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St. Bernardus Prior 8 - Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

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

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2,084 Ratings
very good

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Ratings: 2,084
Reviews: 992
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 8.89%
Wants: 119
Gots: 217 | FT: 5
Brewed by:
Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV visit their website

Style | ABV
Dubbel |  8.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: kbub6f on 09-27-2002

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (12) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,084 | Reviews: 992
Photo of Fnord
4.27/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Very dark brown with some floaties suspended. Dense, lasting head.

Smell - Chocolate, licorice, yeast, and alcohol. Perhaps a bit of hazlenut?

Taste - As above, plus vanilla and raisin, with a pleasant oaky aftertaste.

Mouthfeel - Thick with medium carbonation.

Drinkability - This isn't made to be drinkable, it's meant to be savored slowly.

Notes - An outstanding dubbel, one of the best. I can't believe I waited this long to try it.

Photo of GPHarris
4.28/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

a - poured a one finger thick off-white head into a snifter that left a thin ring of lace throughout. the body was dark brown with purple tones.
s - dark fruits and spice, mainly plum.
t - spicey with hints of dark fruits.
m - medium and bubbly. a near perfect level of carbonation.
d - terrific beer and another stellar St. B.

Photo of BillyBoysPie
3.9/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From a bottle into a pilsener style glass at Aufsturtz, Berlin, Germany. Apparently they were out of other glassware...

Dark brown with golden notes. Pale tan head, eighth-inch, lacing.

Smells of cinnamon and dried apples with a touch of chocolate, alcohol, and other indistinguishable spices.

Very, very sweet. A bit too sweet for me, almost slaps my mouth shut and leaves a syrupy feel behind. Brown sugar and dried apples dominate with a heavy alcohol feel. It's not bad at all - it's good - but it could be much better.

More carbonation would help this beer, but it's fine the way it is. Very heavy in the mouth. The flavor causes more problems than the mouthfeel.

It's a good beer, but there are better examples of this style. No reason not to drink this though.

Photo of kingcrowing
3.86/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

750ml corked & caged bottler poured into a snifter.

Pours a really dark very pretty color it's awesome looking. Has a thin nice deep brown head, nost is light and malty very appealing.

Taste is nice and creamy, malty and smooth. An awesome amount of carbonation for the style. I'm really surprised by this beer, it's really good!

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

Presentation: Attractive painted 750ml brown bottle, corked and caged. Clearly marked best-by date on the bottom. This is actually pretty fresh; the date is 2014.

Appearance: Slightly hazy garnet/mahogany brew with a big fluffy dark ivory cap which soon fades to a thick sticky film.

Smell: Nice, incredibly fresh, slightly-sour yeastiness. Quite bready; this is reminiscent of the Amish Friendship Bread starter that we were working with earlier. Slightly sweet crusty wheat bread and tons of sweet, sugary caramel form the backdrop. Quite pleasant, but would like just a touch more depth.

Taste: Mild earthy mushroom, hints of green apple and a ghost of sweet raisin, caramel, and just a touch of warming alcohol in the finish. Overall, tasty and dead on for the style. Ends with a slightly sharp burnt caramel bitterness, which combines with just enough hop bitterness to keep this from ending too sweet.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and soft

Drinkability: Pretty high

Conclusion: Good Dubbel; it's not mind-blowing, but it is rock-solid. Very traditional and tasty; though at $10-11 bucks I think I'd pick Ommegang's Abbey (at $7-8) over this 8 times out of 10.

Photo of anexetastos
4.87/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

what can i say? i have a weakness for belgian beers made properly. and this one is made very much properly.

the colot is a deep, rich amber without the yeast poured in, but an more cloudy opaque amber with the yeast swirled and poured in. as expected, the beer with the yeast has a nuttier flavor profile. without the yeast, which on this one i prefer, it is pure heavenly. i am surprised that they bill this as a dubbel, because it is quite heavy in the mouthfeel for a double, but the flavor and nose are absolutely perfect. i have now consumed over the last week four of these tasty brews, and there is no variability between them. each is just as right as the one before. i am thoroughly impressed.


Photo of ShadesOfGray
4.27/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice dark cloudy brown. The aroma is instant and strong. Nice size head that slowly subsides and leaves decent lacing.
Wow, for a dubel, this one smells so complex. Raisons and sugars...a little booze...just to name a few.
This is definately a beer that needs to be closer to room temp. At fridge temp, it's a tad too carbonated, and distant in its belgian flavors.
As it warms...much better. Smooth, a little creamy actually-while the head remains. Dark over-ripe fruits. Decent dubel!

Photo of mrmanning
3.65/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to HYDE for hooking this up for me! Deep brown body, topped with a fluffy beige cloud. Molasses, prunes, spices, and malt all fill the nose. Sweet and spicy. Lots of huge and heavy malt flavours, accompanied with molasses, honey, brown sugar, and spices. Warming alcohol. Very smooth muothfeel. Thanks derek!

Photo of jacobseyb
3.92/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A=deep, hazy, dark brown, with a large off white head that laces nicely.

S=banana and cocoa with a definite presence of alcohol

T=cocoa malts and sweetness up front, banana and alcohol on the end

M=very tight up front on the tongue, finishes almost flat, thick, alcohol very warming

D=nice beer not overly drinkable or sessionable

Photo of vancurly
3.77/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

a) Chestnutty brown, off-white head, hazy.
s) Tropical fruit, chocolaty malts, banana ester
f) Honeycomb, toasty bread crusts, some slight herbaceousness.
m) Light upfront, smooth, but fairly sticky at the back.
d) 750mL is enough for one person. Nice on a cool autumn day.

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

This pours a nice cloudy chestnut with surpisingly light head.

This is a Belgian Dubbel through and through - the smell of rast malt and some bitter hops but sweet notes of caramel dark fruits and faint chocolate dominate.

The mouthfeel is medium to full body with decent carbonation

Noch eins bitte!

Photo of Travlr
4.65/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark muddy brown with a light tan head, disappears slowly leaving very nice lacing. Aroma of dates, raisins and port wine. Flavors of dark fruit and pears, with nutmeg and cinnamon. My favorite of the line - a big beer, complex and balanced. Best candidate for storing for a few years.

Photo of seand
4.03/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours an opaque brown, with a few fingers of tan head from a slow pour. Retention and lacing are both quite good, a full finger of head sticks around.

S: Strong and sweet, honey, caramel, and a touch of alcohol.

T: Full flavored and sweet, with similar notes to the smell. There's also a touch of bitterness on the finish, which leaves it slightly dry.

M: Fairly carbonated, and perhaps medium body - the body is somewhat surprisingly light given the full flavor profile.

D: Quite drinkable, especially for the style.

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

For me, Dubbel is a style that often dissapoints. I want big rum/raisin flavours, and I want them now. Chimay Red, for example, is a is a bit PG and so are most others. This is my favourite so far, and here's why:

Pours a dark brown, but not black; pretty much opaque nonetheless. A finger or so of head, with lacing coating the better part of the inside of the glass even 20 mins after I'm done.

Big boozy smells out of the glass; Pedro Ximenez sherry, raisins that have been exposed to air a bit too long, (dark) rum, dusty cooking chocolate, dried figs. Sensational.

Likewise, the taste. All of those things alongside cinammon, clove and a bit too much residual sweetness for me to rate it higher. Hop bitterness comes VERY late in the finish and fades VERY quickly.

Mouthfeel is by turns creamy and a little slick as carbonation dies off. Neither here nor there.

Boozy and slightly sour, the latter of which is kind of a shame and hurts drinkability, But this is not the kind of thing you're meant to have a bunch of and you're more fool than me if you try Find me a better dubbel and I'll be pleasantly surprised.

Photo of mirish72
4.15/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Chimay goblet, beer #3 of the mixed sixer.

Pours a dark mahogeny, reddish black. Visible yeast throughout. Beer has big carbonation, 2 finger head with nice lacing and retention.

Fruity aroma, lots of raisins, prunes and other good stuff. Tastes sweet with a nice dry finish, slightly bitter but very balanced and very drinkable.

Overall a very good dubbel and one that I would pick up again.

Photo of JoshJ
3.32/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Maybe I am missing something as I usually love this style and type, but something was missing from this beer. Maybe it was bad stock?

It poured really nice, although it lacked any warmth in its colour, it seemed like a murky muddy gray colour with a lot of sediment. The smell was apealing, I was looking forward to drinking it. There was a nice fluffy head on it which disappeared within a couple of minutes leaving a nice ring.

Then I sipped. I could taste the alcohol from the first second, very strong, not smooth, but the base flavour seemed quite solid. There was just this overpowering alcohol ringing in my mouth. Id imagine that it could be appealing to others, however it just wasn't on the money for me.

Overall, I suspect it may not of been up to it's standard based off some of the reports here, but I bought it from what would be classed the best fine beer stockist's in Brisbane, so I dont know. I'd imagine this on tap could be a different drink altogether.

Photo of haddon
4.12/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- pours a dark cola color with a mocha head that when held up to light good carbonation with lots of sediment floating around

S- malts, brown sugar, yeast with a good balance of alcohol on the nose.

T- taste of bread, fig and a good amount of alcohol flavor on the end. brown sugar flavor is evident as well

M- heavy on the palate but quite well-balanced and smooth. good amount of carbonation

D- although Dubbels are not my favorite style of Belgian beer, this is a nice example of the style. will definitely drink again and enjoyed the experience

Photo of berley31
3.91/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured this beer directly after finishing the Pater 6, and it looked virtually identical, with a large, off-white head that slowly diminished to 1/2-finger size, and a dark brown, cloudy body. Some light lacing.

S: Smells very similar to the 6, but for some reason it actually seemed a bit milder to me... the breadiness is there, but this time I can detect a slight alcohol scent.

T: Very nice flavor, with a bit of buttery diacetyl coming through, as well as the alcohol warmth at the back of the throat. Not quite as sweet as the 6.

M: Medium-bodied and creamy texture, with very lively carbonation.

D: Very drinkable, especially for its alcohol content at 8%, but I think in the end I actually have to give the edge to the St. Bernardus 6.

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 magine
3.65/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a chalice.

Pours a root beer brown color. Cream colored head that fades quickly to a lace island top. Minimal lacing.

This brew smells of yeasts, and some spices. Has a dark fruit smell.

Has a big alcohol presence initially. The brew tastes peppery, and has a very carbonated spicy mouthfeel. It is smoother as it warms, the brew is strong. Has a nice blend of the spice and the fruits.

This brew is good, although not really anything you can session (or at least not me). It is a nice take on the style. But the alcohol taste is too apparent.

Photo of BamaBeerBuff
4.47/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: A ruddy chestnut color with a creamy looking caramel colored head featuring swirls of lighter colored creamy head. Retention and lacing aren't as impressive, however.

S: Wonderful. Indulgently rich with notes of sweet candied nuts, dark fruit, brown sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, and other spice are all present in a supremely cohesive and robust way. I've not smelled a better dubbel yet.

T&M: Flavor is lovely, as well. A smooth fig flavor replete with brown sugar, spice, orange zest, and vanilla. A light earthy hop presence balances out the sweetness wonderfully, as well. It's bursting with flavor, but remains highly drinkable. Body is medium/full with a creamy feel and wonderfully effervescent carbonation.

D: Excellent dubbel. Very drinkable for the ABV. Another great beer by St. Bernardus.

Photo of BierFan
3.87/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from an 11.2 ounce bottle into a cervoise. Best before 9/21/12.

Appearance: Two fingers of tan head. Dark brown murky body.

Smell: Very bready and yeasty. Some dark fruits. Syrupy sweet.

Taste: Reminds me quite a bit of Rochefort 8, except not quite as complex. Bread dough qualities, mild yeast spiciness. Bit of a molasses taste.

Mouthfeel: More carbonation than I expected.

Photo of generallee
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: It was poured from a brown 11.2oz bottle into a chalice. The bottle has a best before date of 28 06 12 and it was consumed on 6-23-09.

Appearance: The body has a dark burgundy color with lighter reddish high lights. On top the head was about one finger thick and hangs on well but slowly fades to a ring of foam around the edge of the glass. It is light tan in color and makes some spotty and slippery lacing.

Smell: Dark fruity and estery notes mix with a mild sweet alcohol presence.

Taste/Mouth: Its flavor has a pleasant sweet and malty complexity. There are hints of dates and figs sweetened by Belgian sugar, warmed by a mellow brandy like alcohol presence and tempered by some mild bitterness of hops. The palate has a smooth but lively texture with active carbonation.

Notes: This beer is another solid brew from St. Bernardus.

Photo of PapaEugene
4.45/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured it into my Urthel glass. A huge light brown head and a nice brown/amber color.

S: Malts, citrus, caramel and a hint of strawberry.

T: Roasted malts, sweet dough, red fruits, plums and a little bitter.

M; High carbonation and a medium body.

D: Very good, like the other Bernardus beers. Different from the 6 and 8 and not just by alcohol percentage.

Photo of bobsy
4.73/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Tasted after its little brother, pater 6.

Here's my review of the pater 6:

Classic dubbel pour with a huge creamy head sat atop an oaken body with ruby highlights, retention and lacing are great. Strong yeasty nose, with very prominent spicing, dark fruit and over-ripe bananas. Decadent and lush, this carries through to the taste, where the prominent flavours are supplied by the dark fruit (raisins and prunes), but with a large supporting cast, and an excellent second fiddle in spicy yeast. Sweetness throughout, but not annoyingly so. Exquisite and balanced... just short of perfection. Medium body, with a strong, but pillowy, carbonation.

So here's where the prior 8 differed:

More lacing was laid down and there was a touch of alcohol in the nose, which also seemed a bit thicker. All of the flavours were amped up (which is a good thing), and joined by a warming finish. The body was thicker, but the carbonation kept it from being cloying. Even better than the 6!

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St. Bernardus Prior 8 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
93 out of 100 based on 2,084 ratings.