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Focal Banger - The Alchemist

Not Rated.
Focal BangerFocal Banger

Educational use only; do not reuse.

147 Reviews

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Reviews: 147
Hads: 1,563
Avg: 4.6
pDev: 24.35%
Wants: 1,317
Gots: 207 | 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.
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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 147 | Hads: 1,563
Photo of mrz200
4.45/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

got a single surprise can from a friend in Burlington.

had the first 4-5 sips from the can, poured the remaining 10oz's in a Pro Pig tulip

excellent fruity hoppy nose. very strong malty back end that led to my pouring it into a glass, thinking this might free up some hops. At 7% it's not a heck of a lot "weaker" than heady, but it's a different beer, far more similar to Sip of Sunshine. It's an excellent IPA, in the top of the class.

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Photo of popery
4.49/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to frenchyraoul. It says to drink from the can, but I took my chances and poured some into a glass. The new can design is quite nice, though. The beer is yellow, fairly pale, with just a bit of orange to it. Pretty hazy. Big white head. Lots of lacing and very good retention. Big juicy hop aroma. Lots of tropical and citrus fruitiness with a solid resiny backbone running through it. It’s big on pineapple, tangerine, grapefruit, pine, mango. Good stuff. The taste has moderate to medium bitterness. Lots of hop flavor. Mild pale malt character. A nice mineral note. Finishes pretty dry. Easy drink. Soft, full mouthfeel. Packs a lot of flavor. It’s a very satisfying IPA. Excellent work from Vermont.

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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 AlpacaAlpaca
4.79/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Poured it into a glass, and I'm glad I did. It had the same murky quality of Heady, but the head was beautiful, soft as a pillow, and generous in the lacing it left. The feel was thinner and the taste was pinier than Heady, but it still hit that wow mark that Heady does. Not quite as mindblowing as its older brother, but way closer than I expected it to be.

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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 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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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 StonedTrippin
4.41/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

kind of cool how this one is showing up all over the place in vermont now, locals are calling it heady light, but i totally disagree. while it is super drinkable (so is heady in my opinion), its got a totally different hop complexion going on, with the two varietals coming in waves. usually mixes of hops sort of all splash in at once, sometimes harmoniously, sometimes in cacophonous chaos, but this beer has two distinct stages, where the citra comes in first, middle of the beer, with preserved lemon and tart fruitiness, while the mosaic comes on much later, with an only southern hemisphere pineapple tropicality. really fun transition, and the sometimes one dimensional citra is elevated be coming first. the grain base of the beer seems to me relatively nondescript, engineered as a hop platform, not as a major contributor, but there are some light fresh cereals in this and enough texture to hold the hop resins. not as dry as anticipated, but its a fruity tasting sweetness thats left in the end, hoppy for sure, but not wicked bitter. scary drinkable. i was worried these guys were never going to make anything but heady, so its nice to see this one out there, and its reassuring that its basically just as good as heady. well worth seeking out or trading for, you wont be disappointed.

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Photo of costanzo_mike
4.75/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy golden color, excellent lacing on the glass. Mosaic comes through beautifully on the nose and shines through on the taste. Smooth mouthfeel with a dank bitter feel. An excellent alternative to its brethren

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Photo of MerriweatherRaven
4.93/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

It's better than Heady Topper.
It's like Topper light - a bit easier to drink, and every single bit as tasty and delicious. It also has that HUGE Hop aroma.

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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 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 EveningCordial
4.85/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Fresh out of a can on delivery day in Burlington.

A- can't say much here other than the can looks cool. I didn't pour this one out, but had it other times and can say it looks basically like Heady.

S- lots of fruit jumping out of the can. Pineapple, pear, mango, and others. Maybe a small hint of biscuit or grainy bread. Basically the citrus fruits take control of the nose.

T- wow, tastes similar to heady but has it's own little tartness thing going on. Tastes very fruity and crisp

M- great mouthfeel. Nice crispness but also has a beautiful medium bodied texture. A little more of a bite on the finish in comparison to Heady, which I drank side by side with this one.

O- outstanding beer. Was stoked to see this on the menu where we stopped and it certainly did not disappoint.

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Photo of JordonHoltzman
4.68/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Drank from the can, so appearance is based on the nice can design.
Very hop forward aroma, big flavor, juicy and strong pine.
Tastes fantastic. The hop flavor is dank and so damn fresh. The finish is very smooth, leaving you wanting more.
One of the best beers I've ever had

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Photo of surfcaster
4.46/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A superb IPA--big nose.

lots of similarities to HT here in look and taste--super juicy.

Call it Heady slightly lite.

Hits that perfect 6-8% sweet spot for me

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Photo of woosterbill
4.51/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Review from notes; sticker-labeled can from the first can release into a tulip.

A: Hazy pale amber body under a half inch of fine white head. Ok retention, light lace. Pretty nice.

S: Intense herbal, floral, and citrusy hoppiness. A bit of pine, too. Really dank, powerful aroma. Excellent.

T: Follows the nose at first, but with a bit more emphasis on grapefruit pith and pure bitterness. Long, bitter, herbal aftertaste. Really resinous.

M: Delicate body with some lively carbonation. Works well with the intense flavors.

O: Terrific IPA; not quite the masterpiece that I often find Heady to be, but a beer that I'd love to drink any time.


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Photo of UtisTheLaw
2.42/5  rDev -47.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

We must have gotten an off can. The beer did not smell or taste right. I'd have to try it again to five it a fair shake, but this scoring reflects the can I tried.

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Photo of smb
4.94/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Fresh on tap, direct from The Alchemist at FW Invitational. Bright and radiant sunshine glow. Dank, delicious, pungent marijuana aroma with huge blasts of citrus. Next level shit. Better than Elder? Yes. Consider my focal banged.

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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 acread
4.89/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

We all have our opinions, so take this with a grain of salt, but this is my favorite non-Hill Farmstead IPA coming out of Vermont. Heady Topper is amazing, but this brings all of the luscious goodness of HT with a little less resiny richness and a little more refreshing fruit quality. Simply beautiful.

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Photo of Jwale73
4.06/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a pale orange hue with a hazy clarity and a half-inch, tight, bright white head. Nose is floral, herbal and earthy with a trace of light toasted malts. Taste follows nose. Mouthfeel is light-medium in body (but closer to light) with a lively carbonation. Overall, quite quaffable. Another great Alchemist offering.

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Photo of MA_hops
4.39/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Solid IPA, I wouldn't categorize it as a citrus bomb, more of a dank, dry grapefruit/piney, solid hoppy kind of beer. Solid, above average! Best of the best?? Debatable

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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 Chrissythebeerlover
4.87/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Smelled like some citrus notes and possibly like grass or pine. Didn't taste much alcohol and it goes down really smooth. I would say it's really well balanced between all the sweetness and bitterness. Very hoppy and delicious!

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Photo of CoffeePorter
4.58/5  rDev -0.4%
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.

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Focal Banger from The Alchemist
100 out of 100 based on 147 ratings.