Friday, October 8, 2010

Rogue Santa's Private Reserve Review

Brewery: Rogue Ales Brewery | Beer: Santa's Private Reserve
Style: American Red Ale | ABV: 6.0%
| IBUs: 44
Serving Method: 22 oz. bottle poured into pint glass

Rogue Santa's Private ReserveThink about winter seasonals, and what comes to mind is a parade of rich, dark, and warming beers. While that makes sense, it can get a little old. That's why I love when brewers release lighter winter seasonals that buck the trend.

Rogue apparently shares my opinion, as their Santa's Private Reserve is an American Red Ale. While it may not yet be winter, it's cold enough outside that I decided to post up my review of 2008's batch.

A double-hopped variation on the old Saint Rogue Red, Santa's Private Reserve is a big Red Ale with ABV and IBU ratings to match. The backbone is built from Carastan, Crystal, Rogue Micro Barley Farm Dare, and Risk malts varieties. It's hopped with Chinook, Rogue Farm Revolution, and Freedom Hops. As always, everything is brought to life with the house Pacman yeast.

Rogue is a brief in their description, noting on that it is "reddish in color, with a roasty, malty flavor and a hoppy spruce finish." Let's pretend it's December and dig in!

Appearance: A crystal-clear, rich reg-orange body with brilliant orange highlights. Up top, two creamy fingers of off-white head that hang around a long time, leaving great lacing.

Aroma: Citrusy and somewhat piney hops over a caramel malt base. Basically a Red Ale with the hops cranked up.

Taste: Up front, a properly bitter splash of hops with citrus, tropical fruit and piney character. Underneath, a toasty, biscuity, and caramel-like malt backbone keeps everything balanced well. Bitterness continues throughout the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: A creamy medium body with smooth carbonation and a dry finish.

Drinkability: A great session beer if you're into hops.

Verdict: I'm always happy to find great Winter seasonals besides the typical Stouts, Barleywines, etc. and Santa's Private Reserve fits the bill well. If you're looking for a Winter seasonal heavy on the hops, but perhaps not as heavy as Celebration, this is a great option.

Grade: A

Note: While the review above is being posted in October 2010, the tasting notes contained within were taken when the beer was fresh in December 2008.

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