St. Bernardus Prior 8 | Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

1,055 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: 1,055 | Ratings: 2,404
Photo of breadwinner
4.38/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

This is really a delightful dubbel that, frankly, well outpaces the more renowned Westy 8. Nose is the epitome of evolution, starting out with a huge hit of delicious dark bread, then moving into chocolate-covered cherry territory, then, as it gets closer to room temp, some caramel, a hint of dark fruit, and a touch of yeast/booze. Palate is very smooth, uplifted by that bouyancy so common to the better Belgian ales. A bit of camelized sweetness, a bit of spice and bite, and a connecting thread of fruitiness that, like the nose, evolves over time. Really at its sweet spot at cool cellar temps, as the bottle says -- 50-55 degrees or so. By the end of the glass, it felt like it had warmed a bit much, some of the fizz finally gone, and the flavors getting a bit muddled. Overall, though, this is a tremendous beer, so well done, and easily found. Cheers, St. B!

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Photo of bilbobrewer
4.45/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

My first of three offerings from St. Bernardus.
33cl btl, BB 04.27.2016 purchased at grocery store in Brussels

Served chilled in tulip.
Pours dark brown, dark head dissipates almost completely in a minute.
Not much aroma, not much going on carbonation-wise....hmmmm....
Sweet, syrupy dark malt is the dominant taste. Notably, no yeastiness in the flavour at all...this fits my personal preference, but seems atypical of this style.
No astringency, but a little dryness. Sweet aftertaste.
Very drinkable, a beer that is too easy to put away too fast.
Very good, quite different (if not unique), and hence a name for anyone's "10 Belgian Abbey's" list to sample IMO.
Can't wait to try the next ones in my fridge. Stay tuned....

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Photo of MrDell
4.68/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75


St. Bernardus Prior 8
Dubbel - 8.0% - 330ml Bottle - Bottled 01.09.2014 (1 year old)

From St. Bernardus’ website:
St.Bernardus Prior 8 is a traditional abbey ale brewed in the classic "Dubbel" style of Belgium's Best Abbey Ales. It has a ruby to purple color, smooth, creamy richness of texture that is almost oily, and a malt-fruit complexity reminiscent of coconut. (8% alc. vol.)
It finds the perfect balance between sweet, bitter and malty tastes. One of the original recipes from the days of license-brewing for the Trappist monks of Westvleteren.

Appearance: One finger off white foamy head when poured, dropping to just cover beer fairly quickly. Beer is black to very dark brown in glass and dark brown into yellow when held up to light. 20 minutes after opening the head has given way in places to reveal a beautiful deep red brew underneath it.

Aroma: Steaming toffee, fruit- apples, peaches, sherry, caramel.

Taste: The first time I tasted this I remember not being overly impressed - must have been ill because the first taste has just blown me away. Creamy mouth feel, tastes are toast, burnt caramel, fading out to a lovely subtle bitter finish courtesy of the hops. Surprisingly dry for a dubbel...That's the taste I've been trying to put my finger on TOASTED TEA CAKES! Like its big brother the Abt. 12 this one is fantastic left out of fridge for 2 hours before opening, so it's not too cold. Thermometer check showing 20 deg. I would say this is the optimal temperature for this beer.

Mouthfeel: Oily in a good way, leaves mouth feeling surprisingly fresh afterwards unlike many dark beers.

Overall: Last time I tasted this I tried the Pater 6 around the same time and thought that was a better beer, now I'm finding that difficult to believe and will revisit Pater 6 soon. This is an amazing brew, a solid 9.5/10.

St. Bernardus Prior 8
UPDATE: 20.02.2016
330ml Bottle - Bottled 13.08.2015 (6 months old)

The yeast still has a quite sharp aroma at this age, perhaps could benefit from a little more time. Otherwise in the aroma, big hits dark fruity bread and alcohol. Taste-wise, I’m getting loads of liquorice straight away followed by the dry finish that’s mentioned above. Overall; while thoroughly enjoyable at 6 months and still an absolute firm favourite, I do feel that just a tad more age here, would take it up to that next level as per the above review of a one year old bottle.

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Photo of Doderlein_Bacillus
3.65/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a slightly hazy amber color with a small off-white head. Has a fruity malty spicy aroma. Sweetish malty spicy flavor with hints of dark fruit. Has a sweetish malty spicy dark fruit finish.

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Photo of IPA1978
4.11/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L- cloudy coke with a massive head that lingers fo some time.
S- carmel and toffee with slight cardboard scent, similar to St. B 12 but subdued.
T- very delicate dark fruit, figs, toffee and typical spicey yeast that lingers on the pallete. Flavours are richer as it warms.
M-medium body with lush carbonation.
O- great dubbel that is suprisingly soft and elegant.

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Photo of Buck89
4.19/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a snifter. Deep dark ruby brown with thick tan head. Dark fruit, raisins, toast and floral yeast n the nose. Taste follows the same, with a nice warming dry finish. Really excellent dubbel.

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Photo of GuitarIPA
4.12/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

L - brown with reddish hue, particulates, tan head, lacing throughout
S/T - plum, dark fruits are predominant smell/flavors for me
F - well carbonated, Medium to light body, but not thin

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Photo of Gajo74
4.05/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a brown color with a finger length bubbly slightly tan head. It quickly dissipates to a lace that partly covers the top of the drink, like a new moon. A swirl of the glass activates the lace, yet, it is not as prominent as other Belgians.
Initially, a sweet bubble gum aroma, then, a pleasant smell of dark warm biscuity and toasty malts. It is the type of warm heart aroma you appreciate on a cold day. Slight sour twang as well as a very faint alcohol.
Sweet and malty on the tongue but interestingly a sour finish. The stinging carbonation is tight, thus, it is better to allow it to warm. The taste does indeed get better, and as it warms, a dark fruit raisin like aroma becomes evident. Medium to full bodied.
Overall a solid Dubbel.

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Photo of JaimeLondon
4.08/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Similar to Pater 6 but with more yeasty and malty notes (higher ABV too) and a prettier body (darker).
Hints of chocolate (milk chocolates and chocolate sprinkles) and cinnamon.

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

Pours out a really nice deep red color with close to an inch of a tan head. The heads stays around a bit, leaving a bit of lace across the top.

Smell is strongly of caramel and toffee. It reminds me a bit of the smell of caramel popcorn and roasted marshmallows, with a hint of bread.

The taste is a bit more laid back than the smell would indicate. It is sweet up front, caramel and toffee like the smell hints at. There is a hint of fruit, like raisin, along with a peppery spice near the finish. It does leave a bit of alcohol warming at the end.

Nice smooth feel to this, quite a bit of tingling from the carbonation.

This is a really nice beer. Not quite up to the level of their 12, but since the styles are not the same, to be expected. This seems to be a bit of a warmer weather beer, as it is easy drinking and flavorful. I generally prefer triples and quads, but this is a great example of the style, and can hold its own with any other dubbels.

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Photo of Jeffreysan
4.98/5  rDev +20%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

12 oz bottle, poured into a goblet

Appearance: Pours a beautiful, completely opaque, deep, dark mahogany color, with three fingers of white-colored head that slowly dissolved away into a lacing of foam that completely covered the top of the beer.

Aroma: Very aromatic with notes of bready, toasted malt, imparting notes of freshly baked sourdough bread, subtle aromas of candied sugar, toffee, some subtle aromas of dried stone fruit, such as raisins and prunes. There is also quite a bit of Belgian yeast, which imparts aromas of saddle leather, and spices of clove.

Taste: Very nice and very subtle. There are some very nice flavors of bready toasted malt, up front, followed by candied sugar and toffee-like sweetness, and the aforementioned dried stone fruit, such as raisins and prunes. Finally, there is the funky, spicy Belgian yeast, imparting spices of clove, ginger and all-spice, as well as a slight sourness at the finish. What is interesting is that these flavors are softer and more subtle than the flavors of Belgian dubbles that I’ve had. It’s quite unique and original.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied to slightly chewy and nicely effervescent as there is quite a lot of carbonation to tickle the taste buds. With an ABV of 8%, there is just a slight kiss of alcohol on the palate.

Overall: This is the third beer that I’ve had from St. Bernardus, and so far, the brewery is three, for three! This is an excellent, delicious beer!

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Photo of UrbanCaveman
3.66/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

11.2 oz bottle, poured into an oversized wine glass at ~50 degrees F.

Appearance: Pours a deep red-brown like burnished mahogany, and forms a thick head of just barely off-white, which lingers a bit ere dwindling to a cap and ring. Lacing is nonexistent.

Smell: Redolent with a variety of fruits, from raisin and plum to cherry and fig, with hints of currant as well. Belgian candi sweetness underlies the fruit aromas, like a mattress of cotton candy buoying the orchard upwards.

Taste: In contrast to the fruity nose, the taste opens with a serious wallop of dark bread, which is accompanied by both a rush of alcohol heat and a slurry of faint, mingled stone fruits. This persists through the middle, and at the finish, the alcohol falls away to reveal a beautiful caramel-toffee bread soaked in raisin and currant preserves and served up on a plate of leather. At times, a metallic tinge swims through the beer, coppery and harsh.

Mouthfeel: Incredibly fizzy and prickly, this somehow remains full and sticky. There's enough carbonation to lend a sharpness to the entire tasting process.

Overall: I actually get far more noticeable alcohol heat out of the Prior 8 than the Abt 12, likely due to the reduced punch of the malt and yeast profiles. This is not even in my top 3 beers from St. Bernardus.

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Photo of captaincoffee
3.74/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours clear brown with gold highlights...lighter than I expected. Nose is sweet malt, but no really a big bouquet. Flavor is...a disappointment quite frankly. Medium sweetness, but lacking the dried fruit and complex malt profile I was expecting. Just a bit of roasted flavors and cocoa, but not much. Quick finish. Overly carbonated, to me, with a very soda pop mouthfeel. I really expected much more.
For some reason I thought this might be similar to the Westvletern 8 based on the previous relationship between these two, but this doesn't come close to Westy 8.

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Photo of Persdawg
5/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Popped in to give 5s across the board for this as it was the beer that put me over the craft edge years ago. Can't find it anymore in the DFW area.
This beer is hearty and delicious. Very Belgianesque. Alcohol well hidden.
The "Bros" severely underrated this as far as I'm concerned.

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Photo of Jimlikesbeer
3.96/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Good Belgian Ale. Surprised by this one. Have had their Tripel and liked it. Didn't expect this one to be as good. Darker color than the Tripel. Flavor was similar but noticeably different if that is possible. If you like Belgian, try this one.

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

On tap at Brasserie V in Madison, Wisconsin.

Appearance is darker brown-purple hued, minimal half finger white head, no retention, a bit of lacing. Smells of figs, dates, raisins, spices typical of the Belgian yeast. Flavour is similar, though the Belgian yeast spices are a bit less pronounced than in the nose. Noticeably sweeter, favouring the raisin variety more. A bit of toffee. No heat, not like it's bigger brother Abt12. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, good carbonation, easy to finish a pour. Overall, solid dubbel that has plenty of flavour similar to the Quad version but without the heat and as much complexity.

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

11.2 ounce bottle poured into a Farnam House Brewing snifter. Best before date of 12-02-18. Sipped on while Husker Du’s Flip Your Wig plays in the background. Opened with a hiss and before I knew it the beer had fizzed everywhere.

Ap: A quick pour produced about a finger of still, rosey tinted bone colored head. Body is a hazy reddish amber with lots of yeast sediment at the bottom. Persistent thick cap with nice sudsy lacing.

Ar: Cherry sweet bubblegum, dried apples, tart plumbs, banana bread, soft baking spices, prickly yeast phenols, just a bit of a metallic edge. Per usual with the style a nice gently spiced brown sugar maltyness comes out at the end. Well balanced spice profile with a nice maltyness.

T: Sweet maraschino cherries and juicy prunes, sticky cotton candy and bubblegum before leading into pleasant baking spices and that nice bready brown sugar maltyness the better beers in this style have. A bit of that metallic edge comes out in the taste as well.

Mf: Medium/full feel with a very gentle but prickly carbonation. Slight warmth. Sweet with a dry finish. Very easy drinking. Spot on for the style.

Overall: Hits all the right points for a dubbel/or any Belgian Dark Trappist ale. Pleasant dried fruits, gentle spicing, soft phenols, molasses dark malts with a prickly soft carbonation and a dry finish. While all those notes are well balanced and play off each other that odd metallic note kind of jumps out at you in the middle. Still, a very solid example of the style well worth trying more than once, especially if you like them sweeter.

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Photo of ordybill
4.88/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a 330ML bottle into a pint glass.
Aroma- Has a nice fruit and malt aroma.
Appearance- Pours a reddish brown with a lot of floating sediment. Has a tan head.
Taste- Has a very balanced flavor with a great pairing of malt and fruit.
Palate- A medium bodied beer with moderate to high carbonation
Oveall- Another excellent brew from St. Bernardus.

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Photo of Wilshade
4.88/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Dubbel Ale
ABV: 8%
Glassware: Chalice

Appearance: Beautiful ruby brown body with a thin, lustrous and creamy tan head.

Smell: Malty and fruity with a hint of coconut.

Taste: Nicely balanced between bitter and sweet. Malt and fruit notes well blended.

Mouth feel: Smooth, but lively on the tongue.

Overall: Very nice abbey. The 8% ABV is well hidden, but it kicks in fairly quickly. This one goes into my personal rotation.

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

A: Dull dark ruby with a cream coloured head.
S: Lovely perfumed smell, as can be expected from a St Bernardus. Yeasty peppiness with pipe tobacco and a bit of liquorice.
T: Liquorice and cola. Harsh roastines. Boozy. Has that classic pipe tobacco quality which I like though. It's pretty dry. Mouthfeel is lighter than the 10 and 12. Very fizzy, albeit the bubbles are delicate and champagne-like. Burping up dried fruit and bread. Towards the bottom I get red grapes, and it's slightly phenolic.
O: Certainly one of the better dubbels I've had and while I'm not mad keen on the style I did enjoy this one.

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Photo of PorterPro125
4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Serving Type: 330 mL Bottle

A- Pours a deep brown colour topped by a huge lumpy white head. Ton of lacing on the glass.

S- Raisins, plums, and other dark fruit. Lots of Belgian yeast and a malty breadiness in the nose. Little bit of alcohol in the nose.

T- Similar to the nose with a bit of a clove-like spiciness.

M- Medium-High Carbonation with an insanely smooth body.

O- Another excellent beer from St. Bernardus.

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Photo of SebD
4.06/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: It has a nice brown/amber color to it with some golden hues shinning through. It has a nice thick creamy beige head that dies down moderately slow and leaves light lacing.

Smell: The aromas definitely give out hints of Belgian yeast, dark fruit (raisins, plums, figs), some peppery spices, cloves, some breadiness and a light earthiness.

Taste: Like the aromas, it has some Belgian yeast, a light breadiness, dark fruit, light spices (pepper and cloves) and a faint earthiness.

Mouthfeel: It has a med-high carbonation with a nice overall balance and feel.

Drinkability: It's a very smooth drinkable beer accompanied by good flavors and aromas.

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of TheHammer
4.39/5  rDev +5.8%
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.

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Photo of Premo88
4.02/5  rDev -3.1%
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: fruity fruit and fruit ... 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 WAY too easy to drink; I could chug this brew, it's so light and drinkable

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Photo of Scrapss
4.03/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured into st. Bernardus chalice.

A: pours a fantastic deep figgy brown with an off white, leaning to tan, head. Ample lacing with nice retention and legs.

S: Leather, figs, raisins, dark cherries and clove with spicy white pepper undercurrent. Crackery hit on uptake leads to bready finishing swallow.

m: creamy, medium~full body and finish. Explosive cherry foam if agitated at finishing swallow.

O: holy shnoikies this is good. So much interesting stuff going on.

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St. Bernardus Prior 8 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
4.15 out of 5 based on 2,404 ratings.
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