1. American Craft Beer Fest returns to Boston on May 29 & 30, featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers. Tickets are on sale now.

Abrasive Ale - Surly Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Abrasive AleAbrasive Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

3,260 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 3,260
Reviews: 820
rAvg: 4.52
pDev: 8.41%
Wants: 2,033
Gots: 342 | FT: 22
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.
View: Beers (43) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 3,260 | Reviews: 820 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sirwootalot
4.54/5  rDev +0.4%
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.

Photo of Davihaw
5/5  rDev +10.6%

Photo of thegoon55
4.5/5  rDev -0.4%

Photo of ChrisMQ
4.25/5  rDev -6%

Photo of Scalawags
4.5/5  rDev -0.4%

Photo of Scottywaz
5/5  rDev +10.6%

Photo of csustar001
4.75/5  rDev +5.1%

Photo of quetzal013
4.75/5  rDev +5.1%

Photo of Tony_D
4.25/5  rDev -6%

Photo of Spike-likes-beer
4.75/5  rDev +5.1%

Photo of Theortiz01
4.75/5  rDev +5.1%

Photo of Lucnifter
4/5  rDev -11.5%

Photo of Dillonlarsen1992
4.5/5  rDev -0.4%

Photo of Yellolab2010
4.75/5  rDev +5.1%

Photo of biegaman
4.44/5  rDev -1.8%
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.

4.5/5  rDev -0.4%

Photo of Rudes
4.75/5  rDev +5.1%

Photo of Reappropriated
3.75/5  rDev -17%

Photo of maximus_rebel
4.25/5  rDev -6%

Photo of MarshMan71
4.75/5  rDev +5.1%

Photo of Nolen12
3.75/5  rDev -17%

Photo of thinwhiteduke
4.75/5  rDev +5.1%

Photo of DaveMiller
4.5/5  rDev -0.4%

Photo of N_Schleret
4.76/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | 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.

Photo of danoble1
4.75/5  rDev +5.1%

Abrasive Ale from Surly Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 3,260 ratings.