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Focal Banger - The Alchemist

Not Rated.
Focal BangerFocal Banger

Educational use only; do not reuse.

150 Reviews

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Reviews: 150
Hads: 1,576
Avg: 4.6
pDev: 24.35%
Wants: 1,322
Gots: 211 | 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: 150 | Hads: 1,576
Photo of VelvetExtract
4.84/5  rDev +5.2%
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 +4.8%
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 +4.3%
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 +4.3%
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 +4.1%
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 +4.1%
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 +4.1%
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 +3.9%
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 +3.7%
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 +3.7%
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 +3.5%
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 +3.3%

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.

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Photo of Thepleasantimbiber
4.75/5  rDev +3.3%
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 +3.3%
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 +3.3%
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 +3.3%
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 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!

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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.

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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

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Focal Banger from The Alchemist
100 out of 100 based on 150 ratings.