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Abrasive Ale - Surly Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Abrasive AleAbrasive Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
100
world-class

3,164 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 3,164
Reviews: 808
rAvg: 4.52
pDev: 8.41%
Wants: 1,964
Gots: 288 | FT: 14
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: 3,164 | Reviews: 808 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy
4.28/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Fresh abrasive from John, brewed less than 2 weeks earlier. Wafts hops several feet. Light yellow with a big head. Big IBU. Good drinkability. Orange, tangerine, fantastic IPA, great hops. Slightly acidic, do not try to convert someone drinking Bud all night. Crazy great blend of hops.

Sammy, Nov 27, 2012
Photo of t0rin0
4/5  rDev -11.5%

t0rin0, Feb 26, 2013
Photo of spycow
5/5  rDev +10.6%

spycow, Nov 15, 2011
Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.33/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Canned on 1/12/12.

Pours a murky honey orange with a 1 inch foamy orange-white head that settles to a thin cap. Thick chunks of lace stick to the sides of the glass on the drink down. Smell is super hoppy: citrus zest/grapefruit, pine, and some earthy herbal aromas. Taste is of citrus zest, pine, and herbal hops, grapefruit, and a malt backbone on the finish. There is a mild bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp but slightly sticky mouthfeel. Overall, this is a very good and very hoppy DIPA. However, the name is a bit misleading because I don't find anything abrasive about this beer.

UCLABrewN84, Jan 24, 2012
Photo of djrn2
4.5/5  rDev -0.4%

djrn2, Jan 12, 2012
Photo of zestar
4.5/5  rDev -0.4%

zestar, Jun 11, 2013
Photo of acurtis
4/5  rDev -11.5%

acurtis, Dec 14, 2011
Photo of Thorpe429
4.47/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

NOTE: This review was merged from my original 16 Grit review.

On tap at Piece Pizza in Chicago.

A: Dark amber color with a good white head and some pretty good lacing.

S: Lots of hops of the citrus/tropical variety. A good, sweet malt backbone. Quite balanced in this regard.

T: Again, definitely balanced with some caramel, brown sugar, and perhaps the tiniest hint of molasses. This goes along with the overriding taste of citrus and tropical hops.

M: Pretty creamy and fairly heavy without too much alcohol.

D: Very drinkable. The complexity continues to invite sip after sip.

Thorpe429, May 01, 2009
Photo of nmann08
4.5/5  rDev -0.4%

nmann08, Nov 25, 2011
Photo of Texasfan549
4.5/5  rDev -0.4%

Texasfan549, Jan 06, 2012
Photo of GRG1313
4/5  rDev -11.5%

GRG1313, Nov 23, 2011
Photo of kjkinsey
4.5/5  rDev -0.4%

kjkinsey, Jan 06, 2012
Photo of brentk56
4.5/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Arrives at the bar with a clear burnt sienna color and a frothy head that sheets lacing down the sides of the glass

Smell: All matter of citrusy aromatics with tangerine being foremost

Taste: Citrusy grapefruit, up front, with plenty of tangerine sweetness in there as well; after the swallow, the beer builds in citrusy bitterness with plenty of sweet tangerine elements persisting into the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Wonderful citrus blend that makes this beer incredibly refreshing

brentk56, Apr 22, 2009
Photo of BEERchitect
4.22/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

An extremely flavorful hopped IPA with a candied citrus flavor balanced with light grasses and spruce. Still, the bittering is smooth and quite gentle.

The Abrasive Ale begins with a brightly colored medium copper glow. A basic white head forms on the beer from the steady stream of carbonation below. Retention is great along with lacing and mild legging. Only a slight haze keeps the beer from complete brightness.

Vibrant aromas orange peel, ruby red grapefruits, lemon grass, pineapple, and other tropical/citrus fruits all dominate the nose of the beer in smooth and mouth-watering fashion. A subtle yet firm maltiness hides in the shadows and only provides the structure for the otherwise hop-strong aromas.

Flavors are once again dominated by hops- all of the tropical-citrus-resiny goodness displaed in the nose manifest well in taste as well. The confectionary malts act as if the hops were drenched in a sugary glaze and then consumed. Confectioner's sugar and mild kettle caramelization may be the only nod to malt sweetness. Decorated my rosey esters and a sweeter nail polish remover alcohol give added depth and power to the already aggressive beer. Still, the bitterness and harshness on the throat remain moderate and reasonable.

Creamy up front, the beer transitions evenly into a fleeting malt but aggagerated hoppy finish. The more and more the malts fade, the more dryness and alcohol warmth come into play. Eventually the beer ends with a malty-dry texture with the aftertaste of citrus and grassy hops.

Looking at the mostly clear beer, I can't help to think that this beer has been (at least) course-filtered. I would like to try it in its unadulturated form.

Thanks again Chickdighops!

BEERchitect, Jun 02, 2010
Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.83/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Terrifically turbid caramel-covered orange with juicy tangerine and mango highlights. The golden sandstone colored head isn't huge, but it oozes quality. The foam is firmly creamy and sticky, leading to both persistence and an extensive array of fine lace. This is a great looking DIPA.

The word 'great' applies to the aroma as well. The tropical fruitiness emanating from the glass tells me that Amarillo is the dominant hop (Warrior and Glacier are also present). An insane amount of hops and double dry-hopping just cannot be beat. Each sniff results in billowing clouds of orange, pink grapefruit and passionfruit. This should be yet another doozy from Surly.

Doozy is right! 16 Grit Ale may not be as abrasively hoppy as the name suggests, but then I've only just begun to gulp. This might be one of those DIPAs that is cumulatively hoppy and starts to strip tooth enamel after 16-20 ounces. 110 IBUs seems a tad high. On the other hand, it tastes and feels like abundant malt sugars are running interference and attempting to keep things balanced.

My preference is for DIPAs to have either no caramel malt or just a little. There's more than a little caramel-toffee flavor, but less than a lot. In the end, it works well in concert with the lusciousness of the hops, without overpowering them. The beer has 9.0% ABV power, even if the alcohol is barely appreciated on the palate. If that makes any sense.

As often happens, the flavor score has earned a bump near the bottom of the first glass. Warming is probably the reason why. The flavors are more intense and fit together even more seamlessly. This stuff is dangerously drinkable, as is most all Surly beer. Talk about liquid crack. Prediction: this will be one my 'top beers of 2009'. Easy call.

As the raging river of melted caramel solidifies the bottom end, an increasingly impressive hoppiness takes flight on the top end. Flavors mirror aromas, with juicy pineapple, orange zest and pink grapefruit being especially prominent. Maybe a little pine sap as well. Lawdy, lawdy, this big ol' hoppy ale is the cat's pajamas. It also comes in the best looking growler that I've ever seen.

The mouthfeel is pretty damn close to sheer perfection. It's lightly chewy, lightly sticky and moderately mouthcoating. I'm also pleased that the carbonation is laid back, yet insistent enough to provide lift and volume. Kudos to both the brewer (Todd) and the sender (Al).

The temperature outside was -16 degrees when I got up this morning. Coincidence? 16 Grit Ale is yet more proof that Surly can stand toe to toe with America's best breweries and not blink. This beer is a remarkable achievement and deserves to released each and every year. A million thanks to the felonious one for coming through again. Your generosity is humbling. Finally... hoppy birthday to me!

BuckeyeNation, Jan 15, 2009
Photo of jaydoc
4.25/5  rDev -6%

jaydoc, Dec 24, 2013
Photo of ygtbsm94
3.5/5  rDev -22.6%

ygtbsm94, Jan 13, 2012
Photo of mikesgroove
4.63/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A ig thanks to the kind Midwest trader who was able to send this one down my way. I was thrilled to fianlly see it come fdwon adn very thankful to have been able to take part in this one. Served cold and poured into multiple pints, it was a privedge to be able to share this oen with Bill at Barleys last night. Consumed on 01.08.2009.

The pour was wonderful. Rich copper colored amber coming forward with a light haze to it. A huge billowing head of white foam came up over the top and settled down only lightly as we progressed. Lots of sticky lace moving up and down on the sides of the glass.

The aroma was loaded down with just tons of stick fresh hop notes. Big aroma here of tangerine and pineapple, very sweet with a light malt base just barely poking its head through to give it some sense of balance. Really very well done here I have to say. As the first sip comes across, the only thing that coems to mind is just how rediculously smooth this one is. Seriously, this is just insane it is soo good. Light enough to be quaffable, there was no sense of big alcohol here at all. Sticky, medium bodied ale was just the right amount of carbonation. Ripe, fresh hop flavors here, sweet candy like sugar dumped on top of the bitter pineapple and grapefruit liek taste, just soothed and mellowed right down to the last drop.

Overall I am very happy that Surly made this, and that I got to try it! One of the bestDIPA I have had, definitely one of the most drinkable. This is one to eek out for sure.

mikesgroove, Jan 10, 2009
Photo of womencantsail
4.55/5  rDev +0.7%
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.

womencantsail, May 07, 2010
Photo of Knapp85
4.45/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A very big thanks to Billakowski for sending me this one. Opened this one up and poured it out to see it's beautiful clear golden color. The head was big and foamy with a nice white color. The smell of this beer was very nice, I loved the hoppy aroma of this beer. The taste was awesome too, there was a big bitterness in there and then deep in the aftertaste I was picking up a honey like flavor. The mouthfeel was smooth and gently carbonated. Overall I thought this beer was awesome. I look forward to having more from Surly one day.

Knapp85, Mar 13, 2012
Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
4.5/5  rDev -0.4%

westcoastbeerlvr, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of SocalKicks
4.25/5  rDev -6%

SocalKicks, Dec 17, 2013
Photo of largadeer
4.6/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Got a few cans of this from kbutler1. Thanks! I was able to try this beer a couple times last year in growler form, pleased to see it available in cans now.

Poured into a pint glass, Abrasive is copper-colored, clear and bright, capped by a finger of white foam. It's a few shades lighter than Furious despite the significantly higher alcohol content.

The aroma is outstanding. Redolent of peaches, pineapple, papaya and grapefruit, this is one of the most intoxicating and complex hop profiles I've encountered. Malty sweetness blends with the hops in a way that makes you think you're smelling a fresh fruit salad.

The taste lives up to the aroma, exhibiting flavors of yellow peach, mango and pineapple. Interplay between the sugary malts and fruity hops makes me think of alcoholic fruit punch. I can't overstate how fruity this one is, it's dominant to the point of overwhelming any other flavors. It finishes on a bitter but juicy note, tropical fruit flavors lingering long on the tongue.

Medium-bodied and neither dry nor syrupy nor overly bitter, I can't fathom why they would choose to call this ale Abrasive. It's a refreshingly unique take on the style, and one of my favorite beers of the year so far.

largadeer, May 05, 2010
Photo of TMoney2591
4.05/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served in a glass mug.

Thanks to VDubb86 via hannydawg for sharing this can!

I'm glad to be trying this brew having heard such great things about it from everyone else. it pours a mostly clear sunrise amber topped by a finger of slightly off-white foam. The nose comprises onion, strong mint, parsley, and some light caramel basking in the background. The taste holds notes of orange peel, cilantro, very light onion, black pepper, greens, very light caramel, light pine, and light mint. The body straddles the line between heavy light and light medium, with a mild carbonation and a dry, sticky finish. Overall, a very nice DIPA. It's a bit unbalanced toward the hops, but it never becomes o'erwhelming in that direction.

TMoney2591, Mar 21, 2011
Photo of emerge077
4.53/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Served in a 10 oz. snifter @ an undisclosed location. Thanks to scubarex for the tip, and autumnaldave for the hookup!

Bright orange body with slight reddish tint. Sticky cap of foam that clings well to the glass. Pungent and resiny hop aroma. Very citrus forward, and dank like the funky stuff in Snoop's pipe. If I had to guess i'd say Amarillo due to the heavy citrus. Body was a little light, with more balanced maltiness than expected. Tasted like Flossmoor IPAs that use Golden Promise malt. Firm pine bitterness, with some florals mixing in. Dry finish, with a tiny bit of sweetness that helps to savor it. Really nice hop showcase in this balanced DIPA.

emerge077, Apr 03, 2009
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Abrasive Ale from Surly Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 3,164 ratings.