1. American Craft Beer Fest returns to Boston on May 29 & 30, featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers. Tickets are on sale now.

St. Bernardus Prior 8 - Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

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

Educational use only; do not reuse.

2,033 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,033
Reviews: 986
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 8.92%
Wants: 113
Gots: 199 | FT: 2
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.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of St. Bernardus Prior 8 Alström Bros
Ratings: 2,033 | Reviews: 986 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of draheim
4.22/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

11.2oz (best by 8/11/2014) into a chalice. Just like St.B. tripel, as soon as I pop the cap it starts to gush - this time I'm ready. And just like the tripel, no matter how carefully I pour a bunch of dark chunkies find their way into my glass.

Pours a murky mahogany w/ lots of floaties, ample carbonation.

Aroma is fruity esters, plums, raisins, bready Belgian yeast.

Taste is dark fruit, bready yeast, clean water. Really simple yet still complex.

Mouthfeel is very dry and light, evaporates off the palate.

Overall an outstanding dubbel, possibly my favorite. Wish there weren't so many chunks but in the end, a minor detraction.

Photo of JoEBoBpr
4.22/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into my Chimay goblet.

A - Pours a nice light brown color with some red hues up to the light. It has nice and very active off-white head that recedes quickly and leaves a nice mat with some lacing.

S - Sweet malt grainy smell. Almost banan-nut bread like. Mild alcoholic esters are detected as well. Very attractive

T & M - Bready grains at the front followed by a nice spicy and sweetness with hints of clove and some cinnamon. Very attractive, complex and creamy mouthfeel. There is a real nice spiciness that I cant really point out but is very delicious. Creamy and pretty carbonated. Smooth.

D - Not too high. Very complex full bodied beer with a higher ABV.

Photo of eduardolinhalis
4.22/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

330ml bottle poured in a Chimay chalice.

A: Pours a dark amber to chestnut cloudy color. Forms a medium, fluffy and beige head. Medium retention and only few lacings left

S: Sweet caramel. Strong on Belgium yeasts and grains. Bit of vanilla. Dark fruits (mainly raisins). Alcohol

T: Sweet upfront. Strong on candy sugar. Caramel malts, dark fruits (plums and raisins), brown bread, roasted malts. Metallic. The classic Belgium yeasts. Bitter-sweet belgian style. Mild earthy bitter end

M: Light to medium body. Medium carbonation. Bit molasses. Alcohol. Sweet in the beginning and a little bit bitter in the end

O: Good drinkability. Great Beer. St. Bernardus quality

Photo of cvfish
4.22/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - This beer poured a reddish brown color with a good bit of sediment which produced a ligth tan head that had great retention and laced the side of the glass nicely

S - The aromas produced by this beer had a bunch of sweetness on the nose, some dark fruits, and yeast

T - The taste of this beer had a nice sweet, caramel maltiness, and good bit of dark fruits, and nice finish of yeasty funk

M - This beer had a medium body with a light amount of carbonation

D - This was a very good example of a Dubbel, not as awe inspiring as my favorite the Abt 12, but a wonderful beer with a great amount of complexity

Photo of Ozzylizard
4.22/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle marked 30 03 18 at 45 degrees into a goblet
Aroma of a bread bakery specializing in dark and whole-grain bread; also some fig or date aroma
Head average (3.5 cm), very light brown, creamy, diminishing to a partial ring up to 8 mm wide and a large island of foam.
Lacing poor and spotty.
Body medium to dark brown and very hazy – just looks dirty
Flavor begins slightly sweet with the taste of dates; no alcohol, no hops, no diacetyl. As it warms up, the flavor remains the same.
Palate light to medium, watery, lively carbonation

Although not visually appealing, this dubbel is redeemed by the overall good taste and palate. It is slightly sweet, but never too sweet, as dates often are. Overall, a very pleasant brew.

Photo of carln26
4.21/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This came from the tap in a chalice at Anam Cara. It was a deep chocolate brown with a thick rich tan colored head. I mean a huge gushing head that settled after 5 minutes into the beer. The lace turned into a thick clingy lace on the rim. The nose is sweet malty figgy sugar. Hints of candy and dates. The taste is more candy and figs. Just a slight hint of flowery hops. Thick mouth feel, and a medium drinkability. I think the dubbel style is my favorite Belgian, and this beer is close to the top.

Photo of schwaeh
4.21/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

11.2oz bottle I've had since xmas.

A: Pours a dark woody-brown color with 2 fingers of foamy white head. Great lacing.

S: Smells of sweet caramel, spicy Belgian yeast, candy sugar, bready malt, and dark fruits-figs, raisin, plum. The smell has me won over already.

T: Sugary sweet caramel, candied plum and fig. The raisin flavor comes through very strong as do the toasty malts. This is sugary but brewed very well so it isn't sickening, it just works great with the body and flavors. The alcohol is modest.

M: Good solid body with fluffy carbonation.

O: I love this style and I love this beer. This is a classic. I wish I could afford to drink this all the time because it never gets old. I can't remember if I like this more than the Pater 6 but the alcohol does seem to come out a lot more in this one. This is a solid Dubbel and a no-brainer to try out.

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.

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

Paid $13.99 for the 4-piece sampler with 'sniffer' glass...

The beer pours a nice brownish cherry color with very large tannish-white head exceptional retention and exceptional lacing effects, a perfect appearance. The aroma is bold, one of extreme malts and a few spicy and fruit tones too.

The taste is heavy malts, light apples, touch of alcohol in the end, very solid. The moutfeel is very nice, light on the palette and extremely smooth going down, very impressive. The drinkability is also high, with the fact that's it's this smooth and a 8% abv, this is very drinkable, a 3 beers at a session will push you back 10 bucks.

Final Thought: This is quite a remarkable beer.

Photo of radioscooter
4.21/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

First off, as always - better men than me have already reviewed this beer - yadda yadda. I made a pilgrimage to Vintage Estates this week in high hopes of scoring some Abt 12. They were out. This is the third uber beer place that's been "out" of the 12 ever since I started my quad quest.

So that in mind, I bought an 8, with little hope of it being any good.

My bad.

Poured from a cold bottle into my Chimay goblet.

Excellent, foamy 1" head. Darker caramel color than a dubbel might suggest. Looks pretty much exactly like the illustration on the label. And let me assure you - I am at least as giddy as the good Saint looks from the taste of this beer.

I expected a little stronger version of a Chimay red or maybe even more bitter like Duvel and was pleasantly surprised with an amazingly balanced yet complex assembly of flavors here.

Very "Belgian" base, but then I start tasting some more fruit, maybe apricot, but not too sweet or cloying.

I'm afraid I could drink this all night, and gladly would.

I've had discussions about quads and when I've suggested that St. Bernardus Abt 12 is a great contender to Westy 12 (based solely on what I've read) people have scoffed at that notion. I'll say here that if their Quad is as good as their Dubbel - that scoffing may be completely erroneous.

Just a delightful, tasty as-all-get-out beer. Carbonation and 'flow' are all just right. I'm wishing I'd bought more than one, because we don't have this here.


Live and subsequently learn.

Photo of ryan1788a5
4.21/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

11.2oz bottle poured into a goblet.

A: Hazy brown in color with tinges of orange. Beige head is lively and crackling. It retains very well, an small patches of delicate lacing dot the glass intermittently.

S: Bread pudding, raisin and other dried fruits, brown bread light caramel. Yeasty spice, touch of medicinal phenol. Whiff of rummy alcohol. Brown molasses.

T: Brown molasses up front. Dark caramel. Hint of cola. Lots of brown bread and crust. Bread pudding. Hint of grapey candi sugar. Raisin and dried fig. Yeasty spices. Dash of brown cocoa. Subtle medicinal phenol. Hollow, balancing hop bitterness. Touch of spicy alcohol treads lightly toward the back. Drying finish of bread crust and yeasty spice.

M: Medium thick body. Creamy. Plenty of scrubbing carbonation provides some lift. Warming alcohol is comforting.

O: A very well-made Abbey style dubbel. Very complex. Spot on. Nothing to criticize, just a damn good beer.

Photo of ericj551
4.21/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Prior 8 pours a deep ruby red with a thick and tall off white head that lingers for quite a while. Smell is herbal and sweet, with a slight sour tang. Taste is rich and slightly fruity. Sweet malts upfront, with a dry chalky yeast flavor towards the end. There is a slight raisiny aftertaste, with a lingering sweetness. The alcohol is completely masked. Although between the two I like the 12 better, this is a delicious beer, well worth the $8 a 750.

Photo of corby112
4.21/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Serving type: bottle.

Pours a dark brown color with a huge frothy beige head. Aroma of dark fruit, alcohol and chocolate. Very tasty beer with lots of malty chocolate, raisin, prune, plum, spice and alcohol. Nice soft carbonation up front with a sweet malty center and nice dry, spicy finish.

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

Best before date on this antique is 8/7/13. Which may explain the sediments and perhaps affected the taste. Since St. Bernardus has a five year life expectancy, this would be five and a half years old by now which would make it the oldest beer I have ever had.

Poured from the 11.2 oz. bottle into an Innis & Gunn flute.

a: Translucent red/brown with a lot of floaties and sediment. Might have poured this out a bit too vigorously. Finger and a half offwhite head receded to thick even surface foam and dense lacing.

s: Dark malt and fruit. The aroma becomes more luscious as it warms.

t: Nice fruity yeast and malt combo, with some cardboardy undertones which are not at all objectionable. Rather like my ideal Marzen, perhaps even better than the Northampton Brewery's version which is my favorite of that style, because it has more body to it. Dry finish. As it warms the dark fruit tones become more prominent (served this at 48 degrees F, the bottle label recommends a bit warmer would be ideal). Higher ABV is hardly evident.

m: Medium. Very smooth. Good carbonation even to the dregs pour.

o: Very easy drinking Abbey ale, which is my favorite style in Belgians besides Trippels and Quads. Perhaps due to its age it may be maltier than intended, but as it appears to have been bottle conditioned one might expect the yeast to have asserted itself more as well. Only price puts Ommegang's Abbey Ale and Sierra Nevada's Ovila ahead of it the next time I want a good brew of this style.

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).

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.

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

A-hazy brown color with hints of orange, nice off-white head with decent lacing

S-dark fruit, malt, caramel, spices, hint of orange

T-raisins, figs, toasted malt, toffee, spices, mild bitter finish

F-medium body with moderate carbonation, smooth and creamy

O-smooth and great flavor, solid ale

Photo of TCHopCraver
4.2/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes taken on 4-23-11.

Prior 8 appears a deep, mahogany-brown color with a pillowy, puffy, three-finger head when poured into a large snifter. The bottle was an immediate gusher. The color of the head is khaki-cream, and the scale of the lacing it leaves behind is huge- gobby, sticky, and phat.

The smell is straight sweet, bready goodness. I smell lots of candied fruit aromas- apple, raisin, plum, date, and dried cherry. The fruitiness melds with brown sugar and a light caramel influence. Some clove and pepper scents lend a spicy element, and doughy, sweet, almost cinnamon roll aromas also arise from the beer. The spicier smells really come through when the beer is agitated.

This is a very good, balanced flavor. The brown sugar taste blends seamlessly with the dark, sweet fruits and the spicy notes. There is an ever-so-slight phenolic flavor which adds an interesting twang to the overall taste. The finish is spicy, earthy, and decently drying.

Prior 8 has a solid, medium-full mouthfeel with a good creamy body in the middle of each quaff. I get a tangy feel on the tip of my tongue at the beginning and end of each sip, with a nice dryness on the sides of my tongue at the end of the sip.

This is a very good Dubbel. If anything, it might be a tad sweet and tangy, but overall I found it very tasty and satisfying.

Photo of caddybuyer
4.2/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from an 11.2 oz bottle into a tulip glass

A-Hazy raisin brown with some ruddy copper showing through when held to light. Thick light tan head

S-Yeasty and spicy with dark sweet malts and candied dark fruits present.

T-Rum soaked raisins hit the palate first as the sweet malts carry across the tongue. Vanilla and some almond present as well. Spicy peppery finish. This seemed very boozy for its ABV on the initial sip, but it levels off to a nice warming note.

M-Slighly creamy with a somewhat heavier than medium body. Overcarbonated.

D-Very drinkable and enjoyable brew. Will look for again.

Photo of bfred805
4.2/5  rDev +1.2%

Photo of hippityhops85
4.2/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

33cl bottle poured into St. B's chalice.

Pours dark brown and murky. Minimal head that just forms a ring around the circumference of the glass.

Nose has candied raisins, Belgian yeast, sweet malts.

Taste is dry with some beautiful spiciness and wonderful Belgian yeast flavors. Carbonation is spot on adding to the dryness. Incredibly smooth.

A quintessential Belgian dubbel in my opinion and one that all dubbels should be rated against. Highly recommended.

Photo of bluejacket74
4.2/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a St. Bernardus chalice, the beer pours a dark amber/brown color, with a small off-white head. It smells like dark fruit and molasses. It tastes very sweet, just like it smells but with some warming alcohol in there. Mouthfeel is medium/full, a bit slick with a lot of carbonation, but not too much. Drinkability is very good, it's smooth and crisp. Overall I think this is a pretty good beer, I'd definitely drink it again.

Photo of Immortale25
4.2/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Delirium Tremens snifter. Back label says best before end 10 05 16 which can be taken to mean drink by May 10th 2016.

A- Pours a dark brown with little light showing through and has a two-finger head that retains very well leaving thick wisps of lacing behind.

S- Dark fruit such as plum, black cherry and currants. Also some banana.

T- Balance is the name of the game when it comes to St. Bernardus. Making the yeast, malt and fruit overtones in sync with each other while keeping the alcohol in check. Very simple, yet very effective. The fruits found in the aroma are also detected in the flavor as well as a smidgeon of soapiness and metallic taste.

M- High carbonation that’s felt with every sip. Medium-heavy body.

O- I think all six bottles in my variety pack are going to be a winner. 3 down, 3 to go.

Photo of angrybabboon
4.2/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Review adapted from notes taken 2/5/11

Appearance: Dark ruby/amber brown, with a thick, foamy head, great lacing

Smell: Sweet malts, candi sugar, dark fruits, Belgian yeast - some interesting spices, too - smells like a dubbel should

Taste: Sweet bread, dark fruits such as figs, some toasted malts, some spices - some nice Belgian yeast - slightly tart - a great example of the style, but not as exciting as some other dubbels

Mouthfeel: Super smooth, bubbly carbonation - kind of dry despite the sweetness, which is interesting

Overall: A borderline excellent dubbel

When I first had this beer, I thought it was truly excellent. Upon a re-review, I found it to be less than perfect. It's less complex than some others. Tasty, nonetheless.

Photo of BeccaH
4.2/5  rDev +1.2%

St. Bernardus Prior 8 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
93 out of 100 based on 2,033 ratings.