St. Bernardus Prior 8 | Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

BA SCORE
93
outstanding
1,055 Reviews
St. Bernardus Prior 8St. Bernardus Prior 8
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
Belgium
sintbernardus.be

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:
1,055
Ratings:
2,402
Avg:
4.15
pDev:
8.43%
 
 
Wants:
156
Gots:
362
For Trade:
3
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User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,055 | Ratings: 2,402
Photo of ChainGangGuy
4/5  rDev -3.6%
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 BuckeyeNation
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%
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 mdaschaf
3.99/5  rDev -3.9%
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 russpowell
4.43/5  rDev +6.7%
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 mikesgroove
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%
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 smcolw
3.86/5  rDev -7%
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 Jason
3.95/5  rDev -4.8%
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 womencantsail
4.27/5  rDev +2.9%
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 mdfb79
3.7/5  rDev -10.8%
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 TMoney2591
4.05/5  rDev -2.4%
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 Huhzubendah
4.18/5  rDev +0.7%
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 InspectorBob
3.97/5  rDev -4.3%
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 stakem
3.95/5  rDev -4.8%
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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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.12/5  rDev -0.7%
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 +14.9%
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 BeerForMuscle
4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Dark brown cloudy body with a standard dubbel head. Beige and foamy, hanging around.

S - Sweet alcohol and some acidic fruit notes. Green apple and some grain.

T - Caremel and faint cocoa powder. A little alcohol warmth floating by. Some nice apple flavors and after taste.

M - Foaming mouthfeel. Medium body with some dryness and a tickling carbonation.

O - A nice choice but maybe lacking some bigger flavors. Nice and smooth but a milder dubbel.

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Photo of tdm168
4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brownish amber with 1/2" of dense, bubbly head that has good retention. The nose has notes of caramel, yeast, spices and fruit. The taste is caramel, faint spice, apple, faint grapes, phenols, and yeast. The mouthfeel is medium bodied and well carbonated.

If you pay attention there are a lot of subtle flavors that come together in this one. It's well balanced and very drinkable.

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Photo of smakawhat
4.03/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into an official Bernadus chalice, at Mannequin Pis in Olney MD.

An absolutely gorgeous deep blood red and ruby garnet body color, with mahogany brown in the center. Minimal carbonation, and a thin bubbled light tan head. Manages to always keep a puck while drinking an minimal lacing.

Classic Belgian dark ale notes on the nose, but lighter. Some slight clove and fig, minimal wine like heat. Considerably lighter than I was expecting. Some small touches of cinnamon.

Much of the taste is no surprise from the bouquet. Light bodied and moderately carbonated, and some degree of brown sugar sticky coating in the palate. Light bodied fig and raisin, with some matching clove as well. Some very dry finish and almost mineral perrier tasting.

Overall not too bad, but it's hard for me to get excited about this style. Pretty much textbook, but missing lots of wow factor.

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Photo of jwc215
4.29/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours light brown with a thin lasting head. Minimal lacing slides down the glass.

The smell is of brown candy sugar with medium-to-dark-malt fruit. Spicy - coriander - bready undertones. Nice!

The taste follows through nicely - Robust candy sweetness balanced by coriander/cinnamon/pepper with grassy undertones. Alcohol well-covered. Finishes with a sweet spiciness.

Smooth in a medium body.

This is nice! Complex and well-balanced. Let this warm up for characteristics to shine through! A true Belgian dubbel.

Thanks to my neighbor across the way for sharing this Belgian delight!

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Photo of Billolick
4.35/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Large bottle, caged and corked. Best before dating found here on the top of the cage. Pours cloudy, warm honey brown.Lots of yeast in the final pour. Head is huge, tan, very long standing , world class lace production. Nose is an interesting mix of soap/ginger/spice/sugar and perfume. Lucious brew. Heady. Complex. A ton of warming fruit flavors. Spicy. Herbal. Sweet. Flows smoothly of the tongue, warms the throat and stimulates the senses. Fine, fine brew.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle, which uncorked with great enthusiasm on untwisting the wire cage, with utterly no assistance, spilling ale everywhere..
.
Dark mahogany brown color, full, fervent foam, a bit beigey in color, slowly simmering down.

Aroma, spice, nuts, fruit, faint cocoa, more spice, cinnamon, clove, very carbonated, very enticing, uplifting, arousing, even...a lovely snootful, me likey.

Very lively, zesty taste, the mouth swims with this pruney, raisiny, vibrant flavor...I'm liking it more as it nestles in the crevices of my tastebuds.
Bursts afresh on the tongue again and again. Full-bodied, long, warm, lovely finish.

Goodness aplenty in this bottle. A keeper if ever there was.

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Photo of GClarkage
4.05/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

08/15/05- Purchased at Plumpjack's in San Francisco, CA

Presentation- 11.2oz bottle with a notched dating at the bottom of the label. Poured into my St. Bernardus chalice.

Appearance- Nice brown pour. At first a lightly creamy looking 1/2 inch head, but quickly disappears leaving just a slight rim of head. Average t lighter lace.

Smell- Dark malts and dark fruits. Not much else.

Taste- The dark fruits come out, but they are fairly mellow and muted. Definite raisins and figs. Not as much sweetness as I expected, but enough to keep your attention. Maybe a pinch of brown sugar as well.

Mouthfeel- Super smooth and a bit creamy, nice carbonation level for a dubbel.

Drinkability- For a dubbel this is a damn good one. A tad more sweetness would have put this one over the top. St. B never lets you down though.

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Photo of drabmuh
4.15/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Beer is served in a St. B goblet. Beer is brown and hazy. Forms a thin brown head of small bubbles that leaves a lot of lacing on the glass. Carbonation is moderate.

Aroma is estery and bready. Nice, mildly sweet. Overall nice.

Beer has a creamy body, fine bubbles round out the sweetness and the minor ester character. Beer is slightly bready and nice. Medium overall, high drinkability, a great obtainable dubbel.

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Photo of stevoj
4.35/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Yowza! A perfect abbey dubbel. Copper/orange with a skin of a head. Flavor is full and subtle at the same time. Just the right amount of sour in the palate. Fabulous!

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

Review from 12/2010 notes. Poured into a St. Bernardus goblet. Pours a murky dark red amber with a nice off-white head and lacing. Subdued light malt, dark and light fruit aroma. Light fruit, malt and Belgian spicing. Somewhat light flavor. Finishes nicely with sweet malt and light fruit. Mouth feel and carbonation are very nice. A great dubble, although the flavors are not as assertive as I'd expect. I'd still be happy to drink this any time.

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St. Bernardus Prior 8 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
4.15 out of 5 based on 2,402 ratings.
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