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Focal Banger | The Alchemist

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BA SCORE
100
world-class
301 Reviews
Focal BangerFocal Banger
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
The Alchemist
Vermont, United States
alchemistbeer.com

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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
301
Ratings:
2,611
Avg:
4.59
pDev:
21.35%
 
 
Wants:
1,769
Gots:
627
For Trade:
14
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
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Reviews: 301 | Ratings: 2,611
Reviews by MacQ32:
Photo of MacQ32
4.75/5  rDev +3.5%

More User Reviews:
Photo of yarnbomb
5/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Is it really that good? Yes. It certainly is. You want fruit? You got it. Want hops? They're there. Fancy bitter flavors, galore. It really is all that.

 152 characters

Photo of daudelin2000
4.9/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Is it possible that the Alchemist can brew a beer better than Heady Topper? Yes! At least, in my opinion although I'm probably in the minority. The Alchemist doesn't offer much for variety so they can focus on a couple of beers and really perfect them. And perfect them they have.

Focal pours a light golden color and is very hazy, much like Heady. But that's where the similarities end. Aroma is citrus juice and candied fruits. Taste follows. Very juicy and very citrusy with a slight candied fruit taste. The finish is dry with a moderate bitterness. I get a lot of grass and pine from Heady, but not Focal. It's more of a straight up juice bomb. Mouthfeel is medium with perfect carbonation. What an amazing beer. It's a shame they don't distribute it to the same stores as Heady.

 785 characters

Photo of smb
4.87/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 5

Fresh on tap, direct from The Alchemist at FW Invitational. Bright and radiant sunshine glow with dense 3 finger head and sticky, bubbly lacing remaining all over the glass. Dank, delicious, pungent marijuana aroma with huge blasts of tropical citrus and resinous earthy hops that coat the palate and linger forever. Next level shit. Consider my focal banged.

 359 characters

Photo of Jason
4.53/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

STYLE American IPA | ABV 7.0% | AVAILABILITY Year-round

Bitter, Grassy, Rind, Piney

Yeah, I know, “Drink From The Can!” I had to take a look though. Pours very hazy with a beautiful dense head. Smells and tastes like fresh squeezed hops if that was even possible. Bitterness is there but never reaches the level of no return and the palate has to deal with wave after wave of extra juicy, citrusy, piney and grassy hop flavor. Yes, it’s better than Heady Topper.

Review from BeerAdvocate magazine issue #102 (JUL 2015)

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Photo of Prospero
3.75/5  rDev -18.3%

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.

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Photo of CoffeePorter
4.58/5  rDev -0.2%
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 Troybrewing
5/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Awesome smell of juiciness ,citra & mosaic hops. Med. mouth feel and nice bitterness . Had this beer when I was in Vermont. I think you only get it in pubs,but that may changed since Oct when I was there. VERY SCARY EASY DRINKING goes down fast.

 245 characters

Photo of Greywulfken
4.74/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Citra and Mosaic IPA at 7% abv - almost like cheating - medium gold and hazed, drank the bulk from a pint, finished the remains from the can - big aromas of citrusy pine followed by a wallop of bitter hop action crashing across the tongue. Suggestions of earthy, musky citrus fruit and with herbal pine around the edges, keeping it tight with tongue-clenching bitterness. Medium-light body, ample carbonation, and a clean, crisp feel. Finishes with a craving for me, but here in NY, I'm lucky I even got to try one. I like it more than Heady...

 544 characters

Photo of Dolphinsmarlins1
4.59/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

As someone said in line while waiting at The Alchemist, "Heady may be the beer that built this house, but Focal is king." I'm so happy this is becoming more readily available, and I think others will agree soon enough that this one rivals, if not bests Heady Topper.

 266 characters

Photo of Back_in_the_Saddle
4.63/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Can at Burlington Airport - The Skinny Pancake.
I asked for a glass, sorry John Kimmich, I wanted to give it a "correct" review.
They gave me a stemmed pilsener. Hmmmm...not sure how this is gonna go given, wrong glassware. Here's the rest based on observations.
The appearance was the typical TA unfiltered look, yes, the floaties John likes to hide. Muddled brown to orange color. One finger white foamy head that dissipated in about a minute. Some stringy lacing here and there.
The smell had a big burst of the grapefruit to piney oily hops. Resinous and pounding my nostrils in a harsh way.
The taste was sweet yet bitter and pounds at my taste buds nicely. Lingering resinous aftertaste slides into the finish.
The mouthfeel was sharp with the resin hitting my tongue in a pronounced yet profane burst. In trying to say "uncle" to the beer, I think I fell off my chair.
Overall, in every way known to mankind, there are IPA's that do their respect to be bittersweet. But this one just takes the cake to the extreme, wooeee. Send me to bed, momma, of course I'd have this again.

 1,083 characters

Photo of jzeilinger
4.36/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Many thanks to millerbuffoon for this can of hoppiness.

A - Pours a hazy medium gold color with a very frothy, white, creamy head. Carbonation is moderate and steady.

S - Weak nose. Herbally, yeasty, with some citrus. The nose is nothing special. (Contrary to the label art.)

T - Balanced from start to finish. Citrus, grapefruit, yeasty, some spicy citrus rind and ends with some moderate piney/citrus bitterness.

M - Heavy medium body with light prickly carbonation that quickly gives way to a creamy finish.

O - This is a really solid beer but a "100" rating is over-stated.

 586 characters

Photo of swedishmailman
4.61/5  rDev +0.4%
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 ryan1788a5
4.51/5  rDev -1.7%
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 larryi86
4.53/5  rDev -1.3%
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.

 655 characters

Photo of wbizbot
4.59/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

In a time not so long ago there was a beer called Focal Banger It seems at first, It was only available in local bars and restaurants. Well, being a local, I got used to this. Then, as quickly as it came, it vanished from the greater Burlington area. Rumor on the street was that it would be available exclusively at the retail location in Waterbury. After several months of listless pining, I felt I had finally grown to accept this new reality. Nevertheless, I found myself occasionally compelled to request it at places where Heady Topper appeared on the menu. I knew the anwser, but asked it anyway- perhaps as a sort of symbolic gesture or solemn ode, to the beer that once existed so prominitely in the geography of my daily life. Then suddenly it happened. An anwser I did not expect. From the most unlikely of casual chain dining reauraunts inbetween a movie theatre and Best Buy. Yes. We do have Focal Banger, she replied. In disbelief, I had to ask the waitress to repeat this. And she did. And it was true. And she wisked off. Then there it was- that mythical black and silver can, all shining and gosaamer. And I drank it. And it was good. And it reminded me if the old times, when everything was right with the world.

 1,238 characters

Photo of stevoj
4.32/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

16oz can thanks to Jeremy. Followed The Crusher with this, which is also but stands just in the shadow of the Crusher. Pale golden with small airy head., A melange of malts and hops with some floral notes, carries over to the taste, a bit lighter than the former, and more savory to boot. The Alchemist has it going on!

 319 characters

Photo of mschrei
4.79/5  rDev +4.4%
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.

 151 characters

Photo of Footballtennishockeygolf
5/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Strong citrus flavor highlighted by lychee and grapefruit with virtually no bitterness. One of the better beers I've ever tasted

128 characters

Photo of tectactoe
4.5/5  rDev -2%

Photo of t2grogan
4.5/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of CavemanRamblin
4.46/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Mulzicus
4.26/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Schlais
4.5/5  rDev -2%

Photo of cjn40277
4.75/5  rDev +3.5%

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Focal Banger from The Alchemist
4.59 out of 5 based on 2,611 ratings.
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