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Abrasive Ale - Surly Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Abrasive AleAbrasive Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

3,185 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 3,185
Reviews: 809
rAvg: 4.52
pDev: 8.41%
Wants: 1,976
Gots: 289 | 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: 3,185 | Reviews: 809 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of OakedCanuck
4.43/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of Strix
4.45/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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!

Photo of joshuacavett
4.72/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

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.

Photo of CuriousMonk
4.44/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of orangesol
4.45/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of PeprSprYoFace
4.58/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

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.

Photo of KickInTheChalice
4.4/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of GregBlatz
3.9/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Lucky to have this as it isn't distributed in Ohio. Thanks Paul.

A - Hazy golden, slightly orange color. Head is full, light tan and laces the glass in a very thin consistent sheet.

S - Smell is pine AND citrus. Usually I get one or the other in IPA's. Pine is more dominant. Fruity esters follow.

T - Hops smack you in the face. Oranges are the dominant fruit characteristic I get. Bread-like malts that are in an uphill battle against the hops. The hop finish is more pungent than bitter. Must be a lot of simcoe mixed in there.

M - Smooth creamy texture. Carbonation is medium.

D - I'm guessing 10% ABV on this baby. More of a sipper but you might find it going down pretty quick.

Overall it is a great double IPA. To be honest, I'd rather be drinking a Furious. I think it is more balanced and more enjoyable. I'm sure others might disagree.

Photo of SuperNova777
4.47/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

What!!! Thanx to AlleyKatKing

A:Poured a amber orange color with a fat white with very good lacing left hanging around on the glass

S:Big dose of tropical, citrus, and grapefruit hops come thru right up front. A mild malt sweetnes is hanging around in there as well

T:Just like the nose hops up front followed by some sweetness in the middle, the bcakend is then dominated by citrus and tropical hops that linger around. Very tasty and impresive.

M:Excellent body and carbonation on this one, hop resing is all over the palate and the lips with almost no hint of alcohol

D:The drink on this was ridiculous for 9%. Big hop flavors with easy drink which you really couldn't ask for more out of this drink. Could drink this one all the time and would if it was available, lets start some outside distributing Surly!!

Photo of DNICE555
4.97/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Big thanks to adrock7309. Very excited to try this one.

Poured into my delerium tremens chalice while watching The Big Lebowksi.

A - Just slightly hazy honey amber color. Great white head.

S - A real treat. Hops explode into my nostrils, flowers, citrus, malt in the backround, grapefruit... DAMN. This smell is either the best or tied with my favorite smells coming from a DIPA. Absolutely huge.

T - Marvelous hoppy bitterness. Perfectly balanced by a big malt backbone which is almost able to stick up to the hops. I just don't know how you'd craft a brew any better than this.

M - Glorious. Full bodied IPA, hop f'in wonderland. A true playground of hops. Bitterness lasts on the taste buds and nostrils.

D - It's printed in the bottle a ton of malts and hops were used. I believe it. They must have used a ton of malt to keep up with all those hops. I've never drank 16 oz of a 9 percent DIPA so fast. I LOVE SURLY.

Photo of AleWatcher
4.4/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Can poured into my town hall imperial pint.

A clear, bright, orange-tinted gold body sits proudly-- wearing a 2 finger head that is about 3 shades away from being perfect white. Very nice lacing and retention. Huge chunks flow like slow icebergs from the original rings that were formed.

Smells vibrant and fresh-- huge grapefruit notes are at the forefront, with pineapplse and mandarin oranges filling out the bouquet. Very light malt-- and it works quite well.
The taste falls right in line-- a dry, slightly bready malt starts things off with big citrusy hops in the flavor as well. Grapefruit and oranges are HUGE... Pineapple is happy to play a supporting role. Solid amount of bitterness... Delicious. Very impressive.

The body is bright and prickly. Good carbonation, nice oily feel on the finish. Mmmm. This is a solid DIPA.

For 9%, this drinks waaay too easy. I could enjoy this all night.

Photo of Charlotte09
4.33/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured out of the can into an imperial pint glass, pours reddish orange with a 1 in. creamy tan head.

S: Beer has a rich, sweet smell of citrus, spices and hops. Smell is similar to Furious but much more bold and sweet.

T: Tastes of strong citrus hops and malts along with grapefruit, orange, spices and a hint of ginger.

M: First off the taste is smooth, sweet and crisp followed by a fairly bitter after note- Its Abrasive!

D: Absolutely Drinkable, not to drink fast, but could definately drink a couple to say the least! Abrasive's Explosive! ;)

Photo of nhindian
4.63/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

16oz can poured into a Surly Darkness tulip. Can provided by UMNbeerhunter, thanks Joe!

This beer was canned on 12/27/10, so actually only a few weeks old.

A - Pours a rather muddy blend between amber and goldenrod, hazy and cloudy, carefully obscuring the contents within. Above the beer rests a bubbly, 2.5-fingered head that reduces to a runny cap in minutes, leaving behind some dense lacing. Unable to garner much sight of carbonation through the beer.

S - The smell of this beer is simply fantastic. The closest thing I've gotten to to Pliny in a long while, it smells of fresh rain, ripe pine, and juicy citrus all rolled up. It's bitter without offending, but is also incredibly refreshing. If I could travel to a spot where this smell could experienced every day in nature, I'd pack my bags in a heartbeat. It's that good.

T - And after my first sip, I'm actually a little disappointed, yet not quite surprised it doesn't live up perfectly to the nose. It certainly has roots in a West Coast styled IPA, being unbalanced in favor of showcasing the hops, and it does a great job of that. It's extremely bitter, but is in check a bit by the grapefruit and orange and the slightest bit of malt backbone. I'm constantly being reminded of Pliny here, but Pliny just seems to squeeze out more flavor besides bitter and citrus and thus I feel a bit let down here. It's not bad by any means, and as I drink the bitterness does cut substantially, but I just wish it was a bit more after the awesome nose.

M - Mouthfeel is medium bodied with moderately low carbonation. It's resiny and sticky and leaves a thick coating on the palate. Finish is long and bitter.

D - Drinkability is high. The alcohol is masked nicely and the nose and flavor just have me constantly coming back for me. It's smooth as well, which really helps. I need to find myself a 4-pack of this!

Photo of zeff80
4.85/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A - Poured out a clear, golden orange color with a small, off-white head of bubbly foam. Nice head retention that left behind thick, sticky, rings of lace.

S - Great aroma. Grapefruit, other tropical fruits, bubblegum and pine. There was a mild caramel aroma, too.

T - This is was an Imperial IPA should taste like. Bitter, spicy hops with fruity kicks of grapefruit and orange. Some pine. Burnt toast maltiness.

M - It was crisp, sharp and finished dry. A medium bodied beer that hides it alcohol content.

D - This is delicious. Worth the price in every way.

Photo of Lothore
4.83/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A- Pours a tangerine hue with a thick, chunky, 2 finger off white head.

S- Punch in the nose of citrusey hops, lots of grapefruit, malty breadiness underneath.

T- Caramel, tons of grapefruit as in the nose, pine, citrus fruit.

M- Chewy and sticky, medium bodied with plenty of carbonation.

D- This will easily be one of my favorite brews of the year. Glad maximum12 sent me 4 ... I cannot see myself letting go of them! By far my favorite surly brew to date.

Photo of BARFLYB
4.13/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

16oz CAN by way of oglmcdgl, thanks alot.

Abrasive cracks with a hiss and pours into the Founders pint glass looking bright bronze with a deep orange color all around. A nice amount of foam up above that settles into a nice cap, rings around the glass. Smell is hop forward and malty in the back. A big blast of citrus, mango, pineapple, the works with oranges, a lot of those. A bready sweet biscuit as well. Taste is superb, really gets the essence of west coast hop bombs. To me though, this mostly reminds me of a lot of Port Brewing hoppy offerings. A whole bunch of orange and mango flavor in here backed by some sweet bready type yeast and light malts. Other tropics after that. Im really liking the feel here, it kinda tears through a layer of my mouth on the first few sips, than eases up with a mix of hops than light malt. Carb is great out da can, a medium body. I could not get down big gulps of this stuff for some reason. I usually tear through DIPA's, I had to take a laid back approach to this one. A top notch DIPA that gets that west coast loving.

Photo of JackieTH
4.58/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Golden-orange, light bubbly carbonation, three fingers of fluffy head holds strong leaving patches of foam clinging.

Smell: Tropical fruit. Pineapples. Hints of citrus, orange and grapefruit rind. Herbal notes as well and faint toasty malt presence.

Taste: Spectacular display of hop flavors running the gamet from grapefruit rind citrus orange, tropical pineapple, herbal mint, grassy hay and then the bitterness hits, wonderful. After getting acquainted with the hop's bite, the toasted malt backbone provides a subtle sweetness that settles in nicely.

Mouthfeel: Medium, slightly creamy, mildly carbonated.

Drinkability: Powerful stuff. Delicious. I didn't get any sense of the 9% ABV, but the sheer cornucopia bounty of the flavorful hop profile should, should, limit me to one pint a night. Well done.

Photo of ryan1788a5
4.35/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to Quinn and Emily for wrangling up a few cans of this for me.

16oz bottle poured into a New Belgium globe.

A: Slightly hazy golden/orange, foamy two finger white head. Good retention, lacing sticks like glue.

S: Very tropical. Lots of mango, peach, apricot, mandarin orange, and some pineapple. Bitter grapefruit and pine. Very sweet malt base creates aromas of sugary caramel. Somewhat doughy as well.

T: Bitter grapefruit opens, followed by very juicy and vibrant flavors of mango and apricot. A strong pine taste and some mint follow this, then fade into the background as tropical tastes or orange and pineapple emerge. Malt base is very sweet (crystal malt?) and doughy. Finishes dry with some grapefruit bitterness,

M: Medium bodied and slightly silky/creamy. Some alcoholic warmth.

D: Good.

Notes: Very good. Certainly up there with some of the better DIPAs I've had. Apparently this is brewed with oats. That explains the great head retention and mildly silky mouthfeel.

Photo of TheSaboteur
4.88/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

upon appearance, the head is thin and wafting but the bubbles get me excited. The smell is citrus, grapefruit heaven that makes me salivate...the hops are overwhelming...my god, can this taste anywhere near as good as it smells...Yes, it can...and even better! My mouth wants to gulp, but my brain tells me to savor this brew ( I only have 4 after all). This will be my first beer of the night for the next 3 nights...I want not to lay waste to my palate with this most exceptional brew...my goodness! Tangy, sweet, and a bitter pounding that makes me want to bless myself w/ this nectar...thou shall not waste abrasive ale. Seek ye the ale that is abrasive and ye shall have everlasting peace!

Photo of stakem
4.45/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to Kegatron for this brew. What a guy...thank you Heath for the random surprise! Canned on 12/27/10 and poured into a snifter. This brew appears fairly clear with an orange coloration and some small particulate sinks to the bottom of the glass. A little more than a finger of fluffy yellowish stained head forms and holds strong in the glass. As it recedes, it leaves patches of lace clinging to the glass.

This a very pleasant smelling brew displaying a ton of fruity indications. A scent of pineapple primarily with some hints of orange and grapefruit that is somewhat rind-like and zesty. A bit of an herbal touch that is lightly minty and spicy. As the brew warms, it picks up some toasted malt character. I am quite surprised that no matter how warm I let this brew get, I never really picked up on any of the 9% abv.

This brew includes a vast array of hop flavoring before it turns bitter. Flavors of citrus rind like orange meets some herbal quality that is somewhat minty and spicy. Once the bitterness settles in, it clings inside the mouth with an herbal quality that is balanced well over top of a toasted malt flavor that provides a light amount of sweetness. Once warm, a bit of grassy flavor mixes with the herbal quality that lasts inside the mouth.

This is a medium bodied brew with a moderate amount of carbonation. This is a very solid brew that I really enjoyed. It is well balanced, smells wonderful and easy drinking, very easy drinking for 9%. I love a good hoppy beer that encompasses an array of flavor without displaying just sheer bitterness. Well done Surly and big big thanks Heath for sharing this with me.

Photo of bonkers
4.33/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to brewnic. I poured from a 16 ounce can into a snifter, deep orange with a 2" white head, nice lacing. The beer has a ton of pine and grapefruit on the nose. The first sip hits you with lots of pine, grapefruit and tropical fruit in the background. The beer is plenty bitter, as per my wife, and has a lingering piney finish. The body is medium and it has a sticky feel to it. A fine DIPA, worth seeking out.

Photo of EgadBananas
4.47/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Canned 12/27/10. Consumed 1/13/11.

Pours a nice dark honey color, with light sunny touches around the edges. A two-finger fluffy off-white head adorns, sticks around, and coats the glass in spongy lacing.

Aroma is heaps of floral hops, tons of citrus fruits, backing malt sweetness, bitterness, and oily, pungent pine notes.

Stark bitterness hits you, moves to bold citrus fruits (orange, grapefruit), piny and flowery, earthy and sweet. Malts jump in and out, along with touches of caramel and honey.

Creamy texture with a bit of nice sharp carbonation and a solid lower-medium body.

Dangerously drinkable DIPA, simple as that.

Photo of oglmcdgl
4.5/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A can poured into a pint glass with a bit to spare. Thanks to brewnic for the hook up.

A- two big fingers of off white head that rises above the glass and holds for a good bit but settles after the first sip to leave a ton of sticky lace and a thin skin on top. A beautiful bronze orange in color with just the faintest haze.

S- a ton of tropical and citrus fruits up front with mango, tangerine, pineapple, oranges. Just a light honey simple syrup sweetness.

T- A back and forth between bold citrusy hops and aggressive bitter piney hops. neither overpowering the other for more then a second. Lots more grapefruit then the nose led on to and the tropical fruits follow. Malts come off with a toasty bread and caramel sweetness that does add a nice balance and round it all out nicely.

M- just about medium in body maybe a tick on the higher side with a carb that builds to just the right clip and works perfectly to elevate the brew where you want it to be. Slightly dry finish.

D- well god damn this is a killer beer. Hands down one of the best dipas I've ever had. This fillie can run with the best of em and maybe take the whole thing. The name fits, it is abrasive and it will settle the hop fiend in you but so nicely balanced that you can enjoy a few for sure.

Photo of THECPJ
4.1/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes 1/13/2011

A: sweet candied citrus hops

Ap: golden-orange, 2 finger off-white head, nice lacing

B/T: moderate carbonation, crisp, has a nice bite to it, refreshing

Af: chock full of citrus hops, sweet up front and bitter at the back, tends to linger on the tongue, dry

O: similar to DFH 90 minute, but a little bit dryer and more bitter of a finish.


Photo of Pellinore1
4.53/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Thanks to Joshuaseresse for this excellent extra.

The can pours clear, golden orange, producing a finger of white head. This slowly settles to a thin cap of lacing.

As soon as I opened the can, I was hit with potent hops. Citrus, pine, and floral notes are all there in roughly equal measure, backed by just a hint of caramel malts. This just smells great.

Like the smell, the flavor is all about the hops. It begins with massive citrus and pine, then eventually reveals a little bit of sweet, bready malts. A lasting bitterness is left on the tongue.

Medium bodied and a bit sticky, this beer is very pleasant to drink.

The good flavor balance and complete lack of detectable alcohol make for a ridiculously drinkable DIPA.

Abrasive Ale from Surly Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 3,185 ratings.