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Focal Banger - The Alchemist

Focal BangerFocal Banger

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
98
world-class

218 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 218
Reviews: 28
rAvg: 4.46
pDev: 6.95%


Brewed by:
The Alchemist visit their website
Vermont, United States

Style | ABV
American IPA |  7.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
An American IPA , hopped judiciously with Citra and Mosaic.

(Beer added by: hillvt4me on 01-30-2014)
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Ratings: 218 | Reviews: 28 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of dar482
dar482

New York

4.88/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The beer comes in a bright golden orange with tons of particle matter in there.

The aroma is definitely a mix of Citra and Mosaic. There’s sweet peaches, apricot, orange peel, tangerine along with this bubble gum note of Mosaic along with its big dankness on the back end.

On the flavor, its follows with much more similarities to Heady Topper than the aroma. In the front. The front hits of peaches, papaya, guava, citrus peel, with the main flavor being grapefruit bitterness. A signature malt quality of Heady with a creamy body and a light breadiness, but still really crisp. The finish is very Heady Topper with this herbacious, floral, piney dankness.

In the end, despite the different hops, this beer follows Heady Topper very closely. Kimmich just cannot disappoint. A really hoppy and easy drinking brew along with a big dank herbacious quality in the back.

Serving type: can

04-02-2014 03:01:15 | More by dar482
Photo of gueuzedreg
gueuzedreg

Colorado

3.93/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A- Golden honey, lots of head with medium retention.

S- Smells of fresh big piney hop character with malt backbone.

T- Little too hop forward for my pale liking. It is pretty hop focused, which many people love.

M- Somewhat creamy, medium carb

O- A well done pale by Alchemist, I am just not the hop forward pale guy

Serving type: can

03-30-2014 00:00:56 | More by gueuzedreg
Photo of JMScowcroft
JMScowcroft

Vermont

4.6/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

The Alchemist - Focal Banger, poured into a Lawson's Tulip.

Look - Pours a cloudy protein coagulation sediment laden orange juice with a good sized foamy head that dissipates slowly.

Smell - Aroma is ciltrus grapefruit and passion fruit, some sweet mango.

Taste - There it is! Nice blast of grapefruit and pine. Clean and finishes pine bitter.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied with medium carbonation. Similar mouthfeel to Heady Topper here, juicy and drinkable, packs a punch.

Overall - Heady's litter brother. This is a great beer. They just need to clean up the coagulated proteins next time and I can rate it higher on appearance, didn't affect the taste in the least bit.

Serving type: can

03-21-2014 15:26:34 | More by JMScowcroft
Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4DAloveofSTOUT

Illinois

4.34/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Tallboy can poured into Duvel Tulip.

Appearance: translucent orange/yellow bodied beer with tons of suspended white chunks in the beer. 3 fingers worth of bone white head that leaves behind a thick lacing of head on the side of the glass. The head had alot of staying power and eventually drops to a thin cap.

Smell: sweet citrus mostly oranges are what I smell immediately. Grapefruit and resinous pine notes next. Hint of tropical fruits. Slighty biscuity malts and maybe even a hint of honey.

Taste: Mild almost moderate bitterness from this hoppy beer. Oranges and tropical fruits. Grapefruit and resinous pine. Hops taste dank and dirty; just like Heady Topper does. Finishes with mild bitterness; mostly grapefruit rind and resinous pine.

Mouthfeel: Light bodied beer with low carbonation. The beer is really really crushable, but its slightly watery. Just a slight fizz as the beer goes over your tongue. Needs more carbonation, but I will give it a decent score because of the drinkablity factor.

Overall: I like heady topper better. If you could get the mouthfeel on heady topper in this beer it would vastly improve the beer. Still a great hoppy beer by the Alchemist. It will be a great beer for hot weather.

Serving type: can

03-19-2014 01:40:48 | More by 4DAloveofSTOUT
Photo of mjord23
mjord23

Virginia

4.35/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a can, third time trying this one.

Beautiful aroma, full of hops and that "typical" Heady smell. Really feels like a lighter version of Heady Topper, perhaps even a little more drinkable? Smooth, almost buttery mouthfeel.

Another excellent offering from The Alchemist!

Serving type: can

03-16-2014 21:45:46 | More by mjord23
Photo of Maurizio
Maurizio

California

4.3/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Nice head, with good retention. White, thick lacing. Cloudy golden with light orange appearance. Nose is full fruity hop aroma. Taste is very fruity with more hop bitterness than Heady, which I think is a good think. Smooth mouthfeel, with long-lasting finish of puckering hop bitterness. I think I actually prefer Focal Banger to the much-lauded HT because of what I perceive as more bittering hops.

Serving type: can

03-08-2014 15:45:47 | More by Maurizio
Photo of TheManiacalOne
TheManiacalOne

Rhode Island

4.73/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a 16oz can into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep gold color, with a thin off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains an excellent blend of fruity citrus, floral hops and caramelized malts.

T: The taste starts out with a quick burst of citrus and caramel sweetness. Then a strong but not over-powering floral hops bitterness comes in. The malt character is a bit on the thin side for the style but it works quite well for this beer and provides a very good balance. The after-taste is slightly hoppy and slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and very smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

O: Very tasty, goes down quite easily, not too filling, good kick, excellent representation of style, this is a tremendous beer to drink for a very long time.

Serving type: can

03-03-2014 04:10:44 | More by TheManiacalOne
Photo of SadMachine
SadMachine

New Jersey

4.38/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a mostly clear golden straw color with a good sized fluffy white head that retains pretty well and leaves patchy lacing.

S- The aroma is excellent, highlighted by dank tropical fruit, lemon zest, and biscuity malt. Mango, blueberry surprisingly, orange, some mossy/earthy/herbal notes, and some yeast at the end. Some peach as well.

T- Pretty dank, juicy, and earthy. Actually hits a lot of notes that Heady does, which must be attributed to the yeast. Bitter citrus is prominent, but some sweeter peach and mango notes are there as well. Herbal and resinous, this coats the mouth and is bitter from the middle through the finish. The biscuity malt backbone is nice and crisp.

M- Coating, dry, bitter, and biscuity. Plentiful carbonation, and a medium body.

O- Very good IPA! The tropical fruits in the nose would make this world class if they were as prominent as in the flavor, but still an excellent beer!

Serving type: can

03-01-2014 06:45:31 | More by SadMachine
Photo of Seanniek91
Seanniek91

Rhode Island

4.76/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Served from a pint can with a sticker on it into a Alchemist Becher glass.

Appearance- Cloudy orange with lots of yeast floating around. Quick one finger white head left some nice lacing.

Smell- Peaches for days. So much tropical fruit! Tangerine, nectarine, oranges. Very fruit forward with some mild grassiness. Smells like a peach ring.

Taste- Peaches, pears, oranges, floral herbacuesness. Lightly piney with similar earthy notes, but again, very fruit forward. No booze hint either.

Mouthfeel- Pretty spot on. Good medium-full carbonation with a medium body and no booze heat.

Overall- I really hope they start canning this soon. Love that mosaic!

Serving type: can

02-27-2014 19:10:27 | More by Seanniek91
Photo of MarcWP
MarcWP

Arizona

4.75/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Can into Alchemist stemless.

Pours hazy, dirty gold color with soapy eggshell head that settles to a nice layer. Looks like an Alchemist.

Aroma is bright juicy orchard fruits with peach, nectarine, tangerine, apricot, and pink grapefruit. Tropical mango and guava to top it off. Just juicy all around.

The palate explodes with grapefruit rind, pineapple, peach, Meyer lemon, spice, some dank junior, and just a touch of crisp malt to round things off. Very much in style with its big brother Heady, there is a ton of hop character with a clean malt profile and a fruity, spicy yeast ester base. It takes you in so many directions, wanting to go fruity, spicy, earthy, dank, and floral all at the same time but overall maintains a central focus. Top notch.

Mouthfeel is perfect for an IPA. Slightly heavier side of light body with a fluffy carbonation that sits well on the palate and makes you go for another drink.

This is one of the best single IPA's I've had. Such potent hop character and a great use of the Citra and Mosaic hop variants. The similarity to Heady must come from the malt bill and yeast strain used. I might have actually enjoyed this a bit more than Heady. Hope this gets canned on a regular!

Serving type: can

02-26-2014 03:25:31 | More by MarcWP
Photo of cpetrone84
cpetrone84

Pennsylvania

4.15/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

Pour is reasonably hazed peachy gold with a tight white head. Nose is loads of citrus hops with grapefruit and peach. Taste follows the nose, loads citrus, peach and grapefruit. Very dry and clean, well carbonated and lighter body. A lot like a slightly lower alcohol heady with a bit more fruity punch but less bright hop flavor.

Serving type: can

02-22-2014 22:05:11 | More by cpetrone84
Photo of Resuin
Resuin

Massachusetts

4.55/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 16 ounce can into a pint glass. This was released a week ago today so is quite fresh.

Appearance: Pours a very hazy, orange-tinted honey-amber and leaves a finger of slightly off-white head which lingers for a bit before fading to a layer atop the beer, leaving some lacing on the glass.

Smell: Big citrus/mango hops. Some resin, hint of pine. Lots of tropical notes. Really expressive and powerful aroma. Mouth-watering.

Taste: Matches the aroma well, but a bit more pine. Citrus, mango, pineapple, resin, a hint of honey, earthy notes, orange rinds. Huge hop presence. Finishes smooth and a little bitter.

Mouth-feel: Well carbonated with a medium, slightly creamy body. Finishes smooth - the 7% is well hidden.

Overall: Another really nice IPA from the Alchemist. Plenty of similarities to Heady Topper but definitely has its own personality. Refreshing, but with really big flavor. Really tears up the palate with the hop explosions.

Serving type: can

02-22-2014 20:42:43 | More by Resuin
Photo of WanderingFool
WanderingFool

Massachusetts

4.55/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Focal Banger pours a hazy honey yellow with a small, creamy head on top. The foam fades quickly leaving spots of lace all over the glass.

The aroma is loaded with citrus and a little funk. Orange and grapefruit with tropical fruit and a little vegetal (garlic) note.

Each sip of this medium bodied beer is creamy with moderate carbonation. The flavor is nicely balanced between grapefruit and lemon citrus, pine and tropical fruit. Sweet malt balances all the hop bitterness. It finishes mildly bitter and dry with a little vegetal funk. Once gone the citrus and tropical fruit lingers on the palate.

Delicious, well balanced beer. Not as bitter as Heady Topper, but just as flavorful.

Serving type: can

02-22-2014 19:28:06 | More by WanderingFool
Photo of SawDog505
SawDog505

New Hampshire

4.98/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into my 13 oz tulip glass, I know it is fresh. Pours a hazy yellow orange with some floaties and a two inch white head that leaves loads of lace. Smell is tropical mango, passion fruit, tangerine, and a hint of grapefruit. Taste follows the knows, everything blends perfectly, maybe a little more grapefruit lingers on the tong then you would expect from the nose. Body is medium large for its abv, plenty of life, a touch dry, and amazing drinkability. One of the best ever, as I expected.

Serving type: can

02-21-2014 22:36:34 | More by SawDog505
Photo of Willytee3
Willytee3

New York

4.68/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours an apricot-orange with pure white foamy head.
Smells chalky with fresh mashed tropical fruits and orange sherbet with a hint of vanilla.
Taste follows the nose, citrusy hop forward, dry, chalky, grapefruit crush and a hop bitter finish.
Medium body ale with a light fleeting foam feel.
Overall a bit sharp on the grapefruit that kind of thins it out.

Serving type: on-tap

02-20-2014 04:41:02 | More by Willytee3
Photo of bahnfire
bahnfire

Vermont

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

16oz can, 1/4 into tasting glass, 3/4 from can.

A: Hazy orange with a nice 1/2in white head. As the head receded it left nice lacing on glass.

S: Juicy citra and mosaic hop aroma. Lots of citrus fruits, and maybe a tiny bit of hop resin.

T: Taste follows the nose in a great way. Citrusy hoppy goodness. Conan yeast comes through plain as day, so there are some definite similarities to Heady, but Focal does not have the malt backbone of Heady, the flavor is all hops and that yeast.

M: Good carbonation, similar in feel to Heady IMO. Maybe a even a bit more drinkable.

O: Excellent IPA. This, HF Susan, and fresh Lawson's Triple Play are all in a dead heat for best IPA to my palate. Looking forward to when this is more regularly available. I know this is still a work in progress and they are still finalizing the malt bill, so I'll be curious to try the final version, but this is pretty close to perfect for me.

Serving type: can

02-20-2014 03:21:07 | More by bahnfire
Photo of Mikeypnh
Mikeypnh

New Hampshire

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

Poured from the can into a tulip glass. I like the looks of it. Murky, bright orange wih a nice one finger head. Smell is very vibrant, grapefruit and pine mostly. Very juicy. There is a lot of flavor in this ipa. Everything from the aroma comes through. Very resonious. Mouthfeel is very slick and creamy, hops just hang around for days on the taste buds. There isn't a ton of tropical flavors, or really anything special, but there is a ton of flavor here and I love it. Just a well done, grassy/piney ipa with a touch of grapefruit. Similar to HT, but not as heavy

Serving type: can

02-20-2014 02:25:55 | More by Mikeypnh
Photo of BTVflatlander
BTVflatlander

Vermont

3.9/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Great deal of hype surrounding this one, much due to the notoriety of Heady Topper. If they can make such an outstanding DIPA, why not an AIPA? Well, I must say, as much as I wanted to love Focal Banger, it severely underwhelmed me unlike their previous draft release, Ourborous.

If you're from Vermont, you're probably familiar with Fiddlehead IPA. It's a very decent American IPA that I'd never turn down yet also never seek out. Focal Banger, to me, has all the trappings of Fiddlehead IPA with much, much, much higher expectations. As such, as my good friend put it, "it's everything that Heady Topper is not," and that's not necessarily a good thing.

Try it for yourself, but don't expect too much.

Serving type: on-tap

02-18-2014 20:04:52 | More by BTVflatlander
Photo of unclejimmyjim
unclejimmyjim

New York

4.96/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

I wasn't able to get any of the canned release on Saturday, Feb. 15, so I consoled myself over a fresh pour at The Reservoir in Waterbury while watching the Canada/ Finland hockey game.

This may be the best beer (iPAs are my specialty) I have ever enjoyed. It combines the best of my two favorite beers into one beer that is eminently quaffable. I liken it to the perfect combination of Heady Topper and Lawson's Double Sunshine.

Sometimes a Heady (more often than not, at these times it is my second, third, or fourth Heady) is just a bit too citrussy for my palate. Those are times when a Double Sunshine will cut through the flavor of a Heady to deliver a cleaner, sharper hop-high.

Now i am too respectful of the integrity of the brewers and their brews ever to mix myself...and now that temptation is forever removed. I cannot wait for more to appear in cans.

Serving type: on-tap

02-18-2014 18:00:20 | More by unclejimmyjim
Photo of BoldRulerVermont
BoldRulerVermont

Vermont

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

Poured from the 16 oz. can into a large tulip.
Pours a slightly blonder hue than Heady. Hazy, light golden with a finger of head that dissipates.
Smell has some pine on the front end and a whole lot of Citra comes barreling in with juicy aromas.
Taste is delicious. It's juicy with more mango, pineapple, even a touch of peach. Felt the grapefruit was there but is not as pronounced as it is with Heady. The taste of Focal Banger is a clean and juicy and drinkable IPA.
The mouthfeel was maybe a touch more thin than with Heady, not as silky. But refreshing!
Overall, Focal Banger is certainly an amazing IPA. This beer is going to be canned regularly once the second brewery is opened. Once more people get to enjoy this beer, Focal Banger will be one of the best reviewed beers on BA. Book it.

Serving type: can

02-17-2014 13:28:20 | More by BoldRulerVermont
Photo of jaasen64
jaasen64

Massachusetts

4.5/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

16oz silve can with just a sticker for a label, picked up yesterday at the outdoor Alchemist release. Poured into a willi becher pint glass.

A- Pours a nice translucent pale golden yellow with just a slight haze, perfect amount of carbonation with an awesome consistency, about a finger and half of white frothy head forms that has excellent retention slowly receding to a thin layer.

S- Nice hoppy pine resin aroma balanced with lots of citrus fruits of grapefruit, starfruit, pineapple, etc.. Nice aroma strength with the citra and mosaic coming out very nicely, possibly my two favorite hop aromatics.

T- Piney hop resin, lightly bitter grapefruit, lemon peel, star fruit, guava, and other tropical fruits, finishes with a light tropical zestiness. This tastes amazing, the citra comes out very nicely and is up there with all the top IPAs I've ever had, definitely rivals Heady.

M- Insanely drinkable, incredibly smooth, some light hop oils, no alcohol at all, possibly the best feel for an IPA that I've experienced.

O- This is the second can that I've opened, each sip I take it gets better and better. While Heady might be slightly more flavorful, Focal Banger definitely beats it in drinkability even though it's only 1% lower. I'm looking forward to this becoming a regular offering from The Alchemist and while they are still tweaking the malt bill for their final recipe, I think this is almost perfect already.

Serving type: can

02-17-2014 02:57:48 | More by jaasen64
Photo of Luk13
Luk13

Quebec (Canada)

4.11/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Can, thanks to blckout20! Appearance: Nice pale golden pour with thin white head. Aroma is very fruity (mango, banana, oranges), some light dank hops and some biscuit malts / graham crackers. Taste is fruity, moderate to high bitterness and a tad too sweet. Carbonation is rather low. I'm being picky here as I'm comparing it to HT. Not nearly as powerful and resinous as Heady, but a very good highly drinkable IPA.

Serving type: can

02-16-2014 23:41:04 | More by Luk13
Photo of Stevedore
Stevedore

Wisconsin

4.54/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

12oz poured on tap in Waterbury, VT. Poured into a Hill Farmstead stemmed glass today, 2/12/2014.

App- hazy yellow-orange body, fair one finger white head, some retention, some lacing. Looks awfully identical to the Heady I had sitting next to it.

Smell- juicy citrus, mango, pineapple with just a hint of bread and biscuits backing it all up. Smells great and certainly promised to be a hop-forward beer.

Flavor- similar to the nose but even better. Insane juicy citrus and passion fruit notes with a nice semi-balanced biscuit and caramel sweetness. Not particularly bitter either.

Mouthfeel- medium bodied, similar to Heady Topper. Good carbonation. Not terribly bitter.

Overall- very juicy and more fruity than Heady Topper, and less bitter to boot. Excellent IPA. Glad this is coming into full production. Thanks Laura!

Serving type: on-tap

02-13-2014 16:45:39 | More by Stevedore
Photo of maverickManas
maverickManas

Georgia

4.18/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 2.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.75

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Serving type: nitro-tap

02-11-2014 13:41:39 | More by maverickManas
Photo of RyanOooh
RyanOooh

Vermont

4.81/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

On Tap @ Prohibition Pig, golden orange, hazy, small off white head.
Smell citrus, grapefruit, danky hops
Taste was amazing. One of the best IPA's I've ever had. Super clean, grapefruit, hoppy tones that avoided so much of the crap vegetal flavors in some of the other big, new IPAs. This reminded me of Heady, without the Double IPA - like this would be Heady's little brother.
The drink was smooth, balanced, moderate carb, crisp, and juicy. Great blend of in your face hop bite with a clean, lingering mild bitterness.
Overall, brilliant. While it's very fresh and very local...Kimmich clearly has a handle on the hop varietals that are so popular recently, but avoids the off putting flavors.
If you love IPAs, this should be on your top 5 bucket list must have try before you die.
Cheers

Serving type: on-tap

02-11-2014 06:47:21 | More by RyanOooh
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Focal Banger from The Alchemist
98 out of 100 based on 218 ratings.