Santa's Private Reserve 2017 Belgian Strong Ale with Cherries & Raspberries

Review Date 12/19/2017  By John Staradumsky


Hey there Rogue Ales of Newport, Oregon! What have you done to my Santaís Private Reserve? Not that Iím complaining, mind you. I love the new beer for 2017. Itís just that Iíve grown accustomed to picking up a bottle each year (or enjoying a glass on tap at Taco Mac) and getting a tasty, hoppy red ale. Not this year, though. Oh no.

It went down like this. I picked up a bottle as I am wont to do at Total Wine. I noticed the different label, but nothing else, when I placed it in my cart. Then, though, I noticed that good old Douglas Smith had popped a bottle and posted about it in that most wonderful of Facebook beer groups, Honest Craft Beer Reviews. He remarked it was different; I looked at my label and there it was: Belgian Dark Ale with Cherries & Raspberries. Definitely different!

Now, many holiday brews remain the same year after year, as Santaís Private Reserve has. I think of Sierra Nevada Celebration and Harpoon Winter Warmer as two prime examples. Otherís, like the granddaddy of them all, Anchor Our Special Ale, change slightly year over year. Rogue Santaís Private Reserve 2017 is a radical departure, however, from yearís past.

From the label:


The 2017 vintage of Santaís Private Reserve is guaranteed to bring the holiday cheer. At Santaís Request we brewed a special Belgian Dark Ale. Packed with candi sugar, cherries, and raspberries this brew creates a delicious sweet and sour experience thatíll give you both a tingle and a smile.

Ingredients from the website:

Premium 2 Row, Munich, Weyermann Carabelge, Weyermann Caramunich III, Weyermann Special W & Midnight Wheat Malts; Willamette Hops; Belgian Candi Sugar, Red Raspberries, Cherries, Imperial Gnome Yeast, and Free Range Coastal Water.

Rogue Santaís Private Reserve 2017 has an alcohol content of 7.8% by volume with 36 IBUs. I paid $7.99 for a bomber bottle at Total Wine.

Rogue Santaís Private Reserve 2017 pours to a dark brown color with a thick creamy tan head formation with tightly packed bubbles and a luscious tart cherry and raspberry nose. The beer is smooth and creamy in the palate with the nutty and chocolaty malts of a dubbel (but not the yeasty notes), dark candi sugar richness and light sweetness, brown sugar, and tart, sweet and sour cherry and raspberry fruit. It finishes tart and dry and really wonderful indeed.

I was a little sad to see the hoppy red ale gone. After a few sips of this wonderful beer, I didnít miss it so much. Could this be the start of a new beer each year from Rogue and Santa? I guess we'll have to wait for Christmas 2018 to find out.

Glad I tried it?  T

Would I rebuy it??


*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.

(B)=Bottled, Canned