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Abrasive Ale - Surly Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Abrasive AleAbrasive Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
100
world-class

3,230 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 3,230
Reviews: 816
rAvg: 4.53
pDev: 8.39%
Wants: 2,034
Gots: 326 | FT: 18
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

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.
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Ratings: 3,230 | Reviews: 816 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of starrdogg
4.75/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is one of the best DIPAs I've ever had, hands-down. The appearance is nothing amazing, a cloudy reddish-gold with a minimal head, but every other aspect of this beer is sensational. The smell is all pineapple, smells about as enticing as any beer I've had. Following up the smell, the taste does not disappoint: it's slightly sweet, citrus and fresh hops with a very minor malt base, in my opinion the perfect balance of flavor for a DIPA. The mouthfeel is a little on the thin side, but the lightness suits the beer very well and adds to its drinkability. It has that stickiness that I associate with fresh hops, though I have no idea what to actually attribute it to. It's insanely drinkable for a beer this hoppy and high in ABV. Despite the massive hops flavor, it's really not that bitter. Because of the light mouthfeel and incredible taste, I could drink several of these.

This beer most definitely deserves the reputation it has as one of the best DIPAs out there. It's of the west coast style, which supplements the hoppiness with citrus instead of malt, and it's done to perfection. I want to move to Minnesota so I can load up on it every winter.

Photo of circlenine
4.33/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Canned 12/20/10, poured consumed and reviewed 1/7/11. Review transcribed 1/8/11.

A: Full pint pours deep reddish orange with moderate head approximately 1" that slowly dissipates leaving very little lacing.

S: Extreme citrus dominated the nose... more so grapefruit than other citrus fruits. There is also a notable hoppy note to the aroma.

T: Again, hops and citrus pack the walloping punch in front. There is a nice pine taste in the back. It doesn't taste Abrasive at all. Flavors are extremely well balanced.

M: Not a ton of carbonation in this beer. The beer definitely hits all taste buds within the mouth. Has a nice light, refreshing feel to it.

D: For a double IPA, this drinks extremely well. The alcohol is almost undetected making it very easy to drink.

Comments: Very thrilled to have a fresh Abrasive. My next step is to do a side by side with a Furious to note the major differences.

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

16oz can poured into tulip glass - 12/20/10 canning date - big thanks to biglobo8971 for a beer that i've been dying to try

Pours a clear golden copper with some darker hues. A lighter off-white head fades out to some wispy film with rings of lacing and streaks along the glass.

An absolutely delicious hop aroma with piny resin and grapefruit notes coupled with some light malted bready sweetness.

Begins with a wave of intense hops followed immediately with sticky pine and an explosion of juicy grapefruit. The malt backbone is just right, with touches of bread and somewhat sweet caramel. Finishes with another pleasant smash of exceptionally juicy hops and barely any alcohol heat.

Nice medium body, decent carbonation, a little sticky and dry in the feel. Drinks great for a DIPA, and the alcohol is nearly undetectable. Excellent job by Surly once again.

Photo of awalk1227
4.88/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Consumed 1/7/11 Says canned on 12/27/10, which was my birthday! This has to be good. Received in a trade from TheDudeRules, thanks so much dude, can't wait!

Served into a Stone Brewing pint glass

A: pours dark orange, not completely clear, slight haze. A very thick off white head appears with little help from my aggressive pour, and hugs the glass upon drinking. Very pretty.

S: Holy moly, I haven't smelled a beer like this since Alpine Nelson. Smelled it when I opened, and when I poured it into the glass. The entire three foot radius around me was perfumed of hops. Oranges, mangoes, grapefruit, and sticky pine fill my nose. I really can't smell any malt, really.

T: Palate-peeling hops attack my tongue, and the bitter prickle lasts long after the swallow. Being a DIPA, the malt is definitely apparent in this beer, but it's pale enough to not interfere with hop goodness. Amazingly, the fruit shines through in the taste too, unlike a lot of DIPAs, where the citrus can only be found in the nose. There is a sliiight tinge of alcohol, but it's welcome in a beer with so much going on in the flavor.

F: Slightly above medium. Still pretty chewy, and I like that in a big imperial IPA. Coats the entirety of my mouth and leaves a pleasing spike of hop prickle on the sides and back of the tongue.

D: I'm glad I got a 4 pack. I would definitely drink two of these (no driving!) with little problem, but then I wouldn't be able to taste anything for the rest of the night.

Edit: After consideration, and trying Hopslam, I'm bumping my ratings for this beer. It's the best DIPA I've ever had.

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

Pours a hazy, yet clean orange-gold, with a tall tannish-white head that hangs out. Provides a fantastic floral, citrus hop flavor. This beer really invites you in. Spicy, biting combination of big hop with a bit of malt back flavor. Surly Wet was like a cleaner, brighter Furious. This is like a bigger, bolder and spicier Furious, in a great way. Leaves a reasonable bitterness behind, but in a pleasant way - like Abrasive Ale doesn't want to let you go. Moderate levels of carbonation without any syrupy mouthfeel that sometimes accompanies bigger DIPAs. Exceedingly drinkable for its aggressive nature. Another winner for Surly. Do yourself a favor and get a connect for Wet, Abrasive and Furious, all right when they come out. At least for the first two, the experience is just as good as Pliny/Blind Pig, just different takes on the styles. That is really a fantastic beer.

Review Edited, +.5 to smell, +.5 to mouthfeel.

Photo of MinnesotaRIS
4.93/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Comes in 1 pint cans.

A - very amber, mostly transparent through the glass. Robust head, small cell that hangs on for quite some time.

S - profound and pleasing aroma. Smells of grapefruit, cedar, mild hops, oaty. The smell is unexpected as this is my first Abrasive. It was again profound but warm and welcome.

T - smooth but it is named correctly, abrasive. Don't get me wrong, this is good - the name is apropos to this particular beer. Taste maybe of grapefruit and/or peach. Nice taste of an ale but exceptional for a craft beer.

M - abrasive ale! Swirling like effect and the aftertaste is as good as the taste.

D - cannot drink this one fast at all. Very much a beer to be enjoyed over a while.

I waited a while for this beer and it was well with it. Well done Surly!

Photo of CaseyK
4.25/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Nice golden color with a white frothy head that sticks around
S: Very hop forward, less malt then some DIPA's I've had lately.
T: Wow, great bitter hop starts this beer out. Tastes of grapefruit and pine as well, with pine being the dominant taste at the end.
M: Nice, not too light and slightly sticky.
D: Refreshing and a very solid beer. I could drink quite a bit of this.

Photo of Schmaltzy
4.63/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks Cory for sharing some of this delicious beer.

A- Dark amber color, Surly makes some of the darkest IPA's I've seen, nice frothy 2-3 finger head that died to a frothy ring and light layer on top of the beer.

S- Nice strong piney hops with generous amounts of caramel malts, nice citrus and slight mango scents, typical DIPA scents.

T- Wow is this good... Piney hop bitterness attacks your tounge followed by a nice malty balance and finishes with a nice lemon zest and mango taste in my mouth, really good and up there with Pliny in the taste department.

M- Great carbonation with medium body and the carbonation is smooth with just enough palate cleansing on my tounge.

D- Could easily put down a couple of four packs in one sitting, ridiculously easy to drink. When this is fresh, as it is, it is easily as good as Pliny... Enjoy if you are lucky enough to find this beer.

Photo of sacrelicio
4.85/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Jesus....had this beer several times but never reviewed it. The appearance is good but not special. A nice amber orange with a small head. The smell is transcendent. Such a ripe, juicy aroma of tropical fruits and pine. Splendid. The taste is the nectar of amazing citrus and tropical fruit hops. Almost like Hi-C Ecto Cooler (in a good way). So delicious and smooth, a bit of malt to hold it together, but not much. The mouthfeel is good. The drinkability is out of this world. So easy to just down this shit like its a fruit juice cocktail on a beach. A world class DIPA. Amazing.

Photo of 321jeff
4.7/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Much thanks to UMNBeerHunter for providing this one so fresh, just two weeks after the release!

Pours a golden amber color with a just off white head that fades to a thin layer leaving just a bit of lacing on the sides of the glass.

The aroma is absolutely amazing. A potent mix of pine and citrus hops, but there is a noticeable malt sweetness in the background as well. I don't think I've ever smelled a DIPA like this before.

The taste follows suit, it's plenty bitter with some pine resin and citrus flavors, but it's balanced by an almost honey-like sweetness.

Mouthfeel is on the heavy side of medium but it's nice and sticky with some moderate carbonation. Waaaay too drinkable... literally... I am enjoying this way too much and I'm down to my last couple of sips... I'll definitely track this one down again next time it's out.

Photo of KarlHungus
4.9/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This beer pours an orange-red color. The head is one inch in height, and recedes slowly into a firm quarter inch cap of lacing. The aroma is strong enough that it leaps out of the glass, and can be detected feet away. Mandarin oranges, peaches, grapefruit, hibiscus, and pollen are all present in copious amounts. This is one beautiful smelling beer. The taste is pure hop juice. The bitterness isn't as firm as a lot of other DIPAs I've tasted which allows the hop flavors to show themselves more clearly. All aspects of the aroma are present in the taste with the addition of a nice soft earthiness in the finish. The mouthfeel is full bodied with moderate carbonation, and a velvety texture. Overall, this is a great beer that I will surely search out again, and again.

Photo of luxbwin
4.9/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into a New Belgium Globe glass; shared with tribepride and rosen551
Appearance - Amber, rich color
smell - I love the hops and citrus blend
taste/ mouthfeel - WOW! It hits you hard
drinkability - I wish I would have bought 16 of these instead of just 4!
Overall - one of the best beers I have had in awhile, and I am having some more shipped out to me STAT!

Photo of arboristfish
5/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer pours a copper color, almost light amber with a white head. The aroma is complex! Very piney with hints of citrus. I love the hop character in this beer. The mouthfeel is medium to medium light, and is very drinkable. For a beer at 9% the alcohol isnt noticeable.

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

16 oz. can poured into tulip glass.

Appearance-Deep gold to medium amber in color. Mostly clear. Moderate off-white head with decent retention.

Aroma-Holy hops! Mostly pine, some resin, some citrus (lemon and grapefruit), and some grassy notes. Light bready caramel malt aromas apparent as well.

Flavor-Lots of hop flavor, but a sturdy malt backbone to balance. Hop flavors are similar to nose, with plenty of pine, citrus, grass, and resin. Moderate sweet caramel malt and toasty malt, though flavor is seriously hop dominated. Hop bitterness is high, but not harsh. Finish is moderately dry with residual hop flavors of pine and grapefruit, and a healthy dose of hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel-Medium full body, medium high carbonation. For something this insanely hoppy, the mouthfeel is smooth-never astringent or harsh. Also, for 9% abv, you can barely even sense alcohol warmth as the bitterness is slightly tongue numbing.

This is a well made beer. Anyone can throw a shit-ton of hops into a brew kettle, but it takes true skill to craft a beer that is this hoppy, and yet still so drinkable. Truly delicious.

Photo of Flipadelphia84
4.8/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a can into a pint glass with a one finger head...

A- Light amber color with a little lacing. What you would expect of a double IPA.

S- Tropical fruits, pineapple, grapefruit, lots of citrus aroma, a little pine. As strong as this beer is, the alcohol is not that up front, and relatively unnoticeable

T- Flavor explosion! Very fruity, again pineapple comes to mind. the piney and citrusy hops work extremely well together, and although the hops are the star in this beer, its hard not to notice the malty flavor underlying. I think its the hops to malt ratio that makes this Imperial IPA so special. It finishes with a nice fruity bitterness that keeps going.

M- Light carbonation, just the way I like an IPA. The way the carbonation hits your tongue almost adds another element to the flavor, sort of tangy.

D- Give me more NOW... I am a huge IPA fan and have had many, but until now I haven't tried a double IPA that is this drinkable. With an IBU of 120 you would think otherwise, but its something about that Hops to malt balance.

This is Definitely my favorite Double IPA.

Photo of witterlee
4.2/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Last day of 2010. Great way to bring in the new year.
Can poured into a Killians 0.5L pint glass

A-Light amber, clear, light carbonation, decent head. slowly fades

S-Orange, Citrus, Pine.

Taste-"Holy hops Batman!" Bitterness lingers. Hint of citrus.

M-medium body, smooth for an Imperial IPA.

D- Hides the ABV. Smooth at first but then the bitter hop lights up the tongue. Hop and citrus. Very drinkable, not assaultive to the senses. Reminds me of the West Coast DIPAs.

Great Imperial IPA but watch your beer budget if wanting this one.

Photo of Mora2000
4.43/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to chewy08rx for sending this extra can from my want list.

The beer pours a yellow color with a white head. The aroma screams Double IPA. I get a ton of resiny and pine hops, as well as some orange citrus and something that resembles cat piss - but in a very good way. Definitely a funky, hoppy DIPA.

The flavor is similar and just as good. I get a lot of orange citrus hop notes as well as some pine notes. The flavor is not quite as dank as the aroma, but it is still a ridiculous hop bomb. There is a bit of a biscuit malt backbone, but this beer is all about the hops. Medium bitterness, but the bitterness is not overbearing.

Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation. An outstanding Double IPA. One of the best I have been fortunate enough to drink.

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

Two day old Abrasive - you can't beat that. This one pours a nice amber with a good head on it. The smell is very much grapefruit and sweet malt. The flavor a also very much grapefruit/tropical fruit with a little bit of malt to back it up - but that's not the point of this one - it's a hop bomb. The tropical fruit and seet malt keep it light and not too bitter. As it warms the malt pokes out a bit more and a hint of alcohol comes on. It tastes quite a bit like a bigger version of Wet, which is one of my favorites. The mouthfeel is the only downfall to this brew, I was expecting a bit more body to it though I guess that might be expecting everything to be perfect. However, this is a very refreshing brew and not so ovewhelming that I could have 2-3, although the big ABV is a bit limiting. A great beer and probably the most Cali DIPA this side of the rockies.

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

A- Copprer/deep gold in color decent head that died fairly quickly

S- Mango and a bit of citrus

T- Bright and citrusy. very hoppy (big surprise there) with a hit of pine

M- good carbonation, matches the bright taste

First time i had it and it knocked me off my feet (flavor wise not the 9% ABV) not at all what i was expecting very good and even better because i won it in a bet

Photo of KBC1
4.1/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Color is a nice orange/coppder color.

First smell reminded me of my Christmas tree and then the citrus smells come through.

I liked the lower carbonation.

There is no balance at all, just tons of hops, but I think that is what they were going for.

This beer is very good, but it is not impressive to just overload beer with hops. I am a novice home brewer and can easily make a beer like this for much less.

I dont want to sound like I am bashing this beer, just expected more. It is good and definitely worth trying if you are a hop head

Photo of tewaris
4.1/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Abrasive Ale (also called 16 Grit)
8.8% ABV
~120 IBUs
OG 19.5° Plato
Color 8° SRM
16 oz. canned on 12/20/2010 poured into a snifter on 12/21/2010. That's correct, 1 day old!

Appearance 4/5
Poured straw golden colored in a brilliantly glowing stream and looked amber-orange in the glass. Very clear but not crystal clear, perhaps because of being dry hopped and unfiltered. Good bone white head that dissipated fast and left little lacing. Odd.

Aroma 4/5
Very very fruity: mostly tropical fruit notes of mango, papaya, and then some pear, apricot. Smells similar to the same brewer's Wet. No alcohol burn or alcohol aroma at its ABV! Some onion-garlic notes that are not my favorite. An intense hoppiness but not the kind I like best, personally (pine, citrus... I wish)

Taste 4/5
Very fruity and a little sweet, light on palate but big on the bitterness at the end and in the aftertaste. Some citrus is noted in the aftertaste but overall the hop flavor is mostly of sweeter fruit. However, I am having second thoughts with at times overwhelming onion-garlic taste.

Mouthfeel 5/5
Well carbonated, but more smooth than crisp with a decent malt backbone and still clean finish.

Drinkability 4/5
An extremely easy drinking beer, but for the ABV. Mostly soft and pleasant on the senses, although I like my IPAs mean. Overly fruity for my tastes but what's worse are the discordant onion-garlic notes. That said, it's a straight up DIPA. A very good beer and highly recommended if fruity IPAs are your thing.

Photo of lhaqq
4.68/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Copper-amber body with a thin white head that stays around the edges throughout.

S: Awesome smell. Haven't had this good an IPA since the triple Pliny the Younger by Russian River. Has a ton of papaya and guava that predominates the smell. Actually ends with a bit of smoke.

T: The citrusy hops take up most of the taste. Ends with a creamy pine finish. The finish is bitter but little aftertaste.

M: Perfect level of carbonation. Fairly heavy, but not too thick.

D: Hides the abv, though the flavor is intense enough that it may not be too sessionable. Well, I take that back. It's delicious. I could have a ton of these.

Photo of joshuaseresse
4.6/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Picked up a 4pack from Blue Max for $15. Canned on 12-20-2010. Served into my Revolution 20ozer:

A - Pour produces a nice 1 inch thick white fluffy head which dies eventually to a nice white white foam ring around the edges with some nice cloudy in the middle. Nice copper, amber, golden color with bubbles floating up to the top. Lacing retention is sticky and patchy.

S - Grapefruit, pineapple, other citrus notes as well as pine and nice danky smell. Reminds me of Wet with more of a pine bite. Very good.

T - Nice citrus tones that are found in the nose with pine and resinous flavors. Citrus flavors in the beginning then a nice floral arrangement in the middle and then pine and resin at the end. Its very delicious!

M - Great carbonation. On the lighter side considering the ABV. Smooth and refreshing.

D - Very, very good. Really easy to drink. Delicious DIPA that I wish I could drink all the time. Awesome job on the smell and flavors for this one, Surly. I'm glad they canned it again this year and hope they do it more in the future.

Photo of minnesotaryan
4.75/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - dark orange with a minimal white head at the the top.

Smell - Pine, citrus, pineapple and grapefruit.

Taste - This is a bold and extremely intense beer, the hops and malt balance nicely to create bitter and sweet perfection. Heavy pine and citrus flavors, the alcohol is very apparent. Deliciously drinkable.

Mouthfeel - Lingering alcohol/bitterness on the tongue, thick with low carbonation.

Drinkability - This beer is a beast. Complex, very hop forward, one of the best double IPA's I have ever drank for sure. I look forward to this every year. Surly creates some exceptional beers, this is no exception.

Serving type: can poured into a Surly pint glass.

Photo of wrightro07
5/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: A nice amber colour with a nice fluffy white head.
S: The smell is amazing. This beer right after you crack open the can bursts out the aroma of pine trees and citrus hops. I would love to have my house smell like this everyday. When drinking this beer I had to enhale the smell everytime before a sip.
T: This is the best double imperial IPA I have ever had. It is huge to say the least. Huge in hops and malts. Abrasive makes Furious seem weak. The difference is that big. Even though the ABV is 9% one would never have guest it. This beer is smooth.
D: The overall drinkability is incrediable. I wish I could buy this all year round. It is too bad that it is only brewed once a year. If you have not tried Abrasive and you are a hop head this beer should then be on the top of your wants list.

Abrasive Ale from Surly Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 3,230 ratings.