great winter amber great brew. Mouthfeel: Medium in body, overall great crisp finish leaves the hop oils on the tongue pretty damn bitter. Drinkability: More hops than I want for a session brew but a very tasty seasonal offering from our friends at Rogue.

 714 characters

Photo of RblWthACoz
3.8/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear ruby/amber with a little bit of head. Nose is, surprise, hoppy!! Who would have thunk. Also that touch of a sweet tone on there too. Taste is interesting. Kind of pine like with a sweet touch on the tip of your tongue, but the dominant presence here is, surprise, the hops! Mouthfeel seems a little too carbonated. And I would put the drinkability higher if it weren't for the mass of hops that are there, just to be there. Just because blue looks good on your car doesn't mean you have to paint the tires the same color too. A decent brew, but I won't be waiting up late at night next year waiting for it to come around.

 635 characters

Photo of woodychandler
3.75/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Xmas in July at The Grey Lodge! Whoo hoo. Thanks, Scoats, for another brilliant gathering.

This arrived with a really fluffy tan head that slowly reduced but never completely disappeared. It had a lovely malt nose which didn't seem spicy at all. The color was a deep amber, or better, caramel color, like cola. The mouthfeel was rather light. I noted a light combination of sweetness and spiciness in the mouth. Amazingly, the finish was more hoppy than malty. I found this highly enjoyable and I would have had another had it not been for all of the different beers brought out for the occasion.

 599 characters

Photo of jwc215
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours reddish-copper with a thin foamy off-white head.

Rogue's signature Pac-man yeast is in the forefront of the smell, backed up by toasty caramel, citrus and earthy notes.

The taste is of the Pac-man yeast, caramel/toffee and bitter citrus with a touch of spruce. Toffeeish malt gives way to a bitter finish. Medium-bodied (not quite as full as many other winter offerings, but a nice body for an amber/red ale.

With the ingedients, I expected to like it even more. Bottom line though - I liked it and certainly found it to be highly drinkable and a good "hop-fix" for a change from the large line-up of malty/spicy winter brews (along with a few other hoppy winter brews that come to mind).

 697 characters

Photo of tdm168
3.78/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A - dark amber wtih a huge, brownish, off white head that is dense and foamy with great retention

S - sweet caramel, bread, light piny aromas

T - faint bread, caramel, piny hop resin

M - medium bodied, perfectly carbonated

This has the makings of a very solid beer. All of the right flavors are there. this just isn't as full flavored as I would have liked, and it's also a bit simplistic. It has decent malt character and a good hop presence, but it's all underwhelming. All of the flavors need to be more forward. This was nice to try once, but I don't think I'll seek it out again.

 588 characters

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.37/5  rDev +15.6%
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 smakawhat
4.33/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle into a nonic pint glass. Christmas leftovers continues!

A very light caramel head in color, large fist full of foamy goodness off the pour with some nice clumping retention. Body color is a gorgeous amber red and hues of orange, copper, and all in between. This slight opaque character gives the beer a not quite frozen but a subtle orb glowing character, lots of lacing while finishing. Great looking beer.

Nose is clean malts, faint brown sugar, a little brown clove spice in there. Very nice.

Taste brings a nice play in the mouth. Soft bodied mouthfeel and just this tiny TINY lingering hop presence on the swallow. A mild sweetness comes through with a chewy density. Hints of orange in the palate, clementime zest bitter. Mouthfeel could be just a hint better, but doesn't get too wet or syrupy. Just a faint hop hint here which lingers and mixes with the malt body real nicely.

MMmmm I am enjoying this one. Great amber!

 954 characters

Photo of WoodBrew
3.4/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Santa's reserve was decent. It poured a nice clear amber with white head that did not lace. The scent was fairly non-descript. The taste was slightly bitter and came off the pallet clean. Overall it was ok....I wouldn't go searching it out.

 244 characters

Photo of Gagnonsux
3.88/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've never seen this in Texas before so I had to pick it up. Santa's is dark ruby-red in color with a creamy light brown head. Aroma is hoppy with some nutty malts mixed in. Taste is a nicely balanced (at least from what I hear about all the different products by Rogue) mix of tasty hops and mildly nutty malts. Hops are diffenently emphasized here, but aren't overwhelming. Mouthfeel and drinkability are great as predicted. So far this is one of my least favorite beers from Rogue and it's still great. Pick this up!

 519 characters

Photo of GarthDanielson
3.59/5  rDev -5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a tumbler pint, the beer is a bright, slightly hazy, orange-brown coloring with a thin, frothy, foamy yellow-biege head that clings all over the glass. Good toffee and sweet aromas, with a slight hopping in the background. Flavors are more hop-forward, with a good caramel malt backbone and some roasty characteristics. Slight spicing throughout the beer gives a more festive flavor profile. The aftertaste is a slight resiny hops presence, with a caramel blend once again. The finish is slightly clingy and cloying, but the subtle spicing actually wins out in the end, and cleans out the palate quite nicely. Good, solid, sessionable Amber.

 667 characters

Photo of vfgccp
2.45/5  rDev -35.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

2010 bottle, drank 2/22/11.

A - Deep amber. Fluffy finger head with a nice lace.

S - Light malt breadyness. Some clove, sugar, vanilla, chocolate chip cookies.

T - Copper, metallic taste dominates the profile. Some light malt and cedar hops peak through on the back end.

M - Resiny bitterness paired with the copper character comes off fairly unpleasant.

D - Not sure what's going on with the metallic taste.

 414 characters

Photo of Billolick
4.33/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Typical Rogue bomber, no freshness/vintage info. Offered. Pours clear, slightly reddish amber. Head is initially huge and luxurious , slowly recedes , leaves gobs of scattered and sheeted lacing. The nose I get is multifaceted, ginger bread, leafy hops, bready malts. Tasty, complex and clearly high quality offering. More mild winter spice, a modicum or resiny hops and then a smooth multi grain malt finish. More resins on the tongue long after the last sip. Nice creation from Rogue, fine winter/holiday sipper

 513 characters

Photo of drabmuh
3.65/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I am slowly reviewing all the beers on beeradvocate that have more than 1000 reviews, this is one of them.

Beer served in a Rogue shaker pint glass because I can. Beer is red and mostly clear with a decent off white head of medium bubbles, leaves some lacing on the glass and carbonation is moderate to low.

Beer smells pretty malty, almost dark in the malt bill. Some piny hops rears up in the back and I can smell that horrid pacman yeast they use for everything, I call this aroma the Rogue bite.

Beer is thick and heavy on my palate...oh how I wish this was a 12 ounce bottle. It is not bad, it is a malty red but at this point in the night I'm not feeling such a heavy beer. The hop presence is fine in the back, moderately bitter, some pine on the palate. Overall it's a pretty OK red. I'd have it again but not 22 ounces in one sitting as my fifth beer of the night.

 876 characters

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

12/19/04- Purchased at Bevmo in San Mateo, CA

Presentation- 22 oz bottle with no freshness date. Poured into my 24 oz mug.

Appearance- Nice inch head with average lacing throughout. A darker amber color.

Smell- Lots of hops as expected from a Rogue brew. Maybe some fruity scents as well.

Taste- Yep, lots of hops and lots of malt too. Nice and balanced. Has a tad of a dark taste to it. Not sure if it's a nutty or raosted taste. My buds are failing me.

Mouthfeel- Above average carbonation, but with the hops tempting me, I don't care...

Drinkability- Quite a nice Christams brew. One of the better balanced beers I have had in a while.

 657 characters

Photo of tempest
3.61/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Hops, I smell greapefuit hops, and whatever that house aroma is. Maybe from the Pacman yeast. Looks a gorgeous red with head and lacing that won't stop. Tastes of some caramel malt with lemon and grapefuit hops and spruce. Unfortunately, this beer suffers from a lack of distinct flavors. It just rushes in at once and leaves bitterness. This packs a punch for an amber/red. Definately a beer for the IPA crowd, not the Killian's folks.

 436 characters

Photo of Tone
4.03/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy rich amber color. Good 5/4 inch head of an off-white color. Good retention and good lacing. Smells of hops, sweetness, and some slight earthy malts. So far, it fits the rather broad style of an American Amber / Red Ale. Smooth and crisp mouth feel with a low carbonation level. Tastes of hops up front with a strong secondary malt flavor. Neither is dominate, but instead a good blend of flavors. The aftertaste is mostly the bitterness of hops. A strong combination of malt and hops with an ease in the drinkability. A good beer worth a try, but maybe just a tad too sweet overall.

 597 characters

Photo of WesWes
4.15/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a dark red color with a nice tan head that lasts. The aroma is tremendous. There are elements of pale, crystal, and munich malts here. Also, the aroma hops stand out. The taste is good. It is quite hoppy. This is a red/amber ale with a heavy load of hops in all respects. The mouthfeel is good. This is a medium bodied ale that is well carbonated. This is a great drinking beer. You gotta love seasonal gems such as this.

 436 characters

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

Clear amber / copper in color with a nice 2" bubbly tan head. Aroma is malty, piney bitterness, with hints of citrus and spice. The flavor follows what is picked up by the nose, with plenty of maltiness and bitterness, followed by some grapefruit, caramel, and a touch of pepper.

Mouthfeel starts smooth with a touch of crispness, but ends crisply and lightly dry. The maltiness and pine lingers. Medium in body. Minimal carbonation bubbles noticed. As with most Rogue products, very drinkable and quite tasty.

 514 characters

Santa's Private Reserve Ale from Rogue Ales
3.78 out of 5 based on 2,292 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Extreme Beer Fest® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • Free Trial Subscription

    Reside in the US? Interested in a free 1-month trial subscription to the print edition of BeerAdvocate magazine?

    Yes! Sign Me Up!