Focal Banger
The Alchemist

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IPA - New England
Ranked #21
Ranked #64
4.59 | pDev: 7.19%
The Alchemist
Vermont, United States
Focal BangerFocal Banger
Notes: Focal Banger® is an American India Pale Ale. We have a real love for IPAs here at The Alchemist and we strive to offer you the best hop experience that we possibly can. The beer is brewed using Citra and Mosaic hops and our favorite British malts. Truly an abundance of malty goodness.

Freshness and control have always been my main concern when it comes to our beer. We are committed to providing you with an unfiltered and unpasteurized hop experience. Why do I recommend that you drink it from can? Quite simply, to ensure a delightful hop experience. The act of pouring it in a glass smells nice, but it releases the essential hop aromas that we have worked so hard to retain.

If you MUST pour it into a glass, you may find that some of the hop resins have settled to the bottom -- leave them in the can when pouring. This beer is perishable and at its best when it is young, fresh, and hazy. Keep it cold, but not ice cold. Drink this beer today, you could be dead tomorrow ... -- John Kimmich
Reviews: 611 | Ratings: 4,283 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of gooddaydiablo
gooddaydiablo from New Jersey

4.34/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

look: pale orange, hazy but feels like you can still see thru

smell: floral and honeydew

taste: floral, honeydew, some strange bitter taste

feel: smooth and easy chugging

overall: good but seems overrated

Today at 01:17 AM
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Spudsy from Illinois

4.63/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A know-it-all told me that this is Alchemist's best. I won't argue the point. Absolutely solid. Citrusy. Must go to Vermont and see the brewery. The AVB is seven so for me, an old man, it's possible to enjoy two cans of this treat.

Apr 30, 2021
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Mortal_Wombat from Texas

4.81/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Canned 3/25/21, drank straight from the can but poured a bit out to see the color.

Look: Pours opaque gold in the glass. Has aromas of grapefruit/mixed citrus with floral hops and some noticeable dankness.

Taste: Matches the nose of the beer. Has some breadiness but the malt is mostly overwhelmed by strong hops/pine and some nice tropical fruit up front. Lots of flavors in this one that blend together incredibly well, which is no small feat.

Feel: Lingers on my tongue and finishes dryly with a classic bitterness on the back end. Very easy drinking, carbonation is moderate but not overwhelming.

Overall: Considered one of the very best of the style for a reason. A very drinkable and enjoyable beer, still holds its own incredibly well against newer NE IPAs.

Apr 16, 2021
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ommegangpbr from New York

4.53/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Canned 2/11/2021. Consumed mostly straight from the can as suggested but I poured a sample into a glass to have a look and to get a good whiff.
Looks like an IPA should on the pour. Pale gold body, white head. The scent is incredible from the glass. The freshness is evident.
Flavors are more concentrated when right out of the can. They are lighter and perhaps lifted when in the glass. Plenty of grapefruit flavor to be found.
I was surprised and happy to find this in a local place. The four pack cost me about twenty five dollars and I'm not angry about it.

Mar 14, 2021
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jakecattleco from California

4.64/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Can dated 01/28/21 into a Spiegelau IPA glass.

L: Pours hazy white yellow with 2+ fingers of pillowy white head with great retention and left mixed lacing.

S: Potent citrus with some prominent floral notes, then breadiness, slight hints of dank and tropical fruit underneath.

T: Follows the nose very well, with slight additional pine dimension. Finishes with plenty of bitterness and medium acidity, acidity lingers and drys the palate.

F: Low-medium bodied with medium-high carbonation, tingles on the tongue, slick on the swallow.

O: Definitely my jam, loved it!

Feb 27, 2021
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mkh012 from Colorado

4.32/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Canned 1 month ago.

Pours medium-hazy orange with two fingers of white head.

The nose is orange, melon, bread, and skunky weed.

The taste is orange, melon, lemon, passionfruit, onion/chive, crackery malt, and medium bitterness.

The mouthfeel is medium for the style. Opens juicy and finishes dry.

Overall, very good. I like this more than Heady.

Feb 22, 2021
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TheBeverageKing from New Jersey

4.53/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

From the can as intended

A: can’t tell in the can!
S: organic, earthy
T: More citrusy than the Heady Topper. Low bitter. Complex but balanced mix
M: medium body very drinkable
O: Rich and skunky - very sophisticated brew

Feb 16, 2021
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Ricelikesbeer from Colorado

3.91/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

L: slight haze, huuuggeee carbonation wow, fills most of the glass with sticky foam despite a careful pour. Light off gold light cream color, very sticky lacing

S: huge aroma of tropical goodness, mango, papaya, clementine, citrus. slight booze hint, clean and inviting

T: huge malt upfront, lots of english biscuity flavors. Don't love the malt profile, prefer a bit more crystal sweetness to the biscuit flavors, but the balance is nice. not cloying or overly sweet

F: great mouthfeel, very light and clean with a nice getaway

O: Oh my goodness calm down with these ratings! a very nice ipa but not anywhere close to my personal top 10-20 ipas, classic example of east coast- haze hype I guess, stilll a very nice ipa. The malt balance is great as are the choice of hops and the overall cleanness of the beer suggesting very adapt brewing methods and execution.

Jan 28, 2021
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Thankin_Hank from Texas

4.83/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

From a 16 ounce can dated 12/10/2020, a short pour gets a yellow hazy straw color. Had a fabulous head on the second pour. I tried it straight from the can too. Its aroma favors an almost skunky citrus smell that is very inviting. The taste is grapefruit, lemon, orange and the right amount of bitterness that wanes as you drink more. The mouthfeel is smooth and refreshing straight from the can. This is truly a fine NEIPA. I hope I get the chance to try it again. A special thanks to @laketang for the heads up on getting this Focal Banger and a couple more in the process that I don't normally get in Texas. I will admit I enjoyed it more poured in the proper glassware. The aroma is extra special.

Jan 24, 2021
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beerbully from New Jersey

4.23/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

L-Murky straw colored brew.......healthy 2 fingered head.....lacing is moderate....retention on both lacing and head are above average

S-Ripe melons, mango, pineapple.......dank, musty

T-Similar to the nose with some herbaceous, floral notes......some hop dust....some breast, graininess....finish is a lingering piney, citrus rind bitterness

F-less than medium......somewhat slick

O- From the OG of the NEIPA craze.....solid....was earth shattering at one time

Dec 31, 2020
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stosh66 from Pennsylvania

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

Poured from 16oz can into glass.
A: Bright golden yellow. Slightly hazy. Keeps a 1/4" head and laces the glass.
S: Grassy hops,Dank, Overripe tropical fruit.
T: Follows the smell. Not a bitter tidal wave. A bit more subtle. Pithy bitterness and malt on the finish.
M: Medium body. Very drinkable
O: I'm a sucker for the flavors that Mosaic hops bring to the party. Also a sucker for a lighter malt bill. Win-Win for me.

Dec 30, 2020
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flagmantho from Washington

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

Poured from 16oz tall can into a tulip.

Appearance: hazy medium golden hue; it certainly looks convincing.

Smell: dank and almost barnyard-y. It’s grassy and earthy; I like it but it’s certainly unique.

Taste: earthy hops with a dank element, some citrusy element; it's even a little bit ... gamey. As per the style, there's a low bitterness. Overall, it’s kinda weird, but I like it.

Mouthfeel: medium body with a delicious and amazing creaminess. Outstanding!

Overall: this beer has grown on me. It’s dank and earthy as hell, but find I'm starting to dig it.

Nov 15, 2020
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Rschis16 from Maryland

4.64/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Awesome black can, but I did pour some into a glass to get a look. Hazy bright yellow in color with a foamy white head on top. Bursting with citrus and rind aromas, dank and a little resinous as well. The flavors are bold as well, resinous and piney, some citrus and that rind. Has a backbone of bitter hops and a malt bill that can hold up to them and balance them perfectly. There's a very pleasant bitterness that lingers in the back for a while. As it warms, some of the citrus flavors become more pronounced and the balance gets even stronger. The beer that I poured in the glass seems more thinned out than from the can of that makes any sense. They aren't wrong--drink it from the can. This is a more approachable and maybe slightly better balanced beer than Heady is I believe, although maybe with less of the explosiveness that Heady brings to the table. This beer is fantastic and I can see why this is the one the locals all recommend.

Oct 26, 2020
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Pineroom from New Jersey

3.96/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Excuse me for not falling over myself on this. It did grow on me, but the first whiff was like a someone hid a sappy pine tree in the can. It's a blow to the senses...I'm sure many loved that, and it did grow on me.

This is the definition of a hop bomb. I had the first one from the can which was good. I ignored the warnings and had the second on a glass, with a koozie on it to keep it chilled. It was better.

Pardon my rating, but I wouldn't be reaching for this if there were other options to choose from.

Oct 18, 2020
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Spaten454 from Texas

4.71/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A darker orange that is hazy with a thick white head. Smells is hops and pine. Smooth hop taste that dominates the palate. This fades to hop floral notes and pine. Finish is smooth and clean. Incredible beer

Oct 08, 2020
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Bartleby91 from Wisconsin

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

Been wanting to try this basically since I got into craft beer and it definitely met all my expectations.
A: Poured a hazy orange with a fluffy two finger head that lingered well and left a good amount of lacing. Also has some carbonation bubbling up the glass. Really pretty beer.
A: Nice and complex with notes of tropical fruit, resinous pine, orange and dank herbs. Also has an invigorating spiciness. Quite pungent in the best possible way.
T: Follows the nose with a smooth orange juice like note that is really great and moves into bitter grapefruit and dankness that melds well. Also has some herbal notes. Really wonderful depth of flavor. Has a prominent sweet maltiness that provides balance.
F: The palate lingers very well with a nice mix of resinous dankness and herbal notes. Mouthcoating and makes me want to have another drink.
O: Of the 2 Alchemist beers I have had(the other being Heady Topper), this is the better beer although I haven't reviewed that one yet. Happy we have multiple 4 packs. This is one of the best beers I have had in a while.

Sep 19, 2020
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Twerpin from New Jersey

4.21/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I haven't had the for a few years so recently there was a delivery to NJ and I decided to pick up a four pack of this and heady topper to see how it holds up. In the time between when I last had heady topper and focal banger, I've had a lot of good beer from breweries like Industrial Arts, Kane, Icarus, Singlecut, Other Half, Tired Hands and others.

A: Hazy, gold. Standard for the NEIPA style. Not a lot of head

S: I'm not great with smell but it has that typical fruity, yeasty smell

T: It's not a sweet NEIPA. It has a good tropical taste but has definite bitterness both on first drink and aftertaste. Pleasant carbonation.

O: It's a good NEIPA. I tend to like NEIPAs that have some bitterness to them and am not really into the ones that are super juice bombs and sweet. This is a very balanced beer and has a nice bitterness to it that cuts through the tropical-ness of it. In terms of mouthfeel, its a thinner type beer but has nice carbonation. Definitely has a dry, slightly bitter finish which I find to be pleasant.

It's eerily drinkable just like heady topper. Definitely a fan and a good example of the style but if I had to be perfectly honest, there are other beers that I would have. It's good, but these days there are tons of breweries making beers in this style who can do as good, or better of a job. For a widely available NEIPA, I think Wrench from Industrial Arts is better. The Alchemist was a pioneer in the style and this was one of the first ones, but I'll only drink this for nostalgia now.

Solid, very balanced beer. But in these days of the NEIPA, no longer something special.

Sep 12, 2020
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VoxRationis from New York

4.57/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Served from a 16 oz (473 ml) can into a Pilsner glass at Legends in New Suffolk, NY; canned 07/01/2020.
A: Pours a hazy, golden color with a three finger, foamy, white head, more than a finger of retention, and thick, foamy rings of lacing.
S: Yeasty toastiness on opening. Aromas of pineapple, grapefruit, caramel, pine, and barley.
T: Semisweet. Flavors follow the nose with more of a lemon citrus element. Strong but nicely blended bitterness.
M: Light medium bodied with strong persistence of carbonation.
O: This is my second beer from The Alchemist. Delicious.

Sep 06, 2020
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DoctorZombies from Florida

4.62/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

At 54 degrees, pours opaque almost hazy deep gold with some clarity under three fingers of rocky/mixed bubbles foam; long cap retention; medium heavy lacing that clings to the glass. Dank grapefruit and lemon nose. Weedy bitter citrus - grapefruit, lemon, lime, orange; semi sweet bready malt; some onion as liquid warms; bitter citrus finish. Medium body, moderate minus carbonation; bitterness (90 IBU) coats the tongue, but no hop astringency; no warmth from 7% abv. Overall a very tasty enjoyable IPA; nice pithy citrus bitter linger; great balance of English malts and bitter hopping; I could drink two cans in a row!

Aug 25, 2020
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Siriusfisherman from Vermont

4.62/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

L: Hazy yellow with a rocky white head

S: Bright tropical fruits, zesty citrus and some herbal dankness. Sweet malt aroma and some peach esters.

T: Firm bitterness that moves into some juicy mango and sweet citrus flavors. Nice support from the malt with some sweet breadiness. Fairly resinous.

F: Full mouthfeel, somewhat creamy with a dry finish.

Overall: A stellar IPA. So delicious and balanced. I honestly prefer this to Heady Topper.

Aug 23, 2020
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Dan2213 from Pennsylvania

4.71/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Canned 7/16/20 consumed 7/27. What can I say, this beer is at the top of the class for NEIPAs. Smell is fruity and tropical with a touch of pine. The taste is what separates this beer for me. It’s super tropical and still has enough pine and bitterness to satisfy. The feel is excellent too, not too thin, not to heavy, well executed. It’s a perfectly balanced IPA. Along with Heady, worth its billing.

Jul 28, 2020
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JohnniEMc from Pennsylvania

4.57/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Circumstances: A pint can poured into a clear glass liter mug. I know what the can says. Once, I tried a Heady Topper straight from the can. It did not enhance the taste for me. The Beer: The color is a light golden amber with a fluffy white head that lingers. Not an appreciable amount of glass lace. There's a modest IPA odor in the air. You know, hops and malts. Obviously, a highly crafted beer, but I don't think I've developed the requisite taste for Mosaic hops. That is acknowledged as odd, because I do enjoy Simcoe hop characteristics. Of course, there are other contributors to a beer's taste. The hop presence in Focal Banger is excellent. The drink is malty forward, then dry and somewhat bitter at the finish. It's very good, but not perfect. I get a little more alcohol taste here than in some other Alchemist concoctions. Maybe I should try it from the can.

Jul 27, 2020
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Bostonchap from Massachusetts

4.86/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Following up on my recent taste of heady topper, another terrific beer. Canned 7/1 and drank 7/20. Since Vt is a drive away this is probably as fresh as I’m going to get. Did I pour it into a glass? Yes I did, I’m a bad boy. But I really have a hankering to get my nose into these beers and smell that citrus grapefruits.

Jul 21, 2020
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argock from Virginia

3.98/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Canned on 01/20/20, a victim of COVID — thanks Bethany for your effort! Poured carefully into a Samuel Adams Perfect Pint (the second can of the 4-pack).

A: Lemonade yellow, hazy but you can see through it, with 1-finger of off-white head and prodigious lacing but crud and floaties throughout.

S: Pineapple, peach, mango, and light melon with plenty of grapefruit to go around.

T: Flavor is a half-step behind the aroma in intensity but definitely good despite the age with pineapple, peach, mango, strawberry, and grapefruit with a bit of honeydew melon in the finish. Low-medium bitterness with lots of tropical fruit esters.

M: Super smooth with light-medium body, low-medium carbonation, soft and easy to drink without being flabby.

O: I enjoyed FB a lot but would love a chance at a fresher can. All in all, held up through a pandemic in my friend’s fridge pretty well. Will update the next chance I get to try it!

Jul 06, 2020
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zeff80 from Missouri

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

16oz can. Poured out a cloudy, golden orange color with a good-sized, off-white head of foam. It left sticky rings of lace on the glass. It smelled of grapefruit, mango, orange peel, pine and sweet caramel. Big, citrusy burst of flavor with piney bitterness and a toasted caramel finish.

Jul 06, 2020
Focal Banger from The Alchemist
Beer rating: 100 out of 100 with 4283 ratings