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Focal Banger - The Alchemist

Not Rated.
Focal BangerFocal Banger

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BA SCORE
100
world-class

133 Reviews
THE BROS
99
world-class

(Read More)
Reviews: 133
Hads: 1,487
rAvg: 4.6
pDev: 2.39%
Wants: 1,258
Gots: 189 | FT: 3
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 | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Focal Banger Alström Bros
Reviews: 133 | Hads: 1,487
Photo of Tmyhre802
4.75/5  rDev +3.3%
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 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 (218 characters)

Photo of MarcWP
4.75/5  rDev +3.3%
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 +3.3%
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 +3.3%
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%
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%
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 +2.8%
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 +2.8%
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 +2.4%
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 +2.4%
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 +2.4%
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%
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 +1.7%
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)

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 (279 characters)

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

Poured from 16 oz can into pint glass.

Appearance is a hazy, bright creamy yellow, with a finger of white dissipating head, and average lacing
Aroma is citrus, mostly grapefruit, and pine
Taste is dominated by the pine, but followed up with citrus (white grapefruit) and some tropical notes. Up front bitterness slowly fades, leaving mostly the hop aromas and some malt in the finish.
Mouthfeel is nice and dry with perfect carbonation, just right for the alcohol level.
Overall, a super tasty American IPA. Not really a surprise, being from the Alchemist. With the described abundance of Citra and Mosaic hops, I sort of expected more tropical fruit rather than pine, but a wonderful beer nonetheless. (710 characters)

Photo of Willytee3
4.68/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours an apricot-orange with pure white foamy head.
Smells chalky with fresh mashed tropical fruits and orange sherbet with a hint of vanilla.
Taste follows the nose, citrusy hop forward, dry, chalky, grapefruit crush and a hop bitter finish.
Medium body ale with a light fleeting foam feel.
Overall a bit sharp on the grapefruit that kind of thins it out. (356 characters)

Photo of reds2harleys
4.68/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Another home run from the Alchemist. Finally got to try this on a recent VT brew run. Tried several spots that had run out but got lucky at the Blackback pub which had some left. Very tasty beer. Smooth with nice flavor. Close to Heady. Did a back to back with Heady and Second Fiddle and it was extremly close. Heady still wins by a nose due to - IMO - better flavor but this is still a top notch brew thats not to be missed if you can get your hands on some. (467 characters)

Photo of Ciocanelu
4.65/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Hazy pale color with foamy head. Aroma is somehow spicy with dill and oregano notes. Taste follows with the same herbal notes and some dankness. Bitterness shows up in the finish and follows in the aftertaste but does not overwhelm. Body is quite light and dry. Really easy drinking and refreshing IPA with an interesting hop profile. (334 characters)

Photo of OleDixie
4.65/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Did not follow instructions with this can. 8 ozs. in a teku to rate the look. Did not factor into my overall score for the beer because instructions say to drink from the can (174 characters)

Photo of Stevedore
4.65/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

12oz poured on tap in Waterbury, VT. Poured into a Hill Farmstead stemmed glass today, 2/12/2014.

App- hazy yellow-orange body, fair one finger white head, some retention, some lacing. Looks awfully identical to the Heady I had sitting next to it.

Smell- juicy citrus, mango, pineapple with just a hint of bread and biscuits backing it all up. Smells great and certainly promised to be a hop-forward beer.

Flavor- similar to the nose but even better. Insane juicy citrus and passion fruit notes with a nice semi-balanced biscuit and caramel sweetness. Not particularly bitter either.

Mouthfeel- medium bodied, similar to Heady Topper. Good carbonation. Not terribly bitter.

Overall- very juicy and more fruity than Heady Topper, and less bitter to boot. Excellent IPA. Glad this is coming into full production. Thanks Laura!

Re-reviewed: had this out of a tallboy can 5/7/2014. Thanks Joe. This one essentially supports my first impression based on a tap pour. So juicy, hop-forward with just the perfect amount of biscuity malt backbone that I prefer, with a great mouthfeel. Glorious IPA that I wish I could have more of. (1,134 characters)

Photo of MartzMimic
4.64/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Pours from the can a hazy gold with a bubbly white head. The nose is full of pineapple and mango, with floral notes and a touch of malt. The hops are more noticeable in the taste, but the tropical fruits are still there, along with hibiscus. There is an enticing dankness here. Medium light mouth, and the carbonation gives it a crispness. This is an excellent beer. (366 characters)

Photo of swedishmailman
4.61/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Drinking the first 1/3 or so from the can and then pouring the rest into a Dogfish IPA glass.

Appearance is a hazy golden, straw yellow with lots of sediment floating around. I can see through the beer the tiniest amount when I hold it up to the light. The head is slightly off white, with tight bubbles that cling and stick to the edges of the glass, but dissipates slightly from the initial pour. Lacing looks inviting. From the first glance, I wouldn't think this was an IPA.

Aroma is really pungent, lots of citrus; mostly orange. The aroma is just pouring out of the can. I get a bit of a malt backbone, but it's mostly just huge hops on the nose. Real dankness.

Taste has a nice hop bitterness up front, but nothing overwhelming. The middle of the mouth takes a huge turn into piney goodness that I wasn't getting on the nose. There's a lingering bitterness and pungent flavor on the finish. The flavor doesn't quite stick around in your mouth as long as Heady does, but it's still a fantastic beer.

Mouthfeel is medium, leaning towards the thinner side. Really creamy carbonation that is probably my favorite characteristic of this beer. Extremely drinkable. If it were just a little bit more full, I would give the mouthfeel a 5.

Overall this is definitely a super drinkable IPA that I would buy regularly if I were able to. Not quite up there with my favorite IPA's but definitely world class. Worth trading for and will continue to search for more. Cheers! (1,473 characters)

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. (599 characters)

Photo of BigMurph
4.56/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a nice golden/orange with a little haze to it, about a finger and half of white frothy head forms that has excellent retention slowly receding to a thin layer.

S- Nice hoppy aroma with lots of citrus aroma of grapefruit, pineapple, etc.. Nice aroma strength with the citra and mosaic coming out very nicely.

T- Hoppy, juicy, resin, bitter grapefruit, lemon peel, guava, and other tropical fruits, finishes with a light tropical tang. This tastes amazing, the citra comes out very nicely and definitely rivals Heady.

M- dangerously drinkable, incredibly smooth, no alcohol at all, possibly the best feel for an IPA that I've experienced.

O- Each sip I take it gets better and better. Great overall offering and crazy drinkable.

Serving type: can poured into point glass (783 characters)

Focal Banger from The Alchemist
100 out of 100 based on 133 ratings.