Dismiss Notice
Extreme Beer Fest:Los Angeles

Join us December 9th in Los Angeles for the ultimate throwdown of craft beer creativity!

Learn more...
Dismiss Notice
Introducing: Project Extreme Brewing (a Dogfish Head + BeerAdvocate project)

St. Bernardus Prior 8 | Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

Your Rating: None

Want it   Got it 
St. Bernardus Prior 8St. Bernardus Prior 8
BA SCORE
4.16/5
Exceptional
2,452 Ratings
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
Ranking:
#1,395
Reviews:
1,066
Ratings:
2,452
pDev:
8.65%
Bros Score:
3.95
 
 
Wants:
162
Gots:
389
Trade:
3
HISTOGRAM
 
View: Beers | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 2,452 |  Reviews: 1,066
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.

 844 characters

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.

 646 characters

Photo of duceswild
4/5  rDev -3.8%

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.

 2,241 characters

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

 1,132 characters

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.

 513 characters

Photo of Zaphog
4/5  rDev -3.8%

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.

 530 characters

Photo of atlbravsrno1
3.75/5  rDev -9.9%

Photo of BEER88
4.18/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

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.

 639 characters

Photo of MarkyMOD
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%

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.

 352 characters

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.

 573 characters

Photo of BeerForMuscle
4/5  rDev -3.8%
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.

 457 characters

Photo of thatoneguymike
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%

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.

 1,461 characters

Photo of tdm168
4/5  rDev -3.8%
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.

 395 characters

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.

 654 characters

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...

 325 characters

Photo of 22Blue
4/5  rDev -3.8%

Photo of chippo33
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%

Photo of Lone_Freighter
4.24/5  rDev +1.9%
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.

 1,010 characters

Photo of rab53
5/5  rDev +20.2%

Photo of imbibehour
4.03/5  rDev -3.1%
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.

 896 characters

St. Bernardus Prior 8 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
Beer rating: 4.16 out of 5 with 2,452 ratings
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.