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Abrasive Ale - Surly Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Abrasive AleAbrasive Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

3,003 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 3,003
Reviews: 796
rAvg: 4.53
pDev: 8.17%
Wants: 1,880
Gots: 274 | FT: 15
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: 3,003 | Reviews: 796 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of evanlarkin

District of Columbia

4.85/5  rDev +7.1%

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.

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


4.58/5  rDev +1.1%

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.

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


4.1/5  rDev -9.5%

Thanks for bringing this one over Chris! Poured from can into NB globe, golden color, slightly orange, small white head that settles to a collar. Smells amazing, huge pine hop aroma, slightly fruity with a bit of malty sweetness. Taste is a good balance of tropical fruit hops, pineapple, with a good malt backbone and a slightly sweet finish. Medium to heavy body and a light carbonation. Overall a very good, balanced double IPA, one of my favorite surly beers.

02-05-2011 20:41:15 | More by nkersten
Photo of TheSevenDuffs

Ontario (Canada)

4.13/5  rDev -8.8%

Tasting notes from 2/2/11. Canned on date of 12/27/10
Thanks to korguy123 for this one.
Poured in to Duvel tulip.

A - Medium amber colour with an orange glow throughout. Opaque. One finger of foamy off-white head that left some nice lacing.

S - Bitter and sweet all in the initial scent, which is rare for a DIPA. Appears to be very balanced. Some citrus notes are present from the hops with a sweet caramel malt backbone to compliment it.

T - Bitter hops initially hit the tongue, followed by a big caramel-toffee malt sweetness and then the bitterness returns in the finish and lingers on the tongue for a little while. The hops have some citrus notes but they are somewhat difficult to pick out as they are overpowered by sweet caramel malts. Overall, very huge bitterness as well, but not as much flavour from the hops comes through as I would have expected. I really like this beer, but I don't love it.

M - Medium body, chewy, light to moderate carbonation.

D - I am surprised how much I like this beer given that I tend to like hop-forward IPAs and this one is definitely malt dominated. Maybe my palate is changing...

02-05-2011 01:22:14 | More by TheSevenDuffs
Photo of HipHop5


5/5  rDev +10.4%

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:)

02-04-2011 08:16:50 | More by HipHop5
Photo of zhanson88


4.65/5  rDev +2.6%

Big thanks go out to accordselux for sending this one as an extra in a trade! This is my first beer from Surly and I'm pumped.

Appearance: Abrasive pours a light golden color with copper highlights, with just over a finger of white head. Retention is pretty good, as is the lacing.

Smell: Grapefruit and citrus are present about evenly on the nose, with dank piney hops and some other tropical fruits. Very nice.

Taste: I've had a fair number of the more hyped IPAs/DIPAs at this point, and I've got to say this is my favorite so far. I get grapefruit, citrus, pineapple, mango, as well as those dank hops on the back end and finish. In terms of sheer complexity of hop flavors and citrus character, I'll take this beer.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: This beer is in between light and medium bodied, with nice fine carbonation. It is very smooth going down. Probably not quite as good in this category as a couple other that I've tried, but still good. I wish I had access to this beer (and all Surly beers) all the time. I would be most satisfied, because this is a phenomenal beer.

02-03-2011 04:08:45 | More by zhanson88
Photo of FosterJM


4.43/5  rDev -2.2%

227th review on BA
Can to tulip

App- It's that orange of a basketball. Orange with a tinge of amber to it. A very nice one finger pretty quick to fade head was with it as well.

Smell- A large tropical note with the hops to match. It's a very aromatic can for a month of a age on it. The aromatics are quite pleasant.

Taste- Quite delicious. The flavors are so balanced with a nice fruit flavor and a lit hops spice. It's very well done with touches of mango, pineapple, and orange. Maybe a touch of tangerine.

Mouth- Medium bodied with a medium/high carb level. The after taste leaves a bit of bitter and spice and of course the fruits.

Drink- A hidden gem from MN. Surly does some great brews. very well done with huge flavors across the board.

02-02-2011 05:46:56 | More by FosterJM
Photo of mikereaser


4/5  rDev -11.7%

Pours a hazy reddish orange with and inch of foam that quickly faded leaving some decent lacing on the glass. Aroma is a mix of fruit notes, orange, mango, pineapple and pine backed by a nice malty backbone. Taste is malty sweet with some of the mango and orange fruit flavors coming through toward the not very bitter finish. Nicely carbonated and medium bodied, this is very easy to drink and enjoy with just a hint of the 9% alcohol in the finish. Nicely done. Can't beat a can.

02-02-2011 03:00:26 | More by mikereaser
Photo of champ103


4.33/5  rDev -4.4%

Another big thanks to jenray for this can.

A: Pours a hazy copper/orange color. At first a two finger white head forms with good retention. Sheets of lace are left down the glass.
S: Big juicy hops dominate. Tangerine, mango, orange. A fruit salad in my nose...Fairly simple, but just excellent.
T: Again, huge juicy flavors explode on the tongue. Orange peal, sweet tangerine and mango flavors. I love the fruity, and juicy hops. A light bitterness lingers, but not over powering at all. I can't say there is a lot of malt for balance, but in this instance all the hop flavors meld perfectly. It is balanced in that it is not mouth puckering bitterness, or harsh alcohol.
M/D: A full body with good carbonation. Very clean and smooth. So easy to drink. There is a bit of heat as this warms up, but a great treat.

There is nothing abrasive about this at all (unintended pun). A huge juicy hop character along the lines of Masala Mama and the like. Excellent and highly recommended.

02-02-2011 01:58:08 | More by champ103
Photo of Lukafer


4.28/5  rDev -5.5%

Thanks to Alleykatking!

Pours a medium orange with a couple of fingers of white head.  Smells citrusy, piney, tons of hops, smells delicious!  I taste hops at the front, some citrus and some pine hops.  It also tastes sweet, a lot of flavor but smooth and really good.  Mouthfeel is medium and drinkability is really high.

02-02-2011 01:05:47 | More by Lukafer
Photo of Eriktheipaman


4.7/5  rDev +3.8%

Pours a gold color with white fluffy head that fades quickly but leaves nice lacing.

The smell is great! Lemon, tangerine, and slight ginger.

After the smell the taste doesnt disapoint one bit. The front is sweet citrus and tropical fruits and goes down extremely smooth with bitterness and alcohol on the back.

This beer is far too drinkable for the ABV and if it were sold in CA Id drink it all the time.

02-01-2011 04:01:04 | More by Eriktheipaman
Photo of Gueuzedude


4.4/5  rDev -2.9%

A solid pour into my large Tripel Karmeliet tulip produces a three-finger thick, pale tan colored head. The beer is a fairly clear, copper-amber color that does show a touch of haze (hop-haze one would hope). The aroma is awesomely dank with hops; an infused mix of bright citrus, pine, tropical fruit and herbaceous dank bud. The bright tropical fruit character mixes so well with the dank herbal quality that it makes me think of some, as yet undiscovered, cross between a tropical fruit and a really ripe, green marijuana bud. Specific aromas of tangelo zest, essential citrus oil, big lychee, kumquat, super-concentrated floral peach, some sort of citrusy almost garlic like note, peppery pine sap and a dank menthol note; up front the super ripe, tropical fruit character dominates, while in the finish the herbaceous, even at times peppery, notes come to the fore. Over time the garlic chive like aromatic note starts to come more to the fore and a spicy, slightly hot note of alcohol also starts to contribute to the nose.

Not as sweet as I was expecting, if it wasn't for the huge tropical fruit component the flavor might even be somewhat dry. Up front a ripe, tropical fruit note contributes flavors of lychee, kumquat, floral peach nectar and blended tangerine zest juice. Through the middle the hop notes contribute solid menthol notes, herbal, sometimes rosemary like (though not so distinctly), the flavors one gets by chewing on fresh pine needles and flavors reminiscent, though not overwhelmingly so, of garlic chives. The bitterness is not overly aggressive here, but it does linger on the palate after the beer has left. The bitterness is quit clean and crisp in quality; this is a bit surprising given how herbaceous and dank the aroma was, though there is some lingering herbal notes here as well. The tropical fruit character blends with the herbal notes towards the finish to create a flavor that reminds me a bit of fruity onions or perhaps garlic, this character is fairly slight, but definitely noticeable and not all that objectionable. This is quite quaffable as the body on this beer is on the light side from your typical Double IPA (many of which are much too cloying); there is enough texture for this to have some palate clinging viscosity, but the herbal and bitter hop notes do a good job of balancing that out. As the beer warms a bit some hotter, spicier notes of alcohol start to influence the flavor.

I would definitely like to get a fresh off the canning line version of this beer, but this is still quite fresh and vibrantly hoppy. Given that this is at least a month old at this point, it is lasting pretty well in the can; I would guess that it holds up better than Pliny does in its bottle. I am not sure that I like this more than fresh Pliny though, it has a bit too much garlic chive flavor and aroma to it (thought thankfully this is held to a low enough level that I am still thoroughly enjoying this beer).

01-31-2011 14:29:39 | More by Gueuzedude
Photo of Urbancaver


4.68/5  rDev +3.3%

Pours orange... Not quite as dark as furious. A decent amount of white head that dissipate fairly quickly. Smells... Incredible! Hops hops hops... Loads of floral and citrus and pine. Grapefruit is probably the strongest scent. Tastes... Like an incdible hop bomb. Tons of citrus and floral and grapefruit! A lot going on. Holy cow! This beer is phenomenal.

Smells soooo fucking good... In fact, i accidentally snorted some...
So new category: nosefeel: 5.0 :)

01-30-2011 23:47:33 | More by Urbancaver
Photo of ToAzwethinkweizm


4.83/5  rDev +6.6%

Date: 30 January 2011
Glass: Sierra Nevada XXX snifter
Type: 16fl oz can; extra from 'Lenny1203'

Huge thanks to Justin for including this beer as an extra in our trade! Poured easily for a 1.5-finger head that holds true for several minutes, color is clear amber-orange, lacing is super-sticky with very small bubbles....just like most Surly canned beers! Aroma is loaded with fresh pineapple, grapefruit, honey, and a slight sting of pine. Taste of perfectly-balanced malt/hop profiles. Flavors of tropical fruit carry over to the taste. Leaves a fruity-bitterness on the palate between tastes. The pineappley-hops are enormous. This is one of the best IPAs I have ever had. Thank God it's fresh! Thanks Justin!

01-30-2011 16:41:50 | More by ToAzwethinkweizm
Photo of nataku00


4.6/5  rDev +1.5%

Picked a few up in a trade with arvjunk. Thanks! The date on the bottom of the can was unfortunately scratched out so I cannot tell how fresh this is.

Poured from a can into a tulip glass. With an aggressive pour, about a finger and a half of white large bubble head that quickly receded to a collar, leaving a lot of nice lacing on the glass. Beer is dark orange, very hazy so you cannot see through it. When held up to a light, the beer really glows though, and a small cascade of carbonation visible when swirled lightly.

Nose is a lot of pineapple, with juicy grapefruit. Probably the strongest pineapple aroma I've ever smelled in an IPA. Swirling it lightly brings out some of the bready malts and a bit of wet grass.

Nice hop bitterness right away on the tongue, pineapple and grapefruit peel. Malt sweetness and the tropical and citrus hops skips right over the tongue, leaving a clean finish. Really nice balance in bitterness and sweetness.

Medium bodied beer with carbonation that gently scrubs your tongue of the sticky sweetness, leaving a lightly bitter lingering citrus and herbal hoppiness. Dangerously drinkable DIPA as the alcohol is very well hidden despite being 9.0%. I had to keep myself from drinking a pint of it up quickly.

01-30-2011 03:19:21 | More by nataku00
Photo of brew3crew


4.08/5  rDev -9.9%

Thanks urbancaver!

A-cloudy amber in cor with a white head that sticks around.
S-very high in citrus aroma. Almost too citrusy.
T-tastes a lot like it smells. Gets sweeter as it warms up
M-medium body and very smooth
D-highly drinkable. Was suprised ar the abv!

01-28-2011 03:33:30 | More by brew3crew
Photo of Jwale73

Rhode Island

4.18/5  rDev -7.7%

Thanks to cmswoboda for the opportunity to try this one. Served at 49 degrees in a tulip. Pours a translucent burnt red/orange with a latte-like one inch cap. Head eventually dissipates into a solid skim, with swaths and spots of lacing adhering to the walls of the glass during the tasting. Nose reveals sweet citrus notes and a touch of slightly herbal, bitter rind. Taste consistent with nose; however, some tropical fruit seems to be co-mingled in the flavor profile. Finish is slightly bitter, but does not linger. Mouthfeel is medium-bodied with a slightly oily consistency and a crisp, even carbonation. There's also a slight astringency that lightly stimulates the sides of the cheeks. A top notch DIPA with great balance and just the right amount of complexity. I can't get enough from this Brewer.

01-28-2011 01:53:16 | More by Jwale73
Photo of GeezLynn


4.55/5  rDev +0.4%

Nice appearance - bright orange-amber with a big white head.

Wonderful fruity hop smells - orange, pineapple, peach, and pink grapefruit. Like a tropical fruit smoothy. Tough to pick up any malt under all that fruityness.

Flavor is also dominated by hops - tangerine, pineapple, and grapefruit, although there is a toasty malt background. Alcohol is very well hidden - no indication this is over 7%. Finishes with a lengthy bitterness.

Creamy fullness, oily, carbonation is pretty smooth - a bit more prickly would bring out additional bitterness, but I think they hit what they were aiming for here.

A very smooth, fruity DIPA. Ranks up there with Two Hearted and Furious for me. Delicious.

01-27-2011 05:26:14 | More by GeezLynn
Photo of OakedCanuck


4.43/5  rDev -2.2%

16oz can with about 10oz poured into the cervoise. I don't ever pour out entire cans of craft into a glass because I like to drink them straight outta the can (unless) reviewing. That's how I roll.

A - Heavy orange colour, nice fluffy head.

S - Citric orange, lemon. Grass, pine

T - Damn bitter. But well balanced with the pineapple, orange and lemon fruits.

M - Lighter body and dry. Your teeth feel gritty and sticky, indicating a hoppy and bitter as hell beer!

D - Great beer. Easily drink a bunch of this stuff.

01-25-2011 17:43:37 | More by OakedCanuck
Photo of Strix


4.45/5  rDev -1.8%

Deep orange, thick frothy white head.

Big whiff of pine and citrus.

Nice big citrus wash supported by bready maltiness. Slight pine note, lots of orange. This is delicious. Hits you like a DIPA should, balanced (in a big way) and tasty.

Rich full mouthfeel.

This was great. Need to get back to MN to get more!

01-25-2011 01:58:43 | More by Strix
Photo of joshuacavett


4.72/5  rDev +4.2%

Freaking Abrasive! Much love to freshmanpour77 (awesome trader) for hooking me up with this one (fresh). Ton of hops up front, carbonation spot on. Tried this by myself and was blown away, tried it with a friend the next go around and we were both amazed. We tried it again for a third time this Saturday next to Pliny (very fresh) and Abrasive was the preference of 3 of the 4 people at the tasting. It is amazing how this beer changes over just a week time with it tasting best the first (freshest). Looking forward to my next try of this amazing beer.

01-24-2011 19:42:50 | More by joshuacavett
Photo of CuriousMonk


4.44/5  rDev -2%

Poured from a 16oz can dated 12-29-10. Pours clear dark orange with one finger white head. Aroma was impressive. Loaded with dank hops and tons of citrus. Flavor was loaded with bitter hops, but lacking all the citrus (I'm picking up mostly orange here) and a good malt back bone. Abrasive is a good name for this brew as if you don't like a ton of bitter hops than this one might not be for you. Mild carbonation going on. Solid beer but a bit of a disappointment based on other rankings.

01-24-2011 01:41:03 | More by CuriousMonk
Photo of orangesol


4.45/5  rDev -1.8%

Can poured into a dogfish pint.

A - Pours deep amber orange with a thick froth of two finger tall white head slowly dissipating down to light sheets of lacing down the entire glass.

S - Quite the hop bomb. Plenty of tropical fruit is mixed in well with the strong citric hops. Some bready yeast and sweet caramel malt help balance things out a bit. The closest example to sculpin I have seen.

T - wow. Tons of tropical fruits mix well with the citric hops up front giving way quickly to a creamy sweetness that lingers throughout the finish. The finish is quite dry after drinking the entire can. I really enjoyed the balance this one had. I would love to try this on-tap someday. Until then I will have to settle for a few more cans.

M - Medium body and flavor with moderate carbonation. Quite the creamy feel with some lingering dryness long after the finish. I love the balance this one has.

D - Very High. I really enjoyed this one. The balance of hops, sweetness, and creamy feel is nearly flawless. Easily the best IPA I have ever had out of a can. I look forward to having this again in the future.

01-23-2011 02:29:48 | More by orangesol
Photo of PeprSprYoFace


4.58/5  rDev +1.1%

Another free beer from Sideswipe. Thanks man.

Pours a copper color with a thin head. Again dissapointed by the east coast style IPA and head retention. No real lacing.

Aroma is very similar to Pliny. Where you don't get much of any malt aroma. You get the simco piney aroma mixed with the citric hop aroma. Awesome.

Taste is different than the aroma would suggest. Much more balanced with a nice malt backbone. Slightly sweet with hop resin coating your tongue.

Mouthfeel is great. Nice carb and nice malt.

Overall I would say this beer is better than Hopslam but not better than Heady topper or elder/younger or sculpin. This is an awesome IPA that I will be trading for more.

01-22-2011 05:40:15 | More by PeprSprYoFace
Photo of KickInTheChalice


4.4/5  rDev -2.9%

Poured from a 16 oz. can into a tulip. Thanks to busch03 for hooking this up.

Appearance: Out of the can this pours a fairly transparent caramel tangerine color. A huge off-white head practically overflows the tulip, leaving gorgeous lacing on the glass.

Smell: A well constructed DIPA is always bursting with hop aroma, and Abrasive is no different. A smooth blend of tropical fruits - I get pineapple and a bit of mango, with softer grapefruit and tangerine as well. The sweetness present is more caramel than candied fruit in nature.

Taste: As I gathered from the appearance, the front is caramel malt with some sweetness that balances the soon-to-come hops. Even with a valiant effort, there is no chance the malt holds up. The first few sips are not overwhelming, but as the glass goes on, the hops really dig in. Pineapple, grapefruit, orange zest, tangerine, mango, and a touch of pine are present in that order of dominance.

Mouthfeel: This drinks extremely light. Abrasive is not abrasive, it drinks extremely smooth. The tongue eventually becomes withered with the paint-stripping hop goodness, but I enjoy that.

Drinkability: There is no doubt that I could drink this all night, even though my tongue might not have taste buds by morning. This is an appropriate step up from Furious, which to date is my favorite IPA. There is potential for improvement, but this is a solid offering.

01-21-2011 05:37:48 | More by KickInTheChalice
Abrasive Ale from Surly Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 3,003 ratings.