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St. Bernardus Prior 8 | Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

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1,045 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: 1,045 | Ratings: 2,373
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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Photo of gr0g
4.24/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2oz bottle, "best before end 22 11 17".
Pours a cloudy dark brown. An off-white head of 2+ fingers shows solid retention. Complex aroma with several components coming through: sweet, ripe fruits, chalky yeast undertones, slight note of clove.

Interplay of raisin-like fruit, candi sugar, caramel malt, all held in check from becoming overbearing by a light hop bitterness. Dry on the finish. Fizzy carbonation settles down after a bit. While it doesn't become smooth or silky, the initial harshness fades to a relative gentleness.

St. Bernardus hits the mark with their Dubbel: fruity, malty, only slightly sweet. This is one of the benchmarks for the style.

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3.78/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

330ml bottle. Tulip glass. Brown color, hazzy appearance. Tan head, fairly good retention. Caramel malt, toffee aromas, hints of molasses & dark fruit. Flavors as expected from the aroma profile. Medium to full body. Moderate carbonation. Belgian yeast notes & subtle warming alcohol. Dark fruit on the aftertaste. Nice drinkability.

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Photo of cjgiant
3.47/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Cloudy brown pour in a St Bernardus wine-glass. The head was ok, but the lacing was good as I took a few sips of this import.

The initial smell and taste don't belie each other. The smell is a bit more raisin-like, while the taste adds in a little more prune (sourness). The malty fruitiness fades into an ever-so-slightly alcohol tinged yeasty flavor.

The taste does not linger too long. When I first got this beer and took a whiff of this it reminded me of DFH R'aison D'être. I'd like to try the two side-by-side now to see if there's a difference.

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Photo of Braz
3.75/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Purchased at Tacoma Boys in Tacoma.
A - Rich honey brown color with foamy off white head. Sudsy and a bit cloudy. Lots of yeast on the bottom of the bottle so stopped short of the whole thing.
S - Rich molasses bread, toffee, yeast. Hints of fruit like over ripe raisins.
T - Potent heavy taste. On the sweet side. Pleasant but boozy. High alcohol aftertaste.
M - Full and creamy. Creamy yet highly carbonated.
O - Was very excited to find this as ABT 12 is about my favorite beer in the world. Didn't quite live up to the expectations. Flavor is decent but I don't care for the aftertaste as much. Overall I would definitely have again, on a cold night perhaps.

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

Appearance: Deep amber brown in color, all but opaque to light, with a small tan head, which soon collapses to a dusting of foam. Thick, patchy lacing adorns the glass walls.

Aroma: Complex aroma of dark fruit, plums and figs are prominent, as well as wood and vinous alcohol.

Taste: Opens strong with prominent dark bread flavors, plums, and figs, An undercurrent of vinous alcohol is present throughout the taste, and there are flavors of cloves and cinnamon as well. Late in the taste there is a little wave of earthy flavors. Finishes with brown sugar and a modest flourish of herbal hops.

Mouth feel: Smooth, soft, full, and pleasant, with a touch of zesty carbonation.

Drinkability/notes: Really excellent, would pair well with venison steak, and seems ideal for a late autumn evening.

Presentation: Packaged in an eleven-point-two ounce Euro-style brown glass bottle sealed with a pry-off crown, served in a New Belgium Brewing chalice.

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Photo of Flounder57
4.24/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

11.2 oz bottle was poured into a stemmed chalice.

Appearance: This beer poured a one finger off white head that reduced to a thin layer. It is a murky reddish brown color with slight visibility and bubbles seen coming up the side of the glass.

Smell: Spicy yeast, caramel and bready malts, a little booze, apples, pears, grapes, and dried candy oranges.

Taste: Pretty tasty brew. Malty, spicy, fruity, a little booze, chewy, and delicious

Mouthfeel: Silky smooth, spicy, medium bodied, low to medium carbonation, a little chewy, and a little boozy.

Overall: Pretty solid dubbel and one of the originals that has stood the test of time. Delicious.

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Photo of SmashPants
4.21/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottle: standard brown bottle, pretty ordinary Belgian label. They just can't seem to do decent labels.

Appearance: first poured this into a standard glass and the head literally exploded up the sides. Figured this was a snifter beer, so poured into that instead. A much better result - deep copper-brown with floaties through the profile, with a solid one-finger or so off-white head. Lacing around the entire glass. Looks good.

Aroma: I didn't pick up that much on the nose, and that was after waiting over half an hour for the beer to lose its chill from the fridge. What is there appears to be sweet fruits, some spice and plenty of good Belgian yeasts.

Taste: back on form - a distinct malt- and yeast-driven intensity separates it from some other Dubbels. Treacle, liquorice and again those yeasts that one expects from Belgian beers.

Aftertaste: quite a sweet aftertaste - almost to the point of being a bit saccharin. A touch of warming alcohol too.

Mouth feel: a fairly heavy body with moderate fine carbonation. Pretty much spot on - can't fault it.

Overall: a top notch Dubbel from a top notch brewery - so far I've had the triple and the Pierre Celis Witbier, and between the 3 they are all over 8/10. This one tends toward sweetness rather than bitterness, but still the Belgian yeasts manage to just even out the odds. definitely a slow-drinking beer - I wouldn't want to power through these, particularly as it is 8% and over AU$130 a case (2013).

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Photo of coreyfmcdonald
4.27/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

330ml bottle into a snifter

A: Pours a medium to dark brown with amber high list. Three fingers of fluffy head form atop the beer. Good retention, excellent lacing.

S: Moderate sweetness comes with equal parts toffee and prunes. Behind that, esters balance the sweetness. Nutmeg and orange zest mostly - quite nice.

T: Prunes and toffee again come out as the strongest component, but the beer still stays fairly dry, appropriate for the style. I get spices again to balance, but now I get a peppercorn along with a bit of citrus and a medley of other spices.

M: Medium thickness with strong, yet creamy carbonation.

O: A great Dubbel - complex malt flavor with spices to balance.

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

This is a good Belgium beer. not overly complex but with a great caramell taste and not too sweet. With its evervescence and its taste it is a perfect match with a hearty beef stew.

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Photo of Hopswagger
3.88/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

P: A murky dirty dark pond water body with a creamy froth of khaki head with excellent retention.

S: Salty caramel apples, roasted cinnamon and sugar coated pecans, sweet molasses, dark candy sugar, prunes, subtle herbal gum and a syrupy sweetness.

T/M: Roasted caramel and dark sugar malt with a spicy phenolic fruit profile. Smoldered grain, boozy prunes, old school gum, sugary pecan pound cake, green and red apples and roasted ground spices. Prickly carbonation in a medium body. Finish has a burnt barley flavor and lightly smoked wood.

O: Good stuff but I think I like Pator 6 better. Good balance of flavors and a huge dose of spice.

 647 characters

Photo of lighthabit
3.92/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

echoing the other reviews, appearance is hazy, a bit of sediment on the bottom, mine is showing virtually no lacing. smell is fabulous, fruits, love it. taste is more of the same. only issue is a distractingly prickly carbonation that i'd like to see muted a bit. waiting a bit after the pour helps here. very cheerful, will have to try more from them.

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

A: pours a deep brown with a finger and a half of dense off white head that slowly fades and leaves moderate lacing
S: smells of dark fruits, spice from the yeast and a bit of candi sugar
T: tastes of spice from the yeast, dark fruits, some alcohol, and some slight sugary sweetness. swallow is a bit more alcohol, some bitterness and a bit more sweetness and dark fruit
M: medium in the mouth with adequate and slightly prickly carbonation, a bit of a dry finish
O: A pretty solid beer with good flavors and good marks for hitting the style. a bit spicier than I expected but not bad.

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Photo of Blindpigbiz
3.98/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Style/abv: dubbel/8%

Smell: chocolate and peanut butter with slight smokiness

Taste: very clean with subtle milk chocolate notes, nuts, peanut butter, and mild effervescence; it also has a minute malty character throughout

Pairs well with dark meat sandwiches and smoked sausages--and bacon, lots of bacon

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St. Bernardus Prior 8 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
4.15 out of 5 based on 2,373 ratings.
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