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: 2,337
Photo of LiquidAmber
3.78/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Gulden Draak tulip. Pours a coppery red-orange amber with a nice one finger fine to medium caramel colored head. Good aroma of piney hops and light caramel malt. Nice presentation. Flavor is light herbal and piney hops with a bready malt finish. Somewhat underwhelming flavor, but what's there is very pleasant. Medium bodied. Would have some potential with a bit more assertive flavor.

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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.

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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.

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Photo of tone77
3.68/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has a pretty amber color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is a good balance of hops and malts. Taste is hops up front, a malt backbone, a tad on the bitter side. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and overall is a quality brew.

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

A - Pours a nice dark red/amber color, nice carbonation, small foamy head, nice islands of lacing throughout the drink.

S - Scents of sweet malts, hops, and some spices.

T - The taste is kinda sweet, and ends with a slight bitter dry finish.

M - Medium body, nice well rounded brew.

D - Drinkable. Another awesome brew in my book from Rogue. Quiet different than other Amber's I've had, but very tasty non the less.

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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.

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Photo of DoubleJ
4.1/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bomber purchased from BevMo, and poured into an Oktoberfest mug, on to the beer:

An excepionally sized head sits on top of the red-amberish colored beer. The aroma is big on the hops and the tropical juicy flavors it brings along. It looks like it's going to be a monster of a beer to get down, but isn't. Lots of hoppiness to be found in the taste, which is tea-like. Burnt sugar, wood, and a light fruitiness are found in the crowd. Faint doughiness in the aftertaste. Not a very carbonated brew, but a good one to quaff on.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
3.95/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A. Poured into a pint glass. Mahogany body with a off white head.

S. Smells fruity and sweet. Caramel malt and some roasted nuts.

T. Well balanced brew featuring a roasted malt body and an earthy hop bitter. None of the sweetness in the nose pulls through much here.

M. Medium bodied and creamy. Good overall mouthfeel with a semi-dry finish.

D. A fairly drinkable, sessionable red ale. Spot on for the style and good for what it is. 6% is a bit high for extended sessions. As it warms it becomes not as great.

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Photo of plaid75
3.66/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a medium amber hue with a two finger creamy white head. There was very good retention and sticky lacing.

The smell featured a light caramel malt, some citrus and grassy hops and a bit of a metallic aroma.

The taste was initially sweet and grainy, but soon gave way to the a spicy and rindlike hop.

The mouthfeel was of average fullness with a bitter finish.

Overall a tasty amber. Could use a bit more complexity however.

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

Pours dark amber with a short head, little head retention,or lacing. Smells of faint hops, cinnamon, and stone fruit. Taste is very hoppy, but a little out of balance. Very thin and soapy in the middle. Just decent- there are many better winter brews.

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Photo of biegaman
3.73/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Rustic red with tawny stain, Santa's Private Reserve has a very nice blend of colours. Although spotlessly clear, its deep tone darkens the clarity of my fingers on the other side. The ecru tinted head fails to cover every spot on the top and leaves the sides of the glass completely bare.

The aroma is a tad harsh and uninviting. The hop profile is aggressive, saturating, and pungent. The malts that underline it are quite astringent and posses a very bitter roast quality. Burnt buttery toffee with spicy vegetable plant kind of smell. I don't mind it, but a bouquet showcasing pungent and astringent will not be for everyone.

This may be one of the more distinctive beers I remember trying in a long time, all due to a peculiar flavouring. Each smell was like a deep breath in the middle of a spruce forest. Similarly, each sip is like bitting the branches, chewing the leaves, nibbling on the needle tips and sucking out every last ounce of oil and resin from a gigantic spruce tree.

This is another Rogue beer that gives me a headache when trying to determine if it's more hoppy or malty. This brewery seems to have perfected the balance between hop and malt in many of their beers; the ratio seems to be 1:1. Notes of burnt toffee and a buttery diacetyl taste seem to have come with warming. They add to the astringency but don't detract much overall from the drinkability.

Rogue has offered a lot to be happy with for an amber ale - it is aggressively hopped, distinctly flavoured, balanced and gratifyingly drinkable. This wouldn't be on the top of my want list but if Santa did decide to share some of his private reserve it would certainly be a welcome find in my stocking.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.73/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A highly carbonated beer that pours with a thick brown head. This beer is a dark brown color that is a clear deep amber color when held up to the light. It has a some what hoppy nose, though it is not too strong.

Definitely a hoppy beer in the taste department as well. It is fairly dry, but does have a caramel malt twang to it. There are interesting pine & citrus notes in this beer. It is fairly bitter in the finish, which is only accentuated by the light body of this brew. Perhaps a hint of buttery richness in the finish as well. As I dig deeper I find roasted malt notes in this beer, just as promised, though at first I missed them because of the hops. The hop notes primarily bring to mind pine & spruce.

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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 Zorro
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very brown brew with red color when held up to a strong light.

Smells of hops and malt, smells mildly sweet and of perfume.

Taste is very malty and surprisingly bitter. There is lots of caramel and nuts flavor to this too. A good strong ale.

Mouthfeel is astringent and full.

Fairly bitey beer, might be too much for some.

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Photo of yourefragile
3.73/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle poured into a pint glass

A: Clear brownish amber/copper with a very nice looking head. Off white/pale tan, very fluffy lots of little bubbles with great retention and lacing.
S: Malty with faint hop smell, I'm having trouble picking up anything more specific from this beer.
T: Mild malt taste throughout, not as strong as smell would suggest. Slightly piney and a little citrus as hops are very strong and take over in the finish.
M: Medium body, very creamy, but a little too much carbonation for me.
D: I feel pretty indifferent toward this beer. A slightly overhopped amber for my taste, biggest complaint was not getting enough of the malt sweetness to balance the hops.

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Photo of puboflyons
3.97/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From the 12 fl. oz. bottle - 2009 batch. Sampled on December 24, 2009. The pour is a mahogany brown tone with nice clarity and little head. Floral hops and pine are the main aromas along with some caramel sweetness. The mouthfeel is around medium. The taste is overwhelmed with bitter hops and less in the way of caramel sweetness. It reminds me more of an IPA. AT least the pine aroma drops a hint of Christmas into the mix.

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Photo of Halcyondays
3.21/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22 oz. bomber, with the man himself on the cover,

A: Pours a dark red, with a thick, full, frothy white head, great retention, leaving medium lacing.

S: Has a sweet smell of caramel malt and some hops.

T: Kind of a letdown in this department. The hop flavour is nice, but it is kind of 1-dimensional, straight pine, backed with a red caramel malt flavour that is not my favourite in the world. Not a bad flavour overall, but I didn't find myself enjoying it as much as I thought I would.

M: Kind of thin, watery, holds up fairly well, but needs more heft, didn't feel it carried the flavour as well as it could have.

D: This is a beer I remember liking last year, but this year it wasn't exactly my cup of tea, tastes change I guess. I still think it tastes good overall, it just didn't excite me that much. I'll drink again, but I don't know if this one will be in my regular winter beer rotation.

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

Being Christmas Eve, I thought this would be appropriate. I'm actually in BC for the holidays, and it's currently 15 C... so it's refreshing flavour is even more appropriate!

A: Copper-amber in colour, pours with a nice off-white head, not much retention, but it leaves a little lace.

S: Zesty citrous peel, a little piney, hint of bread.

T: Balanced to the bitter side, overwhelming Northwest Hop flavour (predominately grapefruit, with a little pine).

M: Moderate body and carbonation. Seems to have a little acidity associated with the citrous, but perhaps the taste buds are just playing tricks on my mind.

D: It's good, but not for the newbie!

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Photo of clayrock81
4.05/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a brownish-auburn tinted copper that is slightly murky and had a two-finger semi-tan head that died quickly but left sheath lacing down the glass. A wonderful hoppy aroma that contained citric and floral hops along with caramel and bread malts. Perfectly balanced brews with a sharp, citric hoppiness with a smooth, creamy body that has some sweet caramel malt along with toffee and roasted malts for a, combined with the good carbonation, a crisp, prickly dry backbite that is great after a smooth, hoppy passing over the tongue. A great red to try by anyone and has a slightly warming effect as you take your time sipping on it.

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Photo of jdhilt
3.21/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Nice coppery color, some carbonation and medium head for a short while, lace stays. The brewer has three different hops (brewer says double the usual) and five malts but the hops win with an initial balance but a definite and lingering hoppy finish. The ABV is 6%.

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

12oz Bottle

Appearance - Slightly hazy dark copper colour with a very large size fizzy dark beige coloured head. There is a low amount of carbonation showing and there is some great lacing. The head lasted for quite a while.

Smell - Malts, caramel, hops, grapefruit

Taste & Mouth - There is a below average amount of carbonation and I can taste malts, caramel and some hops. There is also a fair amount of fruitiness.. cherry, pineapple, and grapefruit. It ends with a malty sweet aftertaste with a good dose of hop bitterness.

Overall - I was expecting some sort of Christmas spice flavour.. but it's still a very enjoyable beer. It's a touch too high on the sweet side for me to have more than a few bottles in 1 sitting. It does pack a nice amount of hop bitterness for the hopheads.

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Photo of cjgator3
4.15/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle poured into an imperial pint glass. Pours a dark red color with a nice off-white head with great lacing and retention. The aroma is a nice and pleasant mixture of malt and hops. The taste is malty up front with a kick from the citrusy/piney hops in the finish. Overall, this is a really nice amber that is one of my favorite winter seasonal. Recommended.

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

A: Poured a medium, cloudy mahogany red with a slight dirty beige head.

S: sweet caramel, toasted malts and a floral hoppiness with some citrus.

T: For flavor there appeared to be signature Chinook hop presence that delivers a dry, pine bitterness with faint grapefruit notes. A moderate caramel backing and dry hoppy bitterness.

M: medium with ample carbonation.

D: Overall a moderately good drink by itself. decent and worth a look.

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

Poured from bottle(room temp) a cloudy deep red with a huge head that lingers quite nicely. Halfway through, there are "islands" of foam with sporadic lacing.

The smell has a very sweet caramelly air to it suggesting that the flavour will also be very sweet. We'll see.

The taste does have a sweet malty note up front but there's some hop bitterness in the background that is making for a nicely balanced brew and then, the bitterness takes over in the aftertaste and adds to the overall enjoyment of this amber. It's a good drop worth buying again.

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Photo of Rhettroactive
3.14/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From bomber to Bruges hybrid glass on 2/11/11

*I'm performing a "Spring Cleaning" of sorts, and finishing off the holiday beer in and around my home - this being one of them.

A: It looks as it should: golden amber with a surprisingly fluffy and dense 2.5 finger head. Substantial lacing remains.

S: Shocker! It's got that bland, undesirable "Rogue" nose. You know what I'm talking about - that grassy, earthiness which might appeal to a hamster.

T: Barley, bready, with hints of muted Chinook hops. As it goes down, I get an overwhelming amount of yeastiness on the back palate, quite similar to Rogue's Dead Guy Ale.

M: Reasonable enough - it's fairly smooth and robust. Good carbonation gives proper weight to this amber ale.

O: I've recently had this one twice: back in early December and then again last night. In my opinion, this was slightly better and a bit more complex when fresh. It's certainly drinkable now, but I highly recommend serving this one right out of the gate.

On a positive note: this is my favorite Rogue brew to date (which really isn't saying much). Santa would approve.

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Santa's Private Reserve Ale from Rogue Ales
3.78 out of 5 based on 2,337 ratings.
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