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Mastermind | Fiddlehead Brewing Company

112 Reviews
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Brewed by:
Fiddlehead Brewing Company
Vermont, United States | website

Style: American Double / Imperial IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.10%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BTVflatlander on 09-06-2013

User Reviews
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Reviews: 112 | Ratings: 1,105
Photo of rorykanderson
3.89/5  rDev -11%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Straw gold pour with a light head; nice hazy look to it. Aroma is all acidic fruit - pineapple, some lemon - mixed in with mango and guava. I've never used the term "juice-bomb" before...and I won't start now because this was a pineapple bomb. In that sense - gotta be in the mood for that island fruit because the taste profile is dominated by it. Malt probably keeps it at bay but isn't really noticeable. Finishes with a pungent gauva-like aftertaste. Fruit-forward IPA if there ever was one.

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Photo of ScaryEd
4.14/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Pours a cloudy golden straw color with a 1-finger white head. Good retention on the head and leaves a nice crown of lace as it dissipates.

The aroma is very tropical, with notes of ripe mangoes, pineapple, and light melon. Back end has some wet grass and just a touch of pine.

The taste is a nice blend of tropical and citrus flavors, with loads of pineapple leading the way. The malt is equally as present, however, and provides a subtly sweet biscuit character.

The feel is medium bodied with low carbonation. Smooth, yet slightly sticky with a dry finish. Has a slight warmth from the alcohol.

Overall, a very good, very well-balanced beer. The tropical flavors and aromas are nice and the malt provides a perfectly sweet balance to the hops. However, if you're expecting a hop bomb, or something akin to Second Fiddle, you may want to pass on this one given the difficulty it takes to obtain.

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Photo of NolaHopHead
4.45/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours hazy light golden, thin white head, leaves a little soapy lace. Big juicy citrusy aroma, light malt. Excellent hop forward juicy taste, light sweet malt. Silky soft thin to medium mouthfeel. Such a light bright tasting IPA. Delish!

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Photo of jczimmer44
4.43/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pleasantly surprised by the Mastermind. I was hoping to score second fiddle agin but this is a refreshing change. A summery brew it was pleasant to sip on Mastermind at the winery across the street with live music mowing down an outstanding pulled pork sandwich from Bluebird BBQ.

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Photo of harsley
3.82/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I was a little let down by this. I was expecting more from all the build up. Fantastic mouth feel and well attenuated as an IPA should be, but the hops were barely there for me. Very light tropical notes with a tiny bit of citrus. Not at all what I would expect in a DIPA. There was also a little astringency, almost medicinal taste, with the alcohol apparent. Their Second Fiddle DIPA is way better, in my opinion.

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Photo of SebastianOwl
4.46/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Can dated 6/9/16; drank on 6/14/16 thanks to CBC Westford; I like this much better than the Second Fiddle for my tastes; light body, fresh, hoppy but carrying a hidden 8.1% ABV, sign me up anytime

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Photo of ichorNet
4.24/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Happened upon a four-pack of this brew at Craft Beer Cellar in Westford earlier today after work and just couldn't wait to crack one open to see how it stacks up to one of my absolute favorite NE IPAs, Second Fiddle! Fiddlehead is one of the best breweries I've visited in my 6 years of drinking beer; insanely fresh samples (once got a taste of Second Fiddle that was kegged that day and had just been put on before I came in!), a good gift shop and very friendly staff. A great thing about this beer in particular, though, before I get into the review proper, is that 25% of the sales go to a charity supporting the University of Vermont Children’s Hospital. Can't beat that.

Pours a gorgeous, clear-leaning bright yellow color with a generous dollop of creamy white head that laces spectacularly as it settles out. Lace is even better as the beer drinks, coming down in consistent, thick sheets. Very nice looking brew here, and quite a bit lighter than I expected for some reason. With the fairly-high clarity, I can honestly say I was pretty surprised by how this one looked.

Nose is punchy, lively tropical fruit (guava, pineapple and mango come to mind) with some grassy/dank aromas and a bit of West Coast citrus/pine. Pretty orange/lemon-forward. Ethanol is a bit apparent, but I also get just enough doughy and biscuity malt/yeast to almost quash it. This seems very laid-back, actually. The hops are pretty bright and apparent but seem well-balanced. Doesn't seem as aggressive or as traditional as Second Fiddle to me.

Flavor is bright tropical fruit, some catty notes, grapefruit pith and lemon, all layered atop a biscuit-forward malt body. Ethanol is even less apparent here than in the nose, which is interesting. This definitely doesn't drink like a bigger beer. Pretty juicy and bitter, with a lot of complimentary flavors of guava, pineapple and candied orange/orange peel.

My major sticking point of this beer is the rather stylistically-weak body, which kind of makes it less impactful than it seems like it should be to me. Still, the carbonation is decent and the combination of flavors makes it pretty damn good overall. I kind of randomly stumbled upon this one, and I'm definitely happy to have it, but it does feel a little less-amazing than Second Fiddle to me. I will, however, certainly drink the other three with aplomb, likely sharing the experience with great company.

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Photo of NotAlcoholicJustAHobby
4.1/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

canned 06/09/16

L-The beer pours a golden yellow with only the slightest haze. The rough pour leads to a towering 4 fingers of white froth. Lacing is excellent and lingers throughout.
S- the nose is full of ripe pineapple with a faint trace of alcohol.
T- The first thing to hit the palate is a bit of sweet pineapple. This is quickly replaced with some mild cattiness. Bitterness is very restrained.
F- After the initial pour the carbonation is very restrained. Despite this the body is fairly light in comparison with many DIPA's. The overall mouthfeel is medium.
O- I'm a real fan of the nose of this beer, but the taste is a little heavier on the cattiness than I personally prefer. The beer overall is still pretty decent, but it's not on the same level as Second Fiddle.

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Photo of rabbott2
4.71/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Had this last batch fresh out of a can in a tulip.

L-cloudy and golden with a creamy head
S-dank. citrus galore! sweet orange and pineapple
T-dank. grapefruit, pineapple, orange and some ripeness and pineyness to it as well
F-creamy but juicy, great combo
O-love this quite a bit. really think this is one of the best DIPAs out there.

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Photo of ragnar3
4.06/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a can into a tulip. Slightly hazy yellow pour. More tropical than piney but maltier than I prefer my IPA's. Worth searching out overall but there are better NE IPA's available.

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Photo of anteatr23
3.97/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours opaque copper with a two finger head. Smells of sweet tropical citrus. Taste is a rush of pear-like flavor and citrus, quickly into somewhat brash bitterness. Somewhat dry, and pretty light. The more I drink it the more it tends to lean on the bitterness. Overall, not bad. Maybe a little less than I was hoping for, but not bad.

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Photo of Tonyjenlasc
3.97/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Canned 10-30-2015 - Consumed 12-18-2015

Look - An awesome light golden color. New England hazed look.
Smell - Candied orange, floral, sweet malts, very slight tropical notes
Taste - Floral, citrus pith, candied orange, sweetness, hints of pineapple

Overall - Tasted a lot of malt sweetness in this one. Could it be passed it's prime?!? Second Fiddle crushes this.

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Photo of westcoastbeergeek
4/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aroma and Appearance: It pours a cloudy golden yellow colour with one finger of foam and some slow rising bubbles. The aroma is sweet dough, mild lemon, caramel and lychee with hints of biscuit and a floral overtones.

Flavour: Initially, there is a lot of biscuit malt and lemon drop candy up front. In the middle, sweet sticky biscuit dough takes over while blasts of passion fruit and orange peel overwhelm your entire palate. It eventually calms down into a tangerine and grapefruit citrus finish that has leafy lemons and pine resin on the aftertaste.

Overall Impression: This was an intense and delightful experience, the flavours are quite profound and tongue tingling.

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Photo of SpeedwayJim
4.11/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

12oz. can into a Hop Showers glass.

Pours a foamy, 2 finger white head with excellent retention. Beer is a crystal clear goldenrod. Lacing is layered and thick with great stick. An outstanding looking beer.

Nose has hints of lemon and citrus zest, pine, grass and pineapple. Tropical and juicy but overall pretty mellow.

Opens soft. Hints of papaya and pineapple fortified by a mellow malt body. Some citrus fruit in the middle with a bit of grass and pine in the back. Sweet and juicy end with a bit of a dry, resiny aftertaste. Pretty nice.

Medium bodied with moderate to low carbonation. Slick and quenching in the mouth and soft going down. Mellow finish with a dry, lingering, filmy aftertate. Excellent!

Great balance here and everything from the flavor to the look to the feel is above average. Worth trying but I don't know if its so much better than all the other outstanding offerings in the style that I'd go out of my way for it.

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Photo of Swettenham_Shire
3.73/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Positives: appearance, feel, clean finish; quite smooth for a double IPA
Negatives: funky smell, tastes too much like juice

Props to Fiddlehead for brewing a unique blend of hops and flavors. Just not my type of IPA.

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Photo of MikeyA
3.45/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Need to give this another try. It was a 3 month old can and I think it wasn't treated well temperature wise. Very bitter flavor. Not the melon bomb sans bitterness I keep hearing about.

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Photo of StoutFox
4.77/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Review from notes (drank Aug. 6th)
Received in a trade
All I have to say is holy cow, one of may top 5 IPAs of all time. This really wow'd me. a huge funkiness from the hops and yeast that plays very well with the rest of the flavors. seek it out if you can

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Photo of reds2harleys
4.71/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Another winner from Fiddlehead. This is the 3rd IPA I've had from Fiddlehead and all have been excellent. Nice aroma. Nice hop hit up front that's just right followed by amazing fruity flavor. Great beer from a great brewery. A must stop whenever I'm in VT.

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Photo of MLDucky
4.27/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Very light in color with a huge citrus nose. Pineapple, mango with a hint of pine. Taste was much of the same, very high citrus flavor, mango and pineapple. The pine in the aroma becomes a bit lost and the body seemed a bit thin, possibly due to the grain bill used? Overall a great IPA and I'm glad to have gotten to experience it. I really like what Fiddlehead is putting out there.

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Photo of kevanb
4.26/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz can, didn't see a date, but was brought back just a few days prior from Vermont. Poured into a Hill Farmstead oversized wine glass. Thanks to Steve for his generosity. Enjoyed on 8.17.15, reviewed from tasting journal.

The beer pours a bright gold color, hazy and cloudy with straw hues and a finger of white head, little retention but great lace. The aroma is super tropical, loads of pineapple, citrus peel, mild resinous pine, floral, a bit of mango, super bright, clean and snappy with just a kiss of pale malt. The flavors are right in, mango, pineapple, crisp and fresh, tangy with some nice bright wildflower, a bit of citrus peel bitterness, mild pine but really tropical and juicy, a decent amount of counterbalancing malt is there as well, adds a bit of sweetness too. The mouthfeel is good, coating, moderate carbonation, lively with an easy but dry finish.

Verdict: A very nice double IPA from Fiddlehead. Delicate, juicy, bright, clean, fresh, tropical, super refreshing as well. These Vermont brewers keep putting out gem after gem, and this beer can hang with the best of them.

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Photo of BullDoza
4.87/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A: Soapy, white, 1/4 finger head. The liquid is a soft orange-y color. Opaque with a very slight haze. Though murky, it is definitely an attractive beer.

S: Tropical and juicy. It jumped from the can as I was pouring it, before I even put my nose in. TONS of pineapple for me. Mango. Grapefruit starts to emerges as it sits a couple minutes. A perfect malt sweetness lies beneath to compliment the juicy aromas. I could smell this forever.

T: Juice from nose pops as expected. Pineapple and grapefruit dominate until the malty sweetness swoops in for a perfect balance. The tropical, juicy notes linger and are overtaken at just the right time by the malt. The fade is near perfect. If that's not enough, the beer finishes with the PERFECT amount of lingering bitterness. This beer is so well made and so well layered.

F: Light and so drinkable for a DIPA. Falls right off the palate. Just so damn drinkable. Not much to complain about.

O: Best DIPA I've had in quite some time. From the appearance, to the nose, to the taste...it delivers. Not really sure what else I could ask of this beer. It was the perfect IPA for my mood and palate. So well made/balanced. So drinkable that it disappeared out of the glass too quickly. Will certainly seek this one out again.

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Photo of AMCimpi
4.52/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A:light golden color, with a little head. S: Tropical fruits and some lemon peel. T: Pineapple, some passion fruit and some lemon zest. M: That nice creamy FH mouthfeel. O: Just a solid imperial IPA. So different than second fiddle on the taste, but still just as tasty

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Photo of ryan1788a5
4.14/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12oz can poured into a globe.

A: Golden-orange, the color of mango flesh. Deep haze. Fine-bubbled white head is persistent and holds at an inch in height. Webby lacing.

S: Freshly sliced mango and pineapple. Apricot. Tangerine. Leafy and dank. Doughy malt, lightly honeyed.

T: Fleshy mango and tangerine. Earthy and leafy hop flavors ride up and begin to steal the show. Spicy, peppery, and herbal. Apricot and tropical fruits assert themselves again. Green grass. Mild tartness in the background. Bitterness is firm and even. Doughy and toasty malt with a dab of raw honey. Earthy and herbal hop finish.

M: Hefty medium body. Very round and creamy. Very fine prickling carbonation adds bite. Astringencies are rather tame for the style, but there's some grittiness to it. Touch of warming alcohol.

O: Great stuff. Tame and drinkable for its size. Unfiltered and unfettered, raw, and bursting with tropical and leafy hop flavors. A quintessential 'New England' IPA, as I hear some calling this newer riff on the style. It's the sort of beer that's very en vogue with hopheads these days, and for good reason.

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Photo of danh53
4.55/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Looks like grapefruit juice in the glass. Straw color and totally opaque. Aroma is grapefruit, pineapple, melon, slight grassy notes, and very juicy. The juicy citrus and tropical fruit play nicely with the bitter, grassy hops. This beer is a month old and the hops still taste fresh. I get some pine resin as well. Not too sweet. The mouth feel is soft, almost pillowy mid palate then finishes very dry. Slightly over carbed. I've only had a can or two each of the top IPAs, but I would put this right up there with Green and AGE and prefer it to SoS.

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Photo of Zaximus
3.88/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Can date of 7/17 so...

L - Strawlike, urine yellow.

S - Great. Very piney. Grassy.

T - Kind of disappointing. As expected following the nose. Very piney. Dry. Bitterness comes early and is counteracted by a decent malt backbone. But the flavors are just, eh. Nothing complex. Pine. Grass. Somewhat floral. Not getting much citrus or fruit. No real sweetness. Just, eh.

F - Full for the style. Almost rich.

O - Bit disappointed by this one as this is the first Vermont IPA I've had that has let me down. Kind of one dimensional. Perhaps its great a bit fresher as this one has five weeks on it but... still.

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Mastermind from Fiddlehead Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 112 ratings.