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Focal Banger - The Alchemist

Not Rated.
Focal BangerFocal Banger

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
100
world-class

1,212 Ratings
THE BROS
97
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,212
Reviews: 107
rAvg: 4.57
pDev: 7.88%
Wants: 976
Gots: 119 | FT: 3
Brewed by:
The Alchemist visit their website
Vermont, United States

Style | ABV
American IPA |  7.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: hillvt4me on 01-30-2014

An American IPA, hopped judiciously with Citra and Mosaic.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,212 | Reviews: 107
Reviews by 4DAloveofSTOUT:
Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4.36/5  rDev -4.6%
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.

More User Reviews:
Photo of yarnbomb
5/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Is it really that good? Yes. It certainly is. You want fruit? You got it. Want hops? They're there. Fancy bitter flavors, galore. It really is all that.

Photo of Prospero
3.75/5  rDev -17.9%

Nice white head, great golden straw color, aroma & flavor of citrus. Great overall beer with nice mouthfeel and think it's quite sessionable but the hop flavor and aroma seem a tad muted versus other IPAs that are similar. Much prefer Alpine IPAs, but good IPA regardless.

Photo of Footballtennishockeygolf
5/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Strong citrus flavor highlighted by lychee and grapefruit with virtually no bitterness. One of the better beers I've ever tasted

Photo of Justin8mypants
4.43/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Super hoppy, nice pale cloudy beer with a creamy white head. Lots of grapefruit. Really nice finish. No long lasting bitterness. Nice crisp finish.

Photo of Stater
4.87/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Even after 2 months, this holds up to any IPA. Lots of pine and resin balanced with citrus in the background. Very glad there was one more behind this one.

Photo of Brenden
4.49/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The color is a very murky medium yellow, completely opaque except at the edges. The head is a fluffy, rocky and very dense one that's very close to pure white with the slightest yellow tint. IT finally rests at no less than 1/4 finger but it's a thick and heavy pillow that remains, dropping lace in a blend of spotting and netting as it does.
The bouquet is very nice, lots of citrus and earth, even a bit of must with, interesting, a crackery sort of note. There's even a touch of nut and herbal leaf riding underneath. It's very well hopped with no harshness resulting, more and more raw greenery developing as it sits. IT seems to develop a bit of acidity as time passes, dry and mildly sharp.
The taste brings out that herbal green right up front, and this beer's balance while relying on hops to carry the flavor meets expectations. A not-quite-piney note grows with the earthier undertones. The finish shows just a little rind and lingers with some dryness and a flash of wood.
The body is as firm a medium as it could be, lots of balance between crisp and smooth while running semi-dry from very beginning to lingering finish.

Photo of Guess2814
4.85/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

The first words that came out my mouth when I drank this beer was Whoaaaa!!!..This might be the closest your going to get to The Header.. I hate comparing everything to the highest rated beer BUT.. When you had the best??? This beer had a nice fruity IPA taste to it.. Leaves a great taste lingering in your mouth.. The Alchemist Brewery nailed it with this one..

Photo of Maurizio
4.27/5  rDev -6.6%
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.

Photo of Sammy
3.95/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Big hop aroma, the Citra has been tamed. Lasting head on yellow body, leaving a lace trail. Citra dominated taste, rounded out by subordinate tropical fruit. Fresh tasting, a good complement in the product line to the Heady Topper. Can from Tom, thank you.

Photo of CoffeePorter
4.58/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

I picked this up in a trade with BostonHoppa on 4/26/2015.
A: Hazy, bright yellow in color with a thin, white, foamy head that doesn't dissipate.
S: Dank resin, mild citrus notes, piney/grassy. Some malty sweetness to it.
T: Similar to nose, tasted zero alcohol, very balanced IPA, the malty sweet backbone balanced perfectly with the bitter hop kick to it. Has a nice grapefruit aftertaste. Picked up some dank stickiness mid sip.
M: Medium body, medium carbonation, mild to moderate bitterness.
O: I thought it was an extremely good IPA, not the best I have ever had, but it's definitely up there.

Photo of Kaiden29
4.69/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Really just an outstanding beer.
Appearance- light orange color with a nice head. The head was a nice white foam that never went away.
Smell- like you are standing in a grapefruit farm with nice floral notes.
Taste - smooth nice clean taste with great pine finish
Overall- these people know how to brew, can't wait for my bday so I can crack heady

Photo of Alieniloquium
4.23/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

16 oz. can poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Hazy bright orange. Decent white head. Medium collar.

Smell - Grapefruit hops. Some orange. Musty. Pale malt.

Taste - Great hop flavor. Some sweet orange hops. Grainy cracker malt and a hint of pale malt sweetness. Finishes with a medium bitterness.

Mouthfeel - Medium body. Bitter, but nothing overwhelming.

Overall - Excellent. The Mosaic differentiates it from just being Heady Jr.

Photo of YodersBeerEmporium
4.88/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

IN my opinion this is every bit as good as Heady Topper! Love this stuff!!!!

Photo of Treyliff
4.74/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

16oz can, poured into a tulip glass

A- pours a bright golden-yellow color with a slight haze, creamy two-finger white head that retains nicely, eventually settling down to a film skimming the top

S- loads of tropical fruity hop aromas with notes of mango, pasionfruit, papaya, melon & apricot. Also picking up some earthy pine, fresh grass, and herbal spice. Malty undertones let the hops shine

T- tropical hop explosion hits the tongue with a plethora of peach, mango, pineapple, grapefruit, papaya & melon. Mid-palate gives flavors of fresh cut grass, leafy, & earthy. Big resinous notes close it out with a linger of pine, fresh mint & citrus juice

M- medium body with low carbonation leads to a foamy mouthfeel that finishes creamy, crisp and dry. Highly drinkable

O- quite simply, this is the best single IPA that I've tried. The amount of hops that are packed into a 7% ABV IPA is remarkable and it lingers on the palate long after consumption. The usage of citra & mosaic is definitely a big plus for me, an outstanding beer

Photo of KYGunner
4.17/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This poured with a brilliant pineapple yellow color with a thick head of densely knit, bright white foam.

The nose has a malty background but the Mosaic hops are very evident. The aroma has some honey, oranges and pineapple before turning earthy and grassy.

The flavor is sweet and sugary, like a citrus fructose, with the evident Mosaic hop character punching through. The hop finish is grassy, earthy, not overly bitter, with a spicy character.

The feel is so light, airy and smooth but it still has a good amount of heft.

Very well crafted IPA with some different aromas and tastes then the standard fare.

Photo of TWStandley
4.32/5  rDev -5.5%

Poured from the can into a pint glass.

Appears a bright, golden hazy color with a thick, 2 finger white head.

Nose is heavy on citrus, slight floral scents.

Grapefruit, Lemons and Oranges dominate the taste. Slight bitterness and almost a bit of saltiness to it.

Overall a solid IPA but in my opinion, not even close to as good as Heady.

Photo of Phyl21ca
4.28/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Can: Poured a clear light yellow color ale with a nice white foamy head with excellent retention and some great lacing. Aroma of huge floral notes of grass notes with some light resinous notes also perceptible. Taste is also dominated by an all-out hops assault with tons of grassy notes with light limey notes and some resinous hoppy notes. Residual sugar can be detected but doesn’t stray the taste from the hoppy notes. Body is about average with great carbonation. Very enjoyable but almost close to being unbalanced with those sharp hoppy notes.

Photo of mjord23
4.37/5  rDev -4.4%
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!

Photo of BTVflatlander
3.92/5  rDev -14.2%
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.

Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.79/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Can brought back to me from the truck sale, and poured into my Hill Farmstead stemware.

Pours a deep golden yellow, almost opaque, with some orange tints. 2 inch fizzy head slowly recedes into lots of sticky lacing on the glass. Really a beautiful sight, knocks the appearance of Heady out of the water.

Smells so pure and juicy, thanks to the large amounts of two of my favorite hops, Citra and Mosaic. Orange, pineapple, and a bit of grapefruit.

Tastes like a bitter dank orange creamsicle. Just pure hop goodness, they wrung some nice flavors out of the hops here. Not a whole lot of malt flavor, the malt manifests itself as the caramelized sugar on the oranges and pineapples. A little bit of pine, and some pleasant bitterness. I honestly wish this was a bit more bitter, but it's hardly a huge complaint.

Medium bodied, just unbelievably drinkable. No noticeable alcohol, a small amount of carbonation, really the perfect amount.

This isn't quite up to the level of Heady Topper, but it's pretty close. A juicy, hoppy delight.

Photo of JulioH
4.29/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Really nice hoppy IPA. Had it side to side with Heady Topper, and this one is the little sis.

Pours a nice yellow beer. Good amount of foam is formed. Aroma is very hoppy, the usual for an IPA. Taste is bitter, hoppy, but mild and not aggressive like other beers from this brewery. A nice beer for anyone who enjoys a good bitter IPA. Body is light.

Photo of rlee1390
4.3/5  rDev -5.9%

A-Cloudy deep orange, two finger head with nice lacing.

S-Citrus, tropical notes, grass and hops.

T-Citrus, tropical, grass with nice hops, a mild bitterness as well.

M-Medium bodied, nice carbonation with hop resins.

O-A solid IPA from the Alchemist, they know what they are doing with hops.

Photo of BigMurph
4.56/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a nice golden/orange with a little haze to it, about a finger and half of white frothy head forms that has excellent retention slowly receding to a thin layer.

S- Nice hoppy aroma with lots of citrus aroma of grapefruit, pineapple, etc.. Nice aroma strength with the citra and mosaic coming out very nicely.

T- Hoppy, juicy, resin, bitter grapefruit, lemon peel, guava, and other tropical fruits, finishes with a light tropical tang. This tastes amazing, the citra comes out very nicely and definitely rivals Heady.

M- dangerously drinkable, incredibly smooth, no alcohol at all, possibly the best feel for an IPA that I've experienced.

O- Each sip I take it gets better and better. Great overall offering and crazy drinkable.

Serving type: can poured into point glass

Photo of papat444
4.35/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a totally hazy, gold/lemonade color. Long lasting head. Hoppy aromas jump out of the glass, juicy, sticky and fresh sliced fruit. Flavor has a crisp malt backbone but generous hops are piled on. The result is a damn tasty IPA but not as good as Heady.

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Focal Banger from The Alchemist
100 out of 100 based on 1,212 ratings.