Santa’s Private Reserve

Santa's Private ReserveYou can tell I’m catching up on my Christmas beer notes… I’m about a month behind (drinking date vs. blogging date). Anyway… Santa’s Private Reserve from Rogue is a hopped up version of their St. Rogue Red:

Rogues annual holiday offering, Santas Private Reserve, is a variation of the classic Saint Rogue Red, but with double the hops—including Chinook, and Centennial, and a mystery hop called Rudolph by head brewer John "more hops" Maier!

It’s 6% alcohol by volume, and definitely a "Northwest" seasonal… done in the "Northwest Red" style Jeff at Beervana has been musing over.

Appearance: Nice copper-amber color, darkish, with substantial light tan head. Nice lacing.

Smell: Sweet with a hoppy aroma that reminds me of fir trees (the bottle mentions spruce, actually). Sweetness reminds me a bit of Belgian candy sugar (flossy).

Taste: Strongly hoppy, pitchy and full of resin. Spicy. Dry with a touch of roast grain astringency. This is overall hoppier than a "usual" IPA because the hops build and linger.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied, creamy-thick. Hop dryness leaves you smacking your lips.

Overall: Definitely the hops that make this beer, though I wonder at the spruce contribution too. Excellent.

On BeerAdvocate, it scores a letter grade of B+ ("very good"). On RateBeer, it scores 3.53 out of 5 and is in their 86th percentile.