St. Bernardus Prior 8 | Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

1,058 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: 1,058 | Ratings: 2,413
Photo of JTuomi
4.23/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

33cl bottle (30 03 18) into a goblet. Amber brown with one finger tan head with good retention and lacing. Smell and taste have moderately sweet roasted caramel malts with spice and raisins. Roasted malts and raisins on the semi dry aftertaste. Became sweeter as it warmed up. Creamy mouthfeel, medium body and medium-high carbonation. Very drinkable with well hidden alcohol. Quite a lot of yeast in the bottle. A really nice dubbel that's not too sweet.

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Photo of JamieDuncan
4.49/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

My beer guru invited me over to split a few beers and rolled out this one. Wow, great looking and smelling beer with an even better taste. hard to be critical but maybe a little thin. Very smooth and easy to drink, overall an excellent beer and one I hope to revisit.

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Photo of Copernicandream
4.14/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a tulip. 21-09-16

A: Pours a light/moderate brown color with some foamy head that implodes on itself to settle on the rim. I don't know why but I had to stop pouring about an ounce short of emptying the bottle - the yeast just kept coming. Even with my early stop, I have about 1cm of yeast at the bottom of my glass???

S: Malt, figs, plum, and anise. To a lesser extent molasses (candi sugar) and yeasty spice.

T: Early malt, with some plum and dark fruit, builds into the candi sugar and finishes s with some burnt sugar. The yeast is incredibly complex, spicy phenols provide some light burn to the late palate and into the after taste.

M: A little watery and fizzy, its sort of ecelectic and unsure of itself. The moderate/high carbonation does help release the most interesting characters on the palate.

O: Did I pour it wrong, did I get the bottom of the barrel - what is with all this yeast? Like whoa. Otherwise this is an excellent dubbel with a subdued character that hits all the right notes. I was impressed by the spiciness provided by the yeast - that said I apparently got an ounce of yeast in my 330mL.

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Photo of reebtaerG
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured bottle dated 6/11/18 into a St Bernardus glass

A-Pours a very dark brown color with a solid, pillowy head that drops to a thin beige film on the surface.

S-Beautifully rich, creamy-smooth aromas of figs, raisins, brown sugar, nuts, spiced apple cider, and yeast.

T-Flavor is sweet brown bread, mellow spices, and apple and banana yeast esters. Raisin and clove on the back end.

M-The mouthfeel is very smooth, medium body, slightly creamy.

O-Another great dubbel by St Bernardus

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Photo of Andrew041180
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

A - Pours a lovely dark, deep-reddish brown. A tall, tan head recedes rather quickly, but maintains about a quarter inch and leaves some nice, light lacing on the sides of the glass.

S - Excellent strength, one of the stronger scents that I've gotten from a dubbel so far. Some caramel sweetness, dark fruit, maybe fig. A little breadiness.

T - Follows the nose. Caramel up front, then dark fruit. Breadiness comes in on the back end. The finish has just a hint of alcohol. Wonderful combination of flavors carefully woven together.

M - Starts of with a wonderful medium-full body, but with a soft feel to it. The feel changes a bit on the finish. It feels over-carbonated and borders on astringent. However, as the beer warms and the carbonation subsides a bit, these prickly feeling fades. Perhaps a more vigorous pour would have helped.

O - Only slight flaw that I found was on the feel, and that may be fixable. I have had some truly delicious dubbels lately, and they are fast becoming one of my favorite styles. This is certainly right up there with the finest examples.

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Photo of deadonhisfeet
4.1/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a Chimay chalice. The pour is deep read, clear, and fairly dark. It sports 2 fingers of dense beige foam which dies down a little quickly to about 1/8 inch of fine beige foam. The nose is rich, sweet with fruity esters and spicy phenols. There's a fair amount of bready, toffee-like malt notes, dark fruit, and a hint of chocolate.

The beer has a medium body and a rich flavor that's noticeably less intense than the Abbot. I get sweet bready flavors up front. At mid-palate, dark fruits like raisins, dates, and plums come in, mixing with the breadiness and adding a nice richness. I get a slight warming alcohol presence at the finish. Very nice level of carbonation for the style.

A terrific Dubbel. Definitely preferable to the Prior 8 offering. It has more of a malt presence, added sweetness, and a richer flavor. Definitely recommended for those who enjoy dark Belgian strong ales in the Abbey style.

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Photo of Ryan_MillerTime
4.04/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Excellent Taste!
Abundant Head.
Caramel, sugar notes. Sweet.
Grainy. Malty.
Good lacing.
Not too heavy. Easy to drink.
Great fall beer.
Full of life. Won't disappoint.
I'm typically an IPA guy, but I could stick with this bad boy. Mmmmm zesty!

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Photo of BierJager89
3.99/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Deep dark opaque amber with a tan ring of head.

S: Caramel, sugars, candi sugar in the nose.

T: Starts off with caramel and malt, followed by some orange, lemon and grass, ending with candi sugar and burnt sugar.

M: Medium bodied and smoothish.

O: Pretty good, definitely not their best or second best, but worth a try (I suggest the small bottles unless you really like the style a lot), recommended.

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Photo of MadCat
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Pours a nice dark brown with a voluminous tan head. Leaves good lacing

Smell: Dark fruit, vanilla, malt, some interesting yeast character

Taste: Fruity, malty, some vanilla, bready, grain, fantastic yeast phenols. Complex and tasty

Mouthfeel: Medium body, good carbonation

Overall: Fantastic, another home run from St. Bernardus. Possibly one of my favorite Belgian breweries.

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

Pours a very dark brown color with a solid, pillowy head that drops to a thin beige film on the surface. Beautifully rich, creamy-smooth aromas of figs, raisins, brown sugar, nuts, spiced apple cider, and yeast. Flavor is sweet brown bread, mellow spices, and apple and banana yeast esters. Raisin and clove phenolics on the back end along with some black pepper and a slight cherry tartness. Dry, prickly, medium-fullish body. Lots of character...good Dubbel!

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Photo of heygeebee
4.02/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 4


An on-the-money Dubbel with all the right elements of raisins, prunes, sherry, hint nutmeg.

Only noteworthy point is mouthfeel, which is oddly very fizzy to start with, but also somewhat watery, at odds with ABV.

However, all in all a top drink if not as good as some of its stablemates.

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Photo of LVituri
4.46/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Uma boa cerveja, mas um tanto distante da abt 12. Mas mesmo assim ela cerveja interessante. Longe de ser uma das to of mind do estilo, mas um bom rótulo para compor o time da St. Bernardus, que com certeza é uma das mais respeitadas cervejarias da Bélgica.

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Photo of Or80rowley
4.44/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Outstanding Dubble!

A. Pours a cloudy amber, nice fluffy light tan three finger head

S. Delightful fresh bread, yeast, sweet dark fruit, malt

T. Bread, sweet, but not too sweet. Raisin, plum, grain aftertaste

M. Refreshing, smooth, medium body, slightly creamy

O. I like drinking this one @ my band practice, it's a fun social beer

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Photo of KYGunner
4.02/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The color appeared thick as a rich mahogany hue supported a dense crown of thick foam.

The nose holds a tempered sweetness of prune, dark fruit, maple and a bready backbone.

The flavor holds true with sweet breads, maple and raisin though I feel the flavors are a touch subtle.

The feel is thick and full with an almost sticky quality.

This is a perfect example of the style just more subtle with a tempered personality.

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Photo of Bouleboubier
4.31/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a St. Bernardus chalice. Elegant, thin creamy head - small but steadfast. Ample lacing in sheets that slowly recede. Murky, dark reddish-brown.

Real mellow, delicate aromas. Mild caramel malt, dark fruity esters, raisin notes. Little to no booze.

The flavor won't smack you upside your head, but it's really solid. Moderate toasted caramel, overripe fig, raisin, and a hint of root beer. Vague hints of chocolate rise up in the aftertaste.

Extremely smooth, round feel. Medium-bodied, at least. Drops off in the finish with super-mellow trails of alcohol warmth.

Satisfying and very enjoyable. One of the more solid examples. Worth many trips back.

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Photo of tastybeer
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Dirty brown color and fairly opaque. Big poofy head is slightly off white in color. Aroma is harmoniously sweet, fruity with prunes, dark berries, caramel goodness, fig newtons, and a very pleasant mellow maltiness. Taste is just the same. Very delicate and fulfilling. Sweet, malty, chocolaty, fruity with berries. Mouthfeel is super smooth and a little buttery. Finely prickly carbonation. A fine beer.

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Photo of Eisen
3.79/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a goblet: Cloudy brown with medium foamy white head that faded quickly into nothing but a spacey cafe layer. Smells of chocolate and burnt espresso, and dates and plums. Tastes slightly of ginger, nutmeg, banana, date, plum, oak. Mouthfeel slightly watery mixed with booze. There are better doubles, probably. However, a very good beverage that one should enjoy at least once.

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Photo of scotorum
4.21/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Best before date on this antique is 8/7/13. Which may explain the sediments and perhaps affected the taste. Since St. Bernardus has a five year life expectancy, this would be five and a half years old by now which would make it the oldest beer I have ever had.

Poured from the 11.2 oz. bottle into an Innis & Gunn flute.

a: Translucent red/brown with a lot of floaties and sediment. Might have poured this out a bit too vigorously. Finger and a half offwhite head receded to thick even surface foam and dense lacing.

s: Dark malt and fruit. The aroma becomes more luscious as it warms.

t: Nice fruity yeast and malt combo, with some cardboardy undertones which are not at all objectionable. Rather like my ideal Marzen, perhaps even better than the Northampton Brewery's version which is my favorite of that style, because it has more body to it. Dry finish. As it warms the dark fruit tones become more prominent (served this at 48 degrees F, the bottle label recommends a bit warmer would be ideal). Higher ABV is hardly evident.

m: Medium. Very smooth. Good carbonation even to the dregs pour.

o: Very easy drinking Abbey ale, which is my favorite style in Belgians besides Trippels and Quads. Perhaps due to its age it may be maltier than intended, but as it appears to have been bottle conditioned one might expect the yeast to have asserted itself more as well. Only price puts Ommegang's Abbey Ale and Sierra Nevada's Ovila ahead of it the next time I want a good brew of this style.

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Photo of Roguer
4.09/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottle overflowed as soon as I took off the cap! Craziness.

Brew is a super-dark brown, with hints of light shining through. Pours a firm, solid off-white head with good retention. Good lacing.

Thick, obvious aroma of figs and raisins, dark nuts, and cherries. A bit like cola.

Smooth dubbel, but a little metallic flavor. Again with cola. Dark fruit, especially prunes or dates, and some Belgian yeast. Complex, but not as good as I was expecting.

Lively but thin (for the style) mouthfeel. Extremely bubbly, which detracts from the overall experience.

I would expect this would be better with some age on it. However, it's a pretty good dubbel. Nothing special, though; pick it up for a try, or go for Chimay or Westmalle for something truly special.

2013 vintage.

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Photo of MDDMD
4.21/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A-hazy brown color with hints of orange, nice off-white head with decent lacing

S-dark fruit, malt, caramel, spices, hint of orange

T-raisins, figs, toasted malt, toffee, spices, mild bitter finish

F-medium body with moderate carbonation, smooth and creamy

O-smooth and great flavor, solid ale

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Photo of Bucciamarcia
4.01/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Another outstanding beer, after abt 12 which is one of my fave beers ever. Not as strong but still a 8%, this is a typical abbey ale. Looks dark red and cloudly, abundant foam that dissipates quickly. Strong malt flavors with some sweet, perhaps caramel, especially in the aftertaste. A bit too carbonated for me: perhaps I didn't pour it correctly, but the foam makes me thing otherwise. This beer gives its best when it warms up a bit.

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Photo of Asgeirr
3.64/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

A: Hazy russet colour and a beige crown of decent stature. Leaves plenty of lacing alongside the glass.

S: Mainly sweet maltiness with a side order of yeastiness, as many a dubbels. Dark fruits as raisins, figs and some caramel alongside the dry smell of yeast.

T: Raisins, grape juice, caramel, nuts some yeast

M: Round, smooth and moderately carbonated.

O: Stable and solid, albeit a wee bit on the anonymous side. It doesn't really stand out.

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Photo of ryan1788a5
4.21/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

11.2oz bottle poured into a goblet.

A: Hazy brown in color with tinges of orange. Beige head is lively and crackling. It retains very well, an small patches of delicate lacing dot the glass intermittently.

S: Bread pudding, raisin and other dried fruits, brown bread light caramel. Yeasty spice, touch of medicinal phenol. Whiff of rummy alcohol. Brown molasses.

T: Brown molasses up front. Dark caramel. Hint of cola. Lots of brown bread and crust. Bread pudding. Hint of grapey candi sugar. Raisin and dried fig. Yeasty spices. Dash of brown cocoa. Subtle medicinal phenol. Hollow, balancing hop bitterness. Touch of spicy alcohol treads lightly toward the back. Drying finish of bread crust and yeasty spice.

M: Medium thick body. Creamy. Plenty of scrubbing carbonation provides some lift. Warming alcohol is comforting.

O: A very well-made Abbey style dubbel. Very complex. Spot on. Nothing to criticize, just a damn good beer.

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Photo of Underrower
3.41/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

12 oz bottle out of the mixed pack. Served in goblet.

Brown good bit of foam and it lingers for a Belgian. Opened and foam slowly lifted itself above rim of bottle.

Smells like raisens.

Great double taste and then bubble gum and after it goes into a dustly slightly sour like funk that lingers for quite a while and thenn there is a strong drying effect . The after taste reminds me a little of one of the flavors in the Watou tripel. Strange aftertaste; so different than the great up front taste. Makes the beer taste really old and usually I like that but this one has it in spades and it comes on ver strong.

Mouthfeel is really nice. Good carbonation that is not too strong.

Overall a little sour at the end and I prefer sweet big and boozy. Nice old feel to the taste but just a little stong with that combined with the slightly sour taste robs this of a great rating.

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Photo of artoolemomo
3.86/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance- Close to a gusher (foam was peaking out of the bottle after I opened it) which pours up a good amount of head with big bubbles but good retention. The body is an off white with hints of beige while the body is a maroon softened by purple hues. It shows dark amber at the base when held up to the light. Considerable lacing is left behind. As I drink more, sheeting is shown.

Nose- Quite nice- I really have to become acquainted with more dubbels. Raisins, raisins, and more raisins. This is the dominant aspect both from the bottle and the glass. The bottle is sweeter and shows some cherry, almost fruitcake notes. The glass shows a bit of creaminess with notes of brown bread and caramel. Some brown sugar and molasses from the bottle. Swirling shows almost nothing but raisin. Faint hint of bubblegum as well.

Taste- Reflective of the nose but seemingly more complex. Raisins start the flavor profile but stronger notes (at least stronger than the aroma) of brown bread, brown sugar, and molasses begin to appear. This beer has a very vinous quality to it. Echoes red grapes. Ends with a little spice from the yeast (notes of banana and coriander) which seems to indicate (very light) roasted malts, a hint of smoke (maybe even tobacco), and sherry. Some wood. Very complex but still quite subtle. Nothing really hits you in the face. Not that it lacks presence; it simply has incredible integration. In a way, it seems like the poor man's quadrupel. A tad bit of bubblegum but it isn't too distracting. Some figs. Pretty good beer and a damn solid one at that.

Mouthfeel- Medium bodied with a good amount of syrup. There's a good amount of carbonation but it doesn't really distract at all.

Drinkability- A couple flavor notes that are slightly objectionable but the overall beer is so well integrated that this doesn't seem to matter. 4 bucks for a 330 mL is pretty standard for Belgians.

Overall- Solid. Very good beer. I think, at the moment, Westmalle Dubbel gets the win over this beer but it's close. Definitely worth a try. Not cheap, but no Belgians are.

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St. Bernardus Prior 8 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
4.15 out of 5 based on 2,413 ratings.
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