Dismiss Notice
Get 12 monthly issues of BeerAdvocate magazine and save $5 when you select "auto-renew."

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join our email list →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.

Abrasive Ale - Surly Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Abrasive AleAbrasive Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
99
world-class

912 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 912
Hads: 4,236
Avg: 4.47
pDev: 17%
Wants: 2,150
Gots: 609 | FT: 32
Brewed by:
Surly Brewing Company
Minnesota, United States | website

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial IPA | 9.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Buebie on 12-27-2008

Hazy gold in color, this Oatmeal Double IPA has aggressive aromas of candied grapefruit/tangerine and tropical fruit. Malted oats greatly enhance the body and the high level of bitterness is balanced by this sweetness. Citra hops are used for aroma & flavor additions and for dry-hopping, while Warrior hops are used primarily for bitterness.

OG 19.5 Plato
Color 5 SRM
Hops: Citra, Warrior
Yeast: English Ale
Malt: 2-row, Golden Naked Oats
ABV: 9%
View: Beers (60) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 912 | Hads: 4,236
Reviews by JayCheG:
Photo of JayCheG
4.49/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a can (1/29/2014) into a pint glass

A: Pours a nice golden color with one finger head that dissipates to a nice film on the top. Seeing lots of carbonation hanging around and very nice lacing.
S: Initially lots of fruity citrus and pine followed by the "cat piss" smell
T: Lots of resiny pine and some of the citrus flavor. Strong malt backbone finish.
M: Very full beer with lots of carbonation. Leaves a bit of a coating in the mouth after drinking.
O: Good stuff, will definitely be going back for some more!

 524 characters

More User Reviews:
Photo of DaddyFist
4.69/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

This beer. This very beer, is extremely violent.
The intensity of the hop aroma punched me right in the teeth. It was as if I had gotten into a bar fight, and a BIG son from Texas, crushed a miller lite bottle across my tranquil jaw line. Battle the urge to not pass out from the loss of blood, I grab on to the nearest object that is bolted to the greasy, beer battered floor. Struggling to arise and regain my confidence, a local savior helps me to my quivering feet. (Picture the scene in the bible where Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus to his feet after falling the third time under the cross).

Finally grasping onto the rail of the bar, I regain my stance. Violence and carnage has spread through the bar like the wildfires in Africa during the dry season. Hoots, and hollers echo, and vibrate throughout the old brick building. Dust cascades downwards from the ancient ceiling. The particles pass in front of the dim lights, trying to reach the floor undisturbed.

Now that I have regained consciousness I can finally sip on the abrasive beer that has already dragged me through a field of those barb balls that stick to your clothing during your hiking days in the iron range of Northern Minnesota. Woah. WOAH! EASY DOES IT BRAVO! (Said like a regal Civil war general trying to calm down his horse).

The awesome power of the citra hops pelt me to no end. Seemingly endless, Brett Favre fires round after round of citra hops the size of footballs into my ribs and throat. I beg for death to wrap his gentle, bony hands around my throat, and end this madness. But being death, he taunts his victim (me), and sits patiently. Staring through my eyes, into another realm of existence. "Please! PLEASE!" I begin to wail and chant. Trapped. Nowhere to go. To weak to run. The warrior hops come in to finish me off. With an earthy like vengeance, they ride in on a flock of 1970's El Camino's, strapped to the gills with ancient Greek weaponry.

They drift dangerously close to my head. Aggressively stepping out of their magical wagons, they walk towards me. Kicking earth, and bitter hops of their own kin into my mouth, they scoff and growl. "PLEASE! IF THERE IS A GOD PLEASE END THIS PAIN OF EXISTENCE!" I proclaim as a last shout to the heavens.

Then. Just then, Oatmeal rides down in his chariot from the electrifying clouds above. Like Zeus he fires bolts of lightening downwards upon his victims. The warrior hops scatter, like cave goblins in the face of light! They pile back into their bad ass El Camino's and take stride back to the depths from which they came.

"Oatmeal. Sweet, sweet oatmeal.....thank..you for saving me. You have saved my palate from the ever reckoning bitter hops.Bless you oatmeal. Bless you."

And just like that, death finally rubbed his fingers over my eyes. Closing them permanently.

Ladies and gentlemen. That is what drinking this beer is like.

 2,890 characters

Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.72/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Can sent to me by Ryan, thanks so much dude.

This one pours a slightly hazy burnt orange color, with a half inch head, and tons of lacing.

This one smells quite herbal, a bit of marijuana, with a good amount of juicy, pungent citrus fruit as well. The smell just jumps out of the glass.

This one is so fruity, so wonderful, and so hoppy. Moderately bitter, with some pine resin, with a lot more juicy fruit- orange, pineapple, and some grapefruit. This one is pretty sweet, but that's balanced by the bitter pine and the herbal character as well. There's not much in the malt department, and nothing in the alchohol department- it's not noticeable at all.

This has a very juicy mouthfeel, with a body of medium heft. The carbonation is fairy low, but not distractingly so. I'm not sure if this is the normal level of carbonation, or it's lower than usual as per some of the 2015 batch(es) of Abrasive. No matter, though, it's still carbonated, and it still tastes quite good.

This deserves it's status as one of the best IPAs in the country. So good.

 1,055 characters

Photo of beaversfan12
5/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Just as good, if not better than Pliny

38 characters

Photo of ONovoMexicano
4.26/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Canned on 1/10/2015. Poured into a nonic pint glass.

The head is impressive. It's two fingers of fluffy, pale white foam that resembles clouds. It persists exceptionally well and leaves abundant lace. As for the body it's a blend of amber and gold that is slightly hazy at its upper parts, but clear and blonde closer to the base of the glass. 4.75

Piney, resinous and dank on the nose. Hints of citrus and berries but really very much more resinous. A sweet caramel base is noticeable too. 4.25

I'm surprised by a big floral flavor that is much more in line with what I'd expect from a Belgian, very much like fresh lilies. This is accompanied by a resinous, hop oil and fresh hop leafy flavor before a sweet and mildly citrus finish. It has currents of sweet maltiness offering some caramel and there's a nice interplay of flavors here, as each sip seems to offer a different twist. 4.25

Abrasive is apt for how this beer assaults the mouth. It's bitter almost throughout and not in a mellow way, it really bites at the tongue. There's a refreshing element initially, but it gets pretty thick and creamy before a dry and bitter finish. Carbonation is low to medium and works with the bitterness to really punish the tongue. 4

Besides being overly bitter for my poor taste buds, this is a damn good brew. The more masochistic of IPA/DIPA drinkers would probably love this.

 1,379 characters

Photo of Brado913
5/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Everything about Abrasive is what beer should be. It is the perfect cold MN winter day beer.

92 characters

Photo of shrek806
5/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into a Surly Darkness snifter from a 16 oz can

The pour is an orange hue with a thick creamy head and sticky lacing on the glass

The smell is an awesome, over-the-top citrus explosion of orange, pineapple, lemon, and mango with a hint of pine.

The taste follows the smell. It is loaded with citrus with a nice hoppy finish. little to no bitterness which is hard to believe considering the alcohol content.

The mouthfeel is perfect. Not to carbonated, smooth creamy swallow. No bite.

The overall drinkability is top notch. My absolute favorite DIPA. Maybe my favorite beer out there. Thank you Surly.

 611 characters

Photo of troupos40
3.21/5  rDev -28.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

I know I'm not the only one to get a flat abrasive, 2 were great and 2 were very low carb. This review is for the flat ones, I just believe this beer shouldn't be rated this high when there is the possibility of tainted cans. The good is really good, but the bad is pretty bad. Surly really needs to take QC seriously.

 321 characters

Photo of ThaCrax
5/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Perfect! Rolling warmth across my tongue. Hops Galore! I wish I could drink this every time I want an IPA.

109 characters

Photo of jegross2
5/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Reviewing the Abrasive Ale from Surly Brewing Company. Thank you BeerAdvocate user Mid for sending me this one!
Score: 100

16 oz can with a "canned on" date of 12/01/11 poured into a Sam Adams perfect pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a slightly hazy, translucent copper-orange color with a full finger of creamy cream colored head that slowly settles into a thin layer and thick ring around the glass. Amazing lacing. An absolutely gorgeous IIPA. 5/5

Smell: This one is extremely fresh and citrusy! I could smell the beer as I was pour it out of the can. Huge amounts of pine and zesty citrus. Lots of fresh grapefruit, lemons, tangerines, oranges and tropical fruit. A little caramel malt. Deep whiffs of the fresh, zesty citrus aromas really perk the smell receptors, just like Zombie Dust. Abrasive Ale's aroma rivals Heady Topper. 5/5

Taste: WOW. Huge of zesty grapefruit and pine flavors throughout. I wouldn't say this one has a "malty backbone," but a noticeable maltiness on the mid-palate counterbalances what would otherwise be an extreme citrus hop bomb of bitterness. That balance is nice, as it takes you to the edge of hoppiness and back before the finish. Huge notes of fresh lemon come out more and more as the beer layers. The citrus zestiness of the beer is like a bright sunshine of hops on the palate. A lingering lemony bitterness grows in the finish as the beer layers. 5/5

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, high carbonation. The carbonation really highlights the zestiness on the palate, making the bright, fresh citrus flavors "pop" on the tongue. Finishes dry and sharply bitter. 5/5

Overall: This is amazing imperial IPA -- the best I have had to date. This one takes you to the edge of fresh citrus hoppiness and back. An absolute must try beer. This is one tailor-made for hops heads.

Recommendation: Beer geeks need to seek this beer out; it lives up to the hype. This is a must try beer. Casual beer drinkers who are not hops averse should probably enjoy this one too, though I have found IPAs, and especially imperial IPAs, to be a poor "gateway" into craft beer for casual beer drinkers.

Pairings: I paired this one with beef shwarma, Mediterranean rice and tahini, and I thought the spiciness and hoppiness paired really well.

Cost: $15.99 for a four pack.

 2,287 characters

Photo of VashonGuy
4.49/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Surly is kind of amusing ... the brewery is anything but surly, they're a friend to all beer lovers, and this beer is anything but "abrasive" ... it's actually a welcoming blast of fruity hoppy goodness. I've had IPAs and DIPAs that are pretty bitter and might qualify as "abrasive" but this beer is not like that. Most of the flavor I get is fruity and rich and malty, not just bitterness for the sake of bitterness. Yes, there's a bitter kick at the end, just to remind you that is a DIPA, but it's a minor part of the overall taste profile. This would be in my top 10 of "beers I wish were distributed in the state of Washington," and it's one of my favorite DIPAs ever.

Serving: 16 ounce can into a tulip.

 715 characters

Photo of AmericanSpartan
4.74/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

I don't care how it pours or how it laces...this beer smells, feels and tastes outstanding. You can smell the hops a foot away from the glass. The rich feel in the mouth coat the palate and the bitterness keeps you on your toes. Citrus balances the bitterness and the oatmeal brings a uniqueness to this kicks IPA.

 316 characters

Photo of Mr_Bongard
5/5  rDev +11.9%

Look forward to it every year

29 characters

Photo of RussBeercier
5/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I rated this a 5 last year. Then I got some this year. Blown away again.

75 characters

Photo of womencantsail
4.57/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A big thanks to my homeboy Ben for hooking me up with some cans of this beast.

A: The beer is amber in color with great clarity and a massive cream colored head on top which sticks to the edge of the glass.

S: A hop bomb if I've ever smelled one! Very reminiscent of Sculpin's aromas. A ton of tropical fruit, especially pineapples and mangos along with plenty of juicy citrus. No malt to be found.

T: The sweet tropical fruits are really the main attraction here as well. The pineapple and mango provide a nice sweetness, along with some peaches. There is plenty of juicy grapefruit and pine on the finish to give the beer a great bitterness.

M: Medium in body with a low to moderate carbonation and a really crisp finish to the beer.

D: I say it everytime I have a Surly beer, and I'll say it again: awesome! These guys really have a good thing going and I'm glad to have some more of this one in the fridge.

 915 characters

Photo of CJCouillard
4.74/5  rDev +6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Pored from a can into a beer glass.

Pours a rich golden color with a thick white head that lasts for a while. Citrus and pine are the first thing I smell, followed by hops. Very smooth and drinkable. Gives a burst of citrus, followed by a subtle bitterness. Would not have guessed this is a 9.0% ABV based on taste.

 320 characters

Photo of TheBrewo
4.46/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This brew was served on tap from the upstairs walk-up bar, at the new Surly taproom in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Arriving in a pair of thick house tulips, Abrasive shined the color of a freshly polished penny. A half finger tall head the color of French lace stood tall, leaving milky ring etchings around our glasses following a medium retention. A chill haze obscured clarity, but no sediment was noted. Carbonation appeared to be mildly moderate. The nose filled with airs that were oh, so sticky sweet, with big grapefruity citric hoppiness complimented by heavy grassy and fruity nectar varietals, pale and clean caramel malty sweetness, mango and pineapple flesh and syrup juiciness, sweet cornbread, cooling vanilla bean, hot honey, warming white and caramel sugars, toffee, white chalk on sweating asphalt, green grassiness, hearty boozy sweetness, and mild shoe polish bite. The flavoring…BOOM!! We experienced massively bittering citric hop, fruitiness of pineapple, pear, and kiwi, grapefruity skin and juicy wash, underripe strawberries, lemon rind, warmer herbal hop rumbles, green weediness, aloe, foamy plastics, almond extract, bubblegum esters, dandelion, pine sap, worty caramel and pale malt toast, hints of silky fresh oats, and lipstick waxiness. Through the end and aftertaste, flashes of black pepper and old, dried cinnamon, big but welcomed boozy warmth, hoppy garlic airiness akin to Summit hop varietals, and harsh medicinal phenolic wash poked through intermittently. The body sat on the fuller side of medium, while carbonation was higher, but still only gently brushed the palate. Slurp and smack were great, with slightly less cream or froth. The latter were still present enough to contribute towards an initially wet and cooling coating. This dripped into bittering puck and decent astringent dryness. The abv was appropriate, and drinkability was frankly amazing.

Overall, what a fantastic beer to start your night with. Actually, we started and ended our night with pours of Abrasive at the new Surly brewpub (which is gorgeous, by the way). This was actually kind of an emotional experience for us. We had visited Minneapolis a few weeks prior to this trip, but unfortunately were unable to get over to Surly. Very sad. We happened to get a chance for a second trip to Minneapolis for work, and were so thankful for the opportunity to make time during this return visit. If we’re not mistaken, the day we arrived at the brewpub was their annual release day for Abrasive; a beer that has been ever elusive for us, at least for the past few years. It was such a nice surprise to see it one tap, and we had to go for it. Thus, the two glasses a piece. What a journey the beer itself is. The nose is sweet and warming simultaneously, making that first sip irresistible joy. It shocks you with intense citric and grapefruit bitterness, then the sweetness hits. Finally, the booze and chemicals wash you away for this amazingly balanced finale. This is the best DIPA we’ve had in recent memory, and it is sips uniquely as a true east/west hybrid on the transition from the front of the mouth to the back. We said it once, and we’ll say it again…BOOM.

 3,216 characters

Photo of PhillyBrewPhan
5/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Best smelling beer I've ever had. Super smooth and great tasting. A personal favorite. Wish it was more readily available.

122 characters

Photo of Qbdoo
4.7/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Murky light orange with not terribly substantial white head. Mind-blowing aroma of citra hops: grapefruit and a hint of orange. Taste is similar but there's a touch of sweetness balancing out the bitter hoppiness. Mouthfeel is slightly thin for a 2XIPA but there's also a creamy quality to it. This is a superb tasting and extremely well-balanced beer. Truly world class.

 371 characters

Photo of hseldon15
5/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Take a moment to smell this beer before you taste it. You won't regret it.

74 characters

Photo of Kraj30
5/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer is epic... Right up there with Heady... Fantastic

60 characters

Photo of mmahanna41
5/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

#1.... Only wish it were available year round. Best IPA, APA, Double IPA/APA. There is not a beer out there better. Better than Zombie. Beats Surlys other great "Todd the Axeman". All my opinion and I hope you disagree because that just means more for me.

 260 characters

Photo of BMMillsy
3.09/5  rDev -30.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Cans arrived today thanks to an extremely generous BA. Thanks man! Can dated 1/13/15 poured to a tulip glass deep copper colored with nearly no head. Aroma is straight up malt, no hop presence whatsoever. Straight up caramel sugar. Flavor follows with no hop presence, straight malt syrup, almost like this has been sitting around for a few years. Wow. Thick and syrupy, lower carbonation. Really horrendous. Maybe if this were called a barleywine, I'd give it a few more points. But wow. This is Abrasive?

 506 characters

Photo of 1sophrosyne1
4.23/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a pint canned on 1/13/15 into an IPA glass. Appreciated over 35 remarkable minutes.

Produces a full two-finger head with good retention and appealing clumps of shave-soapy lacing. Hazy flat amber allows sufficient light through to read. Squadrons of small bubbles feed the head, leaving an airy cream cap on the core. It looks the part, but could have a more interesting show.

The nose is assertively bitter, oniony, and almost ammoniac in its way of dumping a tropical bounty in the nostrils. Smells make one see the color orange reflected by mangoes, peaches, papayas, and passion fruit. After some time in the glass, the sharp antiseptic resins flow away, leaving pineapple juice, saltine, and a touch of lime with those mounds of equatorial produce. Even later, the onion-cellar and sauerkraut overlay returns with the petrol of a used wine barrel; it’s unique, but not necessarily inviting.

The slick of hop oils delays the flavor explosion in cool wetness for a refreshing downbeat. Then, the juicy fruits take over. Papaya and passionfruit are stronger on the tongue than in the nose; mangoes come in a fraction later and fold downward into a lightly toasted and buttered biscuit on the back of the tongue midway through a swallow. At that point, there’s a surprising upward lift of freshness that suspends dusty earth and a nasally-sensed brush of pine that keeps bitterness in check and makes the aftertaste clean and enjoyable. There’s not much depth with a gangly, but rubbery and flexible backbone of malt designed primarily to wave the Citra flag. As it warms, the buzz of ethanol has more influence (right around the time that I can also feel that 9% in my head).

In the mouth, every phase feels right. Although I typically like more heft and chew in a DIPA, the body is properly matched to the hop and carbohydrate profile. Because it’s thinner, some floral phenolic notes of flavor dance on the tongue between gulps in a way that adds complexity to the otherwise humulenic focus. Early, the bubbles make a play, but they fade fast and leave organics to dominate the texture. If I could have just a bit more carbonation in the middle before the clean lift of bitter alpha acids, I’d give this element a perfect rating.

Despite the blast of Citra on the front end with tropical warmth in this winter release, I think the fresh, long ending and aftertaste are my favorite elements in the brew. It’s lively and large, but could use a touch more barley to ground and integrate its bitter angles and splashy fruits. Food fills that need quite nicely, though. The appellation doesn’t really fit this iteration of Abrasive, but buy it up and drink deeply! It’s a winner…again.

 2,719 characters

Photo of OmahaKF
4.23/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Smell is of pine resin, pineapple, mango, and malt sweetness. Taste is tropical fruit and orange citrus - very juicy and not very bitter with a smooth finish. Alcohol is well-hidden and this does not drink anything like a 9% beer. Great beer!

 245 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Abrasive Ale from Surly Brewing Company
99 out of 100 based on 912 ratings.