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Abrasive Ale - Surly Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Abrasive AleAbrasive Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

856 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 856
Hads: 3,896
Avg: 4.47
pDev: 8.28%
Wants: 2,139
Gots: 479 | FT: 19
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:
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%
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Reviews: 856 | Hads: 3,896
Photo of tyearby
5/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I really don't need to say much about this beer other than it has a massive hop punch balanced by the malt on the back end. It is unreal. The pine and citrus are off the chain and literally make your mouth water. Crazy good! I just wish it was released more than 1 time a year.

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Photo of pat61
5/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

L: A hazy fold pour supports a 1” pillowy, clingy white foam collar. S: Spicy, floral hops, light fruit, citrus. T: Grapefruit, fruit, spice, grapefruit rind bitterness. The malt is moderate, the hop flavors and bitterness moderately high. F: Silky and creamy. Moderately full body and medium carbonation. O: This is a great beer that needs to be released more often.

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Photo of jwerner23
5/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I love this beer, it is my #1 beer right now. If you have a chance to try it and you like IPAs you have to pick it up. I have had it side by side with Bell's Hop slam (which is also a great beer) and would take Abrasive over it every time. It just sucks it is only available for a few months a year.

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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.

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Photo of Koebele
5/5  rDev +11.9%

I don't quite get the comparisons I'm reading to Surly Furious. This is a very different beer, and even more hoppy. It's right up there with the Stone Enjoy By Series as one of my favorite IIPAs. Fantastic taste. I would highly recommend this beer.

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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.

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

I've been hoping for an opportunity to try some beers from Surly for some time, and this one hit it out of the park for me. Golden peach color with a tight white head. Faintly sweet and floral in the nose. Perfectly balanced big hops punch up front, with a honey sweetness playing off the hops bittering. No alcohol notes, other than a little pepper at the finish. Wonderfully smooth for a DIPA. I would put this head-to-head with Hopslam.

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Photo of CraigP83
5/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Nice rich orange color with pillow of white foam. Smells hops, oats, citrus fields. Taste is a rush of mouthwatering citrus and apricot as it fades a nice bitterness builds in the back of your throat. Mouthfeel also leaves the sticky, sugary coating of citrus. *edit: after several 4-packs of this I've changed my rating to a 5. This beer never gets old I nearly shed a tear every time I finish my beer. One of the best DIPAs in the world

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

Poured from a can into a pilsner.

A. Pours a reddish brown hue, thick 2 finger head, continued to maintain a 2mm thick head sip after sip.

S. Smells strongly floral, lots and lots of sweet pine, and tons of citrus. This is a big smelling beer the second you open the can.

T. Tastes of sweet citrus, lots of pine, slightly sour grape fruit, and tangy orange peel.

M. Medium body, coarse feeling, with a lightly dry finsh.

O. I love this beer. It's well balanced flavor, and an amazing smell. I could open a can of this and leave it in my bathroom as an air freshener! This is a super tasty beer. Everyone should try this beer at least once (But needing to have more won't be an option).

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Photo of wrightro07
5/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: A nice amber colour with a nice fluffy white head.
S: The smell is amazing. This beer right after you crack open the can bursts out the aroma of pine trees and citrus hops. I would love to have my house smell like this everyday. When drinking this beer I had to enhale the smell everytime before a sip.
T: This is the best double imperial IPA I have ever had. It is huge to say the least. Huge in hops and malts. Abrasive makes Furious seem weak. The difference is that big. Even though the ABV is 9% one would never have guest it. This beer is smooth.
D: The overall drinkability is incrediable. I wish I could buy this all year round. It is too bad that it is only brewed once a year. If you have not tried Abrasive and you are a hop head this beer should then be on the top of your wants list.

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

Poured from can into tulip. Canned on 10/30/13

A - Deep orange with a nice reddish hue on this one. Nice eggshell white head with decent retention. Fair lacing.

S - ... It really doesn't get much better than this. This is one of the most potent, dank, resinous, hop-forward beers I've ever smelled. Getting a fair amount of pine, big citrus and mild floral notes. Definitely some marijuana qualities as well.

T - Extends beautifully from the smell. Tropical citrus hits you up front with a sweetness which immediate turns into a dry piney bitterness at the end of the sip which lingers for what seems like forever. It begs you to take another sip. No alcohol taste whatsoever.

M - Oily resinous mouthfeel with a medium body. The malt definitely takes a backseat here, but isn't completely hidden to help balance out the absurd amount of hops.

O - One of the best I've ever had without a doubt; a hop-head's holy grail. Seek this one out, I know I will be in the future.

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

Appearance: Very hazy pale orange color. Nice rocky white head. Leaves great lacing. This looks like a pale malt hop monster.

Smell: !!! Citrus and tropical fruit. Some melon notes. I can smell this beer from a foot away. Tiny hints of pale malt.

Taste: Opens with some balancing sweet pale malt. Then transitions into everything good about the Citra hop. Tropical fruit, citrus peel, flesh, and zest and some cantaloupe/melon type notes. Citrus to the max. This tastes like a bigger, slightly less malty Zombie Dust. Not getting any of the vegetal hop flavors I sometimes pick up from Warrior. Bitterness is not over the top for all the big qualities of this beer. Finishes dry and slightly bitter with a lingering citrus juice quality. So easy to take another sip.

Mouthfeel: Well-carbed and only medium bodied for a a beer of this size. Finish is again lingering, dry, mildly bitter, and packed with citrus. Supremely drinkable for what it is.

Overall: This is probably the 50th can I've had of this stuff, and I can find no faults. With all respect to Hill Farmstead, The Alchemist, Lawson's, Russian River, Kern River, Alpine, DC Brau, Pipeworks, 3 Floyds, etc etc etc etc. This is the best DIPA on the planet, to my palate.

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Photo of AndyP612
5/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On tap served in a pint from The Blue Door Pub reviewed from notes.

A- Nice fluffy one finger worth of head that lingered long. Great lacing and retention.

S- Hops bite your nose with citrus and tropical fruit hints.

T- Follows as the nose leads with citrus fruit punch and lingering pineapple and grapefruit.

M- Lacks the syrupy feeling common in DIPA/IIPAs and not overly thick. Finishes very dry an attribute I love in the abrasive when compared to others brewed under the same manner.

O- I wrote in my notes "Perfect" but this was not my first pint on this particular occasion but still rings pretty true. I love this ale. The bitterness hide the reasonably high abv Abrasive offers which needs to be taken into account since after only one or two is plenty for the consumer. The fact that this particular establishment served the Abrasive in pints and not smaller pours also could get people into trouble. Cheers.

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Photo of kawilliams81
5/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Served in a Alesmith Snifter.

A- Deep golden orange. Leaves nice lacing on the glass.

S- Amazing. Sweet, citrus with some orange, grapefruit, and papaya.

T- Sweet caramel malts. Orange and grapefruit comes in the middle followed my a nice pine hop balance. Bitter but not overpowering.

M- Medium bodied for 9%. Has some resin and leaves a bid of a dry mouth.

O- Just an amazing DIPA. This is exactly what I love about IPA’s is the balance between sweet malts and citrus hops with just a perfect amount of bitterness. Don’t know how this isn’t in the top 5 DIPA’s.

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

This is my favorite beer. I have had some friends who said the don't care for it but it is my favorite so I totally disagree with the bad reviews. If you like a super IPA, you will like this beer beer. My wife and several close friends who dig beer don't care for this beer so it's obviously not for everyone, but I LOVE THIS BEER! It taste great and has a great alcohol content.

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Photo of vette2006c5r
5/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Abrasive Ale pours a hazy and cloudy copper color, with a large white lacing head. There is a strong floral aroma, with hints of citrus. The taste is sublime, strong floral hops, hints of citrus. Such a full and complete flavor, yet sooo drinkable. Overall all I can say is WOW.

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Photo of HipHop5
5/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Well, I finally got put back in my place. Thanks to Steve and some east coast contacts.
This is amazingly the best ever I had.
Poors a perfection of golden coper color that let me know right that this is serious business. The head retains well a couple of fingers before it laces down the glass in a majestic white and beige web all around.
It is hard to focus on anything else tan the outstanding aromas of grapefruit, citrus,mangos,pine,pineapple mixed of tropical fruits. Medium/light body holds in it's arms a packed stash of hops flavors that will make you cry.
Just amazingly balanced with 9% goes down super smooth and surprisingly easy. Surly got it down for sure. If you enjoy Pliny the elder or green flash imperial IPA, Alpine Nelson, here you going for a treat people, and it's going to teach you a lesson or two.
Cans rock! lesson number one.
West coast IIPA are insanely good, but the east coast has a fare share of loaded barrels. Hop bomb smashed right in my face with this amazing ABRASIVE ALE. Take that and come for more:)

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

This beer is where it's at, this beer should never lose it's 100 rating, it's world-class, and there's no messing around when we say that.

If you want an IPA with intense flavor, this is it, if you want an IPA that has bitterness that doesn't overpower the rest of the notes and flavors inside, this one is it, if you want a beer that makes you feel damn good as you're having it, as well as when you're done, this is it.

I would classify this as a grapefruit IPA, I prefer piney IPAs, but in the end, this one still wins at the end of the day, if there is an elite example of the style, this is it.

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Photo of stj1xx
5/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Wow...the other reviewers did a great job with a more technical analysis. All I can say is that this is the best DIPA I've ever had. Big citrusy (orange?) DIPA balancing the malt and bitterness. I swear this beer tastes better because I can't buy another growler.

The only time I got up to the Surly Brewery was to buy this growler and due to archaic law, they are too large to sell growlers (my guess is their sales are less than $2million which is a very small business).

Love the artisan nature of the Surly offerings, the Surly attitude, the Surly nation...this company is a true beer geek haven.

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

I don't know why it's taken so long to get this down. This is one of the few amazing beers that would be on that list if you could bring a few things to a desert island. Poured from a can dated from March.

A: Super sticky lacing with a nice one inch foamy head. Rolls through itself like a clear Minnesotan Guinness. Medium amber color with no intention of leaving the side of your glass. What a beauty.

S: Can I give this a ten? Aromatic hops fill your nose like a fresh bag of green. Whiffs of tropical fruit and sweet green hops, hops, hops. This beer has an intoxicating aroma. Hard to stop smelling it.

T: Fruits Hops Sunshine Jesus. I think the acrid sour on the end just smacks me a bit hard like a rough girlfriend, but I love it. I think my taste buds will be retired for a week. Sweet resin and hardcore goodness. This is not for the timid. I think with every sip a Chuck Norris has been killed.

M: Again ten stars or better. You can almost feel the lacing in your mouth. Acrid thickness. This is how every beer should feel. There's a party in mouth. Sticky. sticky, acrid love.

O: I'd give this beer a million stars if I could. It is where the bar is set for less amazing beers. It's hard to compare this to anything. I am sad to only have a few cans of this left until December. Bravo Surly this is one of the beers that hooked me on you.

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

This beer pours a copper color, almost light amber with a white head. The aroma is complex! Very piney with hints of citrus. I love the hop character in this beer. The mouthfeel is medium to medium light, and is very drinkable. For a beer at 9% the alcohol isnt noticeable.

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Photo of themind
4.99/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer is amazing! poured a perfect head, smells great and the taste is flat out amazing! this is a World Class brew that lives up to the hype. I would buy this anytime it's available. Seek this out as it's one of the best IPA's I have even had.

Bottom Line: Legendary beer that lives up to the hype!

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Photo of ThePeskyDingo
4.99/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Written from my notes at Stub and Herbs in Minneapolis.

Came with 1 finger of tannish head on it. Clear copper in color. Really good thick lacing.

Smells of hops and citrus notes.

Tastes of hops, bready grains and some fruits.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, with medium carbonation.

Easy to drink this beer, pleasantly surprised me!

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Photo of mikevanatta
4.98/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Big, beautiful notes of citrus and tropical fruit at the forefront of a beer so smooth you'd never believe it's 9.5%. A true masterpiece and my benchmark for what a double IPA should be.

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Photo of MNishCT77
4.98/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

On-tap at Pizzeria Paradiso DuPont Circle, unknown brew date, poured into a snifter glass, drank 3/28/13 over ~one hour.

A: 5 -bright orange, impressive clarity (considering the pungent hop aroma), soft vertical bubbles and legs, one finger frothy white head that resolves into subtle glass lacing;

S: 5 - BOOM!: like vaporized grapefruit pouring out of the glass; I love you Citra Jane

T: 5- BOOM2: please find a better tasting imperial IPA; the luscious grapefruit looms and lingers with every sip and even improves on warming

M: 4.75 - Bueller, booze? Bueller, booze? none at 9+%, tight carbonation and lingering flavors

O: 5 - BOOM3: this is the best imperial IPA in the world to my palate and satisfies all that I look for in a double IPA, but, in keeping with the Surly theme, they brew the kind of beers that you never knew you wanted until you tasted it; for me, this is better than Pliny the Younger, Heady Topper et al., welcome to your new favorite big DIPA

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Abrasive Ale from Surly Brewing Company
99 out of 100 based on 856 ratings.