Beer Review: Tenebris (GHOST Tenebris) (Adroit Theory)

Beer Review: Tenebris (GHOST Tenebris) (Adroit Theory)

Tenebris – A barleywine by Adroit Theory

Adroit Theory

Adroit Theory is a craft brewery based in Purcellville, Virginia. Known for its experimental and bold approach to brewing, Adroit Theory specializes in a wide range of beer styles, particularly focusing on high-ABV (alcohol by volume) beers such as imperial stouts, IPAs, and barrel-aged brews. The brewery is also notable for its distinctive and often dark and gothic-themed artwork and packaging.

Gaming Time

I usually find myself drinking IPAs and DIPAs (or even TIPAs) while doing some gaming, but switched it up with Tenebris by Adroit Theory tonight. This was a fantastic beer to sit back and do a “gaming sesh” (as the cool kids call it). The 10.7% slowly crept up on me as I played and provided a perfect buzz for the gaming. And as Josh would say – “Its a Damn Big Beer”.

Beer Review: Tenebris by Adroit Theory

Tenebris (or GHOST Tenebris) is a Barleywine, in the American tradition. The stats for it are:

Beer: Tenebris
Brewery: Adroit Theory
Style: Barleywine – American
ABV: 10.7%
IBU: 60
Untappd Description:

We haven’t made this beer in over 6 years, but decided to re-address it in the style of an American Barleywine. Full, semi-sweet, and chewy body with a sticky texture offering malt driven notes of honey, toffee, and stone fruit with just enough bitterness for balance.⁠

Brewed with Amarillo + Centennial Hops


Tenebris pours a deep amber to mahogany color with a slight haze, topped with a thin, tan head that dissipates quickly but leaves a delicate lace on the glass. The viscosity is evident, hinting at the rich, high-alcohol content within. Swirling the glass reveals the beer’s thick legs, a visual testament to its bold and syrupy nature.

The clarity of the beer allows light to catch and reveal ruby highlights at the edges, adding to its visual appeal. The minimal head retention focuses attention on the beer’s rich color and inviting appearance, setting the stage for the sensory experience that follows.


The nose is an inviting blend of caramel, toffee, and dark fruits such as raisins and figs. Subtle notes of molasses and brown sugar are present, accompanied by a mild hop aroma that adds a layer of complexity. As the beer warms, deeper aromas of oak and vanilla become more pronounced, hinting at its barrel-aged pedigree.

Inhaling deeply reveals additional layers of aroma, including a faint earthiness and a hint of spice, likely from the interplay of malts and hops. The aromatic profile is rich and complex, drawing you in and encouraging a slow, deliberate tasting experience.


The flavor profile is intensely rich and multi-layered. Initial sips reveal a strong malt backbone with pronounced caramel and toffee sweetness, balanced by a robust presence of dark fruit flavors—dates, raisins, and a touch of cherry. As it warms, additional nuances of vanilla, oak, and a slight nuttiness come to the fore, likely influenced by barrel aging. The finish is warm and slightly boozy, with a lingering bitterness that prevents the sweetness from becoming overwhelming.

Each sip uncovers new subtleties, from hints of chocolate and roasted nuts to a whisper of smokiness. The balance of sweetness and bitterness is masterfully executed, making each mouthful a harmonious blend of flavors that evolve on the palate. The complexity and depth of Tenebris ensure that it remains interesting from the first sip to the last.


Full-bodied and smooth, Tenebris has a luscious mouthfeel that coats the palate. The carbonation is moderate, adding a slight effervescence that helps balance the beer’s richness and high alcohol content. The viscosity of the beer provides a satisfying, almost chewy texture that enhances the drinking experience.

Despite its high ABV, the alcohol warmth is well-integrated and adds to the overall enjoyment without overwhelming the other flavors. The mouthfeel is robust yet elegant, making it a pleasure to sip and savor. Each sip leaves a lingering, velvety finish that invites you to take another.


Adroit Theory’s Tenebris is a standout example of a barleywine. Its depth and complexity make it an excellent choice for slow sipping and savoring over time. The well-integrated flavors and warming alcohol presence are perfect for cooler weather, making it a great companion for a cozy evening. This beer pairs wonderfully with rich foods such as roasted meats or a decadent cheese platter and can also be enjoyed on its own as a dessert beer.

For fans of the barleywine style, Tenebris is a must-try, showcasing Adroit Theory’s expertise in crafting bold, flavorful brews. Its ability to evolve and reveal new flavors as it warms makes it an engaging and memorable experience. Highly recommended for those looking for an indulgent and memorable beer experience.

My Untappd Rating: ****.25
Global Average Untappd Rating: 4.12 (as of 11.21.21)

Adroit Theory Beer Reviews

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