Abrasive Ale - Surly Brewing Company

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Abrasive AleAbrasive Ale

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852 Reviews
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Reviews: 852
Hads: 3,858
rAvg: 4.46
pDev: 3.36%
Wants: 2,104
Gots: 472 | 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

Hazy gold in color, this Oatmeal Double IPA has aggressive aromas of candied grapefruit/tangerine and tropical fruit. Malted oats greatly enhance the body and the high level of bitterness is balanced by this sweetness. Citra hops are used for aroma & flavor additions and for dry-hopping, while Warrior hops are used primarily for bitterness.

OG 19.5 Plato
Color 5 SRM
Hops: Citra, Warrior
Yeast: English Ale
Malt: 2-row, Golden Naked Oats
ABV: 9%
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Reviews: 852 | Hads: 3,858
Photo of Jordanpaterson08
4.69/5  rDev +5.2%
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! (332 characters)

Photo of Taybeh
4.75/5  rDev +6.5%
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. (633 characters)

Photo of CraigP83
5/5  rDev +12.1%
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 (439 characters)

Photo of mr-jj
4.77/5  rDev +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. (511 characters)

Photo of kkleu357
4.4/5  rDev -1.3%

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. (298 characters)

Photo of SebastRain
4.11/5  rDev -7.8%

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. (343 characters)

Photo of RobbDogg
4.44/5  rDev -0.4%
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. (303 characters)

Photo of hail_seitan
4.91/5  rDev +10.1%
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! (803 characters)

Photo of alphagnome
4.5/5  rDev +0.9%
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. (723 characters)

Photo of cotne002
4.86/5  rDev +9%
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. (304 characters)

Photo of StoneTSR
4.26/5  rDev -4.5%
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. (1,277 characters)

Photo of Dawgboned37
4.63/5  rDev +3.8%
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. (268 characters)

Photo of reebtaerG
4.65/5  rDev +4.3%
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! (371 characters)

Photo of ljthiesse
4.57/5  rDev +2.5%
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. (293 characters)

Photo of paladinjoe
5/5  rDev +12.1%
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. (602 characters)

Photo of mabermud
4.59/5  rDev +2.9%
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. (530 characters)

Photo of barnzy78
4.14/5  rDev -7.2%
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. (1,005 characters)

Photo of bryanbullock
4.16/5  rDev -6.7%
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. (731 characters)

Photo of hops202
4.45/5  rDev -0.2%
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! (368 characters)

Photo of Sirwootalot
4.54/5  rDev +1.8%
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. (2,324 characters)

Photo of biegaman
4.44/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

An abrasive is a substance used for polishing; Abrasive Ale, funny enough, is a very polished beer indeed. Its ripe banana peel colour has a blinding shine (despite a foggy complexion). Though its head isn't especially impressive the lacing it leaves sure is; this glass is tighter wrapped in cotton-like blanketing than a newborn.

With American Double IPAs you usually know what you're getting; the hops are unmistakable. The wild card is what kind of hoppiness you'll find (tropical, herbal, floral, etc). This one I'd file under 'earthy': it has a fairly 'catty' scent and plenty of greenness. It smells like someone just plucked an entire tree branch of its leaves to sauté with white onions.

Abrasive drinks remarkably like grapefruit juice - it's like someone freshly squeezed it just now. Also, while I don't see any orange zest I sure as hell taste it. None of this citrus is particularly bitter or pithy mind you, and it's accompanied by smoothing traces of pine and spruce resins. The aftertaste also provides a little caramelized sugar to sweeten all that grapefruit.

You'd have to ring your tongue out like a wet cloth to shake all the citrusy hoppiness afterwords; flavours don't just stop at the aftertaste, they continue on. Fantastic. Trade or do whatever it takes to get your hands on this one, but do it the proper justice and ensure it's a fresh sample; this may be a big beer but the style doesn't take wonderfully to aging.

Surly Abrasive falls under the category of beers that need to be experienced to be fully appreciated. Words cannot even begin to explain the pleasure of drinking such a vibrantly hoppy and balanced DIPA. This is unbelievably approachable and quaffable for a beer with its specs (9%, 120 IBU). It's a DIPA that eclipses even many of my previous favourites. Simply great stuff. (1,828 characters)

Photo of N_Schleret
4.6/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a copper color with a one finger head. Good retention and nice lacing.
S: Lots of hops! A huge grapefruit citrus smell with pine and hints of sweet malt.
T: Tastes exactly how it smells. Top in its class! Very citrusy and piney. ABV is present.
M: Very smooth, light carbonation, slight bitterness, and light stickiness.
O: One of the best DIPA's out there, amazing. Wish it was a year round beer. (408 characters)

Photo of MusicaleMike
4.42/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Big thanks for my buddy Ryan for throwing this in as an extra in a trade! Canned on 1/13/14.

Served in a willi becher pint glass, this beer shows off a bold golden hue that is saturated with little floating particles and rising bubbles. The head creates a sea foam-like head that is crisp white, and that leaves scarred lacing as the beer retreats in the glass.

It possesses a powerful aroma that pops out of the glass, filled with citrus (grapefruit) and tropical fruit (honeydew and mango). It smells sweet, juicy, dank, and just slightly oniony. The alcohol is there, but faintly in the background. Very hop forward and there isn't much in the way of a malt aroma.

The flavor is smooth, with a bitterness that coats the tongue and lasts through the finish. It hits the palate with citrus rind and herbaceous hops, and the malt and alcohol give a fruity impression towards the end. Medium to full-bodied. Medium carbonation.

A very good double IPA. I would drink this again anytime. The flavor and aroma are powerful and juicy, and it hits the perfect mark that people are generally looking for in a DIPA/IPA. The alcohol is under control, and the hops are fully featured here. Is it better than Heady Topper? (My buddy prefers this to HT...) I'm not convinced. Give me a couple more cans and I'll find out. (1,314 characters)

Photo of schris
4.29/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a great, robust, acidy IPA. Others have said it reminds them of Heady Topper - I wish I hadn't read that before tasting, because I want to believe I would have discerned it myself. Regardless, a great double IPA.

My palate tends toward the sweeter - to me, the Platonic ideal of the double IPA is Hopslam. This is not Hopslam - it is nice, balanced, and refreshing, but it retains more bitterness at the finish. (421 characters)

Photo of Wolberjs
4.5/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A - A cloudy amber. Pours with a nice head that lingers for a little while.

S - Smell is very good citrus. Grape fruit and tangerine if I had to put a name to it. A little bit of of grassy / dank backing.

T - Smell follows the nose. Alot of the citrus smells come through in the taste. Not overwhelming hop bitterness, it's balance quite nicely with a sweetish malty backbone.

M - Silky tingling mouthfeel. Best I can recall in an IPA.

O - Very good IPA. A notch below my faves such as elder and Citra DIPA, but very good.

Cheers to Lightsaber for the trade.

Note: I had this beer just before a hopslam. The hopslam did not make me change my ratings on this beer. (669 characters)

Abrasive Ale from Surly Brewing Company
99 out of 100 based on 852 ratings.