Second Fiddle
Fiddlehead Brewing Company

Second FiddleSecond Fiddle
Write a Review
Beer Geek Stats: | Print Shelf Talker
American Imperial IPA
Ranked #17
Ranked #214
4.47 | pDev: 7.38%
Fiddlehead Brewing Company
Vermont, United States
Second FiddleSecond Fiddle
Notes: Extensively dry-hopped, Second Fiddle is second in name only. Big, juicy and aromatic.
Reviews: 290 | Ratings: 2,247 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Bluecrow
4.1/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This can pour is less than 20 days old. The pour is golden with a slight haze and hosts a 2 cm foam cap. The aroma is slight, pine and a bit of. Iris are noted. The flavor is citrus zest, (orange and lime) with prominent pine and a bready malt back. The hop bitterness is moderate. The mouthfeel is crisp. There is no alcohol heat. This Is quite good.

 352 characters

Photo of brewandbbq
4.18/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

16oz can.

Pours clear gold with an average head, retention, and lacing. Pithy grapefruit with dank pine in the nose. Subdued for the style. Medium bodied with a crisp but creamy mouthfeel. Grapefruit, pine, and faint orange oil on the palate. Finishes firmly dry and bitter with lingering grapefruit, a trace of malt, and a mild booziness.

 342 characters

Photo of Shiredave
3.94/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Fresh - 4-8-20 canning date
Poured out of it's feather-light can at @ 50 deg f allowing a billow of bright white foam to form a sticky head above a golden beer with just the right amount of protein haze - no oaty murk here. Good, steady streams of carbonation race to the surface to die or join the few scant bubbles around the edge of the tulip belly. A head will kick up again if gently swirled but fades quickly. Sharp aromas of citrus and sugary malt in balance are beaten back by boozy notes as it warms. And warms it does as you swallow and savor the piney/ citrus flavors that get heated by the alcohol - yes warm it do, all the way down. The hops - it is all about the hops in a DIPA right? Well, I say balance is but thats just me . This like many, is harsh on the back end - maybe just for me but it does go well with the hot mildly boozy finish so it ticks all the boxes for a solid DIPA. Great medium ++ body and tongue wrapping hop bite, nice nose but could be richer with better balance and mouth feel, aftertaste is just harsh bitter with a warming alcoholic finish .

 1,087 characters

Photo of tekstr1der
4.21/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Canned 02-05, pours a slightly cloudy golden with a small white cap that fades to a ring. Aromas are subdued with only slight notes of citrus and pine mixed with a really nice doughy/crackery malt. Flavors are another story altogether! Immediate burst of vegetal hops and somewhat bitter pith character. Mouthfeel is fairly light for the abv, and the finish is slightly bitter AND slightly sweet simultaneously. Nice change of pace.

 432 characters

Photo of DarkSideOfTheMoon
4.06/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 16oz can into a pint glass. Slightly opaque yellowish gold with a thin head. Moderate carbonation. Not very much on the nose. Grass, pine, slight grapefruit mainly. Taste is nicely hopped and not too bitter. VERY drinkable and considering the ABV that's a bit scary. Would definitely have again.

 309 characters

Photo of Franziskaner
4.04/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Light copper colored and hazy in complexion. There’s a fingernail of eggshell white around the rim and covering a third of the top. Moderate lacing. The aroma is of earthy hops. I’m tasting earthy to vegetal hops. The mouth is smooth, easygoing, and crisp.

 265 characters

Photo of French_Brandon
4.82/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

This is becoming more readily available in restaurants. I have had this on draft and never been disappointed! Excellent aroma and taste, one of my go to's when available.

 170 characters

Photo of Bierman9
4.25/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

After a quick stop at The Alchemist yesterday (07SEP19) for a few cans I stopped into The Reservoir in Waterbury for some libations. Started off with an 11oz pour of this, for $6.50.

Served in a small snifter, it was medium golden, had a smidge of haze, and scattered carbo. Head was a fine, thin layer of white foam, mostly at the rim. Lacing was quite nice, all over. Nose was a mix of breakfast jams - orange and apricot, with some rindy action. Body was medium to medium-plus, with a solid feel.

Flavor had a touch of crackery malt and light sweetness. Had more of the aroma jams - apricot, orange, tangerine. Was a little bit pithy and bitter in the finish. A solid, tasty DIPA. Prosit!

4.25/5 rDev -4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25


 805 characters

Photo of BeerAndGasMasks
4.51/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

From the can, it pours a lovely clear golden amber with a nice white head that eventually diminishes to a thin layer. In the nose, it is a mad forlorn hope of citrus and some pine in the assault! In the mouth, it is the same: grapefruit and citrus, along with a bit of bitter and malt. Yum!

 294 characters

Photo of Nuttin_but_the_best_Clark
4.79/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

It's getting harder to rate IPAs these days because good IPAs are getting more plentiful and easier to find. The taste profiles are also catching up to the point where it's difficult to distinguish the better ones. To me, a few IPAs stand out and this stands up well against Heady Topper or Lawson's Sip of Sunshine.

It has a very pronounced orange taste ... one that comes on stronger when it kicks in. There is a bit of pine flavor/resin which is not as pronounced as in Lawson's or Heady Topper. It's a smooth drinking beer for sure. There is a slight bitterness to it balanced out by the citrusy juice. While I wouldn't necessarily call this a juicy IPA, it seems to blend the best qualities of East and West coast IPAs into one incredibly tasty beer.

I had it with lunch at The Chatham Bars Inn poured cold from a can into a pint glass. I was a bit surprised at seeing it there of all places and paid twelve bucks for the pleasure of tasting it. Now that I have, I will be on the lookout. This is better than anything Treehouse makes in my opinion and I could fill a fridge with it and not get sick of it.

 1,112 characters

Photo of ExtraStout
4.38/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

The aroma explodes of juicy mangoes, peaches, oranges. Just sweet nectar and fruity.

The flavor follows with sweet orange and grapefruit throughout. Almost towards fruit syrup. A medium sweetness in the middle, with some resinous and grapefruit on the finish. More herbal, pine, resin, tea, on the finish.

A beer that is dangerously drinkable and addictive, despite its reasonable amount of malt. Impressively clean. Very much a West Coast style, though one of the best in that style.

 487 characters

Photo of detpizzaboi
4.5/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big juicy crusher. Floral, citrus, dank, earthy, bready, wine grapes, really nice carb, smooth, light and easy drinking at 8.2%. Great beer, stacks up well with it’s better known neighbors.

 191 characters

Photo of Beertsipper
4.59/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Canned 4/29. Light gold, slightly hazy. Smells juicy, some hops. Taste is juicy, hoppy, citrus, pineapple, peach. Medium mouthfeel with a dry, puckering finish. Slight bitterness. Almost perfectly balanced and totally crushable. I gotta get me some more of this stuff.

 268 characters

Photo of IPA_Weather
4.32/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Unlike the Fiddlehead IPA, which tastes more unique, Second Fiddle hits all the typical NEDIPA notes for taste. That doesn’t mean it isn’t delicious. Not a hazy look or heavy feel. Get some.

 194 characters

Photo of jrc1093
4.07/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Canned on 3/6/19

Pours a clear, faintly copperish kind of gold with an ample, slightly rocky white head; very nice retention that results in plenty of persistent lacing and a frothy, albeit bubbly collar.

Aromas of dank peach, grapefruit, and tropical pith comes through strongly, with lighter notes of orange zest, pine, and bits of hoppy spice following; a restrained dankness comes through in spots, while a clear crisp malt backbone that dives into deeper notes of fresh rising dough and black bread crusts starts to shine on the finish.

Taste profile is predominantly dank herbs and fruity rind, along with subtle hints of white grape must in the background; great bit of restrained hoppy, pithy bitterness along with some crackery malt on the finish; bitter, juicy, and hints of sweetness, this is a soft but incredibly varied IPA profile.

Mouthfeel brings a medium-light body with perfectly balanced carbonation; crisp throughout with an underlying fluff to give it the most easygoing kind of weight across the palate; this just pops on the tongue, and peaks across the palate almost perfectly.

A true hybrid of West Coast and New England style IPAs; with so many IPAs out there now, this one may have lost some of its previous luster, but damnit if it isn't still one of the more universally palate-pleasing examples of an IPA out there. Soft but balanced, and showing great variety in its profile and consistency throughout, this is still quietly a great IPA that shouldn't be overlooked.

 1,502 characters

Photo of Imakoniver
4.53/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

This is an excellent DIPA. The initial sip hits the pallet with incredible balance and finishes with the bitter hoppy taste. Each sip thereafter finishes better and better. If you can find it, buy it, and enjoy it.

 217 characters

Photo of GateToWire
4.45/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A really good IPA
dark orange in complexion, cloudy
Great aroma of hops, citrus & malt
Crisp, clean. What an American IPA should taste like
A tremendous balance of flavor & bitterness with a nice lingering finish

 212 characters

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

Now this is an oldschool IPA - and one that I haven't previously reviewed. I was mightily psyched for this check-in.

Second Fiddle is lightly dry and just a bit bitter and piney. It's not your typical New England hazy IPA, and that's totally okay! The balance of sweet, dry, clean, bitter, piney notes is quite pleasant. The ABV is very well disguised. Taste and texture are good - just a bit of syrup to it, but quite drinkable. It's a nice hybrid of oldschool IPA, with some west coast character, and a bit of that hoppy, sweet, NE IPA character.

Well done.

 561 characters

Photo of npolachek
4.31/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Very good VT style IPA - similar to Heady Topper and Lawson's Finest Sip of Sunshine. Pours golden orage with tastes of grapefruit, pine, and other citrus fruit. Good bitterness in the finish.

 192 characters

Photo of jmdrpi
4.05/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16 oz can, dated 1/31/19 so about 3 weeks old

Light yellow in color, slightly hazy, white head. Nice hop aroma, a mix of fruity, dank, grassy. Similar flavor, medium bitterness. Thin to medium bodied.

 202 characters

Photo of farrago
4.04/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Modest finger deep head, just off-white, even surface, few dimples, retention is good for what’s there initially, lacing starts out as wide sheets eventually breaking into thinner streaks. Soft gauziness to the liquid but nowhere near filmy or cloudy, bright golden color, noticeably dispersed tiny bubbles, like gentle snowflakes just, err, going up. Honeyed nose, tangerine to pink grapefruit and lime, citrus a major component, fresh unbaked pie crust, pine sap, coal tar, starts heading in a dank direction and suddenly stops, this allows the pineapple, apricot, green melon scents to spread some, not fully tropical in nature. Full-bodied, dry mouth entry, almost scrubbing in feel, the carbonation active with more prickle than creaminess. The breadiness more toasty and here the tarriness sinks in deeper. White pepper and a light salinity take the sappy goodness out of the pine notes. Somehow the pink grapefruit, tangerine citrus gets pushed back to past the mid-palate, the carbonation churns it away. Papaya, pineapple, green apple to nectarine fruit, here it’s just the dryness which has it come off as not that tropical. Overall, there’s a lot going on and it never loses your attention. That said, could wish for more smooth integration.

 1,258 characters

Photo of Pumadog
4.77/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Was given one by a friend. Loved it. Another friend had one of my all time favorites Sip of Sunshine with him. This was every bit as enjoyable. Both same price. I can’t favor one over the other. They are 2 of my top 3 NEIPA. The other being Focal Banger. Heady Toppers little brother. HT is number 4 for me. I live in Central VT and have easy access to all of them. Second Fiddle will be my go to beer of choice because it’s new to me

 447 characters

Photo of brewme
4.25/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Picked-up a four-pack @ Portside Liquors in Plymouth, MA for about seventeen dollars. My second brew from these guys, who I think are new to MA. Solid, if unspectacular brew.

 175 characters

Photo of FFFjunkie
4.46/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Look is an opaque honey orange and poured with 2 fingers of fluffy white head.

Aroma is mainly grapefruit and big pine.

Taste is grapefruit, sticky pine, some tangerine and maybe some melon lurking in the shadows. Has a nice bitter bite at the end.

Feel is hefty. Body is full. Smooth and thick all day. Carb is moderate .

Overall a stellar double ipa. Big grapefruit and pine with a nice malt backbone.

 409 characters

Photo of pubscout
4.71/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

I'm told this outstanding DIPA from Fiddlehead Brewing in Shelburne, VT is very tough to get outside the Burlington area. In that regard--and in others--it compares well with the legendary Heady Topper. Big, three fingered head, incredible nose loaded with citrus and pine and dangerously drinkable at 8.2%, this is an outstanding example of the now-revered NEIPA style. (It also helps to explain why that style is now-revered and wildly popular.)
On the front end, the beer has a pleasant bready character; in the middle, the citrus fruit (tangerine, orange) makes its presence known, along with some pear and pine notes. The back end has a most interesting bitter, resiny, almost wood-like finish that includes hint of more citrus, especially lemon. What was most surprising was how crisp it was. I'm guessing that, like Heady Topper, you want to drink this fresh .
The layers of flavor in this exceptional beer might cause a NEIPA lover to ask, "Heady Who?" (although that NEIPA lover might rightly be considered deranged). Bottom line here is that you'd be a fool to diss HT, and just as much a fool to miss Second Fiddle. Big Props to Fiddlehead Brewing...

 1,162 characters

Second Fiddle from Fiddlehead Brewing Company
Beer rating: 99 out of 100 with 2247 ratings