Product description: The crew at Melvin decided to push their system to the max on all levels. Brewed with 4 plus lbs of Simcoe and Mosaic hops per barrel then double dry hopped. Flavors of peach, stone fruit and herbal forest. Sure to put you in the gravel pit.
Melvin Brewing – Melvin Lambda3 – 12 oz. can poured into specialty glassware – 13% abv.
Sampled from a 12oz, 2-month-old can (thank you for the easy-to-read packaging date), Lambda3 is clear orange gold in color with medium white foam and decent head retention. The nose is powerful and welcoming with fruity dry-hop character. There’s beautiful pineapple, cantaloupe, orange sherbet, peaches and cream, and touches of white sugar to bring out the fruitiness.
Jumping in, the first thing you notice is that this beer is thick and sugary. It’s 13% ABV and 100 IBUs, so there needs to be some body to this beer to keep it drinkable. Though I’m not a big fan of sweet beers, the alternative would be for this to be too thin and dry – allowing the 13% to hit you like rubbing alcohol and the 100 IBUs like chewing on tea leaves. That hefty amount of sugar in solution gives it some viscosity I don’t taste often in beer.
Don’t get me wrong, the heavy-duty alcohol isn’t totally masked as this tastes like a pineapple mixed drink. There’s syrupy, canned pineapple and canned peach flavors throughout with a background of middle shelf vodka. With each sip, the alcohol and sugar piles on to give you more of a medicinal cough syrup flavor. And as it approaches room temperature and the fruity hop aroma dissipates, you get very little in the way of balance. It’s all risk with little reward. The finish is rougher, white alcohol dominates, pineapple flavors can only do so much, and there’s increased head-spinning approaching a brownout type of experience. You can’t escape this monster ABV. Even with all that sugar and hop oil tropical character, it’s like putting a Band-Aid on a third-degree burn.
Overall, the beer is well-constructed and certainly has succeeded at the Triple IPA style. And at least for the first few minutes, this is a fun beer. But at the 13% level, you could have a much more enjoyable experience with a dessert white wine or California chardonnay.