St. Bernardus Prior 8 | Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

1,057 Reviews
St. Bernardus Prior 8St. Bernardus Prior 8

Brewed by:
Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

Style: Dubbel

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by kbub6f on 09-27-2002

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Reviews: 1,057 | Ratings: 2,412
Photo of StJamesGate
3.97/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

On tap at P Macs, Dublin.
Webby ivory over cherry wood. 4.25
Clove, plum, pepper and cherry stone. 4
Maraschino, graham cracker, rum, fig, black cherry, earthy yeast, and slight herbal linger. 4
Lingering spicy sting.
Light+, crisp, some chew. 4

Looks great, smells on point. Does a lot of things right: orchard more than dried fruit, phenols clean up any sugar, and the Christmas plum opens into Band-Aid nose and caramel + raisins in the body. Gets around the need to lighten the sweetness with fizz by being neither sweet nor fizzy. Simple + light on the palate, though. Sturdy, if not the most exciting dubbel. 3.75

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Photo of pat61
4.75/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

L: It pours brilliant brown under a 1" cream to light tan foam cap with good retention.

S: The beer smells like a luscious, rich fruit tart with fruit, stone fruit, some earthiness, apricot, faint pie crust and a suggestion of nuts.

T: The big, malty palate features fruit, peach, apricot, leather and a moderately bitter finish over a rich biscuit to pie crust malty backbone. The beer is yeast driven and the resulting fruit flavors are divine.

F: The body is medium and the carbonation is medium high.

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Photo of JacobusFavier23
4.13/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

First St. Bernardus beer. Very excited.

L-Dark amberish-brown. Woody color with a thin head.
S- Bready-slightly yeasty aroma. Roasty, biscuity aroma. Very wine like as well. I get notes of dark fruit like plum and grape. Almost get a biscuity-tabbaco aroma as well, like the scent of a cigar.
T- Wine-like, nutty and malty. Caramel and sweet cream as well. Very thorough and distinct flavor. Slightly sour.
F- Smooth, smooth, smooth! Wonderfully carbonated.
O- A mighty fine beer. Cant wait to try more from St. Bernardus!

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Photo of Yoann
3.96/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle to a tulip (sorry)
A - A lively brown with a heavy foam and black deposit both on top and at the bottom
S - Complex herbal hops
T - Not very expressive but perfectly balanced
M - Correctly carbonated
O - A perfectly mastered Abbaye ale!

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Photo of MaltyPythonsHopCircus
4.24/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Spicy, yeasty nose. Plum and raisin on the palate blended with some yeasty phenols. A slight thinness but broad flavour profile masks it well. Lovely beer.

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Photo of edward_boumil
4.13/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

L: Great looking beer, chesnut colored with slightly ruby highlights. Originally pours a pretty big head but it fades quick. Easy coaxed back by swirling. No lace
S: Good aroma. Slightly wine-like, grapes are prominent. Beside grape is a sweet syrupy aroma. Molasses, toffee, think caramelized sugar.
T: Great flavor and especially great balance. Not nearly as robust as other dubbels I've enjoyed, but flavors are balanced quite well. Very prominent nutty flavors up front. However this beer finishes more sweet with dark fruit flavors. Raisin and plum notes are quite noticeable. Alcohol is almost undetectable. Overall a great tasting beer, complex yet simple enough to appreciate everything.
F: Bit of a sipper. I'm more into drinkable beers, so score is reflective of that. Heavy, can definitely weigh you down., but not ludicrous like a robust boozy stout. Well-carbonated. Not overtly refreshing. However it is quite smooth.
O: Great dubbel. Alcohol content is deceptive in this one, despite being on the "higher" end of beers it drinks quite nice. Not something to pummel through, but something to sit back and appreciate. Definitely a great intro to dark Belgians, and something I will certainly revisit.

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Photo of Czequershuus
3.85/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This beer pours a clear brown with a large head. The aroma features dates, raisins, pecans, walnuts, chocolate, and banana bread. The flavor leads with dates and plums, as well as walnuts, almonds, figs, bubblegum, and cola. The mouthfeel is quite rich and thick. Overall this a complex beer that is still quite gulpable - it is both fruity and nutty, with a great depth of flavor.

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Photo of Hunter
4.3/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Look: Murky brown ale with a resilient head. You may want to pour slowly and at an angle to avoid yeast floaters in this ale, but that has never bothered me so I went with the vigorous pour. Some tracing.

Smell: Subtle...candi sugar the Belgian ales are known for, along with raisin, plum, other fruity notes.

Taste: Subtle as the aroma. Fruits on top of coffee with back notes of alcoholic heat. The aftertaste has elements of smoke and bread. Very mild and pleasing.

Feel: Smooth on the tongue, the light carbonation makes it go down easy.

Overall: A very fine Dubbel!

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Photo of IchLiebeBier
3.53/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: chestnut body; big frothy off-white head, long lasting when poured into tulip glass

Smell: faint smell of Belgian yeast and date sugar on first whiff, then nothing; have to swirl it to get a nose

Taste: not a bad flavor, but nothing really jumps out at me; kind of bland

Mouthfeel: very thin overall, but not in a fully attenuated way; a bit disappointing

Remarks: drinkable, but not memorable

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Photo of allforbetterbeer
4.44/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

This is the most drinkable, complex, and delicious dubbel I have had to date. Aromas of concord grape, textured fruity Belgian yeast, rich candy sugar and caramel. The flavor is textured, layered, and warming. This is good fresh and I bet a few years would be nice, but it probably shouldn't go longer then 1-2 years as it doesn't need much mellowing fresh. Excellent!

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Photo of JackRWatkins
3.58/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

PLEASE ADVISE: this is review of a 1 year vintage (purchase on date 7/13/15).
330 cl bottle into St. Bernardus glass had at room temp

A: Generous, beige, three-finger head with good retention, soapy and thick, a deep almost opaque brown with hints of a ruby red color, excellent retention
S: immediate bread and candi sugar (a lot of candy sugar) followed by a distinctively malty note as well as some raisin and grape, maybe even some cinnamon
T: I immediately pick up a somewhat chocolate-esque note (strange because I have had this beer many times and such a flavor; to me, has never even been hinted at), like a deep non-powder based hot cocoa, the malt is there but for the moment that cocoa note is really dominating, a little bit of tartness does come through as the beer sits along with sweet malt and candi sugar and a bit of astringency (a soapy character) but honestly not a lot else, (some touches of dark fruit do emerge a bit later, and are pleasant but nondescript)
M: dry but not superbly so
O: I love this beer, I mean really love this beer, but every attempt to age it (this will be the second time I am having a 1 year bottle) has been disappointing. My first attempt (a 750 ml) tasted of steel (so I'll chock that one up to oxidation, no one's fault really I'm not mad) but on this bottle I'm not sure exactly where the blame lies. My tongue was burnt a little, but not so much that in my experience this should have been any less enjoyable than it would otherwise be, yet here we are. I've got a few more bottles at about this age that I'm (of course) not going to throw out, and I'm gonna take another crack at this one while trying to isolate any conditions not permissive to a completely fair and balanced review but as it stands now, drink it fresh or don't drink it at all would be my advice.

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Photo of GOBLIN
3.77/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This example of the style just missed the mark on many levels. Although it is complex on a respectable level and seemed to have layered more as it warmed. For me it just seemed average and had nothing to boast about. Good feel comes after the average aromas and flavors.

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Photo of hman43
4.54/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Look: It pours a deer amber with ruby highlights. It has a large tannish head that is quite creamy.

Smell: It has aromas of dried cherries, perfume notes, slight chocolate, toast, and apple

Taste: It has a complex mixture of flavors which features dried cherries, toast, apple, plums, hints of chocolate, hints of rose petals, and slight pepper.

Feel: It has moderate body with moderately high carbonation and a dry finish. There is some alcohol warming as well.

Overall, this is a deeply complex beer with an abundance of flavors from the matls to the fruity esters.

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Photo of iridius
2.45/5  rDev -41%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

I must not be sophisticated enough. It tastes like it coats my tongue with metal and just makes me want to burp it has so many bubbles. Maybe it's like IPAs and I will just grow into it. But honestly for the price it is not worth it at all. I have recapped it for after my other beers when I'm scrounging around looking for scraps.

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Photo of Rukeli76
4.6/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

330ml bottle with a solid year of age on it. Served in a tulip at cellar temperature.

Slightly hazy mahogany colour. Classic four inches of persistent foamy head. Tons and tons of lacing.

Nice juicy ripe fruit aroma. A little vanilla. Slightly tannic. Almost like red wine.

Nice sweet and earthy malt flavour, almost like brown sugar or a hint of blackstrap molasses. Bread dough. Lots of varied spicy yeast esters. Maybe gingerbread is the comparison I'm looking for here. Whatever it is I'm loving it.

Nice mouthfeel. Active yeast. Just a little boozy warmth on the finish.

This is right up there with Chimay and Westmalle. A world-class dubbel for sure.

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Photo of microbrewlover
4.41/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

This brew pours a dark brown with red highlights when held up to the light. There is a two finger off white foamy head, some of which sticks around until the end. Mild lacing.

The smell is full of yeast and fruits, plums, apples, pears and berries; sugar and molasses too. Wait a little for it to warm up and the smells become more pronounced.

The taste follows the nose with lots of yeast and sugar to start then the molasses comes in. The fruit bouquet comes in at the finish. The finish is clean and creamy. Slightly carbonated with no real hop presence to speak of. The feel is filling, creamy and a little chewy all at once.

Overall, this is a good beer; try it.

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Photo of EMV
4.43/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a tulip.

L: Pours a dark mahogany brown... hints of crimson at the edges at I hold it up to the light. 2 fingers of tannish head.. spectacular lacing.

S: Dark fruits and darker sugars... molasses.. raisins and plums... yeasty bread.

T/F: Rich and complex... just like the nose, the dark fruits and sugars dominate. Strong yeast esters... lots going on, and the flavors merge very nicely. Slightly warming. Silky smooth and creamy. Good carbonation... tingles on the tip of my tongue after the swallow.

O: Possibly my favorite Dubbel.... just a great beer and they nailed the style.

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Photo of OldSwampy
4.47/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Dark rich chestnut ale, slightly translucent, with a cream head. Head is solid but not too foamy unless poured aggressively. Nose yeasty, spicy, creamy, and caramel in a nice balance. Taste develops slowly, with a flavor arc that grows and fades like only the best beers (or wines). Dark fruits like figs and dates. Caramel candy. Dark spices. Aftertaste is more of a warm glow than anything. Mouthfeel just right for the style: smooth and creamy but not at all loose or flabby, with a clean ending. Fabulous beer.

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Photo of davidperez
4.24/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Best before 08/07/18

Served in a St. Bernardus chalice, it pours a deep, murky, dark brown with an orange hue, with plenty of sediments floating. It looks similar to a tamarind infusion.
It forms a two-finger head, light brown, sudsy and foamy with good retention.
The head never fully dissipates. It leaves a persistent thin layer of foam, yet thick enough to look as a head and not as remnant foam.
Beautiful lacing.

Appealing bouquet.
Lots of malts in the form of caramel and biscuit. Toffee and brown sugar add complexity to such sweetness. Butter and a good amount of cherry, dark fruits as in prune, raisins and dates. Subdued spicy yeast, a faint booze note.
After swirling a metallic note appears, as well as some earthy hoppiness. The metallic note disappeared after a while.

What an explosive carbonation.
Right after, a surprise: a semi-dry beer. The bouquet really set a trap with its mild sweetness.
A thrust of an assertive flavor, predominantly bitter and perhaps even slightly acidic, with a touch of sweetness. The bitterness has a touch of earthiness, and it dries your mouth. The acidic note does remind you of wine, and the sweetness delivers some notes. Dark fruits, cherry, spiciness, toffee. Phenols and metallic taste are a constant underlying note for this beer's flavor.
The aftertaste is more expressive sweetness-wise, but it develops into a bitterness that coats and dries your palate.
Medium to full body, smooth.

Complex, interesting and excellent beer.

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Photo of larryarms847
3.96/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a rusty orange hued brown with a bit of particulate and a cola like bubbly head of carbonation that dissipates rapidly.

Peach, apricot, spicy yeast phenols, herbal, white grapes, and slight plum notes.

Caramel and almost baker's spices like character right off the bat accompanied by a sweet peach and apricot fruitiness.

Medium-bodied, high carbonation, bubbly, dry finish.

Overall, not my favorite offering from the brewery, but nonetheless a damn good beer.

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Photo of FBarber
3.94/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours a somewhat opaque orangish brown with a two finger tan head that dissipated slowly leaving a thin head on the beer.

Smell has aromas of brown sugar, toffee, apricots, ripe grapes, and some yeasty spice notes. Very fruity aroma that pops as the beer warms. There is a it of an aluminum smell as well, but subtle, albeit not all that pleasant.

Taste has notes of apricots, dates, and ripe grapes - almost a white wine grape-esque note. Bit of brown sugar comes through with a pleasant spicy finish from the yeast. There is a very noticeable aluminum flavor on the finish that lingers and is pretty unpleasant. If that wasn't there this would be an top notch dubbel, but I just can't get past that aluminum taste.

Feel is excellent - plenty of carbonation, smooth, and drinkable with a nice dry finish.

Overall this was a really good beer. Great flavors for a dubbel, nice spicy finish from the yeast, it was all there, but that mild aluminum smell and flavor was just too distracting. I'll have to revisit this one again to see if that was just from the bottle I had, or if its a character of the beer itself.

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Photo of teromous
3.94/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From the back label: "A 07 05 19"

Appearance: The body of the beer is a dark brown color allowing no light through. The head is a very thick flat-topped creamy cloud with a light khaki appearance. Outstanding head formation and retention.

Aroma: I am getting a bit of an herbal hop aroma with some spicy peppery scents. After pouring the entire bottle I noticed a bit of a metallic aroma.

Taste: It starts out with this malty flavor that isn't too sweet or toasted but has a rather earthy quality to it. That deep earthy quality blends towards a bit of a prune flavor and mixes with what kind-of tastes like copper. The end is this woody flavor. At times while drinking the beer I got small bits of cherry-like flavor with some tobacco character.

Mouthfeel: It has a sharp carbonation and a nice bitter edge at the end of drinking each sip of beer. It isn't a beer I would really drink "straight through" but rather somewhere between a sipper and an easy drinker. The mouthfeel is medium and the finish has this effervescence that cleans the palate with the exception of a slight bitter woody tinge that lingers.

Overall: It's a good beer and I would recommend it. It was very enjoyable and it had a lot of character that I feel is unique to this beer alone. For that reason (uniqueness) I would further recommend the beer. It has this deep dark woody and earthy character that works well. I would drink it again.

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Photo of BlackBeerPirate
3.99/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Taste: spiced, bold earthy, with notes of clove and wild yeast. Complex candi sugar and bread nose.
Brown/amber color, unfiltered with refine bubbled head. Alcohol finish liquid breads that sustained the monks.

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Photo of RickS95
4.28/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

An opaque, medium brown pour with a finger of contrasting off white head. The beer is only clear enough to show some particles in suspension. The head retains pretty well; comes back to life with each swirl; and leaves more and more lace as the beer warms.

My beer is still a little on the cool side so I'm struggling to pick up the full bouquet but I am getting some caramel malt, traditional dark fruit, and a bit of the Belgian yeast in the way of pepper.

Everything comes together nicely in the taste. The caramel blends well with the peppery yeast for balance. The hops provide for an earthy taste, particularly from mid-sip on.

At only 8% ABV, it gives an almost light bodied feel, though it's the first beer I've had in a while below 9 or 10 percent so it could just be me. The malts start the party with a gentle sweetness and the hops finish things with a crisp bitterness and slightly sour feel.

I'm not a big fan of Abt 10 though I love their Christmas Ale, however, this is a really nice beer that kind of splits the difference between the two.

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Photo of ONovoMexicano
4.06/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2 ounce bottle into a goblet.

Pours a viscous brown and produces a bursting, frothy head. Surprised as generally when I use this particular goblet, it has some magical effect that kills foam. Liquid in the glass is brown with a bright amber color. Lace remains as a ring on the perimeter of the glass.

The smell and flavor remind me a lot of a rye bread kind of sweet and kind of spicy, and there's a yeasty note injecting some flowery and earthy notes. The finish lingers with touches of brown sugar. Some of the flavors approach a raisiny fruitiness, but in general this is way more bread-heavy.

I guess I touched on it but I'll repeat that this has that bready malt sort of sweetness, a prominent yeasty feel and a lingering finish like when you taste a rich, fresh loaf of dark bread.

I like this beer but generally find that dubbels don't deliver for me in the way that a quad does.

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St. Bernardus Prior 8 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
4.15 out of 5 based on 2,412 ratings.
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