St. Bernardus Prior 8 | Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

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BA SCORE
93
outstanding
1,040 Reviews
St. Bernardus Prior 8St. Bernardus Prior 8
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
Belgium | website

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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
1,040
Ratings:
2,356
Avg:
4.16
pDev:
12.74%
 
 
Wants:
148
Gots:
333
For Trade:
3
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Reviews: 1,040 | Ratings: 2,356
Photo of Thorpe429
4.17/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown with some chestnut coloring and a nice tan head with some good legs as it goes down my tulip. Smell is dark fruits with a good amount of caramel and some dark candied sugars. Taste is not quite as refined, with yeast character really beginning to dominate. Mouthfeel is nice and rich without too much heat. Quite creamy. Drinkability is quite good. Did this as part of the entire St. Bernardus lineup, and this was one of my favorites; though, to be fair, I suppose all of them were quite good.

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Photo of zeff80
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
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.

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Photo of oberon
4.18/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep murky brown with a awesome big fluffy head that settles into a nice creamy top leaving sheets of lace behind,brown sugar and orange marmalade dominate the aromas with some underlying sweet biscuit dough.The taste is much drier than expected,some clovey spicinessis very prevelant along with some unsweetened chocolate along with some toffee finishing pretty rather dry and abrupt.A very nice dubbel complex and not overly sweet a very good beer one to savor.

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Photo of nickfl
4.32/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - A slow gush of foam begins as the cap pops off. The beer pours with big, three finger head of light brown foam that rests on top of a dark brown body with just a hint of amber showing through. The foam settles pretty quickly, but leaves thick lace behind.

S - A thick aroma of dark fruit and burnt sugars. Notes of plum, raisin, caramel, and brown sugar. Some clove and allspice notes as well.

T - Fruity caramel up front with some phenolic clove character. Darker malt notes appear in the middle, lots of brown sugar, molasses, and a hint of chocolate. Finishes with complex fruit notes of plum and raisin complimented by dark caramel, spicy clove, and warming alcohol. Lingering flavors of plum and dark chocolate coat the palate in the aftertaste with rummy molasses and alcohol.

M - Medium body, moderate carbonation, and a reasonably dry, boozy finish.

D - This is a very dark, yeasty dubbel that borders on becoming a quadruple. There is a chocolatey, roasted grain note that weaves through the flavor and influences the other flavors significantly without quite being strong enough to push the beer out of style. It becomes most prevalent in the finish, where it combines with the yeast notes of clove and allspice as well as the caramel malts to produce a complex, almost woody, rum character that lingers on the palate. A very nice beer that is well worth seeking out.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Murky caramel brown with infusions of apricot orange and carmine red. A large amount of yeast and abundant carbonation can be seen when the beer is backlit with sunshine. The golden beige colored crown is soft and airy. It's also less than sticky and leaves a modest amount of sudsy lace on the sides of the glass. Second and third pours look even better and contribute tons of tacky residue.

The nose is everything that I'd hoped it would be. It's redolent of medium-dark fruit and has more yeasty spiciness than most versions of the style. Boldness is almost always a positive when it comes to big beer.

St. Bernardus Prior 8 is delicious and drinkable, as I was pretty sure it would be. If anyone out there wants to know what a quintessential Belgian dubbel tastes like, this would be as a good a place to start as any. It isn't as mindblowing as Westvleteren 8 (which I think is better than 12), but then that's one of the best beers on planet Earth.

Two words keep coming to mind as the ounces flow by: 'complex' and 'refined'. There are simply no chinks in the armor where flavor is concerned. Specifics include toasted brown bread with a thin layer of fig jam, a hint of cocoa, earthy tobacco leaves and generous dashes of clove and cinnamon. Talk about a world-class yeast strain.

Warming makes every one of the flavors deeper, richer and more well-defined. Bitter and spicy are slightly more prominent than sweet... which is slightly more prominent than tart. The ultimate drinkability score is a serious consideration because this stuff is disappearing in a major hurry. $8.49 for 750 ml is a steal!

When foam started oozing up the bottle neck immediately following cork extraction, I was afraid that excessive carbonation would be an issue. It isn't. The bubbles add exactly the right amount of lift and a perfect amount of energy. This isn't viscous beer, but then the best Belgian ales never are.

Not that I think about it much, but Brouwerij St. Bernardus is one of my favorite Belgian breweries. Top-5 at least and maybe even top-3. Prior 8 is the second best dubbel to have ever entered my glass and is an easy recommendation to... pretty much everyone. This is outstanding ale from top to bottom and from side to side.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.53/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Carefully decanted from a long-standing bottle, the prior delivers a crystal-clear chestnut body with a reddish cast and amber and copper highlights. Its huge, pillowy off-white head holds incredibly well and leaves solid sheets of thin, creamy lace about the glass. And there's an added attraction in that you can see the thin rings left from each sip within the solid wall. Candy sugar sweetness, sweet wine, caramel, almond, and vanilla reside in the nose; and appear again in the flavor, balanced by some dark fruitiness (black cherry, plum, fig), alcoholic spice, and leafy hops. It's bitterness is restrained against it's sugary malt, but slowly fights its way through to dominate in the finish (although some splashes of sticky malt do linger). This is a rich, sweet, satisfying, and complex ale that never becomes cloying despite its breadth; and has a great drinkability despite its strength. Impressive!

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Best Before: 28 06 12.

Appearance: Pours a clear, chestnut brown body with a frothy, foamy, off-white head.

Smell: Sweet, malty nose smelling of dark candi sugar, cocoa-caramel, ripe plums, and a glass of meritage wine.

Taste: Dark maltiness tasting of dark caramel and cocoa powder with a full, resounding sweetness. Plum fruitiness followed by a sip of fruity, yet robust red wine with some warming alcohol qualities to it. Light trace of roastiness throughout, even a bit of nuttiness. Hint of caraway seed-packed rye bread. Malty, sweet, fruity finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Well carbonated, which keeps the maltiness from ever becoming heavy, instead keeping things light and airy.

Drinkability: Paired very well with some Pinback mp3's. A delightful dubbel, to be sure, I'll see how it compares to the Abt 12 which is up next.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very nice dark amber brown with, Huge lively carbonation and streams of bubbles ripped through the glass, this looks like it has teeth!

The smell was very spicey at first, tingled the nose. Hints of dark fruit, pears, apples, cinnamon, figs, I could go on. A kind of candy sweetness almost to it as well. Spices and fruits are all over the spectrum and I don't even know where to begin. Pears, figs, cinnamon again are all over this. Cherry maybe, definatly apple.

awesome beer, truly a hallmark of the style, simply impeccable.

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Photo of chinchill
4.31/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the Atlanta Yard House in June 2014, and from a .33L bottle (BB date stamp of Sept. 2016) in a St. Bernardus snifter in June 2016.

A: clear dark amber with a good beige head.

Aroma: loads of dark fruit aromas including dates and raisins. Slight boozy with some nice spicy and bready aspects to the lingering aftertaste.

Flavor: Sweet up front turning bitter-sweet by the finish. Very fruity as is the aroma. Rich, with great depth.

Feel: medium body; proper carbonation that's lively yet soft.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750ml bottle into an imperial pint glass. The bottle reads “can be aged for up to 10 years”. I know this bottle has at least a year on it, possibly two, but nowehere close to 10.

A: The beer is a deep brown color, with a very large off-white head that fades very slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains Belgian yeast, caramelized malts, apples, spices, brown sugar and a touch of hops.

T: The taste starts with sweet flavors of caramel, brown sugar, apples and some spice. Then a strong breadiness comes in from a Belgian yeast and a hearty malt character. The hops presence is mild but complementary and creates a good balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

O: Tasty, goes down very easily, not too filling, good kick, very good representation of style, this is a solid Belgian-style beer worth drinking for a while but it’s not quite as outstanding as some other beers from St. Bernardus.

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Photo of superspak
4.52/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle into signature chalice, no bottle dating. Pours cloudy dark reddish brown color with a fairly dense 2 finger off white head with good retention that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Some slight spotty lacing on the glass. Aromas of big apple, grape, raisin, prune, dark candi sugar, molasses, pepper, toasted biscuit, and yeast spices. Fantastic and standard dubbel aromas with great complexity and strength. Taste of big raisin, prune, caramel, molasses, biscuit, clove, pepper, dark candi sugar, light chocolate, roasted nut, and yeast spices. Lingering notes of dark fruit, molasses, apple, candi sugar, clove, and yeast spices on the finish for a good bit. Fantastic flavor balance and complexity; with no cloying sweetness. Medium carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a fantastic fairly creamy and slick mouthfeel. Very smooth to drink but is still a sipper. Alcohol is very well hidden with hardly any warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is an absolutely mind blowing Dubbel. Fantastic flavor complexity, balance, and super smooth drinking. Hands down the best Dubbel I have ever had.

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Photo of Rifugium
4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First had: on tap at the Farmhouse, Emmaus, PA

I don't think I can count how many times I've seen this beer around, but I never got around to trying it, always opting for it's bigger brother 12, if I'm in the mood for a St. Bernardus. Clear, chestnut brown color with a frothy off-white head that retained and laced well. Aroma of sweet malts and sugars, with notes of dried fruits. Taste was pretty much what I'd expect from a dubbel: candi sugar and caramel, lightly toasted bread, tones of dried plums and raisins, and a touch of vanilla. A bit of noticeable booze. Medium mouthfeel, and pleasantly drinkable.

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Photo of womencantsail
4.27/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: The pour is a dark amber color with a creamy off-white head.

S: The nose is quite fruity and sweet. Some plums, blueberries, cherries, and figs. Sweet caramel, brown sugar, and bread provide the maltiness.

T: Quite heavy on the maltiness, much more so than the nose. Bready and quite sweet and lacking a little bit in terms of the fruitiness that was so prominent in the aroma.

M: The body is medium to full with a very pleasant, creamy carbonation and mouthfeel.

D: Another good beer from St. Bernardus. The alcohol warmth does come through a bit as the beers warms up a little bit, but it doesn't detract from my enjoyment at all.

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Photo of russpowell
4.43/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours an effervescent ruby red/brown with 2+ fingers of tan head. Very good lacing & super head retention

S: Fruittyness (cherry, raspberry, appleskins, figs & plums)& vanilla once warm.

T: Fruittyness (plum & cherry), chocolate, oaky dryness up front. Vanilla, a bit of earthy & leafy hops, chocolate, raisins, & jammy fruits, plus some boozey warmth as this warms. Finishes with figs, dryness & a bit of raspberry & cherry. Almost gave this a 5 for taste, that close!

MF: A little watery with a bit too much carbonation up front. Dryness & malt assert themselves once pretty warm with just a bit of booze warmth at the end

Drinks too easy, I'd guess this at a bout 6.5 abv if I didn't know. Easily one of my favorite dubbels, now that I've tasted it!

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Photo of TMoney2591
4.05/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a St. Bernardus chalice.

This guy pours a deep brown with ruby highlights subjugated in the crowd. The head is bright and strong, beneath which float disparate flakes of yeast (or such is my assumption). The aroma is sweet, with hints of molasses and fruits. The taste is rather sweet up front, with something akin to banana coming up behind. There are also hints of a wheaty quality, possibly from the yeast flakes, but tasty regardless. The body is medium at best, and sits nicely on the tongue with only an iota of carbonation. Very nice and effective dubbel.

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

33cl brown bottle with a “drink before end of 2004” on the side of the label. Sediment is a bit restless so with ¼ of the bottle left I stopped pouring.

Appearance: Good foaming action from a very active carbonation at the start. The lace stays as long as the beer is there with some clinging activity.

Smell: Creamy aroma of a cream soda, very faint buttery diacetyl, solvent alcohol and some dark fruit to mix things up.

Taste: Big and flexing malt presence, a real mellow twang and bready grain ride upfront. Carob and chicory come from the dark malts, residual dextrin trickle down the taste buds with a nutty almond like flavour. Light on the hops but a rounded phenolic flavour helps to balance. Slightly sweet finish with a growth of alcohol warmth in the end.

Mouthfeel: Plush smoothness rolls around in the mouth and the perfect level of carbonation rushes through.

Drinkability & Notes: A tasty little brown brew that has more punch than it shows. Well worth the try and if you like sweet dark brews this is a must.

Thanks to D & V International for the sample. http://www.specialtybeer.com

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Photo of dbrauneis
4.3/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Best before 29-03-16

A: Pours a hazy mahogany brown in color with a finger tall light beige head. The head on this beer reduces to merely a very thin ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass in a very short amount of time. Moderate lacing is observed.

S: Definitely some dark fruit - I think I detect plum, fig, and black cherry. I also get hints of chocolate and some dark malts, almost like a pumpernickel or brown bread.

T: A very well balanced flavor to this beer, marrying the flavors of the dark fruit (plum, fig, and black cherry) with the rich dark malts, the noble hops, and the Belgian yeast. There is some sweetness from the candi sugar. The alcohol in this beer is very well masked.

M: Medium to full bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Very creamy.

O: Very nice beer, well balanced and with good amounts of complexity. I shouldn't be surprised as I have been impressed with every beer I have had from St. Bernardus. This is a beer that I would get many times and each time I think I appreciate it a little more.

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Photo of smcolw
3.86/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Huge head that recedes in a rocky fashion. Decent lace on the glass. The color is light brown without much haze even though there is some yeast at the bottom of the bottle.

When compared to '6', this is a milder smell--not nearly as sweet. No strong yeast smell as typical with most Belgians.

Sweet and thick with a definite level of alcohol warmth. Decent body, but not as thick as some Belgians. Nice light hop in the swallow. Very smooth and easy to drink.

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Photo of InspectorBob
3.97/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into my St. Bernardus goblet. dark brown in color with small yeast particles, two fingers of off white head, not much lacing at all.

The aroma is on the sweet side. The taste of this beer is complex, maybe cherry,plum, dark fruits

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with some carbonation.

Very smooth drinking for 8% ABV...

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Photo of mdaschaf
3.99/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

11.2 oz bottle

A: Pours deep mahogany/brown color with an impressive foamy head on top, about 1.5 fingers in height, just off-white in color. Really nice retention, this thing is not going anywhere. Nice lacing all around the glass.

S: Some fig and raisin as well as a bit of bready malt. The yeast shines through a little, but overall rather simple.

T: Nice flavor, full of dark fruits, mostly raisins, plum, and a little bit of fig. Some candied sugar and a little bit of bready malt.

M: Medium to full bodied with moderate carbonation. Drinks very smooth.

O: A really good beer, easy drinking and smooth. Solid flavor profile, spot on.

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Photo of mdfb79
3.7/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from an 11.2 oz. bottle into a goblet.

a - Pours a mahogany, nut brown color with a little over one finger of white head and moderate carbonation.

s - Smells of bready malts, yeast, and maybe some raisins and plums, or other darker fruits.

t - Tastes of bready malts, yeast, some spice.

m - Medium body and hight carbonation.

d - A pretty solid dubbel. I thought it smelled a little better than it tasted, but good and worth a try none the less. Not as good as Abt 12, but something I would try again.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.12/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Murky brown with a soft bubbly tan head leaves behind very nicely patterned lacing. Aroma: Raisins and green apple fruit esters fill my senses with toasted malts adding a bit of sweetness to the mix with an herbal air about it not bad. Taste: Not an overly sweet dubbel a bit dry in the finish but the underlying fruit tones are more than satisfactory, with rich complex layers of bready yeast, chocolate, apples and raisins. This is an awesome dubbel, mouthfeel well carbonated medium bodied belgian ale. Drinkabiliy: A very complex sorta hard to seek out brew that should be enjoyed in small quantities for the pure quality of this product.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
4.77/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a murky red brown. Nose is like an over ripe peach that if you waited to eat it until tomorrow, it would be rotten. Hint of molasses. Flavor is perfectly balanced. A touch of cherry on the tongue. Slight alcohol presence noticeable. Strong sweetness like a brown sugar. Feel is very bubbly and very smooth. Excellent drinkability. So perfectly balanced.

This was the middle beer on a night of tasting that started with Damnation by RR and ended with the St. Bernardus Abt 12. This beer was my favorite, and the person I drank with felt the same way.

I wish I could buy this in New Mexico. If I could, it’d probably be a regular.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
4.18/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in a St. Bernardus goblet.

The beer is chestnut brown with a half inch of tan head that leaves ample lacing in its wake. The aroma brings brown bread, yeast, brown sugar (though the aroma is not sweet, per se), light spice. The flavor is light and easy. Minimal alcohol presence. Bread, yeast, malt, light spice. A stellar example of a dubbel.

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

Bottle into a matching St. Bernardus goblet. The brew appears a clear mahogany with an orange to copper look about it when held to the light. Despite a careful pour, some big flakes of yeast make their way into the glass keeping this from otherwise being a perfectly polished looking brew. A tan cap sits atop and fades to a thin lace supported by constantly rising bubbles of carbonation. As the cap fades, it leaves some stringy webs of lace sticking to the glass.

The nose on this is very similar to the 6, but stepped up with a bit more focus on belgian candy sugar. A hint of citrus and dark fruit blend in with the candy aspect along with toffee and molasses. There is a touch of earthen inclusion to the backend of the nose that brings out a mild focus on yeast.

The taste is herbal and earthy with a bit of a medicinal feel to it. Residual sweetness of toffee and molasses give way to a bit of prune or raisins. There is a mild touch of something along the lines of oxidation present that flirts with having an almost cardboard or wet paper flavor but the herbal and fruity aspects really drown that out.

This is a medium bodied brew with a modest amount of carbonation. Overall, this is a pretty solid dubbel with an interesting mix of flavors. In comparison to the other St. Bernardus products, I give the nose on this one a slight edge over the 6 but the flavor of the 6 is a little better than this one. Still worth a try if you get the chance.

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St. Bernardus Prior 8 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
93 out of 100 based on 1,040 ratings.
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