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St. Bernardus Prior 8 - Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,856 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,856
Reviews: 967
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 8.89%
Wants: 100
Gots: 136 | FT: 3
Brewed by:
Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV visit their website

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: 1,856 | Reviews: 967 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of EkimGram
4.13/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Taken from my beer journal dated 1/2/10

A: Very dark hazelnut colour. Poured from large bottle into oversized wine glass. Lots of head upon pouring, dwindles down to about a 1 inch head.

S: Strong aroma of dark fruits. There is a touch of sweetness in it. Very pleasing, not too strong on the alcohol.

T: The taste of the alcohol strengthens on the tongue. The instant after the swallow there is a strong warming sensation, it lingers.

M: Medium bodied, carbonated, creamy.

D: A nice strong beer that doesn't have too much of a kick. Very tasty.

EkimGram, Jun 14, 2010
Photo of dgilks
4.47/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Peaches and stone fruit dominate with a robust figgy malt backbone standing in the background. Really good.

Moderately-murky medium brown colour with a moderate, short-lasting light tan head. Decent.

Interesting. The Prior 8 has a slightly punchier malt profile than the Pater 6 with rounded dark fruit flavours. The big difference though is a rich, spicy alcohol hit which accentuates some fruit flavours and cuts the richness of the malt. Just as good but quite different.

Medium body with moderate carbonation. Creamy and refreshing with just a tickle on the tongue.

An eminently drinkable brew with a nice malt richness and good interplay with the alcohol.

dgilks, Jun 10, 2010
Photo of keithmurray
4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

poured from a 750ml bottle into a chalice

appearance - beer pours a murky chestnut brown, tan head that didnt stick around long

smell - brown sugar, caramel, red wine, raisins, plums

taste - similar to the nose, raisins more prominent, red wine, malts, molasses

mouthfeel - plentifully carbonated, slight bitterness in the aftertaste, medium to heavy bodied beverage

drinkability - this is a heavy hitter, so not sure about polishing off the whole 750ML in one sitting

overall a solid representation of the style

keithmurray, Jun 08, 2010
Photo of appenzeller
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep red amber. This one poured a massive head that retained well, biggest head I've ever seen. Not quite sure why since that's not consistent with the other comments here.

Smell was malty and alcoholic, in a decent way. Smells like a lighter version of a good bottle of scotch.

Taste, quite interesting. Up front flavors of cherry (my favorite!) but that's soon overtaken by deeper malts and then hops. The defining characteristic, for me, of this beer is that it has a lovely "sweet" taste (the cherry) but it's ultimately a very balanced beer. First time I've tried this and I'm in love.

appenzeller, Jun 07, 2010
Photo of thagr81us
4.05/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served from bottle into a Chimay goblet. Poured a nice dark brown with minimal off-white head. Lacing was minimal througout. The aroma was comprised of sweet and fruit notes. The flavor was full of fruit, slight spice, and minimal alcohol. It was medium on the palate with medium carbonation. Overall this was a very nice brew that was quite drinkable and enjoyable. I was glad I finally got to try it. It is definite worth a try for any Belgian fan out there who has not tried it.

thagr81us, Jun 02, 2010
Photo of boss302
4.6/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

St Bernardus, Prior 8, 750ml bottle, served at 55F into a goblet glass (as recommended on the bottle)

This is the brewery that used to brew for St Sixtus (aka Westvleteren) until 1992. It is thought that they still use the same strain of yeast from their duties 18 years ago.

A: There is a big thick head with course bubbles to start, then it settles down to fine bubbles that stick to the beer for the duration of the glass. It appears as a brown beer when light hits it from the front, but shows a ruby red with lit from the rear. It is a hazy beer, not crystal clear, and there can be floaties if not poured properly. I don't mind the floaties and poured mine to fill a small glass and a large glass in a single pour.

S: First impressions: Alcohol, winey, green apples, Sauvignon Blanc. Smells like it should have an acidic taste, but this is not so. A faint anise seed aroma, but not as strong. A cross between nutmeg and bay leaves, maybe this is earthy, but I'm not sure I would describe it that way.

T: Wow, nice clean flavor, a little CO2 bite, nice balance, and finishes very clean. Hard to pick out individual flavors. A faint anise seed flavor, a little sweetness on the front of the tongue, but fades almost immediately, a slight burnt sugar taste. It is very complex, a really good Belgian Brown. Toward the end as you consume the floaties, there is a definite roasted malt flavor.

M: Big thick, full bodied. I know the alcohol is there, but you can't really tell until after you swallow, and then it takes a while to feel the warmth. A nearly perfect balance of malt, hops and candi sugar to achieve a high alcohol beer without being particularly noticeable: Wonderfully deceiving.

O: This may be my new favorite Belgian. I'll be purchasing more of this. I believe it tastes better than the SB Abt 12. This is a definite recommend.

boss302, Jun 02, 2010
Photo of RuudJH
3.68/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Long time since I drank something from this brewery.

Very dark brown, with a very pale creamwhite head. Nice contrast. The head is very thin, but the lacing is ok.

Smell malty, with dark fruits, a little bit of roasted grains, nuts and coffee.
Taste is very bittersweet.

Mouthfeel is creamy.

This beer is ok drinkable.
It's not much above average dubbel beer though, I'm disappointed to say.

RuudJH, May 31, 2010
Photo of eric5bellies
4.47/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Drankd from my Duvel Tulip.

A - Pours a dark red mahoghany colour with a large tanned head that reduces slowly but does lace.

S - Heavy cherry aroma from the bottle, a few more malty aromas once poured, but still prdominatly cherry.

T - Pleanty of spice, dark fruits, figs, bread and you guessed it... cherries.

M - Nice medium body and balanced carbonation.

D - The fisrt time I darnk this beer I didn't rate it. I muct have had a bad one becasue this is the best Dubbel that I have had. It's richness and fuller body sets it apart.

eric5bellies, May 28, 2010
Photo of bohemiandonut
5/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

What a beaut!

Pours a lustrous mahogany red, with a luxurious head that settles thin but paints the glass in wide, generous strokes. Vibrant as the sun on closed eyes.

Smell is strong of darkest sugary ethanol. Cherry, rum, cream. An inviting aroma to say the least. 8.00% is clearly meant in Belgian terms.

Mouthfeel: The heart of a successful bräu. Carbonation verging on assault, softened to a cloud by the complexity of its

...Taste... Ah. So good it verges on the masochistic. A long pull of the fruitiest, woodiest fermented sweet. Inseparable from its complementary perfected texture.

Such a mistake in only buying one. Not to be missed!

bohemiandonut, May 28, 2010
Photo of konadrinker
4.72/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Rich red brown pour with a 2 finger pillowy tan head that reduces slowly and leaves nice lacing.

S - Complex nose on this one - figs, bread, spice.

T - Bread, figs, spice, caramel and dark sugars. Complex and wonderful.

M - Alcohol present, smooth and slightly thick.

D - Smooth and very sippable. Sweetness would keep me from having a second in the same sitting. A wonderfully complex and tasty offering.

konadrinker, May 25, 2010
Photo of ThaCreep
4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Fruity nose, with touches of malt, quite complex. The entrance is easy on the palate but then quickly becomes exhilarating. A very good body, rich toasted malt and a body far more intoxicating than other Dubbel. One senses in the palace of keys and a coconut flavor to both sparkling and full of flavors, especially fruit. The finish also has the slight spicy fruity. Good beer at once heady, fruity and spicy.

ThaCreep, May 18, 2010
Photo of Avagadro
4.83/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: deep mahogany, and slightly hazy, Prior 8 (P8) displays a beautiful head that is as light as a cloud and the color of the froth on a cappacino. The head retention is incredible.

S: bouquet is well presented, with a heavy dose of clove and just a touch of banana. There are also several minor players in thus elegant bouquet that I'm not able to name.

T: P8 delivers a level of complexity that is only surpassed by the Trappist offerings, and even then only just barely. Clove, unidentified spice, a touch of banana, prunes, apricots; it's all in there. The flavors are there, but no single flavor dominates another. The yeast profile is also not cloying, but subtle.

M: creamy, but not to the extent of the Abt12 or the other trappist dubbels. Nonetheless, the mouthfeel of P8 is one of its most admirable attributes.

D: it is hard to shell out $4 for a breweries middle beer, when the top shelf bottle can be had for $5. Despite this, I strongly recommend that you try this brew. It is among the most well crafted from one of the best breweries in the world.

Avagadro, May 16, 2010
Photo of laituegonflable
4.08/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a delicious espresso brown with modest off-white head, visible bubbles retaining to half a centimetre. Nice creamy lace clings to the glass. Gorgeous dusky colour, everything else pretty good too.

Nose is quite pungent. Nice sweet dark chocolate character with dark, spicy toffee. Hints of truffles with nice cinnamon notes and a slight sour cherry character lingering at the back. Noticeable ethyl alcohol at the back has a lack of character to it, just smells strong. Apart from that though an awesome, deliciously sweet and dark, spicy mix.

Taste is very sweet, lots of dark, almost burnt, toffee notes start from the front and continue towards the back. Some pleasant cherry hints with slight brandy undertones, and a quite strong and yeah, robust spice mix at the back, filling the palate with pepper, cinnamon, anise and carraway, while a slight lavender floral notes emerges at the back. Very rich and cocoa-like for the most part, pleasantly flavoursome all the way through.

Mouthfeel is incredibly foamy, very noticeable spicy sizzle and nice and creamy throughout.

Maybe just a bit overly rich on the late mid with a few too many phenols to quaff. Otherwise, excellent throughout; a rich, enjoyable winter ale.

laituegonflable, May 13, 2010
Photo of BricksandPorter
4.45/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I simply cannot cellar a good beer. Bought a deuce-deuce cold and poured it after ten minutes in the freezer. Shared half with my wife in two snifters. she enjoyed hers with a slice of orange and I have to admit it did change the character nicely, if not minimally.

Pour - creamy, thick pour - take your time with this, it is a trappist after all. Color is a maroon brown with hues of plum and orange. Head is two fingers, pillowy and thick. Reduces down to a beautiful lacing with resonating strings of carbonation throughout.

Nose - sweet jesus! A beautiful cocophony of fruit sweet esters and earthy organics. bananas come to mind.

Taste - Wild cherries, carmel malts and a tangy wheat slam the tastebuds. Notes of bananas, cherries and plums swirl with an almost sour, limy aftertaste. Very little hoppiness noteable but what it lacks in hops is more than made up for in the yeasty flavors that are the trademark of great abbey beers. More like port wine, champagne or even scotch as far as character and body goes.

Mouthfeel - Smooth, crisp and complete. Body is full and seems to live and move. Very distinct flavors are completely apparent throughout the entire glass - no wavering or wondering. Carbonation is heavy but it enhances the flavor like icing on a cake. A true work of art!

Drinkability - i actually enjoyed my wife's idea of an orange and tried it as well. I couldn't make this a session beer only because of how special it is. This is to be enjoyed on an occasional basis, to celebrate something. Apparently this is what the monks drink for dinner in Watou - lucky bastards. I have to invest in a cellaring project - this would be a prime candidate.

BricksandPorter, May 06, 2010
Photo of geokills
4.6/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pouring a slightly opaque rusty brown and giving birth to two solid fingers of lively head (could be considerably more, depending on your pour!). Settling down with light lacing, featuring a thin lingering cap of tan foam throughout the full imbibe. This beautiful concoction throws off some fruity esters, a sweet almost candy-like malt aroma. Alcohol present but well controlled amidst hints of chocolate and caramel. This one goes down smooth and delicious, somewhat sweet, warm and very easy to drink. Well done Bernardus!

geokills, May 04, 2010
Photo of TommyW
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Clear, dark ruby with a sticky, off-white head.

S- Big creamy, malt aroma with notes of dark fruit and spice.

T- Nice mix of bready and dark malts that bring a little sweetness and twang. Dark fruits and spice blend in nicely.

M- Nice feel from the carbonation; very easy and smooth.

D- Really enjoyed this beer a lot; one of my favorite dubbels.

TommyW, May 02, 2010
Photo of BoitSansSoif
4.15/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A-Slightly hazy dark reddish brown w/thick off-white head, nice retention and lacing. BB date Nov 17, 2014. 33cL bottle. Drunk from snifter.

S-Light grape and raisiny dough...faint caramel and spice, sour cherry, apple.

T-Fruity...apple, cherry, grape, raisin. Soft roasted malt, slightly sweet but balanced by dry finish.

M-Well carbonated w/medium body, good balance, slightly dry finish, and a dry aftertaste w/some heat.

D-Tasty beer...yes, it's less complex and not on the same level as the Abt 12, but it's close.

BoitSansSoif, May 01, 2010
Photo of elvisnj
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Taken from notes after a night of drinking and brewing at a buddies house...

Poured from a Belgian corked bottle into a wine glass.

This beer is dark and beautiful with a small light colored head. The nose is very similar to its older brother the Abt 12. The aroma's difference is that it seems a bit fruitier and almost like a Sangria.

Taste is definitely lighter. But the Tannins and Yeast flavors are much the same as the 12. Shares many characteristics. Subsequently its a great beer. In fact, it almost tastes like a light Abt 12.

Carbonation is lighter. Mouth feel is lighter. But its flavor is strong. Not a whole lot different from the 12 which is not a bad thing. This beer is just as great but dont expect a huge difference.

elvisnj, May 01, 2010
Photo of FreshHawk
4.15/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Murky chestnut brown to a dark, murky tawny color. Slight reddish tint. Large, foamy, bubbly, and off-white with a slight beige hue. A bit below average retention and some spotty lacing left.

S - Strong dark and citrus fruit smell along with some dark malt aroma in the background. Well spiced with cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, coriander, and a bit of pepper. Also strong Belgian yeast smell and some dark candi sugar. Nice complex aroma, with typical Dubbel aroma with a bit more spice.

T - Follows the nose pretty well. Initially there is a lot of malt and dark candi sugar. Then the dark fruit starts to come out more. Then, bam, a load of spices (same as the nose) comes through. The finish is a nice mix of rum soaked dark fruit and spices with a nice background of malt and dark sugar. Belgian yeast flavors is also fairly present throughout the sip.

M - Slightly more than medium body with a bit more than average carbonation. Quite smooth with a tingly and warming finish.

D - Good drinkability. Complex flavors that don't kill your palate. The spice might be a little strong, but it isn't bad for drinkability.

Notes: Another good offering from a good brewery. Solid Dubbel that is well spiced. Well balanced and complex flavors that interplay with each other nicely. Definitely worth a try.

FreshHawk, Apr 29, 2010
Photo of JohnL9013
4.05/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark, cloudy brown.

S: Dark roasted malts and very nice hops are right there on the nose, an excellent smell and a potent one too.

T: Bitter hops up front with malts in the background. Hops are abundant but slightly muted by the bitterness. This beer reminds me a lot of a "strong ale" and not necessarily a dubbel. As others have said here, "very good, but not industry-leading". I think this beer is a little too strong-ale-ish and needs a small step back to be perfectly balanced. Still very, very flavorful and extremely enjoyable. More flavor than I expected.

M: Very good mouthfeel, again, slightly too bitter for me, but excellent carbonation and a very smooth body.

D: Extremely high alcohol content you can feel after only a few sips.

This beer is very tasty, but the St. Bernardues Tripel and Abt. 12 are far more balanced and complex.

JohnL9013, Apr 23, 2010
Photo of johnwarne
3.9/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A beer haiku for you:

"My Belgian Dubbel;
You lack some passion tonight,
Not great, just ok"

For one of the world's best brewers, this one falls a little short of the industry standard [unlike the 12 and the Witbier from the family]. Drinkable, enjoyable--but for me not a passionate pour. Puts many to shame--per usual for St B--but not a world leader.


johnwarne, Apr 23, 2010
Photo of BobZ
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

11.2 Oz. bottle, Part of a St. Bernardus gift-pack.

Appearance: Rich brown, nice example of strong dark ale.

Smell: Nice nose indicating depth and complexity.

Taste: Really nice complexity, not quite on par with the Rochefort 8, but not THAT far off either. This is a very good beer, essentially a lighter version of the Abt 12. Nowhere near as complex as the 12 but you definitely can tell they are in the same family.

Mouth feel: Very good carbonation, very smooth o the palate.

Drinkability: Very Drinkable, may be better for longer sessions than the Abt 12 (only due to Abv & I would still treat yourself to a 12 at the end of the session).

This beer represents St. Bernardus very well.

BobZ, Apr 18, 2010
Photo of jwhawkins81
3.95/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Aroma - Sweet dark fruits

Appearance - Creamy off-white head that thins to a film and collar. The beer itself is a dark amber red.

Taste - Surprisingly not sweet. Like a unsweet Belgian really. Not too complex either, and surprisingly not a lot of flavor either.

Notes - Very good mouthfeel due to the expected high level of carbonation.

jwhawkins81, Apr 16, 2010
Photo of gyllstromk
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a nice dark chocolate with a good frothy head. Begins with a beautiful clovey nose and a bit of caramelized banana, bubblegum, brandy, and rum. Flavor is more burnt banana, with a nice clove finish. A thick feel with the right level of carbonation makes for an appealing drink. Probably the closest to Westvleteren as you can get; a real delight!

gyllstromk, Apr 15, 2010
Photo of yeahnatenelson
3.95/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance - Deep walnut color, opaque, with khaki head.

Smell - Raisins, assorted dark fruit, faint whiff of alcohol.

Taste - Oh my. Raisin, grape, spicy hops, clove, sweet and roasty malt. Lots of tannic red wine character. Sweet, but not as much s the Pater 6. Nice dry finish.

Mouthfeel - Medium body, lots of prickly carbonation, mild warming sensation from the alcohol.

Drinkability - Very nice, very much like the Pater 6 only more nuanced and flavorful. At the end of the day, I'm still don't care for the high carbonation.

yeahnatenelson, Apr 11, 2010
St. Bernardus Prior 8 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
93 out of 100 based on 1,856 ratings.