St. Bernardus Prior 8 - Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

Not Rated.
St. Bernardus Prior 8St. Bernardus Prior 8

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BA SCORE
93
outstanding

2,000 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,000
Reviews: 979
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 8.89%
Wants: 108
Gots: 182 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV visit their website
Belgium

Style | ABV
Dubbel |  8.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: kbub6f on 09-27-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,000 | Reviews: 979 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of metter98
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: The beer is hazy brownish amber in color and poured with a thin off white head that eventually completely faded away, leaving only a thin ring of bubbles on the surface around the edge of the glass.
S: There are sweet aromas of candi sugars in the nose along with some hints of dark fruits.
T: Similar to the smell, the taste is sweet (but not cloying) and has flavors of candi sugars and hints of fruit.
M: It feels medium-bodied and very smooth on the palate with a light amount of carbonation.
O: The beer is very easy to drink, especially as it warms up, because no traces of alcohol are detectable. This is a very good representation of the style.

Photo of olradetbalder
3/5  rDev -27.9%

Photo of kjkinsey
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%

Photo of brentk56
4.08/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Best by 05 10 09

Appearance: Pours a dark amber color with a thick beige head that sticks a bunch of lace on the sides of the chalice

Smell: Dark fruit (figs and dates), nuts, currants, brown sugar and anise notes

Taste: Sweet bread dough, with rum-soaked dates and anise developing by mid-palate, along with bitter almond skin notes; after the swallow, the brandy aspect builds considerably, a touch phenolic with an underlying raisin, brown sugar and vanilla sweetness on the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium body with sprightly carbonation; warmth on the finish

Drinkability: The dark fruits aren't as complex as with other dubbels; still, a quality brew

Photo of BEERchitect
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A uniquely flavored Belgian beer, brewed the St. Bernardus way. From the bottle, aromas of Belgian candy sugars and spices jump out. Rich, well aged malts blend into the sweetness for genuine complexity even to the nose. Alcohols swirl into the aroma and flavor. Looks rich and sweet. Clings to the glass to promise richness. Dehydrated fruits are distinguished and flavored with mild spiciness. Alcohols edge into a fusal flavor that dominated the flavor midway through. Sweet and full on the palate, leaving a dry and alcoholic sweetness. A goood dubbel, but the alcohols dominate too much.

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.75/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a quite opaque brown beer with a great head with good retention. Aroma is bit weaker then expected with some roasted malts and some light plums. Taste is also a mix between roasted malts, a bit of candi sugar and some light plums. Overall, this is a good beer lacking a bit of complexity and overshadowed by better products from this brewery.

Photo of kylehay2004
4/5  rDev -3.8%

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Murky caramel brown with infusions of apricot orange and carmine red. A large amount of yeast and abundant carbonation can be seen when the beer is backlit with sunshine. The golden beige colored crown is soft and airy. It's also less than sticky and leaves a modest amount of sudsy lace on the sides of the glass. Second and third pours look even better and contribute tons of tacky residue.

The nose is everything that I'd hoped it would be. It's redolent of medium-dark fruit and has more yeasty spiciness than most versions of the style. Boldness is almost always a positive when it comes to big beer.

St. Bernardus Prior 8 is delicious and drinkable, as I was pretty sure it would be. If anyone out there wants to know what a quintessential Belgian dubbel tastes like, this would be as a good a place to start as any. It isn't as mindblowing as Westvleteren 8 (which I think is better than 12), but then that's one of the best beers on planet Earth.

Two words keep coming to mind as the ounces flow by: 'complex' and 'refined'. There are simply no chinks in the armor where flavor is concerned. Specifics include toasted brown bread with a thin layer of fig jam, a hint of cocoa, earthy tobacco leaves and generous dashes of clove and cinnamon. Talk about a world-class yeast strain.

Warming makes every one of the flavors deeper, richer and more well-defined. Bitter and spicy are slightly more prominent than sweet... which is slightly more prominent than tart. The ultimate drinkability score is a serious consideration because this stuff is disappearing in a major hurry. $8.49 for 750 ml is a steal!

When foam started oozing up the bottle neck immediately following cork extraction, I was afraid that excessive carbonation would be an issue. It isn't. The bubbles add exactly the right amount of lift and a perfect amount of energy. This isn't viscous beer, but then the best Belgian ales never are.

Not that I think about it much, but Brouwerij St. Bernardus is one of my favorite Belgian breweries. Top-5 at least and maybe even top-3. Prior 8 is the second best dubbel to have ever entered my glass and is an easy recommendation to... pretty much everyone. This is outstanding ale from top to bottom and from side to side.

Photo of jaydoc
4/5  rDev -3.8%

Photo of ygtbsm94
3.5/5  rDev -15.9%

Photo of mikesgroove
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very nice dark amber brown with, Huge lively carbonation and streams of bubbles ripped through the glass, this looks like it has teeth!

The smell was very spicey at first, tingled the nose. Hints of dark fruit, pears, apples, cinnamon, figs, I could go on. A kind of candy sweetness almost to it as well. Spices and fruits are all over the spectrum and I don't even know where to begin. Pears, figs, cinnamon again are all over this. Cherry maybe, definatly apple.

awesome beer, truly a hallmark of the style, simply impeccable.

Photo of womencantsail
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: The pour is a dark amber color with a creamy off-white head.

S: The nose is quite fruity and sweet. Some plums, blueberries, cherries, and figs. Sweet caramel, brown sugar, and bread provide the maltiness.

T: Quite heavy on the maltiness, much more so than the nose. Bready and quite sweet and lacking a little bit in terms of the fruitiness that was so prominent in the aroma.

M: The body is medium to full with a very pleasant, creamy carbonation and mouthfeel.

D: Another good beer from St. Bernardus. The alcohol warmth does come through a bit as the beers warms up a little bit, but it doesn't detract from my enjoyment at all.

Photo of Knapp85
3.95/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Popped the cap on this brew and the bubbles started coming right up the neck of the bottle and magically stopped right at the top of the bottle. Poured this one slowly into a wine glass, it came out as a muddy brown color with a light tan colored head on top. The lacing was pretty good down the glass and sticks around for a while. The smell of the beer is soft, earthy and had a light spice note in there too. The taste of the beer was smooth with some subtle dark fruit flavors and brown sugar. The other flavors of some yeast come through also. The mouthfeel was medium bodied with a light carbonation to it and was very easy to drink. Overall it's a brew that everyone should try.

Photo of ChainGangGuy
4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Best Before: 28 06 12.

Appearance: Pours a clear, chestnut brown body with a frothy, foamy, off-white head.

Smell: Sweet, malty nose smelling of dark candi sugar, cocoa-caramel, ripe plums, and a glass of meritage wine.

Taste: Dark maltiness tasting of dark caramel and cocoa powder with a full, resounding sweetness. Plum fruitiness followed by a sip of fruity, yet robust red wine with some warming alcohol qualities to it. Light trace of roastiness throughout, even a bit of nuttiness. Hint of caraway seed-packed rye bread. Malty, sweet, fruity finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Well carbonated, which keeps the maltiness from ever becoming heavy, instead keeping things light and airy.

Drinkability: Paired very well with some Pinback mp3's. A delightful dubbel, to be sure, I'll see how it compares to the Abt 12 which is up next.

Photo of oberon
4.15/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep murky brown with a awesome big fluffy head that settles into a nice creamy top leaving sheets of lace behind,brown sugar and orange marmalade dominate the aromas with some underlying sweet biscuit dough.The taste is much drier than expected,some clovey spicinessis very prevelant along with some unsweetened chocolate along with some toffee finishing pretty rather dry and abrupt.A very nice dubbel complex and not overly sweet a very good beer one to savor.

Photo of biboergosum
4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

330ml bottle, 1/6th of the St. Bernardus 'all in one' pack available in Alberta.

This beer pours a slightly hazy, over-powdered medium amber iced tea colour, with three thick fingers of puffy, loosely foamy, and fizzy ecru head, which leaves a few swaths of splotchy lace around the glass in its long, drawn-out wake.

It smells of slightly sweet, biscuity pale and caramel malt, orchard stone fruit, spicy yeast, rum-infused dark chocolate, gritty Pop Rocks, and tame earthy, leafy hops. The taste is much more sweet bready caramel malt, somewhat tart orchard fruit (plum and overripe apples and apricots, maybe?), a subtle clove and black pepper spiciness, lesser nutty chocolate notes, and a subtle drying, earthy, and floral hoppiness, one well perfumed from the lurking alcohol.

The carbonation is quite prevalent, but in a softly rendered, frizzante sort of way, the body a sturdy medium weight, and adequately smooth, a minor airy creaminess building as things warm. It finishes with an agreeable off-dry stab from the soused bready maltiness, the fruity and spicy yeastiness playing quietly in the background.

Most definitely a classic dubbel, in that it is less about the sweetness, and more about the balancing yeast, fruit, spice, and alcohol, all of which do their personal best to keep from becoming overbearing. Monks, they be monks, whatever their particular unimportant denomination, and they brew some pretty damned (sorry, pater!) good stuff, as evidenced here.

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.3/5  rDev +3.4%

prior 8 is a real delight. i dont know how so much time in beer has gone by without me trying this ever, but it must have somehow slipped through the cracks. shame on me, because this is a real beauty. a classic dubbel in style, maybe the classic version. not quite as legendary as their quad i dont reckon, but its there in quality. dark muddy amber colored brew, hazy with yeast sediment and a speckled off white head, thick and full of tiny bubbles that keep on holding up. notes of dried fruit dominate here, raisins and plums both come to mind, even figs and molasses, the additional sugar here is super raw, and not all the way fermented out by the dusty spicy belgian strain. not a ton of lingering sweetness, appropriate levels for the style, but there is a real richness created in the texture of this beer. a long experience, yeast and grain driven equally, but showing a higher level of refinement than even the offerings from other belgian monastic types. lighter in body than the quad, but still big, maybe a bit more drinkable. the fruit tones are awesome and permanent, this is a memorable brew, drinking well easier than 8% abv. worth double what they ask for it in my opinion.

Photo of TMoney2591
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a St. Bernardus chalice.

This guy pours a deep brown with ruby highlights subjugated in the crowd. The head is bright and strong, beneath which float disparate flakes of yeast (or such is my assumption). The aroma is sweet, with hints of molasses and fruits. The taste is rather sweet up front, with something akin to banana coming up behind. There are also hints of a wheaty quality, possibly from the yeast flakes, but tasty regardless. The body is medium at best, and sits nicely on the tongue with only an iota of carbonation. Very nice and effective dubbel.

Photo of JAHMUR
4/5  rDev -3.8%

Photo of zeff80
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured out a dark brown color with a foamy, tan, three-finger head. It left huge rings of lace on the snifter.

S - It smelled of malt and spices. Also, a dried fruit aroma, maybe, apple and pear.

T - It tasted very spicy and had a strong caramel maltiness. A little bittersweet hop kick.

m -It was crisp, sharp and warm with alcohol. A medium to heavy bodied beer.

D - St. Bernardus knows good beer. Nuff said.

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.53/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Carefully decanted from a long-standing bottle, the prior delivers a crystal-clear chestnut body with a reddish cast and amber and copper highlights. Its huge, pillowy off-white head holds incredibly well and leaves solid sheets of thin, creamy lace about the glass. And there's an added attraction in that you can see the thin rings left from each sip within the solid wall. Candy sugar sweetness, sweet wine, caramel, almond, and vanilla reside in the nose; and appear again in the flavor, balanced by some dark fruitiness (black cherry, plum, fig), alcoholic spice, and leafy hops. It's bitterness is restrained against it's sugary malt, but slowly fights its way through to dominate in the finish (although some splashes of sticky malt do linger). This is a rich, sweet, satisfying, and complex ale that never becomes cloying despite its breadth; and has a great drinkability despite its strength. Impressive!

Photo of Jason
4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

33cl brown bottle with a “drink before end of 2004” on the side of the label. Sediment is a bit restless so with ¼ of the bottle left I stopped pouring.

Appearance: Good foaming action from a very active carbonation at the start. The lace stays as long as the beer is there with some clinging activity.

Smell: Creamy aroma of a cream soda, very faint buttery diacetyl, solvent alcohol and some dark fruit to mix things up.

Taste: Big and flexing malt presence, a real mellow twang and bready grain ride upfront. Carob and chicory come from the dark malts, residual dextrin trickle down the taste buds with a nutty almond like flavour. Light on the hops but a rounded phenolic flavour helps to balance. Slightly sweet finish with a growth of alcohol warmth in the end.

Mouthfeel: Plush smoothness rolls around in the mouth and the perfect level of carbonation rushes through.

Drinkability & Notes: A tasty little brown brew that has more punch than it shows. Well worth the try and if you like sweet dark brews this is a must.

Thanks to D & V International for the sample. http://www.specialtybeer.com

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Murky brown with a soft bubbly tan head leaves behind very nicely patterned lacing. Aroma: Raisins and green apple fruit esters fill my senses with toasted malts adding a bit of sweetness to the mix with an herbal air about it not bad. Taste: Not an overly sweet dubbel a bit dry in the finish but the underlying fruit tones are more than satisfactory, with rich complex layers of bready yeast, chocolate, apples and raisins. This is an awesome dubbel, mouthfeel well carbonated medium bodied belgian ale. Drinkabiliy: A very complex sorta hard to seek out brew that should be enjoyed in small quantities for the pure quality of this product.

Photo of TheManiacalOne
4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750ml bottle into an imperial pint glass. The bottle reads “can be aged for up to 10 years”. I know this bottle has at least a year on it, possibly two, but nowehere close to 10.

A: The beer is a deep brown color, with a very large off-white head that fades very slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains Belgian yeast, caramelized malts, apples, spices, brown sugar and a touch of hops.

T: The taste starts with sweet flavors of caramel, brown sugar, apples and some spice. Then a strong breadiness comes in from a Belgian yeast and a hearty malt character. The hops presence is mild but complementary and creates a good balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

O: Tasty, goes down very easily, not too filling, good kick, very good representation of style, this is a solid Belgian-style beer worth drinking for a while but it’s not quite as outstanding as some other beers from St. Bernardus.

Photo of nickfl
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - A slow gush of foam begins as the cap pops off. The beer pours with big, three finger head of light brown foam that rests on top of a dark brown body with just a hint of amber showing through. The foam settles pretty quickly, but leaves thick lace behind.

S - A thick aroma of dark fruit and burnt sugars. Notes of plum, raisin, caramel, and brown sugar. Some clove and allspice notes as well.

T - Fruity caramel up front with some phenolic clove character. Darker malt notes appear in the middle, lots of brown sugar, molasses, and a hint of chocolate. Finishes with complex fruit notes of plum and raisin complimented by dark caramel, spicy clove, and warming alcohol. Lingering flavors of plum and dark chocolate coat the palate in the aftertaste with rummy molasses and alcohol.

M - Medium body, moderate carbonation, and a reasonably dry, boozy finish.

D - This is a very dark, yeasty dubbel that borders on becoming a quadruple. There is a chocolatey, roasted grain note that weaves through the flavor and influences the other flavors significantly without quite being strong enough to push the beer out of style. It becomes most prevalent in the finish, where it combines with the yeast notes of clove and allspice as well as the caramel malts to produce a complex, almost woody, rum character that lingers on the palate. A very nice beer that is well worth seeking out.

St. Bernardus Prior 8 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
93 out of 100 based on 2,000 ratings.