abbey · Beer Reviews · belgian beer · trappist

#97 St Bernardus Prior 8 – Stepbrother to the Westvleteren 8

Review #97 – St Bernardus Prior 8 88/100

Any beer fan worth their salt will know of Westvleteren brewery in Belgium, they have been renowned for a long time as one of the best breweries in the world, for years their Westvleteren 12 beer ranked as the #1 beer in the world, you can find my review of that one here.

what you may not know is that one of the famous Trappist brewers from Westvleteren pissed off and started his own brewery, and that brewery is St Bernardus, their beers are pretty much identical to those produced by Westvleteren.  The only difference is that they don’t carry the prestige, you don’t need to drive to the brewery and go through the arduous process to obtain a crate, you can simply go to your local beer shop and pick one up, they are great beers and if you want to taste some of the best beer to come out of Belgium then look no further.  The beer I’ll be reviewing today is the Prior 8, this beer is almost identical to the Westvleteren 8.


Out of the bottle and into the glass I can tell this beer is going to be a full bodied behemoth, the smooth oily liquid that pours out from the bottle coats the glass with the thin sticky brown film, yeast sediment dances around the liquid and produces a tall tan head.

On the nose the beer produces pungent notes of dark chocolate, raisins, dates and heavy ester like aromas of overripe bananas and coffee liqueur.  There is a slight mustiness coming from the yeast similar to damp leaves and hay.  Despite the relatively high ABV the aroma of alcohol isn’t overwhelming.

On the palate, sweeter flavours of milky coffee and dark chocolate present themselves.  There is a nice level of spice similar to that of clove, anise, nutmeg and cardamom.  The beer finishes with a healthy level of roasted malt bitterness and earthy hops.

The Prior 8 is a fantastic beer but if you really want something that will blow you away then look for the Abt 12, this version is pretty much the same thing as Westvleteren 12 and can be obtained pretty easily.





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