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Abrasive Ale - Surly Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Abrasive AleAbrasive Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

3,186 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 3,186
Reviews: 809
rAvg: 4.52
pDev: 8.41%
Wants: 1,978
Gots: 291 | 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)
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Ratings: 3,186 | Reviews: 809 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Mcvs1507
4.5/5  rDev -0.4%

Photo of Skramer
4.75/5  rDev +5.1%

Photo of Saltee
4.25/5  rDev -6%

Photo of TheEvilGenius
4/5  rDev -11.5%

Photo of mechamifune
4.26/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a nice golden/straw color with a big fluffy white head. Healthy carbonation. Looks inviting enough.

Smell is big citrus upfront, and a lingering smell that I can't fully define. It's pleasant, but I can't quite put my finger on it. Big picture though, this is a whole lot of citrus, very in your face, and I love it.

Taste is all sorts of hops and citrus upfront. No real malt presence to speak of. The name of the beer aside, it doesn't come across as hard to drink despite the big flavor notes. Finishes with a good bit of bitterness but nothing astringent. Complex? Not really, but if you are looking for a big hop/citrus bomb, this is it.

Moutfeel is about right for the style. Resiny, a little syrupy, but ultimately enough carbonation to give a nice sense or body and drink smoothly.

Overall this is a well made hop bomb of a beer. If that's your thing, this beer is worth a shot. In the realm of Pliny's, Hopslams, Heady Toppers, Pure Hoppiness and the like, does this beer hold up? It's in the conversation, but ultimately I couldn't say i'd put this beer ahead of any of those (my old ratings aside)... but if its a step down from those it is a very minor one. In the end, there is something to be said for a beer that delivers exactly what it promises.

Photo of claspada
4.21/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Canned 02-28-13, sampled 04-12-13.

Pours a clear, dark golden yellow color with a medium sized off-white head of bubbly foam that had decent head retention which subsided to leave some thick, sticky, rings of lacing on the glass.

Aromas begin with super tropical fruits combined with lesser grapefruit and pine hops. There is a mild sweetish, candy malt backbone but really not much worth mentioning even as it warms.

The tastes begin with the lightly sweet, toasted maltiness immediately overcome by astrigent grapefruit and complementary tropical fruity hops. There are some lesser spicy and dank pine hops in the background

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with medium carbonation. Finish is mainly dry and bitter but by no means "abrasive" as the label indicates.

Overall I enjoyed this but sadly not as much as it's lighter cousin Furious. I don't think over a month is a death sentence for a DIPA but maybe a fresher example would have yielded a more impressive aroma. While this is a world class example of the style, I still found the price point a bit high. The flavor profile is super amazing, but nothing that hasn't been done before. With all the new hop styles available it seems you need to reinvent yourself to be continuously impressive to induce repeat purchases. If it was easier to get I would probably purchase again but for close to half the cost, Furious is more drinkable and sessionable and probably easier to get on the daily.

Photo of DaPan
5/5  rDev +10.6%

Photo of ShadyJay
4/5  rDev -11.5%

Photo of zekeman17
4.75/5  rDev +5.1%

Photo of drrone
4.5/5  rDev -0.4%

Photo of ArchEnemyBrew
4.75/5  rDev +5.1%

Photo of Mike
4.25/5  rDev -6%

Photo of BuddyE
4.75/5  rDev +5.1%

Photo of founder26
4.5/5  rDev -0.4%

Photo of Jeffrey2310
5/5  rDev +10.6%

Photo of Stevedore
4.68/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

16oz tallboy canned 3/4/2013, poured into a Bell's tulip glass and quaffed today 4/8/13 after my beloved Wolverines lost in the national title game.

Aroma: As soon as I popped the can, I got hit in the face with tropical fruit, citrus and pine. Very hard to miss and extremely dense nose. That could be from the can's small opening, but still, as soon as it was all in the glass, it was still very strong. There is also some honey and bready sweetness in the background. Very good hopforward nose. (4.5)

Colour: Beautiful, hazy amber body with a thick, dense 3cm white head that stays for a minute or two before dissipating into a persistent thin white film and thick white collar. The lacing is sticking all over the glass such that by the end, there are tons of it. Really good looking beer that makes me smile and want to drink it. (4.75)

Flavour: Really good stuff. I get a lot of the pine hopforwardness up front that quickly transitions to a honeyed, bready sweetness and then that gets overcome by citrus bitterness remniscent of grapefruit and some ripe oranges leaving me with a clean, dry and very bitter finish. Definitely not a balanced DIPA as its extremely hopforward, I suppose I'd call it abrasive if my palate weren't attuned to DIPAs, but I certainly prefer a little bit more balance to it. I get no heat at all, which contributes to its quaffability. (4.75)

Mouthfeel: Outstanding. A medium body, very resinous and dry. The carbonation is fantastic- its resinous but fizzes like crazy on my tongue. A true pleasure to quaff. The aftertaste is a very citrusy, pineapply bitter one that definitely wrecks my palate. I'm pretty damn sure I'm not going to taste anything if I drink another beer after this. When it comes to a hopforward DIPA, this is the one to rule them all. (4.5)

Overall: I see what all the hype is about. This is a really smooth drinking, hopforward double IPA that lives up to its name. It definitely hides its 9% ABV very well and is a delectable gobletful of citrus, tropical fruit and pine bitterness. If you're a huge hophead, this is a fantastic example of a beer you'll give all 5's to. For me, I think it could be a little bit more malty to back up the hops and it'd meet my preferences for a more balanced DIPA that I've come to love- such as Pliny the Elder and this year's Hopslam- both of which are on the sweeter side to go along with their hopforwardness. I would definitely get it every year as long as I live near Minnesota. (4.75)

Photo of comfortablynirm
5/5  rDev +10.6%

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.23/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

finally, an abrasive in my glass! been reading about this one forever, so nice to finally get the chance to indulge. and an indulgence this is! pours a sleek reddish orange color with some haze and a couple inches of impenetrable white head. the nose is way way more fruity than I anticipated, super juice fresh squeezed hop complexion, with some pine and definitely an acidic citrus element, but I get a lot more berry and even passionfruit in this. some lighter American 2 row and caramel malts round it out. the flavor is more tropical than deciduous in the fruit department, but still pungently fruity. bitterness doesn't even come in until the finish, which makes this a really unique double ipa. the alcohol is almost entirely invisible until the beer warms up, and even then isn't punishing by any stretch. the mouthfeel is the weakest link, not bad, but a little more malt body might balance this out little better. I feel like it needs a bigger platform to stand out. carbonation is right on though, and it makes the grapefruit and other citrus hops characters come out a little more. id love to know what hops are used in this, its really different. Maybe not the most perfect example of the style out there, but you don't get to be a 100 on BA in this category by accident. Worthy of my anticipation, this is a stellar beer. I can still name a handful of others id draft higher, but this is awesome!

Photo of ShemRahBoo
4.75/5  rDev +5.1%

Photo of JonnyBeers
5/5  rDev +10.6%

Photo of argock
4.31/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 16oz tallboy can into an oversized wineglass. Canned on date of 030413 on bottom of can. SIngle pruchased by my brother Greg from a Minneapolis area bottle shop for $4.

A: Amber-orange with rocky, 2-finger off-white big-bubbled head with decent retention and several layers of lacing.

S: The hop aroma jumps from the glass, detectable from 2-3 feet or so. Mango, pineapple, and passionfruit, a tropical fruit punch like aroma without the sugary sweetness. There is some grapefruit, pine, and resin too, but the fruity aromas win out. The malt component is pretty bland and background, as it shoudl be with a little bit of crackery malt character.

T: The flavor is a hair below the aroma in quality, but not enough to knock it down to the next score. The fruity hops assault continues with lashing pineapple, mango, pine, and grapefruit. The bitterness is more than I would have imagined and sneaks up on you throughout the can with a more resiney quality that grows to almost take over the flavor profile by the end. The malt component is again fairly simple with some light grain and cracker notes. I don't get any yeast character. The bitterness level is high.

M: The attenuation on this beer is so high, it drink too light to me -- there should be a little bit of lush malt body to match up, otherwise the bitterness and resiney qualities, which I like but with some balance, tend to take over. I think Abrasive pushes it without missing, but I would love to see a little more body -- it comes off a near-watery at points. The carbonation is understandably medium, but maybe it should even be a little lower to keep any astringency from poking through.

O: I really liked Surly Abrasive ale and was psyched to get a chance to try it. I don't think it is quite as good as some of the top-shelf, hop-forward DIPAs like PtE (which while dry still has some malt slickness to it), Hopslam (also dry from the honey but still with more heft than Abrasive), or Maharaja (which has come off as a little sweet in the past but was great this year). If they ramped up the mouthfeel a tad to give a little more body, this would be a top 10 DIPA. Still a great beer and definitely worth seeking out.

Photo of DaftCaskBC
3.23/5  rDev -28.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Generously shared by Rutager.

A: Cloudy amber liquid with 1/2" white head.

S: Smells like a combination of rank body odor, garlic and onions.

T: Like it smells: body odor, garlic and onions as well as earthy hop flavours.

M: Medium to thin viscosity and a medium level of carbonation.

O: I really dislike CTZ hops and I have a palate that picks up off flavours with beers that are heavily hopped with CTZ which is why I disliked this beer so much.

Photo of atone315
4.5/5  rDev -0.4%

Photo of HopChef44
4.5/5  rDev -0.4%

Photo of AverageWhiteGuy
4/5  rDev -11.5%

Abrasive Ale from Surly Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 3,186 ratings.