Abrasive Ale | Surly Brewing Company

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Abrasive AleAbrasive Ale
Abrasive AleAbrasive Ale

Brewed by:
Surly Brewing Company
Minnesota, United States

Style: American 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%

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User Reviews & Ratings
Reviews: 958 | Ratings: 4,678
Photo of W_Des
4.32/5  rDev -4%
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.

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Photo of Chaz
3.79/5  rDev -15.8%
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.

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Photo of CNoj012
4.57/5  rDev +1.6%
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.

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Photo of Hopislovehopislife
4.4/5  rDev -2.2%
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.

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Photo of jmasher85
4.64/5  rDev +3.1%
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.

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Photo of shaneerickson
3.97/5  rDev -11.8%
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.

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Photo of DaddyFist
4.69/5  rDev +4.2%
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.

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Photo of AppaZappa
4.46/5  rDev -0.9%
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.

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Photo of Boto
4.45/5  rDev -1.1%
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!

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Photo of Spinaltapped
4.76/5  rDev +5.8%
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.

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Photo of 1000lbgrizzly
4.07/5  rDev -9.6%
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.

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Photo of MyThoughtsExactly
4.16/5  rDev -7.6%
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.

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Photo of Franziskaner
4.21/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Gold to copper in color with some mild haziness. There's a sold inch of dense off white head on top. Moderate lacing. The aroma is intensely citrus hop focused. The taste is actually much more balanced than the aroma implies. It is brazenly citrus hop focused but there is some nice light biscuity malt to keep things in balance. The mouth is sticky and chewy, appropriate for the style.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.41/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Acquired via trade from CapCollector16 so a big “Thank You” goes out to him. Poured from a 16oz can into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a bright gold color with a medium off-white head that fades quickly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains grassy hops, fruity citrus and caramelized malts.

T: The taste starts out with flavors a strong piney hops bitterness. Then some sweet flavors of citrus and caramel come in. The malt character is hearty but not too heavy and brings a very good balance. The after-taste is slightly hoppy and slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and very smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is clean for the style.

O: Very tasty, goes down dangerously easy, not too filling, good kick, very good representation of style, this is a very nice 2IPA to drink for a long time.

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Photo of BeerGeek50
4.71/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Another amazing beer from my favorite brewery. These guys just keep making great beer after great beer. How can you go wrong with Citra hops all up in your nose?

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Photo of Henefield
4.89/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I usually prefer a darker look, but this dipa is simply perfect. If your a hop head, Abrasive is a must try. One of the best beers I have ever consumed. A huge bonus for us that reside in MN!

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Photo of Evilyak
3.67/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

i knew i shouldn't have bought this one, but i did it anyway. i really dislike citra, and this tastes like one more citra ipa (or dipa in this case).

pour is nice - hazy orange with a thick, white head. looks like a good beer.

smell is citra - citrus fruit with a touch of pine. taste is citra - sweet, pulpy fruits. there's a touch of pine and bitterness at the end, but nothing too much to be offputting.

feel is syrupy and clinging - robitussin-like in how it lingers. for 9%, the alcohol is hidden wonderfully, so there's that.

if i liked citra, i'd probably love this beer. but i don't. it's one note at best and it gets old for 16oz.

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Photo of VashonGuy
4.49/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Surly is kind of amusing ... the brewery is anything but surly, they're a friend to all beer lovers, and this beer is anything but "abrasive" ... it's actually a welcoming blast of fruity hoppy goodness. I've had IPAs and DIPAs that are pretty bitter and might qualify as "abrasive" but this beer is not like that. Most of the flavor I get is fruity and rich and malty, not just bitterness for the sake of bitterness. Yes, there's a bitter kick at the end, just to remind you that is a DIPA, but it's a minor part of the overall taste profile. This would be in my top 10 of "beers I wish were distributed in the state of Washington," and it's one of my favorite DIPAs ever.

Serving: 16 ounce can into a tulip.

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Photo of bubseymour
4.65/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Got this one muled home to MD from Chicago by some good co-workers whom are my cerveza burrows. Poured from can into a Sam Smit pint glass. Nice hazy orange with 1 finger head that continues to hold 5 minutes in. About as good looking as an IPA I've seen in a glass. Smell is all bursting with grapefruit and citrus hop greatness. Taste is powerful hopness, with a really nice mix of citrus, pine and some dankness and some of the oats is noticable. Bitter on the finish which is the only negative but its tolerable considering how good this beer tastes. Very rich feel as well. Overall, its an excellent double IPA.

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Photo of JamieDuncan
4.51/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured an opaque orange/yellow with limited white head. Decent lacing.

S: HOLY CRAP! The hops absolutely jump out of the glass. Pineapple, orange and grapefruit citrus, some pine, but also some bread in there.

T: A little more muted than the aroma but very similar, citrus and piney hop flavor, the pine combines with the late lingering bitter which was the only downfall. Otherwise, wonderful.

F: Nice full mouth feel, juicy up front with lingering bitter on the back of the tongue.

O: Impressive!

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Photo of AmericanSpartan
4.74/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

I don't care how it pours or how it laces...this beer smells, feels and tastes outstanding. You can smell the hops a foot away from the glass. The rich feel in the mouth coat the palate and the bitterness keeps you on your toes. Citrus balances the bitterness and the oatmeal brings a uniqueness to this kicks IPA.

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Photo of Qbdoo
4.7/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Murky light orange with not terribly substantial white head. Mind-blowing aroma of citra hops: grapefruit and a hint of orange. Taste is similar but there's a touch of sweetness balancing out the bitter hoppiness. Mouthfeel is slightly thin for a 2XIPA but there's also a creamy quality to it. This is a superb tasting and extremely well-balanced beer. Truly world class.

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Photo of TheIPAHunter
4.16/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nothing phenomenal about this pour, it's ok, at best. Semi-clear, and it leaves moderate lacing in its wake. The smell is beautiful. The perfect mixture of citrus and grass. I could sniff this all night long and say "wow". It tastes even better; superb balance of nose and taste, an absolute treat. I get a bit of burnt melon on the back end, but it does nothing to detract from the pineapple on the front, and velvety texture mid-finish. This is a really nice beer.

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Photo of Jwburns75
4.39/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Received a 4pack in a trade today, this glass is bursting with flavor, and none of those are abrasive to this palette in the least. The pour is a lighter colored shade of straw yellow with some transparency. Taste is in yo face. We'll done beer, probably the only 9.0+ abv IPA I have had in which there is no trace of alcohol in the taste at any point. Very nice brew indeed.

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Photo of BSiegs
4.3/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Deep gold color with moderate clarity. Two fingers of white head that dissipates fairly quickly and leaves minimal lacing. The aroma is big with a lot of tropical fruits, melon, pine, resin, dank. The taste matches, although not quite as powerfully. The hop presence is the initial flavor, and then a balanced, malty body leaves some slight sweetness on the aftertaste. The mouthfeel is medium, moderate carbonation, and a balanced finish. The oatmeal adds to a very smooth body. Overall, a really well done, balanced DIPA.

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Abrasive Ale from Surly Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.5 out of 5 with 4,678 ratings