Focal Banger - The Alchemist

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Focal BangerFocal Banger

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world-class

113 Reviews
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Reviews: 113
Hads: 1,404
rAvg: 4.58
pDev: 8.08%
Wants: 1,179
Gots: 167 | 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.
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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 113 | Hads: 1,404
Photo of Resuin
4.56/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 16 ounce can into a pint glass. This was released a week ago today so is quite fresh.

Appearance: Pours a very hazy, orange-tinted honey-amber and leaves a finger of slightly off-white head which lingers for a bit before fading to a layer atop the beer, leaving some lacing on the glass.

Smell: Big citrus/mango hops. Some resin, hint of pine. Lots of tropical notes. Really expressive and powerful aroma. Mouth-watering.

Taste: Matches the aroma well, but a bit more pine. Citrus, mango, pineapple, resin, a hint of honey, earthy notes, orange rinds. Huge hop presence. Finishes smooth and a little bitter.

Mouth-feel: Well carbonated with a medium, slightly creamy body. Finishes smooth - the 7% is well hidden.

Overall: Another really nice IPA from the Alchemist. Plenty of similarities to Heady Topper but definitely has its own personality. Refreshing, but with really big flavor. Really tears up the palate with the hop explosions. (956 characters)

Photo of DCLAguy11
4.5/5  rDev -1.7%

Did a blind tasting on 8/29/14 with the recent batches of Focal Banger, Rapture, The Crusher and Heady Topper.

It was the lightest colored of the 4 beers with light yellow/golden hue. Almost like a lemonade. On the nose I got pine and floral notes, persimmon(?) and lot's of nice dankness.

Taste: Very delicate, refreshing (perfect for a hot sunny day), piney, enough bitterness and slight chewiness. This is a delicious beer and in my opinion (right now) superior to Heady Topper.

Overall, I had a hard time between this and The Crusher for top place but based on balance between bitterness and sweetness I placed it behind The Crusher. Oh, and this batch is much better than the previous one. (699 characters)

Photo of WanderingFool
4.53/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Focal Banger pours a hazy honey yellow with a small, creamy head on top. The foam fades quickly leaving spots of lace all over the glass.

The aroma is loaded with citrus and a little funk. Orange and grapefruit with tropical fruit and a little vegetal (garlic) note.

Each sip of this medium bodied beer is creamy with moderate carbonation. The flavor is nicely balanced between grapefruit and lemon citrus, pine and tropical fruit. Sweet malt balances all the hop bitterness. It finishes mildly bitter and dry with a little vegetal funk. Once gone the citrus and tropical fruit lingers on the palate.

Delicious, well balanced beer. Not as bitter as Heady Topper, but just as flavorful. (689 characters)

Photo of KYGunner
4.17/5  rDev -9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This poured with a brilliant pineapple yellow color with a thick head of densely knit, bright white foam.

The nose has a malty background but the Mosaic hops are very evident. The aroma has some honey, oranges and pineapple before turning earthy and grassy.

The flavor is sweet and sugary, like a citrus fructose, with the evident Mosaic hop character punching through. The hop finish is grassy, earthy, not overly bitter, with a spicy character.

The feel is so light, airy and smooth but it still has a good amount of heft.

Very well crafted IPA with some different aromas and tastes then the standard fare. (612 characters)

Photo of papat444
4.35/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a totally hazy, gold/lemonade color. Long lasting head. Hoppy aromas jump out of the glass, juicy, sticky and fresh sliced fruit. Flavor has a crisp malt backbone but generous hops are piled on. The result is a damn tasty IPA but not as good as Heady. (257 characters)

Photo of jaasen64
4.49/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

16oz silve can with just a sticker for a label, picked up yesterday at the outdoor Alchemist release. Poured into a willi becher pint glass.

A- Pours a nice translucent pale golden yellow with just a slight haze, perfect amount of carbonation with an awesome consistency, about a finger and half of white frothy head forms that has excellent retention slowly receding to a thin layer.

S- Nice hoppy pine resin aroma balanced with lots of citrus fruits of grapefruit, starfruit, pineapple, etc.. Nice aroma strength with the citra and mosaic coming out very nicely, possibly my two favorite hop aromatics.

T- Piney hop resin, lightly bitter grapefruit, lemon peel, star fruit, guava, and other tropical fruits, finishes with a light tropical zestiness. This tastes amazing, the citra comes out very nicely and is up there with all the top IPAs I've ever had, definitely rivals Heady.

M- Insanely drinkable, incredibly smooth, some light hop oils, no alcohol at all, possibly the best feel for an IPA that I've experienced.

O- This is the second can that I've opened, each sip I take it gets better and better. While Heady might be slightly more flavorful, Focal Banger definitely beats it in drinkability even though it's only 1% lower. I'm looking forward to this becoming a regular offering from The Alchemist and while they are still tweaking the malt bill for their final recipe, I think this is almost perfect already. (1,427 characters)

Photo of EyePeeAyBryan
4.01/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

So much hype surrounding this brew and my body was ready. Had half in a glass and half in the can. Murky, more of a bright yellow/golden color. Really has that NE vermont taste that's sweet but dank and juicy. Wanted so much to fall in love but it just didn't happen...more of a one night stand. (295 characters)

Photo of Treyliff
4.74/5  rDev +3.5%
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 BarrytheBear
4.51/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Tallboy can courtesy of Mike.

Murky yellow with plenty of lace.

Smells of lemon cake with sugared icing.

Blueberries, lemons, cake, delicious.

Though it doesn't sound it, this is much like Heady's awesome and more approachable sibling. Very very good. (256 characters)

Photo of ryan1788a5
4.51/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

16oz can poured into a globe.

A: Sunshine golden color with a heavy haze. Creamy fine-bubbled head retains at an inch in height throughout. Thin broken rings of lacing.

S: Pungent and heady. Pineapple, papaya, mashed mango, white grapefruit, sweet cannabis, Lemonhead candy, earthy, wet leaves. Rustic edge. Doughy.

T: Raw hops. Earthy, leafy, herbal, peppery. Sweet cannabis. Passion fruit. White grapefruit, mango, pineapple. Stiff bitterness. Doughy and slightly honeyed. Gritty and earthy hops lay down herbs and freshly cut grass on a long finish.

M: Medium-thick body. Round and velvety texture. Ridiculous smoothness. Acutely sharp carbonation. Gritty hop astringency is minor.

O: This is every bit as good as Heady Topper. Raw, rustic, and bursting with hop flavor. The Alchemist has really honed the art of crafting an excellent ipa. This is about as good as it gets. God I love Citra and Mosaic. (911 characters)

Photo of Brams17
5/5  rDev +9.2%

A: Poured into a tulip glass. Poured with a nice white head. The beer was light golden/straw colored with a good amount of haze. Nice looking beer.

S: Big aroma hit me as soon as I opened the can. Lots of citrus and tropical fruit. Lots of Pineapple, some mango, some lemon notes. Great aroma.

T: The initial taste follows the nose. Lots of fruit notes as described above. The finish was really nice though, it had a wonderful baked bread note that added some depth to the brew.

M: Medium carbonation and body. Nice sticky hop resins coat your mouth as you drink. Dry, but not overly so.

O: Between this and Heady, I'd never want to drink anything else if I had regular access to this brewery. I really can't imagine a standard IPA being better than this, though there are a few others in the same league too. Great beer! (841 characters)

Photo of Mikeypnh
4.71/5  rDev +2.8%
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 smb
4.94/5  rDev +7.9%
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. (205 characters)

Photo of Keananmichael5
4.56/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this before they designed the new can. I almost prefer it to Heady but both are very very good. I wish I could have it again. Dry hop smell, crisp flavor, very balanced beer. (178 characters)

Photo of Prospero
3.75/5  rDev -18.1%

Nice white head, great golden straw color, aroma & flavor of citrus. Great overall beer with nice mouthfeel and think it's quite sessionable but the hop flavor and aroma seem a tad muted versus other IPAs that are similar. Much prefer Alpine IPAs, but good IPA regardless. (274 characters)

Photo of TWStandley
4.32/5  rDev -5.7%

Poured from the can into a pint glass.

Appears a bright, golden hazy color with a thick, 2 finger white head.

Nose is heavy on citrus, slight floral scents.

Grapefruit, Lemons and Oranges dominate the taste. Slight bitterness and almost a bit of saltiness to it.

Overall a solid IPA but in my opinion, not even close to as good as Heady. (342 characters)

Photo of SawDog505
4.97/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into my 13 oz tulip glass, I know it is fresh. Pours a hazy yellow orange with some floaties and a two inch white head that leaves loads of lace. Smell is tropical mango, passion fruit, tangerine, and a hint of grapefruit. Taste follows the knows, everything blends perfectly, maybe a little more grapefruit lingers on the tong then you would expect from the nose. Body is medium large for its abv, plenty of life, a touch dry, and amazing drinkability. One of the best ever, as I expected. (497 characters)

Photo of AlpacaAlpaca
4.79/5  rDev +4.6%
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. (359 characters)

Photo of 31Sam13
5/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

My new favorite, hands down. I think that this brewery has discovered what alchemy really is, 'cuz they turn aluminum into gold...wonderful. Tropical Cornucopia with a well-hidden earthiness that pops out at the finish. Heaven (226 characters)

Photo of HeadyTheElder
4.8/5  rDev +4.8%
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 JMScowcroft
5/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The Alchemist - Focal Banger, poured into a Lawson's Tulip.

Look - Pours a cloudy protein coagulation sediment laden orange juice with a good sized foamy head that dissipates slowly. New batch, no more protein BS.

Smell - Aroma is ciltrus grapefruit and passion fruit, some sweet mango.

Taste - There it is! Nice blast of grapefruit and pine. Clean and finishes pine bitter. Got a nice tinge of that semi-ripe that some of the newer hops have in there.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied with medium carbonation. Similar mouthfeel to Heady Topper here, juicy and drinkable, packs a punch. I prefer this to Heady, it's lower key and smoother, but doesn't sacrifice hop flavor at all.

Overall - Heady's litter brother. This is a great beer. They just need to clean up the coagulated proteins next time and I can rate it higher on appearance, didn't affect the taste in the least bit. Second review, this is still Heady's little brother, but I think it's better than Heady. (966 characters)

Photo of gueuzedreg
3.95/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A- Golden honey, lots of head with medium retention.

S- Smells of fresh big piney hop character with malt backbone.

T- Little too hop forward for my pale liking. It is pretty hop focused, which many people love.

M- Somewhat creamy, medium carb

O- A well done pale by Alchemist, I am just not the hop forward pale guy (323 characters)

Photo of zookerman182
4.51/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Appearance is a cloudy yellow color with a one finger fluffy head.
Aroma is heavy tropical fruit and some sweetness.
Flavor is a nice balance between tropical fruit and citrus. Also some slight sweetness.
Mouthfeel is full and creamy. Coats the mouth and leaves a nice bitterness.
Overall this is a fantastic beer.
It is everything I feel like main beer company dinner should have been.
Great balance between citrus, tropics fruit, bitterness and creaminess.
Gets even better as it warms.
Well done (499 characters)

Photo of FondueVoodoo
4.36/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Huge thanks to hoppypocket for throwing in this as an amazing extra!

A: Pours a hazy golden wheat with 2 fingers of bone white head - slowly settles to a light film with clumps of lacing around the sides of the glass.

S: Upfront tropical fruit, mainly pineapple, together with floral notes, fresh cut pine and slightly skunky.

T: Dry and minerally that quickly opens up to a brisk woody pine and papaya then evolves to a sappy pine dry finish.

M: Medium bodied with active carbonation that leaves pin pricks on the tongue.

O: Another distinct and enjoyable beer from The Alchemist with big hops that are perfectly balanced by sweet malts. I would love the chance to get more of this. (689 characters)

Photo of OleDixie
4.65/5  rDev +1.5%
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)

Focal Banger from The Alchemist
100 out of 100 based on 113 ratings.