Brick Lane Trilogy Of Fear: Soul Trader Fate, Love & Life

Imperial Stouts with Adjuncts
All 11.0%

In previous years, Brick Lane's awards-scooping Trilogy Of Fear series has made a play of showcasing the impact of lesser-seen types of wood on typically monstrous beers. For 2024, there's been a change of tack, one that sees them diving deeper than ever into the darkness suggested by both the liquid and the series' name. Out goes barrel-ageing, in comes the addition of some unlikely ingredients, each with a particularly gnarly accompanying story and tarot card-inspired labels that come to life under UV light (because why not?).

Working through them in the order they were introduced at the launch by head brewer Jon Seltin, who clearly took great delight in taking guests through the stories of (most of) the heinous – or as he put it "horrific" – adjuncts, we commence proceedings with Fate, featuring figs and fennel pollen. In his opinion, fennel blossom should simply be banned, while to find the justification for the inclusion of figs, look up "fig wasps" and pair it with Jon's phrase: "The corpses of thousands of tiny wasps"...

As you'll probably be aware, fennel in its various forms is one potent MF, and so it proves here, albeit with a quirky depth of character you don't always encounter. The familiar anise is there, front and centre, accompanied by liquorice and a cocktail-like squeeze of bergamot. There's heaps of oily, viscous dark chocolate to be found in the base beer and no discernible bitterness. The fennel pollen, of course, seems intent on taking up residence in your olfactory system once all else has departed.

From Fate, we move to Love and a tale of waterboarding the cascara – the husks of coffee cherries – that appears alongside chocolate additions in this imperial stout. I'll be honest: I lost track of the many processes the adjuncts went through before the finished beer was ready, but what I can tell you is that earthy, darker qualities have been extracted from the chocolate. There's also dried fruit to be found in a beer that's rather more bitter, roasty and dry – more classically imperial stouty, in fact – than Fate.

Now, with Life, Jon took inspiration from the world of fragrances, in which perfumiers aren't afraid to use some very unusual ingredients in the quest to create beguiling, complex products. The ingredient listed on the cans here – hyraceum – is the fossilised excretion of the hyrax, creatures that have apparently being doing their business in set locations for millennia. And that's the ingredient they were happy to talk about on the night; look up castoreum too, but maybe once you've emptied your glass.

The unique combination creates a beer that, if you didn't know better, you might assume had been aged for a lengthy period in ex-Islay whisky barrels as there's the sort of smoky, salty, treasure-chest-raised-from-the-depths-of-the-oceans character at play.

The trio not only takes you places you've never been before in beer, but also leaves you wondering where the hell they'll take the series next...

James Smith

NB If you're reading this in time, you could win a pack featuring each of the beers and a glass in a competition for our beer club members. It's just one of many amazing giveaways, events and deals on offer to members; details here.

Published July 10, 2024

Brick Lane Brewing

41 Imagine Way
Dandenong South
VIC 3175

(03) 9525 0938
Open Hours

Thurs & Fri: midday to 6pm
(bottleshop sales only)

Gypsy Hub
WA Beer & Brewing Conference 2024 2

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