Focal Banger | The Alchemist

360 Reviews
Focal BangerFocal Banger

Brewed by:
The Alchemist
Vermont, United States

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: 360 | Ratings: 2,923
Photo of Hopglow
5/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Loved this one. Hop profile made this much more floral in nature than heady. It is a different beer than Heady, I would not compare it to that. On its own, it's worth seeking out.

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Photo of tomparadis
5/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I was back in Vermont this month and did the usual "drink everything you can get your hands on" tour, and this was my favorite of the bunch- I love having one, maybe two heady toppers, but my palate is pretty much wrecked after that. I could have 6 of these and keep going. They are still very hoppy and run you through a gamut of flavors, but are much more drinkable than their older brother. The can is awesome, too (for those who care).

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Photo of Troybrewing
5/5  rDev +9.4%
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.

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Photo of piwoowiq
5/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Just as good, perhaps better than its better known brother, Heady Topper. Highly recommended. Apparently only for sale on-Premises at local restaurants.

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Photo of MNishCT77
5/5  rDev +9.4%

16 oz. can gifted from GMRFx, unknown can date but purchased at the most recent Alchemist tent sale on 08/11/2014, poured into a small plastic glass at a BJCP study group, drank 08/27/2014 over an hour.

A: 3/3 - bright golden coloration, minimal clarity (can see or read through), off-white head dissipates into a glass lacing that persisted throughout the drinking session; small alcohol legs

S: 11/12 - as expected, huge hop aroma right up front: super intense citrus and tropical fruit - mango, pineapple and papaya predominate; there is some fruitiness as well - blackberry, apricot and Meyer lemon; some alcohol and malt notes are also present but the hops are clearly the star

T: 19/20 - on the anterior tongue, there's a slight bitterness but is quickly overpowered in the middle of the mouth by huge tropical fruit and berries; the alcohol is present in the taste with some minor malt characters to hint at balancing; this is just dumb juicy and super drinkable

M: 5/5 - moderate bodied with thick hop oils coating the tongue, 7% ABV is present but not overbearing; high carbonation for style/ABV and moderate carbonation

O: 10/10 - definitely one of the best IPAs that I've ever tasted; it's like biting into a perfectly ripe juicy fruit pineapple; I wish that I can offer a flaw with this beer but, alas, I'm coming up totally short; highly, highly recommended!

TOTAL = 48/50

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Photo of 31Sam13
5/5  rDev +9.4%
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

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Photo of Ikeithbot
5/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is considered one of the best ipas in America. I was very happy to get a can from a friend and it is just that, one of the best ipas. Very citrusy, great mouthfeel, smells amazing. Overall, a great well-balanced beer with very fresh hop flavor

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Photo of Hopislovehopislife
5/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Probably my favorite single IPA I've had to day. In my opinion it's better than heady topper.very resinous, lots of tropical fruit and citrus. Its a very dry IPA as well. Very crisp another winner from the alchemist.

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Photo of RABouffard
5/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Just wow. The absolute only thing that could be classified as a complaint is the tiny amount of floaties on the bottom of the can (which I personally see no problem with). It's the same tingly hoppy floral and citrus perfection as heady exception in a slightly lighter and less dry IPA form. Perfect malt backbone to catapult the hop character. A little bit less complex than Heady, but don't let that take anything away from this gem.

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Photo of Ready4aHeady
5/5  rDev +9.4%

Pours a light straw yellow with white soapy foam--
smell and taste collide with funky spice and herb flavors-- all funk, not much fruit...
hard to qualify what the flavors are...
Creamy (not quite Lawson's DS creamy), juicy, funky....delicious!!
Get yerslef some!

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Photo of train45
5/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer is a masterpiece. More aromatic and citrusy than Heady Topper but still has a full body and uniquely awesome yeast profile. Peachy, mango, pineapple, juicy, hop flavor and aroma for days. This beer is a must have for any IPA enthusiast. Possibly not as full on the mouth as Heady or Crusher.

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Photo of winningwes91
5/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Wow. Seriously blown away. Easily the best ipa I've ever had. So juicy and hoppy, and dangerously drinkable. Pours a beautiful hazy orange color. Smells like sticking my nose in a bag of hops and passion fruit. Taste follows suit with a wonderful creamy mouthfeel. Seriously my new favorite ipa, and yes, better than heady!

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Photo of JMScowcroft
5/5  rDev +9.4%
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.

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Photo of lanciloti
5/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The dankest of the dank, hits the pallet soft and juicy, then it thrashes it with hops. Can almost feel your enamel being stripped. Truly a hop lovers dream.

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Photo of Ctmuri
5/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Release 7-27-15. Poured from can.

A: Golden color, floating hops present, nice layer of head.

S: Citrus, Piney, fruity, grainy, huge aroma

T: Fruity, crisp, balanced, full-bodied mouthfeel, nice bitterness, not overwhelming, so perfectly intertwined flavors

M: Full bodied, but not as heavy as Sip of Sunshine, medium overall.

O: One of the best, if not best IPA (almost DIPA) ever had. It’s extremely balanced and hop-forward but maintains that fresh VT water and intense flavors. Truly a great beer from The Alchemist.

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Photo of yarnbomb
5/5  rDev +9.4%
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.

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Photo of Jslay013
5/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Glad to finally be able to try this. Had side to side with Heady and while both are great, I prefer this just a tad more. The hop profile seems a bit more complex and I get a bit more citrus. Both are awesome, but given a choice, I would take Focal. Hoping this becomes more available as the new brewery gets up and running.

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Photo of AbiWeise
5/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Another gem from Alchemist !! May I need to say more ??? F. Lighter than the heady S) similar to Heady grapefruit pronounced T) absolutely amazing Hop character and superb front-end bitterness with perfect citrus and mosaic hop balance ! My New Favorite :) wish I could get these in cases !!

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Photo of VTLocal420
5/5  rDev +9.4%

A: Hazey, Golden Orange, Cloudy, 2 finger white head, decent lacing and a medium-medium/high carbonation.

S: Citrusy; Pineapples, Orange Zest/Tangerines, Grapefruits. Tropical; Guava, Mango and Passionfruit. Dank/Grassy, Pine/Resin and lightly Floral.

T: Citrus up front; Grapefruit and Orange Zest, following into a Guava/Mango in the middle that marries into a creamy/bready malt backbone, before finishing dry Dank/Grass and Pine/Resin, the backend is delightfully bitter, the bitterness on this one builds beautifully and the taste is perfectly balanced start to finish, leaving you only wanting more.

M: Medium-Medium/Light Body while maintaining a certain chewiness VT IPA's and PA's are known for.

O: This is a 100/100 for me, it is on my top 5 list of beers I have ever tried and isnonie of the best examples of an American Single IPA's on the planet.

Notes: Absolutely one of the best IPAs on the planet, deserving of a much higher ranking, for me personally this is better than Heady on flavor profile. Get some if you can!

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Photo of ArkyVaughan
5/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is as good as it gets for an IPA for me. First had it from the October 2014 truck sale and it blew me away. Easily better than Heady and the Crusher. Can't wait until the Alchemist is able to crank out more of this wonderful stuff.

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Photo of AaronDz
5/5  rDev +9.4%

From the can. Aroma is super juicy with notes of blueberry, mango, and a touch of orange peel. Had to pour some out to get the appearance. It's cloudy and a golden yellow much like Heady. Taste is bursting with tropical fruit flavors, pineapple, oranges, mango, and a hint of piney bitterness. Medium body with moderately low carbonation. Overall another outstanding IPA from Alchemist. Worth seeking out.

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Photo of rynegne
5/5  rDev +9.4%

This is the perfect IPA. Well-balanced, hop-forward without being obnoxiously so, pours with incredible white head and a citrusy taste with the lightest pine bite that completely disappears almost as quick as it pops up. If I was to bring one beer on a desert island, this would be it. I didn't think much could tango with Heady, but this takes the cake for me.

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Photo of Brams17
5/5  rDev +9.4%

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!

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Photo of Chris215
5/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A perfect beer. Better than Heady in my opinion. Enjoyed poured from a can into a tulip glass at As Is in NYC. A friend brought it with him and shared. This beer blew me away.

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Photo of tregan_20
5/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Is it wrong to say that this might be better than Heady? I know there is much debate (and not trying to stir the pot here) but, man, is this beer amazing!!! Sweet, dank, fruity and downright delicious. Vermont has been killing it lately and really putting the East Coast on the map in terms of craft beer. And as per usual I drank from the can haha. Go get some ASAP! cheers!

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Focal Banger from The Alchemist
4.57 out of 5 based on 2,923 ratings.
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