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Focal Banger | The Alchemist

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BA SCORE
100
world-class
302 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:
302
Ratings:
2,613
Avg:
4.59
pDev:
21.35%
 
 
Wants:
1,769
Gots:
629
For Trade:
14
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
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Reviews: 302 | Ratings: 2,613
Photo of tregan_20
5/5  rDev +8.9%
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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Photo of FalconCount
5/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

If you could give a 5+, smell deserves it. When fresh, it is euphoric. Nose is full of citrus. Taste has a fresh bitter taste, followed by piney, resinous flavors. Mouthfeel is crisp, but not overly bitter, allowing you to appreciate the next taste.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
5/5  rDev +8.9%
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 Coulombemj90
5/5  rDev +8.9%
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 lochraneg
5/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Look: Hazy, beautiful, Golden color, Unfiltered look
Smell: Hop and Citrus Notes, smells like weed
Taste: More drinkable than Heady, could easily have 4 of these in a couple of hours
Feel: Good solid body, Hangs out with great after taste
Overall: Def my have Alchemist Beer, Wish they distributed this for case or 4 pack sale

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Photo of allhoppedup2
5/5  rDev +8.9%
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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Photo of SDRedDevil
5/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had cans in Stowe and Waterbury during a road trip. Great combo of Citra and Mosaic hops. Smells incredibly dank with great citrus notes as well. Tons of citrus hops on the front end, semi-creamy, with a nice dry bitter end. I think I like the hop forwardness more than Heady but I'm just splitting hairs....

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

had out of a can for look going on person next to me who poured in a glass
A nice pale hazy orange, a 3/8" head and nice lacing

a very fruity and citrus smell jumps out of the can.

wow what a tasty. a smooth crisp sweet hoppy tasty .

Has a light feel good medium to light carbonation.

It is not a "heady Lite" as people say. it is a banging beer in it's own right. it drinks and tastes smooth as silk with a bang. has banging dank hops with each taste. it is something that i could drink every day. in my opinion it is better than Heady. Wow a pleasure to finally try it.

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Photo of MOVERTON1284
5/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Better than heady for me. I have had this beer 3-4 times and it never disappoints. Wish they would put a date on the can. Great aroma of citra and mosaic, light and smooth just how I like my IPAs

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Photo of Beerasaurus
4.99/5  rDev +8.7%
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 ragnar3
4.99/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from a can at the Culmination Festival. Tasted alongside Heady Topper and Focal Banger was preferred. Perhaps not as well balanced as Heady, but Focal Banger delivered a crisp bite of Citra/Mosaic that is difficult to beat. Top 5, world class IPA.

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Photo of TedStrosser
4.99/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Hard to rate how it looks as I drank right from the can as directed.
I think I like it better than Heady, can't wait for new brewery to open and hope for larger distribution.

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Photo of dms
4.99/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This might be the best beer I've ever tasted. It's not a beer I could have more than one of at a time, though. I was lucky enough to acquire a 4 pack from a friend who made the trip to Vermont. Had one fresh the day he returned. This beer is very complex. Now having had all 4 over the last week I can say that it's different things to me at different times.

The smell: First impression - what is that? floral yeast like a Treehouse brew? No, something more. I smell grapefruit and spices - coriander, allspice . . . and Mosaic. Lot's of mosaic.

The Taste: Starts out with that warm, sweet floral Treehouse flavor but then it quickly turns bitter. This is more complex than any Treehouse I've had. The bitter lingers perfectly, just the right amount. Finally, I'm left with Mosaic; lots of it, that weedy/sour pucker tang.

The feel: Tight carbonation. It's not juicy. It's not like syrup. It feels very light and effervescent.

I think the best way to describe this is to say that it is something like a cross between a TH Alter Ego and a NEBCO Supernaut.

What's funny is that I didn't notice the Mosaic with my first one. At that point I was totally focused on the up-front floral yeast character and the bitter finish. Tonight, having my 4th and final it's all Mosaic to me, the smell, the taste.

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Photo of Ironstutz
4.98/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

so close to perfect! no booze flavor, just lovely hops and malt. beautiful, unfiltered look. followed by a lovely nose full of fruit and hops. and the taste that follows is such a impeccable balance of hops and malt. i highly recommend this one

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Photo of ryno6616
4.98/5  rDev +8.5%
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 SawDog505
4.97/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into my 13 oz tulip glass, I know it is fresh. Pours a hazy yellow orange with some floaties and a two inch white head that leaves loads of lace. Smell is tropical mango, passion fruit, tangerine, and a hint of grapefruit. Taste follows the nose everything thing blends perfectly, maybe a little more grapefruit lingers on the tong then you would expect from the nose. Body is medium large for its abv, plenty of life, a touch dry, and amazing drinkability. One of the best ever, as I expected.

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Photo of elvisdoc
4.96/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

I think I prefer Focal Banger even to Heady. It is a little less ABV and so drinkable. Very hoppy with a nice clean finish and mouthfeel. I wish they would distro this beer as I have only found it in VT restaurants and hotels and would love to buy by the case. Much recommended.

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Photo of unclejimmyjim
4.96/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

I wasn't able to get any of the canned release on Saturday, Feb. 15, so I consoled myself over a fresh pour at The Reservoir in Waterbury while watching the Canada/ Finland hockey game.

This may be the best beer (iPAs are my specialty) I have ever enjoyed. It combines the best of my two favorite beers into one beer that is eminently quaffable. I liken it to the perfect combination of Heady Topper and Lawson's Double Sunshine.

Sometimes a Heady (more often than not, at these times it is my second, third, or fourth Heady) is just a bit too citrussy for my palate. Those are times when a Double Sunshine will cut through the flavor of a Heady to deliver a cleaner, sharper hop-high.

Now i am too respectful of the integrity of the brewers and their brews ever to mix myself...and now that temptation is forever removed. I cannot wait for more to appear in cans.

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Photo of curtis6290
4.95/5  rDev +7.8%
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 LordSMAF
4.95/5  rDev +7.8%
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 spacecake9
4.94/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - I know they say drink from the can. But I really like to see my beer. Pours a golden orange with an inch of foamy white head that never completely goes away.
S - The aroma is orange and grapefruit.
T - The flavor is really strong grapefruit zest. The bitterness is just perfect.
M - Medium mouth feel and carbonation.
O - I'm a huge fan of all 3 Alchemist beers. Nothing better than drinking all 3 in a row and comparing with friends. Depending on my mood, any one can be the best beer I've ever tasted. Focal Banger is almost perfect, would love a stronger aroma but hey, it's the flavor that counts and this is a big winner.

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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 beerjunky413
4.94/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

All hail the Alchemist. This is THE example of an excellent IPA in the single/low double range. Pours a hazy yellow with strong head retention. Sipping on this is like riding a hop rollercoaster. As the sip works its way down the flavor changes a few times, starting as an intense yet well rounded piney citrus to mellow grassy notes to an intense, full, life altering multi-hop finish. One of my all time favorites, if you like IPAs you will love this. If heady is a 100 focal banger is a 101!

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Photo of Damian
4.94/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Drank from a 1 pint can at Hen of the Wood, Waterbury, VT
Served in a snifter

Cloudy, amber-tinged straw yellow appearance. The beer was topped by an inch-plus tall cap of bubbly froth that quickly dissolved. Droplets of lacing trickled down the glass.

The aroma was amazingly hoppy and bright. Super fruity. Tropical fruit notes dominated. Loads of musty passionfruit, papaya and mango. Uber juicy. Orange juice definitely came to mind. Tangerine as well. Fairly sweet. There was also an intensely dank, weed-like quality. Really fantastic. The passionfruit notes intensified as the beer warmed.

The flavor profile was very similar to the nose and just as incredible. Loads of tripical fruits. Mango, papaya and passionfruit were most apparent. Citrus notes played a bigger role here than in the aroma. Very orange-y. Orange peel appeared on the back end. The beer finished with notes of white grapefruit rind. Just the right amount of bitterness for balance. Piney, resiny notes lingered after the swallow.

The mouthfeel was amazingly creamy and supple. Fluffy and almost cloud-like. A fine, zippy effervescence made the liquid seem much lighter than it actually was.

Focal Banger definitely lived up to the hype. As much as I love Heady Topper, I have to say that this beer is even better.

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Photo of captainsdaughter
4.94/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

L: Had to give it a 4 because I drank it from the can like it was recommended and have no idea what it looks like in a tulip glass.
S: Smells like papaya, fresh pineapple and mango, with hops hops and more hops that burst through your nostrils just like in the picture on the can.
T: Best IPA I've ever had IMO. Blows SOS out of the water. The power of the hops and dominating citrus without over doing it makes this simply the most drinkable and pronounced IPA I have had. At 7% the drinkability is scary. No alcohol presence whatsoever.
F: This and Heady are in a class of their own when it comes to mouthfeel. The hops just roll down the back of your throat and it's not so overpoweringly bitter like most other IPA's are when they try to mimic this style. Similar mouthfeel to Heady but not as strong.
O: Like I said best IPA I will probably be able to enjoy, perfect beer that I would drink every day if I had the chance. Even better than Alter Ego.

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Focal Banger from The Alchemist
4.59 out of 5 based on 2,613 ratings.
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