Profiled by Ken Carman
Imagine what a difference many years can make to a brewery and its products. This is a great example. I stopped buying Rogue in the early years because it was extract-like. When I returned to the brand I was amazed how interesting some of their brews are. They miss the mark from time to time, but I can forgive that when so much creativity goes into expanding the concept of beer.
From the onset with the aroma of Santa’s Reserve 2018 is complex, obviously spiced, fermented brown sugar, sweet. Deep malt sense: brown, pale, hint of chocolate. Not necessarily malts used, just the aroma. No hops in aroma noted.
This is close to Belgian-like Quad. I’m getting faint yeast esters: plum plus a hint of pepper/Saison-like yeast character. The malt is rich and complex: pale, brown, hint of deep black roast, debittered-sense. Slight background bitter. No hop flavor unless that’s the pepper. Finishes a tad dry with a pepper/brown sugar slightly caramelized aftertaste. Slight hint tangerine, no boysenberry. Hint of Christmas spices: perhaps ginger and/or allspice.
High side medium body/low side high. High side low carbonation. Taste lingers long after swallow.
Could use hint more tangerine and more boysenberry, especially for what declared. But still a seasonal must. One hopes this recipe, if it changes, remains with the brewery and is brewed again. This should be for sale year around. We are buying another bottle.
3.5 Rate Beer
3.7 Beer Advocate
Welcome to the PGA beer rating system: one beer “Don’t bother.” Two: Eh, if someone gives it to you, drink. Three: very good, go ahead and seek it out, but be aware there is at least one problem. Four: seek it out. Five: pretty much “perfecto.”