Volcano Sauce Review
Brewery: Aslin Beer Company (Alexandria and Herdon, VA)
Reviewed by: Patrick Kudla
Reviewed on: November 4, 2023
For The Beerded Lady Bottle Shop
Dietary Warning: This beer contains lactose.
About the brewery…
Aslin Brewing Company was founded in 2015. They have since expanded to a 24-state, plus Washington, DC, operation. Currently, they distribute their product to the entire eastern seaboard, except South Carolina, but also include Alabama, Ohio, Michigan, Oregon, California, and Nevada, and have two taprooms in Virginia, one in DC, and another in Pennsylvania. Interestingly, named as a beer company, their website does not list their beers, but they do sell coffee and lots of fun merchandise! Visit them online for more information at aslinbeer.com
Judging a beer by its can…
The Volcano Sauce can displays a 16-ounce brightly colored label with Red yellow and blue. The name and packaging strongly suggest the thought: “Hey, this contains something fun and spicy!”
At first glance at the label, you wouldn’t immediately think that this is a Sour Ale, but for a Sour Ale, I AM expecting fruit they mention: blackberries and blueberries – clearly stated in yellow on the red background. The Volcano Sauce can also list some less-than-traditional Sour Ale flavor mentions: Lactose and Vanilla. These additional flavors are usually attributed with something dramatically darker such as a milk stout or a vanilla porter maybe even something lighter, but not fruity. This will be an interesting play on the palette. According to the label, this beer clocks in at 6% ABV, which sits right in the sweet spot for fruited sours.
Take a look at what’s inside…
Now, I’ve been opening beers for just over half my life, so I might know a thing or two here, and I live for that iconic beer-cracking sound, like most beer drinkers. To my disappointment, that classic sound didn’t ring in my ears like I thought it should, for two reasons:
- The 16-ounce can be filled to the brim! There was nothing I could do to save that little bit of beer that splashed back from simply opening the can. While we should all be grateful for a little extra in our cans, let’s try not to have splash-back. Let’s hope this is a one-off thing.
- The light carbonation is probably attributed to the lack of that sought-after sound. In defense of the beer, after pouring it was spot on for carbonation. Just a tad heavier than a breakfast mimosa complimented the mouthfeel perfectly! Definitely not disappointed, just a simple observation.
If this beer had been over-carbonated, there would have been a big mess and a lot of repeating characters as I typed out this review.
The pour was perfect, though a small head to the beer would have lent itself to the “Picture perfect” pour instead of its quick dissipation. A slightly under-carbonated beer is much better than a slightly over-carbonated beer. The can tilts and the glass fills with a mouthwatering light raspberry pink or slightly reddish blueberry hue. The chill/yeast haze is a classic sour ale appearance, just like a hefeweizen, just in a different color. The aroma wafting from my glass is heavenly! Blackberry is apparent and the blueberries and vanilla are softly noted undertones, but the lactose seems to lend itself more to the silky smooth finish akin to blueberries and cream oatmeal I enjoyed as a kid.
The first experience…
Once that nectar rolls onto your tongue for the first time, the very first thing you notice is there’s a bit more carbonation than you were expecting from the pour. A very pleasant opening to the overall experience. It seems to help lighten the mouthfeel. In a fraction of a moment, your tastebuds are gently bathed in a blackberry taste, gently rolling into the blueberries and vanilla at the very end.
No, this is nothing similar to the Belgian-style beers, they have a distinctive hop and malt combination with the fruit. The Volcano Sauce has almost no overtures of hops or malt whereas a Belgian-Style Fruit beer would have mild to extreme hop and malt notes either in the aroma or flavor or both. It also lacks the distinctive acidic bacterial fermentation of the Belgian-style fruit beers and lambics. There is a slight bitterness, but more of a tartness not unlike a recently ripened blueberry.
I was disappointed that the Aslin Beer Company barely mentions their beers on their website, I’d love to read more about them!
Truth be told, I’m not a huge fan of Sour Ales, and I probably wouldn’t have picked this up on my own. A recent acquaintance I met at the Beerded Lady, Gina, suggested it to me. Of course, I had my doubts mostly due to the beer’s name and equating it to “spicy”, but you know what they say, “Don’t judge a book by its cover, nor a beer from its can.” The beer, when poured in a glass, did lack the head, but the carbonation was still on point. In my professional – brewing, and beer-drinking – opinion, the Volcano Sauce hits the nail on the head as a “fruited sour ale”. A true sour ale has a different, more distinct sourness to it, without getting too technical: more tart than sweet with more presence of malts and hops, this had neither but tasted so good!
If you like tart or bold-flavored ciders and want to experience a beer, the Volcano Sauce will be your gateway to the beer world. If you live in or near the Raleigh/Garner area, swing by and pick up a can or four at the Beerded Lady!
I don’t have truly negative remarks, but rather a few thoughts as I finish off the glass:
- The label hints at something a bit spicy: To me Volcanoes are hot, I was expecting a spicy note. The colors of the can do grab your attention.
- Overfilling, how full the can was could be a one-off issue and I was just unlucky, or lucky depending on how one looks at it.
- No perceived off-flavors or weird unidentified floating molds or yeast. The brewers are skilled and daring with this beautiful creation.