Mastermind - Fiddlehead Brewing Company

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841 Ratings
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Ratings: 841
Reviews: 91
rAvg: 4.48
pDev: 8.93%
Wants: 300
Gots: 134 | FT: 0
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.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 841 | Reviews: 91
Reviews by the Alström Bros:

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More User Reviews:
Photo of Stevedore
4.46/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

12oz can. Dated 10/9/2014 at the bottom. Poured into a Hill Farmstead stemmed glass 10/21/2014. Should be better than it was the last time I had it, when it was about 6 weeks old..

A- Hazy golden-yellow body. Very opaque as typical of unfiltered IPAs. One finger fluffy white head, lots of lacing persists in rings. [4.25]

S- Resinous grapefruit, orange, even a bit of nectarine. A bit of sharp lime as well. Nice caramel malt backbone for a bit of balance. Very aromatic and strong. Can't put my finger on it, but it reminds me of one of Hill Farmstead's Society & Solitude beers. [4.5]

F- Sweet grapefruit and lime flavours mixed in with crackers and caramel. Some tangerine/orange in the finish. Very nice balance of aromatic hops, bittering hops and the malt backbone. [4.5]

M- Medium bodied, soft and nicely carbonated. A bit thinner than the other big names in Vermont, but that's not saying a whole lot. Very smooth, drinkable and soft feel. [4.25]

O- Very good DIPA, especially this fresh. Would highly recommend asking for this one as an addition to your next big hop box from Vermont. [4.5]

Final score: 4.46

Photo of maximum12
2.7/5  rDev -39.7%

Thanks to baybum for this little can of a beer. I’ve been rolling around in glorious, world-class IPAs the past couple of weeks, so I’m looking for one more. Greedy, I am. 12 oz. black and white can with a 10/23/14 date (yeah!) dumped into my Creature Comforts glass that I’m growing more & more fond of.

The pour is drug test yellow, almost bright, opaque, full of more bubbles than there are political analysts on the TV tonight (it’s Election Day! "I pull my shirt off & pray..."). The nose delivers pineapple & citrus in spades, & smells bright, if that makes sense. Nice.

Mastermind doesn’t hew to the typical IPA. It opens with an odd burst of herbal, spring-like greens mixed with earthiness that makes me wonder what I just put in my mouth (I haven’t shown such good judgment at times in the past). The mid-palate kicks up some IPA dust, with the fruitiness in the nose, strange, fake, hanging-from-the-mirror evergreen, & a low flash of bitterness. Ends muddled. If we’re being honest, I wish I’d split this with my wife.

I will admit it: I’m baffled. This beer is a wild mess. Not even mediocre.

Photo of Damian
4.47/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

Drank from a 32oz "growlette"
Served in a snifter
Thanks to my friend Matt for bringing this back from Vermont.

Super cloudy, straw yellow appearance. The liquid was topped by a thin film of bubbly white froth. A spotty curtain of lacing coated the glass.

The aroma was super hoppy. Dank and resiny. Amazingly weed-like. Strong tropical fruit notes were apparent. Mango and passionfruit were most noticeable. Quite sweet. Between the fruitiness and the sweetness, the nose reminded me a lot of Juicy Fruit gum. Some subtle, musty, yeasty notes were also detectible.

The flavor profile was quite hoppy as well, but definitely more bitter and resiny than the aroma. Super citrusy. Fairly sweet up front. Candied orange peel came through strong. Lots of peach and apricot notes as well. Touch of mango. Overall, incredibly fruity. The finish was piney, resiny and semi-bitter. The 8.1% ABV became slightly noticeable as the beer warmed.

My one complaint about the beer was the mouthfeel. The liquid seemed a touch flat, albeit somewhat soft and creamy. While I realize that the this was likely due in part due to the fact that the beer came from a screw top growler, I feel like the brewery should somehow be held accountable for this.

Mastermind was the first beer I have had a chance to try from Fiddlehead, and it really impressed me. This is an amazingly flavorful, complex and reasonably balanced DIPA, much in the vein of others produced by some of Vermont's finest. I look forward to trying more offerings from these guys.

Photo of cpetrone84
3.9/5  rDev -12.9%

Pour is bright golden amber with a light haze and lots of tight white head. Nose is sticky caramel, slightly stale grain, a bit resinous and good bit of grapefruit and citrus. Taste is a bit cleaner, less grain but it was a bit stale in the nose, still some sweet sticky malt foundation but not overpowering, loads of citrus and dusty grapefruit, resinous hops mostly cleaned up. Light body and moderately carbonated, gentle bitterness through the finish and a soft feel.

Photo of hillvt4me
4.25/5  rDev -5.1%

Drank as well as poured from a 12oz can.
Pours a cloudy light yellow hue. The head was moderate.
S- smell is floral and a touch of grapefruit citrus.
T- taste mild balanced hoppy taste, though juicy with floral and citrus notes. Etoh well hidden for 8.1%.
M- mouthfeel was light velvety and extremely drinkable.
O- overall are well balanced, rather drinkable DIPA. Doesn't pack the hop punch of many others; perhaps a nice alternative. Definitely better on the pour than in the can for this guy.

Photo of bahnfire
4.5/5  rDev +0.4%

12oz can to glass

Pours a beautiful bright and hazy yellow. Just how I like my IPA/DIPAs to look. Tons of citrusy hop goodness on the nose. Taste is equally juicy and full of hop flavor. Not much bitterness to speak of, very, very easy to drink. The amount of hop aroma and juicy flavor actually remind me of the first time I had Heady in a can. Not saying it is better than Heady or anything, but to my nose/palate Mastermind provides a similar experience of waves of citrusy hop enjoyment with each sniff and sip.

Second Fiddle was very good, but I did find it a bit malty/sweet at times. Mastermind on the other hand is pretty much exactly how I like a DIPA, bright, light and lots of juicy citrus. Glad to hear they are canning more next week.

Photo of BoldRulerVT
4.37/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a growler into a snifter glass.
Pours a hazy, light golden hue. Cloudy with flavor. The head was moderate to light.
Smells are fantastic. So floral. My nose picked up much more floral than citrus in this brew.
Taste was fantastic and a bit complex. Sweetness, hoppy juiciness, floral notes. A little alcohol on the finish.
Mouthfeel was very nice and left me wanting more.
Matty-O for all his focus on their flagship Fiddlehead IPA makes these amazing beers to compliment the IPA, Hodad, Mastermind, Second Fiddle, etc... To me these beers are what excites me about Fiddlehead.

Photo of skivtjerry
4.75/5  rDev +6%

Color is straw/light orange. Pours cloudy, almost opaque with the good stuff. Medium head falls to a small sticky ring. Aroma is orange/tangerine/lime with some cannabis and pineapple; a little sweet malt and alcohol in the background. Taste is similar, orange dominates early, then becomes dank and finishes with a trace of hot alcohol. Mouthfeel is like crawling into a hop sleeping bag. A lot like Heady but has some interesting hop character of its own. The only real fault is a touch of hot alcohol - smooth that out and it would be damn near perfect. I want to taste this alongside Heady soon.

edit: with the latest batch I've tasted (late October 2014) the hot alcohol has been pretty much fixed; still a little hint as a teaser but I can't really call it a fault. Great beer!

Photo of chinchill
3.79/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From a 12 oz can.
Very Pungent aroma.
A load of hop flavors but only moderate bitterness.
O: a big hoppy beer with relatively high drinkability.

Photo of Brenden
4.54/5  rDev +1.3%
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.

Photo of ONovoMexicano
4.35/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

From a 12 ounce can into a snifter.

A- Pouring from the can, I notice this brew is the color of lemonade. In the glass the body is a golden, cloudy glow with a light, sudsy head three fingers deep. 4.25

Dank and resinous on the nose with a sweet vanilla undertone. 4.25

What's new to me about this DIPA is that while dank and resinous in a big way, it's got a burst if lemony, citrus flavor. I taste a hint of coconut, some slight booze, and sweet notes of caramel. 4.5

Plenty of body here and it's creamy and smooth almost throughout before a pleasantly bitter finish. There's a slight feel of alcohol, but it quickly fades. 4.25

Damn good DIPA all around. Impressive.

Photo of Alieniloquium
4.1/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. can poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Pale orange. Medium white head with good retention. Thin collar.

Smell - Very tropical, especially as it warms. A little dank. Pale malt.

Taste - And lots of tropical fruits here too. Sweet mango. Orange and grapefruit. Very light sweet malt.

Mouthfeel - Medium body. Medium carbonation, but it's got a creaminess.

Overall - Very good without really standing apart from its other Vermont IPA competition.

Photo of mriley1984
5/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

What can I say. Fiddlehead has done it again. Another masterpiece dipa. Possibly the best dipa to date. Huge hop aroma. The taste definitely carries over from the smell. Lots of galaxy hop taste in this one. Super excited that they released this in cans.. For all who venture to vt for the monster heady topper, this one is on par if not surpasses the hoppy flavor. Honestly I wish fiddlehead was more consistent with the dipas they put out.

Photo of ricknelson
4/5  rDev -10.7%

Today 3 of us did a comparison tasting of 4 IPA/IIPA's brews: The brews were New Glarus Scream, Revolution Anti Hero, and Fiddlehead Second Fiddle and Mastermind. Second Fiddle came out on top with a rating of 5.0. Two of us feel it is the best IPA on the scene today. Scream came in a solid second at 4.5. It was a surprise to all three of us because we had not had it before. Great nose, nice color, great taste. Very Solid. Anti-Hero was well liked by all three of us and came in at 4.25. But Fiddleheads second brew Mastermind did not quite live up to our hopes. In at 4.0.

Photo of YodersBeerEmporium
4.74/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Outstanding IPA! Really looking forward to trying more Fiddlehead in the future!!!

Photo of boredalready
4.83/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Simply put this is one of my favorite ipas. I wish they were pumping this out every couple of weeks.

Photo of Uconnelmo
4.42/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

was 11/19/14 so it was by no means fresh but still delicious. I imagine the smell and taste were better fresh. Still world class

Photo of Samp01
3.78/5  rDev -15.6%
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.

Photo of BergBeer
4.75/5  rDev +6%

Look: A hazy golden straw with burst of orange through out. Reminds me of Nelson from alpine.

Smell: Smacks you in the face with huge pineapple, peach, apricot, and green apple. Everytime I smell it a different vibrant fruit note smacks my nostrils! After the bright citrus come a slight malt and a ting of booze to show the big body. I could spray my whole house with a febreeze made with this!

Taste: Big vibrant peach and pineapple notes on the attack followed by a touch of piney hops, with another burst of peach that lingers as the malted body creeps forward then a bitter hop shows with a slight booze. More fruity hops on the finish. Fantastic.

Mouthfeel: Bright and vibrant at first then the bitter hop brings about a medium body with a slight booze heat. Solid representation of the style.

Overall: Another fantastic Vermont DIPA. It doesn't quite hit heady but it's definitely not one to miss while on Vermont! A great beer that is sadly over shadowed that you don't have to give your first born to obtain. I simply walked into a local grocery store and they had a case. Also I had it in the can and out and I prefer it in the can! Awesome. Definitely pick it up when your in the state

Photo of Phyl21ca
4.5/5  rDev +0.4%

Bottle: Poured a pale yellow color ale with a generous pure white foamy head with excellent retention and good amount of lacing. Aroma of fresh juicy hops with nice grapefruit and tropical notes. Taste is also dominated by loads of juicy hops notes with fresh tropical fruit notes as well as some grapefruit. Body is light with good carbonation. World-class IIPA indeed with almost no bitterness and loads of fresh hops juice.

Photo of rjp217
4.23/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Just under four weeks of age.....

Pours a bright as the sun yellow and leaves some sticky lace that retains quite well throughout consumption. The nose has some citrus qualities with a good amount of fresh cut grass as well as some decent floral undertones. The taste was a little bit of a letdown because from look and aroma I was hoping for a lot of tropical notes. Instead I got some definite pineapple with malts and a touch of pine on the finish. The mouthfeel is wonderful, thick and dank, medium carb, nice bite. Overall, this beer is on the brink of greatness. I wonder how it differs from within a week to three-four which is what I drank. That could be what's missing but nevertheless, it's another impressive DIPA

Photo of BTVflatlander
4.13/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Fortunate enough to grab a couple growlettes of this new brew in Shelburne. I was given the impression that this is a smaller-batch brew that wouldn't stick around for very long. This is a new DIPA from Fiddlehead hopped with predominantly Galaxy hops. Should be interesting. Served in a Fiddlehead snifter.

A: Golden yellow, very attractive. Unique for a DIPA.

S: Hoppy--not overly citrus, floral, or pine. Strange.

T: The most alcohol-forward DIPA I've had. Not a bad thing, just unique. It's not quite what I expected it to be, but certainly very good. A bit of subdued citrus hop with high bitterness.

M: Supple.

O: Very glad to have gotten a hold of this beer. I've just missed out on trying Fiddlehead's other DIPAs that I've heard good things about and I think this new brew is further proof that the quality of the stuff Fiddlehead's putting out is very much on the increase. I see them coming to dominate the beer scene in the near future. Grab it if you can.

Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.83/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Cans purchased at Fiddlehead Brewing Company in Shelburne, VT.

Pours a peachy golden yellow, with a fizzy and foamy 1.5 inch head, and a lot of stringy and webby lacing.

Smells just about incredible. Aromas include passionfruit, grass, pine, orange, peach, mango. Smells sticky and dank. Oh my god.

The taste is honestly out of this world. Starts really fruity up front, tropical as all hell- all of the aforementioned fruits- mango and orange being the big stars. Where this becomes unique is the finish. There's some herbal and piney bitterness near the end, almost feels like marijuana, but as you drink more, the bitterness near the end almost feels minty. I get some juniper and lime as well, near the end. Possibly one of the most unique IPA's I've ever had- save for ones with extra flavor additions. This just gets a whole ton of flavors by wringing out delicious hops.

There's a light body, with a slightly creamy and juicy mouthfeel. Goes down unbelievably easy.

This is a beer to be reckoned with. Watch out, other Vermont breweries, Fiddlehead is here to stay. This is AWESOME.

Photo of RaulMondesi
4.59/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Wow. And when Raul says, "wow," he means "wowie to the zowie." This is an interesting one, my children.

Now, lets be real: it looks horrible. Looks like someone blended up a 5 dollar foot long and poured it into my Firestone teku.

But the taste... The taste! Following the aroma is... I don't know! Raul is done confounded! Yes, it has all those lush tropical fruits like that Virgin Airlines guy who owns multiple islands and shit, but overall there is this flavor that leaves Raul ineffable. Couldn't tell ya, but my sweet hell is it good!

Raul's tryin', he really is. But he is at a loss! This dang sucker is top of its class.

Photo of angrybabboon
4.43/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Consumed 10/15/14

A: Pours lightly cloudy (moderately cloudy if you pour in all the sediment at the bottom of the can) - honey tangerine color - pours with a small, white head, fades to wisps, leaves some nice spots of lacing

S: Very dank and fruity - extremely resinous, weed-like aroma - ripe, juicy, dank, and hoppy - big citrus component, with tangerine, orange, and grapefruit flesh - very floral - range of tropical fruits, pineapple, mango, straight-up tropical fruit juice aromas - base of lightly sweet, pale malts, and citrus rind

T: Hoppy and inexplicably easy to drink - not as potent as the aroma would suggest, but a really nice hop profile - very floral - bright tangerine and grapefruit flesh, pineapple, mango, ripe peach, other tropical flavors - medium level of bitterness - leafy, piney, and lightly earthy notes become apparent after the initial tropical citrus - pale malts and some sweetness, alcohol is well hidden

M: Medium body, very smooth, disturbingly quaffable, finishes with lingering hops

O: Masterful

Is it even possible to review this beer without mentioning Heady? No. The color scheme of the can, the name of the beer, and the whole "Vermont" thing cannot be ignored. But comparing this to Heady is not entirely fair, as I found this to be very different than Heady. It's aroma is less intense but more resiny and weedy than Heady. Overall, Mastermind is easier to drink (ironic that it currently only can be found in 12 ounce cans), but it's also not as flavorful. Regardless, Mastermind is awesome, assuming you drink it within a couple weeks of canning. The can I am currently reviewing is already less epic than a can I drank a few days ago. Find this beer fresh! It's worth it.

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Mastermind from Fiddlehead Brewing Company
99 out of 100 based on 841 ratings.