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Abrasive Ale - Surly Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Abrasive AleAbrasive Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

3,039 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 3,039
Reviews: 800
rAvg: 4.53
pDev: 8.17%
Wants: 1,896
Gots: 280 | FT: 15
Brewed by:
Surly Brewing Company visit their website
Minnesota, United States

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

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
Was "16 Grit Ale," but now available in cans and renamed "Abrasive Ale".

Sure we're abrasive. We were abrasive long before we were Surly. If you visit the brewery you can still see remnants of industrial manufacturing factory Omar's parents ran for 35 years within those same 4 walls. Bandsaw blades, grinding wheels, and a sanding discs came long before ales and lagers. But let's be honest, this is a lot more fun. Pale in color, this over-hopped, under-brewed Double IPA has almost twice the amount of hops & malt crammed in the can.

(Beer added by: Buebie on 12-27-2008)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,039 | Reviews: 800 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by Sirwootalot:
Photo of Sirwootalot
4.14/5  rDev -8.6%

Poured into a 16-oz Pilsner glass.

What a beautiful pour! The body is a rich golden-honey color with the tiniest tinge of amber, and with a thick, foamy head that's easily 3". It's astoundingly well carbonated for how high its ABV is, and small particles remain suspended throughout - though somehow the beer isn't cloudy at all. It slowly fades to a decent soap bubble consistency, and never completely goes away. The beer smells suprisingly mild for what you'd expect - hops dominate, but they don't overpower, and they're on a backbone that smells suspiciously like really good cookie dough. It's no stronger-smelling than a regular IPA/APA, despite the much higher ABV.

The flavor is a mildly biscuity, not too complex vehicle that delivers a two-trailer 18-wheeler of hop resin down your throat. The hops themselves are very well balanced, and don't hit you in the face with a mallet like other popular DIPAs do - I'm not sure what strain they are, but the flavor and odor is difficult to describe beyond "balanced". The alcohol itself lends a lot to the flavor profile in a good way, which is rare for most beers I've had. The beer itself isn't terribly bitter either, almost juicy, and the yeast is as undetectable as a nuclear submarine.

The mouthfeel is something I'm not a fan of. The sticky hop resin coats the entire inside of your mouth and dries it out with alarming force, to the point that it makes it harder to taste and appreciate the rest of the beer. The aftertaste, on the other hand, is delightful and endlessly complex - even better than the core flavor itself. At alternating intervals as I drank this, I detected lingering notes as far off as juniper, grapefruit, lemon zest, maplewood sawdust, hash, macaroons, and cinnamon. When I burped halfway through, it sent a wave of scent and sensation that was almost exactly like smoking a joint of high-quality west coast marijuana (which I imagine would pair with this beer VERY well).

Overall, this is a damn good DIPA precisely because it doesn't over-reach itself - Surly is all about hops, but even more so, I have yet to have a single beer of theirs that isn't expertly well-balanced. I'm fascinated by the contrast between how basic and occasionally unexciting the core flavor is, compared to the explosive rainbow of scents and flavors that stay in your mouth long after you've swallowed it.

Sirwootalot, Mar 29, 2014
More User Reviews:
Photo of DanGeo
4.5/5  rDev -0.7%

DanGeo, Mar 07, 2014
Photo of tectactoe
4.8/5  rDev +6%

Thanks again to Mike for letting me split his last one with him. My first Surly IPA. Pours a copper-orange color exhibiting exceptional clarity all the way through. A big, white, foamy head piles up and stays perched atop the ale, leaving remnants of chunky lace all around the glass. Overall, very inviting and clean, especially for a DIPA. And of course, great head. Nothing worse than an IPA with no head.

And then I smelled it. Son of a bitch, this stuff smells excellent. As I bring my nose to the glass, a handful of citrus gets launched into my senses and sends me into utopia for a few moments. Pineapples, sweet grapefruits, mangoes, tangerines, and a large assortment of other various tropical fruits just reach out and run a number on my nostrils. The intense citrus is met in equal parts with one of the most raw, and down-n-dirty hop bills I've had the pleasure of smelling. Dank, super oily and resinous, wet, grassy, and full of pine needles. The hops here mean serious fucking business. Whatever they're doing over there at Surly - they're doing it right.

After an aroma like that, how can this stuff not taste excellent? Right up front, the piney, resinous hops swim to every nook and cranny in my mouth and send a shockwave of bitterness through my system. The bitterness is lovely because it seems to hit powerfully and quick, then tapers off and lets the rest of the flavors work their magic - those would include the myriad of fruits I fell in love with a few moments ago. More citrus rind, pineapple, grapefruit peel, mango, tangerine: citric and tropical, all day!

A light peppery flavor works its way into things, along with very slight onion notes, keeping things interesting. The aftertaste leaves you feeling like you just took a mouth full of the freshest and most green grass on the planet. Grassy, leafy, super resinous aftertaste with one, little, dying bit of citrus peel and rind. The malt gives a light bread and cracker canvas for all of the hops to go to town on. After every sip, I am blown away by how awesome this beer is. Medium bodied, carbonated heavily; this one leaves a light stickiness across the palate.

Jesus, this stuff is sickeningly amazing. Some of the freshest tasting hop notes around, nice and bitter without being scary (don't be afraid of the name "Abrasive" - it's not so bad), and one of the best aromas in the business. The formula for success. Surly has it. It's called Abrasive.

tectactoe, Feb 20, 2013
Photo of jono0101
4.5/5  rDev -0.7%

jono0101, Today at 04:51 PM
Photo of Schlais
4.75/5  rDev +4.9%

Schlais, Aug 27, 2012
Photo of xVERITAS
4.75/5  rDev +4.9%

xVERITAS, Nov 21, 2013
Photo of delaced21
4.75/5  rDev +4.9%

delaced21, Mar 03, 2014
Photo of SkiBum22
4.5/5  rDev -0.7%

A - Pours a fairly clear burnt orange amber color with a huge 3 fingers of dense off white head. Great thick head retention and sticky lace clings to half of the glass.

S - Aroma really grabs you right away. Huge bursts of caramel and toffee, blended with grapefruit. At first, the smell is much more hoppy, but then mellows into that traditional aroma profile of a DIPA quickly.

T - Soft and super smooth opening of herbal and woody hops. A sweet center adds a touch of counterweight before a crisp, dry, bitter pine finish.

M - Medium bodied, and bit too smooth. Could stand a bit more carbonation.

O - Glad I traded for this one. One of the best DIPA's I've ever had.

SkiBum22, Jan 21, 2012
Photo of wrycon
4.43/5  rDev -2.2%

About an inch of cloud-white foam. Looks a deep copperish-ruby red. Smells absolutely amazing. Deep, deep citrus with tropical notes everywhere. Lots of grapefruit and an underpinning of malt and grain. Tastes fantastic. I remember past Abrasives being more, well, abrasive. This drinks like juice. Fairly light to start and then it slowly coats the palate in an equally-sweet / equally bitter wash, with lots of citrus, but an equal amount of malt. Neither flavor dominates, but rather collaborate to great effect. Normally, this wouldn't be notable, though the flavor is huge. You feel the tide could tip in either direction, but the flavor holds firm and ends in a slightly resinous fade. This is a strong, citrusy DIPA that should not be missed.

Like It? Very Much So

wrycon, Dec 09, 2011
Photo of newk340
4.5/5  rDev -0.7%

newk340, Feb 04, 2012
Photo of orbitalr0x
3.78/5  rDev -16.6%

On tap at the Bavarian Lodge in Lisle, IL 5/1/09

Deep hazy orange red with a half inch of white head on top. Spotty lacing on the glass. Aromas of fruity caramel malts that intertwine with big citric and pine hops. Resinous and quite earthy as well.

First sip is semisweet fruity caramel malt that rolls into earthy hop flavors. Citrus and pine resins abound. Not as clean or vibrant a hop profile as I normally like for a DIPA. It flows down with a big bitter finish that is nice.

Creamy, chewy mouthfeel that goes down smooth and is fairly easy to drink. Overall, I found this to be a good double IPA, however it doesn't rank up there with some of my favorites. I was personally hoping for more and a brighter, cleaner, oilier hop profile.

orbitalr0x, May 28, 2009
Photo of briang01
4.5/5  rDev -0.7%

briang01, Jun 17, 2014
Photo of supa0525
4.25/5  rDev -6.2%

supa0525, Jan 29, 2013
Photo of danthehopslamman
4.25/5  rDev -6.2%

danthehopslamman, May 02, 2014
Photo of beaversfan12
5/5  rDev +10.4%

beaversfan12, Jun 28, 2014
Photo of NWer
4.75/5  rDev +4.9%

NWer, May 28, 2012
Photo of SD-Alefan
4.75/5  rDev +4.9%

SD-Alefan, Dec 29, 2013
Photo of DaftPatrick
5/5  rDev +10.4%

16 oz can poured into a Surly Darkness chalice

A: Pours a hazy orange that you would expect from a great DIPA. With a brilliant white head, that leaves slightly lacing.

Smell: Bursting with grapefruit, pine, hops and other strong citrus scents.

Taste: Simply amazing, exploding with citrus and pine all over the place. The perfect balance of bitterness and sweetness with this one. Though the sweetness is more of a bittersweet. The taste lingers, but when it dissipates you want to go back for another sip immediately. Hides the 9% as if its nothing at all.

Mouthfeel: Very full, especially for a DIPA. Rather resiny, but in the best sense of the word. Slight carbonation.

Overall: This beer is absolutely amazing, hands down my favorite DIPA. Given it's drinkability, it's price and 2-4 month availability, this may actually be my favorite beer of all time.

DaftPatrick, Feb 26, 2013
Photo of csmartin6
4.5/5  rDev -0.7%

csmartin6, Jan 16, 2013
Photo of Hamburgers
4.5/5  rDev -0.7%

Hamburgers, Mar 07, 2013
Photo of warnerry
4.47/5  rDev -1.3%

Canned 1/12/12

A - Pours a clear deep copper with one and a half fingers of off-white head. Head has nice retention and leaves nice rings of lacing.

S - Big citrus hop aroma with some pine as well. Also some touches of tropical fruit, caramel malt and faint florals.

T - Citrus is also very big in the taste, with some grapefruit and both bitter and juicy orange. This is very well balanced. Yes, there is a strong hop presence and considerable bitterness, but there is also a bit of sweetness and some caramel malt that balance this really well. Finish is a long lasting bitterness.

M - Very smooth, medium mouthfeel that is a bit resinous. Finish is bitter with an earthy dryness.

O - The 9% is nowhere to be found in the taste. This is a very easy drinking DIPA, not at all in your face, that has a nicely balanced flavor profile.

warnerry, Feb 07, 2012
Photo of DWolf
4.75/5  rDev +4.9%

DWolf, Mar 03, 2012
Photo of Callmecoon
4.5/5  rDev -0.7%

Callmecoon, Dec 28, 2011
Photo of bishopdc0
4.75/5  rDev +4.9%

bishopdc0, Mar 05, 2013
Photo of 77apm
5/5  rDev +10.4%

77apm, Mar 16, 2014
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Abrasive Ale from Surly Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 3,039 ratings.