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: 2,925
Photo of Luk13
4.1/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Can, thanks to blckout20! Appearance: Nice pale golden pour with thin white head. Aroma is very fruity (mango, banana, oranges), some light dank hops and some biscuit malts / graham crackers. Taste is fruity, moderate to high bitterness and a tad too sweet. Carbonation is rather low. I'm being picky here as I'm comparing it to HT. Not nearly as powerful and resinous as Heady, but a very good highly drinkable IPA.

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Photo of Jimmys
4.1/5  rDev -10.3%
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 Boff101
4.12/5  rDev -9.8%
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 Furlinator
4.12/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours cloudy straw gold with a big off-white head that remains as a thin cap on top and leaves strands of lace. There is visible floating hop resin. The smell is of subdued pine, faint tropical fruit, grass and, dare I say, sweat. The taste follows with grass, subtle pine, tropical fruit and, mild malt sweetness. Medium texture.

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Photo of emount91
4.13/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

still believe Heady is the best beer I've had from these guys. pours a semi hazy orange, floaties seen so not sure how old my can was (no date, tsk tsk). smell was big on the mosaic, but also had an orange scent to it, no malt on the nose. taste was bigger on the orange, but also at the same time very resinous and almost west coasty in the IPA realm of things. feel was alright, though I feel it could have been a tad better. overall this is another decent offering from Alchemist, but it's no Heady Topper to me.

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Photo of joe1510
4.13/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16oz Can

Thanks Mark for passing a few cans my way. Focal Banger sports a grimey golden body verging on tarnished bronze. It looks mildly hazy but upon closer inspection there's a nearly infinite number of floaties suspended throughout the body. The foam grows to a finger on the pour and recedes fairly quickly to a skimming and ring. A spot or two of lace is left clinging to the glass after each drink but it falls right back into the body.

The nose is bright and vibrant. Tropical notes that are a little tough to pick out specifically are equally intermingled with forest floor and parmesan cheese rind, a little dank and funky in the hop department. Sweaty. Underripe mango and dried apricot make their presence known over the top of a softly sweet candied malt base with a caramel swirl. The nose certainly is inviting.

The dried apricot and peppery mango kick it off while a wave of unidentifiable tropical fruits was through the middle. The dank and funkiness come through in the middle. It's got that loamy/pine needle thing going on with that sharp parmesan cheese rind leading into the sugar cookie sweetness. There is a swirl of caramel and a touch of honey but the malt base is pretty clean.

The body weighs in at moderate with a lively carbonation. The bubbles make it feel lighter overall. It's spritzy on the back of the tongue with a bitterness that falls just short of moderate. The finish is fairly dry and it leaves me wanting another drink. This is an easy one to put away, that's for sure.

There's a reason you're supposed to drink this beer from a can. It's unappealing. The nose is bright and vibrant and it's pungent and dank on the palate. An easy beer to put away. I'd happily drink some more of these in the future. Thanks again, Mark!

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Photo of danh53
4.13/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pale and light in appearance. Grapefruit, hop resin, herbal nose. Sweet. Taste is sweet citrus with tropical notes like pineapple and Mellon on the front of the tongue. Bitter hops build in the mid palate and finish along with lemon lime and green herbal notes which come on a little too strong for my liking. Mouth feel is creamy, full, and tight. There's so many great IPAs available today that it's hard to compare. This doesn't strike me as one of the best, but honestly it might just depend on the day when I'm grading IPAs. This is definitely a good one and worth seeking out.

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Photo of dboon
4.15/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Can shared by Collin. Clear yellow pour with a white head. Fruity hop aromas. Grapefruit hop notes dominate. Good balance, body, and mouthfeel. Very nice..

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Photo of GuitarIPA
4.15/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Tasty beer, but the weed/onion smell was a bit overpowering.
*had a chance to try again- onion aroma and flavor are still there - but not as powerful as I remembered. A very enjoyable and refreshing beer.

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Photo of cpetrone84
4.15/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

Pour is reasonably hazed peachy gold with a tight white head. Nose is loads of citrus hops with grapefruit and peach. Taste follows the nose, loads citrus, peach and grapefruit. Very dry and clean, well carbonated and lighter body. A lot like a slightly lower alcohol heady with a bit more fruity punch but less bright hop flavor.

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Photo of maverickManas
4.15/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 2.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.75

Although beer industry professionals (owners or employees) are welcome to join and participate on, we do not allow them to review their own beers and/or establishments. Reviewing the so-called competition is also highly frowned upon. All reviews and/or accounts that fail to follow this will be subject to deletion.

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Photo of KYGunner
4.17/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This poured with a brilliant pineapple yellow color with a thick head of densely knit, bright white foam.

The nose has a malty background but the Mosaic hops are very evident. The aroma has some honey, oranges and pineapple before turning earthy and grassy.

The flavor is sweet and sugary, like a citrus fructose, with the evident Mosaic hop character punching through. The hop finish is grassy, earthy, not overly bitter, with a spicy character.

The feel is so light, airy and smooth but it still has a good amount of heft.

Very well crafted IPA with some different aromas and tastes then the standard fare.

 612 characters

Photo of FosterJM
4.17/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

1785th Review on BA
Can to Stemless Alchemist Glass
16 oz tall boy

Thanks to Jake and Mike

App- When I crack the can on this one, I do get a good solid IPA pour. The color reminds me of a orange and pineapple color combo with some decent orange and light yellows and a bit of gold. A smaller head was there and the disappears. The cling is nice down the glass and its a mix of bubbles and sediment coming towards me.

Smell- This was a good mix of tropical bursts from the hop combinations and then trails off into a bit of forest like pine and resin with a little bit of a skunk aroma to me. The prevailing citrus note is that of pineapple.

Taste- I will say I am quite enjoying this beer and I am aware its not meant to be a Heady. This was good and rated as such. The fruit and citrus forward taste from the hop combo is delicious. Prevailing fruits of orange, tangerine, pineapple dominate the front and the pine take center stage in the back.

Mouth- A creamy and airy medium body with a good medium carbonation behind. Silky like a stout, but bubbly like a DIPA. I enjoyed the balance quite a bit.

Drink- This was a treat. I never expected to land a can, because I dont trade that much, but that you fellas. This was a great tick. I love the dont be a Dbag sticker because they ran out of stickers. A good beer, could be great if not to be outdown by another beer from the same brewery.

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Photo of ThrewRedButter
4.18/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

L - Hazy yellow with three fingers of white head

S - Garlic, onions, and spices. Big yeast character.

T - Follows the nose. Drinking straight from the can adds the tropical juices and citrus. An overall dank, wet hop juice taste all throughout.

F - What you'd expect. Resinous at times, but not a deterrent.

O - Solid IPA. Lost of hype, but not a mind-blower in my opinion.

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Photo of Duff27
4.19/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A- Huge billowy bone-white head on a light dull orange body. Splotchy lacing. Cap and collar throughout.

S- Bright hop aromas, can say citra and mosaic. Enticing.

T- Leaves a bitterness on the tongue more than just about any IPA I can think of. Taste alone would lead be to believe this one to clock in around 6.5% to7%abv.

M- Big mouthfeel, adequate carbonation.

D/O- Really quite the easy drinker, a serial crusher if you will. Thanks for this long-time want Jon (@jhavs)!

 482 characters

Photo of buschbeer
4.2/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

1 PINT can
Served in a tulip glass

This beer pours pale yellow and is cloudy. It looks like pineapple juice. It is topped with several inches of fluffy, white head that leaves chunks of lacing as it recedes.

The aroma is loaded with tropical and citrus fruit. It smells more tropical than citrus. Very nice.

The taste begins with tropical fruit that gives way to bitter grapefruit. It finishes with fresh pine needles.

Medium to full mouthfeel

It was great to start out. The pine flavor began to build the more I drank it leaving a bitter taste in my mouth. It is a two and a half week old can.

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Photo of Apellonious
4.21/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

16 oz can picked up from the brewery, that stayed in the can. I am going to assume this looks good. Aroma of mango, fresh hops and grass.
The taste is dank, grapefruit and citrus, dirt and tropical fruit. Carbonation is medium to medium high, feel is fairly full. Overall, a tasty ipa, recommended if you can get your hands on it.

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Photo of jbertsch
4.21/5  rDev -7.9%
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 stakem
4.22/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Thank you mymrnngjckt for the surprise hookup on this. Pounder can poured into a pint glass appears a light golden yellow color with a soapy white cap that fades leaving spotty lace.

Aroma is like brie - cheesy with hops. Somewhat fruity/floral and citrusy with a hint of tropical appeal.

Taste includes plenty of fruity hop qualities that are pulpy and resinous with a clean bitterness that has a mild tropical feel long into the aftertaste like pineapple.

Light in body with moderate to lower carbonation. There is a mild alcohol feel to this that blends nicely into the hoppy bitterness. This is quite a fine brew that seemingly evaporated out of my glass in no time. Id certainly drink it again.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
4.23/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

16 oz. can poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Hazy bright orange. Decent white head. Medium collar.

Smell - Grapefruit hops. Some orange. Musty. Pale malt.

Taste - Great hop flavor. Some sweet orange hops. Grainy cracker malt and a hint of pale malt sweetness. Finishes with a medium bitterness.

Mouthfeel - Medium body. Bitter, but nothing overwhelming.

Overall - Excellent. The Mosaic differentiates it from just being Heady Jr.

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Photo of TheElectricOne
4.24/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 16oz can into a can glass. Yes, I know it says drink from the can.

Appearance: pours a lovely, hazy, golden-yellow color, with a thick and sudsy white head. Body is quite turbid, with tons of floating hop particles. Probably why Kimmich advises drinking from the can. Towards the end of the beer, the hop chunks are slightly off-putting. Still, the rest of the beer is amazing looking, including the can, so I can't knock it too much.

Aroma: loads of hop character here. Typical Citra and Mosaic profile; lots of citrus, grapefruit, some peach and mango. There's also more bitterness and pine than most modern NE-style IPAs.

Taste: following the aroma, loads of fruity hop character, along with moderate bitterness and some malt as well. Not incredibly over-hopped, like the beers this and Heady pre-dated. This beers balanced, but still with an uber-hoppy punch. Excellent!

Feel: full-bodied, and with moderate carbonation. Nice and crisp, with a somewhat dry finish.

Overall: this is an excellent beer, and pairs perfectly with Heady. I'd have figured that the new Alchemist might have some growing pains, but this is fantastic.

 1,150 characters

Photo of manfromanotherplace
4.24/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A very nice IPA, better than Heady Topper for sure, there's a lot more going on in here than Heady and its definitely a little fruitier, however this is still overrated and simply usnt up to the standard of ipa being set by the likes of treehouse, grimm, finback etc. How this is #8 in the world is baffling. Very good but seek out the breweries i mentioned and you'll find better alternatives.

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Photo of Sheppard
4.24/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a great glowing gold. Tastes of assertive hops, mango and pineapples that is met with some harsh vegetal bitterness that seems to be a characteristic of The Alchemists beers. Focal is great but not a beer that is 100% pleasant.

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Photo of DrinkThemAll
4.25/5  rDev -7%
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 Newport_beerguy
4.25/5  rDev -7%
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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Focal Banger from The Alchemist
4.57 out of 5 based on 2,925 ratings.
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