Focal Banger - The Alchemist

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BA SCORE
100
world-class

1,325 Ratings
THE BROS
97
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,325
Reviews: 124
rAvg: 4.57
pDev: 7.88%
Wants: 1,113
Gots: 137 | 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: 1,325 | Reviews: 124
Photo of jbellows
4.94/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Alchemist is the king of hops....another great variation of IPA. Worth the wait in line.

Photo of calitrie1486
4.94/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Very similar to big brother HEADY except focal is slightly more drinkable IMO, with the less abv. Very very very good brew and gives heady a run!

Photo of smb
4.94/5  rDev +8.1%
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.

Photo of rodmanfor3
4.9/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

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

Photo of acread
4.89/5  rDev +7%
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.

Photo of dar482
4.89/5  rDev +7%
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.

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 JohnG190
4.88/5  rDev +6.8%
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.

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 supaadam
4.87/5  rDev +6.6%
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.

Photo of Chrissythebeerlover
4.87/5  rDev +6.6%
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!

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 VelvetExtract
4.84/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A-Pours a murky, pale yellow color. Looks like fruit juice. Smaller head sits atop the hop oil-laden body. Very light lace.

S-Oh my goodness, Mosaic and Citra blow the skin off my face here. Full citrus bouquet, peaches, sweet pineapple. Some earthy and viny hoppiness. Papaya! Pure, ripe fruit-juice medley of hops. I would wear this as cologne.

T-The flavor just rolls over the tongue and the hoppiness oozes into my taste buds. Mango, papaya, peach, pineapple and medley of citrus. Some bitter flower stems. Even a bit of lemon. The malt is tasty in its own right; it provides a pleasurable sweetness that pairs so convincingly with all the juicy hop goodness. Citra and Mosaic in perfect harmony.

M-Resiny. Bitterness doesn't melt the palate. Lingering flavor. Medium bodied and a bit creamy. Very drinkable; it was made to be in my mouth at all times.

O-An obvious gem. The brewery that does hops the best nails an IPA, what a surprise. So lucky to try a can of this. It is simply stellar. I love this goddamn beer.

Photo of HeadyTheElder
4.8/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

16 oz. can from the 10/4/14 Alchemist Truck sale. Poured into a snifter glass on 10/26/14.

A - Opaque, sunny amber. Slight head retention.

S - Lots of juicy fruit. Definitely some tropical notes like mango and pineapple. But also some citrus and berry fruit.

T - Follows the aroma. Lots of wonderful, juicy fruit up front. A little bit of dank resin. Packs a ton of flavor for a single IPA. The mild hoppy bitterness makes this one incredibly drinkable. Very little malt presence, similar to other Alchemist hoppy beers. Absolutely delicious.

M - Fairly light for the style. Carbonation is appropriate. Smooth and refreshing.

O - A truly wonderful American IPA. Brings out all the bright, juicy hop flavors from citra and mosaic together quite nicely. Nothing but hops here with still a refreshingly smooth finish. This may be my favorite of the The Alchemist's hoppy beers, though they are all great in their own way. I'm looking forward to The Alchemist being able to make this more regularly, once the new cannery is up and running.

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 Somber
4.79/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

An excellent IPA. It doesn't carry the same depth or complexity as Heady, but will certainly enjoy again. Hopefully many times

Photo of Seanniek91
4.77/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Served from a pint can with a sticker on it into a Alchemist Becher glass.

Appearance- Cloudy orange with lots of yeast floating around. Quick one finger white head left some nice lacing.

Smell- Peaches for days. So much tropical fruit! Tangerine, nectarine, oranges. Very fruit forward with some mild grassiness. Smells like a peach ring.

Taste- Peaches, pears, oranges, floral herbacuesness. Lightly piney with similar earthy notes, but again, very fruit forward. No booze hint either.

Mouthfeel- Pretty spot on. Good medium-full carbonation with a medium body and no booze heat.

Overall- I really hope they start canning this soon. Love that mosaic!

Photo of Brad007
4.77/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Acquired at a can sale today.

Pours a cloudy whitish-gold hue with a frothy head into my glass. Can is a generic can with the Focal Banger logo sticker.

Juicy with a floral/citrus profile due to the "copious additions of Mosaic and Citra hops". Indeed.

Acidic tart grapefruit greets the tongue, followed by just a touch of mango with a chewy texture.

To me, the finish is similar to what would happen if you gargled with hop juice. A long lasting bitterness.

All hail The Alchemist! Focal Banger will do for IPAs what Heady Topper did for DIPAs. It's just a matter of time before their second brewery comes on line.

Photo of Mo_fro
4.75/5  rDev +3.9%

Focal Banger, Poured in a tulip glass
A- This beer has a great toasted gold color to it with thick haze that you cant see through. The head is two fingers, light and fluffy looking. Tight bubbles and smooth across the top. No lacing as the head recedes.
S- Huge mango and sweet lemony scents with a hint of grass in the background. You can smell this thing from two feet away.
T- Amazing taste. Big sweet fruit flavors take over your mouth followed by the perfect hint of bitterness along the edges of the tongue. The flavors are smooth and balanced and linger forever. I taste no alcohol in this beer.
M- The mouth feel is crisp and light with tight carbonation. It kind of floats on the palate.
O- This is one of the best beers I have ever had. ( too many favorites) . After a sip of this beer my mouth began to water like I was watching the cooking channel. The drink ability of this beer is off the charts. I'm using all of my will power not to drink everyone I have in the fridge. I can’t wait till this stuff is distributed on the regular. My trips to VT will become more regular. I hate to say it because Heady got me into craft beer but I put this one over it by far.
-Cheers

Photo of babyvdog
4.75/5  rDev +3.9%

Nice citrus nose
hops with slight bitter fish

Photo of bluehende
4.75/5  rDev +3.9%

Another great juicy IPA from the Alchemist. The aroma and flavor of hops in this beer is over the top. Damn near perfect.

Photo of Thepleasantimbiber
4.75/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Obtained via trade with BA iamjo- Thanks for the killer package dude!

Appearance- Poured into a tulip glass. Two finger creamy white head on top of a light orange-yellow unfiltered body. If you just looked you'd think it was a hefeweizen.

Smell- Big, bright, grassy citrus, orange . Big Citra hop aroma. Really nice.

Taste- Huge hop bill, dominating everything else. The malt is almost unnoticeable. Tons of bright resinous hop, lots of orange pith, lemon, grassy flavor. Tons of flavor for a "single" IPA.

Mouthfeel- Smooth going down, with little carbonation.

Overall- Really fantastic IPA, my first taste of the Alchemist. Decided to kill this one before taking on HT to keep the progression logical. Tons of flavor and aroma. Again, labeled as a "single" IPA, but could easily be mistaken for a "double" (these distinctions really mean something right? Not just arbitrary? Hello?)

Photo of Tmyhre802
4.75/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Edit: 5/29

Had this beer on tap at blackback and liked it way more. The smooth and crispness is unlike any other beers i've had recently including the HF releases. Hope they keep the kegs of this flowing through Waterbury!

A- Golden and pours with a nice head.

S-Classic hoppy alchemist smell, I don't know there's any other brewers out there that have such a distinct smell in their beers across the board.

T-Amazing, I found it to be a little less overwhelming/confusing than a Heady which I really enjoyed.

M-Cant mark down anything on the taste, I loved how smooth it was compared to other ipa's with a 7% abv.

O-Amazing beer, heady is still number one but my first taste of the focal was just fantastic. It is definitely a nice change of pace and can't wait until they begin to can it full time!

Cheers to everyone at Alchemist, another home-run.

Photo of MarcWP
4.75/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Can into Alchemist stemless.

Pours hazy, dirty gold color with soapy eggshell head that settles to a nice layer. Looks like an Alchemist.

Aroma is bright juicy orchard fruits with peach, nectarine, tangerine, apricot, and pink grapefruit. Tropical mango and guava to top it off. Just juicy all around.

The palate explodes with grapefruit rind, pineapple, peach, Meyer lemon, spice, some dank junior, and just a touch of crisp malt to round things off. Very much in style with its big brother Heady, there is a ton of hop character with a clean malt profile and a fruity, spicy yeast ester base. It takes you in so many directions, wanting to go fruity, spicy, earthy, dank, and floral all at the same time but overall maintains a central focus. Top notch.

Mouthfeel is perfect for an IPA. Slightly heavier side of light body with a fluffy carbonation that sits well on the palate and makes you go for another drink.

This is one of the best single IPA's I've had. Such potent hop character and a great use of the Citra and Mosaic hop variants. The similarity to Heady must come from the malt bill and yeast strain used. I might have actually enjoyed this a bit more than Heady. Hope this gets canned on a regular!

Photo of IPAGeorge
4.75/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured into a tulip from a can

A. Pours a 90% opaque lemon rind yellow color with a white 2 finger head.

S. Big citrus tropical fruit fills the nose. Slight biscuity malt.

T. This is delicious. Citrus fruit presence very balanced with malt and a perfect amount of bitterness. Aftertones of pine and leafy greens almost like b a by spinach. Very nice!

M. Medium bodied with a crisp carbonation that doesn't chase the swallow much. Lingers on the tongue for a couple seconds. Pleasant.

O. Definitely am digging this over Heady. This beer is well balanced. Perfect amount of bitterness, malt and fruity hop with a nice grassy/piney aftertaste. The mouthfeel and carbonation is great for the style. Aromas of tropical fruit fill the nose. And it's beautiful and curious to look at. You just want to know what this beer will be like when you look at it. Highly recommended and I am a very satisfied recipient.

Focal Banger from The Alchemist
100 out of 100 based on 1,325 ratings.