Prior 8
Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

Prior 8Prior 8
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Ranked #7
Ranked #2,355
4.17 | pDev: 8.63%
Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
Prior 8Prior 8
Reviews: 1,139 | Ratings: 2,637 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by liberty-and-beer:
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liberty-and-beer from Pennsylvania

4.26/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Dark mahogany beer with a very thick, tan head. Sweet fruit and oak smell, and a deep malt and molasses flavor. Medium body, and a bit more carbonated that I care for- but still a wonderful beer.

Oct 03, 2020
More User Reviews:
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Lone_Freighter from Vermont

4.24/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This was poured into a chalice. The appearance was a dark brown color with a fairly quickly dissipating slim finger’s worth of white to almost off white foamy head that just slides into oblivion. Extremely thin white lacing gracing the sides of the glass. The aroma finds some sweet glossy "iced apple" roaming into a sly clove spice and then a nice sweet bready maltiness finding itself nicely fitting it and just bringing it all together. The flavor is bready sweet with the clove slyly moving in underneath. Semi-dry bready with a sly clove-like spice hitting the aftertaste nicely. Barely any finish in this one, but somehow I seem okay with that (yeah, just seems to move super quick). On the palate, this one sat about a deep light to medium on the body with a sly sessionability to it. It wants to show some "gulping" feel to it, but the carb reads the riot act on the sweetness of the breadiness. Okay, hmmmm...yeah, I’ll just say it feels spectacular. Overall, as a Belgian Dubbel, it's very good.

Jun 17, 2017
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tellsplatte from Colorado

4.36/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

I started my Belgian beer obsession with the Chimay Red. I like beers that are in the 7% to 8% abv range. After some time, I moved on up to St. Bernardus Prior 8. I tried the Abt 12, but it was just a bit too strong/alcohol-tasting for me. St. Bern isn't as widely distributed as Chimay, so I often have to settle on Chimay, but each time I drink Chimay, I can taste the inferior quality of it compared to St. Bern. Sorry to say, but I keep feeling that Chimay has sold its soul to the devil in exchange for corporate profits and made their beer nothing more special than any American domestics. Folks, if you like Belgian ales, buy a Chimay Red, a St. Bern Prior 8 and taste them. There is a big difference for me.

Nov 27, 2017
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Wiffler27 from North Carolina

4.21/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

pours a dark amber brown color with minimal head.

smells like a sweet brown sugar bread malt.

this beer has a nice thick slight-hop taste at first but fades to a dark sugar taste.

i can tell this is carbonated, it has a "fizzy" feel to it. has a full taste but lighter body

Sep 01, 2015
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biiru_ojisan from Japan

4.25/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours a creamy tan head. Color is dark brown, almost black.

Nose is dried cherries, mollases, dark bread, and some spicyness is hiding in there as well.

Taste is cherry, spicy, phenolic, bitter, sweet and finishes dry. There is a minerality to the finish as well. Alcohol is not really tasted.

The mouthfeel is smooth with a medium-high carbonation. Alcohol heat it present, but not overwelming.

Overall, this is another solid beer from St. Bernardus. It comes across quite different from Pater 6, their other Dubbel offering. The malt character is similar, but the carbonation, bitterness, and hop bitterness seperate it from its brother. It also has a much less noticable alcohol presence, despite being 1.3% stronger. This is an easier beer to recomend that Pater 6, but only slightly.

Dec 30, 2018
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craftbeersweden from Sweden

3.9/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours hazy, dark red-brown with a huge, three finger high, beige, head.

Nose: Caramel malt, butter, vanilla, orange, red fruit, oak, brown sugar, toffee, whipped cream, raisin and hops.
Taste: Yeast, spice, caramel malt, brown sugar, raisin, biscuit, dark fruit and vanilla.
Body: Medium body. High carbonation.

It's just a GREAT Belgian beer! Love it!

Sep 16, 2015
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jjamadorphd from Florida

3.71/5  rDev -11%
look: 4.25 | smell: 2 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I am definitely a believer with this brewer, another great offering...

...except for the scent put out by this brew. Everything else was top-notch - the look was a hazy copper color with decent lacing. In just the right light, you can see the yeast particles floating in abundance - eerie and satisfying, all-in-one. The mouthfeel was medium-bodied and very crisp with a taste that included hints of cardamon, light hops, and grassy to my tongue - a very earthy beer IMHO. And then there was the smell - a true anomaly, but there nonetheless - it was this metallic tang that I could not find anything even distantly hiding behind the scenes. On the smell alone I was thinking "Drain pour", but was glad to take a sip and realize this was something good indeed.

Oct 29, 2017
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biboergosum from Canada (AB)

4/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

330ml bottle, 1/6th of the St. Bernardus 'all in one' pack available in Alberta.

This beer pours a slightly hazy, over-powdered medium amber iced tea colour, with three thick fingers of puffy, loosely foamy, and fizzy ecru head, which leaves a few swaths of splotchy lace around the glass in its long, drawn-out wake.

It smells of slightly sweet, biscuity pale and caramel malt, orchard stone fruit, spicy yeast, rum-infused dark chocolate, gritty Pop Rocks, and tame earthy, leafy hops. The taste is much more sweet bready caramel malt, somewhat tart orchard fruit (plum and overripe apples and apricots, maybe?), a subtle clove and black pepper spiciness, lesser nutty chocolate notes, and a subtle drying, earthy, and floral hoppiness, one well perfumed from the lurking alcohol.

The carbonation is quite prevalent, but in a softly rendered, frizzante sort of way, the body a sturdy medium weight, and adequately smooth, a minor airy creaminess building as things warm. It finishes with an agreeable off-dry stab from the soused bready maltiness, the fruity and spicy yeastiness playing quietly in the background.

Most definitely a classic dubbel, in that it is less about the sweetness, and more about the balancing yeast, fruit, spice, and alcohol, all of which do their personal best to keep from becoming overbearing. Monks, they be monks, whatever their particular unimportant denomination, and they brew some pretty damned (sorry, pater!) good stuff, as evidenced here.

Nov 26, 2010
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TheHammer from Canada (ON)

4.39/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Appearance: It poured with a half finger of head that quickly disappeared into a single island on the beer. The island retained exceptionally well, but that doesn't say much. The body itself is a cloudy brown with touches of red that has a healthy amount of carbonation.

Smell: Warming helps this beer's aromatics come out, but even then it's not overly complex. It has the scene of white wine with a caramel malt background that kinda wonders why it's here. I mean nothing bad to speak of here, but nothing amazing. That said, this mild flavour certainly conceals what you are in store for.

Taste: Oh dear me that is good, rich toffee malt with hints of strawberries starts off our journey as the beer calmly turns to rich figs, plums, grapes and mild butterscotch notes come in building to a crescendo with mild bitter citrus, toasted malt and a touch of apple. I know Trappist style beer and Belgian yeast is renowned for it's fruity flavour, but this one takes the cake. I'm really surprised that I didn't notice any of this stuff in the nose, but even at the end of the beer, that nose remains that same white wine and malt scent.

Mouthfeel: The carbonation is exceptionally well done but points get deducted for the lack of head. The transitioning is simply euphoric and the aftertaste is a mild caramel malt, apple blend. It does cling a little bit on the back of the tounge, but thankfully it doesn't continue to build upon itself as you drink it.

Drinkability: This stuff is dangerously easy to drink, but is a bit heavier then expected as it leaves me feeling like I ate a quick lunch. A lunch that got me wrecked mind you as it conceals it's ABV dangerously well. Completely skews any kind of dry sensations I sometimes encounter with the style which is also a bonus. Only thing keeping it from perfect is how heavy it seems to sit in my stomach.

Final Thoughts: Well after a lacklustre start, this beer pulled itself together and produced a genuinely great experience, scoring in my eyes where it counts. This is without a doubt the best St. Bernardus beer I've had thus far. It's a little heavy, but this is a beer you save for a special occasion. Two thumbs up.

Mar 04, 2015
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Premo88 from Texas

4.02/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

25.4 oz. bomber poured into Orval goblet

L: classic dubbel brown with a mix of clarity in parts and plenty of debris/murk/cloudiness mixed in ... looks just a bit thin; shows good carbonation but doesn't push up much of a head, maybe 1/4-inch at most, foam is tan; keeps a small, tight collar

S: grapes, wine ... so sweet and fruity, plums and figs ... *maybe* dates but it keeps the dubbel lighter fruitiness, doesn't approach raisins/licorice; closest it gets is maybe fruitcake/raisin bread

T: super fruity ... grapes, plums, figs and very sweet; in fact, the sweetness might be overdone, for it lacks that yeast pop some dubbels have -- that yeasty pop usually competes with the sweet but it doesn't here; at times, a bit of alcohol taste creeps in in the form of wine -- and almost a bit of a red wine mixed into the sweeter desert white wine, perhaps like a sangria

F: light ... watery for an abbey ale, but it's still good and full from the carbonation; dangerously drinkable

O: fantastic brew all-around even if it lacks a few things -- mainly that yeasty pop that I'd compare to almost a pizza crust that some dubbels have. this one doesn't, so it's very sweet and would definitely be an easy brew for the abbey ale novice to get behind (unless they hate sugar); hard not to like and waytoo easy to drink; I could chug this brew, it's so light and drinkable

Feb 06, 2015
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cubedbee from Maryland

4.47/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a chalice from an 11.2 oz bottle with a 01/01/07 consumption date on the bottle. Pouts a dark murky red with a solid cap of off-white head and a small amount of lace. Smell is bananas, cherries, bready malts, and some spices--very sweet and appealing. Taste is wonderful--everything on the nose comes through, in addition to some plums, raisins, butter, nuts, and cloves---all beautifully blended together in malty goodness. Body is medium/full with low carbonation and a creamy smooth mouthfeel. This is another delicious beer from St. Bernardus, and the only reason I can't drink these every day is the alcohol content.

Jun 08, 2005
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zeff80 from Missouri

4.33/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured out a dark brown color with a foamy, tan, three-finger head. It left huge rings of lace on the snifter.

S - It smelled of malt and spices. Also, a dried fruit aroma, maybe, apple and pear.

T - It tasted very spicy and had a strong caramel maltiness. A little bittersweet hop kick.

m -It was crisp, sharp and warm with alcohol. A medium to heavy bodied beer.

D - St. Bernardus knows good beer. Nuff said.

Jul 26, 2007
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gpogo from California

4.05/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Extremely dark brown with large creamy off-white head that dissipates.

A- Sweet malty dark fruits aroma. Not as heavy of a belgian yeast as I have experienced in other dubbels.

T- Sweet rich malty flavor. Slight peppery spiciness. Finishes dry with slight alcohol flavor.

M- Medium-full body with high carbonation. Very slight alcohol warmth.

D- Not as flavorful and complex as I expected, but a very enjoyable dubbel.

Jul 04, 2008
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LarryMyers from Pennsylvania

3.53/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Jan 07, 2015
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TenHornsProud from Colorado

4.42/5  rDev +6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a muddy purple/brown with a small off-white head that fades quickly.

Smells of dark cherry, plum, sugar, slightly floral. Nice aroma...subtle.

Up front sweetness, fig, raisin, plum notes that fades into slightly boozy carbonation and finishes with the smallest bitterness, roasty note, and alcohol. Fantastic really. One of the better tasting beers in this style I've had.

Medium body that is made highly quafable by the big carbonation and dry finish. Some residual sweetness.

This is a really great beer...almost like a more drinkable apt 12, though, the two have distincly different tastes. Great dubble either way that is hard to beat with the lack of Rochefort around these parts.

Sep 18, 2011
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sukwonee from Washington

4.5/5  rDev +7.9%

Feb 28, 2012
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Drypaint from Virginia

4/5  rDev -4.1%

Sep 24, 2012
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ahommell from Mississippi

4.27/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Mar 26, 2017
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CycleHops from Ohio

3.23/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Dec 31, 2018
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JordanlikesAles from Georgia

4.46/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Incredible dubbel that stands up to any quad. Dark fruit, caramel, and deep malts shine and the ABV keeps this highly drinkable. Complex and deep!

May 01, 2016
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Zorro from California

3.95/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear reddish brown brew with a pillowy tan head.

Smell is banana bread, pears, melon, and cucumber? A bit of tart tang. There is a little spice in this but it is rather subdued in scent.

Taste is semi dry and the first thing that hits you is banana, not strongly this is a milder Dubbel than most. Very mild mannered the flavor of cake is all ways present. Mild flavors of brown sugar and melon are present but this isn't a strongly flavored beer.

Mouthfeel is good and thick.

Drinkability is excellent. I expected more in the flavor department but this is a mild mannered easy drinker.

Aug 25, 2005
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irishking1977 from New Jersey

4.25/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours an opaque brown with a decent head that doesn't linger around too long, and leaves mild lacing.

S: Caramel notes along with candy sugar and some malt in the background.

T: Rich sweetness, including caramel and candy sugar, some chocolate and a hint of malt. Virtually no bitterness whatsoever, but a mild bite in the finish due to the ABV. Other than that, the alcohol is virtually hidden behind the complex taste.

M: Smooth and somewhat creamy with mild carbonation. For newer beer drinkers, or those with an aversion to bitter and hoppy brews, this could be a good introduction to something different with the knowledge that it won't be bitter. The only problem is that this one is a bit on the pricey side. But worth it.

D: An excellent dubbel, I have found that the dubbel style seems to be based on the brewers interpretation of it; there are some that are sweet with little malt, such as this one; there are some where the malt dominates with little sweetness. Neither interpretation is bad per say, it's simply interesting that there is such a contrast in the same style. I don't think this is noticed in styles such as IPAs, Belgian Witbers, or Hefeweizens, for example. Overall, this one is quite an excellent beer, regardless of style. A sipper to be enjoyed and not simply quaffed.

Jan 24, 2010
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coldjbm from Texas

4/5  rDev -4.1%

Jun 22, 2014
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drummermattie02 from Texas

4/5  rDev -4.1%

Jan 19, 2013
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haazer from Pennsylvania

4.1/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into my St. Bernardus Watou goblet.

A- Beer pours an apricot color, with brown and ruby highlights. Frothy, cream colored head, but dissapates quickly.

S- Fruity. Raisins, plums, berries, caramel malts. Aroma's become stronger as the beer warms.

T- Cocoa, caramel, cherries. The malt is also evident. Interestingly I note in this dubbel the distinct taste of Mary Jane candy. Noticed this in the Maredsous dubbel also.

M- Medium bodied dubbel. Tickling in the mouth, a sign of good carbonation, not too much, just about right.

D- As with all quality beers, St. Bernardus is right up there with the best of them at masking abv. In none of their beers I've tried can you taste the alcohol. It is slightly warming, but no taste of it whatsoever. A good dubbel.

Nov 26, 2010
Prior 8 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
Beer rating: 93 out of 100 with 2637 ratings