Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Surly Abrasive Ale
Abrasive Ale? Yep, that's what Surly calls it. (In the past it has also been known as 16 Grit.) It's named in memory of the industrial manufacturing factory that eventually became the brewery. Check out Surly's history for more information. On the can, there is a picture of a hand held grinder doing it's job while shooting off some sparks. Perhaps they're insinuating this is something to drink after a hard day's work?
From the description on the can, I see that it is a double IPA (or DIPA, as I'll be calling it). You can usually find the ABV listed on a Surly can, but not this one. I go to the Surly website and find that it is a healthy 9.7%. The IBUs are listed at 120, which means: nice and bitter, or perhaps, megabitter! While on the site, I'm interested to see that they list the style as a "Double Oat IPA." I don't believe I've seen that one before.
I really enjoy the DIPA style and I know this will be good. How do I know? Because I bought the 4-pack last Friday, and I couldn't resist having some before my official session! Now, I'm going to break it down for all of you...
I crack open the pint can and pour into my large snifter. A 1-finger off white head is generated and falls fairly quickly. All that's left is a thin coating with a few larger bubbles and a nice foam ring around the edge of the glass. The body is orange-copper in color and hazy.
There is some sweet malt in the aroma that reminds me of honey, but the hops take over quickly. All the smells I love are present in the form of a floral citrus combo. There is grapefruit and pineapple present and I find my mouth starting to water. I also detect some alcohol, but not much.
The taste has a very fleeting, but delicious, moment of caramel sweetness before lupulin shows up. There is a strong citrus fruit flavor and bitterness that keeps building into the finish. It definitely leaves me wanting my next sip. Alcohol is present, but that's to be expected with a beer this big.
There is a medium weight to the mouthfeel of this brew. When I saw "Double Oat IPA" on their site, I thought it might have a more substantial thickness, but it seems pretty standard for a DIPA. An alcohol warmth is building with each sip. There is a moderate level of carbonation and some lacing on my glass.
This is an awesome beer. Granted, I enjoy this style, so I might be biased. Sweet malt and a great citrus character are more balanced with the bitterness than you might expect. This beer may technically have more IBUs than Furious, but the perception is that it's less bitter due to the big malt bill and a cutting effect of the alcohol. At one time, I did not like IPAs because of the bitterness. The beer that converted me was a DIPA, because it seemed more balanced and cohesive. If you find that you, too, are afraid of IPAs, you might want to try a DIPA. This Surly Abrasive Ale is a tasty example. I wish they brewed this year round!