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Focal Banger | The Alchemist

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
100
world-class
201 Reviews
Focal BangerFocal Banger
BEER INFO

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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
201
Ratings:
2,030
Avg:
4.62
pDev:
22.94%
 
 
Wants:
1,790
Gots:
415
For Trade:
7
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
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Reviews: 201 | Ratings: 2,030
Photo of curtis6290
4.95/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Lighter than the Heady Topper, but you get the same flavor profile. This one is smooth and piney, and I was able to drink these all night without getting really messed up like from the HT. Highly recommended.

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Photo of bugzy3188
4.89/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

L: If you like your beers clear, you may want to keep this one in the can. Opaque with minimal head, and lots of floating hop goodness. Minimal alcohol legs but this is to be expected with a %7 brew.

S: Right off the bat I get punched with orange and lemon peel, there is some pineapple that pokes it's head through supporting the citrus tones perfectly. There is a touch of dankness behind all of this but the citrus tones take front stage.

T: This one really is an assault on the pallet, the taste doesn't carry as much of the citrus peel flavors but rather gives way to some of the underlying pineapple and mango that rests beneath. Directly after the fruit juice bombardment I was hit with a metric S-ton of bitterness that did not overstay it's welcome falling off clean giving way for the pineapple/mango to resinate.

F: This brew has an amazing mouthfeel, it is smooth as can be and has an almost creamy quality to it. This was one of my favorite aspects of Heady and this is right up there with its older brother.

O: This is an absolutely amazing beer, it can be hard to get but is definitely worth seeking out if you are a hop head such as myself. It is hard for me to do justice with words just how good this beer really is, I honestly can't think of a single flaw.

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Photo of mothman
4.6/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

White head. Lace. Hazed golden yellow.

The mosaic hops show well. Very juicy. Nice nose. Tropical and fruity. Melon and mango. Orange.

Medium bodied. Nice bitterness and stickiness. A bit dank and resiny.

Very solid. Worth the hype.

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Photo of lanciloti
5/5  rDev +8.2%
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 Dopen993
4.57/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

16 oz can into tulip. No can date.

L. Dark yellow, light orange with full on haze. Very light fluffy, white head 2 fingers. Moderate lacing.
S. Lots of citrus and pine, definitely getting a good amount mosiac.
T. Lots of citrus right of the bat. Mixes in with tropical fruit mid palate (getting a good amount of orange) and then on the finish there is a lot of great grapefruit, bitte, pine.
F. Lighter creamy mouthfeel with nice carbonation.

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Photo of Beerasaurus
4.99/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had Focal out of a can at the Mule Bar in Winooski. Did not pour any into a glass, so I'm assuming the look is as awesome as the rest of it. The aroma is an explosion of citrus smells, as good as any IPA out there. The taste that follows is well balanced between hops and citrus, with a great, smooth feel. Really enjoyed this beer. It exceeded my expectations, and I'd take this over Heady. I hope they distribute beyond bars. It's a keeper.

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Photo of rorykanderson
4.63/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Thanks, Kara! Enjoyed 50/50 from the can first and then poured into a glass. In hindsight, I preferred it from the can; as you would expect, there were floaties galore in the glass - doesn't bother me one bit. Not overly turbid or murky. A nice cloudy orange gold. It's such a balanced IPA, it's beautiful. Part crisp citrus, bushy pine, tropical fruit and exquisite bitters, this IPA sings a balanced tune from start to finish. Not too juicy, resiny, bitter or hot. It's the beer that Goldilocks would drink after breaking into the bear's house. Fucking hard to find, for sure, but it really is a treat when you do track it down.

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Photo of LordSMAF
4.95/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Simply put one of the best IPAs I have had. Consumed from a fresh 16oz can.

Tons of dank goodness with the right balance of bitter and citrus. Smooth.

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Photo of Troybrewing
5/5  rDev +8.2%
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 jbertsch
4.21/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Definitely enjoyable, but I thought it tasted a bit like Heady's just-a-little-younger brother rather than something that offered its own personality. Lemon and lime were the primary aromas and flavors extracted from the hop profile. Tastes like the conan yeast strain is in there as well.

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Photo of ScaryEd
4.88/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Consumed from a can purchased at the Three Penny Taproom in Montpelier, VT.

I give the appearance a neutral 3 because I drank the beer from the can.

The aroma brings an absolutely absurd amount of citrus. Smelling this beer is like taking a walk through Odin's orange grove wearing a Smell-O-Scope. There's so much juicy grapefruit, and orange rind, but just enough bitter, grassy hop resin to balance everything out. Absolutely incredible.

The taste follows the nose with an atomic explosion of grapefruit and tropical fruits, followed by some bitter, earthy hop resin. Bitterness lingers for a while after each sip.

The mouth is medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Extremely creamy, smooth and lightly bitter.

Overall, I simply need more of this beer. It is incredible. It is every bit as good as Heady and the flavors and aromas really stand out on their own. Can't wait for this to start getting retail distribution.

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Photo of Hopislovehopislife
5/5  rDev +8.2%
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 bol3by
3.47/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

"Session Heady Topper"

Great beer for those who cannot handle the explosive taste from HT.. It's not a true "session" because Focal Banger still packs a lot of flavor. Were it a standalone, it would probably be rated higher but it's hard not to compare to the older brother.

Worth trying if in the area, but outside of that nothing that amazing that stands out

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Photo of CayseyW
4.76/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

L: Hazy gold body with a bubbly white head; decent lacing. Looks great out of the can, but drinks better in the can.
S: big citrus aromas with perfume florals. The hop notes are intense out of the can, so much that it muddies the aromas and it ends up smelling like a lot of citra and mosaic ipas. Inside the can, however, its more subdued and much more elegant.
T: Citrus, herbals and subtle tropical notes dominate the palate.
F: Soft, sticky, prickly and perfect bitterness.
O: maybe not quite the masterpiece HT is, but I prefer this one. I wouldn't say I was becoming bored with HT, because I still haven't had that much of it, but this beer reminded me why it blew me away in the first place--The Alchemist's totally unique style. FB takes a hope blend I LOVE and put a totally new spin on it. Bravo!

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Photo of SmittyinNY
4.25/5  rDev -8%
look: 3 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

After drinking HT, figured this we be ...meh. Wrong! Another great tasting Alchemist brew.

Nice aroma from the can.
Not sure exactly how to explain it, but it definitely had that familiar mouth feel...like HT, but a touch thinner.
Another delicious IPA I could drink all day.

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Photo of Coulombemj90
5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I can't really say anything about look since it came directly from the can. When I first heard of the Alchemist I couldn't wait to try Heady Topper. The day I had my first Heady, my wife said I looked happier drinking that beer than I did on my wedding day. I can't say I agree but I was pretty pumped. During my most recent trip to Burlington I got to try Focal Banger for the first time. I was taken away by how good the beer was. I'd even go as far to say that it is better than Heady Topper. I just hope that when The Alchemist opens up their brewery that they put more of a focus on getting this beer distributed to places other than restaurants.

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Photo of Gajo74
4.53/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Look- Not sure how to rate the look as I got it out of a can. I'm sure it's a pretty brew. Cool artwork.
Smell- Delicious and intoxicating tropical fruit and dank resiny hops. This one is so juicy!
Taste- Very interesting and complex. I get a lot of bitter passionfruit, alcohol infused papaya and grapefruit rind. Big buttering hops and citric/grapefruit hops in the finish leaves you almost bone dry.
Feel- medium bodied but a bit lighter than some other more malt forward IPAs. Good balance.
A great brew. It provides an interesting counterpoint to Heady Topper. While HT has an intense smoky and tobacco leaf type hops feel and generally bigger malt body, this one has a thinner bodied and slightly softer hops complexion. I love both!

 739 characters

Photo of Back_in_the_Saddle
4.63/5  rDev +0.2%
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.

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Photo of PintOh1759
3.56/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Good IIPA but coming from the almighty John KImmich of Alchemist Brewing this beer had a lot of hype behidn it and simply did not deliver like Heady does. That being said if you just simply respect quality IPAs then this is nothing short of a damn good IPA that is very drinkable.

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Photo of MonkeyKnfeFight
4.75/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Another gem found on a 1-day bender through Vermont...in the airport terminal. I had 3 since you can get this via retail locations & drink it in-house only. Also stoked I was the only person in my row on the flight home as the buzz was spectacular & I mos def smelled of glorious beer.

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Photo of tmbgnicu
4.92/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Finally got to try this at prohibition pig last thursday with dinner. Lives up to ALL of the hype in my opinion, a perfect IPA, has all of the great characteristics of Heady but adds "otherworldly drinkability" to the mix. Ended up ordering 3 of them. Cannot wait until this is mass manufactured.

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Photo of macher0
4.69/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A. Light bronze color, great effervesce, fine-bubble egg shell head that had good retention.

S. Very citrusy - grapefruit rind, pineapple, mango and the such. Juicy.

T. As with the nose, very tropical. Outstanding.

M. Very crisp and smooth more so than HT.

O. Had this at a share as a side-by-side with HT. I've noticed HT to be batchy and more often then not, resin and piney. This was more on the tropical side of hops and I felt the mouth feel was better.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Finally getting around to writing a review for this one. I've been fortunate enough to have had several cans of this over the last year. Consumed right out of the can. Upon opening, a huge blast of fresh hops and grapefruit hit the olfactory senses. Unapologetic and assertive hops. Dank and resinous. Juicy and delicious. I'm not saying that this is better than Heady Topper, but like Heady Topper, I feel that this beer is essentially flawless. Every single time I have had it, I have been most impressed. My highest recommendation.

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Photo of hardysf
4.62/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

In your face hop aroma. Citra and Mosaic hops are the profiles that stand out to me. Lots of lemon and mango aroma and flavors with some grapefruit. Bitter and dry finish. I could just smell this beer all day.

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Photo of allhoppedup2
5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer is exceptional, a rare 5.0 beer. I got the chance to taste this and Heady on a vacation trip to Vermont last week. I had the Heady first and will review it later. The local folks recommended I try the Focal since it was only available in restaurants. To my palate, it was sweeter than Heady. Excellent Hop Balance. Very smooth, no notice of alcohol. Do drink it in the can, the Alchemist folks really have mastered World Class beer in a can.

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Focal Banger from The Alchemist
100 out of 100 based on 201 ratings.
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