Focal Banger - The Alchemist

Not Rated.
Focal BangerFocal Banger

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,333 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,333
Reviews: 127
rAvg: 4.57
pDev: 7.88%
Wants: 1,115
Gots: 138 | 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 (13) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,333 | Reviews: 127
Photo of trooperp
5/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

An enlightening UBER religious experience!

Photo of mhs413
5/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This does not stand in Heady Topper's shadow. It is a little less huge, but equally delicious. So glad I got to try it!

Photo of MNishCT77
5/5  rDev +9.4%

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

Photo of 31Sam13
5/5  rDev +9.4%
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

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

Massive tropical fruit aromas and flavor. Huge orange, grapefruit, mango and pineapple notes. Much less piney than Heady Topper.

Photo of Ready4aHeady
5/5  rDev +9.4%

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!

Photo of JMScowcroft
5/5  rDev +9.4%
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.

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 VTLocal420
5/5  rDev +9.4%

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!

Photo of AaronDz
5/5  rDev +9.4%

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.

Photo of rynegne
5/5  rDev +9.4%

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.

Photo of Brams17
5/5  rDev +9.4%

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!

Photo of tregan_20
5/5  rDev +9.4%
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!

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

If you could give a 5+, smell deserves it. When fresh, it is euphoric.

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

Oh my god this shit is good!

Photo of DSmist
5/5  rDev +9.4%

Almost hard to beleive theres not acutual grapefruit in this one. Another great beer from The Alchemist.

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

Run along, heady, it's past your bedtime. Brilliant orange appearance. Peach and pineapple all the way through. Best IPA ever.

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 mike312
5/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

My desert island beer. Balanced, juicy, and incredibly cravable.

Photo of Evmo31
4.99/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This just might be the perfect IPA

Photo of Jmikepow
4.98/5  rDev +9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

My favorite beer in the world. Period. And it comes in an awesome new can. Wish I could get it easier.

Photo of Ironstutz
4.98/5  rDev +9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

so close to perfect! no booze flavor, just lovely hops and malt. beautiful, unfiltered look. followed by a lovely nose full of fruit and hops. and the taste that follows is such a impeccable balance of hops and malt. i highly recommend this one

Photo of SawDog505
4.97/5  rDev +8.8%
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.

Photo of elvisdoc
4.96/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

I think I prefer Focal Banger even to Heady. It is a little less ABV and so drinkable. Very hoppy with a nice clean finish and mouthfeel. I wish they would distro this beer as I have only found it in VT restaurants and hotels and would love to buy by the case. Much recommended.

Photo of unclejimmyjim
4.96/5  rDev +8.5%
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.

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Focal Banger from The Alchemist
100 out of 100 based on 1,333 ratings.