Focal Banger
The Alchemist

Focal BangerFocal Banger
Rate It
Beer Geek Stats | Print Shelf Talker
The Alchemist
Vermont, United States
IPA - New England
Ranked #26
Ranked #93
4.56 | pDev: 7.24%
Saturday at 02:59 AM
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.
4.63 by Bierbaum from Massachusetts on Saturday at 02:59 AM
Photo of far333
4.36/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5
by far333 from Connecticut

Slightly opaque, straw yellow with a low white head of fine bubbles. Aroma of citrusy hops and a bit of pine. Hoppy flavors upfront, a bit hard-edged but that’s meant in a good way. Flavors of tangerine and grapefruit pith, pine and apricot. Medium mouthfeel, finishes a little tingly, warming up the sides of the cheeks. Hop bitters linger. Is it heresy to say I like it better than HT?

Friday at 11:07 PM
Photo of whitro17
4.91/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5
by whitro17 from Florida

Has a nice floral, fruity aroma & hop dankness scent. Taste like a bit of melon & pineapple juice but the hop aftertaste is fantastic as it really lingers. This is a really great IPA that I will get again when I get back to Vermont. Cheers to The Alchemist!

May 07, 2022
Photo of NCSapiens
4.17/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
by NCSapiens from Indiana

Nice and vibrant in a two day old can. Hoppy but citrusy and nice malts.

May 07, 2022
4.08 by Affinity from Missouri on May 01, 2022
4.46 by antimasone from Massachusetts on Apr 28, 2022
4.59 by petewheeler from Maryland on Apr 10, 2022
Photo of FBarber
4.25/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
by FBarber from Illinois

Pours an opaque, orange color. Thick, three finger frothy head forms on the beer, lingers a moment, then dissipates leaving just a thin residual head behind. White lacing coats the glass. Aroma has notes of dank weed, some catty notes, woody hops and a lighter layer of citrus, orange, and mango.

Taste follows the nose with notes of weedy hops, dank notes, wood, and some light orange and citrus notes. There is a noticeable malt backbone to the beer. Feel is light, smooth and oddly refreshing in a way.

Overall it is a nice IPA. I think I am somewhat less blown away by it than most, but it is still a very nice IPA.

Apr 10, 2022
4.49 by Blogjackets from Ohio on Apr 07, 2022
4.5 by MeLoynes from Missouri on Apr 03, 2022
4.48 by tpauer from New Hampshire on Mar 21, 2022
4.47 by jduprey007 from Michigan on Mar 16, 2022
5 by KrissyKat6 from New York on Mar 15, 2022
4.61 by jinyungeee from New York on Mar 13, 2022
4.46 by hperea from Colorado on Mar 06, 2022
4.75 by Mleblanc25 from Massachusetts on Mar 04, 2022
Photo of Shanex
4.79/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75
by Shanex from France

I got this in a trade with the overly generous and kind Beergoot

An incredible beer all around, very bitter on its first sips before blowing you away with its drinkability and refreshing taste. Very well balanced and engaging IPA I’d drink all day long, all year long if I could.

Thanks again Dave, cheers!

Feb 18, 2022
Photo of pathman
4.75/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75
by pathman from Ohio

02/08/22 can @ home

Feb 09, 2022
Photo of jngls
4.76/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75
by jngls from Germany

One month old. Can to snifter.

Look: Pours a slightly hazy, golden yellow with a fluffy white head leaving some nice lacing. Lots of floaters.

Smell: Citrusy. Green apple. Some pineapple sweetness. Fresh and hoppy.

Taste: Malty and hoppy. Sweet and bitter. Pineapple and citrus fruits. Grassy and resinous.

Feel: Full and mouth coating without being too sticky or thick. Crisp and creamy at the same time. Perfect carbonation.

Overall: This is just outstanding. Crisp and crushable as a lager, full and complex as an IPA. Taste-wise somewhere in between West Coast and East Coast with a superb mouthfeel. Probably the most beautiful head I‘ve seen on any beer poured from a can. Overall even better than Heady Topper. A beer you could drink all day every day.

Feb 05, 2022
4.37 by Mdez from Virginia on Jan 27, 2022
Photo of Denverbeerman21
4.63/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75
by Denverbeerman21

Hazy, straw - gold, white head, mango, pineapple smell. Cracker malt, strong bitterness, a fun NEIPA with lots of bitterness. Is this a west coast NEIPA?

Jan 27, 2022
Photo of Berkbill
5/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5
by Berkbill from Vermont

I drink this beer a lot and it is without a doubt perfection in a can. Nice grapefruity flavor and not at all boozy But you must drink it fresh - even 2 weeks old it starts to lose something.

Jan 24, 2022
4.39 by not2quick from Missouri on Jan 20, 2022
4.65 by TravisMc3 from Massachusetts on Jan 11, 2022
Photo of jackflaps
4.56/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75
by jackflaps from Pennsylvania

Canned 11/30/2021, so not the freshest, but...

L: Hazy but not opaque, straw-colored to golden. Half-inch head that lingers for a long time.
S: Dank and resiny at first; citrus and melon notes come to the fore as it warms up.
T: Inverse of the nose -- the orange peel bitterness at the front, pine and resin (VERY dank, I think more so than Heady) at the back.
F: Very drinkable, smooth and light.
O: It seems barely a hot take anymore to say that I prefer it to Heady Topper. It still has the same sticky pine tree aesthetic but it's more session-y. Glad this hit western PA, hope the Alchemist sends it back home to Pittsburgh more regularly.

Jan 01, 2022
Photo of Sparty1224
4.67/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75
by Sparty1224 from Michigan

Serving: 16 oz. can poured into a Tree House teku glass. Canned on 11/30/21, making this exactly a month old.

A: Pours pretty hazy, but not quite murky. Egg-shell white head that lingers to about a half-finger.

S: Big fruit notes up first, with papaya, peach and mango. Then a little bit of a piney-dank note near the back.

T: Fruits up front again, stone-fruit, mango, a touch of pineapple. Mid and finish is all dank bitterness, some pine, resiny. A little earthy, grassy note on the finish too.

M: Surprisingly bitter, now I see why they don't try call this a NE-style IPA. It's a nice, full body, very creamy. Not boozy at all. But ya, very dank on the finish.

O: Huge shout out to SadMachine for hooking me up with this. Huge want for me for a long time ever since I first had Heady Topper. I actually made it to Vermont in December 2013, and I'm pretty sure they started canning this early 2014. So just missed it. But, alas! Haven't had Heady in a while, but I plan to revisit it soon. This is way hoppier and bitter than I'd imagined it to be. Not a true NE-style IPA at all. But it's still very drinkable. Very smooth, nice fruity notes, the hops are not overpowering and remind you what a nice, balanced IPA should taste like. Drinking this really does remind me of the peak of the hoppy IPA just before the haze craze took off. Really nice beer here, and a true work of art from The Alchemist.

Recommendation: Still one of the greats after all these years, a must-try in my book. If you haven't had it yet, don't give up!

Dec 31, 2021
4.11 by Piffler from Massachusetts on Dec 30, 2021
4.77 by jwerner23 from Minnesota on Dec 26, 2021
4.38 by VolatileAgent7744 from Kentucky on Dec 20, 2021
Photo of DrDemento456
4.6/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
by DrDemento456 from Pennsylvania

Pretty on par with heady topper smooth herbal bitterness sticking sweet dank goodness balance at max peak! The hate I don't understand its a great IPA especially when you can pick it up with less than two weeks of age you peasants!

Overall a more drinkable version of Heady topper than I wish I could find more often!

Dec 19, 2021
Photo of Tomlarson123
4.25/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
by Tomlarson123 from Ohio

Woodstock Vermont with Rachel and dawn. Fall 2019. 4 pack cans from local market.

Dec 15, 2021
4.35 by TheBrewsClues from California on Dec 13, 2021
4.9 by Unclevince from West Virginia on Dec 05, 2021
Focal Banger from The Alchemist
Beer rating: 100 out of 100 with 4381 ratings