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Focal Banger - The Alchemist

Not Rated.
Focal BangerFocal Banger

Educational use only; do not reuse.

157 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 157
Hads: 1,649
Avg: 4.6
pDev: 24.13%
Wants: 1,381
Gots: 231 | FT: 2
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.
View: Beers (9) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Focal Banger Alström Bros
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Reviews: 157 | Hads: 1,649
Photo of Hopglow
5/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Loved this one. Hop profile made this much more floral in nature than heady. It is a different beer than Heady, I would not compare it to that. On its own, it's worth seeking out.

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Photo of tomparadis
5/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I was back in Vermont this month and did the usual "drink everything you can get your hands on" tour, and this was my favorite of the bunch- I love having one, maybe two heady toppers, but my palate is pretty much wrecked after that. I could have 6 of these and keep going. They are still very hoppy and run you through a gamut of flavors, but are much more drinkable than their older brother. The can is awesome, too (for those who care).

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Photo of piwoowiq
5/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Just as good, perhaps better than its better known brother, Heady Topper. Highly recommended. Apparently only for sale on-Premises at local restaurants.

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Photo of MNishCT77
5/5  rDev +8.7%

16 oz. can gifted from GMRFx, unknown can date but purchased at the most recent Alchemist tent sale on 08/11/2014, poured into a small plastic glass at a BJCP study group, drank 08/27/2014 over an hour.

A: 3/3 - bright golden coloration, minimal clarity (can see or read through), off-white head dissipates into a glass lacing that persisted throughout the drinking session; small alcohol legs

S: 11/12 - as expected, huge hop aroma right up front: super intense citrus and tropical fruit - mango, pineapple and papaya predominate; there is some fruitiness as well - blackberry, apricot and Meyer lemon; some alcohol and malt notes are also present but the hops are clearly the star

T: 19/20 - on the anterior tongue, there's a slight bitterness but is quickly overpowered in the middle of the mouth by huge tropical fruit and berries; the alcohol is present in the taste with some minor malt characters to hint at balancing; this is just dumb juicy and super drinkable

M: 5/5 - moderate bodied with thick hop oils coating the tongue, 7% ABV is present but not overbearing; high carbonation for style/ABV and moderate carbonation

O: 10/10 - definitely one of the best IPAs that I've ever tasted; it's like biting into a perfectly ripe juicy fruit pineapple; I wish that I can offer a flaw with this beer but, alas, I'm coming up totally short; highly, highly recommended!

TOTAL = 48/50

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Photo of 31Sam13
5/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

My new favorite, hands down. I think that this brewery has discovered what alchemy really is, 'cuz they turn aluminum into gold...wonderful. Tropical Cornucopia with a well-hidden earthiness that pops out at the finish. Heaven

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Photo of Hyptochrons
5/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

dank so fkin dank. enjoyed from can at Sherpa Kitchen in Burlington, VT (for only $5). ridiculous nose - predominately citrus and pine, beautiful grapefruit and pineapple scents. the taste is even better than the smell, gushing with tropical fruits. crisp and clean, leaves you craving more after each sip. you cant even slightly taste the alcohol and this beer goes down a little too easy considering its 7%. gotta say in my opinion its better than heady because its in your face but slightly less so. hands down the best beer ive tasted.

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Photo of Ready4aHeady
5/5  rDev +8.7%

Pours a light straw yellow with white soapy foam--
smell and taste collide with funky spice and herb flavors-- all funk, not much fruit...
hard to qualify what the flavors are...
Creamy (not quite Lawson's DS creamy), juicy, funky....delicious!!
Get yerslef some!

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Photo of RBrenchak
5/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer is off the charts. Piney, sweet & balanced. Almost TOO drinkable. I can't wait until the new brewhouse is online so this becomes more widely available!

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Photo of winningwes91
5/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Wow. Seriously blown away. Easily the best ipa I've ever had. So juicy and hoppy, and dangerously drinkable. Pours a beautiful hazy orange color. Smells like sticking my nose in a bag of hops and passion fruit. Taste follows suit with a wonderful creamy mouthfeel. Seriously my new favorite ipa, and yes, better than heady!

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Photo of JMScowcroft
5/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

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. New batch, no more protein BS.

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. Got a nice tinge of that semi-ripe that some of the newer hops have in there.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied with medium carbonation. Similar mouthfeel to Heady Topper here, juicy and drinkable, packs a punch. I prefer this to Heady, it's lower key and smoother, but doesn't sacrifice hop flavor at all.

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. Second review, this is still Heady's little brother, but I think it's better than Heady.

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Photo of Ctmuri
5/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Release 7-27-15. Poured from can.

A: Golden color, floating hops present, nice layer of head.

S: Citrus, Piney, fruity, grainy, huge aroma

T: Fruity, crisp, balanced, full-bodied mouthfeel, nice bitterness, not overwhelming, so perfectly intertwined flavors

M: Full bodied, but not as heavy as Sip of Sunshine, medium overall.

O: One of the best, if not best IPA (almost DIPA) ever had. It’s extremely balanced and hop-forward but maintains that fresh VT water and intense flavors. Truly a great beer from The Alchemist.

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Photo of yarnbomb
5/5  rDev +8.7%
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.

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Photo of Jslay013
5/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Glad to finally be able to try this. Had side to side with Heady and while both are great, I prefer this just a tad more. The hop profile seems a bit more complex and I get a bit more citrus. Both are awesome, but given a choice, I would take Focal. Hoping this becomes more available as the new brewery gets up and running.

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Photo of AbiWeise
5/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Another gem from Alchemist !! May I need to say more ??? F. Lighter than the heady S) similar to Heady grapefruit pronounced T) absolutely amazing Hop character and superb front-end bitterness with perfect citrus and mosaic hop balance ! My New Favorite :) wish I could get these in cases !!

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Photo of VTLocal420
5/5  rDev +8.7%

A: Hazey, Golden Orange, Cloudy, 2 finger white head, decent lacing and a medium-medium/high carbonation.

S: Citrusy; Pineapples, Orange Zest/Tangerines, Grapefruits. Tropical; Guava, Mango and Passionfruit. Dank/Grassy, Pine/Resin and lightly Floral.

T: Citrus up front; Grapefruit and Orange Zest, following into a Guava/Mango in the middle that marries into a creamy/bready malt backbone, before finishing dry Dank/Grass and Pine/Resin, the backend is delightfully bitter, the bitterness on this one builds beautifully and the taste is perfectly balanced start to finish, leaving you only wanting more.

M: Medium-Medium/Light Body while maintaining a certain chewiness VT IPA's and PA's are known for.

O: This is a 100/100 for me, it is on my top 5 list of beers I have ever tried and isnonie of the best examples of an American Single IPA's on the planet.

Notes: Absolutely one of the best IPAs on the planet, deserving of a much higher ranking, for me personally this is better than Heady on flavor profile. Get some if you can!

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Photo of ArkyVaughan
5/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is as good as it gets for an IPA for me. First had it from the October 2014 truck sale and it blew me away. Easily better than Heady and the Crusher. Can't wait until the Alchemist is able to crank out more of this wonderful stuff.

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Photo of AaronDz
5/5  rDev +8.7%

From the can. Aroma is super juicy with notes of blueberry, mango, and a touch of orange peel. Had to pour some out to get the appearance. It's cloudy and a golden yellow much like Heady. Taste is bursting with tropical fruit flavors, pineapple, oranges, mango, and a hint of piney bitterness. Medium body with moderately low carbonation. Overall another outstanding IPA from Alchemist. Worth seeking out.

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Photo of rynegne
5/5  rDev +8.7%

This is the perfect IPA. Well-balanced, hop-forward without being obnoxiously so, pours with incredible white head and a citrusy taste with the lightest pine bite that completely disappears almost as quick as it pops up. If I was to bring one beer on a desert island, this would be it. I didn't think much could tango with Heady, but this takes the cake for me.

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Photo of Brams17
5/5  rDev +8.7%

A: Poured into a tulip glass. Poured with a nice white head. The beer was light golden/straw colored with a good amount of haze. Nice looking beer.

S: Big aroma hit me as soon as I opened the can. Lots of citrus and tropical fruit. Lots of Pineapple, some mango, some lemon notes. Great aroma.

T: The initial taste follows the nose. Lots of fruit notes as described above. The finish was really nice though, it had a wonderful baked bread note that added some depth to the brew.

M: Medium carbonation and body. Nice sticky hop resins coat your mouth as you drink. Dry, but not overly so.

O: Between this and Heady, I'd never want to drink anything else if I had regular access to this brewery. I really can't imagine a standard IPA being better than this, though there are a few others in the same league too. Great beer!

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Photo of tregan_20
5/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Is it wrong to say that this might be better than Heady? I know there is much debate (and not trying to stir the pot here) but, man, is this beer amazing!!! Sweet, dank, fruity and downright delicious. Vermont has been killing it lately and really putting the East Coast on the map in terms of craft beer. And as per usual I drank from the can haha. Go get some ASAP! cheers!

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Photo of FalconCount
5/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

If you could give a 5+, smell deserves it. When fresh, it is euphoric. Nose is full of citrus. Taste has a fresh bitter taste, followed by piney, resinous flavors. Mouthfeel is crisp, but not overly bitter, allowing you to appreciate the next taste.

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Photo of lochraneg
5/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Look: Hazy, beautiful, Golden color, Unfiltered look
Smell: Hop and Citrus Notes, smells like weed
Taste: More drinkable than Heady, could easily have 4 of these in a couple of hours
Feel: Good solid body, Hangs out with great after taste
Overall: Def my have Alchemist Beer, Wish they distributed this for case or 4 pack sale

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Photo of allhoppedup2
5/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer is exceptional, a rare 5.0 beer. I got the chance to taste this and Heady on a vacation trip to Vermont last week. I had the Heady first and will review it later. The local folks recommended I try the Focal since it was only available in restaurants. To my palate, it was sweeter than Heady. Excellent Hop Balance. Very smooth, no notice of alcohol. Do drink it in the can, the Alchemist folks really have mastered World Class beer in a can.

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Photo of SDRedDevil
5/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had cans in Stowe and Waterbury during a road trip. Great combo of Citra and Mosaic hops. Smells incredibly dank with great citrus notes as well. Tons of citrus hops on the front end, semi-creamy, with a nice dry bitter end. I think I like the hop forwardness more than Heady but I'm just splitting hairs....

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Photo of Scarfer_Brad
5/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

had out of a can for look going on person next to me who poured in a glass
A nice pale hazy orange, a 3/8" head and nice lacing

a very fruity and citrus smell jumps out of the can.

wow what a tasty. a smooth crisp sweet hoppy tasty .

Has a light feel good medium to light carbonation.

It is not a "heady Lite" as people say. it is a banging beer in it's own right. it drinks and tastes smooth as silk with a bang. has banging dank hops with each taste. it is something that i could drink every day. in my opinion it is better than Heady. Wow a pleasure to finally try it.

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Focal Banger from The Alchemist
100 out of 100 based on 157 ratings.