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Focal Banger | The Alchemist

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303 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: 303 | Ratings: 2,628
Photo of kevdemers
4.25/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a pint can to glass:

Look: Except for the golden hue, things are not pretty. Particulate galore. I understand the latest hop bombs may result in this appearance, but still a little jarring.

Smell: A signature Mosaic hop nose, faint honey and herbal notes.

Taste: Piney bitterness front, a little bit of sweetness/honey in the middle then the piney flavor hits on the back end. Very satisfying.

Feel: Good for the style, finishes quite dry.

Overall: Very good brew but I probably don't see this as the top 10 beer that most seem to.

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Photo of nickfl
4.3/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Not a pretty beer, but we all know the alchemist likes to make them chunky. The aroma is nice, I mostly get mosaic, but not extraordinary. The flavor profile stands out quite a bit more with a similar level of hoppyness, but very restrained bitterness and a round, not quite sweet, but not dry finish. Very nice, drinkable, juicy... I think I like this more than heady.

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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...

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

Pouring a cellar temp pounder can into a snifter. Guess Im going against the order to drink straight from the can.
The beer is a bright yet slightly hazy gold color with a frothy bleached white head that billows up and over the rim of the glass to a height of 4 cm easy even with a gentle pour. The foam recedes to some sticky islands and an edge layer.
The aroma is apparent straight from the pour with all hop with pine notes and citrus dominant, grapefruit and pineapple come up. I also get some general fruit with peaches maybe.
First sip reveals an average body with fine yet tingly carbonation that prickles my palate on each sip. Flavor is some brief hits of sweet graininess that rolls to a complex hop mash of citrus rind, grass notes and some general astringency. I also get some tropical fruit but no booze comes through anywhere making this bigger beer extremely drinkable. This is a hop forward complex beer and I really enjoy it.
Definitely worth a shot if you get it and a less aggressive brew than the Heady.

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Photo of Chris215
5/5  rDev +8.9%
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 Boff101
4.12/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Acquired in a trade. Said canned date 10/8. Holds up better than Heady and aromas of the hops were a shell of their former self. Bite on the back of the tongue was still there was some fruit flavors from the citra. From assuming this beer was a lot older than said canned date of 10/8 I can imagine it would be excellent younger than a month from the canned date.

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Photo of alexpcat13
4.77/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Props to GreatStoutman for sharing this!!

I will keep this short and sweet.
Awesome balance. Citrus, pine, juicy hop forward, and the malt supports it perfectly. Looks great, smells great, tastes better. Super impressed... lived up to the hype for sure.

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Photo of Kdouble
4.91/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured a little into a glass but drank most from the 16 oz. can. Bought it directly from the brewery.

A hazy yellowish look with a little over a finger of beautiful white head. Head lasted a while and left a lot of lacing.

The smell is phenomenal as soon as you open the can. The citrus aroma is everywhere. Grapefruit with pineapple and maybe a little peach in there or mango.

The taste matches the smell with all of the citrus flavors coming through. The mosaic hops blend superbly with the malt. It seemed like every drink left me wanting one more.

Fantastic IPA with such a juicy taste. Definitely a world class IPA. I could have this everyday.

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Photo of dbl_delta
4.46/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Undated can into pint glass. Pours a hazy amber with a thick off-white head. Initial impression is citrus (grapefruit, pineapple, orange, mango) with a notable pine resin bite. A lcohol is quite well hidden - very drinkable. Mouthfeel and carbonation are perfect. Finish is somewhat bitter but not unpleasantly so. I'd still prefer Heady if given a choice, but Banger is pretty good too.

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Photo of richj1970
4.63/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 16 oz can into snifter.

A: Hazy pale yellow with 1-2 finger white head. Lots of floating particles. If I had regular access to this, I would probably drink from the can. Decent retention and leaving some moderate lacing.

S: A punch of citrus aroma hit me as soon as I popped the top on the can. Pineapple, grapefruit, mango, and peaches.

T: Very citrus forward - tons of pineapple, grapefruit, and mango. Some pine and plentiful dank hops.

M: Medium body with average carbonation. Finish is juicy and lightly bitter.

O: Excellent IPA. I'm not sure it's possible to have a single favorite IPA these days with all that's out there, but this would certainly be near the top of my list.

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Photo of professorchow
4.55/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Shared this so, despitee instructions, had it from a glass. Can bought at the brewery less than 2 weeks before.

Pours golden, somewhat cloudy.

Aroma is fantastic, whether in can or glass, like a grapefruit and a mango were interbred to make a fruit better than either. Don't want to recycle the can, as the smell lingers.

Taste tilts more to the grapefruit, with notes of pine, too. Intense hops, yet moderately bitter in some moods I could take more bitter, but this is delicious.

Moderate carbonation, suits the flavor profile. Could drink this all day.

Pretty great beer, up there in the IPA pantheon.

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Photo of Thomas_Wikman
4.7/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

A friend of mine sent me the Focal Banger and a Heady Topper. Both are truly delicious. I drank from the can like it says you should do but I also tasted it from a glass. I think it taste the same from the can and from the glass, but you get more aroma from the glass. Anyway,

Look - It has a Golden color with a thin white head.

Aroma - The aroma wonderful with fruit, citrus, and grapefruit.

Taste - The taste is tropical fruit, grapefruit, mango, there's pine, and it is dank.

Overall - Well carbonated, a bit dry, and it is juicy, just perfect.

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Photo of MikeWard
4.58/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

16oz can into a pint glass. Thanks again to Jonathan Hand. No freshness dating.

careful pour reveals hazy yellow body with persistent small white head, leaving good lacing.

Clean mild fruity and hoppy aromas.

Similar tasting to Crusher, just with more of a grapefruit bite to it. Delicious.

A tad below full on the mouth. Somewhat bitter grapefruit finish.

Overall ,another damn fine brew from The Alchemist. Paying a visit to this place just has to be on the bucket list for every ipa-loving BA in the country.

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Photo of tapperm
4.94/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Amazing beer. Better than Heady in my opinion. I really like mosaic hops though. Nice dank, dryish taste. Thinner feel. Overall, one of the best beers in the NE.

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Photo of DrinkThemAll
4.25/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured just a tad bit into a 4oz snifter to see it's color. Drank the rest from the can.

Has a slightly hazy orange color with minimal egg white head, no lacing.

Smells of earthy pine malt, grapefruit, a tad of spice and hops galore.

Taste of rustic pine, floral happiness, grapefruit and some type of spice. Well balaced and very drinkable, but a tad dry.

Mouth has a decently juiced approach, with a fairly dry finsih.

Decent beer overall, not sure if it's at 100 like the scores above, but I would definetly drink this again, but not sure if I would hunt it down.

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Photo of Dragginballs76
4.74/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Appearance 4.5
Cloudy but slightly transparent orange, thick dense white head excellent lacing

Smell 4.75
Very juicy citrus, mango, orange, papaya and fresh hops. This thing smells like it came right off the tree it is so fresh.

Taste 4.75
Very balanced mild hoppy flavor, juicy pineapple and mango it really tastes like fresh hop juice.

Feel 4.75
Very smooth meduim body well carbonated. Just a hint of bitterness

Overall 4.75
Again an amazing beer perfect balance of juicy citrus and hops. I loved the mango/pineapple flavors amazing aroma and smooth finish

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Photo of pezhead_79
4.41/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Well, I really enjoyed Heady but I like this better. It's a smoother flavor and aroma package. Overall, it just feels like something they developed further and refined what already made Heady so tasty.

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Photo of kculrich
4.49/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

From a 16oz can, undated but known to have been canned within the past week or so. Served in an imperial pint/nonic.

Pours a heavily hazed pale gold with a lush two-finger head of creamy foam. Retention is good for better than five minutes (I can't wait any longer!) and leaves fat wads of scummy lacing all over the glass. It looks, in short, excellent.

Smells sharp and yeasty, juicy citrus pulp and fresh macerated grassy hops.

Taste is tangerines, grapefruit, sugar cookies and pine needles. Earthy and dank. Finishes with a long, pleasant leafy bitterness.

Feel is medium-bodied, well carbonated and refreshingly dry.

Stupidly good beer. Do I prefer it to a Heady? They're both similar and they're both different. I think I prefer Focal Banger's hop profile but I'm not willing to give up my Headies. Don't make me choose!

(Replaces 07/19/16 rating without review).

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Photo of brewmeister1984
4.94/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Finally got my hands on this whale. Definitely lived up to expectations in my opinion. Can't beat the OG. Fantastically drinkable and the mosaic and citra hops blend amazing together.

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Photo of patre_tim
4.65/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sweet and fruity, pine, orange, blueberry bubble gum, cinnamon or holiday season home d├ęcor spray.

Yellow and cloudy with a lot of carbonation. Topped with 2 fingers of white, foamy head.

The taste is incredible. Pine and blueberry gum, sweet and floral and fruity in a berry kind of way, and bitter. Yes, a big solid bitterness on the finish.

Lots of foamy, frothy carbonation, medium body, and a balance of sweetness with tannic hop finish. Ruby red grapefruit in there too.

Got at the Alchemist a few days ago while travelling through the area. Drinking Oct 1st, 2016 after 1am. Amazing brew. The hops are incredibly fresh, floral, dank and bitter. Nice sweetness in the balance. An amazing brew.

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Photo of Mateo2699
4.77/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Pour is a semi hazy, medium orange hue. Big frothy head that sticks around for a while, lacing galore. Smell has that same, herby legitimate fresh hop smell that heady has. Mosiac hops shine through over everything, with hints of mango and other various tropical fruit. But the pungency of the hop character stands out over everything. Taste is that same herby, resinous hop character I get in the aroma. Solid amount of citrus rind and a tart buscuit malt character in the back end. Mouthfeel is relatively palate coating, but not quite as thick or oily, or even juicy as heady. Overall, this is a solid IPA. Not as complex as heady, or as tropical or juicy in my opinIon. More sessionable.

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Photo of AmeriCanadian
4.51/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Gotta say on the front end that the can I enjoyed had some age on it, at least a couple months. Poured into a tulip but also sampled some directly from the can to compare (from the glass was better). Light orange body with a thick, bubbly, white head that actually kept building after the pour as bubbles flooded up the sides of the glass. Beautiful, big-bubble lacing throughout the consumption process. Not nearly as hazy as I expected, but certainly not clear. And that's the first of multiple notes of "fantastic but not as unique as I thought it would be." Smell is extremely pungent, dank, herbal, piney, citrusy, tropical, and grassy. Some almost herbal notes of green tea, tobacco, and hemp mixed in, as well. As it warms the dankness drops off just a bit and the bright citrus comes more to the forefront. Taste is fantastic but, again, not as differentiated from many other big hop bombs that I've had before, and I was absolutely expecting this beer to be in a class of its own. Juicy, but not nearly as much as Heady, at least to my palette. Bitter, resinous pine, tart citrus rind, sweet tropical fruit, dank, biscuity cracker. The bitterness coats your teeth and tongue, with an almost sour quality floating in the background. Truly delicious, but not overly distinguished from a number of other citra- and/or mosaic-heavy beers I've had over the past year. Feel is chewy, sticky, thick, and smooth. You want to somehow simultaneously sip and chug it, the feel is so wonderful. Poured the last few ounces out with authority so as to enjoy the sea monkeys they produced, and that didn't do any harm to the drinking experience, at all.

So, overall, a wonderful beer, especially if comparing it to IPAs (not IIPAs). But maybe the hype was just too much. Admittedly, some of the above "constructive" commentary is relative to Heady, which perhaps isn't fair because they're different beers. Revisiting my scoring, I've tried to make sure I'm thinking of Focal relative to its category (American IPA, not IIPA), and with that in mind this beer is truly great. And my god, the post-drinking burbs. Glorious.

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Photo of Jimmys
4.1/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

pours fairly hazy blond body. there are actually bits of chunks floating around in this thing. piney and citrus notes jump out in the aroma. the definition of juicy. great bright citrus and rind flavor follows. resinous and fulfilling. light bodied and easy drinking, can hardly tell the abv here. a very good ipa.

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Photo of jcflorian
4.44/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2 wk can poured into snifter.

Pours hazy golden yellow with minimal head and nice lacing.

Aroma- citrus forward . Light malt on back end .

Flavor- nice combination of up front bitterness and back end smoothness. I get citra first with malt and mosaic on back end.

Mouthfeel- very appropriate for style. Not as creamy as I expected but still nice

Overall- I personally enjoy this a lot more than heady topper. This is not a juice bomb by any means but I love the balanced bitterness coupled with juicy flavor late.

93/100 overall.

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Photo of Beertracker
4.51/5  rDev -1.7%
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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Focal Banger from The Alchemist
4.59 out of 5 based on 2,628 ratings.
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