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Abrasive Ale - Surly Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Abrasive AleAbrasive Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

855 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 855
Hads: 3,884
rAvg: 4.46
pDev: 7.17%
Wants: 2,128
Gots: 480 | FT: 18
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%
View: Beers (51) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 855 | Hads: 3,884
Photo of JohnCassillo
4.54/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Abrasive's an impressive DIPA, and an interesting one given the beers it compares to (would immediately call up the less-regarded, but similarly excellent Golden Road Wolf Among Weeds). Great, bitter finish with an excellent hop aroma that intoxicates with every sip. Highly recommended if you can find/trade for it. (316 characters)

Photo of mikevanatta
4.98/5  rDev +11.7%
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. (186 characters)

Photo of IowaAJ
4.74/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

A buddy of mine once said Abrasive was like a marriage of Toppling Goliath Light Speed and ZeeLander. He's very accurate.

This beer is amazing in several facets. The smell, taste, look, and feel are all close to perfect. It's slightly bitter finish is fitting but the smell as you drink is amazing.

Def a top 5 for me. (322 characters)

Photo of WesMantooth
4.28/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Deep golden yellow pour. Just a hair more clear than opaque. Fairly large foamy white head that disappears almost entirely into the beer.

No overwhelming smells jump out of the glass. It is mainly carmalized malts with subtle hops. Strikes me more as an American Barleywine aroma.

As soon as it hits my mouth, I am wondering where the hell all of this hop flavor was when I stuck my nose in it. There is certainly no shortage. There is a lot of bitterness. Almost too much. Tons of citrus. Like ground up grapefruit rinds. I would like to say ther is some floral and pine aspects there too, but the bitterness is really numbing. I do get a decent amount of sweetness. An orange like type though that is slightly sour. The strong malt base that I smelled tries to fight it's way back into the game toward the end. I think the alcohol is a bit noticeable.

The body is pretty average. Definitely a slick, resin feel that coats your tongue. Carbonation is slightly lower than average.

My general impression (yes, I do impressions) is that this could be more balanced. It is kind of all over the place. I do really like the flavors, but it is such a palate wrecker, it almost makes it a little harder to enjoy. It is one of those beers that I want more of while I am drinking it, but regret it later. Still a great beer that doesn't fall short of it's namesake in any way. Hopheads take note. (1,395 characters)

Photo of Kanger
4.25/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Hazy Gold, Light Orange

Aroma: The aroma of the Citra hops comes through first with grapefruit and tangerines.

Taste: Fruit forward from the Citra with a nice earthy bitterness from Warrior hops.

Mouthfeel: Medium Body rounded off by the oats

Overall: A delicious DIPA. Too bad not available in NYC. (315 characters)

Photo of Barnoloid
4.43/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Can pour from a 2/6/15 canning. This is a big DIPA! Certainly lives up to its' name. Plenty of bitterness on the palate along with those deep hoppy citrus notes. A little floral on the back end but really the overall feel I have here is the bitter hops sitting alongside a pretty robust malt profile. Splendid stuff. (316 characters)

Photo of IPAGeorge
4.71/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a can into a tulip

A. Golden orange color, 50% opaque with a foamy white 2 finger head. Spotty lacing.

S. Big grapefruit and citrus notes. I can smell it a fit and a half away from me and that is good. Some candied orange peel.

T. Wow this is good. Backing up the nose I get done nice citrus up front followed by doing nice but not overbearing bitterness. Grassy aftertaste.

M. Medium bodied with a nice blend of carbonation. Finishes with a slight dryness.

O. An outstanding IIPA. Some nice citrus and a balanced amount of bitterness to offset it nicely. Very good body and carbonation for a IIPA. They did a good job with this beer. (665 characters)

Photo of GOBLIN
4.24/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Finally sitting down to drink the long awaited Abrasive ale. And it is delicious ! Glad I finally got to try this long time want of mine. Pretty much lives up to it's hype. Finishes with a funky onion and garlic taste at the end which brings it down ever so slightly. Awesome ! (277 characters)

Photo of KYGunner
3.96/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This is a big beer with a tremendous nose of dank herbal hops, pineapples, grapefruit and tangerines. It translates to flavor but it ends with garlic and onions on my palate and I just can't rate it that high. (209 characters)

Photo of Sparty1224
4.46/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Serving: 16 oz. can poured into a tulip. Canned on 2/6/15, making this 15 days old.

A: Pours a mostly clear golden-orange color. 3/4-finger white head. Just a touch of haziness and sediment to it.

S: Lots of orange, pineapple and mango. Noticeable malt background in the aroma, it's not just 100% pure hop bomb here. There's also a touch of piney hop aromas as well.

T: Grapefruit, tangerine, and a hint of pineapple. Lots of biscuity malt backbone. Lots of citrus rind as well, like grapefruit or orange peel.

M: Pretty balanced for a DIPA, with a lot of malt character. Very, very acidic and bitter on the finish. Tons of hop resins coating the tongue here. Alcohol neither hidden nor overpowering.

O: Huge expectations going into this one, like Heady Topper-type expectations, and it just didn't quite live up for me. This is a super fresh can, but it was just underwhelming. I've had all the greats, and this one just doesn't stand out. I've had Hopslam recently, and I actually prefer that one quite a bit. This one is a bit too bitter and strong for me, and the aroma just didn't wow like the others did. Overall, it's a great DIPA, but just not magical like some build it up to be.

Recommendation: Not worth giving up an arm or a leg for, but if you can easily snag one, I'd jump on it. (1,302 characters)

Photo of BMMillsy
3.09/5  rDev -30.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Cans arrived today thanks to an extremely generous BA. Thanks man! Can dated 1/13/15 poured to a tulip glass deep copper colored with nearly no head. Aroma is straight up malt, no hop presence whatsoever. Straight up caramel sugar. Flavor follows with no hop presence, straight malt syrup, almost like this has been sitting around for a few years. Wow. Thick and syrupy, lower carbonation. Really horrendous. Maybe if this were called a barleywine, I'd give it a few more points. But wow. This is Abrasive? (506 characters)

Photo of Treyliff
4.61/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

16oz can, canned 1/9/15, poured into a teku glass

A- pours a slightly hazy-but-bright golden orange color with a small creamy white head that reduces to a film on top, some nice lacing left behind

S- fresh leafy and earthy hop aroma up front is quickly complemented by tangerine and grapefruit peel, some piney resin, mango, passionfruit & fresh grass

T- fresh minty and leafy hop flavors up front with some green earthy notes, tangerine zest and grapefruit peel add a nice citrus aspect, piney resin and fresh grass kick in before finishing with a slightly malty sweetness, green melon and mango fruit linger long after consumption

M- medium viscous body with medium carbonation turns into a thick and creamy mouthfeel that continues into a creamy, slightly warming finish. The oats aren't really detectable in taste, but this is where they shine. They add a creamy complexity that works brilliantly with the strong hop flavors

O- this one lived up to the hype, a hop explosion that is completed nicely with a thick any creamy, oat filled body. Worth the wait (1,070 characters)

Photo of SackBlabbath
4.69/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

All i have to say for this beer is that it is an exceptional ipa, and if i could get it all the time i would, but i cant, so i'll enjoy this experience then be back to ny Molotov Lite. (184 characters)

Photo of danh53
4.56/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've not tasted a double IPA that balances the extreme hop bitterness like this one. It has a lot more bite than hopslam, but it doesn't let the bitter bite dominate the rest of the beer. Citrus and stone fruit shine through gloriously in the aroma and the taste. That balance alone would make a great IPA, but there is an earthy quality as well. One reviewer described it as herbal. It works wonderfully adding flavor and complexity to an already great beer. Best IPA I have tasted yet. Edit: I've received this in trade on two different occasions since my review and both times it has been average at best. One of those cans was two months old, but the other one was relatively fresh. I'm adjusting my rating, but still want to try this one more time when I'm sure it is fresh to confirm my initial review. (808 characters)

Photo of humuloner22
4.74/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Thanks man for the trade!

Appearance: Light clear bronze color, decent amount of head at first but then settles to nothing at all.

Smell: Floral and lots of tropical fruits, mango's some piney notes a little herbal.

Taste: Bitter and biting but not overly so, it smooths out and is very enjoyable on the mid palate. Lots of tropical fruits and stone fruits prevail, but you also get an earthy pine note in there as well. Very strong resinous IPA but totally drinkable.

Overall: Very well worth the ratings, solid brew! (524 characters)

Photo of CaptainPiret
4.76/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Not sure if I can add anything to the many reviews other than confirm that this is one excellent beer. So juicy, with a sweetness to balance the bitterness. (156 characters)

Photo of TheBrewo
4.46/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This brew was served on tap from the upstairs walk-up bar, at the new Surly taproom in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Arriving in a pair of thick house tulips, Abrasive shined the color of a freshly polished penny. A half finger tall head the color of French lace stood tall, leaving milky ring etchings around our glasses following a medium retention. A chill haze obscured clarity, but no sediment was noted. Carbonation appeared to be mildly moderate. The nose filled with airs that were oh, so sticky sweet, with big grapefruity citric hoppiness complimented by heavy grassy and fruity nectar varietals, pale and clean caramel malty sweetness, mango and pineapple flesh and syrup juiciness, sweet cornbread, cooling vanilla bean, hot honey, warming white and caramel sugars, toffee, white chalk on sweating asphalt, green grassiness, hearty boozy sweetness, and mild shoe polish bite. The flavoring…BOOM!! We experienced massively bittering citric hop, fruitiness of pineapple, pear, and kiwi, grapefruity skin and juicy wash, underripe strawberries, lemon rind, warmer herbal hop rumbles, green weediness, aloe, foamy plastics, almond extract, bubblegum esters, dandelion, pine sap, worty caramel and pale malt toast, hints of silky fresh oats, and lipstick waxiness. Through the end and aftertaste, flashes of black pepper and old, dried cinnamon, big but welcomed boozy warmth, hoppy garlic airiness akin to Summit hop varietals, and harsh medicinal phenolic wash poked through intermittently. The body sat on the fuller side of medium, while carbonation was higher, but still only gently brushed the palate. Slurp and smack were great, with slightly less cream or froth. The latter were still present enough to contribute towards an initially wet and cooling coating. This dripped into bittering puck and decent astringent dryness. The abv was appropriate, and drinkability was frankly amazing.

Overall, what a fantastic beer to start your night with. Actually, we started and ended our night with pours of Abrasive at the new Surly brewpub (which is gorgeous, by the way). This was actually kind of an emotional experience for us. We had visited Minneapolis a few weeks prior to this trip, but unfortunately were unable to get over to Surly. Very sad. We happened to get a chance for a second trip to Minneapolis for work, and were so thankful for the opportunity to make time during this return visit. If we’re not mistaken, the day we arrived at the brewpub was their annual release day for Abrasive; a beer that has been ever elusive for us, at least for the past few years. It was such a nice surprise to see it one tap, and we had to go for it. Thus, the two glasses a piece. What a journey the beer itself is. The nose is sweet and warming simultaneously, making that first sip irresistible joy. It shocks you with intense citric and grapefruit bitterness, then the sweetness hits. Finally, the booze and chemicals wash you away for this amazingly balanced finale. This is the best DIPA we’ve had in recent memory, and it is sips uniquely as a true east/west hybrid on the transition from the front of the mouth to the back. We said it once, and we’ll say it again…BOOM. (3,216 characters)

Photo of ONovoMexicano
4.26/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Canned on 1/10/2015. Poured into a nonic pint glass.

The head is impressive. It's two fingers of fluffy, pale white foam that resembles clouds. It persists exceptionally well and leaves abundant lace. As for the body it's a blend of amber and gold that is slightly hazy at its upper parts, but clear and blonde closer to the base of the glass. 4.75

Piney, resinous and dank on the nose. Hints of citrus and berries but really very much more resinous. A sweet caramel base is noticeable too. 4.25

I'm surprised by a big floral flavor that is much more in line with what I'd expect from a Belgian, very much like fresh lilies. This is accompanied by a resinous, hop oil and fresh hop leafy flavor before a sweet and mildly citrus finish. It has currents of sweet maltiness offering some caramel and there's a nice interplay of flavors here, as each sip seems to offer a different twist. 4.25

Abrasive is apt for how this beer assaults the mouth. It's bitter almost throughout and not in a mellow way, it really bites at the tongue. There's a refreshing element initially, but it gets pretty thick and creamy before a dry and bitter finish. Carbonation is low to medium and works with the bitterness to really punish the tongue. 4

Besides being overly bitter for my poor taste buds, this is a damn good brew. The more masochistic of IPA/DIPA drinkers would probably love this. (1,379 characters)

Photo of Tbub18
4.69/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Wow this beer blew me away. Had it at a bottle share with some other outstanding IPA's (2nd Fiddle, Pliny, Gandhi Bot) and this was the (surprising) clear winner. If you handed me this beer I would incorrectly guess it was another dank VT beer. Goes to show that you don't need to be in VT to brew fantastic DIPAs with that signature smell and taste I look for. Well Done!! (377 characters)

Photo of troupos40
3.21/5  rDev -28%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

I know I'm not the only one to get a flat abrasive, 2 were great and 2 were very low carb. This review is for the flat ones, I just believe this beer shouldn't be rated this high when there is the possibility of tainted cans. The good is really good, but the bad is pretty bad. Surly really needs to take QC seriously. (321 characters)

Photo of SteveB24
4.88/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

look-color is a bright, clear copper, pours two fingers of white, sticky head that retains beautify. constant stream of bubbles rise to the surface reinforcing the head.
Smell-lots of fruit going on, tropical notes of mango and pineapple, followed by apples, pears, slight floral character, a bit of toffee in the end.
Taste-Like the smell, lots of fruit going on. mango,pineapple, apples, tangerines, blended with subtle malty sweetness providing balance. no bitterness or booze whatsoever.
Feel-Creamy upfront, then goes pretty crisp with medium carbonation, finishes juicy and yet has a touch of satisfying dryness to it.
Overall-a perfect DIPA. superb. (661 characters)

Photo of Lapalou
4.24/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Canned 7 days ago acquired via trade. Golden orange color with a thin head. Great citrus nose and enticing smell. Drinks good and sticky as expected, balanced piny bitterness. Good malt backbone here helps round out a very good beer. I like Cycle Crank slightly better, but this one is a winner. Would gladly enjoy more. (320 characters)

Photo of gillagorilla
4.61/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

16 oz. can poured into a Burley Oak snifter

A: Slightly cloudy copper color with a bit of a collar.
S: Classic icky sticky all the way. The definition of dank.
T: Deliciously hoppy but doesn't quite live up to the smell. Crushable for sure.
M: Just right bit of billowy carbonation.
O: This is an excellent DIPA and quite deserving of its rank. (352 characters)

Photo of 1sophrosyne1
4.23/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a pint canned on 1/13/15 into an IPA glass. Appreciated over 35 remarkable minutes.

Produces a full two-finger head with good retention and appealing clumps of shave-soapy lacing. Hazy flat amber allows sufficient light through to read. Squadrons of small bubbles feed the head, leaving an airy cream cap on the core. It looks the part, but could have a more interesting show.

The nose is assertively bitter, oniony, and almost ammoniac in its way of dumping a tropical bounty in the nostrils. Smells make one see the color orange reflected by mangoes, peaches, papayas, and passion fruit. After some time in the glass, the sharp antiseptic resins flow away, leaving pineapple juice, saltine, and a touch of lime with those mounds of equatorial produce. Even later, the onion-cellar and sauerkraut overlay returns with the petrol of a used wine barrel; it’s unique, but not necessarily inviting.

The slick of hop oils delays the flavor explosion in cool wetness for a refreshing downbeat. Then, the juicy fruits take over. Papaya and passionfruit are stronger on the tongue than in the nose; mangoes come in a fraction later and fold downward into a lightly toasted and buttered biscuit on the back of the tongue midway through a swallow. At that point, there’s a surprising upward lift of freshness that suspends dusty earth and a nasally-sensed brush of pine that keeps bitterness in check and makes the aftertaste clean and enjoyable. There’s not much depth with a gangly, but rubbery and flexible backbone of malt designed primarily to wave the Citra flag. As it warms, the buzz of ethanol has more influence (right around the time that I can also feel that 9% in my head).

In the mouth, every phase feels right. Although I typically like more heft and chew in a DIPA, the body is properly matched to the hop and carbohydrate profile. Because it’s thinner, some floral phenolic notes of flavor dance on the tongue between gulps in a way that adds complexity to the otherwise humulenic focus. Early, the bubbles make a play, but they fade fast and leave organics to dominate the texture. If I could have just a bit more carbonation in the middle before the clean lift of bitter alpha acids, I’d give this element a perfect rating.

Despite the blast of Citra on the front end with tropical warmth in this winter release, I think the fresh, long ending and aftertaste are my favorite elements in the brew. It’s lively and large, but could use a touch more barley to ground and integrate its bitter angles and splashy fruits. Food fills that need quite nicely, though. The appellation doesn’t really fit this iteration of Abrasive, but buy it up and drink deeply! It’s a winner…again. (2,719 characters)

Photo of PaulyB83
4.78/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 5

Canned 01/10/15 Poured into a nonic pint glass.

L- One finger white head, looks slightly undercarbed but I heard this batch of Abrasive was this way, medium amber, good clarity.

S- Tons and tons of mango, pineapple, and peach, some light dankness and a sort of overall bubblegummy fruitiness. Definitely the most tropical smelling beer I've ever had thanks to what must be tons of Citra hops used in this beer.

T- Follows the aroma, lots of mango, papaya, little less pineapple than in the nose, medium bitterness that doesn't hang on the palette, only a slight taste of the alcohol, nice level of sweetness.

F- A full mouthfeel that is like a thin syrup reminiscent of fruit nectar.

O- From the moment I cracked the can and the tropical smell hit me in the face I knew I would love this beer. It is the most concentrated expression of Citra hops that I have had yet and really one of those beers you just want to sit and smell and it almost pains you to have to drink it cause it will be gone. It's right up there with Heady for me as one of the best DIPAs and a beer I will certainly trade for every year now. (1,122 characters)

Abrasive Ale from Surly Brewing Company
99 out of 100 based on 855 ratings.