Second Fiddle - Fiddlehead Brewing Company

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Second FiddleSecond Fiddle

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1,102 Ratings
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Ratings: 1,102
Reviews: 135
rAvg: 4.49
pDev: 7.8%
Wants: 348
Gots: 210 | FT: 6
Brewed by:
Fiddlehead Brewing Company visit their website
Vermont, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial IPA |  8.10% ABV

Availability: Rotating

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

No notes at this time.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,102 | Reviews: 135
Reviews by LittleDon:
More User Reviews:
Photo of angrybabboon
4.32/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Consumed 5/6/15; canned 4/24/15

A: Somewhat hazy, but there is some clarity here - medium to burnt orange with some dark gold and honey - pours with a medium size, bright white head, fades to a nearly solid, wispy cap, leaves some streaks of lacing

S: Nicely hoppy, but not as explosive as one may expect - lots of citrus and fruit - ripe tangerine, grapefruit, and ruby red grapefruit - fleshy, juicy, and floral - big citrus aromas, but it's a softer aroma than a hoppy blast - tropical fruits, peach, and melon - some spicy and piney aromas - pale, clean malts

T: Citrusy, juicy, and is there some Nelson Sauvin in here? - tangerine, pink and ruby red grapefruit flesh, juice - some light tropical flavors and stone fruit - some lightly spicy, lightly earthy pine - a distinct fruitiness with hints of white wine that lead me to think I'm either losing my mind or this features Nelson hops - pale malts at the base, very clean - minimal sweetness, minimal hint of alcohol

M: Medium body, carbonation on the low side, smooth and almost oily, but mostly dry

O: Waiting for Third Fiddle

After drinking Mastermind, and now this, I think Fiddlehead has potential to brew something that will knock Heady Topper of its throne. But Second Fiddle is not that beer... After three cans, I have to reluctantly state that I think it's great, but not excellent (and not as good as Mastermind). The hop profile here is lovely, but it seems to pull some punches. However, like Mastermind, this is stupidly easy to drink. This appears to be the strength of Fiddlehead. I look forward to their future efforts.

Photo of BaggedBug23
2.75/5  rDev -38.8%
look: 1.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 1.25 | overall: 3

I felt it was to light of a flavor with not enough impact to the pallet

Photo of mattmenas
4.91/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Absolutely incredible beer. Stood out as the best DIPA amongst some solid competition. I've yet to come across a more enjoyable beer. Nearly perfect.

Photo of FondueVoodoo
4.34/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Thanks to @tom10101 for sending me this amazing dipa

Photo of CHickman
4.67/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Pours very hazy bright yellow gold color with a massive 2 finger foamy off white head that was full of bubbles, dissipating very slowly, leaving excellent foamy lacing and rings as it went down.

Wow, huge juicy citrus hops blast your nostrils as the glass approaches your face. Smells of fresh oranges split open, red grapefruit, lemon zest, pineapple, mango, tangerine, citrus hops, graham cracker, piney hops/pine cones, biscuit, caramel, mild spices and light floral hops. Enough malt backbone to prop this up and keep it juicy citrus perfection.

Tastes like it smells with fresh wet citrus hops, oranges, grapefruit, lemon, pineapple, mango, tangerine, citrus hops, toffee, lightly roasted grains, graham cracker, piney hops/pine cones, biscuit, caramel, mild spices like pepper, coriander and faint cinnamon, dry floral hops, tea leaf and a few earthy notes. Mild bitterness accompanies the strong citrus fruit flavors which dominate this beer. The malt base is a combo of toasted crackers, wheat bread toast and sweet graham crackers which allow the juicy hops to really shine. Really damn tasty beer, something in the water up in northern Vermont is helping make some outstanding beers.

Mouthfeel is slick, smooth and lightly carbonated for an almost slick feel with a medium body that is on the thicker side, finishing bitter and hoppy with a buttery malty aftertaste.

Overall a great beer that was just a notch or two below Heady Topper on the DIPA spectrum, but this is a fine example of the style that hides the ABV masterfully and is extremely easy to drink.

Photo of gabepesce
4.64/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Malty backbone with a smooth feel and some fruity tones. blah blah blah overall a great brew

Photo of nhindian
2.97/5  rDev -33.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.75

Canned 4/08/2015.

Appearance - The body is very cloudy, to the point where nothing can really be seen through the glass. A rocky head fills the last quarter of the glass with a frothy texture that sits lazily atop the liquid.

Aroma - The nose is super dank and filled with pine and floral notes. There's just a hint of citrus, but for the most part this is more earthy hops on display.

Taste - The taste seems a bit off compared to the other big IPAs coming out of Vermont; Second Fiddle is a little more spicy, herbal and earthy, and besides some melon flavors, it isn't exactly fruity. I'm not a huge fan of the finish at all, as it is slightly buttery and spicy.

Mouthfeel - The mouthfeel is nice and full-bodied. I'd like a little a more carbonation, though.

Closing Arguments - I'm not sure if this beer falls off quickly, or if something is wrong with this batch, but I'm not digging this beer at all. It certainly doesn't compete with the heavy hitters in this style or state. Maybe the second can will be better...

Photo of Goblinmunkey7
4.31/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Thanks to angrybabboon for four of these bad boys.

Appearance: Hazy medium to dark orange gold. A touch of clarity comes through as it warms. Head is off-white and creamy. Drops to a small clumpy cap and collar with some streaks and splotches of lacing.

Smell: Dank. Pine sap. Some tangerine and mild hints of generic stonefruit. A touch catty. Malts offer a touch of caramelized sweetness with some mild bready elements. Biscuits. Cooked malts. Juicy and floral with a ton of citrus. Grapefruit, ruby red as well. A touch of raw mint. Not particularly aggressive - more dense than assertive. Some pale malt as well.

Taste: Citrus and pine. Lingering bitterness. A woody pine. Some pine resin. Tangerine and grapefruit round it out with a touch of orange. Malts offer a nice balancing sweetness without going too far. Some pale bready malts with a touch of caramelized sweetness. Lightly tropical and follows the nose with the push of general stone fruit - but peach does jump out after a few sips. Warming pushes the peach/tropical elements through the back. Soft yeast. Mint sprig.

Mouthfeel: Medium slightly creamy body. Moderate carbonation with a slight hint of astringency.

Overall: First Fiddle must be a true legend.

This is a Vermont IPA/DIPA for sure. It's decidedly drinkable and not as aggressive as others in the style. Carries that dank thing I've encountered with other Fiddlehead beer, which is a positive in this case. Well worth trying...and now I need to try the regular IPA.

Photo of Jdavis23112
5/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Right there with Heady in my opinion

Photo of Mulzicus
3.29/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Too much haziness for style.

Photo of GOBLIN
4.09/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Aromas of possibly every fruit cliche imaginable . . . Lovely nose to this beer. Feel is slick and smooth, just the right touch of carbonation. Taste is citrusy, piney, grassy and an ever so slight oniony finish. Bitterness doesn't last long and finishes clean. Second Fiddle reminds me more of Surly Abrasive, less of Fat Heads Hop Stalker and maybe a bit similar to Heady minus the oniony finish. Terrific beer.

Photo of Guess2814
4.55/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

It the voice of Rock -The Second Fiddle has come back into my hands.. What a beer I must stay. Get it if you can.

Photo of Roguer
4.59/5  rDev +2.2%
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.

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.7/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the brewery. Served in a taster.

Appearance - Cloudier than the regular IPA. Slight cream tinge to the head. Decent lacing.

Smell - Better hop aroma, too. Citrusy. Nice orange and some pine in the back. Substantial sweet malt backing.

Taste - Grapefruit. Sweet malt and some caramel. Sweetness masks some of the bitterness, but a hint peeks through.

Mouthfeel - Medium heavy. Slick feeling. Bitterness is muted.

Overall - More enjoyable than their single IPA. Just a hop profile and malt balance.

Photo of russpowell
4.44/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Cheers to markgugs for this one!

Pours a slightly hazed amber with a thumb of cream colored head. Shhets of lacing , some cloudiness, above average head retention

S: Faint leafy hops, pears, tangerine & breadyness

T: Pineapple, grapefruit in smaller amounts, breadyness, pineyness & little bit of aspirin. More grapefruit & pineapple as this warms, dryness. Finishes with grapefruit, some pineapple, a little bready sweetness, plus piney & leafy hops

MF: Medium bodied, lively carbonation, skews hoppy, a little warming

Drinks so easy, a stellar DIPA, might need to road trip to VT soonish!

Photo of Jwburns75
4.54/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Compared to other northeast IPAs I feel as though Second Fiddle is more balanced. This is a very smooth brew, strong hop presence but not overtly bitter or piney. Just really tasty, not playing second fiddle to the big boys at all. Dark copper color, nice creamy, sticky looking head and retains well. Taste is delicious, finishes very strong.

Photo of ricknelson
4.96/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Second Fiddle has done to Double Sunshine what Double Sunshine had done to Heady Topper.
It has become the Number One beer among my fellow BA buds. All are Vermont brewed beers. But now Second Fiddle is #1; Double Sunshine #2 and Heady Topper #3. Hill's Citra maybe #4.

Photo of Tbub18
4.75/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A--Nice orange/yellow color with about a one inch head. Looks delicious
S--Whew! Hops anyone? Incredibly fresh smelling, dank hop bomb in your face. There is a little bit of breadiness but the hops are dominating here--as they should.
T--Grapefruit, pineapple hops bursting, nice malt bread makes this pretty smooth for an 8%. Less bitter finish than I remembered having Mastermind.
M--Medium, just the right amount of carbonation for my taste.
O--Really impressed by this beer. I actually preferred this to Mastermind. When you open the can its apparent by the smell that this is gonna be your typical VT DIPA. Incredible stuff that I look forward to having again soon!

Photo of goalpucks
4.74/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

This is a fantastic beer . I'm interested to see how it holds up in a blind taste test against other world-class IPA's. Stay tuned.

Photo of lyssacarlock
4.25/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Hate me, but being a native Vermonter with so many good beers to choose from, I tend to go the "Heady is overhyped" route. In my opinion, Second Fiddle takes the trophy for one of the best VT DIPAs. Not overly bitter, but a tad citrusy with a thirst quenching quality, this one is right up my alley.

Photo of puboflyons
4.87/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

From the one pint can dated 12/23/2014. So darn fresh on January 1, 2015.

A little cloudy orange pale yellow color with a big white head that lingers and laces. A tad darker and I might have gone with a 5.

The aroma is a 5 with its vibrant floral and citrus hop scents and muted but still noticeable toasted biscuit and pale malts. No booze at 8.2%

Near full body. A slight acidity but that could be due to the intense hop ingredients.

I said intense and I mean intense. Those floral, grapefruit, and citrus hops explode in the taste and take over everything edging out the toasted malts and finishing bitter and dry. Again, no booze. Perfect taste and aroma and well worth the "world-class" overall rating it has received. Watch out Heady Topper.

Photo of Rutager
4.51/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Huge thank you to hoppypocket and tom1010101 for each sending me a can of this at the same time. One for now, one for an all star ipa showdown coming in the next week with the boys from work.

Pours a hazy orange-gold with 2 fingers of sticky off-white head. Just an awesome citrus nose and a touch of toasty pale malts. Taste follows with tangy citrus fruits, a nice easy bitterness, and a bit of those nice pale malts. Really smooth carbonation gives it a creamy feel. Damn, that's a fine ipa.

Photo of Phyl21ca
4/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Can: Poured a bright orangey color ale with a nice large foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of fresh floral hops notes nice citrusy notes and no bitterness. Taste is also dominated by fresh citrusy hops notes with limited bitterness and light residual sugar notes. Light fruity notes could also be detected. Body is pretty full with good carbonation. Very well brewed but lacking a little something to be placed among the great VT IPA.

Photo of GinjaSlice
4.53/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A:Looks like my perfect ipa. Nice cloudy amber with a good white head only downside is lacing.
S: The smell although not that strong is pretty amazing. Lots of citrus and hops coming through with a stronger pine and resin after. Downsides are slight alcohol smell and weaker smell overall
T: follows the nose very well. Citrus up front, good hop taste in the middle, with the resin bite at the end. Downside being the slightly to bitter/alcohol at end
F: Very good carbonation almost creamy, very refreshing only downside is slightly dry feeling.

O: one of my top 10 ipas currently

Photo of BTVflatlander
3.85/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Let me preface by saying that I was very excited to get a chance to try this at the brewery. I am very much a fan of Fiddlehead and think they are the premier under the radar brewery in Vermont right now. And, being a big fan of their last DIPA, Mastermind, I thought I'd love this as well.

A: Dark orange, clearly filtered.

S: Citrusy hops and malt, pleasant.

T: Good malt and hop balance. Pleasantly bitter. Rather well done.

M: Here's the problem. I'm not sure if I got a bad fill or what, but my growler filled same day was completely flat which, honestly, took away from the taste. It's undoubtedly a well done beer, but I can't seem to get past the fact that I spent $8 for two flat pints. I'd be open to trying it again, but I'd taste it first to ensure that it's carbonated.

O: Well done for sure with one fatal flaw: carbonation. If you get the chance to try it--a rarity for sure--I suggest you do. Just keep in mind this experience. Fiddlehead, despite this, is among my favorite breweries and I will continue to patronize them until they give me a reason not to. This is not that reason, just a speed bump.

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Second Fiddle from Fiddlehead Brewing Company
99 out of 100 based on 1,102 ratings.