Focal Banger | The Alchemist

BA SCORE
100
world-class
360 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:
360
Ratings:
2,925
Avg:
4.57
pDev:
7.22%
 
 
Wants:
1,780
Gots:
759
For Trade:
15
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User Reviews
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Reviews: 360 | Ratings: 2,925
Photo of Stinkypuss
4.3/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 2.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a hazed light golden color with tons of sediment. It's natural but there is so much here it's kinda gross.

Aroma is citrusy, resinous, with lots of pine too. Pretty dank smelling.

The taste is resinous, piney and has a lot of citrus rind to it as well. Fresh tasting and refreshing IPA with loads of flavor.

Full bodied, well carbonated and a bit chalky due to the floaters. Satisfying hoppy finish.

This is a raw beer, simply put. The appearance is not the best, but the beer scores highly in other categories. I heard stories of people filtering out the floaters themselves, and I can see why. Still, it is a very tasty, intense and drinkable beer.

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Photo of dar482
4.89/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The beer comes in a bright golden orange with tons of particle matter in there.

The aroma is definitely a mix of Citra and Mosaic. There’s sweet peaches, apricot, orange peel, tangerine along with this bubble gum note of Mosaic along with its big dankness on the back end.

On the flavor, its follows with much more similarities to Heady Topper than the aroma. In the front. The front hits of peaches, papaya, guava, citrus peel, with the main flavor being grapefruit bitterness. A signature malt quality of Heady with a creamy body and a light breadiness, but still really crisp. The finish is very Heady Topper with this herbacious, floral, piney dankness.

In the end, despite the different hops, this beer follows Heady Topper very closely. Kimmich just cannot disappoint. A really hoppy and easy drinking brew along with a big dank herbacious quality in the back.

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Photo of John_M
4.46/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a a slightly hazy golden amber color with excellent head retention and considerable lacing. The nose is attractive as well, as I pick up considerable dry citrus, onion, grassy hops, light tropical fruit, pepper and a dash of clove. The flavor profile replicates the nose pretty closely, with a huge dose of hoppy bitterness on the finish. The citra hops in this ipa are very prominent. There's a hint of heat from the alcohol on the finish, but otherwise, there's not much to complain about in this hop bomb of an ipa. Mouthfeel is pretty full bodied in this no holds bared ipa, and the finish is hugely bitter. I guess this could be a bit better balanced, but that's obviously not what the brewer is going for here.

Not sure I could pound down more than one or two of these at a sitting, but this one tasty ipa for sure. Impressive.

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Photo of Davepoolesque
4.41/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Super dank, tropical and delicious. Turbid as a VT ipa should be. Real good...........................................................................

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Photo of jzeilinger
4.36/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Many thanks to millerbuffoon for this can of hoppiness.

A - Pours a hazy medium gold color with a very frothy, white, creamy head. Carbonation is moderate and steady.

S - Weak nose. Herbally, yeasty, with some citrus. The nose is nothing special. (Contrary to the label art.)

T - Balanced from start to finish. Citrus, grapefruit, yeasty, some spicy citrus rind and ends with some moderate piney/citrus bitterness.

M - Heavy medium body with light prickly carbonation that quickly gives way to a creamy finish.

O - This is a really solid beer but a "100" rating is over-stated.

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Photo of Immortale25
4.27/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a teku pint. No freshness date.

A- Pours a slightly hazy medium amber color with a 1/2 inch off-white head that retains well before becoming a thick ring around the edge of the glass and a full sheet of surface foam. Sticky resilient lacing.

S- Juicy floral hop aroma that's a bit sweet brings to mind papaya, peach and mango. Also a bit of earthy yeast character.

T- Assertive bitterness dominates with a decent amount of hop flavor accompanying. Bright and citrusy but also very dry. ABV is hidden decently well.

M- Very sharp from the hops with medium carbonation and a lightish body.

O- Not sure why everyone's saying this is better than Heady. Unless I'm dealing with a not-so-fresh can (still have no clue as to why they don't provide canning dates), this falls short of Heady by a wide margin. Too much bitterness without enough actual hop flavor to back it up. Maybe my expectations were a bit high but, even with that taken into consideration, I still wouldn't call this any more than "very good."

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Photo of VelvetExtract
4.84/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A-Pours a murky, pale yellow color. Looks like fruit juice. Smaller head sits atop the hop oil-laden body. Very light lace.

S-Oh my goodness, Mosaic and Citra blow the skin off my face here. Full citrus bouquet, peaches, sweet pineapple. Some earthy and viny hoppiness. Papaya! Pure, ripe fruit-juice medley of hops. I would wear this as cologne.

T-The flavor just rolls over the tongue and the hoppiness oozes into my taste buds. Mango, papaya, peach, pineapple and medley of citrus. Some bitter flower stems. Even a bit of lemon. The malt is tasty in its own right; it provides a pleasurable sweetness that pairs so convincingly with all the juicy hop goodness. Citra and Mosaic in perfect harmony.

M-Resiny. Bitterness doesn't melt the palate. Lingering flavor. Medium bodied and a bit creamy. Very drinkable; it was made to be in my mouth at all times.

O-An obvious gem. The brewery that does hops the best nails an IPA, what a surprise. So lucky to try a can of this. It is simply stellar. I love this goddamn beer.

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Photo of Stevedore
4.65/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

12oz poured on tap in Waterbury, VT. Poured into a Hill Farmstead stemmed glass today, 2/12/2014.

App- hazy yellow-orange body, fair one finger white head, some retention, some lacing. Looks awfully identical to the Heady I had sitting next to it.

Smell- juicy citrus, mango, pineapple with just a hint of bread and biscuits backing it all up. Smells great and certainly promised to be a hop-forward beer.

Flavor- similar to the nose but even better. Insane juicy citrus and passion fruit notes with a nice semi-balanced biscuit and caramel sweetness. Not particularly bitter either.

Mouthfeel- medium bodied, similar to Heady Topper. Good carbonation. Not terribly bitter.

Overall- very juicy and more fruity than Heady Topper, and less bitter to boot. Excellent IPA. Glad this is coming into full production. Thanks Laura!

Re-reviewed: had this out of a tallboy can 5/7/2014. Thanks Joe. This one essentially supports my first impression based on a tap pour. So juicy, hop-forward with just the perfect amount of biscuity malt backbone that I prefer, with a great mouthfeel. Glorious IPA that I wish I could have more of.

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

Pours a hazy golden color, excellent lacing on the glass. Mosaic comes through beautifully on the nose and shines through on the taste. Smooth mouthfeel with a dank bitter feel. An excellent alternative to its brethren

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Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4.59/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Tallboy can poured into Duvel Tulip.

Appearance: translucent orange/yellow bodied beer with tons of suspended white chunks in the beer. 3 fingers worth of bone white head that leaves behind a thick lacing of head on the side of the glass. The head had alot of staying power and eventually drops to a thin cap.

Smell: sweet citrus mostly oranges are what I smell immediately. Grapefruit and resinous pine notes next. Hint of tropical fruits. Slighty biscuity malts and maybe even a hint of honey.

Taste: Mild almost moderate bitterness from this hoppy beer. Oranges and tropical fruits. Grapefruit and resinous pine. Hops taste dank and dirty; just like Heady Topper does. Finishes with mild bitterness; mostly grapefruit rind and resinous pine.

Mouthfeel: Light bodied beer with low carbonation. The beer is really really crushable, but its slightly watery. Just a slight fizz as the beer goes over your tongue. Needs more carbonation, but I will give it a decent score because of the drinkablity factor.

Overall: I like Focal banger better than heady topper. Citra and mosiac hops are always an outstanding combo!

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Photo of Brad007
4.77/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Acquired at a can sale today.

Pours a cloudy whitish-gold hue with a frothy head into my glass. Can is a generic can with the Focal Banger logo sticker.

Juicy with a floral/citrus profile due to the "copious additions of Mosaic and Citra hops". Indeed.

Acidic tart grapefruit greets the tongue, followed by just a touch of mango with a chewy texture.

To me, the finish is similar to what would happen if you gargled with hop juice. A long lasting bitterness.

All hail The Alchemist! Focal Banger will do for IPAs what Heady Topper did for DIPAs. It's just a matter of time before their second brewery comes on line.

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Photo of Jwale73
4.06/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a pale orange hue with a hazy clarity and a half-inch, tight, bright white head. Nose is floral, herbal and earthy with a trace of light toasted malts. Taste follows nose. Mouthfeel is light-medium in body (but closer to light) with a lively carbonation. Overall, quite quaffable. Another great Alchemist offering.

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Photo of maximum12
4.05/5  rDev -11.4%

Thanks again to Joe_Grizzly for drowning me in Alchemist, really looking forward to this one. I got your Silver Bullet right here, mother….16 oz. can dumped into my purty Kuhnhenn glass.

The thing I love about Alchemist IPAs is that when you pop the top, the smell hits your nose at the speed of light. No need to suck in copious amounts of air, wet your nose, or otherwise search for the aroma. It is PRESENT. Filet knife sharp citrus, honeysuckle, bunch of airy tropical notes. The brew is a light, dull orange, with a head that appears focused on sticking around until the weekend arrives.

Focal Banger is an underhanded, dishonest brew. My first sip I thought “What kind of sweet, malt-driven-ass IPA is this…” & then my thoughts scattered. A malty base of sweetness, clover, & honey gives way quickly to the mid-palate of hops that stick close to the nose. A moderate bitterness rides along with the tropical punch, roaring citrus, bit of spiciness, fragments of lemon & perhaps banana. The end is interesting, as the bitterness builds with every sip, until the top of my mouth is wallowing in spite. Grassy. Light. I would have to say this is one of the easiest-drinking beers I have ever had, I’m drinking this about twice as fast as I would a ‘normal’ brew.

I like to compare stuff, so I’m going to say this isn’t quite in the same league as All-Stars Heady & Crusher. Which is to say this is merely excellent, rather than amazingly superior. I’ll take that kind of third-string any day.

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Photo of rlee1390
4.3/5  rDev -5.9%

A-Cloudy deep orange, two finger head with nice lacing.

S-Citrus, tropical notes, grass and hops.

T-Citrus, tropical, grass with nice hops, a mild bitterness as well.

M-Medium bodied, nice carbonation with hop resins.

O-A solid IPA from the Alchemist, they know what they are doing with hops.

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Photo of Resuin
4.56/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 16 ounce can into a pint glass. This was released a week ago today so is quite fresh.

Appearance: Pours a very hazy, orange-tinted honey-amber and leaves a finger of slightly off-white head which lingers for a bit before fading to a layer atop the beer, leaving some lacing on the glass.

Smell: Big citrus/mango hops. Some resin, hint of pine. Lots of tropical notes. Really expressive and powerful aroma. Mouth-watering.

Taste: Matches the aroma well, but a bit more pine. Citrus, mango, pineapple, resin, a hint of honey, earthy notes, orange rinds. Huge hop presence. Finishes smooth and a little bitter.

Mouth-feel: Well carbonated with a medium, slightly creamy body. Finishes smooth - the 7% is well hidden.

Overall: Another really nice IPA from the Alchemist. Plenty of similarities to Heady Topper but definitely has its own personality. Refreshing, but with really big flavor. Really tears up the palate with the hop explosions.

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Photo of mynie
4.31/5  rDev -5.7%

Apparently BA's "Phone friendly" interface refuses to post reviews written on iOS? Whatev...

Nutshell: this is like if Heady were a Citra bomb.

It's super intense and delicious: "decadent" is probably the best word. And while that's great, the lack of depth of hop profile holds it back from excellence. Heady can get away with its largeness because the hops come at you with wave after wave of cascading variegation. The relative simplicity of Focal makes its heft more salient, and finishing a can is a bit like trying to eat half a cheesecake in one sitting.

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Photo of papat444
4.35/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a totally hazy, gold/lemonade color. Long lasting head. Hoppy aromas jump out of the glass, juicy, sticky and fresh sliced fruit. Flavor has a crisp malt backbone but generous hops are piled on. The result is a damn tasty IPA but not as good as Heady.

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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 Brenden
4.49/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The color is a very murky medium yellow, completely opaque except at the edges. The head is a fluffy, rocky and very dense one that's very close to pure white with the slightest yellow tint. IT finally rests at no less than 1/4 finger but it's a thick and heavy pillow that remains, dropping lace in a blend of spotting and netting as it does.
The bouquet is very nice, lots of citrus and earth, even a bit of must with, interesting, a crackery sort of note. There's even a touch of nut and herbal leaf riding underneath. It's very well hopped with no harshness resulting, more and more raw greenery developing as it sits. IT seems to develop a bit of acidity as time passes, dry and mildly sharp.
The taste brings out that herbal green right up front, and this beer's balance while relying on hops to carry the flavor meets expectations. A not-quite-piney note grows with the earthier undertones. The finish shows just a little rind and lingers with some dryness and a flash of wood.
The body is as firm a medium as it could be, lots of balance between crisp and smooth while running semi-dry from very beginning to lingering finish.

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Photo of popery
4.49/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to frenchyraoul. It says to drink from the can, but I took my chances and poured some into a glass. The new can design is quite nice, though. The beer is yellow, fairly pale, with just a bit of orange to it. Pretty hazy. Big white head. Lots of lacing and very good retention. Big juicy hop aroma. Lots of tropical and citrus fruitiness with a solid resiny backbone running through it. It’s big on pineapple, tangerine, grapefruit, pine, mango. Good stuff. The taste has moderate to medium bitterness. Lots of hop flavor. Mild pale malt character. A nice mineral note. Finishes pretty dry. Easy drink. Soft, full mouthfeel. Packs a lot of flavor. It’s a very satisfying IPA. Excellent work from Vermont.

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Photo of mig100
4.89/5  rDev +7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Fresh on tap, direct from The Alchemist at FW Invitational. Bright and radiant sunshine glow with dense 3 finger head and sticky, bubbly lacing remaining all over the glass. Dank, delicious, pungent marijuana aroma with huge blasts of tropical citrus and resinous earthy hops that coat the palate and linger forever. Next level shit. Consider my focal banged.

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Photo of bubseymour
4.61/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Really nice citrus forward IPA. I thought the aroma was about as pleasant as it could get but the taste was a little one dimensional and felt it needed a little more malt balance and also was a touch bitter in finish. Still a fantastic IPA none the less.

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Photo of pkalix
4.81/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

wow! been waiting to try this one.... drinking from the can like it commands, it tastes like Squirt. very delicious, very refreshing and very easy to drink! how does one rate it if one cant pour it into a glass, though? so i did. it actually may even taste a little different(?). slightly hazy, thin head. but yes, it DOES taste better from the can.

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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 Keananmichael5
4.56/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this before they designed the new can. I almost prefer it to Heady but both are very very good. I wish I could have it again. Dry hop smell, crisp flavor, very balanced beer.

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Focal Banger from The Alchemist
4.57 out of 5 based on 2,925 ratings.
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