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Abrasive Ale - Surly Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Abrasive AleAbrasive Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

3,440 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 3,440
Reviews: 850
rAvg: 4.53
pDev: 8.17%
Wants: 2,042
Gots: 419 | FT: 33
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%
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Ratings: 3,440 | Reviews: 850 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jegross2
5/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Reviewing the Abrasive Ale from Surly Brewing Company. Thank you BeerAdvocate user Mid for sending me this one!
Score: 100

16 oz can with a "canned on" date of 12/01/11 poured into a Sam Adams perfect pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a slightly hazy, translucent copper-orange color with a full finger of creamy cream colored head that slowly settles into a thin layer and thick ring around the glass. Amazing lacing. An absolutely gorgeous IIPA. 5/5

Smell: This one is extremely fresh and citrusy! I could smell the beer as I was pour it out of the can. Huge amounts of pine and zesty citrus. Lots of fresh grapefruit, lemons, tangerines, oranges and tropical fruit. A little caramel malt. Deep whiffs of the fresh, zesty citrus aromas really perk the smell receptors, just like Zombie Dust. Abrasive Ale's aroma rivals Heady Topper. 5/5

Taste: WOW. Huge of zesty grapefruit and pine flavors throughout. I wouldn't say this one has a "malty backbone," but a noticeable maltiness on the mid-palate counterbalances what would otherwise be an extreme citrus hop bomb of bitterness. That balance is nice, as it takes you to the edge of hoppiness and back before the finish. Huge notes of fresh lemon come out more and more as the beer layers. The citrus zestiness of the beer is like a bright sunshine of hops on the palate. A lingering lemony bitterness grows in the finish as the beer layers. 5/5

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, high carbonation. The carbonation really highlights the zestiness on the palate, making the bright, fresh citrus flavors "pop" on the tongue. Finishes dry and sharply bitter. 5/5

Overall: This is amazing imperial IPA -- the best I have had to date. This one takes you to the edge of fresh citrus hoppiness and back. An absolute must try beer. This is one tailor-made for hops heads.

Recommendation: Beer geeks need to seek this beer out; it lives up to the hype. This is a must try beer. Casual beer drinkers who are not hops averse should probably enjoy this one too, though I have found IPAs, and especially imperial IPAs, to be a poor "gateway" into craft beer for casual beer drinkers.

Pairings: I paired this one with beef shwarma, Mediterranean rice and tahini, and I thought the spiciness and hoppiness paired really well.

Cost: $15.99 for a four pack.

Photo of dsuedbeck
5/5  rDev +10.4%

Photo of hurfer
4/5  rDev -11.7%

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

Orange-brown in color, reasonably firm head of tightly packed tan foam. Extensive lacing. Aroma is strong and has a good fruit content. Some pepper notes from Warrior, but fruity Amarillo is prominent. Hops are strong, malts subdued.

Flavor is smooth and creamy with a wonderful non-balance of hops over malt. A touch of steely caramel sweetness is all that's required, while the double IPA hop is left to lead the show. Lots of orange, as expected from the bill, grapefruit as well. It's like liquid Sweetbell.

Met all my expectations, drinkable as an IPA and strong as a double. Full and creamy mouthfeel without becoming overly malty and sweet. Really solid.

Photo of Callmecoon
4.5/5  rDev -0.7%

Photo of MrHirschybar
4/5  rDev -11.7%

Photo of tyjaman
4.5/5  rDev -0.7%

Photo of gorby10826
4/5  rDev -11.7%

Photo of brock146
4.75/5  rDev +4.9%

Photo of vfgccp
4.03/5  rDev -11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Bright bronze body. Fine bubbled, off-white foam with great lace and nice lace.

S - Great nose of sweet fresh pine, copper pennies, honey, and soft malt. The pine character is more crisp and green than resiny.

T - Soft and super smooth opening of herbal and woody hops. A sweet center adds a touch of counterweight before a crisp, dry, bitter pine finish.

M - Silky, medium body. Low carbonation, but it doesn't seem to detract from the overall mouthfeel imho.

O - A nice DIPA with a bright, well rounded pine hop character.

Photo of reyolb
4.75/5  rDev +4.9%

Photo of PerHops
4.45/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured the can into a pint glass. The color was a dark golden amber that looks a whole lot like furious. There was more head retention that lingered on the sides of the glass as I drank it. The smell was pheonemenal. Not only could I smell the ubiquitous hops, but the signature furious malt bill is evident, too. The taste is much more hop forward than furious, but does maintain some balance. This beer rivals sculpin and pliny, but yet is an unquestioned original. The mouthfeel is good. Similar to furious, again, in that it isn't highly carbonated. But that works. First time I've tried this beer, had two cans and will put this up there with the best double IPAs you can find anywhere.

Photo of leschkie
4.5/5  rDev -0.7%

Photo of blakelive784
3.77/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

16 fl oz can served in a pilsner glass, reviewed live:

A - Pours a transparent copper/orange color with a decently thick 2 finger head. Retention is surprisingly good given the high abv.

S - Piney and citric hoppy notes play against an ever present caramel malt foundation. The aroma is pungent, but invitingly so.

T - Caramel and a spicy/peppery note open to an almost buttery/bread foundation. The resinous piney notes come through on the climax, and the alcohol finishes a bit sweet. Very well built and balanced.

M - Medium bodied, and bit too smooth. Could stand a bit more carbonation.

D - One of the most masterfully balanced IPA's I've had the pleasure of drinking. If you can, give this one a go.

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.15/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer is a nice super drinkable pounder can double IPA, and I've never had one in this format. I love the can art made by ball corporation, many local friends work for them in Weirton, WV. Pours a pale amber copper hue with a light colore billowing off white head, fine even lacing traces the sides of my nonic pint glass. Aroma is full of vegetal, onion/garlic spiciness. I can only guess that there's Summit hops in here with the taste I'm getting. The flavor is nice, this beer was canned on 12/14/11 we're talking super fresh. No abv or IBU info on the can, I find that hard to believe. They so proudly offered up 6.2% abv ad 99 IBUs on the Furious can, why not the abrasive ale. Alcohol is evident especially as it warms, it doesn't ruin the experience it is just there. Overall a very special DIPA in the can, my first experience with this style in that format. Surly is brave, and somewhat abrasive, but I enjoyed this beer carbonation is sturdy and body is full with resinous oils in the mix.

Photo of Hopstout
4.3/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Dark copper red

Aroma - Piney and fresh. Cool and calm star fruit tease.

Taste - Hoppy bite, sharp and strong. Many different hop flavors.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied. Nice drinking anytime. Great summer or winter beer.

Overall - I purchased a four pack and had two the first night.
I love a potent hop bite, but this was over the top even for me. Also, the price was pretty steep.
Two nights later, I drank the other two. I again though that it was not balanced very well and was tilted one sided around the hops.
A couple days later, I somehow craved Abrasive.
I purchased another four pack and continued until they were gone. I started to really enjoy the refreshing and party-like taste of it. I started to dig the sharp bite.
I just purchased another four pack and am drinking the first one now.
What can I say? We all evolve.
If you love mass quantities of hops, get Abrasive soon, it's a seasonal.

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

Can to teardrop wine glass. Keeping it classy even if it's an abrasive IPA. Big props to Kurtis for the can. Canned on 12/8/11.

A - Deep golden copper. Good amount of head that looks frothy and lingers. Good amount of head retention and even lacing just from the initial pour.

S - Loads of hops. Smells like someone squeezed tangerines into this aroma, along with bitter, piney hop notes. One of the better and more inviting combinations of floral and citrus hop aromas.

T - It's got hops, but the balance between the hops and the malt backbone really strike me. Allows the entire flavor to be bold at once. But the bitter hops sting a little, but are smooth and mellow at the same time from the sweet citrus hops. An addictive flavor. Like the smell, one of the best piney/citrus hop taste profiles I've encountered as well. Masterful job.

M - The feel is bold, but not astringent. Goes down quite smooth once the mouth gets a feel for the hop explosion. Good carbonation and quite drinkable.

O - This beer is spectacular. When fresh, one of the more complete IIPAs and shows the versatility of hop flavors and aromas. Great balance and a joy to drink.

Photo of brian23456
5/5  rDev +10.4%

Photo of jlenik
5/5  rDev +10.4%

Photo of bierbrauer
4.47/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A Christmas gift from the Twin Cities. 16 oz. can poured into tulip glass. Canned on 12/2/11, 21 days ago.

A: Hazy amber/copper; 1" off-white head that drops slowly and leaves thin, consistent lacing on sides of the glass.

S: Sharp and hoppy; grapefruit, tangerine + pine.

T: Very complex array of flavors; fruit appears briefly, moves to sweet caramel malts then intense, fast growing, but pleasant bitterness; alcohol is very subdued.

M: Moderate carbonation, medium-to-full body; dry finish; resinous, chewy, creamy and mouth-filling.

O: Big, rich and complex; a formidable blend. A wonderful DIPA. Good on you, Surly!

Photo of Lerxst
4.45/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Much thanks to sjccmd for this one!

16oz can dated 12/2/11 poured into a snifter

A-Pours amber with a slight haze. One finger off white head that has good retention and leaves ample lace all the way down.

S-Very hoppy nose-pine resin and citrus (grapefruit mostly) are all I'm picking up. Can't notice any malt, but that's ok with me. This is a hopheads beer and it doesn't disappoint. Very aromatic and pleasing.

T-"Abrasive" fits this beer well. It is a hoppy assault on the palate. Following the nose, resinous and citrusy goodness bombard my taste buds with a nice bitter bite. I am picking up a bit of a caramel malt back that complements the hop explosion well.

M-Medium body and carbonation, slightly creamy at first but provides a dry finish.

O-This is an excellent DIPA. If you enjoy hops, this one is a must. This was my first Surly offering and it didn't disappoint.

Photo of Pintofbrown
4.59/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was had in my trusty shaker pint.

Appearance- Wow, dark for an IPA, auburn-copper in color with gold highlights and a hazy look to it.

The head is about a half finger in width, slightly off-white. The cap is smooth and very puffy with little bubbles in the cap.

Smell- I could smell the glorious little green buds the moment I popped the can. The smells are HUGE and exploding out of the glass. It is almost all citrus: pink grapefruit, passion fruit, and some peach. Absolutely awesome.

Taste- This citrus bomb unloads on the grapefruit right away. And of course, it starts to bitter almost immediately. Some biscuit and wheat malt that starts to come out mid-drink and in the finish off-sets the pucker factor.

Some grassy hops and passion fruit just absolutely fill the mouth into the long finish. There is no alcohol noticeable in this big beer. Still loving it!

Mouth feel- Abrasive has a medium body, but is not really coating: slick and watery. The finish is pretty dry, but the drink is pretty smooth thanks to the malt.

Overall- An absolutely amazing beer! The citrus flavors are dangerously good. This offering from Surly is a must have if you are a hop head.

Photo of bpfrush
4.5/5  rDev -0.7%

Photo of Scout11
4.5/5  rDev -0.7%

Photo of kojevergas
3.66/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

500ml can served into an Orval goblet in high altitude Denver, Colorado. Reviewed live. Expectations are high on account of the brewery. I don't usually like the style but it's Surly! I'm excited. Paired with popcorn.

A: 1.5 finger head of lovely cream lacing, great thickness, and excellent retention for the ABV. Colour is a nontransparent light amber.

Sm: A heavy hop aroma with some light cream. Pleasant and inviting. A strong aroma.

T: Very hoppy but also quite nicely balanced, avoiding the pitfall of too much bitterness on the finish present in so many (bad) IPAs. I quite fancy it. The cream isn't quite as pronounced as I'd like, but it's there. Some light toasted malt seems to come through as well.

Mf: Coarse and wet, suiting the flavours quite well. I'd like it a bit less coarse, but it's alright.

Dr: Very drinkable for an IPA. I'd like to try it on draught. It's a nice little IPA, with a nicely balanced hop profile.


11/28/13: Truncated can review.

Served into a stem-tulip in Minneapolis, MN. Expectations are high. Served cold, straight from the fridge. Side-poured with standard vigor. Reviewed as an imperial IPA because the description on the back identifies it as such. Canned 10/30/13. Reviewed live.

A: No bubble show forms as it's poured.

Pours a 1.5 finger wide head of white colour. Nice creaminess and thickness. Decent frothiness. Nice consistency. Head retention is good - about 5 minutes. No lacing clings to the sides of the glass as the head recedes.

Body colour is a translucent quasitransparent copper of good glowing vibrance. No yeast particles are visible.

Overall, it looks pretty good for an imperial IPA but isn't unique or special. No egregious flaws. I'm looking forward to trying it.

Sm: Dank hop resins and pine character. Some complementary nectary hop character. Lighter floral and herbal tones. Plenty of hop oils. Pale malts. Sticky tree sap. Maybe some evergreen. It's a delightful and appealing hop profile with seemingly well-chosen hops. I'm really looking forward to trying it. A clean and inviting aroma of above average strength.

No yeast character or alcohol is detectable, nor are any off notes.

T: Pine is definitely dominant, evoking pine needles, sap, and nectar. Floral and herbal hop character is subsidiary but effective. I do pick up some grapefruit and citrusy zest. Pale malts provide a supportive but unobtrusive foundation and keep the hop bitterness fairly well balanced without curbing the necessary hop bite too much. The malty side actually feels a bit candied. I'd like the hop bitterness to be a bit more tamed.

It's an extremely cohesive build, and even borders on gestalt. Enjoyable. I would like more depth of flavour, and the intensity of flavour is a bit low for the style. Flavour duration is excellent, leaving hop oils and accompanying bitterness lingering on the palate. Complex enough, but it could use more subtlety and intricacy. Not nuanced per se.

No yeast character or alcohol comes through. Never soapy. Very clean.

Mf: Crisp, smooth, wet, refreshing, pleasantly biting, and approachable. Oily. Well carbonated, if a bit intentionally overdone to accentuate its bite. Good thickness and body. Nice presence on the palate. Surprisingly soft. Complements the flavour profile well, with some limited custom-tailoring of texture to taste.

Not astringent, harsh, rough, boozy, hot, or gushed.

Dr: Very drinkable for an Imperial IPA. Surly is clearly one of the big dogs when it comes to hoppy beers, and I always dig their deliberate considered hop choices. I'll burn through this 4-pack without any trouble. Perhaps my favourite thanksgiving brew.

High B

Abrasive Ale from Surly Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 3,440 ratings.