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Second Fiddle - Fiddlehead Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Second FiddleSecond Fiddle

Educational use only; do not reuse.

119 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 119
Hads: 1,276
Avg: 4.41
pDev: 25.85%
Wants: 395
Gots: 245 | FT: 3
Brewed by:
Fiddlehead Brewing Company visit their website
Vermont, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial IPA |  8.20% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Gatch on 07-22-2013

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 119 | Hads: 1,276
Photo of weonfire
4.32/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

I absolutely love the feel. This IPA is not going for the 'cleanest'. But it is one of the creamiest IIPAs out there. Not malty. Just beautifully delicious.

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Photo of danh53
3.99/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours a clear orange with half finger head and lots of lacing. Aroma is sweet, crisp, biscuity malt with some caramelized tangerines. Nice balance between sticky sweetness and crisp bread notes. On the taste, that sweetness is balanced by garlic and herbal notes. Not very fruity, but there I do get grapefruit pith mid palate. More bread and crisp malts. Mouth feel is medium. Sticky in some places. Crisp in others. This is a well crafted beer. I only wish it had more fruit.

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Photo of -Rick
4.25/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

pours a nice orange/yellow color with a slight white head. This beer smells and tastes of fruity hops, oranges, slightly bitter, and has a nice lingering malty base. Overall a very nice IIPA.

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Photo of Greywulfken
4.5/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Stunning D/IPA action - ample fruits, pale and tropical, provide lotsa juiciness. Hops bring appropriate citrus and floral notes, with bittering becoming bolder with subsequent sips. Body is lean and taut, but with a hint of chew on the back-end. Ample carbonation is soft and plush. 8.2% abv hits just right. A real winner...

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Photo of fmccormi
4.16/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Straight pour from a 16oz can a constricted-top wineglass. This was canned nine days ago, according to the date stamped in black ink on the underside of the can (“9/4/2015 SHIP OF FOOLS”). It’s been kept in good conditions and chilled in the fridge for about 48 hours.

Appearance (4.75): About three fingers of active, bubbly foam the color of ivory rise off of the pour, capping a moderately hazy, dark orange body with amber tones in its core. The head dies down slowly, leaving a quarter-inch little biscuit of dense foam floating on the surface of the beer, along with a few broken but stubborn collars and a patchwork of splotchy lace all around the glass. As the beer goes on, the lacing and collars merge into one insane mash-up of foamy film and frothy clumps all around. Really, really impressive.

Smell (4.25): Rich citrus aromas (papaya, a bit of overripe pineapple, maybe a little mandarin) mingle with light floral, earthy bud, and candied orange peel notes. There’s a moderately substantial malt body underneath the hops, from the smell of it, coming out with some pancake batter, honey, and brioche—but all swept under the sweetness of papaya and melon. As it warms, tart lime juice and a resinous, piney character pop up.

Taste (4.0): In contrast to the nose, fresh-cut grass and mildly herbal bitterness lead the way, backed up by white grapefruit zest and nice floral tones. The malt body is less obvious, offering sugar cookies and a bit of plain white bread, shaded by just a faint papaya sweetness. Some more white grapefruit, and flesh this time as it warms . . . but really, this is dominated by grassy and pithy hops, as well as a piney flavor that creeps up as the beer goes on. No sign of booze, which is impressive for 8.2% ABV. It’s very well-crafted and pleasant, but not as dynamic or juicy as I was expecting. Still—really, really tasty.

Mouthfeel (4.5): The body is smooth, silky, and feels a medium weight, belying its size; the hop oils offer a drying feeling that only increases, subtly, as the beer moves around; the carbonation is very subdued at first, but then pops up with an assertive tingle wherever the beer’s gone. The silky feel, smooth carbonation, and the dry body and finish make this waaaaaay too easy to drink. No sense of its size or strength.

Overall (4.0): To be honest, this beer is not what I expected. For some reason I had it in my head that this would be another supremely juicy, dank, opaque New England IPA. Instead, this beer’s characterized by a lighter hop character that’s still assertively bitter but dominated by grass (along with a bit of herbs and citrus zest), a shape-shifting malt body, and an insanely silky, drinkable feel. Not what I expected, but thoroughly enjoyable nonetheless. Is it worth the top-tier Vermont hype? Not in my opinion, but definitely worth at least a four-pack, at least once.

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Photo of Elsuperjefe
4.31/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a pint can into tulip at 40 degrees... hazy brownish orange. Nose is subtle compared to other DIPA whales but pleasant citrus and dank orange dominate. Tastes as such. Grapefruit lingers after initial piney punch. Light carbonation makes it easy to drink despite its almost full body syrupy consistency... However I feel full after one. Excellent brew.... Can't say enough about it. Glad I have a few more. Yum!

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Photo of RJB66
4.5/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

It started out a little so so but as this high quality brew warmed it really got quite tasty. Vermont keeps kicking out great beers! I recommend this awesome tasting IIPA!

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Photo of agreenman19
4.89/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

L - 4.75 - Deep, dark hazy orange. I can see the resin from here! Beautiful fluffy head with lasting power.

S - 5.00 - Wow! So many aromas going on in this beer! Dank, yet floral hops and a STRONG presence of vegetables. Cut grass and a green vege I can't quite put my finger on. Cilantro? Scallions? So herbal. Wildly unique.

T - 5.00 - Monstrous pine up front. Juicy hops in the middle. Light mango, lots of resin throughout. Green onions. Finishes oh so slightly dry, coating the sides of my tongue with sticky bittersweetness. A lingering bitter sensation from the huge hops and alcohol as I sit here digesting this fantastic beer.

F - 4.75 - Light and fluffy on the tongue. Melts across your mouth, slinking its way into every crevasse, injecting flavor throughout. The perfect delivery system for this beer.

O - 4.75 - A damn impressive offering from Fiddlehead. It just dawned on me as I was wrapping up the taste portion of my review why I was getting so many grassy herbal notes. I even bought a shirt at the brewery that says "be a fern believer". I'm ashamed it took me this long! Tree House picked tropical fruits, and these guys picked vegetables. So different and so impressive. I see why this beer is so highly thought of.

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Photo of ScaryEd
4.81/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pours a slightly hazy, light amber color with a whitish-tan head that leaves the slightest bit of lacing around the glass.

The aroma is filled with notes of citrus and pine. I get strong notes of grapefruit and tangerine, with some big notes of fresh pine needles on the back end. Not too subtle, but not overpowering. Definitely a pleasant smelling beer.

The taste is a perfect balance of sweet and bitter, with the citrus flavors coming through up front and the bitter resin hitting my tongue on the back. I get lots of grapefruit and mango, as well as what I assume to be melon. There's also plenty of bitter, piney hop resin that I can only compare to fresh grass clippings. The sweet, biscuit malt backbone is also present which gives this beer some pretty good balance.

The mouthfeel is very creamy and medium-bodied with good carbonation. The alcohol is fairly well-hidden.

Overall, this is yet another fantastic IPA from Vermont. I wouldn't say it's quite on the level of Heady, but it's a lot closer than I expected it to be.

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Photo of vicinandp
4.99/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had it side by side with Heady and SOS and I have to say this was my favorite of the three. Drank straight from the can . Lots of grapefruit, piney and citrus aromas. Lots going on in the taste grapefruit, mango, citrus, slight pine, minimal bitterness. Currently my favorite canned beer.

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Photo of cpetrone84
2.83/5  rDev -35.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Pour is mostly clear, light hop haze, darker orange amber in color with lots of white head, some large bubbles, long lasting retention and thick lace. Nose is a bit of sweet malt, caramel and lightly doughy, faint touch of clean grain, with a citrus/resin balance hop presence. Flavor is more sweet, biscuity malt, sweet caramel, grain mid palate, slightly metallic, back end is strong citrus, light resin than the nose, quite bitter and fairly high acidity, body is a bit fuller, assertive carb, bitterness takes away from the citrusy finish.

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Photo of popery
4.2/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

The beer is a bright and fairly pale orangey amber color. Fairly hazy liquid. The head is off white and sudsy. Very good retention with some lacing. The aroma is peaches and grapes with tangerine and pineapple. Lots of sweet fruitiness. Mild pine in the background. Light caramel, pretty mild malt character. Taste follows the aroma. It’s quite low on bitterness for the abv and general hoppiness of the beer. Lots of sweet hop fruitiness. Probably a bit low on bitterness for my taste. Finishes mildly dry. Light and smooth feel. Solid DIPA.

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Photo of andilane
4.77/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Tasted side by side with a Heady - my first introduction to the Vermont IPA style. Both we're delicious, but this took the cake. Amazing aromas. So much rich passionfruit, grapefruit, bitter and also juicy citrus. Also, tons of pot. Grassy and floral and dank. Balanced bitterness, great mouthfeel - you can taste the water that makes this beer. Loved it! Would seek it out to try again.

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Photo of ONovoMexicano
4.36/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

16 ounce can sent to me by cavedave. 6/25/15 canning date.

Poured into an oversized tulip.

A mighty head on this one, firm, foamy, pale white head. Radiant carbonation that surges upward intensely through an opaque, somewhat cloudy copper body. Lace forms eventually but the head just sits there for ages. 5

Piney and citrusy nose. Resin and grapefruit. Zesty. Orange juice. Each pass of my nose brings a new smell that I love. This is potent. 4.25

The taste retains some of the piney resin from the nose, but it's more subdued. Herbal finish that kinda resembles tea. In between it's dank and... more pineyness. As it warms, a sweeter and more orange and grapefruit-like profile emerges. Grapefruit zest is more pronounced on the finish too. 4.25

Excellent balance to the feel of this beer. Feels medium-bodied and malty but has a spicy, resinous quality and the occasional moments of zestiness. Bitterness is substantial but somehow only noticeable after I've nearly finished a can. Well done. 4.25

I have to like this. It's tasty. But when I drink East Coast beers, I want something less like what our NM brews taste like and this is far too much like everything we get out here.

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Photo of ryan1788a5
4.42/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

16oz can poured into a globe.

A: Hazy and tawny colored. Creamy off-white head retains at two solid fingers. Blotchy lacing.

S: Sliced mango, apricot, and peach. Pineapple. Pine needles. Leafy and earthy. Hints of dried tobacco. Graham cracker and toast malt aromas. Light whiff of alcohol.

T: Juicy peach, mango, apricot. Zested grapefruit. Passion fruit. Pineapple. Earthy pine, leaves, and tobacco pick up a bit middle to end, but the tropical flavors never leave. Spicy in a sweet onion sort of way (subtly though). Very heady. Firm and stable bitterness. Somewhat doughy. Graham cracker malt. Heady and tropical hop finish.

M: Hefty medium body. Round and silky. Prickling carbonation. Some gripping hop astringency.

O: An absolute gem. One of the finest of its kind in New England and elsewhere. Seek it.

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Photo of JordonHoltzman
4.55/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a tall boy that was canned on 6/25/15 into a snifter. I had it the first time on 6/27/15, so my tasting now and recollection of how damn fresh it was then will be taken into account.
Pours a nice orange copper, with a small off white head that leaves pretty good lacing.
Smells strong of dank citrus, was so absurdly fresh when I first got the cans. Has since slightly balanced out, but in a very good way. The tastes matches the aroma, fresh hop taste, one of the freshest I've ever had.
Absolutely delicious beer. And although its Vermont peers in the IPA game cast a very large shadow, Second Fiddle is worthy of its competitors.

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Photo of KSOZE
4.62/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Shockingly balanced. Very good with nice sweet flavor from malt and tropical fruit hops. Pineapple explodes on aroma and that's the primary flavor I get as well.

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Photo of PaleCale
4.55/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Exceptional beer. Burnt orange and hazy, this was darker than expected. However, the citrus hop profile keeps the darker (crystal?) malts in balance. Smell is awesome - some tropical fruit but I get somewhat bitter citrus, maybe tangelo. Taste follows and alcohol is well-hidden. Different from Heady or Sip - I would say it's the most fruit-forward of the top VT DIPAs.

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Photo of Zaximus
4.48/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Smells fantastic. Taste is very nice as well. Piney, sticky, dank, a little sweet. The alcohol is very well hidden in this one as it's quite easy to drink. For a double not overly hoppy but very well balanced. Sturdy malt backbone to balance out the hops. This is very well conceived. I'd be a regular consumer if this was an option. Very nice.

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Photo of reds2harleys
4.6/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very tasty brew. I had a friend in VT. She asked about Heady and was told they were sold out ( no surprise ) but they suggested Second Fiddle. They were dead on. Very similar, excellent - excellent flavor that seems to get better with each sip. I did get some Heady recently and while I'd still give Heady the nod its by a hair. A thin hair at that. This is a fantastic beer. If you're ever in VT make this a stop.

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Photo of OGFGabv
4.62/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Another fantastic offering out of VT. Drank this one in a blind test with Sip and Heady and chose this one by a land slide. Nice golden orange color. Fresh, ripened, fruit- peaches, grapefruit, tangerine in the nose. Has a nice bitterness to it up front until the citrus blast rolls in and dominates. Fantastic brew. The only negative comment I can make is with the packaging. The cans are paper thin aluminum and I have had a couple cans puncture on me.

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Photo of nickshep7
3.63/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Solid, but not in upper echelon, IMO. Nice golden appearance with eggshell white head. Light danky hops, honey and candied fruit smell. Taste was similar and sweet. Nice bite from the hop. Overall, just solid.

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Photo of MA_hops
4.85/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A: Cloudy, burnt orange, with a thin, foamy white head.

S: Fresh orange, peach , tangerine, citrusy.

T: Hops prickly to the tongue, orange, very citrusy, juicy.

M: Fluffy mouthfeel, slight bitterness, dry, hoppy finish, medium-high carbonation

O: Reminds me of a very similar version of Julius.

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Photo of tmbgnicu
4.9/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Heady killer. As balanced as heady with one of the most pleasant noses I've had the pleasure of enjoying. It's been a little while since I've had fresh heady, but second fiddle is the clubhouse leader right now until I can get my hands on some.

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Photo of Roguer
4.59/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Cloudy orange brew, topped by an off-white head of excellent size and fantastic retention, leaving behind copious amounts of lacing.

Aroma is hop-forward and juicy: tropical fruit, pepper, grapefruit pulp and peel, and a touch of herb. Sweet caramel and pale malts linger in the background.

Flavor is as expected: juicy mango and pineapple, ruby red grapefruit, lemon, and a touch of pepper. Malt base is very much in the background, akin to a single IPA.

Smooth, almost chewy feel, extremely drinkable, lively.

This is an absolutely fantastic DIPA; unquestionably world class.

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Second Fiddle from Fiddlehead Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 119 ratings.