St. Bernardus Prior 8 - Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

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

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
93
outstanding

2,152 Ratings
THE BROS
89
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,152
Reviews: 1,009
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 8.65%
Wants: 125
Gots: 246 | FT: 5
Brewed by:
Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV visit their website
Belgium

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: 2,152 | Reviews: 1,009
Photo of tjthresh
3.56/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Pured with a frothy off white head. Brown, but has some ruby and purpleish hues when held to light. I get very little from the aroma. Maybe some chocolate, raisin, mostly malt.Fairly heavy on the palate. Light carbanation. No real sign of the 8% alcohol until you swallow, and the just a hint. I’d say I’d go buy another couple of bottles and put the in the cellar, but I don’t think that is what this beer needed. Actually, this beer is probably exactly as intended, just not wowing me

Photo of JoeAmerican77
3.56/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Smells of sourdough and earthy yeast. The color of watered down coffee with a nice finger of tan head. Some of that breadiness comes back again in the palate, a bit dry and crisp with a medium body and some spicy alcohol. Definitely let it warm.

A nice dubbel, a little too brut for my taste but still a worthwhile visit.

Photo of Mitchster
3.56/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

$3.99 for a 11.2oz bottle in 2006. 28-04-09 on the back of the bottle. Re-reviewed 11-27-10, I paid $25.99 for a mixed 6 pack of the breweries beers. 8.0% ABV.

Pours to a cloudy mahogany with ruby accents, forming a very creamy soft light yellow head. Abundant yeast in the bottle. In the middle of the head is a small plume as a result of the steady carbonation of the beer, it's excellent head retention and the shape of the Chimay glass I'm drinking it out of. Brussels lace is fine and solid. The aroma is just OK...green apples and bananas, distant malt vinegar, and mild grassy hops. No real Belgian funk character. Wooden cask character is appreciated as it warms and is swirled. Alcohol is imperceptable in nose. The mouthfeel is lively, moderately tart, with a mild ruddiness and alcoholic astringency to the finish. Medium-light body, actually, lighter than expected. The taste starts out with green apples, lemon, and green bananas, and is followed by subtle figs and a mild bitterness. The finish is dry, woody and earthy. Alcohol presence is unassuming. This beer definitely improves as it gets warm, but it's still not really a winner.

"Dubbel Light" is the best description of this beer. It doesn't do much for me. It looks and smells nice but has a very one dimensional taste. Too dry and it has minimal residual sugars, like Shiraz that is steeped in tobacco. I'm not inclined to buy it again.

Photo of 100floods
3.56/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a caracole tulip glass. Pours a dark, murky amber with a cream white head with some decent lacing afterwords. Heavy carbonation. Pours with a sound like a bubbly soda. There are subtle sweet, prune/light fruitty aromas hiding in there, but not much on the surface. The aromas are nice and clean.

I am having trouble gathering my taste buds around this one. There's a nice heavy body, which helps even out the carbonation but there's also this kinda sweet, sugar feel to it as well. I am also experiencing a creaming aspect as well. I'm thinking root beer or cream soda (maybe even a dull vanilla?), but very mild in comparison. Everything seems hidden in there.

I have had this beer before and i don't remember it tasting like this. This is not to say I am disappointed, just I remember this beer differently. I wonder what aging would do to this one. Good beer, just not what I remembered.

Photo of velkyal
3.55/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

In many ways this beer was pretty much as I expected, being a Belgian Abbey Ale and having an "8" in the title, immediately made me think of the Rochefort 8, and indeed it pours a similar cloudy brown although with a more frothy head, tinged with beige. The nose was malty, with touches of cocoa. The maltiness of the nose came through again in the sweetness of the beer, although the body was on the thinner side of the Rochefort, which while not reaching the heights of those august ales is no bad thing.

Photo of PeterIngemi
3.55/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 11.2oz bottle into a tulip.

A: pours a dark brown, even after a gentle pour there is a rather obnoxious three finger slightly browned head that takes a good while to dissapte, and also despite the gentle pour and leaving a bit in the bottom of the bottle there is still a good deal of sediment to be seen floating about in the glass.... Excellent lacing.

S: bready yeast with a him if nuttyness. Also a bit perfumy with some darkfruit sweetness.

T: sweet dark fruit notes balanced with a bready yeastyness, again a bit of floral/herby as well. Brown sugar, raisin. Grainy nuttyness.

M: creamy heavy medium mouthfeel with medium lightly crisp creamy carbonation.

O: a decent beer, but honestly I am a bit underwhelmed here, deffiantly would take a rochefort 8 over this one.

Photo of Prufrock
3.55/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

11.2 oz bottle poured into a wine glass.

murky medium brown with an inch of foamy, tan head. leaves excellent lacing.

aroma of bready malts, bananas, and caramel. touch of butter as well.

bready maltiness with a nice sweet aftertaste. medium mouthfeel with a nice prickly carbonation.

nice clean finish for excellent drinkability. 8% isn't noticeable.

Photo of SmokinSmyth
3.53/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a cloudy dark color, which surprised me since I was expecting a lighter color following the Abt 12 I had earlier in the evening, which was dark also (although much darker).

The smell is sweeter than the Abt 12, closer to candy than to fruits, although raisins and grapes are evident.

Taste is good, but not as good as the Abt 12, probably unfair I had that earlier, but also keeps a good frame of reference.

Feels good in the mouth, easily drinkable.

Photo of JamesMN
3.53/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Dark brown and opaque. Two finger foamy off-white head that is retaining well.

Aroma: Bready malt and a hint of yeast. A bit of sweetness on the back end like pear/apple juice.

Taste: An interesting mix of some bready malt flavor with a bit of dark malt. Flavors of plum, fig, pear, and some light spice notes dominate the overall taste. Some nice creaminess from the head with each sip that helps balance out the effervescent punch to the palate. Don't taste any of the 8% ABV. A bit of a spicy finish with lingering clove.

Mouthfeel: Highly carbonated as expected and medium in body. Average drinkability. The cloves get a tad cloying.

Final Thoughts: This is a Dubbel done right. Those who enjoy the style should really appreciate this one. Would I drink it again? It's probably my favorite of the style I've tried.

Photo of nhindian
3.53/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

11.2oz bottle poured into a Westvleteren chalice.

A - Pours a murky brown, a bit dark purplish color with a beautiful 3-fingered, frothy head. Retention is good. Spectacular lacing, which is a welcome addition to these great Belgians.

S - Smell is strong in Belgian yeast, candied sugar, and ripe, dark fruits. Getting huge whiffs of raisins, grapes, and plums. Sweet smelling, yet has a noticeable alcohol smell in the back. Tantalizing yet dangerous.

T - The smell segues nicely into the taste and each element is represented well here. The front is certainly sweet with the malts and sugar. The fruits come through here strongly as well, with the vinous grape taste leading the way. The sweetness from these two combine to help reduce the alcohol heat a bit, but the alcohol does impose a bit too much for my liking.

M - Mouthfeel is heavy with good carbonation. The sweetness lasts throughout the taste, and while it's not cloying, it could be reduced a bit. Additionally, the alcohol comes through a bit too much for my liking.

D - Drinkability is moderate. It's a bit on the higher side of the scale for sweetness and alcohol, and while the flavors are good, it's a good sipper.

Photo of kawilliams81
3.53/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a St Bernardus goblet.

A- chestnut color, 2 finger off-white head and almost no lacing.

S- dark fruits (mainly plums), sweet malts, candi sugar, yeast.

T- sweet amber malts, dark fruits, toffee

M- medium body, a little thin. Leaves you with a slight dry mouth ay finish.

O- good beer, but a little thin. Fairly easy drinking.

Photo of jjanega08
3.53/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Poured into my St. B goblet
A= a very dark brown color that almost comes to black. The two finger heafd lifts up and leaves a head that covers the top nicely leaving behind decent lacing
S= tart grannysmith apples and a yeasty odor comes out.
T= the apples taste more red now like a sweeter tart apple. The yeast is still there. There's a small amount of hop bitterness.
M= high carb but very crisp and refreshing. Totally not expected from the color
D= pretty average. Not my style but very tasty

Photo of ultralarry2006
3.53/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from an 11.2 oz. bottle. Leaves a tan one finger head with good retention and good lacing. Body is a hazy garnet.

Smell - horse blanket, caramel, figs, and raisins. Alcohol is well hidden.

Taste - like the smell. Horse blanket, caramel, figs, and raisins washed down with medinical and alcohol phenolics. Alcohol is mostly well hidden.

Mouthfeel - medium bodied, and dry.

Drinkability - I find this to be good, but not great. I will have this on occaision. High abv also supresses sessionability.

Photo of TerryW
3.53/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Hazy cola or coffee-like appearance with a good-sized and long-lived head that leaves behind chunky lace.

Nose is gentle with a touch of raisin and whiff of alcohol. Quite bready as well. Appetizing.

Somewhat sweet to start with but quickly evens out into something slightly dry and almost chalky in character. Nice lingering mouthfeel and flavour with a hint of cocoa and raisins. A hint of alcohol as the beer starts to warm up.

Decent, competent beer. Nice finish.

Photo of jujubeast6000
3.52/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed 2/11/2006 (750mL bottle):

Pours a very dark brown colored body, with a very slightly off-white head, big and lasting, smooth. Has an aroma of citrus, lavender, and spices. A slightly bitter, slightly sweet taste. Some molasses, warming, with a good mouthfeel, somewhat alcoholy.

Photo of nicetry
3.52/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle poured into a goblet.

Murky brown color with a beautiful amber hue when held up to light. Tan, relatively thin .5 inch head that quickly slides into a top foam. Lovely delicate lacing hinting at the carbonation to come.

Smell is very nice; subdued or dark fruit esters and stings of spice - a high pitch nose of nectarines and anise with low notes of cherry and fig. As it warms it gets more complex, adding in a toasty fermentation smell that, and this may be strange, makes me think of certain jenevers.

Taste surprises: a bouquet of ester-y carbonation forms around the edges of the low notes hinted in the nose; a chalky, malty spine hangs around to yield alcohol and a bitter finish. Decent and different.

Mouthfeel is delicate and unique for a dubbel, and while the finish is interesting, it doesn't convert into the malty saccharin finish characteristic of it's type. Unique and very good for a single bottle.

Photo of jbphoto88
3.5/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Deep reddish brown color with an alarming amount of bits suspended in it. This beer looks like the first runoff of a brew kettle before any vorlauf. The head is a tan white, quick to rise and just as fast to fade to a thin sheet of suds. After the Pater 6 i am slightly disappointed with this one.

Nose continues the disappointment with a just slightly above average scent. It is heavy on the caramel and candied side of things. It smells over sweet and a touch boozy with mild toasted grains.

Taste is better then the nose but only slightly. The caramel and candied flavors are there and really aren't bad, the problem i have is the lack of complexity. Once you get past the slight grain and sugar toasted sweetness there isn't much else. It tastes good but a little simple. Frankly I expected a little more.

Mouthfeel is nice with a firm carbonation and a smooth coating feeling. It's almost chewy with a warm finish that stays in your mouth for some time after. This isn't a bad beer but a solid average one. Simple and well made but not much for big flavors and complexity. Worth a try but probably not one I'd come back to. I find the 6 to be much more satisfying.

Photo of far333
3.49/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Hazy cocoa brown colored, thick looking, with particles suspending and moving. A foamy one-inch beige head rises up and lingers. There is no aroma, but for a bit of yeasty notes. Flavor is initially sweet and figgy, with some cocoa. A bit of clove and light brown sugar, but not too complex. Mouthfeel is a bit tingly. Better as it warms, but I've had better Belgians.

Photo of match1112
3.48/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

my second one out of the gift pack. pours a dirty brown color with a small tan head that leaves minimal lacing. smell is of raisins, prunes, roasted malt and spice. taste is right on with the nose except that the spice is more present in the flavor. has a some what creamy mouthfeel to it with a dry spicy finish. not liking this one as much as i did the pater 6.

Photo of mulder1010
3.47/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

750 ML poured into a Tulip glass

A-- Big puff of white cloud upon uncorking this. Poured a very hazy cherry brown color. Some sediment in the pour. One finger off white brown head that dissipated pretty quickly but on swirling the head retention was very good. No lacing but very visible alcohol legs and small beads of carbonation.

S-- Really reminds me of a spiced cake. Something like that. Bready yeast, plumbs, cherry's, raisin's, Cinnamon, and some lemon and orange.

T-- A lot of plumb, raisin, lemon and orange. A little bit of alcohol mixed in on this.

M-- More it sat in my mouth the more the lemon came out and the raisins and plumbs felt to be soaked in rum. Has a citrus like feel to the carbonation and a little more than medium body and carbonation to this.

D-- I really like Dubbel's but this is one I am not real found of. Prefer Chimay over this and the La Trappe as well. A little too carbonated for me and left me bloated. Lemon taste was a hindrance in this for me. I will stick to their Triple and ABT 12.

Photo of cjgiant
3.47/5  rDev -16.6%
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.

Photo of Philousa
3.47/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A dark, hazy brown sits in the goblet with a thin, constant layer of head. I get raisin, dates, some chocolate in the nose with similar flavors, but a little alcohol flavor at the end of each sip. The texture is creamy but not too bubbly.

This was the first time I encountered the Prior 8, and I had the fortune to have it on tap at The Trappist in Oakland. This has lots of complexity without as much alcohol, which is applaudable. Will definitely get it again when given the chance.

Update: Tried in a bottle with more notes.
This is a leathery, chocolatey brown that has a swirly, whispy tan head. Clear, unless you pour the yeast in. Sweet date is prominent on the nose along with brown sugar and maple syrup. Sweet to start the taste. Dark stone fruit, mostly plum, sit in the back of the throat and become metallic, which is kind of annoying. A tart taste sticks around and mingles with the CO2, it's slightly unpleasant. The good nearly outweighs the bad.

It's been established in other reviews that I'm highly sensitive to candied sugar, and this one does it to me. I guess I like this more on tap than in a bottle. Good to know.

Photo of champ103
3.46/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a dark amber red with a two finger beige head that forms. The head recedes pretty fast with light lace.
S: A dry burnt wood aroma. Malty with some brown sugar. Not much here.
T: Malty of course. Lots of raisins and brown sugar. A large burnt wood flavor that follows the nose.
M/D: A medium body that is creamy and rich. The alcohol show a bit, but an easy and smooth beer to sip on for the most part.

Not a bad Dubbel, but I have had much better. Not very complex. Though a pleasant enough example of the style. I always like to support Abbey and Trappist Ales as well.

Photo of ruckus232
3.46/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

11.2 ounce brown bottle poured into a goblet

Appearance: Brown cloudy color with some sediment and a decent tan head

Smell: Not a very strong smell but it is malty sweet with a slight toasted scent

Taste: The taste is more pronounce in the malted sweetness but there is also a slight bitterness which is more alcohol then anything

Photo of dizknee24
3.46/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Cork and Caged of course

A - Medium reddish and very cloudy and almost a nonexistent head retention. very carbonated.

S - Nothing special Could not pick out anything specific. very bland IMO

T- Taste was nothing spectacular as well. Maybe a bit fruity but i got a bit of resiny which i wouldn't normal expect from a beer of this style(dubbel)

M - thick. bubbly.

D - umm not really seeing the big draw to this one. Its good but its nothing special. It does not compare to ABT 12 or really anything i have had from them. Maybe i just dont like dubbels are much as tripels and quads? idk but not the best and not the worst. Right in the middle.

St. Bernardus Prior 8 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
93 out of 100 based on 2,152 ratings.