St. Bernardus Prior 8 | Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

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St. Bernardus Prior 8St. Bernardus Prior 8
2,492 Ratings
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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Ratings: 2,492 |  Reviews: 1,078
Photo of RedDiamond
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Visually the Prior 8 is very cola-like, but extremely agitated with very fine carbonation. It forms a tall ivory colored head with impressive retention. It has a highly freaky aroma. How shall we describe this smell? Is it like leather or a woman’s auburn hair? Or streetlight on cobblestone or a shoe full of raisins? Is it wet peat moss or the smell of a hunting knife or crushed eggshell? Actually, the eggshell association makes me think of limestone. Could it be that this brew has an alkaline balance? Don’t know. Don’t care, actually.

The taste is fabulously complex. It is a canvass of impressionistic brushstrokes alluding to cinnamon sticks, black peppercorns, and twisted licorice. An electronic circus of inspired spice as seen through a window in wall-to-wall lace.

That settles it. I’m getting a brown robe and a dumb haircut.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
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 rkhaze
4.32/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a walnut brown with a medium sized dense creamy beige head.
Smells of sweet malt, red berries, banana and spice. Almost a bubblegum aroma. Lemony yeast presence at the end.
Tastes of bready malt, overripe fruit and baking spices. Finishes with a brown sugar sweetness, tangy yeast, a bit of hops and a brandy nuance. Had an earthy aftertaste.
Full bodied with a rich, creamy mouthfeel and tongue tingling carbonation.
Quite the rich complex offering. Almost a bit cloying and definitly a belly warmer. Good dessert beer.

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Photo of Trentonator
4.48/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Huge head which sticks around and will not be denied. Sipping the beer with a moustache will leave some foam on the 'ole "flavor saver" for later. Particles of brownish specks in the head, rather unusual. Delicate and sticky lacing, the color of the beer is a dark red, almost mahogany. Smell is surprisingly light with no real "waves" of florals or fruits like other Belgians I have tried. What it lacks in smell it more than makes up for in taste. This beer is world class in the taste department. Fig, maybe some light butterscotch, I also get some otherworldy flavors I am not sure I can even describe with words. Truly amazing.

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Photo of far333
3.49/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Hazy cocoa brown colored, thick looking, with particles suspending and moving. A foamy one-inch beige head rises up and lingers. There is no aroma, but for a bit of yeasty notes. Flavor is initially sweet and figgy, with some cocoa. A bit of clove and light brown sugar, but not too complex. Mouthfeel is a bit tingly. Better as it warms, but I've had better Belgians.

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Photo of frank4sail
4.85/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This brew blew me away.. Brown/ruby color in the goblet. Huge beige head. Nutty (hazelnut) orange peel smell. Persistant 1 inch head. Smooth clove, nutty , cinnamon, chocolate taste. Very smooth fuller mouth. This is the beer to drink while sitting by the fire on a cool night with your dog by your side. Soo rich, smooth, and comforting. What a Dubbel should be... excellent!

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Photo of Darkale
4.75/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

My new favorite Belgian beer.

Light brown and turbulent body, light tan head, fabulous lacing that glistens all over the glass. Very yeasty aroma, spicy and slightly sour, like rye. Rich and foamy in the mouth, chewy, with a deep caramel taste -- almost glossy candy taste with burning hops throughout.

Incredible mix of raspy and gritty hops and a million-dollar-violin deep shiny sweetness. Stupendous.

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Photo of pheurton
4.26/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

murky dark brown in color with suspended chunks. enormous off white/tan head that recedes to an ever-present 1/8" foam. spectacular lacing. huge sweet malt aroma, i'm thinking figs and other assorted dark fruits. silky smooth in the mouth while maintaining a very lively carbonation....just amazing. big sweet malt flavor, full of dark fruit and brown sugar flavors with bready undertones. alcohol is slightly detectable. light on the hops, but a phenolic spiciness finsihes things off well. quite strong, the sweetness keeps it from being much of a session brew. still, a sheer pleasure to enjoy, extremely well crafted with more character than most. highly recommended.

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Photo of Gavage
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a hazy brown color with a thin off white head that looks like a smooth layer of icing on a cake. Lacing developed through the drink. The aroma was of malt and yeast. The flavors was of malt, yeast, spice,caramel, and raisins. Not overly complex, but a nice variety of flavors that are well balanced.

The mouthfeel is smooth with a crisp finish. Medium bodied. The malt lingers on the tongue after swallowing. Extremely drinkable as this is so flavorful as a dubbel and the alcohol is barely noticeable.

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Photo of jed
4.48/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Presentation: Brown, 33 cl bottle with an orange label featuring the St. Bernadus smiling monk. 1, 3, 5, and 6 notched on the numbers at the bottom of the label. "Best consumed before the end of 2005" written in French and German. Poured into a chalice.

Appearance: Pours a fairly uniform dark brown color. One finger head is light tan with good retention. As the head disappears, it leaves behind a very thick trail of lace that clings to the sides of the glass.

Smell: Much less pronounced fruit aromas compared to the Abt. 12. Still some dark fruit — figs, raisins, and currants — along with a caramel sweetness. Some kind of buttery alcohol aroma which is hard to place.

Taste: Nose is malt and sweet, buttery cocoa flavor balanced with a little bit of dark fruit. Very slight clove notes, but not the same spicy, peppery flavor I associate with the style. Nose fades to a bready, grainy flavor, although there's still almost no hop presence. The finish is warm, thanks to the alcohol, with a very sweet aftertaste of prunes, raisins, and more cocoa/carob. As the beer warms, malt flavors are much more pronounced in the aftertaste … almost a smoked taste, very interesting.

Mouthfeel: A slight step down from the other St. Bernadus beers I've tried; but still excellent. Creamy and smooth with carbonation that's evident without becoming overpowering.

Drinkability: Perfect! The alcohol is present but masked and the taste is amazing … I could drink these until I was happier than the monk.

While the Abt. 12 has a more complex flavor, I think the Prior 8 wins of drinkability. A supremely drinkable, tasty Trappist Ale, and proof that St. Bernadus can do no wrong.

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Photo of BeerResearcher
4.13/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

33cl Brown bottle.
It pours a deep amber with a firm beige head of lots of sticky lace.
A big fruity smell and earthy aroma burst out upon pouring. Cut hay, sweet malt, hops and citrus smells follow.
A light caramel and candy sugar taste sweetens the fresh bread flavor.
Sharp citrusy flavors counter the sweetness to near perfection. A light taste of cloves, coriander and peppery spices, quite separate at first, blend in as it warms. The alcohol is noticeable, but in a totally subtle way. Nice!

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Photo of BeefyMee
4.04/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

11.2oz bottle

A fantastic looking beer. It has a perfect head atop a remarkable body of golden brownish red. The fresh aroma hints at fruit and alcohol. It's rich in flavor, which ranges from a slight sweetness and caramel aspect to a somewhat banana-like fruitiness. Feels like heaven in my mouth; it's silky with an appropriate yeasty zing. I'd kill a six-pack of these if they made it. I can see this beer in my future.

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Photo of GreatPondBrewer
4.2/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Sometimes the Toad still amazes me. What a rare find on tap! And they served it in a St. Bernardus stemmed balloon glass. Sweet ass! It appeared an opaque, dark brown with some streaks of red here and there towards the bottom of the glass and when you looked at it over top. Had a nice tanish head that receded into the slick you see, but had a great lacing. Smelled of currents, raisins, slight estery notes and a good showing of caramelized sugar tinted with a nice smokiness. The taste was sweet and dry with the dried fruits taking over and morphing towards the end into a nice licorice finish. Stickiness stuck to my lips. There was a good aggressive carbonation to this beer without going overboard and it complemented the beer quite well.

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Photo of Morris729
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours dark brown in color with a very lively and robust head that shows little sign of dissipating even several minutes after the initial pour. Nose is candied sugar and dark fruit along with some fainter aromas of buttery caramel and spicy alcohol. Medium to full in body with a very smooth and creamy texture. Taste begins with notes of bread pudding blended with rum-soaked raisins followed by some vanilla extract and a bite of peppery alcohol in the finish. A note on the back of the bottle says that this beer can be enjoyed aged up to 10 years, so I suppose I’ll lay a few bottles down (I doubt I’ll be able to wait that long, though).

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Photo of Hex92
4.67/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Oh man....I LOVE this beer. I am a big fan of dubbels in general, but this beer was amazing. It was all I could do to keep myself from gulping it down it was so incredibly smooth. I wish I had bogth another bottle. The Prior is much smoother than the Abt - not that I don't like the Abt. Sorry I can't give a better description of the taste - I don't do the 'hints of coriander and spice' descriptions. I will just say if you like Dubbels, pick up a couple bottles of this beer.
Forgot that I had drank this beer before I just tried it again and didn't think of it quite as highly. I marked it down 0.5 to 1 point in every category.

Bought the St Bernardus gift pack for myself this year. So I will get the chance to rate all 4 of their beers. I have been a big fan of the abt 12 since I first tried it maybe 12 years ago, but I dont think I have tried any of their other flavors.

Poured it into their nice chalice/goblet. Nice head and color to the beer. Looks great in the glass.

The smell is Ok, but not amazing. kinda run of the mill for the style.
taste is more of the same. good, but not great. i saw that someone else said that it had a slightly metallic taste. I was thinking the exact same thing when I read their review.

M- too bubbly for me.and doesn't coat the mouth as well as I would like.

O- this is a good beer....but nothing compares to the abt 12. If I was going to spend the cash I would prefer the Ommegang Abbey Ale if going for the same style. Or the Abt 12 if I wanted to get the best beer they make (still to be confirmed since I have the tripel and pater to drink still)

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Photo of Ieatlambfries
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The appearance of this dubble was excellent. Dark, dark brown with an immense tan head and plenty of yeast floating about. The smell was sweet and yeasty with some hints of the fruit notes contained within. The taste was excellent as well. Up front yeast and bread followed by some fruity notes, and then a warm alcohol finish. The alcohol is present yet not overwhelming. Very similar to the abt 12, although not quite as sweet, and the fruit taste's are not as discernible. Mouthfeel is creamy and satisfying, although the carbonation is filling in itself. Drinkability is excellent, the lack of sweetness when compared to the abt 12 makes this actually more drinkable than it's big brother. Defiantly something to try if you get the chance.

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Photo of Dukeofearl
4.4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: 33 cl bottle from a St Bernardus Sampler Pack (with free St. Bernardus Goblet included). Appearance: Opaque dark brown (I looked for other colors and could not see them) with a 1/2 inch off-white head that stuck around for a good long time. Aroma: I am in heaven! Lots of different sweet desserty fruits (brandied plums, raisins, chocolate). Flavor: The aroma follows through in this meal of a beer (OK, dessert of a beer) with bready (date nut bread?) chocolaty, and slightly coffeeish flavor. The head helped make for a very smooth creamy mouthfeel. This is the first time I have tried it, and it is easily one of my favorites.

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

11.2oz bottle warmed to near room temperature and served in the St. B gift pack glass. What appears to be the best by date of: "Consumir preferentemente antes de fin de: 2005"

Apperance: A fairly aggressive pour results in a deep and dark brown in color. Many little yeasties swirling all around. Thick off-white head billowed up nicely and settles to a 1/8" thick layer. Nice lacing of the glass.

Smell: Dark fruits and a "musty" character noticed. Some vinous qualitites as well. Ripe bannanas in the background.

Taste: Certainly no thin beer in this bottle! Thick-tasting, with a malty sweetness that paired nicely with the ripened fruit flavors. Finished with a pronounced fullness. Slight warming effect from the alcohol. Lasting sweetness on the lips.

Mouthfeel and Drinkability: Med-High in body. Creamy smooth on the palate. One to sit by the fire with with your best dog at your feet, while the chill rain falls outside. Slow down and savor this one.

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Photo of euskera
4.15/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2 oz bottle served into a St. Bernardus goblet. Raisiny-brown color with a nice fluffy head and a nice bit of carbonation. Smell is reminiscent of its more potent sibling, but a little more restrained. Dead-on for the style. Plenty of spice in the body, a bit of a banana-bread feel with a nice alcohol backbone. Flavors not as developed as the Abt 12, but that's exactly what I expected.Smooth mouthfeel, almost velvety. Eminently drinkable, a worthly little brother to the 12. Hats off again to the smiling monk..

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Photo of merlin48
4.12/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2 oz bottle served at cellar temp. into a St Bernardus goblet. Pours a somewhat murky dark chestnut brown, with a light cocoa head that has excellent retention. Sheet lacing all over the goblet is impressive to behold. Aroma is of a classic Belgian of this style. Earthiness, spices such as cloves and coriander, a whiff of alcohol, and the tug of war between the dark fruits and the pineapple/mango/banana. Moderate carbonation tingles the mouth, before seeming to melt like a marshmallow. Taste is not nearly as complex as the nose, or as other St Bernardus offerings I've sampled, but is very well balanced with a hop presence to counter the sweet malt backbone. Finish is clean and a bit dry. Nothing to complain about here, and this one is another St Bernardus that made me glad I bought the 4 bottle sampler pack that included the nice goblet. Wish I had bought the other 3 sampler packs that were left on the shelf.

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Photo of mickeymac
4.23/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Typical 11.2 oz Beglian bottle with an orange label and a jolly old fellow that reminds me a bit of my dear-departed grandfather. It pours dark brown with a fat off-white head with amazing retention. The head sticks to everything it touches and looks like a sand-blaster will be necessary to remove it. In other words, it's a damn fine-looking beer. The smell is nice dark fruit but a bit more alcohol than expected for an 8% abv beer. Raisins, ripe plum, and a hint of cherry are backed with a twinge of tartness. Although the flavor is on the tame side compared to others of its style, it's a very classy/classic tasting beer. Very nice for a cool winter afternoon.

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

Appearance: mahogany brown, a huge layer of tan foam builds up and slowly compresses to a thin persistent cap, almost opaque

Aroma: malty sweet, cloves, cinnamon, raisins, alcohol, pear fruitiness; very inviting

Flavor: a subdued malt sweetness balanced with a mild hop bitterness, some cloviness and a bit of yeasty overtone, raisins, less complex than it smells, finish is semi-dry w/ a slight bitterness and spice in the aftertaste

Mouthfeel: medium body, club-soda carbonation, alcohol warmth

Overall Impression: A nice bruin from a great brewery. Abt 12 is obviously the shining star, so it's easy to overlook their other beers which are also quite good. Just look at how many reviews there are for the 12 as opposed to this one!

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Photo of HappyHourHero
4.2/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thick foamy tan head built of big bubbles. The beer is dark brown in color, only a little light makes it through, and small light brown flecks of yeast float throughout. The aroma is of malty bread and burnt nuts. The flavor is a mix of dark fruits, bitter chocolate,and other flavors that I can't quite get. A fairly complex beer with a moderate body and plenty of carbonation.

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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 Sixpack595
4.03/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark brown with a thin tan head thats last till the end. Aroma is typical Belgian, yeasty and bready with banana and bubblegum. Taste is sweet and malty with raisin and cherry. Slightly spicy with a dry finish. Mouthfeel is spot on. Very drinkable, hiding the ABV very well.

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St. Bernardus Prior 8 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
Beer rating: 4.16 out of 5 with 2,492 ratings