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Abrasive Ale - Surly Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Abrasive AleAbrasive Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

3,099 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 3,099
Reviews: 805
rAvg: 4.52
pDev: 8.19%
Wants: 1,929
Gots: 283 | 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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,099 | Reviews: 805 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of twiggamortis420
4.33/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16 oz can courtesy of BeerTruth, thanks bro! Pours a clear, light amber color with a tight-bubbled tan foam. Retention is ok, as is the lacing.

Citrus, especially grapefruit, runs true and fresh...like just squeezed juice. Honeyed, floral malt/hop combo make for a pretty crazy smelling beer.

Taste is like biting into a piece of grapefruit peel that has been soaked in vodka and onion juice. Mild earth-tones seem both foreign and belonging at the same time amongst the bright aspects of the beer. Dont get me wrong, the beer is bitter, but there is so much more to offer in terms of hop flavor here...so juicy, piney, resinous and delicious. Had this side by side with Gubna, Abrasive wins cans down. Awesome beer and an awesome DIPA.

twiggamortis420, Jul 08, 2010
Photo of DrMalt
4.15/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Stub and Herb's.

A: brilliant, deep copper color

S: nice aroma of grapefruit

T: very well-balanced, nice grapefruit hops and good malt balance, alcohol not over powering but noticeable

M & D: very good, at 9ABV it's probably something I could have just a few of

DrMalt, Jul 06, 2010
Photo of jsanford
4.45/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Received as an extra from SpeedwayJim, thanks a ton!

A - Beautiful, crystal-clear amber with a creamy off-white head.
S - Strong, piney hops with a ton of grapefruit and tropical fruits.
T - Big notes of orange and grapefruit citrus. More piney hops. Light caramel malt provides a sturdy backbone, but doesn't try to compete with the hops. Really well done.
M - One of the best mouthfeels I've had from a IPA/DIPA. Velvety and creamy, incredibly smooth with spot-on prickly carbonation. No trace of ABV.
D - Amazing drinkability, if not for the ABV I could have these all day. This was my first Surly offering, now I can't wait to try some more.

jsanford, Jul 05, 2010
Photo of dpnelson1978
4.65/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16 oz. can into Duvel tulip.


A: Brilliant deep straw to apricot body with a two-finger head of medium bubble that rapidly dissipates leaving only the slightest lace and very little cover.

S: Amazing apricot and pineapple citrus fills the glass. Wonderfully balanced with caramel malt character. Some pine in the background just to keep it interesting.

T: The sweet flavor of apricots and malt strike me immediately. This is my definition of a great IIPA. The flavors are exquisitely balanced and don't harass the tongue the way some over eager, over aggressive IIPA hop bombs can.

M: Smooth medium body with medium carbonation (perhaps just a tad too much), but the overall effect works well with this beer. Finishes dry.

D: For a big beer this one goes down easy and can be a bit dangerous. Only loses points for being 9.0% abv.

O: Great beer. Great conversation. Great memories. I can't wait until we meet again.

dpnelson1978, Jul 04, 2010
Photo of yourefragile
4.45/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

16 oz can received from bcgabbo poured into a nonic.

Pours a thick, translucent golden amber color with a massive, creamy off white head that has excellent retention and nearly coats the entire glass in lacing. Aroma is pungent and fresh, dominated by tropical citrus and some light floral hops. Body is medium thick, with dine light carbonation. The finish is bitter and hoppy, but not very dry or clean. This isn't a bad thing though since the flavor is a pile of citrusy, primarily grapefruit, hops and a strong balancing malt body. The wet finish lingers with sweet citrus flavors and a slight pinch of alcohol. Overall, a unique over the top yet well balanced DIPA.

yourefragile, Jul 03, 2010
Photo of wisrarebeer
4.38/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Stub and Herb's.

A: brilliant, deep amber color
S: nice nose, grapefruit, mild nose overall and not overpowering
T: very, very good, well-balanced, nice grapefruit hops but good malt balance, alcohol not overly noticeable
M & D: very good, at 9ABV it's probably something you could have just a few of

wisrarebeer, Jun 27, 2010
Photo of ShadesOfGray
4.5/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Got as an extra from a BA'er...I'm so sorry, I don't remember who sent this to me!! Poured from a 16oz can into my tasting snifter glass. Pours an great glowing orange/melon looking color with a huge frothy white head. Appearance is hazy, and just awesome looking! Provides a great display of lacing to-boot! Very patchy...long lasting/sticky lacing!

Aroma is perfect! Amoung the tops in best aromas for IPA's! Tons of sharp hops, grapefruit and other fresh sweet tropical fruits! Just perfect!

Flavor follows the aroma "right on the money!" The hops hit right away, and absorb into the mouthfull of sweet tropical fruits! It's hard to explain, beacause it's not quite like a DIPA, not heavy in malts at all, but the hop sharpness is ever so pleasant! The most common fruit I can pick up, is the grapefruit...and the beer finishes slightly dry and leaves you wanting more. A GREAT IPA for the summer time...thirst quenting! Body is medium to light, perfect medium to high carbonation...and a great drinker! Great IPA from Surly!

ShadesOfGray, Jun 26, 2010
Photo of steve8robin
4.33/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Extra in a trade. Thanks Jose, glad to try this one...

A: Beautiful copper rust color with hints of ruby red trying to bleed through. Small cream colored head that fades at a decent pace. Good.

S: Super earthy hops blended with sweet citrus flavors. Hints of pine in the middle mixed with a steady grapefruit scent. Good.

T: Hit with a grapefruit bitterness upfront immediately then followed by some piney hop. Sweet citrus in the middle with hints of malt balancing this off on the back. A lot better balanced than most IPA's. Not a total hop bomb. Don't get me wrong, there are tons of hops here, they are just balanced very well compared to some of the super bitter hoppy beers. Very good.

M: A hint too much carbonation on the brew. Leaves some nice flavors on the palate. Good.

D: This brew goes down a lot easy than expected for an IPA. Very Good.

Very glad I got to try this brew. Thanks for sending this to me Jose. Very good for the IPA lover and good for the malt monster that has been getting into IPA's. Definitely try this brew.

steve8robin, Jun 26, 2010
Photo of Huhzubendah
4.5/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Shared at my tasting on May 29, 2010. Thanks Matt!

Surly Abrasive Ale appears clear with a pretty good sized head and decent lacing. There is a very strong pine aroma with hops and citrus coming in behind. The taste is more of what I found in the nose and quite enjoyable. The finish was interesting, in that much more of a malt presence emerged than the aroma would have indicated. Grapefruit and pine are also very notable throughout, and linger on the palate, creating a very pleasant aftertaste. All in all, Abrasive Ale is an excellent DIPA, and certainly one I'd like to have again. And again...

Huhzubendah, Jun 24, 2010
Photo of gibby
4.83/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2-4 packs of cans received through another trade with younger35, thanks much Dan. I have really been looking fwd to trying this.

Pours a bright orange/copper color into my favorite DFH tulip glass with a big pillowy 2 finger head. Smell is amazing, huge orange, peach, pineapple and tropical fruit aromas. Taste is up there with the smell, big orange, tropical fruits with a some sugary sweetness and a faint malt backing. Smooth, velvety mouth feel with great carbonation. Drinkability is excellent with no hint of alcohol whatsoever. I could put these down all day long if available to me. Fantastic dipa offering from surly. One of the best dipa's I have had and I have had plenty. Highly recommended to the hop heads.

gibby, Jun 22, 2010
Photo of BeerShirts
4.65/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A- A Light Amber in color with a light thin head that sticks to the sides for the full drink, looks to be median carbonation.
S- citrus hops screams at you as soon as the can opens, Orange mainly also kind of a pineapple smell too, a piny smell comes after the hit from hops
T-Just like the smell I first taste an orange citrus hoppy taste and then a piny after taste, thought I would taste more malt in it but it just sits subtle through out the whole flavor which probably works best to balance it out. The is an after bitterness with a little bit of the alcohol coming through but it is not bad at all.
M- Medium body and carbonation. syrupy creaminess, the alcohol gives it a warming feeling
D- Another hit from Surly. I have yet to have a beer from them that I have not wanted to drink every day.

BeerShirts, Jun 21, 2010
Photo of sweemzander
3.68/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16oz. can poured into an imperial pint. 0 03 17 A 3 BR printed on the side of the can. Huge thanks to wisconsinality for this one!

(A)- Pours a clear amber color that produced a great off-white head with great retention too. Left plenty of lacing as it dissipated.

(S)- A dry resin-like pine with lemon, lime, pineapple, and grapefruit citrus. A light honey-like sweetness.

(T)- A thinner hop profile than what the smell led me to believe. A maltier/sweeter profile of a honey/pineapple/caramel thing with the hops being an afterthought, but yet present on the finish with a light lemon bitterness.

(M)- A good carbonation level. Much much maltier than I expected. Also, much more sweeter because of the malt profile. The hops are there, but much more subtle than they should be for the style.

(D)- This is good, but far too malty for the style in my opinion. The hop profile is great in the aroma, but in the taste and mouthfeel they are far lacking in presence like they should. Do not get me wrong, I enjoyed this beer, but I was expecting more for the style it is classified under.

sweemzander, Jun 21, 2010
Photo of sholland119
4.53/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Big thanks to maximum12 for the opportunity to try this one.

A-A fine looking DIPA, clear copper orange with some nice sticky lacing and a thin white head.

S-Very nicely balanced. Sweet caramel malt blends nicely with a diverse hop profile. Orange, pineapple and some peach notes.

T-A really nice balance in the flavors too. Some good sweet malt, some piney hops blend nicely with sweeter citrus fruit and a hint of honey sweetness. Rivals PtE in its subtle balance of malt and hops, yielding great flavor in perfect balance.

M-Medium bodied, medium carbonation, good lingering oily bitterness.

D-As drinkable as the style gets. Absolutely outstanding.


sholland119, Jun 21, 2010
Photo of BeardedBoffin
4.25/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The can of abrasive ale displays a large red hand holding a grinder creating lines of flying metal with the occasional hop cone spark. Surly through and through.

The color is an admixture of copper and waves of amber grain, the cap of foam placed solidly above it.

Citrus and flower tower above this beer to create an aroma fit for the style. The malt nectar succumbs to its hoppy brethren.

This beer assaults the taste buds with hops. The bitterness of dandelion greens and grass is followed by lemon and flowers. The caramel malt is left to rear its head after the first wave of hops, providing needed balance.

This is a heavy beer and a good one. It would be difficult to drink this beer all night, but is a DIPA suppose to be a session beer?

BeardedBoffin, Jun 21, 2010
Photo of Stigs
4.35/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16oz can, served in a standard pint glass

A - pours with a little less than an inch of loose forthy very light tan colored foam. the beer is very clear, dark golden in color. leaves behind a thin layer of lace through most of the drink.

S - very "abrasive" fruity hops...melon, pineapple, grapefruit. backed by a solid amount of sweet caramel malts, excellent balance and very inviting.

T - following the nose with intense juicy and fruity hops, fresh melon, pineapple, lightly piney and grassy. bitter yet balanced by a strong caramel malt presence and intense tropical fruit flavors.

M - thickish body for the style, quite syrupy and oily...coats the mouth with every sip/gulp. carbonation is a little subtle but plays with the heavy body nicely.

D - great DIPA, as expected from the makers of one of my favorites, Furious. kicks it up a notch with a light alcohol presence and more (subtle) straightforward fruity hop tastes. a fine beer.

Stigs, Jun 17, 2010
Photo of capra12
4.35/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed solo and poured into an East End pint glass,
Specials thanks to kbutler for trading with me.

Appearance: orange and brown, clear with w finger of head leaving a spotty and weblike lacing.

Smell: piney and floral hops, a hint of grassy hops

Taste: opens with a solid malt backbone as piney hop bitters and floral hops emerge in the middle to finish. There is a hint of grassy hop profile that finishes this.

Mouthfeel: light bodied, moderate carbonation and slightly coarse and drying.

Drinkability: I would definitely have this again, and recommend this to those seeking a piney hop profile with a tea like profile. Solid brew.

capra12, Jun 17, 2010
Photo of indiapaleale
4.47/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pour - dark golden in color with some super bright orange and reddish streaks shining through as I hold the glass up to the light. The head is super creamy and about a half inch in thickness. Wow, this looks fantastic.

Aroma - as soon as I popped the can open I could smell the piney notes. Definitely a sign of good things to come. There are also a lot of tropical fruit aromas coming out of this as well. I find myself smacking my lips every time I go in for another whiff. Mango, pineapple, pine needles and nectarine. I'd like to dive right in, but metaphorically and literally.

Taste - ahhh...the palate is drenched and the fun begins. Definitely a hoppy brew but yet its not one-sided and just a boat load of hop bitterness. This has character and balance and its definitely high octane. You can feel the weight of this brew in your mouth and all that sweetness backing up those 120 IBUs. Very smooth mouthfeel (see that bit about oats below) and a bit of back and forth between bitter and sweet in the aftertaste. Absolutely delicious!

Overall - impressive to say the least and certainly living up to the hype (as much as a beer can these days). Surly delivers a very solid, very hoppy yet super smooth brew that stands apart from Furious as its own breed of IPA. It has an incredible aroma and a tangy and bitter flavor profile that has a bite but should be tamed easily by any experienced hophead. Lots of amazing tropical fruit flavors come out in this brew and I must say its ridiculously manageable at just under 10%. I think you'll be very happy if one of these should end up in your hands.

Would I buy more of it? - absolutely. I love it just like I loved Furious and pretty much everything else they brew. Give me a four-pack of these and I'd be a happy camper.

indiapaleale, Jun 16, 2010
Photo of ballz50401
4.38/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 16oz. can into a snifter glass. Has a nice orange/reddish/copper color with good head retention and high carbonation. Lots of citrus hoppy aroma with some nice caramel and toffee notes. Very malty taste. Caramel malts take over in flavor with some citrus hops and alcohol in the end. Very creamy mouthfeel with some hop bitterness. Me like!

ballz50401, Jun 13, 2010
Photo of oakbluff
4.43/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Canned sample- pours a glowing tangering, slight haze, minimal head. Nose- ripe tropical fruit rinds, some pine, sweet cookie malts. Taste- hop forward as expected, thick resiny hop feel, spicy and sweet. Malt adds mostly a sweetness aspect to it, as this is all about the hops. Fairly thick creamy body with moderate carbonation. Quite easy drinking which is very dangerous. A four pack would slide down nicely, and likely lead me to being quite abrasive to those around me...

oakbluff, Jun 13, 2010
Photo of DavoleBomb
4.85/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured into a snifter. Big thanks to Buebie for this one.

4.0 A: Hazy orangish brown color. One and a half fingers of yellowish white head with average retention and spotty lacing.

5.0 S: Excellent! Wonderful bouquet of floral and citrus notes. Orange, tangerine, mango are most dominant. Soft sweetness and a tinge of alcohol beneath the hops.

5.0 T: It tastes as good as it smells and that is saying something. Bitterness is perceived as mild due to the plentiful hop flavors. Loads of citrus again with the fruits mentioned in the nose. Soft sweetness, but the malts are very much overshadowed by the hops. Still, without this subtle sweetness this beer wouldn't be as good. The 9% ABV is hardly detectable. I think the reason I like it so much is because it seems to share a few aspects with NN, which is my favorite brew.

4.0 M: Medium body. Good moderate carbonation. Fairly creamy. I would like just a touch more body.

5.0 D: Really great brew. Surly does nothing but impress me with what they make and this is no exception. Super smooth with a great taste, I could drink this all night. Well done.

DavoleBomb, Jun 12, 2010
Photo of lackenhauser
4.35/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Golden orange sort of color with a nice tight head. Very floral and has a caramel sweetness that kept wafting my way once poured. even before my first sip a sweet smelling aroma continually came my way. Hop blast upfront. A lot more hop flavor then bitterness. Very flowery tasting-not citrusy or pine like. Oily and sticky mouthfeel that I just love. Very drinkable beer and enjoyable. Abrasive nuthin-smoth as a baby's bottom!

lackenhauser, Jun 12, 2010
Photo of DefenCorps
4.28/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I got a 4-pack of this from Scoobydank. Thanks, Bill! You were generous enough to send me a growler of this back in the day, and I'm looking forward to revisiting this beauty!

Pouring a crystal clear light copper with a dense off-white head with excellent retention and lacing, this beer is near perfect. It smells it too, with a majestic tropical fruit medley. Big, juicy, ripe fruit character, there's pineapple, tangerines, fragrant nectarines and grapefruit. While strong, there's a lot of depth to the aromas that make up the nose. Slightly spicy, pungent peppery hop character is noticeable too. Excellent stuff.

I remember being struck by how juicy and fruity the original 16 Grit was, and that memory persists. Massively fruity with pineapple, peach, apricot and a little grapefruit and citrus, this has a ton of hop flavor. Malt flavor is mild, there's a little sweetness. Bitterness is rather low, letting the fruit flavors rise. Drying and fruity on the finish with a great hop character, this beer is medium-light in body with a great level of carbonation (moderate). Creamy on the palate,this beer is a pleasure to drink

DefenCorps, Jun 12, 2010
Photo of cokes
3.45/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Golden bronze bodied with a top of dirty linen that stays a bit and laces nicely.
Honeyed bicuits aroma with apricot jam, and a glass of grapefruit juice. The stale garlicky bad breath aroma ruins things a bit. Otherwise, it'd be alright.
The malt throws down a quilt of lightly sweet breadiness, not unlike powdered doughnuts. It's delicious here and the hops haven't even arrived yet. When they do, everything falls into confusion. A flash of pineapple. A ghost of mango. A shadow of grapefruit. Then a more concrete materialization of onion skins and garlic.
The medium full body is aided by the fleecy, steadfast carbonation. The alcohol is a nonfactor. I find myself drinking it fairly quickly, despite not enjoying certain aspects.
The garlic and onion notes partially ruin this for me, but this is not GUBNA..I was able to get past them. More pressing was that as a beer calling itself Abrasive, the hopping was anything but. Furious is considerably more bitter than this.
I don't understand the love the love here.

cokes, Jun 11, 2010
Photo of joepais
4.13/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Scoobydank for this treat. I love Surly cans the do make my day and the can do an IPA.

Can pored into a strait pint glass produced a nice two finger white head that lasted a while and the trailed of to a great lace. The body had a beautiful apricot colored hue to it. You got some great fresh citrus hops aromas' from the glass as you held it to your lips.
The flavor was nicely balanced for a DIPA not a west coast one for sure. The grapefruit bitter was blended with a orange sweetness. It reminded me of a tropical drink and it was quite refreshing. It had a medium feel to it with a ton of carbonation. A great drinking DIPA I would have loved a six pack of this brew but was thankful for the one.

joepais, Jun 10, 2010
Photo of beerwolf77
4.43/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Huge thanks to wisconsinality (actually his lady) for snagging this one for me.

Poured from the can into my pint glass the beer is a hazy golden orange. About two fingers of dull white head recede to leave an insanely thick ring of lace around the rim. A nice quarter inch cap has formed on top of the beer.

The aroma is full on citrus hops. Loads of grapefruit, mango, oranges and pineapple. It's like a tropical fruit salad. The sweetness of the malt comes through to moderately balance things out. Still a hop bomb for sure. Love it.

The flavor is much more balanced than the nose. The citrus blast is there but the malt "grinds" away at it. Had to do it. It all mixes well though.

Medium creamy body. Moderate carbonation.

Overall another great beer from Surly. Not surprising at all. Glad I got the chance to give this one a whirl.

beerwolf77, Jun 10, 2010
Abrasive Ale from Surly Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 3,099 ratings.