Abrasive Ale | Surly Brewing Company

941 Reviews
no score
Send samples
Abrasive AleAbrasive Ale

Brewed by:
Surly Brewing Company
Minnesota, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
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%

Added by Buebie on 12-27-2008

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 941 | Ratings: 4,508
Photo of SHODriver
5/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Canned 12/3/2015

A: Poured into a tulip to a hazy golden orange topped by tow fingers of dense white head that retains very well and leaves fantastic lacing.
S: Smells of grapefruit rind, pine resin, citrus, and overall dankness, a little orange marmalade as well
T: Taste is grapefruit, pine, citrus, a little orange marmalade sweetness. This one is dominated by the hops. Swallow is a huge blast of hop oils withe more citrus and pine
M: Medium in body with solid carbonation and an oily hop finish. The oatmeal provides a nice and thick smoothness to the mouthfeel as well.
O: Pretty close to Enjoy By from Stone. This is possibly my new benchmark of a great DIPA. The flavors are just killer and the hop notes are very bright and powerful. If you see this and like IPAs you need to buy it.

 805 characters

Photo of Pauken
4.71/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Great beer. Slightly inconsistent from having many different batches. Also, slightly brutal on the palate in a good way. Everyone is going completely citrus these days and this has citrus notes but so much more. A must try for IPA lovers! I've had them really fresh but this one is over two months old a slightly smoother. Holds up well with SLIGHT age compared to others.

 372 characters

Photo of Dopen993
4.34/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

16 oz can into tulip. 11/02/15 yep that's right almost 4 months old. O well

L. Beautiful copper orange in color with thick 2 finger head and very, very stick lacing.
S. Some pine, some malt, some sweetness and some hops.
T. Definitely getting a lot of malts and sweetness, but obviously this is due to the age of the beer. Could imagine this being world class, because even with the age, it's drinking great. Just a little malt forward since the hops gave obviously died down.
F. Creamy medium mouthfeel with above average carbonation.

 539 characters

Photo of jaypaul522
4.36/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured can into pint glass. Golden color with nice head. The aroma is very strong and welcoming - fruity, pine, and some malt. Flavor is very full, and very pleasant. The hops are balanced with the fruitiness, so the overall taste is full bodied and very pleasant. I would compare very favorably with any other IPA's tasted.

 324 characters

Photo of SaulFox
4.83/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Mail order from France44.com to California.

Dark golden color, semi hazzy, minimal lacing.
Bright citrus, tropical fruit ambrosia, pine.
Oh man....juicy hops, citrus fruits, sweet melon. Perfect balance.
Medium. One of the most perfect balanced brew.

This brew is over one month old but it really shines. Glad I have 3 more to enjoy! If you're a hop head, hop your ass where ever you need to and get you some!

 411 characters

Photo of trygelski1
4.73/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

16oz can poured into a tulip glass:

Look: Pours an amazing golden hazy yellow with about an inch of head. Lacing is very present.

Smell: Huge notes of grapefruit and pine right off the bat. Also hits of citrus and maybe some orange. Smells amazing!

Taste: Taste follows the nose. Big tastes of grapefruit, pine, hops, citrus, orange, and some malt backbone. Not overly bitter brew and taste is on point.

Feel: Medium bodied. Very crisp and refreshing.

Overall: Very solid double IPA here. One of the better ones I have had to date. I highly recommend seeking this one out!

 584 characters

Photo of jphipps83
4.4/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

16oz can into a snifter on 2/20/16, can dated 11/10/15. Citrus dominates the nose, pours a hazy and dark golden color with roughly an inch of head that clears quickly. Citrus forward, then malty, then very bitter. Possibly due to the length of time the beer has been sitting. Overall very good, will revisit a fresher batch and adjust my rating as necessary.

 359 characters

Photo of hardysf
4.49/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

This was a really nice imperial ipa. Lots of flavorful hop aroma as soon as popping the can, and the aroma filled the room on the pour. Grapefruit, melon and some pine. The Grapefruit was the standout though and I couldn't wait to try the beer. The taste is a little bit sweet. Lots of grapefruit and citrus on the tongue, but there is quite a bit of malt there too. I enjoyed this one.

 392 characters

Photo of TwinCities
4.95/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

I have to say for anyone who wants to taste one of the BEST Imperial IPAs in America, get your hands on Abrasive. For all those on the East Coast ... this is a beer that holds its own against any top rated New England IPA or DIPA. Way to represent the midwest Surly!!!

 268 characters

Photo of senglish7
4.74/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Damn. This is one fine beer. Wonderful grapefruit nose. Grapefruit on the tongue as well. Nice hop punch but not bitter and doesn't linger much on the tongue. Smooth. Such a nice beer.

 184 characters

Photo of vitamin_g
4.58/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A light, golden orange pour (from a can a few months old) with a nice white head that slowly dissipates. Smell is of hops and fruit. Mouthfeel is a little light, nicely carbonated. Flavors of hops, for sure, but not overwhelming, palate-crushing hops, and fruits, mostly citrusy. Leaves a nice, hoppy aftertaste. Overall, a really good IPA, with great flavor and balance.

 376 characters

Photo of Trevor11
5/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Absolutely incredible. This powerful pale ale is incredibly balanced with a sweetness (presumably from the oatmeal/malt) and ending bitter notes. I agree with the BA's top beers list of rating it above Bell's Hopslam. I purchased a four pack in chicagoland, but wish that I had got more. Go find yourself some Abrasive if you can.

 330 characters

Photo of Cannibalgasm
4.47/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 16oz. can.

A: Pours a hazy golden honey color with a finger and a half of frothy white head. Head retains incredibly well before resting to a thin foamy layer atop the brew. Lacing is beautiful and plentiful.

S: Lots of fruity citrus notes up front. Grapefruit, tangerine, pineapple, mandarin orange, lemon, sweet bready malts, and pine hop aromas. Also as some slightly noticeable alcohol notes. Overall a well balanced citrus hop forward smell.

T: Fruity and sweet initially with flavors of candied fruits, sweet malts, grapefruit, tangerine, orange peel, lemon zest, pineapple, oatmeal, and caramel. Then you get some pine hop spiciness, pear, onion, alcohol, and herbal flavors. Finishes with more tropical fruit and a nice pleasant bitterness. Very well balanced and pleasant.

M: Medium bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation and a full smooth crisp clean feel. Has a slight alcohol warmth and nice lingering bitterness.

O: A very nice DIPA. The first few times I had this brew I was completely blown away. While it has lost some of its effect on me it is still one of my favorite seasonal brews. This is a world class example of its style as it is incredibly well balanced an incredibly pleasant to drink. The aromas are the best part as they are bold, powerful and enticing from the second you crack the can.

 1,343 characters

Photo of W_Des
4.32/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours a bold gold color from the can. The nose has a citrus orange and grapefruit aroma with some tropical notes as well. Medium sweetness in the body that is balanced by a medium-strong bitter finish on this rocking DIPA.

 222 characters

Photo of Chaz
3.79/5  rDev -15%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a hazey orange-gold in color, topped with an off-white head. Very good lacing.

BIG citrus and grapefruit rind on the nose, and if someone were to crack open a can of this at a crowded party, you might be able to catch a whiff of it at the other end of the room. Notes of resin/pine and some sweeter orange (Valencia, maybe) at the deep end of the nose. Notes of alcohol and (yes) even some fusel characteristics. But the agreeable character definitely outweighs any disagreeable booziness, here, and especially for the style.

Sweet, almost too-sweet on the first sip. Onion/garlic notes from the hops, warming sensation... and a fairly decent amount of bitterness. Not quite dry on the finish. There is some malt character in here, and these are competing for attention with the full-on hop assault.

A touch of oily hop character, a bit of dry golden delicious, a bit of ripe pear, and a bit of a sweet, tropical fruit note (pineapple/mango) which is once again pummeled by the hops.

Drinkability is fairly good for the style.

Altogether it's above average for the style, but I have sampled so many in the style that by now I can also admit without much shame that it's not my favorite style.

 1,211 characters

Photo of CNoj012
4.57/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a hazy golden orange with a 3 finger bright white head. There is a half finger white cap of retention and spotty sheets of lacing. Smell is amazing. Grapefruit, tangerine and mango burst out of the glass with a nice bit of piney dankness as well. Taste is the same with some pineapple as well. There is a slight bit of sweet malt character, but is no match for the bitterness on the back end of this (and that's not a bad thing). Feel is medium and chewy with good carbonation. Overall an exceptional beer. Been waiting to try this one forever and it did not disappoint.

 586 characters

Photo of Hopislovehopislife
4.4/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very very good dipa. My only negative on this beer is I think it's a bit too malty sweet for my taste.its got a creamier mouth feel compared to heady, Todd, etc that's probably due to them using oatmeal in this beer. Nice citrus and pine notes on it but I still would like less malt backbone on this one.

 304 characters

Photo of jmasher85
4.64/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A murky amber pour with some lovely head that would make other IPAs jealous.

I had this beer two different times so far, and each one tasted pretty different. Granted, there was about two weeks of aging in between, so I'll just have to open more cans to keep exploring...

The fresher can both smelled and tasted like the dankiest, skunkiest, most pot-smelling beer I've ever tried. The older can was a bit more juicy and fruity, with more balance and less emphasis on that thick resin and hop oil flavor. The fresher one also felt a bit thicker and more chewy in texture, but only by a little - both have a pretty nice mouth-filling feel to them.

It's kinda remarkable how both the danker, grassier one and the less hop-intensive, mellowed out older one both honestly taste like world-class American IPAs to me. I mean, I guess I should give demerits for having such a short shelf-life and losing so much hop character between being four weeks old and six, but as the sticky, thick hop flavor fades, it just balances out into something different but equally lovely - malty, slight tropical fruit, and such a gentle, refreshing bitterness that it doesn't offend the palate one bit like some other IPAs with more hops than is good for them.

So three cheers to Surly, who have made one of my new top favorite IPAs.

 1,323 characters

Photo of shaneerickson
3.97/5  rDev -11%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

In a pint glass from a can.

L - Has a beautiful golden haze that leaves very little clarity. lacing around the glass is prominent. very little head retention.

S - Citrus notes flood my nose. Very tropical. smells like Citra hops!

T - A sweetness that doesn't linger for long. the hops most definitely taste like they smell. lots of orange and lemon.

F - very very smooth. sweet and malty from the start. leaves no residue on my palate except for faint citrusy hops.

O - I LOVED ABRASIVE ALE! Surly did an incredible job of creating a smooth and drinkable DIPA. this beer is dangerously drinkable.

 606 characters

Photo of DaddyFist
4.69/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

This beer. This very beer, is extremely violent.
The intensity of the hop aroma punched me right in the teeth. It was as if I had gotten into a bar fight, and a BIG son from Texas, crushed a miller lite bottle across my tranquil jaw line. Battle the urge to not pass out from the loss of blood, I grab on to the nearest object that is bolted to the greasy, beer battered floor. Struggling to arise and regain my confidence, a local savior helps me to my quivering feet. (Picture the scene in the bible where Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus to his feet after falling the third time under the cross).

Finally grasping onto the rail of the bar, I regain my stance. Violence and carnage has spread through the bar like the wildfires in Africa during the dry season. Hoots, and hollers echo, and vibrate throughout the old brick building. Dust cascades downwards from the ancient ceiling. The particles pass in front of the dim lights, trying to reach the floor undisturbed.

Now that I have regained consciousness I can finally sip on the abrasive beer that has already dragged me through a field of those barb balls that stick to your clothing during your hiking days in the iron range of Northern Minnesota. Woah. WOAH! EASY DOES IT BRAVO! (Said like a regal Civil war general trying to calm down his horse).

The awesome power of the citra hops pelt me to no end. Seemingly endless, Brett Favre fires round after round of citra hops the size of footballs into my ribs and throat. I beg for death to wrap his gentle, bony hands around my throat, and end this madness. But being death, he taunts his victim (me), and sits patiently. Staring through my eyes, into another realm of existence. "Please! PLEASE!" I begin to wail and chant. Trapped. Nowhere to go. To weak to run. The warrior hops come in to finish me off. With an earthy like vengeance, they ride in on a flock of 1970's El Camino's, strapped to the gills with ancient Greek weaponry.

They drift dangerously close to my head. Aggressively stepping out of their magical wagons, they walk towards me. Kicking earth, and bitter hops of their own kin into my mouth, they scoff and growl. "PLEASE! IF THERE IS A GOD PLEASE END THIS PAIN OF EXISTENCE!" I proclaim as a last shout to the heavens.

Then. Just then, Oatmeal rides down in his chariot from the electrifying clouds above. Like Zeus he fires bolts of lightening downwards upon his victims. The warrior hops scatter, like cave goblins in the face of light! They pile back into their bad ass El Camino's and take stride back to the depths from which they came.

"Oatmeal. Sweet, sweet oatmeal.....thank..you for saving me. You have saved my palate from the ever reckoning bitter hops.Bless you oatmeal. Bless you."

And just like that, death finally rubbed his fingers over my eyes. Closing them permanently.

Ladies and gentlemen. That is what drinking this beer is like.

 2,890 characters

Photo of AppaZappa
4.46/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

11/24/15 can, poured hazy dark gold color with 1/2 inch head. Smell is fabulous: papaya, mango, citrus explosion, with bit of bread and malt in back. Taste is really hop dominated, same tropical fruit that comes in the nose but with more sweet notes, ends with bitter finish that gets a bit muddled as you drink. Mouth is crisp, very easy drinking for an imperial ipa.

This hangs with the big boys except for the back end of the taste. But that's a minor quibble; excellent beer.

 481 characters

Photo of Boto
4.45/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

16oz can: This one pours a hazy, somewhat darker golden color. There was about a 2" head on it that lingered a little bit. There was some lacing. Good nose to it. Lots of grapefruit hops. Hints of orange and pine also. The taste is good. Mainly hop notes without being overly bitter. Grapefruit, orange, pineapple and a touch of pine. A decent malt presence in the background. A touch of sweetness trying to peek thru the hops. I need to stuff some more of these in my suitcase if I get out that way again!

 506 characters

Photo of Spinaltapped
4.76/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Look: Strong bold pumpkin color, non-translucent, great healthy 1.5/2 finger head. A pretty DIPA.

Smell: Loads of tropical fruit and candied Mandarin and sweet clementine orange. Pineapple. A touch of marzipan? One of, if not my favorite smelling pale ale. Just an onslaught of hops.

Taste: A metric f*ck ton of sweet orange, papiya, mango from the hops. A touch of alcohol sweetness at the front swept away by a bit of prickly, sharp floral bitterness. Strong malt backbone to support the hops, but it is definitely a beer with the hops as the spotlight.

MF: It's great. Smooth, silky, medium mouthfeel. Lingers on the tongue.

 630 characters

Photo of 1000lbgrizzly
4.07/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Hazy, mildly turbid, light golden yellow body, off-white velvet head with intricate blankets of lace. (Although, the next can produced a perfectly translucent body.) Orange/grapefruit nose, mint, bitter, herbal, with bready malt behind it. Bitter citrus fruit dominate the flavor (grapefruit!), slight onion, lavender syrup, with oats as a sweet nearly caramel-like backbone, harsh mint on the finish. Olfactory and gustatory senses are huge and, well, abrasive. Body is crisp, quenching, refreshing, fluid and drinkable.
Big big flavors here, a hophead's dream, just a tad too bitter for my tastes, and I couldn't appreciate the oats- the flavor imparted was less than desirable, and the intended rich mouthfeel didn't appear for me.

 734 characters

Photo of MyThoughtsExactly
4.16/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

L: Appears a pale yellow to gold color. Thin head with nice glass lacing.
S: Not sure of the hops on this beer but sure does smell like a ton of Citra. Lemon, grapefruit, and orange. A little resin in the finish.
T: Follows the nose. Sweet candied tropical fruits followed by a nice solid bitterness.
F: Mouth coating feel. Somewhat creamy.
Overall another one of those great hop forward DIPAs.

 395 characters

Abrasive Ale from Surly Brewing Company
4.46 out of 5 based on 4,508 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    No fake news here. Get real beer content delivered to your doorstep every month.