Focal Banger
The Alchemist

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The Alchemist
Vermont, United States
New England IPA
Ranked #24
Ranked #84
4.56 | pDev: 7.24%
Tuesday at 11:41 PM
Jul 07, 2010
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
Recent ratings and reviews. | Log in to view more ratings + sorting options.
Photo of jimmybram
Reviewed by jimmybram from North Carolina

4.42/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5
Overall, a very solid IPA and a worthy sibling to Heady Topper. It has more subtle tastes and comes away tasting somewhere between a ne ipa and west coast ipa, with both citrus and pine notes. And yet, it's not overwhelming.
Tuesday at 11:41 PM
Photo of CupCakeFromHell
Rated by CupCakeFromHell

5/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5
Better Than Heady
May 21, 2023
Photo of beerthulhu
Reviewed by beerthulhu from New Jersey

4.54/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
A: Creamy and hazy tangerine-popsicle coloring with a two inch bone white capping that was bready on the surface and lasting. Beautiful glow of orange when backlighted, is like an alaskan sunset for the last time before the cold winter. Things were a bit to dense to determine effervesce, but the glass showed a smothering of lace bands encompassing the entire drinking vessel.

S: Wet, and juicy mangos and pineapple for aroma along with some light fresh green melon and peach fruitiness. A touch of wet citrusy nature also chimes in, with some orange floral hops. Cantaloupe and honeydew fruitiness rounds out. There is a respectable amount of fresh whirlpool hopping here, with a touch of semi-dry orange peel upon farther warming.

T: Unexpectingly a smack down of tart tangerine and orange peel bitterness with semi-dry citrus peel appear first on the tongue, with a bitterness factor off the charts. Dank tropical pineapple-peach combo with a grassy dry hopping overlay. The double dry hopping, or perhaps triple? here certainly is distinguishable, appreciable, and note taking worthy and sure to knock your socks off. Spicy herbal orange peel and flowery hops dry things out a bit, while a lingering grassy pine hop coating smothers the tongue with an unrelenting assault, staying well after the swallow.

M: Dry, flowery hop coating and feeling on the tongue. Malty depth is there to try to offset the loads of hops with a mid-range carbonation feel. Sticky resins, alkaline bitterness, with a tongue numbing and pulsing of the dry hops are sure make you pay attention.

O: Overall what more can be said about a beer brewed by those that brought you Heady Topper. While Heady was a delicious fruity tropical poolside drink, this has a fresh wet nose that was similar, but then gave you a knock out punch of dry hopping like a hit from mike tyson in his prime. These guys are true artist when it comes to blending and formulating, and getting the most out of the hop additions, while creating balance and tropical hop bombs that are matched by few. Highly enjoyable, drinkable, and worth the wait, as it seems I am always late or last to the party on these epic beers. But good things come to those who wait. Cheers until your first experience.
May 11, 2023
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Reviewed by brodyonthecorner from Pennsylvania

4.59/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5
A: orange, very hazy. Nice fluffy white head
S: ripe orange, mango, papaya, pineapple, super tropical, hint of dank
T: somewha dank and earthy- classic alchemist yeast notes, lots of orange, grapefruit pith, tropical fruit, sweet robustbitter finish
O: very good smooth, rich IPA, balances tropical and dank earthiness very well.similar to heady topper but more tropical and imo drinkable.
May 07, 2023
Rated: 4.96 by guild337 from Virginia

Apr 30, 2023
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Rated by ToddFatherFoods

5/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5
Another winner from The Alchemist team
Apr 30, 2023
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Reviewed by FinnFiona from Connecticut

4.75/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75
Close runner up to Heady. Excellent grapefruit/more tropical tasting. Still has the hop kick at the end, but toned down in comparison. Only a one palm smack rather than two like his brother Heady Topper. Easily drinkable with a milder finish.
Apr 28, 2023
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Reviewed by EmperorBevis from England

4.82/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75
Canned in a big old tallboy crafty craft can and sent from a beer buddy in Portland Oregon
Pours (I’m drinking it from the can as instructed but put a splash in a glass) to reveal a very slightly hazy lemon jello coloured body with nice white head
Aroma lemon & bicarbonate which makes you expect flavours to be NEIPA but no, more classic WEST coast here, hop burn I haven’t had in a long time creates sizzling grapefruit with shortcake like grain running though out and starbust bitter finish
Apr 22, 2023
Rated: 4.48 by Tom_Hartlett from California

Apr 22, 2023
Rated: 4.3 by BeerWasp from Germany

Apr 17, 2023
Rated: 4.14 by bsuedekum from Missouri

Apr 15, 2023
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Rated by jbolger from Connecticut

4.6/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
Prefer Heady Topper but this is very well done. Nice lingering bitterness.
Apr 13, 2023
Rated: 4.83 by emile772 from California

Apr 05, 2023
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Rated by Edmuzz13

4.84/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75
Tough to say which I prefer, this or Heady. What a refreshing beer at times with its citrus and earthy backing.
Apr 04, 2023
Photo of TCgenny
Reviewed by TCgenny from New York

4.6/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
Lucky me we get a drop in Rochester, NY every 3 months or so. What can I say: creamy feel, great head retention, snappy grapefruit pungent awesome smell, dank as all hell. I love it!
Apr 01, 2023
Photo of NorsemanOne
Reviewed by NorsemanOne from Utah

4.25/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
Never had a beer say not to pour into the glass before

So going off looking at pictures as I drank this from the can

Canned 01/03 - consumed on 2/03

Herbal and hoppy nose with a touch of tropical

Smooth, piney, hoppy and very herbal

Sharp carbo bite but otherwise easier drinking
Mar 29, 2023
Rated: 5 by pvibeer from Colorado

Mar 24, 2023
Rated: 5 by Drkstr24 from Maine

Mar 23, 2023
Rated: 5 by JeffNev from Nevada

Mar 20, 2023
Rated: 4.94 by oneeye from Pennsylvania

Mar 04, 2023
Rated: 4.3 by Timfromthemainland from New York

Feb 24, 2023
Rated: 4.42 by Jaccident

Feb 10, 2023
Rated: 4.41 by TrueMetalJake from Oregon

Feb 03, 2023
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Reviewed by dano213 from Pennsylvania

4.43/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
16oz can purchased from the fridge as a single from a local bottle shop for $5.15. Canned on 01-03-23, so this beer is just 3 1/2 weeks or 25 days old.

Look: It pours a hazy yet translucent golden orange color. It has a frothy, small-bubbled off-white head about 1/8th of a finger tall. Nice head retention.

Smell: Very dank. Lots of hop resins and citrusy orange zest and grapefruit rind. More subtle melon notes (cantaloupe). Green bell pepper on the finish after swirling the glass. It's also a bit of sharp oniony notes.

Taste: It's really delicious. I am impressed at the level of balance in this beer. From the nose, I kind of got the impression that the palate is going to punch me in the face. However, it strikes an impeccable balance between hops and malt and it tastes just moderately bitter with a long-lasting finish. It has a very nice malt base with grainy sweetness. I am not sure if this has any caramel malt in it; I perceive that type of flavor profile. The finish has tons of citrus rind - orange and grapefruit - along with lots of pith and some earthy, woody, resinous pine. That being said, it's surprisingly gentle and restrained with its bitterness. This beer is incredibly easy to drink. The bitterness builds as I drink more of it.

Feel: Softy, chewy mouthfeel. Really nice. Very soft, gentle carbonation. Medium bodied.

Overall: This is my second Alchemist beer. I thought that Heady Topper really lived up to all of its hype, and Focal Banger can hold its own also. Personally I think that I prefer the "single IPA" style to the double IPA style, yet it's really hard to call a winner because both of these beers are just so good.
Jan 29, 2023
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Rated by superpete93 from New Hampshire

4.7/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75
Great beer--95% as good as Heady Topper. Nice alternative, smells amazing with just enough bitterness.
Jan 28, 2023
Rated: 4.25 by vidisad from California

Jan 18, 2023
Rated: 4.46 by irs from New Jersey

Jan 13, 2023
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Rated by wbru49

4.76/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75
A friend brought me this. I'm a Belgian fan, not so much IPA's. But this was out of this world.
Jan 11, 2023
Photo of Bierman9
Reviewed by Bierman9 from New Hampshire

4.25/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
Though I've been to Stowe numerous times, I've never actually had this particular bier.... Well, an Alchemist employee recently dropped off a few of these cans at my work (Stark) and so here's my chance to give it a go....

Poured into a small sniftah, it's a hazy, medium golden-yellow color, with some scattered carbo within. The head is a fluffy, marshmallow-white, 1/4" layer of creamy foam. It lasts fairly well, with a solid covering, and nice lace left on the glass. Has a rich citrus-fruit aroma - some grapefruit and pineapple, plus a bit of lemon zest, Has a medium to medium-plus body, with a silky smooth feel.

Flavor has a bit of crackery, biscuity malt, but that aspect is quite understated. What isn't understated is the hoppy character of this brew. There's some subtle, semi-sweet tangerine, but it's mostly bitter fruit that holds sway here. There's some grapefruit, plus lemon zest and a hint of pineapple. It's quite pithy, resiny and piney. The finish is a bit dry, but the pithy, rindy aspect lingers for some time on the palate. Though I'd prefer something a smidge sweeter, this is still a solid brew. Prosit!!

4.25/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Jan 08, 2023
Photo of NickSMpls
Reviewed by NickSMpls from Washington

4.5/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5
Ok, drank the first third directly from the can, per directions. Very large taste of grapefruit and citrus, along with a healthy bitterness. Now sipping from the glass, still getting layers of taste and flavor as it warms up a bit. Focal Banger has to live in the shadow of its bigger brother, Heady, but it holds its own and the some against almost any other.
Jan 02, 2023
Rated: 4.09 by KC_beerman from Missouri

Jan 01, 2023
Rated: 4.5 by McBraniel from Virginia

Dec 31, 2022
Rated: 4.61 by mikeinportc from New York

Dec 27, 2022
Rated: 4.56 by jaltland from Pennsylvania

Dec 22, 2022
Photo of Iamaskier
Reviewed by Iamaskier from Idaho

4.38/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25
Glad to be ticking this one. From a can, served in a glass, kicked up a thick soapy head. Body is hazy and much paler than expected. Smell is sweet, floral, tropical, slightly concentrated. Taste is much more intense than the nose lets on. A swirl of sweet tropical flavors and bitter floral notes, backed by that delicious concentrated citrus flavor. It certainly bitters through the sip. There’s also some bready malt that comes out. Feel is smooth, a bit dry, warm finish. What stands out to me is how long the bitterness stays in the mouth after each sip— it takes noticeably longer than other brews to taper off. No disappointment here.
Dec 20, 2022
Photo of kemoarps
Reviewed by kemoarps from Washington

4.04/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4
@WunderLlama sent this my direction during NBS BIF#16

It says drink form the can. Who knows what hte liquid looks like! of course, I kid.
I'll be honest, I was expecting another hazy. This is not completely clear, but it's not going to be mistaken for a hazy IPA any time soon, though I find the language annoying, because 'hazy' is exactly how I WOULD describe the beer if that terminology didn'ty already have a connotation. It's mostly clear, but not crisp. How about htat. Big white wet head sits atop, and the bubbles pop leaving sticky lacing down the glass.

Nose is straw grains up front. There's some lemon citrus, a bit of floral, and it's somewhat earthy. This is not at all what I was expecting, but I'm digging this unexpected tur.=n.

Flavour follows the same recipe, grainy malts up front, backed by light floral and citrus hops that take an intense grapefruit turn on the finish. That grapefruit flavour becomes more and more the driving factor the more of it I drink.

Pith and pine both on the finish, but boldly and warmingly bitter. Strong, but not sharp.
This is a pleasant surprise and I am grateful to Maynard for sending it along!!
Dec 12, 2022
Photo of oystersandbeer
Rated by oystersandbeer from Massachusetts

5/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5
Pure hop goodness.
Dec 10, 2022
Rated: 4.52 by tamelotte from California

Dec 08, 2022
Photo of TooManyGlasses
Reviewed by TooManyGlasses from Canada (AB)

4.4/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25
Pale hazy yellow, though not opaque, with fluffy two plus fingers of white head - yeah - couldn't make myself drink it from the can....
Aroma bursts as warms with tropical fruit, melon, peach, and grapefruit - there is a touch of pine and not an insignificant dankness - weedy citrus and a delicate onion note.
Tastes of creamy sweet pale malt, citrus, tropical fruit salad; piney resin, backend grapefruit peel bitterness that digs its claws into you and yeah some weedy dankness.
Creamy and smooth full mouthfeel with nice carbonation and a lingering sticky bittersweetness.
Dec 08, 2022
Focal Banger from The Alchemist
Beer rating: 100 out of 100 with 4466 ratings