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Abrasive Ale - Surly Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Abrasive AleAbrasive Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

856 Reviews
no score

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Reviews: 856
Hads: 3,899
Avg: 4.47
pDev: 17.45%
Wants: 2,142
Gots: 479 | FT: 19
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%
View: Beers (53) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 856 | Hads: 3,899
Photo of 1sophrosyne1
4.23/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a pint canned on 1/13/15 into an IPA glass. Appreciated over 35 remarkable minutes.

Produces a full two-finger head with good retention and appealing clumps of shave-soapy lacing. Hazy flat amber allows sufficient light through to read. Squadrons of small bubbles feed the head, leaving an airy cream cap on the core. It looks the part, but could have a more interesting show.

The nose is assertively bitter, oniony, and almost ammoniac in its way of dumping a tropical bounty in the nostrils. Smells make one see the color orange reflected by mangoes, peaches, papayas, and passion fruit. After some time in the glass, the sharp antiseptic resins flow away, leaving pineapple juice, saltine, and a touch of lime with those mounds of equatorial produce. Even later, the onion-cellar and sauerkraut overlay returns with the petrol of a used wine barrel; it’s unique, but not necessarily inviting.

The slick of hop oils delays the flavor explosion in cool wetness for a refreshing downbeat. Then, the juicy fruits take over. Papaya and passionfruit are stronger on the tongue than in the nose; mangoes come in a fraction later and fold downward into a lightly toasted and buttered biscuit on the back of the tongue midway through a swallow. At that point, there’s a surprising upward lift of freshness that suspends dusty earth and a nasally-sensed brush of pine that keeps bitterness in check and makes the aftertaste clean and enjoyable. There’s not much depth with a gangly, but rubbery and flexible backbone of malt designed primarily to wave the Citra flag. As it warms, the buzz of ethanol has more influence (right around the time that I can also feel that 9% in my head).

In the mouth, every phase feels right. Although I typically like more heft and chew in a DIPA, the body is properly matched to the hop and carbohydrate profile. Because it’s thinner, some floral phenolic notes of flavor dance on the tongue between gulps in a way that adds complexity to the otherwise humulenic focus. Early, the bubbles make a play, but they fade fast and leave organics to dominate the texture. If I could have just a bit more carbonation in the middle before the clean lift of bitter alpha acids, I’d give this element a perfect rating.

Despite the blast of Citra on the front end with tropical warmth in this winter release, I think the fresh, long ending and aftertaste are my favorite elements in the brew. It’s lively and large, but could use a touch more barley to ground and integrate its bitter angles and splashy fruits. Food fills that need quite nicely, though. The appellation doesn’t really fit this iteration of Abrasive, but buy it up and drink deeply! It’s a winner…again.

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Photo of PaulyB83
4.78/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 5

Canned 01/10/15 Poured into a nonic pint glass.

L- One finger white head, looks slightly undercarbed but I heard this batch of Abrasive was this way, medium amber, good clarity.

S- Tons and tons of mango, pineapple, and peach, some light dankness and a sort of overall bubblegummy fruitiness. Definitely the most tropical smelling beer I've ever had thanks to what must be tons of Citra hops used in this beer.

T- Follows the aroma, lots of mango, papaya, little less pineapple than in the nose, medium bitterness that doesn't hang on the palette, only a slight taste of the alcohol, nice level of sweetness.

F- A full mouthfeel that is like a thin syrup reminiscent of fruit nectar.

O- From the moment I cracked the can and the tropical smell hit me in the face I knew I would love this beer. It is the most concentrated expression of Citra hops that I have had yet and really one of those beers you just want to sit and smell and it almost pains you to have to drink it cause it will be gone. It's right up there with Heady for me as one of the best DIPAs and a beer I will certainly trade for every year now.

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Photo of barczar
4.35/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Sweet caramel malt backbone with big onion and resin presence.

More citrus in flavor, with resin, and the a moderate bitterness.

Tried this again more sober, and a fresher beer. While I still find the bitterness to be a bit astringent and overwhelming, the pine, resin, and citrus are intriguing. Still put off by onion in aroma, but far better than initially rated.

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Photo of MOVERTON1284
4.25/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I had some cans from the batches that were missing carbonation in the 2014 vintage, but also had a later can that was much better. Carb was minimal, taste and aroma are very unique and quite good

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Photo of SomethingClever
4.42/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

16 oz can poured into snifter

A: nice crystal clear orangish amber color...this had almost no head it is a can of the damned 1/09 canning

S: big mango peach smell with some light crackery smell on the end

T: lots of pineapple mango citrus on the front finishes malty with a slight bitterness

M: pretty light for such a big beer it's very clean not clingy or coating have that light citrus aftertaste in the mouth

O: This beer is fantastic. It's got a lot of juicy hops but it's got the malt to bring the hops up short on the end. Find this beer.

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Photo of Jordanpaterson08
4.69/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

My cans were part of the under-carbed bunch. 1/13/15 bottling date. Still tasted absolutely delicious! Awesome, awesome, awesome beer! As a lucky winner of the most recent Kern River Brewing "Citra Lottery", I look forward to doing a side by side with each of them next week. Shout out to Josh012012 for sending this my way, CHEERS!

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Photo of Taybeh
4.75/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

From a canning 7 days ago, into an imperial pint glass

A: Hazy dark apricot, with a 1 finger head that subsides into a thin crown
S: Pulpy mango, ripe pineapple, caramel sweetness,
T: Follows the nose, though some biscuits and honey too; even juicier than I remember from years prior. Some piney and earthy notes on the edge that I expect from Surly,
M: Lively buzz to the mouthful right from the start, a little burn at the end, though flavor-wise, the end just continues what you get throughout. Hides the alcohol fairly well. Creamy and smooth, not too heavy, but your mouth is coated with hop oils.

Overall: superb beer.

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Photo of CraigP83
5/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Nice rich orange color with pillow of white foam. Smells hops, oats, citrus fields. Taste is a rush of mouthwatering citrus and apricot as it fades a nice bitterness builds in the back of your throat. Mouthfeel also leaves the sticky, sugary coating of citrus. *edit: after several 4-packs of this I've changed my rating to a 5. This beer never gets old I nearly shed a tear every time I finish my beer. One of the best DIPAs in the world

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Photo of mr-jj
4.77/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Draft in a tulip at Northbound in Minneapolis. (12/12/13)

Looks almost amber in color with a nice two finger head that lingers.

Smell is what I dream about! Citrus hops and tropical fruit. I wanted to just keep inhaling, but I had to know how it tasted.

Taste is grapefruit and tropical hops that finish with a classic IPA bitterness.

Feel is medium and crisp. The hop resins leave my mouth coated in delicious hoppiness.

Overall, a great DIPA. Definitely on my short list as one of the best I've had.

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Photo of kkleu357
4.4/5  rDev -1.6%

From notes on 4/1/14

Holy cloudiness. Looks like there is a lot of suspended yeast in the body. Excellent malty hop aroma. Pretty tasty. Very thick mouthfeel. Lots of hop flavors. Citrus lemony taste is strong. Some malt taste comes through, but I get more sweetness from the aroma than the taste.

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Photo of SebastRain
4.11/5  rDev -8.1%

Pours golden, hazy. Color is lighter than you would expect for a beer in this style range. Excellent, complex nose, notes of citrus, pine and floral. This is quite an exceptional beer, better balanced and significantly more enjoyable than furious. One of my favorites from Surly, always brings me back to when I first had this beer years ago.

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Photo of RobbDogg
4.44/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a thick, hazy orange. Very attractive, with a long lingering head and good lacing qualities. A big nose of citrus, pineapple, grapefruit. The taste mirrors the nose with big fruit and pine, and little malt notes. Just how I like them. Great carbonation and a nice drinkable feel. Very we'll done.

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Photo of hail_seitan
4.91/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Drank from can a la Heady Topper

A - From what I could see, very pale color and hazy.

S - Scents of sweet citrus, flowers, and freshly-baled hay dominate. A bit of tropical fruit, too.

T - Kumquat, grass, and a unique earthy spice flavor. Balanced by a hearty biscuity semi-dry malt backbone. Bits of tropical fruit and pine sneak in, too. The finish is bitter and pleasantly boozey.

M - Great, full mouthfeel and superbly carbonated.

O - Aside from the fact the can looks like more like an energy drink than a world class beer, this brew is top-notch. My friends and I did a blind taste test of Abrasive versus Heady Topper and fully expected the Alchemist's DIPA to win - even though the HT was an admittedly 2 months old. Abrasive wiped the floor. Worth a visit to Minnesota just for this brew!

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Photo of alphagnome
4.5/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Bright, golden colored body is a hazy and full of fine, white sediment. Soft, white head with lackluster retention. No noticeable carbonation, but the sediment could be hiding it. Nice lacing.

Sweet tangerine and hibiscus dominate here with other, subtle tropical fruits hidden under a thin blanket of pine.

Buttered biscuits coated in sweet, peach jam. Honey. Hoppy grapefruit finish with a hint of alcohol on the aftertaste.

Incredibly smooth and easy to drink with a nice bite on the finish. Creamy. Lightly carbonated medum body. Clean, semi-sweet finish.

Aother stellar beer from the folks at Surly! Any IPA fan would be silly to not add this to their must-have list.

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Photo of cotne002
4.86/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

I don't know how a beer could be any better than this--citrusy odor and tangy mouthfeel. I just love to have it sit on my tastebuds for a while before I swallow it. There are some issues with the way it looks recently--some flock, but who cares when a beer tastes this good. Beautiful head. Amazing beer.

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Photo of StoneTSR
4.26/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

APPEARANCE: Thick, hazy, orange in color. A gorgeous white head rests on top with the first pour, but fades into a thin cap fairly quickly. The bubbles that can be seen through the opaque haziness are slow moving , but plentiful. The lacing is rather nice, covering about 60% of the backside of the glass with big, splotchy layers.

SMELL: There is a ton of fruit on the nose here. Orange peel, apricot and a lot of pineapple. Behind all that fruit, however, is a nice, grassy backbone. Great smell.

TASTE: The orange from the nose is still present, but not as sweet. It blends into a slight grapefruit flavor that is supported by a big, grassy taste. There is some malt to balance, but this is not a sweet beer, not nearly as sweet as the aroma would have suggested. Instead, it is a downright, in your face, bitter beer...and it is lovely. A good dose of anise chimes in towards the end of each sip to tie everything together and wrap it up.

MOUTHFEEL: The carbonation provides a light tickle, which pairs well with a surprisingly light body for such a flavorful beer.

OVERALL: I don't compare a lot of beers to Stone Ruination, but this one deserves it. It is simply a very well done, intentionally bitter beer for people who love hops...and I love hops, so thanks Surly.

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Photo of Dawgboned37
4.63/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

On tap in the Surly taproom. Slightly hazy, dark orange color. Aromas of tropical citrus fruits, grapefruit, and a touch of pine. Taste was bitter, but not overwhelming and quite pleasant. Lighter citrusy hops really come through and blend well with the malt backbone.

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Photo of reebtaerG
4.65/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Had on draft at churchkey in a snifter

A-Pours a bright golden yellow color with a hint of haze and an off white head. Great lacing!

S-The nose is grapefruit, citrus with some malt coming through to balance.

T-Taste is very complex with grapefruit, citrus, some honey.

M-Mouthfeel gives a medium body with very fine carbonation.

O-damn is awesome way to go Surly!

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Photo of ljthiesse
4.57/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice golden color with a white head. Very sweet, fruity aromas with a lot of hops. The flavor is beautifully complex, with dry hop notes, sweet citrus, a nice light tartness and plenty more. A very well-balanced IPA, with just about everything going for it. Couldn't imagine it better.

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Photo of paladinjoe
5/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer is where it's at, this beer should never lose it's 100 rating, it's world-class, and there's no messing around when we say that.

If you want an IPA with intense flavor, this is it, if you want an IPA that has bitterness that doesn't overpower the rest of the notes and flavors inside, this one is it, if you want a beer that makes you feel damn good as you're having it, as well as when you're done, this is it.

I would classify this as a grapefruit IPA, I prefer piney IPAs, but in the end, this one still wins at the end of the day, if there is an elite example of the style, this is it.

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Photo of mabermud
4.59/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Top three DIPA

A - Looks good. Hazy hues of light orange/golden copper with particles suspended in the brew.
S - Smells of sweet and juicy citrus, with solid hints of hops and pine.
M - Medium weight and medium carbonation.
T - Tropical citrus up front with dry piney bitterness at the end of each drink. No alcohol taste. Dry.
O - A great DIPA. Up there with PtE and Heady. This is a very good all-around DIPA that is a contender.

This DIPA rivals the best of them. Depending on the day, it would take the top spot in my book.

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Photo of barnzy78
4.14/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

I had this on tap in 2009 when it was called 16 Grit and I loved it. I gave it a very solid 4.43/5, but it is time for a re-review.

Blind tasting, 16oz can, stamped 1/21/14 on bottom.
L - hazed tangerine body, frothy egg-shell head holds good retention and leaves thick lacing on the glass
S - huge, sweet, tropical nose with mango, pineapple, grapefruit, honey
T - tropical again, more bitter than expected from the aroma, but it's still fairly balanced as the bitterness builds. Big notes of mango and pineapple, caramel, grapefruit, pungently bitter piny bite on the finish
F - medium, very dry finish with lingering pine
O - not as good as I remember, but still delicious. The big tropical hop notes were less familiar to me then, which probably elevated the experience. Those flavors are definitely more commonplace in IPAs and DIPAs lately, so I guess that makes this one less unique. Really nice to come back to it after all these years, especially seeing as Surly is one of my favorite breweries.

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Photo of bryanbullock
4.16/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

*this review will be amended when I have the opportunity for a fresher abrasive as this one was a little past its prime.

Nearly opaque murky golden with 1 finger head, aroma of a bitter citrus fruit perhaps grapefruit. Aroma contained hints of musk or mildew (again this is not to be a negative reflection on the beer only my experience with this past its prime version, if anyone wants to send me a fresh version I would embrace with open arms :).

Taste was smooth from front to back, balanced hops all the way through, lingering citrus on the tail.

mouthfeel was smooth, with little to no carbonation.

Overall you can tell this is a top notch beer and I think I am going to have a higher rating for this beer in the future.

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Photo of hops202
4.45/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

16oz can poured into s spiegelau glass. Can may be a little old - around Christmas 2013.

Pours a very hazy light amber color. Lots of sediment floating around in there. Smell is delicious even if it is an aged can. Lots of citrus, grapefruit rind, tons of hoppiness. Taste is just as good, but also has a malty sweetness to it that is very well balanced. Great DIPA!

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Photo of Sirwootalot
4.54/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a 16-oz Pilsner glass.

What a beautiful pour! The body is a rich golden-honey color with the tiniest tinge of amber, and with a thick, foamy head that's easily 3". It's astoundingly well carbonated for how high its ABV is, and small particles remain suspended throughout - though somehow the beer isn't cloudy at all. It slowly fades to a decent soap bubble consistency, and never completely goes away. The beer smells suprisingly mild for what you'd expect - hops dominate, but they don't overpower, and they're on a backbone that smells suspiciously like really good cookie dough. It's no stronger-smelling than a regular IPA/APA, despite the much higher ABV.

The flavor is a mildly biscuity, not too complex vehicle that delivers a two-trailer 18-wheeler of hop resin down your throat. The hops themselves are very well balanced, and don't hit you in the face with a mallet like other popular DIPAs do - I'm not sure what strain they are, but the flavor and odor is difficult to describe beyond "balanced". The alcohol itself lends a lot to the flavor profile in a good way, which is rare for most beers I've had. The beer itself isn't terribly bitter either, almost juicy, and the yeast is as undetectable as a nuclear submarine.

The mouthfeel is something I'm not a fan of. The sticky hop resin coats the entire inside of your mouth and dries it out with alarming force, to the point that it makes it harder to taste and appreciate the rest of the beer. The aftertaste, on the other hand, is delightful and endlessly complex - even better than the core flavor itself. At alternating intervals as I drank this, I detected lingering notes as far off as juniper, grapefruit, lemon zest, maplewood sawdust, hash, macaroons, and cinnamon. When I burped halfway through, it sent a wave of scent and sensation that was almost exactly like a certain herbal incense I was familiar with in days past.

Overall, this is a damn good DIPA precisely because it doesn't over-reach itself - Surly is all about hops, but even more so, I have yet to have a single beer of theirs that isn't expertly well-balanced. I'm fascinated by the contrast between how basic and occasionally unexciting the core flavor is, compared to the explosive rainbow of scents and flavors that stay in your mouth long after you've swallowed it.

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Abrasive Ale from Surly Brewing Company
99 out of 100 based on 856 ratings.