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Abrasive Ale - Surly Brewing Company

Abrasive AleAbrasive Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

2,672 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2672
Reviews: 785
rAvg: 4.53
pDev: 8.17%

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".

(Beer added by: Buebie on 12-27-2008)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,672 | Reviews: 785 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of dbrauneis

North Carolina

4.55/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served on-tap at the Asheville Winter Warmer Beer Festival in Asheville, NC

A: Pours a murky honey orange in color with light to moderate amounts of active visible carbonation rising from the bottom of the glass and some hints of golden yellow and orange highlights. The beer has a two finger tall dense foamy off-white head that slowly reduces to a large thick cap covering the majority of the surface of the beer with a thin film surrounding it and a thick ring at the edges of the glass. Significant amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Strong aromas of citrus/grapefruit, citrus/orange, citrus/tangerine, and tropical/passionfruit hops - this beer has a huge hoppy aroma that is quite delicious.

T: Upfront there is a lightly honey sweet moderate grainy malt flavor that provide just enough sweetness to balance out the huge hop flavors. Strong flavors of citrus/grapefruit, citrus/orange, and citrus/tangerine hops with moderate flavors of tropical/passionfruit and tropical/pineapple hops. Light to moderate amounts of lingering bitterness.

M: Slightly heavier than medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Chewy and slightly sticky with a touch of dryness in the finish.

O: Definitely one of the most enjoyable DIPA that I have had the chance to drink - very enjoyable with huge fruity hop flavors and well hidden alcohol. Easy to drink and very enjoyable.

Serving type: on-tap

01-26-2014 23:47:52 | More by dbrauneis
Photo of dirtylou


4.5/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

on-tap brouwers

Served in a snifter - bright golden-orange body, beige film. Heavy on the citrus - nice bright notes of tangerine, grapefruit, lemon. Peach and guava tropical notes - very juicy and hop-forward. Reminded me very much of Hop Venom - very nice stuff

Serving type: on-tap

12-08-2013 21:10:25 | More by dirtylou
Photo of AndyP612


5/5  rDev +10.4%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

04-03-2013 22:09:45 | More by AndyP612
Photo of MNishCT77

District of Columbia

4.98/5  rDev +9.9%
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

Serving type: on-tap

03-28-2013 23:40:20 | More by MNishCT77
Photo of imthaschmidt

4.18/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at old Chicago 12/30/12

Smell:nice citrusy and hoppy

Taste: incredibly hoppy with notes of citrus, bitter on the end. But it's delicious.

Overall: one of the best beers I've tried in awhile 9% w great taste. Surly does it again, always walked by this in the liquor store and now I regret it.

Serving type: on-tap

12-30-2012 23:21:45 | More by imthaschmidt
Photo of Ilafan


3.9/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I enjoyed this bitter beer more than I thought I would. I'm not falling for the Surly Cult, but this was a good beer. It was very crisp and went well with a contrastingly rich mac and cheese meal. A strong taste of pine/grapefruit. Light in color and smooth, I think this is a good summer session beer, in my opinion.

Serving type: on-tap

08-18-2012 22:01:08 | More by Ilafan
Photo of challenja


4.88/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Served On Tap at a Surly Tap Takeover at Church Key DC.

A: A dark blood orange super light bubble lacing. A preparation for a face slam.
S: Super sugary warrior hops. Ruby red grapefruit lemon rind fresh orange peel.
T: OK, Faceslam Complete! This bastard clocks in over 120 IBU's and I like IT!! Definitely sappy sweet oil resin goodness that is not as sweet as most over 120 IBU's beers. Reminds me of a younger Devil Dancer in taste profile. Big big pucker up smash hops. It feels like your taking down straight candied pine cone resin.
M: Creamy face cramming sour pucker shot. Hockey crash board carbonation that lingers well on the palate.
O: Damn if this isn't a top 5 DIPA. (Number 2 all time) It lingers behind Founders Devil Dancer but it polevaults Double Jack in flavor profile even though D.J is more easy to enjoy. For Serious Serious HOP HEADS ONLY!!

Serving type: on-tap

03-21-2012 18:05:24 | More by challenja
Photo of craytonic

District of Columbia

4.33/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Churchkey DC

Apperance: Dark amber pour, not really opaque at all. Good head and lacing.

Smell: Tons of citrus hops, tropical fruit, pineapple and orange zest

Taste: Lots of tropical fruits - pineapple, mango, papya, good sweetness and juiciness as well - very enjoyable.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body, good carbonation. Not terribly boozy.

Overall: one of the better surly beers, and a very good DIPA.

Serving type: on-tap

03-14-2012 03:23:00 | More by craytonic
Photo of smakawhat


4.13/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured on tap full, into a nonic pint like glass at Churchkey DC.

Is this on nitro? What a microscopic bubbled looking caramel yellow like head, giving that wonderful lacing nitro looking coating while drinking. Body is a noticeable red amber, hints of orange and very clear.

Nose on tap seems a little more subdued, but is giving to richness. Hop forward with some faint novocaine/phenol and band aid, but goes to citrus faint orange, and mostly pineapple. Lingering, solid. Can't wait to try this.

Hits the palate with an unbelievable nitrous and creamy feel. I had to ask if this was on nitro cause I couldn't tell and it seemed to have all the hallmarks of one. It wasn't. Chewy orange citrus hops, bust still brings that novocaine in the finish just slightly. Super soft resin and chewy in the palate, hints at dense English marmalade bitter.

Overall, I like this better when I had it out of the can, but the palate feel on this just can't be beat. I just wish it had the pepper jalapeno like sense that I missed, but it's still impressive.

Serving type: on-tap

03-14-2012 00:18:33 | More by smakawhat
Photo of russwbeck


4.2/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at a Surly event at Churchkey in DC.

A: Orange pour without much head rising up, leaving only spotty lacing. Bubbles lazily work their way to the top of the brew, but the head retention and lacing is a bit lacking.

S: OK, maybe I'm crazy, but I smell onions here. I've heard that certain hops can give off an onion-like aroma, but I had yet to experience it. That and citrus play nicely (I don't hate the onion smell, just was surprised to say the least), and are a part of an overall floral aroma. Certainly hop forward, a nice fruit base holds it together.

T: I'm getting slight onions on the taste, too. Big citrus and completely focused on the bitter end of the hop spectrum. While the hops do "punch you in the face," the citrus and fruits create some sort of balance...but by balance I still mean damn hoppy.

MF: Abrasive has a light body with a nice amount of carbonation. The sheer bitterness of this beer does hurt its drinkability, but the hops don't coat the mouth and stick around for too long which sometimes really hurts beers like this overall.

O: This was really good, but it does nothing to make itself stand out in the land of big IPAs (unless you count onions). I would absolutely try this again, however. Don't pass it up!

Serving type: on-tap

03-13-2012 23:13:36 | More by russwbeck
Photo of Jimmys


4.23/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

sampled on-tap at Churchkey in DC. review from notes.

A: bright orange body. bright white head. good lacing and retention.

S: boatloads of citra hops. kiwi's. lemons. limes. cantaloupe. the ABV tells me there is malt back there but i cant find any in the nose. however, i dont really mind.

T: super sticky palate. coconut, passion fruit. a little medicinal? the finish is very green, but also malty and vanilla-y. very pleasant.

M: moderate carbonation on a med/full body.

D: pretty tasty DIPA. the malt provides enough balance in a brew that really focuses on making warrior and citra hops the main stars.

Serving type: on-tap

03-13-2012 01:36:23 | More by Jimmys
Photo of biglobo8971


4.5/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

poured on tap at a respectable restaurant known for keeping clean lines.
I was amazed that they had this beer on tap. Have had it several times from the can, was excited to have it this way.
A - poured a nice 1 inch head that laced from start to finish. Nice yellow color with an orange hue. Very eye appealing. On sight alone, makes me want to have this beer.
S - nice citrus aroma of orange and grapefruit with just a little bit of pine aroma on the end. The fruit is the most prevelant aroma present.
T - first taste is of the nice hop explosion, then followed by the orange citrus. The malt is present on the back of the pallet adding sweetness to the citrus. This beer tastes amaizing.
M - stays in mouth and is very pleasant to the mouth. The mouthfeel lends it to still being a very easy to drink beer.
O - Amazing beer, great taste of hops, citrus, and malt that all work real well together. Can defitely feel the ABV, but well worth it. Would recommend this beer to anyone.

Serving type: on-tap

05-07-2011 20:55:37 | More by biglobo8971
Photo of AJacob81


4.13/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a tulip at Jake Melnick's in Chicago. From notes.

A - Golden umber, high effervescence for the style, big billowing white head of 3 fingers. Leaves intricate, heavy lacing. A stunner visually.

S - Grapefruit, pineapple, super bitter and earthy hops. A touch of sweetness from the malt emerges as well.

T - Tongue-numbing, palate destroying, citrus and grassy hops dominate. A hint of honey and fresh bread represent the malt bill, but they are very much on the defensive.

M and D - Thin to medium body, oily, finishes somewhat dry. The strong bitterness keeps you drinking.

An excellent Midwestern DIPA. I'd love it if the cans were available here.

Serving type: on-tap

03-07-2011 04:03:08 | More by AJacob81
Photo of ChopperSmith


4.33/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from tap into standard pint glass.

Appearance: Cloudy/Hazy golden with soapy foam head. Left nice sticky lacing as it receded.

Smell: Sweet and floral/citrus hops all over the place! Has a very crisp and clean scent, but also a bit sweet and herbal/flowery.

Taste: A punch of bitter citrus hops right up front, but smooths out as it lingers on the tongue. A little smoother and mellower on tap than in the can, and the hops seem fresher and more prominent.

Mouthfeel: Slippery and lower-carbonation. Medium bodied and crisp.

Drinkability: I love this stuff out of the can, and it's even better on tap. Delicious! Could drink this all night long, but at 9% ABV, I stopped after three pints. Had to drive home eventually that night.

Serving type: on-tap

02-25-2011 20:47:16 | More by ChopperSmith
Photo of rye726


4.4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On tap at Stub and Herbs. Pours a golden tan with a silky tan head. Nose has nice piney hops and bready malts. Well balanced, but not as vibrant as I was expecting. Crisp, clean body. Nice hoppy finish. Far from the original 16 Grit, but a tasty double IPA.

Serving type: on-tap

02-22-2011 03:24:20 | More by rye726
Photo of evanlarkin

District of Columbia

4.85/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Light coppery. Orange might be the best way to describe it. More or less clear with little head that dissipates fast. Some bubbles... bubbling up.

Sweetness and hoppy citrus... Grapefruit is the dominant aroma, a giveaway for Citra hops.

Sweet and grapefruity with a balanced bitterness in the back end. The malt flavor is subdued but apparent.

Carbonated, lightish but with some body. Pleasant and not harsh.

Very high. I can only curse the ABV and price tag... this is one I could drink for as long as it's available to me. As an IPA, this is superior.

Serving type: on-tap

02-07-2011 04:01:19 | More by evanlarkin
Photo of deadbody


4.58/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Had this on tap at the Blue Door. Not really an IPA guy, but I wanted to try it.

Appearance, good color, good head. Smell, strong hoppy smell. Taste, starts with enough hops to peels your tounge off, but backed with some good strong malts. Mouthfeel, kinda watery, low carbonation kinda brings this down. Drinkability. I liked it, and wouldn't shy away from drinking it again. I'm not really a hoppy guy so that surprised me, and makes me want to try more.

Serving type: on-tap

02-06-2011 03:51:03 | More by deadbody
Photo of sacrelicio


4.85/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Jesus....had this beer several times but never reviewed it. The appearance is good but not special. A nice amber orange with a small head. The smell is transcendent. Such a ripe, juicy aroma of tropical fruits and pine. Splendid. The taste is the nectar of amazing citrus and tropical fruit hops. Almost like Hi-C Ecto Cooler (in a good way). So delicious and smooth, a bit of malt to hold it together, but not much. The mouthfeel is good. The drinkability is out of this world. So easy to just down this shit like its a fruit juice cocktail on a beach. A world class DIPA. Amazing.

Serving type: on-tap

01-05-2011 05:29:53 | More by sacrelicio
Photo of Durge


4.08/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Found this on tap at Stub & Herb's in Minneapolis. It shines clear and amber with a fair white head that quickly fades to a mere ring with very good lacing. The aroma is a pretty intense, sweet grapefruit/juniper hop with a modicum of raspberry malt bleeding through. Strong and tempting. The first taste is pretty in line with the aroma, somewhat syrupy fruity hops with a fair bready malt undercurrent. It still evokes a curious but likeable juniper/evergreen idea in a medium plus bodied brew. Definitely a brew of solid constitution that demands some appreciation but it hides its 9.5% ABV quite well allowing for decent drinkability for the style. Mild carbonation but a smooth, somewhat thick feel that goes down quite reasonably.

Serving type: on-tap

08-07-2010 19:09:10 | More by Durge
Photo of samie85


4.97/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A-This one is an orange hued amber with a one finger white head served in a tulip glass.

S-Big on tropical and citrus hops: papaya, mango, grapefruit, orange and a bit of pine with some sweet caramel notes

T-Piney and mango/papaya with some bitter grapefruit on the finish. The malt here really helps balance this one, but not to the point that the hops are are overshadowed, because they are definitely here.

M-Really smooth in the mouth with a low amount of carbonation and it's medium bodied.

D-This is one pretty impressive brew. The nose alone makes me want to smell it all day. Not to mention the insane drinkability this 9% beer has. It drinks more like a 6%... be warned.

Serving type: on-tap

07-11-2010 21:55:07 | More by samie85
Photo of hawks10


4.53/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap tonight at Poor Phil's in Oak Park, IL...served in a Sam Adams perfect pint...

Pours a nice deep copper color, good clarity with a thin cap of fine white head, some lacing is left behind...

Initially sweet, good amount of caramel malt...then the citrus and floral hop aroma hits, perfect...

Slightly bitter initially with a good amount of grapefruit and floral hops...malt is prevalent, sweet, caramel adds a nice balance to the IPA, neither aspect overpowers the other...

Very creamy mouthfeel, seriously almost cask-like. Medium to heavy bodied, smooth...

Very good beer, mouthfeel was a little weird but not at all bad...doesn't drink like a 9.0% beer, would love to try this again...

Serving type: on-tap

07-09-2010 06:43:36 | More by hawks10
Photo of DrMalt

Saskatchewan (Canada)

4.15/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Stub and Herb's.

A: brilliant, deep copper color

S: nice aroma of grapefruit

T: very well-balanced, nice grapefruit hops and good malt balance, alcohol not over powering but noticeable

M & D: very good, at 9ABV it's probably something I could have just a few of

Serving type: on-tap

07-06-2010 05:41:13 | More by DrMalt
Photo of wisrarebeer


4.38/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Stub and Herb's.

A: brilliant, deep amber color
S: nice nose, grapefruit, mild nose overall and not overpowering
T: very, very good, well-balanced, nice grapefruit hops but good malt balance, alcohol not overly noticeable
M & D: very good, at 9ABV it's probably something you could have just a few of

Serving type: on-tap

06-26-2010 23:38:14 | More by wisrarebeer
Photo of weeare138


4.33/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On draft at Hopleaf...
Appears a hazy orange toned amber with a small white head of foam that quickly fades into a silky ap and collar. Tubular lacing is left around the glass.
Smell is of heavy citrus with orange peel, flowers, and a touch of caramel.
Taste is of the aromas with some orange blossom honey notes and "abrasive" notes of hers and cut wood in the finish.
Mouthfeel is full bodied, herbal, and chewy with heavy hop syrup.

Serving type: on-tap

06-06-2010 23:36:15 | More by weeare138
Photo of AgentZero


4.35/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Amber colored beer with a bit of red at the edges. Nice fluffy white head, left a nice bit of lacing on the sides throughout the drink.

S - Sweet, with a lot of grapefruityness up front. Malt backbone, nice hop profile that finishes up bitter but not overpoweringly so.

T - A sweet IPA, nice hop profile. Grapefruit taste that doesn't become too deep combines nicely with a bready, malt backbone. Pine notes are present but don't become overly piney, nice bitter resin on the taste, but not so much to be mouth puckering. Very complete hops taste that goes on nicely.

M - Medium bodied, good amount of carbonation, just a little too syrupy for me, but still very good.

D - Pretty good, not sure if I could session it, but it's close. Got through two from the tap with no problem.

Serving type: on-tap

06-01-2010 03:20:59 | More by AgentZero
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Abrasive Ale from Surly Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 2,672 ratings.