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St. Bernardus Prior 8 | Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

1,033 Reviews
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St. Bernardus Prior 8St. Bernardus Prior 8

Brewed by:
Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
Belgium | website

Style: Dubbel

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by kbub6f on 09-27-2002

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Reviews: 1,033 | Ratings: 2,324
Photo of artoolemomo
3.86/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance- Close to a gusher (foam was peaking out of the bottle after I opened it) which pours up a good amount of head with big bubbles but good retention. The body is an off white with hints of beige while the body is a maroon softened by purple hues. It shows dark amber at the base when held up to the light. Considerable lacing is left behind. As I drink more, sheeting is shown.

Nose- Quite nice- I really have to become acquainted with more dubbels. Raisins, raisins, and more raisins. This is the dominant aspect both from the bottle and the glass. The bottle is sweeter and shows some cherry, almost fruitcake notes. The glass shows a bit of creaminess with notes of brown bread and caramel. Some brown sugar and molasses from the bottle. Swirling shows almost nothing but raisin. Faint hint of bubblegum as well.

Taste- Reflective of the nose but seemingly more complex. Raisins start the flavor profile but stronger notes (at least stronger than the aroma) of brown bread, brown sugar, and molasses begin to appear. This beer has a very vinous quality to it. Echoes red grapes. Ends with a little spice from the yeast (notes of banana and coriander) which seems to indicate (very light) roasted malts, a hint of smoke (maybe even tobacco), and sherry. Some wood. Very complex but still quite subtle. Nothing really hits you in the face. Not that it lacks presence; it simply has incredible integration. In a way, it seems like the poor man's quadrupel. A tad bit of bubblegum but it isn't too distracting. Some figs. Pretty good beer and a damn solid one at that.

Mouthfeel- Medium bodied with a good amount of syrup. There's a good amount of carbonation but it doesn't really distract at all.

Drinkability- A couple flavor notes that are slightly objectionable but the overall beer is so well integrated that this doesn't seem to matter. 4 bucks for a 330 mL is pretty standard for Belgians.

Overall- Solid. Very good beer. I think, at the moment, Westmalle Dubbel gets the win over this beer but it's close. Definitely worth a try. Not cheap, but no Belgians are.

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Photo of gr0g
4.24/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2oz bottle, "best before end 22 11 17".
Pours a cloudy dark brown. An off-white head of 2+ fingers shows solid retention. Complex aroma with several components coming through: sweet, ripe fruits, chalky yeast undertones, slight note of clove.

Interplay of raisin-like fruit, candi sugar, caramel malt, all held in check from becoming overbearing by a light hop bitterness. Dry on the finish. Fizzy carbonation settles down after a bit. While it doesn't become smooth or silky, the initial harshness fades to a relative gentleness.

St. Bernardus hits the mark with their Dubbel: fruity, malty, only slightly sweet. This is one of the benchmarks for the style.

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3.78/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

330ml bottle. Tulip glass. Brown color, hazzy appearance. Tan head, fairly good retention. Caramel malt, toffee aromas, hints of molasses & dark fruit. Flavors as expected from the aroma profile. Medium to full body. Moderate carbonation. Belgian yeast notes & subtle warming alcohol. Dark fruit on the aftertaste. Nice drinkability.

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Photo of cjgiant
3.47/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Cloudy brown pour in a St Bernardus wine-glass. The head was ok, but the lacing was good as I took a few sips of this import.

The initial smell and taste don't belie each other. The smell is a bit more raisin-like, while the taste adds in a little more prune (sourness). The malty fruitiness fades into an ever-so-slightly alcohol tinged yeasty flavor.

The taste does not linger too long. When I first got this beer and took a whiff of this it reminded me of DFH R'aison D'être. I'd like to try the two side-by-side now to see if there's a difference.

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Photo of Braz
3.75/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Purchased at Tacoma Boys in Tacoma.
A - Rich honey brown color with foamy off white head. Sudsy and a bit cloudy. Lots of yeast on the bottom of the bottle so stopped short of the whole thing.
S - Rich molasses bread, toffee, yeast. Hints of fruit like over ripe raisins.
T - Potent heavy taste. On the sweet side. Pleasant but boozy. High alcohol aftertaste.
M - Full and creamy. Creamy yet highly carbonated.
O - Was very excited to find this as ABT 12 is about my favorite beer in the world. Didn't quite live up to the expectations. Flavor is decent but I don't care for the aftertaste as much. Overall I would definitely have again, on a cold night perhaps.

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Photo of Pegasus
4.05/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Deep amber brown in color, all but opaque to light, with a small tan head, which soon collapses to a dusting of foam. Thick, patchy lacing adorns the glass walls.

Aroma: Complex aroma of dark fruit, plums and figs are prominent, as well as wood and vinous alcohol.

Taste: Opens strong with prominent dark bread flavors, plums, and figs, An undercurrent of vinous alcohol is present throughout the taste, and there are flavors of cloves and cinnamon as well. Late in the taste there is a little wave of earthy flavors. Finishes with brown sugar and a modest flourish of herbal hops.

Mouth feel: Smooth, soft, full, and pleasant, with a touch of zesty carbonation.

Drinkability/notes: Really excellent, would pair well with venison steak, and seems ideal for a late autumn evening.

Presentation: Packaged in an eleven-point-two ounce Euro-style brown glass bottle sealed with a pry-off crown, served in a New Belgium Brewing chalice.

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Photo of Flounder57
4.24/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

11.2 oz bottle was poured into a stemmed chalice.

Appearance: This beer poured a one finger off white head that reduced to a thin layer. It is a murky reddish brown color with slight visibility and bubbles seen coming up the side of the glass.

Smell: Spicy yeast, caramel and bready malts, a little booze, apples, pears, grapes, and dried candy oranges.

Taste: Pretty tasty brew. Malty, spicy, fruity, a little booze, chewy, and delicious

Mouthfeel: Silky smooth, spicy, medium bodied, low to medium carbonation, a little chewy, and a little boozy.

Overall: Pretty solid dubbel and one of the originals that has stood the test of time. Delicious.

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Photo of SmashPants
4.21/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottle: standard brown bottle, pretty ordinary Belgian label. They just can't seem to do decent labels.

Appearance: first poured this into a standard glass and the head literally exploded up the sides. Figured this was a snifter beer, so poured into that instead. A much better result - deep copper-brown with floaties through the profile, with a solid one-finger or so off-white head. Lacing around the entire glass. Looks good.

Aroma: I didn't pick up that much on the nose, and that was after waiting over half an hour for the beer to lose its chill from the fridge. What is there appears to be sweet fruits, some spice and plenty of good Belgian yeasts.

Taste: back on form - a distinct malt- and yeast-driven intensity separates it from some other Dubbels. Treacle, liquorice and again those yeasts that one expects from Belgian beers.

Aftertaste: quite a sweet aftertaste - almost to the point of being a bit saccharin. A touch of warming alcohol too.

Mouth feel: a fairly heavy body with moderate fine carbonation. Pretty much spot on - can't fault it.

Overall: a top notch Dubbel from a top notch brewery - so far I've had the triple and the Pierre Celis Witbier, and between the 3 they are all over 8/10. This one tends toward sweetness rather than bitterness, but still the Belgian yeasts manage to just even out the odds. definitely a slow-drinking beer - I wouldn't want to power through these, particularly as it is 8% and over AU$130 a case (2013).

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Photo of coreyfmcdonald
4.27/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

330ml bottle into a snifter

A: Pours a medium to dark brown with amber high list. Three fingers of fluffy head form atop the beer. Good retention, excellent lacing.

S: Moderate sweetness comes with equal parts toffee and prunes. Behind that, esters balance the sweetness. Nutmeg and orange zest mostly - quite nice.

T: Prunes and toffee again come out as the strongest component, but the beer still stays fairly dry, appropriate for the style. I get spices again to balance, but now I get a peppercorn along with a bit of citrus and a medley of other spices.

M: Medium thickness with strong, yet creamy carbonation.

O: A great Dubbel - complex malt flavor with spices to balance.

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Photo of Hopswagger
3.88/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

P: A murky dirty dark pond water body with a creamy froth of khaki head with excellent retention.

S: Salty caramel apples, roasted cinnamon and sugar coated pecans, sweet molasses, dark candy sugar, prunes, subtle herbal gum and a syrupy sweetness.

T/M: Roasted caramel and dark sugar malt with a spicy phenolic fruit profile. Smoldered grain, boozy prunes, old school gum, sugary pecan pound cake, green and red apples and roasted ground spices. Prickly carbonation in a medium body. Finish has a burnt barley flavor and lightly smoked wood.

O: Good stuff but I think I like Pator 6 better. Good balance of flavors and a huge dose of spice.

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Photo of lighthabit
3.92/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

echoing the other reviews, appearance is hazy, a bit of sediment on the bottom, mine is showing virtually no lacing. smell is fabulous, fruits, love it. taste is more of the same. only issue is a distractingly prickly carbonation that i'd like to see muted a bit. waiting a bit after the pour helps here. very cheerful, will have to try more from them.

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Photo of SHODriver
4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: pours a deep brown with a finger and a half of dense off white head that slowly fades and leaves moderate lacing
S: smells of dark fruits, spice from the yeast and a bit of candi sugar
T: tastes of spice from the yeast, dark fruits, some alcohol, and some slight sugary sweetness. swallow is a bit more alcohol, some bitterness and a bit more sweetness and dark fruit
M: medium in the mouth with adequate and slightly prickly carbonation, a bit of a dry finish
O: A pretty solid beer with good flavors and good marks for hitting the style. a bit spicier than I expected but not bad.

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Photo of Blindpigbiz
3.98/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Style/abv: dubbel/8%

Smell: chocolate and peanut butter with slight smokiness

Taste: very clean with subtle milk chocolate notes, nuts, peanut butter, and mild effervescence; it also has a minute malty character throughout

Pairs well with dark meat sandwiches and smoked sausages--and bacon, lots of bacon

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Photo of ChrisKayler
4.45/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Glass: Bell's Belgian style snifter.

Appearance: Beautiful. Dark ruby-crown in color, hazy with lots of small sediment uniformly floating throughout. Two fingers of khaki colored head resulted from a moderate pour which stuck around long after the pour.

Smell: A bit of funkiness, some banana, wheat, dark fruits, Candi sugar. Almost smells like a dark witbier or hefeweizen, without as much banana. Mmm!

Taste: This one is much less sweet than the Rochefort 8, and I like that as far as drinkability is concerned. Initial taste is kind of funky and maybe even a bit metallic ... similar to a witbier like Allagash White. However, things quickly change from there with bananas coming through as well as a little bit of dark fruit and candi sugar. My favorite part is after the taste has worn off and you exhale. Only then, does a strong taste of vanilla come through.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with high carbonation (a little too much, for me). Pretty refreshing. Dry finish, though a little sticky.

Overall: Like a dark hefeweizen with great sweet Belgian candi sugar, spices, and vanilla thrown in. A great beer that is not necessarily the easiest to drink, nor something that I would want to have all the time. However, I will definitely revisit this one in the future.

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Photo of hopsputin
4.33/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

poured into a st. bernardus chalice

a: a mixture of dark brown and ruby red. 2.5 finger white/tan head that fades pretty quick. gushed out of bottle when opened it.

s: dark fruits - cherries, plums, raisins. a nice sweet malty aroma backed by chewy dough smell. a little diacetyl

t: cherries, fig, plum, raisins, hint of alcohol. all of this is surrounded by a nice bread/dough taste followed by sweet malt and some slight spice (maybe clove/pepper). theres something almost like a cola on the backend

m: the carbonation in this beer puts the mouthfeel on the fuller side of medium and the taste sticks in your mouth for a while.

o: i prefer the Abt 12 (duh) but don't enjoy this. i would have liked the sweet dark fruit to be a little more prominent, but not a huge deal as its a dubble. also, there might be just a touch too much alcohol in the flavor for me.

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Photo of philbe311
3.96/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A - Just shy of two fingers worth of densely packed crisp slightly creamy and lush light khaki colored head with a bit of an audible fizziness... Excellent retention... The color is a slightly murky medium brown color with a faint cranberry hue... Some small bubbled moderate paced carbonation can be seen climbing along the sides of the glass towards the top... A bit of lacing clings to the glass... A very nice looking offering...

S - Bursting with dark fruits... Fig... Plums... Raisins... Black berries... A hint of brown sugar... A very subtle Belgian yeast component... Spot on the for the style and rather satisfying...

T - Near identical to the aroma where the dark fruit dominates, but with the addition of tobacco leaves... A slight bit of toffee as well...

M - On the fuller side of medium bodied... Sturdy... A bit chewy... Slightly lush... Each sip goes down easily... Light yet sharp carbonation...

D - Lives up to high standards of other St. Bernardus offerings... A rock solid Dubbel... Just a notch down from my favorites in the style category... Easy drinking and highly enjoyable... I can recommend without hesitation and would gladly drink again myself in the future...

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Photo of rfgetz
4.21/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Dark brown in color with some chestnut highlights when it catches the light, big frothy and dense tan head, swirls of lacing. Strong notes of yeast and caramel, notes of spice, dark fruit, molasses, dark bread, nuts, alcohol. Not as deep and complex as the nose, bread, caramel and sugar make up the malt profile, yeasty spice, fruit. Medium bodied. Solid all around.

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Photo of facundoCNB
4.12/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A Deep amber/brown pour with 2 fingers of white head which dissipated slowly and gave off nice amounts of lacing. Smells of raisin, cherry, vanilla, oak, and banana. The flavor is a very fruity, strawberry banana like sweetness with bready notes. Not too sweet to the point it's un drinkable, but perfectly balanced. There is a slight peppery taste but mainly this is a very nice bready sweet beer. Medium to full in body with a modest amount of carbonation.

This is one o he most balanced and best tasting Belgian beers I've had to date. A very enjoyable bready beer.

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Photo of rangerred
4.4/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

330ml bottle into a goblet.

Pours a nearly clear dark brown with a rock solid one finger light tan head that refuses to go away. Tons of carbonation maintains the head nearly throughout with huge globs of lacing clinging to the sides of the glass.

There is a huge clove and banana Belgian aroma along with some light hints of dark fruits and coriander. Really pleasant and inviting.

The flavor is a wonderful marriage of dark caramel, figs, raisins, and dried cranberries. More coriander, clove, and banana that becomes especially prominent towards the finish. Mouthfeel is pretty dry with just a slight stickyness that is on par for the style.

Overall, a wonderful Dubbel with perfectly melded but very in your face flavors. Every St. Bernardus beer I have had has blown me away and this ones proves no different.

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Photo of sethcroisant
4.27/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A- a gargantuan light tan head that's slow to reduce. astounding, pillow-like lacing is left behind.

S- alcohol, hint of grapes and dry, medicinal hops make it smell like a dry wine.

T- nutty at first with some herbal flavors from the hops and alcohol follow. the malty aspects kick in big after a brief delay. slight chocolate and vienna malt flavors make it reminiscent of a bock or marzen in the aftertaste. finishes sweet and a little dry.

O- quite a curveball, but not in a bad way. there are multiple layers to this beer, and all of them are fascinating.

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Photo of jera1350
4.48/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Brown bodied with an absolute mass of tan foam that is so dense and has amazing retention. Plenty of lacing to boot.

Amazingly complex nose with loads of different malt and fruit scents intertwined. Lively, lovely and mouthwatering.

Complex is the only way to describe the overall flavor. Bubblegum, sweet malts, toffee, caramel, fruity, yeasty, earth hops, hint of cola and alcohol. The finish is ever so clean too. Terrific.

Tons of carbonation, medium-full body, extremely dry and clean finish.

Has to be one of the pinnacles for the style. Dangerously drinkable also, but just so well rounded and complex that this is one that does not disappoint.

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Photo of MattSweatshirt
3.87/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Shared the 11.2 oz bottle with the bartender.

Pours out muddy brown with a off white head.

Dark fruit, dark breadiness, and caramel in the taste and nose.

Lots of carbonation peppers the tongue. It goes down smooth an is medium bodied.

A nice beer to sip on a cold night. A little warming alcohol makes this very enjoyable.

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Photo of bambam2517
4.18/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - A translucent nutty brown body with an incredible amount of meringue-like foam that lasts long and leaves a solid lace all the way down the glass. One of the prettiest beers I've ever had.

S - Upfront toasty malts, with an undercurrent of date, plum, biscuit and a faint herbal note. I feel like there's more here to identify, and I just can't pin it down. Very good.

T - Not as complex as I expected from the smell. It's actually sweet and somewhat fruity, with the malt threading in nicely throughout. This makes for a very drinkable offering, never overpowers or surprises but you know you are drinking a very high quality beer throughout.

M - Nice and warming up front, with a tangy quality mid palate and an even, clean finish. Aftertaste reminiscent of sun tea.

O - I love it! I could drink great quantities of this if I kept it on hand. If I were in Belgium, that may make for more of a quandary. As it is, it is too dear and expensive to keep around as an everyday drinker. But who knows, maybe I will enter the Brotherhood midlife and enjoy the finest ales the Abbeys have to offer on a more regular basis...

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Photo of XxNitExX
4.21/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bottle into goblet

A- Pours a murky brown (think cola) with red flashes. Think creamy head forms immediately and stays around.

S- Dark Fruits more than anything which is a surprise. Also has a sweetness in the nose with light malty flavor also.

T- Get more of the malts in the taste but still have the wonderful dark fruit taste. Not as sweet in taste as it is in smell.

M- Creamy just like the head. Goes down very smooth. Hides the alcohol well.

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Photo of schlimenhaumer
4.14/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from the bottle into a Delirium tulip at low altitude in NY.

A: Pours a dark, opaque reddish brown body with a thick, creamy khaki-colored head. Good retention and nice lacing.

S: Moderate strength aroma overall, with dark fruit esters (especially cherry), a solid caramel malt backbone and confectionery sweetness.

T: Dark fruit flavors up front give way to sweet caramel notes on a long finish. Plenty of sweetness here, but it's not overpowering. Slight clove notes come through more as it warms, and there's a little bit of heat on the finish.

M: Medium-bodied but relatively watery. The weakest aspect of this beer in my opinion.

O: One of the better dubbels out there, but it's hard for anything to compare after you've had Westvleteren 8, especially in terms of mouthfeel. Still definitely worth a try, though.

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St. Bernardus Prior 8 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
93 out of 100 based on 1,033 ratings.