Focal Banger | The Alchemist Brewery and Visitors Center

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Focal BangerFocal Banger
BA SCORE
4.58/5
World-Class
3,673 Ratings
Focal BangerFocal Banger
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
The Alchemist Brewery and Visitors Center
Vermont, United States
alchemistbeer.com

Style: American IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
An American IPA, hopped judiciously with Citra and Mosaic.

Added by hillvt4me on 01-30-2014

BEER STATS
Ranking:
#43
Reviews:
463
Ratings:
3,673
pDev:
7.21%
Bros Score:
4.53
 
 
Wants:
1,812
Gots:
1,107
Trade:
15
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,673 |  Reviews: 463
Photo of Sammy
3.95/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Big hop aroma, the Citra has been tamed. Lasting head on yellow body, leaving a lace trail. Citra dominated taste, rounded out by subordinate tropical fruit. Fresh tasting, a good complement in the product line to the Heady Topper. Can from Tom, thank you.

 256 characters

Photo of kylehay2004
4.5/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of jaydoc
4.49/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of acurtis
4/5  rDev -12.7%

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.41/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

kind of cool how this one is showing up all over the place in vermont now, locals are calling it heady light, but i totally disagree. while it is super drinkable (so is heady in my opinion), its got a totally different hop complexion going on, with the two varietals coming in waves. usually mixes of hops sort of all splash in at once, sometimes harmoniously, sometimes in cacophonous chaos, but this beer has two distinct stages, where the citra comes in first, middle of the beer, with preserved lemon and tart fruitiness, while the mosaic comes on much later, with an only southern hemisphere pineapple tropicality. really fun transition, and the sometimes one dimensional citra is elevated be coming first. the grain base of the beer seems to me relatively nondescript, engineered as a hop platform, not as a major contributor, but there are some light fresh cereals in this and enough texture to hold the hop resins. not as dry as anticipated, but its a fruity tasting sweetness thats left in the end, hoppy for sure, but not wickedly bitter. scary drinkable. i was worried these guys were never going to make anything but heady, so its nice to see this one out there, and its reassuring that its basically just as good as heady. well worth seeking out or trading for, you wont be disappointed.

 1,300 characters

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.25/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Texasfan549
4.5/5  rDev -1.7%

Photo of kjkinsey
4.5/5  rDev -1.7%

Photo of GRG1313
4.25/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Knapp85
4.95/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

This pours out as a hazy golden color with a frothy white head. The smell of the beer is crazy aromatic, the taste is crazy flavorful. The mouthfeel is smooth, overall this is awesome. There isn't much to complain about here.

 225 characters

Photo of spycow
4/5  rDev -12.7%

Photo of djrn2
4.25/5  rDev -7.2%

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
4.22/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of nmann08
4.4/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Taphouse_Traveler
4.39/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of metter98
4.41/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Can at Hellcat Annie’s, New York, NY

A: The beer is slightly hazy yellow in color and has a slight amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a short white head that quickly died down, leaving lacing on the surface and a narrow collar around the edge of the glass.
S: Moderate aromas of grapefruit are present in the nose along with notes of pineapples and hints of pine.
T: The taste follows the smell and starts off with juicy flavors of grapefruit and pineapples and finishes with piney hops. There is a moderate amount of bitterness.
M: It feels medium-bodied and crisp on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is kind of like a blend between a New England IPA and a West Coast IPA as it combines the juiciness and pineyness from the hops.

Serving type: can

 799 characters

Photo of oriolesfan4
4.86/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of BEERchitect
4.56/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

When it comes to hops, Alchemist knows how to get the good ones and knows how to use them once in the brewhouse. This IPA of ultimate dryness and utter hop dominance brings out a taste in pale ale that's likely not yet been seen, better yet- tasted.

Focal Banger jumps right out with a burst of citrus and a backing of tropical aroma and taste. Supporting malt sweetness is thin and honied, giving the fruit flavors a sense of dripping with sweet and tangy fructose nectar. The sweetness seems right at home with the hops.

And the beer simply blossoms over the middle, really opening up those tangy and tart red grapefruit, mandarin, lemon drop, pineapple, mango and juniper flavors. And as the sweetness gently fades, the hops stand out even more, releasing notes of lemon verbena, mild chive, grassy botanicals and a floral drift of honeysuckle perfume.

its massively dry backbone becomes a honeycomb of malt texture where its flavor presence has dropped off entirely. What's left is a creamy-dry hop bitterness that strips the palate of thirst with ease. Its light body throughout perfectly preserves the attitude of American IPA.

 1,136 characters

Photo of kojevergas
3.4/5  rDev -25.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Can courtesy of Schlimenhaumer. Regrettably brief notes below:

Subtle blueberry signals mosaic hops. Floral notes, citrus, pale malts. Great balance.

Smooth, wet, medium-bodied, well-carbonated.

B / GOOD

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Photo of oline73
4.75/5  rDev +3.7%

Photo of WillieThreebiers
4.49/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of superspak
4.4/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Got in a BIF from Roguer. 16 ounce can into tulip glass, no can dating. Pours lightly hazy/cloudy medium golden yellow color with a 2 finger fairly dense and fluffy white head with great retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lasts. Nice spotty foamy lacing clings on the glass, with a fair amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of big tangerine, red grapefruit, pineapple, peach, passion fruit, papaya, mango, melon, guava, berries, lemon zest, orange peel, citrus rind, pepper, pine, cracker, biscuit, light honey, herbal, and floral/grassy earthiness. Damn nice aromas with great balance and complexity of citrus/tropical/fruity/earthy hop and moderate pale malt notes; with great strength. Taste of huge tangerine, red grapefruit, pineapple, peach, passion fruit, papaya, mango, melon, guava, berries, lemon zest, orange peel, citrus rind, pepper, pine, cracker, biscuit, light honey, herbal, and floral/grassy earthiness. Moderate pine/grassy/citrus peel/peppery bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of tangerine, red grapefruit, pineapple, peach, passion fruit, papaya, mango, melon, guava, berries, lemon/orange rind, pepper, pine, cracker, biscuit, and herbal/floral/grassy earthiness on the finish for a while. Incredible complexity, robustness, and balance of citrus/tropical/fruity/earthy hop and moderate pale malt flavors; with an amazing malt/bitterness balance, and zero lingering hop astringency after the finish. Moderate dryness from lingering bitterness, increasing through the glass. Medium carbonation and light-medium body; with a very smooth, moderately crisp, bready/grainy/creamy/sticky, and lightly resinous/rindy mouthfeel that is insane. Perfectly balanced. Zero warming alcohol for 7%. Overall this is an amazing IPA! All around incredible complexity, robustness, and balance of citrus/tropical/fruity/earthy hop and moderate pale malt flavors; very smooth, crisp, and pretty refreshing to drink. Super dank and fairly juicy on hops; just enough malt for bitter balance, with minimal residual sweetness. One of the smoothest IPAs I’ve ever drank. It gets quite resinous/drying through the glass; but still remains very crisp, drinkable, and never astringent. A really delicious and highly impressive offering all around.

 2,267 characters

Photo of brentk56
4.31/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Pours hazy and amber colored with a one finger head; splashy lacing here and there

Smell: Ruby red grapefruit and blueberry with sugar cookie tones; cantaloupe, passion fruit and apricot underneath

Taste: Sugar coated ruby red grapefruit with blueberry, cantaloupe, passion fruit and apricot tones adding to the mix; the pithy bitterness explodes, through the middle, with the pungent citrus and sweet malt tones bringing home the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation

Overall: Sugary sweet and powerfully bitter, this beer has a nice range of fruit flavors to complement the two extremes

Thanks, marcrgrenier, for the opportunity

 678 characters

Photo of Kurmaraja
4.28/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

People giving this high ratings for appearance are smoking crack. The number of particles floating in this is like OJ pulp. The color isn't very vibrant but it's fine. Head doesn't stick around long and the lacing is pretty weak. There's no getting around this with a subjective "I like hazy beers". The smell is nuanced but subtle. Definitely citrus - mineola tangerine, lemon and orange pith - and a funky vegetation element - wet grass / crushed leaves, maybe even something like zuchini. Flavor delivers more of the same with the vegetation becoming a bit too pronounced, like silage. Body is creamy, almost chewy, soft and round, coating rather than crisp. Finish is a bit flat. I'm picking on this beer a bit simply because I think a lot of the reviews are blind accolades. It's good. It's very good. But it's distinctly ugly and the nose and feel have some serious flaws.

 878 characters

Photo of Phyl21ca
4.28/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Can: Poured a clear light yellow color ale with a nice white foamy head with excellent retention and some great lacing. Aroma of huge floral notes of grass notes with some light resinous notes also perceptible. Taste is also dominated by an all-out hops assault with tons of grassy notes with light limey notes and some resinous hoppy notes. Residual sugar can be detected but doesn’t stray the taste from the hoppy notes. Body is about average with great carbonation. Very enjoyable but almost close to being unbalanced with those sharp hoppy notes.

 552 characters

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Focal Banger from The Alchemist Brewery and Visitors Center
Beer rating: 4.58 out of 5 with 3,673 ratings