Focal Banger - The Alchemist

Not Rated.
Focal BangerFocal Banger

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
100
world-class

110 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 110
Hads: 1,393
rAvg: 4.57
pDev: 8.1%
Wants: 1,171
Gots: 162 | 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 (11) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 110 | Hads: 1,393
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. (156 characters)

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. (305 characters)

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! (230 characters)

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.. (363 characters)

Photo of EveningCordial
4.85/5  rDev +6.1%
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. (800 characters)

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. (1,024 characters)

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. (1,058 characters)

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. (1,038 characters)

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! (657 characters)

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. (621 characters)

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 (1,203 characters)

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?) (891 characters)

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. (858 characters)

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! (1,218 characters)

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. (918 characters)

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

One of the best beers i have ever tasted. I love this one and wish it was an everyday beer. Much the same as Heady i think they know what they are doing. Home run once again (173 characters)

Photo of Treyliff
4.74/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

16oz can, poured into a tulip glass

A- pours a bright golden-yellow color with a slight haze, creamy two-finger white head that retains nicely, eventually settling down to a film skimming the top

S- loads of tropical fruity hop aromas with notes of mango, pasionfruit, papaya, melon & apricot. Also picking up some earthy pine, fresh grass, and herbal spice. Malty undertones let the hops shine

T- tropical hop explosion hits the tongue with a plethora of peach, mango, pineapple, grapefruit, papaya & melon. Mid-palate gives flavors of fresh cut grass, leafy, & earthy. Big resinous notes close it out with a linger of pine, fresh mint & citrus juice

M- medium body with low carbonation leads to a foamy mouthfeel that finishes creamy, crisp and dry. Highly drinkable

O- quite simply, this is the best single IPA that I've tried. The amount of hops that are packed into a 7% ABV IPA is remarkable and it lingers on the palate long after consumption. The usage of citra & mosaic is definitely a big plus for me, an outstanding beer (1,043 characters)

Photo of BoldRulerVT
4.74/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured from the 16 oz. can into a large tulip.
Pours a slightly blonder hue than Heady. Hazy, light golden with a finger of head that dissipates.
Smell has some pine on the front end and a whole lot of Citra comes barreling in with juicy aromas.
Taste is delicious. It's juicy with more mango, pineapple, even a touch of peach. Felt the grapefruit was there but is not as pronounced as it is with Heady. The taste of Focal Banger is a clean and juicy and drinkable IPA.
The mouthfeel was maybe a touch more thin than with Heady, not as silky. But refreshing!
Overall, Focal Banger is certainly an amazing IPA. This beer is going to be canned regularly once the second brewery is opened. Once more people get to enjoy this beer, Focal Banger will be one of the best reviewed beers on BA. Book it. (795 characters)

Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.73/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a 16oz can into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep gold color, with a thin off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains an excellent blend of fruity citrus, floral hops and caramelized malts.

T: The taste starts out with a quick burst of citrus and caramel sweetness. Then a strong but not over-powering floral hops bitterness comes in. The malt character is a bit on the thin side for the style but it works quite well for this beer and provides a very good balance. The after-taste is slightly hoppy and slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and very smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

O: Very tasty, goes down quite easily, not too filling, good kick, excellent representation of style, this is a tremendous beer to drink for a very long time. (843 characters)

Photo of HopBomb515
4.73/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Deep golden with orange hues, big white fluffy head and tons of lacing. Big nose filled with citrus, tropical notes, slight sweetness, big resinous hop aroma. Taste doesn't disappoint. Citrus ranging from grapefruit to orange and even some lemon. Tropical, pineapple and mango notes. Honey like sweetness to the malt bill which stands perfectly to the huge hop flavors. Great finish of hop flavor, not overly bitter. Fuller side of medium body with a sticky sweetness, starts creamy smooth and finishes dry. This is an amazing IPA, Alchemist has a way with hops. (562 characters)

Photo of humuloner22
4.71/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

This is a good IPA, very nice flavor profile. Its definitely a hoppy beer. Its not as fruity as I like my IPA's to be. But it is well made. It has the blend of malts and hops but leans on the side of earthy hoppiness rather the fruity juicy flavors.

Color: Golden hazy, nice head retention that sticks around.

Smell: Floral earthy hops. This one is very aromatic.

Taste: Its on the very floral earthy side of the IPA scale. It is definitely not too malty or too hoppy but well blended.

Overall: This is not Heady Topper but it certainly is a solid IPA. Its not the best I have had but it certainly is not the worst either. Top 20 I would say, anyway. (659 characters)

Photo of bahnfire
4.71/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

16oz can, 1/4 into tasting glass, 3/4 from can.

A: Hazy orange with a nice 1/2in white head. As the head receded it left nice lacing on glass.

S: Juicy citra and mosaic hop aroma. Lots of citrus fruits, and maybe a tiny bit of hop resin.

T: Taste follows the nose in a great way. Citrusy hoppy goodness. Conan yeast comes through plain as day, so there are some definite similarities to Heady, but Focal does not have the malt backbone of Heady, the flavor is all hops and that yeast.

M: Good carbonation, similar in feel to Heady IMO. Maybe a even a bit more drinkable.

O: Excellent IPA. This, HF Susan, and fresh Lawson's Triple Play are all in a dead heat for best IPA to my palate. Looking forward to when this is more regularly available. I know this is still a work in progress and they are still finalizing the malt bill, so I'll be curious to try the final version, but this is pretty close to perfect for me. (923 characters)

Photo of Mikeypnh
4.71/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured from the can into a tulip glass. I like the looks of it. Murky, bright orange wih a nice one finger head. Smell is very vibrant, grapefruit and pine mostly. Very juicy. There is a lot of flavor in this ipa. Everything from the aroma comes through. Very resonious. Mouthfeel is very slick and creamy, hops just hang around for days on the taste buds. There isn't a ton of tropical flavors, or really anything special, but there is a ton of flavor here and I love it. Just a well done, grassy/piney ipa with a touch of grapefruit. Similar to HT, but not as heavy (567 characters)

Photo of Kaiden29
4.69/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Really just an outstanding beer.
Appearance- light orange color with a nice head. The head was a nice white foam that never went away.
Smell- like you are standing in a grapefruit farm with nice floral notes.
Taste - smooth nice clean taste with great pine finish
Overall- these people know how to brew, can't wait for my bday so I can crack heady (348 characters)

Photo of RocketCityVol
4.68/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A: hazy dull golden-yellow.

S: Tropical and Citrus aromas.

T: Very tropical with a hint of citrus with a very creamy bitter finish.

M: Extremely creamy, very smooth. Very similar to Heady Topper.

O: Amazing DIPA. I liked it almost as much as heady. Has one of the best mouthfeels I have ever had. (300 characters)

Focal Banger from The Alchemist
100 out of 100 based on 110 ratings.