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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: 1,648
Avg: 4.6
pDev: 24.13%
Wants: 1,379
Gots: 230 | 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
Reviews: 157 | Hads: 1,648
Photo of MOVERTON1284
5/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Better than heady for me. I have had this beer 3-4 times and it never disappoints. Wish they would put a date on the can. Great aroma of citra and mosaic, light and smooth just how I like my IPAs

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Photo of ragnar3
4.99/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from a can at the Culmination Festival. Tasted alongside Heady Topper and Focal Banger was preferred. Perhaps not as well balanced as Heady, but Focal Banger delivered a crisp bite of Citra/Mosaic that is difficult to beat. Top 5, world class IPA.

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Photo of Ironstutz
4.98/5  rDev +8.3%
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

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Photo of SawDog505
4.97/5  rDev +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.

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Photo of elvisdoc
4.96/5  rDev +7.8%
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.

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Photo of unclejimmyjim
4.96/5  rDev +7.8%
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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Photo of beerjunky413
4.94/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

All hail the Alchemist. This is THE example of an excellent IPA in the single/low double range. Pours a hazy yellow with strong head retention. Sipping on this is like riding a hop rollercoaster. As the sip works its way down the flavor changes a few times, starting as an intense yet well rounded piney citrus to mellow grassy notes to an intense, full, life altering multi-hop finish. One of my all time favorites, if you like IPAs you will love this. If heady is a 100 focal banger is a 101!

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Photo of Damian
4.94/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Drank from a 1 pint can at Hen of the Wood, Waterbury, VT
Served in a snifter

Cloudy, amber-tinged straw yellow appearance. The beer was topped by an inch-plus tall cap of bubbly froth that quickly dissolved. Droplets of lacing trickled down the glass.

The aroma was amazingly hoppy and bright. Super fruity. Tropical fruit notes dominated. Loads of musty passionfruit, papaya and mango. Uber juicy. Orange juice definitely came to mind. Tangerine as well. Fairly sweet. There was also an intensely dank, weed-like quality. Really fantastic. The passionfruit notes intensified as the beer warmed.

The flavor profile was very similar to the nose and just as incredible. Loads of tripical fruits. Mango, papaya and passionfruit were most apparent. Citrus notes played a bigger role here than in the aroma. Very orange-y. Orange peel appeared on the back end. The beer finished with notes of white grapefruit rind. Just the right amount of bitterness for balance. Piney, resiny notes lingered after the swallow.

The mouthfeel was amazingly creamy and supple. Fluffy and almost cloud-like. A fine, zippy effervescence made the liquid seem much lighter than it actually was.

Focal Banger definitely lived up to the hype. As much as I love Heady Topper, I have to say that this beer is even better.

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Photo of captainsdaughter
4.94/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

L: Had to give it a 4 because I drank it from the can like it was recommended and have no idea what it looks like in a tulip glass.
S: Smells like papaya, fresh pineapple and mango, with hops hops and more hops that burst through your nostrils just like in the picture on the can.
T: Best IPA I've ever had IMO. Blows SOS out of the water. The power of the hops and dominating citrus without over doing it makes this simply the most drinkable and pronounced IPA I have had. At 7% the drinkability is scary. No alcohol presence whatsoever.
F: This and Heady are in a class of their own when it comes to mouthfeel. The hops just roll down the back of your throat and it's not so overpoweringly bitter like most other IPA's are when they try to mimic this style. Similar mouthfeel to Heady but not as strong.
O: Like I said best IPA I will probably be able to enjoy, perfect beer that I would drink every day if I had the chance. Even better than Alter Ego.

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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. Consider my focal banged.

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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 tmbgnicu
4.92/5  rDev +7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Finally got to try this at prohibition pig last thursday with dinner. Lives up to ALL of the hype in my opinion, a perfect IPA, has all of the great characteristics of Heady but adds "otherworldly drinkability" to the mix. Ended up ordering 3 of them. Cannot wait until this is mass manufactured.

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Photo of Guess2814
4.9/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

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..

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Photo of mattsmith413
4.9/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

On a aroma scale of 5, I would give this a 10. I think this is better than (dare I say it) Heady Topper. Easily my favor beer from The Alchemist.

Great citrus flavors plus floaties... match made in heaven.

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Photo of rodmanfor3
4.9/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

This beer is amazing. Consistently the best from the Alchemist collection, perhaps one of the best in the world.

I was hoping that this beer would continue to fly under the radar for selfish reasons, but now that the cans have officially been approved, it will be just a matter of time before Focal Banger becomes my regular go to beer.

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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 dar482
4.89/5  rDev +6.3%
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.

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Photo of JohnG190
4.88/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Pours a pale orange with a thick white head. Aroma of grapefruit pith with a hint of pine. Lots of juicy hops on the palate with floral, pine and earthy notes. Light bodied with good carbonation. Overall, I'd call this Heady Light.

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Photo of hasher
4.88/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Got the chance to taste focal and heady side by side. Both delivered to the bar that day. If you like one you'll like the other. I found them to be similar except focal was less hoppy tasting and a bit smoother. I thought there was less fruit flavor in the focal. Overall another excellent beer from the alchemist.

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Photo of Stater
4.87/5  rDev +5.9%
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.

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Photo of supaadam
4.87/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The best. Better than Heady, Pliny, or Crusher. Lots of hops, but not over the top. Not too thick like a lot of doubles. Just perfect.

Light color, huge smell, and epic taste and mouthfeel.

For me, Heady is too light. I call it "tine bubbles." This is thicker, but still retains the Alchemist character.

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Photo of MyThoughtsExactly
4.87/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a can (about a month old) into a tulip glass.
Look: Hazy yellow to peach color. Small head with a continuous stream of small bubbles percolating.
Aroma: Tons of grapefruit. Smells like fresh grapefruit juice. Also some lemon, peach and dank elements in the background.
Taste: Tropical fruit upfront (grapefruit, lemon, orange) followed by dankness (onion, basil, pine). Bitterness is all in the back of throat.
Feel: Great mouthfeel, has that biscuity NE IPA feel which leaves you lip smacking.
Overall great IPA, I prefer this over heady. Defiantly seek this out.

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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 Givemebeer
4.87/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Hoppier than Heady Topper... And definitely better as well. Hopped with Citra and Mosaic and both of varieties best qualities showed. Tropical fades to juicy berries. Totally unbalanced with all flavor coming from the hops but a retstrained bitterness finishing dry. A treat to have.

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Photo of Slatetank
4.87/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

I picked this up at a pop up location where Beelzebub and Heady Topper were sold, enjoyed chilled from the can in a glass.

The color is pale golden with white head with great retention. The smell is a lemon-lime like mix of hop odors with slight dank herbal accent. The feel is excellent nice level of bitterness with support of malt and practically no alcohol presence with low astringency.

The taste is as close to perfection as an IPA gets for me -some pleasant dank hop flavors mixed with a moderate amount of citrus and tropical fruit with a light malt sweetness to provide a foundation for the semi-bitter hops as the flavor finishes on the dry side. Overall I have yet to find an IPA I would like to drink more than this

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