Tenebris Barleywine Ghost 541
Unintentionally, this is my second consecutive review for an Adroit Theory beer. Definitely not a mistake though. “Tenebris” coming from the Latin word for “Dark” makes many references to it on the bottle and in the flavor itself. It pours a nice dark and clear copper(ish) color and unlike most straight-malt barlewyines, you can smell something a little special in there. Something fruity but also dark, as if they’ve attempted to bottle the spirit of a Crow that spent its life listening to melodic death metal and eating plums.
Hops – 0.2 I dislike giving out whole numbers, that’s a rookie mistake, so it gets something very close to 0. It’s a barleywine. There’s not going to be hop presence in most/all of them.
Malts – 8.3 It’s not sickly sweet, like you’re chugging straight from a liquid malt bottle, but it is a barleywine (have I mentioned that?) and they’re malty. It’s more Malt-J than Maltley Crüe, though because they had to save room for something I’ll get into later.
Carbonation – 3.5 I’ve had some of the same style that drank like a low-viscosity syrup, but this is not like that. There’s a pleasant amount of bubbles to break up that sweetness, like cutting your latest batch of trashcan jungle juice falldown sauce with some Sprite.
Character – 6.8 It’s not a whirlwind of flavors constantly rabbit-punching your taste buds, but aside from the deliciously sweet malts and roasted essence, you also get a sweet dark fruit flavor.
Palate – 8.4 Everything there is super nice in both quality and quantity. Nothing overwhelms you, so I guess you’re just enjoyably “whelmed.” Some barleywines will also hit you with noticeable alcohol either on the nose or tongue or finish (or wherever you decide to put beer inside you), but despite being 10%, the only giveaway that it has a higher amount of booze is the malty-ness.
Overall – 8.4 Before all 12 barleywine fanatics get upset, this isn’t saying this beer is only a B-grade beer. It’s not. This score is judging only on barleywines, and all barleywines. If you had access to every single one on the market, and your friend asked you to put them all in order from worst to best, this would fall in the upper 80th percentile. It won’t knock your socks off and make you say “I’M DRINKING THIS AND ONLY THIS FOREVER!” But it does offer a lot of great stuff and a really cool label. Not as cool as last review’s EBK but it still gives you pairings on food, cheese, and cigars as well as a little parable about crows: “During Medieval Times, ‘The Shadow of the Sun’ was hopw European Alchemists defined the Crow. it was their symbol for the blackness of dispair and chaos.
We see the Crow as a Life Force so powerful it can actually live off Death itself. After all, it’s not Death if you refuse it…”
And the picture of the label is a really neat artistic take on a crow. Hence the reference in the beginning. Good job, guys.