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Focal Banger - The Alchemist

Not Rated.
Focal BangerFocal Banger

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

168 Reviews
THE BROS
99
world-class

(Read More)
Reviews: 168
Hads: 1,749
Avg: 4.61
pDev: 24.08%
Wants: 1,557
Gots: 294 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
The Alchemist
Vermont, United States | website

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: 168 | Hads: 1,749
Photo of supaadam
4.87/5  rDev +5.6%
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.

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Photo of MyThoughtsExactly
4.87/5  rDev +5.6%
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 +5.6%
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!

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Photo of Givemebeer
4.87/5  rDev +5.6%
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 +5.6%
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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Photo of BranfordBound
4.86/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Had at a few locations during a trip to Vermont: Stowe Wine & Cheese (unexpected), Doc Ponds, and Hen of the Wood. Poured some out just to get an idea of looks but kept 95% of it in the can, as specified. Pours a hazy golden color with a decent head that sticks around. Smells of... sweet baby jesus: pure hops. I should call the police because my olfactory cells just got assaulted by an angry mob of hops. Grassy, super herbal, notes of stone fruit.

OK, let's drink this 16oz of elixir. Starts with the faintest sweetness from the english malts, but then it's blown away by the most epic wave of hops encountered. Very herbal and grassy, tons of stone fruit like peach and mango. Notes of citrus. Finishes ultra bitter with a mild carbonation kick to fight the hop oils which linger in the mouth for minutes afterward.

The body will get to you after a little bit and a the whole can will leave you feeling somewhat full, not as much as Heady, but this beer will defeat your taste buds. They will beg for mercy. They will never be the same after this, they'll need years of therapy of tasting pale lagers, hefeweizens, porters, and witbiers to recover.

Overall an amazing experience. I tried this next to Heady Topper and HT could not keep up. If you're in Northern VT and this is on the can list, don't even consider any other option.

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Photo of EveningCordial
4.85/5  rDev +5.2%
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 VelvetExtract
4.84/5  rDev +5%
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.

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Photo of byronic
4.82/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A beautiful aroma from the can. Very balanced, very crisp and absolutely delicious. A nice blend of hops and fruits with a silk finish, Disappears in no time.

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Photo of smakawhat
4.8/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Can taken from Sunset Grille in Stowe VT and poured about 60% of contents into a shaker.

Turbid lemon yellow slightly, with a pineapple like color. Bit of a glow too it, good body and not wet looking. Creamy top forming two controlled fingers with ease. A bit of styrofoam like appearance but also hangs well.

Aroma is just incredible and big. Thick notes of peach, pineapple, orange, mango.. and a big fruit smorgasborg going on. Airy mint and strangely dried smelling herbs of lavender and lemongrass on top of it. Just a hop aroma dream.

Palate is just not what I was expecting at all. Incredibly supper juiced tropical flavored bomb that takes a big turn. Huge notes of melon and peaches, the big hop quality comes through... all of it from tropical to citrus hinted at the nose, iit's the malt character that blows my mind. Biscuit cookie notes, even a little bit of toast and dryness. Chewy almost wheat like.. it's almost as I am tasting every different kind of grain in a mash bill or something. Palate feel manages to give a boost but it's the last thing you notice and does provide a bit of boost.

Overall just an incredibly controlled brew, with so much things you can dissect without being sledgehammered either. Doesn't even taste like a high ABV IPA either. Just a big winner.

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Photo of HeadyTheElder
4.8/5  rDev +4.1%
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.

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.79/5  rDev +3.9%
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.

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Photo of ChrisP802
4.79/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

This was basically a Heady, but with slightly less bite. Better in my opinion
Pour - I'm just going on a limb here saying that it looked great. Drank out of the can
Smell - tropical with citrus coming out strongest. definitely piney
Taste - much more refreshing than heady, nothing overpowered anything else
Overall - more drinkable than Heady, but still very potent

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Photo of AlpacaAlpaca
4.79/5  rDev +3.9%
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 NiceTaps
4.78/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I drank it right from the can, as ordered.

I give it a "3" for looks, though I never saw what it looks like. I thought about a "4", but The Alchemist overcooks the goofy beer commands: "Don't be a D-bag", "Drink from the can"....enough, already. It's not the message, just the way it's sent.

Super fresh hop aroma, like fresh pressed hop fluid. Its cousin, marijuana, pays an aromatic visit. Lot of pine, too. The aroma is very pleasant and opens the nasal passages, refreshingly.

Lots of citrus hop flavor, strong grapefruit. A bit piney, a bit tropical. Enough malt to balance and keep it a beer.

Full feel, clean and refreshing. Not a trace of the 7% abv. Lasting bitterness and tongue tickle but not overly bitter.

I'm not getting the "dank" that I read in other reviews. I'll take it over a Heady, TY.

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Photo of Seanniek91
4.77/5  rDev +3.5%
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!

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Photo of Brad007
4.77/5  rDev +3.5%
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.

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Photo of anteatr23
4.76/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 5

Poured from a can into a tulip glass. Light yellow hazy pour. Smell is citrus and pineapple standing out. Taste is overwhelmingly delicious with bready malts and hoppy bitterness. So well balanced, but slightly favoring the hops. Extremely crisp and flavorful. Can feel that carbonation with a slight bite and peppery mouth-feel. This beer, much like Heady Topper, surpassed my expectations. If you stumble on the chance to try it, it's an absolute must.

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Photo of Mo_fro
4.75/5  rDev +3%

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

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Photo of MonkeyKnfeFight
4.75/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Another gem found on a 1-day bender through Vermont...in the airport terminal. I had 3 since you can get this via retail locations & drink it in-house only. Also stoked I was the only person in my row on the flight home as the buzz was spectacular & I mos def smelled of glorious beer.

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Photo of Thepleasantimbiber
4.75/5  rDev +3%
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?)

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Photo of MakeMineADoubleJack
4.75/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Enjoyed a 16oz pour on tap at the 11th Annual Hophead Throwdown this afternoon. I dare say this beer has Heady beat. It's crisper, fresher, and doesn't have that synthetic backend that Heady Topper has. Citra and Mosaic are two hops that fit well together. Beautiful notes of citrus and pine. This beer is dank, fruity, and drier than you'd expect. A fantastic brew that lives up to its hype.

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Photo of Tmyhre802
4.75/5  rDev +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.

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Photo of costanzo_mike
4.75/5  rDev +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 Sintech
4.75/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

16 ounce can poured into a pint glass.

Appearance - Hazy golden yellow hues.

Smell - Dank, citrus, resin and pine nose. Very good!

Taste - Big citrus and pine notes...delicious!

Mouthfeel - Medium body. Medium carbonation.

Overall - Oh my god this shit is good! Highly recommended!

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Focal Banger from The Alchemist
100 out of 100 based on 168 ratings.