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Abrasive Ale - Surly Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Abrasive AleAbrasive Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

3,041 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 3,041
Reviews: 800
rAvg: 4.53
pDev: 8.17%
Wants: 1,896
Gots: 282 | 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: 3,041 | Reviews: 800 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of sisuspeed
4.18/5  rDev -7.7%

Thanks to spycow for the can!

Canned 12/27/10

Poured into a Heady Topper pint glass. Slightly hazy, orange-brown body with a thick, foamy, white head. Really nice retention on this one with good lacing.

Lots of orange, grapefruit and lemon citrus on the nose. Pine-laden hops with sweet bready malts. Well-rounded with hop bitterness and citrus.

Citrus and malts hit the tongue first, quickly transitioning to hop bitterness throughout. Definitely has the Surly malt profile that you find in a lot of their hoppy brews. Grapefruit pith and clementine. Herbal/grassy citrus on the finish.

Mouthfeel has a good malt backbone, which makes the beer seem balanced at first, but it finishes with a nice wave of hops the brings the bitterness back out front, which I really like. Good body for a double IPA. Somewhat chewy and slightly resiny.

Drinkability is good. This is a well crafted brew and probably my favorite hop forward beer from Surly besides Wet. I could easily do a can of this anytime and the 9% ABV is essentially unnoticeable. Maybe not my favorite hop profile for a DIPA, but I can see why it averages an A rating. Nice work Surly. Here's to hoping your brewery expansion goes through. Cheers!

sisuspeed, Feb 16, 2011
Photo of abuliarose
4.08/5  rDev -9.9%

Can date is Dec. 27th, 2010. Poured into a pint glass, revealing hazy amber body with a massively tall and thick head. Nice lacing. Smells nice and meaty with hops along with a slight citrus presence and some bitter rind. Standard DIPA smells.

Tastes nice and bitter but with a serious malt backbone. Meaty, almost unctuous hop presence with a slight bitter grapefruit rind character and a little floral honey all over a burnt caramel malt body. Mouthfeel is thick and almost shake-like for a DIPA with creamy yet tingly carbonation which adds to the medium body. Very drinkable, very rich. Drinks like half a meal.

I wish this brew were around these parts. I would certainly reach for more of it.

abuliarose, Feb 16, 2011
Photo of VaTechHopHead
4.25/5  rDev -6.2%

A - Looks like an IPA is supposed to. Slightly hazy golden orange/light brown with a big 'ol two finger head that lasts and puts nice lacing down the glass. A little carbonation can be seen flowing in the glass also.

S - Just a little faint for my liking for a DIPA, but incredibly pleasing nonetheless. Fresh wet citrus hops come through the olfactory right from the beginning and linger long after the first whiff.

T - A little different than the aroma (the hop profile shifts a little) but still very tasty. The bittering of the Warrior hops definitely comes through from start to finish, and the tag-team combo with the Citra hops leaves a pleasant fruity aftertaste. The malt flavor is way back there in the taste but provides enough of a backbone to make a nice ratio of bitterness to sweetness for the style.

M/D - Medium body with a light syrup-like texture on the palate. A little undercarbed for my personal liking, but to each their own. Great hop profile make it very easy to drink but not too complex that the glass is finished before figuring out what this beer is all about.

My first beer from Surly and I must get more!

VaTechHopHead, Feb 15, 2011
Photo of pmlondrigan
4.33/5  rDev -4.4%

From notes - Amazing golden orange color that highlights tiney bubbles that rush towards a puffy white two finger head. This head leaves some spotty lacing as the beer retreats. The aroma is madening, both citrusy orange, lemon, grapefruit and tropical fruits ride a wave of more earthy and piney hops underneath. The flavor is crisp and clean, tropical, citrusy, and sweet withough being cloying. Perfect grain bill, too much crystal sometimes kills an ipa, here it is great, muted yeast charecter, clean. Is it the oat? Chewy and full mouthfeel just shy of too much. This is one of my top three favorit x2ipa's period.

pmlondrigan, Feb 15, 2011
Photo of thagr81us
4.28/5  rDev -5.5%

Big thanks goes out to optimator13 for this one from the Small Aquatic Mammal BIF '11! Served from can into a Surly Darkness snifter. Poured yellow-orange with a two and a half finger off-white head that subsided to a one finger very slowly. Maintained excellent lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, citrus, grapefruit, citrus hop, bitter hop, and slight wild onion. The flavor was of sweet malt, citrus, citrus hop, garlic, and mild onion. It had a medium feel on the palate with high carbonation. Overall this brew was quite excellent. The onion flavor I detected on this one reminded me of all the good memories I have of Gunba. There was an excellent aroma and well balanced hoppy bitterness going on in this one. This is an absolute must try and totally worth seeking out.

thagr81us, Feb 14, 2011
Photo of tmcelvain
4.83/5  rDev +6.6%

Abrasive. How can something with a name like that be so, so, smooth?

This is possibly the perfect beer.

Not even my favorite style, but Abrasive has taken the DIPA and imparted a smooth, buttery, slightly floral, slightly citrus feast for your senses. Great balance, terrific mouthfeel, and dangerously drinkable. This has a crispness that comes from somewhere deep inside the water - not from a hop bitterness that other brewers rely on. It has a candy finish like the last lick of a stick of rock candy from your favorite amusement park. It has an almost chewy mouthfeel that is a combination of the higher ABV and a melting marhsmallow straight from the fire, that is just browned, not burned.

I am actually glad this is seasonal, because it might just be the end of me if I could find it year-round for a reasonable fee.

tmcelvain, Feb 14, 2011
Photo of ne0m00re
4.58/5  rDev +1.1%

Live review of a pint can, canned on 01/04/11. Big thanks to StoutFest for this extra.
A: Poured a tangerine golden with a half-finger steady cream head that leaves a little lacing.
S: This smells good. Pineapple and apple juice, a little banana, slightly cheesy, mild orange citrus, slightly floral and yeasty with an almost craisin character, slightly gin or vodka alcohol, wow. This reminds me a lot of Columbus IPA but more in-your-face.
T: Again, a very strong fruit character, fresh pear being in the forefront, but there is an orange juice and pineapple green (slightly cheesy) hops. The alcohol is pretty well masked until the finish, where it lingers like gin. This is good. Again, the overall impression is that of Columbus IPA. They must use similar hops profiles.
M: Nice. Frothy, a little creamy and thick, but cleansing on the finish.
D: Very good.

I can see why this gets such good reviews. This might be one of my new favorite DIPAs.

ne0m00re, Feb 13, 2011
Photo of roodie
4.1/5  rDev -9.5%

thanks to cardinal79 for this generous suprise today. it is not available in LA and I thank him for hooking me up!!

poured from a 16 oz can into a maudite tulip

A: pours a copper brown with a 1 finger creamy white head with moderate retention. nice lacing.

S: grapefruit citrus, hoppy and resiny. similar to knuckle sandwich, one of my favorite DIPAs.

T: not very hoppy, malt forward with citrus accents, caramel and bitter on the end.

M: very smooth, moderate carbonation helps accent the flavors.

D: very drinkable, this beer hides it's ABV very well. smooth without much hoppy bite, could drink a few of these before realizing it's potency.

O: really like this beer. It reminds me of knuckle sandwich and double jack; more malt than hops, but in a good way.

roodie, Feb 12, 2011
Photo of bmwats
4.43/5  rDev -2.2%

Poured from 16 oz can into a tulip.

A: Orange golden hue. Pours about a 1 finger, bubbly, off-white head. Plenty of carbonation. Settles pretty slowly. Eventually leaves just a light blanket of bubbly carbonation on the surface. Some really nice spiderweb lacing.

S: Hoppy, piny, and some sweet citrus tones. Maybe some raisin and licorice in there too. Clove and oregano.

T: Raisin, pine, baked bread. Nice bittersweet kind of thing going on.

M: Puckering-ly pinyness introduces itself in the front and lingers throughout. Also, that slight sweetness starts, but is overcome a little by the pine. Very dry finish. Really carbonated.

D: Sip and enjoy.

Atmosphere is very good. Really nice deep golden hue, bubbly head, carbonation throughout and some decent lacing. Nose is very full combination of pine, sweet and spice. Flavor is an interesting balance of pine, sweet, and spice. Kinda' tastes like it smells. Overall, this is a great quaff.

bmwats, Feb 12, 2011
Photo of billyshears
4.08/5  rDev -9.9%

a: initially fluffy white head. Some head retention, very clear reddish amber body (thanks isinglass!), some nice lacing.

s: dank pine and citrus hops. reminds me of pliny a bit; malt is quite noticeable.

t: hop forward mostly pine hops with some citrus notes. malt plays in the background but is a nice accompaniment. lingering pine hop bitterness on back end. alcohol well integrated and plays well off the bitterness.

m:ample carbonation, medium mouth feel but goes down smooth.

d: sip and enjoy

A very solid dipa, though i can't say it's my favorite.

billyshears, Feb 11, 2011
Photo of cpetrone84
4.5/5  rDev -0.7%

A-pours a cloudy deep golden brown with a thinner light tan colored head.

S-the nose is all tropical fruits of apricot and grapefruit with hints of hop resign and a very syrupy aroma.

T-the taste adds some different flavors. there is still a fair bit of tropical fruits but there are also notes of grain intertwined into the flavor with notes of pine towards the back. an assertive bitterness in the finish that doesn't linger.

M-the body is pretty big and somewhat syrupy with a slightly grainy palate and strong carbonation with just a touch of driness in the finish.

D-this is a big IPA with some great hop presence and nice bitterness that ends abruptly. Tasty and drinkable stuff with just a hint of alcohol in the finish.

cpetrone84, Feb 10, 2011
Photo of titosupertramp
4.6/5  rDev +1.5%

Big, big thanks to thecaptain073 for the opportunity to try this one.

A: Murky caramel colored. Two fingers of white head. Great retention. Leaves a solid film..good splotchy lacing.

S: Hops are out front(in fact you notice them as soon as you crack open the can), but Abrasive is a little different because the malt doesn't back down and competes for top billing. Citrus, grapefruit bitterness, pine, tropical fruit smells. It's hard to pull my nose out of the glass...this one gets a 5.

T: Everything from the nose. Citrus and grapefruit are probably the most pronounced, but pine comes in to play along with pineaple and mango..and of course the sweetness, breadiness from the malts. There's also a peachy quality to this beer as well. Very balanced, very enjoyable.

M: Creamy, good carbonation. Coats the mouth with a good aftertaste, dry finish.

D: Abrasive goes down smooth and easy. Alcohol never came into play. A true pleasure to drink.

I like this beer...a lot. Thanks Brian!

titosupertramp, Feb 10, 2011
Photo of mdaschaf
4.35/5  rDev -4%

Thanks to imlimbo77 for this one. ReReview from notes on 4/24/12

A: Pours a hazy light orange with a frothy two finger head. Great retention, the head seems to last forever Great rings of lacing down the glass.

S: Nice pine and floral aromas. Get some tropical fruits, grapefruit and orange mostly. There are some caramel and bready malts too.

T: Lots of pine up front with a little bit of tropical fruit flavors - grapefruit, orange, and a little bit of lemon. There is some caramel and doughy malt back it up.

M/D: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Definitely on the creamier side. Left my mouth dry with a slight bitter flavor. Overall, quite drinkable, but I am surprised that it wasn't as hoppy as expected.

mdaschaf, Feb 08, 2011
Photo of evanlarkin
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.

evanlarkin, Feb 07, 2011
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.

deadbody, Feb 06, 2011
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.

nkersten, Feb 05, 2011
Photo of TheSevenDuffs
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...

TheSevenDuffs, Feb 05, 2011
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:)

HipHop5, Feb 04, 2011
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.

zhanson88, Feb 03, 2011
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.

FosterJM, Feb 02, 2011
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.

mikereaser, Feb 02, 2011
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.

champ103, Feb 02, 2011
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.

Lukafer, Feb 02, 2011
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.

Eriktheipaman, Feb 01, 2011
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).

Gueuzedude, Jan 31, 2011
Abrasive Ale from Surly Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 3,041 ratings.