Focal Banger | The Alchemist

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253 Reviews
Focal BangerFocal Banger

Brewed by:
The Alchemist
Vermont, United States | website

Style: American IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
An American IPA, hopped judiciously with Citra and Mosaic.

Added by hillvt4me on 01-30-2014

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Reviews: 253 | Ratings: 2,349
Photo of Beertracker
4.51/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours up with ample effervescence which creates a consistent white head that crowns the hazy, golden-ochre body leaving evident lace as it settles. The aromatics are layered with fruitiness (citrus .e.g. grapefruit, pomelo +pineapple), earthiness (berry, evergreen, pine cone) from the hops & a light-moderate graininess. Flavor starts off lightly bready with a pale maltiness that's quickly cut by an increasing amount of bitterness that somehow manages to stay balanced without becoming harsh. Superbly balanced IPA with an excellent creaminess that carries all those hops. Focal Banger is mind numbing. Cheers!

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Photo of Ri0
4.71/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured 16oz can into snifter. Hazy orange appearance with a 2 finger white head, great retention and thick lacing on my glass. Aroma is bright with juicy tropical notes. Flavor is very tropical and dank, pineapple, mango, and papaya with hints of berry. Finish is on the bitter side. Feel is medium, well carbonated, and finishes dry. Another outstanding beer from The Alchemist.

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Photo of Apellonious
4.21/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

16 oz can picked up from the brewery, that stayed in the can. I am going to assume this looks good. Aroma of mango, fresh hops and grass.
The taste is dank, grapefruit and citrus, dirt and tropical fruit. Carbonation is medium to medium high, feel is fairly full. Overall, a tasty ipa, recommended if you can get your hands on it.

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Photo of leroybrown10
4.38/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours pale gold and quite hazy, a bit of an orange hue to it. Large white bubbles on the 2 finger head. Pretty good retention and nice lacing.

Quite dank aroma. Pine and citrus in the form of lemon and orange. Bread dough and caramel malt. Straw, cut grass, and grapefruit.

Not much of the pine from the nose shows up in the taste. Orange and grapefruit. Some thing floral going to herbal. Blueberry, honey dew, and pineapple. Doughy malt, not as strong as the nose but still a strong complement.

Medium body with medium carbonation. Moderate bitterness overall but a bit more on the aftertaste. A bit of dryness.

Great IPA here which I prefer to Heady. Love the mix of citrus, tropical and floral I picked up on the taste.

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Photo of SpeedwayJim
4.48/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

16oz. can into a Surly teku.

Nose is citrus, pine, grass and a fresh, juicy hop bitterness. More mellow than I thought it'd be but still very good. Beer opens citrus, grapefruit and cantaloupe up front with a bark and grass hop bitterness in the back. One of the driest IPAs I've ever had. More citrus with a big malt backbone balanced by a hop presence that's more dry and acrid than bitter. But it works. Feel is light bodied with moderate to low carbonation. Just perfectly silky and smooth in the mouth and bone dry going down, leaving the palate thirsting for more.

The balance between being overwhelmingly flavorful and extremely balanced is impressive here and the feel just can't be beat. An excellent beer all around. The fact that its only 7% is icing!

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Photo of ryno6616
4.98/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Just exceptional - hands down a top beer of all I've had.
Like Heady's little brother. But that doesn't mean it is a secondary beer by any means. 100% deserving of its 100 rating
If you've had it, you know.
If you haven't had it, get it.

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Photo of larryi86
4.53/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Thank you jhavs for this
16 oz can, half in a teku, half in the the can.

A- A hazy golden copper with a large white head.

S- Pineapple, mango, tropical fruits, some grapefruit, very dank, hints of malt sweetness.

T- Super dank resin hops, very bitter finish, nice pineapple/mango thing going on, hints of caramel malts, some grapefruit/citrus. Probably the dankest beer I've tried.

M- Smooth, medium body.

O- A great IPA worth seeking out. With that being said it is not the fruitest IPA out there, definitely considering it is brewed with citra and mosiac, but isn't as overwhelmingly dank from the can. Very drinkable, taste lingers beautifully.

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

Really nice citrus forward IPA. I thought the aroma was about as pleasant as it could get but the taste was a little one dimensional and felt it needed a little more malt balance and also was a touch bitter in finish. Still a fantastic IPA none the less.

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Photo of zshaft
4.53/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

poured into glass w tons of floaties. tons. doors not look great. nose is good and taste follows with citrus and berry flavors muted in the back palate by some light spruce. body is great. overall the yeast strains seem to be similar for all the alchamist beers giving that pine yet soft nutmeg nuance. this beer to me is less harsh than crusher and may be better than topper. not crowning it yet but world class and if not for the floaties would be a higher rating.

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Photo of Beers-es
4.68/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

From the can, poured into a glass (yeah, yeah), it's quite hazy but not opaque. Glowing orange color looks nice. About a finger of dense white foam leaves little lacing. Smell and taste are hugely fruity and piney. Orange, pineapple and mango blend with fresh resinous hops. Pretty big and delicious bitterness on the back end is offset with a touch of sweetness. Slight bready malt makes an appearance, but only just. Insanely good, one of my all-time favorites.

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Photo of Wayne17
4.37/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Really really really dank. I prefer heady topper but it was nice to finally try this guy. Nice hazy look much like heady, hops punishing my palate and that's ok with me.

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Photo of ThrewRedButter
4.18/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

L - Hazy yellow with three fingers of white head

S - Garlic, onions, and spices. Big yeast character.

T - Follows the nose. Drinking straight from the can adds the tropical juices and citrus. An overall dank, wet hop juice taste all throughout.

F - What you'd expect. Resinous at times, but not a deterrent.

O - Solid IPA. Lost of hype, but not a mind-blower in my opinion.

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Photo of mschrei
4.79/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured into snifter. Big particulates floating with moderate lacing. Big danky smell. Hoppy and malty balance with a moderate bitterness. A great beer.

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Photo of OompaMentor
4.57/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from can; Yes, I know it says "drink from can" but it's hard to rate appearance when it's in the can. Hazy, orange color with nice carbonation and one finger head. Lots of hops, medium yet balanced. Hops linger on the palate. It's not a Heady Topper, but it's a really good beer.

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Photo of lic217
4.62/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Look: Orange and very hazy. Big fluffy head, which lasts for a while and lots of lacing
Smell: Grassy and resiny, a little tropical fruit and citrus
Taste: Resin, pine, tropical fruit, orange starts sweets and a little bready and ends with a mild bitterness
Feel: Full mouthfeel, light carbonation
Overall: A very nice beer.

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Photo of CTbrew32
4.23/5  rDev -8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

appearance- Golden amber in color, turbid yet a little clearer towards the bottom of the glass, and pours a two inch head.

aroma- Pineapple, citrus, berries, grapefruit, and a little pine.

taste- Starts off with juicy citrus, berries, and tropical fruits. Towards the middle the bitterness really picks up and more acidic fruits (grapefruit in particular) show up. The finish has a bready malt which adds some flavor and sweetness leading to semi clean finish.

feel- Medium bodied, medium carbonation, soft but the bitterness takes away from the feel and drinakbility.

overall- This has a wide array of hop flavors in the flavor and nose, which makes for a unique and flavorful ipa. There's a little too much lingering bitterness/acidity, which definitely detracts from the experience. However, the bitterness/acidity wasn't as bad when it was fresher (a month old now) so I wouldn't let this sit as long again.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.4/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Can courtesy of Schlimenhaumer. Regrettably brief notes below:

Subtle blueberry signals mosaic hops. Floral notes, citrus, pale malts. Great balance.

Smooth, wet, medium-bodied, well-carbonated.


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Photo of dee4maine
4.68/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Hops full on. Nothing restrained here. Very well balanced bitterness and much better mouthfeel then Heady. There, I said it. Very good beer showcasing the hops without overplaying the "fruity" card.

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Photo of diemilio
4.03/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2 week old can. Drank half from a snifter, half from from the can.

L - Gold in color with some chill haze. One and a half fingers of white head.

S - Tropical fruit, mostly papaya. Very resinous, some dankness, sweet fruit, and a decent amount caramel malt presence.

T - Follows the nose with notes of pine and a very dry bitter finish; more bitter than I would like it to be.

M - Medium full, very pleasant.

O - Too hyped, I think; but I need to give it a second try. Not a fan of so much malt presence and the extremely bitter finish. Still a good beer, but with so many other great options out there, I wouldn't try too hard to try to find this one.

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Photo of buschbeer
4.2/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

1 PINT can
Served in a tulip glass

This beer pours pale yellow and is cloudy. It looks like pineapple juice. It is topped with several inches of fluffy, white head that leaves chunks of lacing as it recedes.

The aroma is loaded with tropical and citrus fruit. It smells more tropical than citrus. Very nice.

The taste begins with tropical fruit that gives way to bitter grapefruit. It finishes with fresh pine needles.

Medium to full mouthfeel

It was great to start out. The pine flavor began to build the more I drank it leaving a bitter taste in my mouth. It is a two and a half week old can.

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Photo of cjgiant
4.7/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Can (couldn't see a date):
Hazy yellow golden, decent white head volume, but nice sustaining power.

Nose was powerful from the can, but faded in the glass a bit. Strong bitter green pine, dank and fresh. Little green onion in the glass, but also a funky citrus note that is familiar to my nose as Citra hops.

Taste is like the nose, but there is a nice malt backbone (I want to go biscuit - a little bit of sweetness than meekly stands up to the hops). The fruit flavor is more tropical after the opening malt note, and is constantly morphing until the pith, pine, dank notes start to take over and rip at my tongue a tad. But the bitter notes never get in a clean punch, and the feel is a bit more well-rounded than I would expect. The blows are powerful, but not to the point of being a knockout.

Lovely beer - one of the better ones I have ever had. Up there with the very fresh Dirt Wolf I had at Victory. In profile, it is similar to a few Ocelot IPAs, though this beer is a little more full and well rounded.

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Photo of 11-52_4hops
4.5/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Consumed from the can as recommended, so don't know much about the color, head etc. -- will go 4.5 in appearance for cool can art and to match the rest of my rating. Initial burst of pineapple, tropical, hoppy nose. Initial taste is very Citra forward - grapefruit followed by more earthy bitterness on the back end. No big surprise that there is a ton of hops, but as with Heady, there is a balance and drinkability that is harder to find in IBU-heavy brews. If I am just buying into the hype, then I need to buy me some more. Bottom Line - world class.

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Photo of John_M
4.46/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a a slightly hazy golden amber color with excellent head retention and considerable lacing. The nose is attractive as well, as I pick up considerable dry citrus, onion, grassy hops, light tropical fruit, pepper and a dash of clove. The flavor profile replicates the nose pretty closely, with a huge dose of hoppy bitterness on the finish. The citra hops in this ipa are very prominent. There's a hint of heat from the alcohol on the finish, but otherwise, there's not much to complain about in this hop bomb of an ipa. Mouthfeel is pretty full bodied in this no holds bared ipa, and the finish is hugely bitter. I guess this could be a bit better balanced, but that's obviously not what the brewer is going for here.

Not sure I could pound down more than one or two of these at a sitting, but this one tasty ipa for sure. Impressive.

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Photo of danh53
4.13/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pale and light in appearance. Grapefruit, hop resin, herbal nose. Sweet. Taste is sweet citrus with tropical notes like pineapple and Mellon on the front of the tongue. Bitter hops build in the mid palate and finish along with lemon lime and green herbal notes which come on a little too strong for my liking. Mouth feel is creamy, full, and tight. There's so many great IPAs available today that it's hard to compare. This doesn't strike me as one of the best, but honestly it might just depend on the day when I'm grading IPAs. This is definitely a good one and worth seeking out.

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Photo of Furlinator
4.12/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours cloudy straw gold with a big off-white head that remains as a thin cap on top and leaves strands of lace. There is visible floating hop resin. The smell is of subdued pine, faint tropical fruit, grass and, dare I say, sweat. The taste follows with grass, subtle pine, tropical fruit and, mild malt sweetness. Medium texture.

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Focal Banger from The Alchemist
4.6 out of 5 based on 2,349 ratings.
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