Gush. Gush gush gush. I have to get it out of the way. For, whether it is the long journey it has voyaged, whether it is the age it has sat in my stores, whether it is that it always gushes. half of this Rogue Santa's Private Reserve 2012 6% felt that it should gush over my floor and electrical plugs. Does it need commenting on in the grand scheme of things? Perhaps not, but I have paid plenty of money for a beer that has mostly gone on my floor rather than in my gut and nearly caused a fire. I am venting.
Let us move on from that avoidable catastrophe to focus on another exciting Rogue beer that has a large focus on hops rather than spice. This post is going to seem a little contradictory, close to some American ass-kissing, over my usual thoughts on hop focused Christmas offerings. Certainly, before reading about Santa's Private Reserve I was expecting a dark, sullen, spicy and aromatic experience; perhaps an Imperial Stout like bite with a mash of hops at the end. Research explains that this is actually a variation of Rogue's excellent Saint Rogue Red, but with double the hops. Not what one would usually hope for in a Christmas beverage and usually to my seasonal distaste.
"They said there'd be snow at Christmas
They said there'd be peace on earth
Be it Heaven or Hell!
The Christmas we get we deserve"
The surviving half of this beer is a Christmas crimson with inch snow thick head. With the danger of sounding like a beer raving ignoramus there's a lot of West Coast familiarities here and a lot of Crystal Malt. Well, it wasn't made to be aged a year. What the year in a box has created is a less, aggressively hop-forward ale with mellowed citrus bite and smooth chestnut maltiness that unintentionally creates a spicy festive delight. There's enough brown sugar, light toast and strawberry softness now to control the pine fresh, citrus notes. It becomes all spruces and pine cones leaving a wintry sensation to the tongue. Despite the obvious liveliness on first opening, the medium carbonation is controlled by a full body for such a light ale. The winter fruit finish completes a beer that initially seemed to have suffered from lack of freshness. Not the case. This may be a mulled wine antidote, but is understandably tucked away in Santa's private stores.
Purchased at Beermoth, sometime in mid 2013
Enjoyed alongside a chocolate candle and a ;fughiodfuhbiouvh. Good job Cadbury's for making illusive shapes of chocolate. Maybe the candle melted it into desolation.