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Mastermind - Fiddlehead Brewing Company

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.

89 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 89
Hads: 988
Avg: 4.39
pDev: 29.84%
Wants: 338
Gots: 165 | FT: 1
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: BTVflatlander on 09-06-2013

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 89 | Hads: 988
Photo of ryan1788a5
4.14/5  rDev -5.7%
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 +3.6%
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 -11.6%
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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Photo of captainkrad
4.31/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Incredible nose. Pine and citrus. Unlike any IPA I've had. Nice IPA flavors. Pineapple, grapefruit, fresh, green pine resin. Malty backbone and creamy mouth feel. I note a subtle velvety presence of oats. Terrific.

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

Pours a nice unfiltered straw with a nice head.
Nose is all nelson, sour grapes, tangerines, awesome. Taste is pleasantly tart grape, some lemon and citrus as well. The mouth feel is wonderful, really covers your mouth well and finishes smooth and bitter.

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Photo of stephenjmoore
4.02/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Huge thanks to jkrug5 for this extra!

Cloudy pale orange with a slightly off-white head thick, frothy head. Aroma is mainly citrus and orange, big hop presence. Flavor is big on the citrus as well, lots of orange, a hint of pineapple, some grapefruit. Huge bitterness. The feel is slightly creamy, medium carbonation, slight lingering prickliness. Really different, change of pace IIPA, big citrus.

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Photo of Beldark
4.73/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Canned 8/7/2015, bought the next day at the brewery. Props to Fiddlehead for a very efficient system. We drove by to see 300+ people in line, and gave up, only to return an hour later. The line had dissipated completely, but still, anyone who wanted a case got one. Super quick and I actually felt like these guys were happy that people were getting to try their beer, unlike some of the bigger names in the area.

Poured into a tulip from a 12oz can - I understand this to be the first batch with the new colored (plastic) labels.

L: Beautiful golden-amber color in front of a light. No visible sediment at all, but rather opaque. I prefer clear beer but this looks apetizing.

S: Big, sweet citrus and melon. Very clean and not as in-your-face as something like Sip of Sunshine.

T: Utterly ridiculous. Right off the bat this is one of the most balanced beers I've ever tasted. Grassy turns to melon, then suddenly a long tangerine-like citrus finish. I adore fruit bombs and this one is perfect. Nothing else hiding in the flavor, just a nice logarithmic curve up to the fruity finish. Unreal.

F: Almost a little thin up front for the style - but it's so brief I can't even be sure. As the flavor comes on, so does the mouthfeel. Perfectly fills the palate, but doesn't give me sweater teeth like Heady and some other over-the-top resin jobs.

O: I don't even know what to say. I love everything about this beer, from buying it on premises to the last drop. I would make the 6 hour drive back to Shelburne just for this. Given the choice, I wouldn't take Heady Topper or SoS over Mastermind. Okay, I've calmed down a little. Now I just have to figure out how to make it back for more.

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Photo of NYC-IPAnAPA
4.5/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Light colored double IPA that looks almost like a pale ale. Great citrus/juicy flavors, but not your typical NE hop bomb that is so common among highly rated NE IPAs and DIPAs. No question that this is the best tasting beer that is predominantly hopped w/galaxy hops, at least that I've ever had.

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Photo of pmangold
4.5/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

lighter/pale yellow (lighter than most DIPAs) with plenty of carb. juicy pineapple/citrus notes in the nose. Taste follows, drinks really easy for a double. Great brew.

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Photo of MOVERTON1284
4.25/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I love straw colored IPA's and this one fits the bill. Poured into an Upland snifter, very opaque. I get a very unique hop aroma and taste from this beer. Balanced and not boozy at all!

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Photo of MakeMineADoubleJack
4.25/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Had this on tap, served in a snifter. Bright orange coloring, not much head. This is a cantaloupe bomb. It's sweet and tropical; but more than anything, I get a smack of cantaloupe. If anything, that's what makes this beer special. An enjoyable DIPA that didn't disappoint me, but didn't blow me away either.

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Photo of Horbar
4.93/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A masterpiece.

It's so ugly it's beautiful..
Pours a murky straw yellow with hints of orange.
Smells like pineapple and orange.
Juicy as hell. Grapefruit with pineapple and orange.
I wish this was brewed more often.
One of the juiciest hop bombs ever.

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Photo of GinjaSlice
4.34/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Pours a very pale clear yellow with minimal white head and decent lacing.
S: Super lemony very different from most ipas, almost like candy, with maybe some grapefruit to it
T: Lots of lemon/citrus again just like the nose. Not much hop/dank flavor i love in ipas. Tasted almost like a session to me. But a good lemony/hop aftertaste that was very unique.
F: Pretty good little too much carbonation a little to much stick to it.

O: A very unique DIPA, not really a hop bomb but instead very lemony and kind of candyish, reminds me of grapefruit sculpin.

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Photo of SomethingClever
4.81/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

12 oz can poured into water glass canned on 7/24

A: murky gold colored with a small bubbled head that disappears to a film

S: This smells like grapefruit with lots of lemon squeezed in has a very herbal smell about it as well. I wonder if it is the yeast giving it such a depth of character on the nose with the earthiness

T: like drinking the pulp out of orange juice very citrusy with a huge herbal tea quality to it with a ton of lingering grapefruit peel esters on the tongue with a depth of earthiness to it that keeps bringing more flavor. Picking up some melon taste like honeydew as well.

M: very heavy for an IPA this coats the tongue and gives it a richer deeper taste

O: I can't pinpoint exactly why this beer is so good but it definitely is! its not juicy as so much as it is thick with deep citrus flavors counterpointed by an herbal depth that gives it almost a slight earthy taste. Its so complex its fruity, but piney, earthy, herbal and slightly floral all at once. And that full heavy feel on the tongue is just outstanding. ABV is very well hidden as well.

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Photo of calitrie1486
3.95/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Got a bunch of cans from the last release and heard so much hype about it. I honestly don't think it is that great or even worth going out of your way for. I think second fiddle blows this beer out of the water as do most of the others. Overall it is good. . . its just missing something that makes it great like the others in its class.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4.46/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

we went over to get this for the release, and by 1030 or so in the morning, there was a line that wrapped like a snake around the building. there was no way we were waiting in that, i thought for sure all the beer would be gone, so we gave up on it and went elsewhere. to my amazement, when i got home, a friend of mine offered me up a can, since he had scored that day and was feeling generous. lucky me, we shared this a few ways, and all in our party were very impressed. the freshness for one, consuming hoppy beer on the day it comes out is always a treat, but this one is a real unique brew too. it has a super pale color to it, looks like a hazy pils in the glass, with an airy white head over an inch tall and fading only slowly. it smells like amarillo and citra, maybe mosaic, its hard to say for sure if there is more than a few varietals in it, but the nose is amazing. ive been getting pineapple juice from these hops lately, and i got it pretty strongly here too, but there is also notes of mango, aloe, lime zest, and cheerios. pretty basic stay out of the way type malt base, very light body for a stronger ipa, and quite clean in the finish. bitterness is moderate, or rather aggressive but just balanced expertly by the sweeter oily elements of the hops. somehow lighter and more drinkable than others, and with no appreciable yeast flavor going on, unlike many of its vermont counterparts. a beautifully done brew, perfect twist on the style for hot weather, and a beer i was real thankful to get my hands on. these guys are really putting out some delicious stuff lately, wow!

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Photo of MyThoughtsExactly
4.59/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a can dated ten days old into a tulip glass. Thanks to MakersNeat for the can.
Appearance: Clear yellow with lots of head
Nose: lots of pine, honey, candied sugars
Taste: grapefruit, pine, lemon, lemon drop candy, white grape. Finish has a little bitterness, tartness.
Feel: Light to medium and bready
This is a lemony, champagne light IPA. Interesting beer

Updated review: Drank a day after canned (8/8 release) had to bump the taste up after that. There maybe some batch to batch variation in this beer

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Photo of Danismaximus
4.9/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pretty much right off the bat you can smell that this beer is special. It has a really unique hoppy aroma that is very distinct and interesting. The flavor is outstanding. This is one of those beers that you sit and rock your head back-and-forth in disbelief. It really is that good.

The only reason I don't give it a complete five star review is that in the past I've judged beers on the clarity/turbidity a little harshly. Although I don't really care a whole lot anymore, it wouldn't be fair to judge too differently. This beer is a little cloudy but I honestly like that. I really like the spear and hope that I can find it again soon. I need more friends to travel to Vermont I guess.

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Photo of mhs413
5/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Every bit as good as Heady Topper in my opinion, and less challenging to acquire, at least in 2014. I even like the 12-ounce can, though I would not object to a 16-ounce repackaging. As good a beer as I have had the pleasure to enjoy. Can't wait for your return.

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Photo of Ready4aHeady
4.01/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

I could tell it wasn't quite to my top NE IIPA standards in that the appearance is a light lemon yellow as opposed to the apricot color ive come to associate with concentration and complexity... It is hazy though, as it should be...
Nose has some nice hoppy funk but is rather restrained...
Flavor is hoppy and citrusy with some lemon and a very mild bitter finish...
A welcome edition to the NE IIPA line-up and though falls short of HF offerings, Dinner, and Trilliums... is a delicious beer....

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Photo of Samp01
3.78/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12oz can. Pours a hazy medium yellow gold, with a small white head. Has a very piney citrus grapefruit aroma. Taste is similar with a nice citrus grapefruit tangy hops flavor, mild biscuit malt with some caramel notes as well. A medium body on the palate, good carbonation. Finish is sweet citrus, pine and grapefruit tanginess, with mild malt and caramel notes, slight dry finish. A good tasty solid all around brew.

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Photo of Jaxbrew
4.81/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

I was fortunate to get several 4 packs of this during his October release from a friend traveling in Vermont. This beer is amazing! 2 weeks in the can showed explosive hop character and reminded me of a tropical hop punch! I added Fiddlehead to my Vermont trip for next year because of this beer. I actually prefer this over Heady Topper now. Get you some!

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Photo of mdfb79
4.36/5  rDev -0.7%

From 12/14/14 notes. Thanks to BeerLawyer85 for sharing a can of this, it wads very good. 12 oz. can into a pint glass.

Pours a somewhat clear yellow color with one inch of bright white head and moderate carbonation evident. Tons of pine, spruce, citrus hops, grapefruit juice, lemon zest, oranges, and some nice tropical fruits. Also some fruity malts and bread. Medium body and moderate carbonation, no bitterness to it.

Overall really good. Not as tropical as Sip of Sunshine and more pine, but just as drinkable. Really great, well worth checking out.

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Photo of humuloner22
4.54/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a good beer. I got this one on a trade. Thanks to a great trader! It is definitely interesting. It reminds me a lot of pseudosue, but not nearly as thick a mouthfeel and a little more lingering bitterness on the back of the tongue.

Appearance: Hazy golden color.

Smell: Tropical fruits, some piney resin but not a huge amount going on with this one other than that. Maybe a little sweetness in the malt backbone.

Taste: Very nicely balanced, lots of fruits, honeysuckle, tropical notes and oh so smooth, just a tinge of bitterness on the back of the tongue.

Overall: This is very similar to pseudosue, its a bit more watery, but I don't know if that is really an issue. I would love to have more access to these in the summer months. I am an IPA fiend but I am transitioning to different styles at the moment. Nevertheless, this is a top notch one in my opinion.

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Photo of Brenden
4.54/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

This beer is a muddles dark yellow/pale orange color, extremely thick as some swirling sediment settles, and initially this actually develops a sort of sediment cloud that dissipates to form the complete opacity that it finishes with. The head is an impressively strong and sizeable pure white one, a crown that never drops below half a finger and leaves chunky lacing in good volume.
I'm impressed by the aromatics even with all the hype, and I don't even need to get my nose very close to the glass to get a burst of tangerine and grapefruit. Just a few moments give the bouquet time to develops to an extremely strong dose of pine and, in a good way, a bit of earth/soil. There are levels of depth to work through, though, and a little more rawness, leaf, even some herb from the middle to finish, all come out to mingle together and make for one of the best aroma I've gotten from any hoppy beer.
It's strong, for sure, with hops banging the palate right away but somehow never fatiguing it. There has to be a pretty big malt underneath to balance this hugely hoppy beer this well, adding just enough caramel and honey sweetness to balance almost perfectly without taking anything from the hops. All kinds of bitterness rolls on the tongue from pine to grapefruit peel to pith, maybe a flash of something briny in the middle, but no astringency or harshness. It rides into a floral, even perfumey end with lots more zest lingering into the finish. This is a world-class beer that could be as close to perfect as possible with just the slightest cleanup in the middle as a slight saltiness flashes in, but this is in the upper echelon of DIPAs.
The body is as thick as it looks, flowing smoothness beginning each sip and giving way to a strong bite of crispness that carries through. It dries out strongly after a few seconds and remains dry.

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Mastermind from Fiddlehead Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 89 ratings.