Second Fiddle
Fiddlehead Brewing Company

Second FiddleSecond Fiddle
Write a Review
Beer Geek Stats: | Print Shelf Talker
IPA - Imperial
Ranked #18
Ranked #239
4.46 | pDev: 7.4%
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: 302 | Ratings: 2,303 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by KevinL:
Photo of KevinL
KevinL from Michigan

4.18/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Jan 07, 2020
More User Reviews:
Photo of nhindian
nhindian from Pennsylvania

2.97/5  rDev -33.4%
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...

May 04, 2015
Photo of angrybabboon
angrybabboon from Massachusetts

4.32/5  rDev -3.1%
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.

May 07, 2015
Photo of Back_in_the_Saddle
Back_in_the_Saddle from Vermont

4.35/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Fiddlehead Brewing Company a newer company on the block here in Vermont seems to be pushing the brink on making outstanding AIPA's. Mediocrity doesn't show its face in this beer either.
Treating this as a DIPA, this was poured into a tulip for review.
The appearance was a soft hazy burnt orange color with a slight transparency allowing soft carbonation to be seen rising at a moderate pace to fill a one finger white foamy head. This head dissipates at a nice pace leaving some stringy lacing sliding into the beer.
The smell has some tangerine and grapefruit pulp becoming juicy and floral tones soften into light melon and then some pine with a touch of spice to blend nicely.
The taste was sweet to a light spice with a touch of dry earthiness. A dry clean sweet floral aftertaste leads into a refined sweet earthy finish.
The mouthfeel was about medium bodied with a sly carbonation to hit underneath and allowing a slight oily slick feel sliding over my tongue.
Overall, in a world filled with fantastic DIPA's, Fiddlehead seems to have staked their claim near the top with this one.

Nov 16, 2015
Photo of puboflyons
puboflyons from New Hampshire

4.87/5  rDev +9.2%
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.

Jan 01, 2015
Photo of GreesyFizeek
GreesyFizeek from New York

4.75/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Can shared by Curran tonight.

Pours a slightly dark reddish-orange, very hazy and unfiltered looking, with a one inch head, and lots of lacing.

Smells just wonderful, fruity and dank, with grapefruit, tangerine, and a little bit of pine. Smells like this can was absolutely packed with hop goodness.

This tastes just amazing. I've had Mastermind, and was blown away by it, and this also blew me away. It starts up front with a big pine and grapefruit hop bite, with a little bit of bitterness, with a very fruity and sweet tangerine and peach finish. This reminds me of a fruitier and slightly less bitter Heady.

This medium bodied, with a sweet and crisp mouthfeel, and a medium level of carbonation. It's insanely drinkable, it scares me how quickly I could put down a 4pk if I had it.

Big surprise, another amazing Vermont IPA.

Jan 06, 2015
Photo of Greywulfken
Greywulfken from New York

4.5/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Stunning D/IPA action - ample fruits, pale and tropical, provide lotsa juiciness. Hops bring appropriate citrus and floral notes, with bittering becoming bolder with subsequent sips. Body is lean and taut, but with a hint of chew on the back-end. Ample carbonation is soft and plush. 8.2% abv hits just right. A real winner...

Sep 16, 2015
Photo of Goblinmunkey7
Goblinmunkey7 from Massachusetts

4.31/5  rDev -3.4%
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.

May 15, 2015
Photo of CHickman
CHickman from New York

4.67/5  rDev +4.7%
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.

May 11, 2015
Photo of Vidblain
Vidblain from Minnesota

4.27/5  rDev -4.3%
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.

Feb 24, 2019
Photo of Jason
Jason from Massachusetts

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

Review from BeerAdvocate magazine issue #111
(APR 2016)

Bready, Grainy, Clean, Toasty
It’s a rarity to see an American brewery take on this style and absolutely nail it. The clean, toasty, nutty malt aroma and the fullish body with a fresh grain flavor throughout is a solid start. The hop bitterness is quite noticeable, but even at its semi-aggressive level it’s simply big enough to achieve balance. Layered malt flavors open up with each sip, and Junkyard Pedigree is by far the most interesting and flavorful malt forward beer I’ve had in a good while. [Jason]

Look 4.00 | Smell 4.25 | Taste 4.25 | Feel 4.50 | Overall 4.25

Aug 11, 2016
Photo of gabepesce
gabepesce from Massachusetts

4.64/5  rDev +4%
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

Jan 31, 2015
Photo of VelvetExtract
VelvetExtract from Massachusetts

4.58/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled at Vermont Brewfest.

A-Pours a cloudy orange color. Sample too smalle to really comment on the head or lacing.

S-Big, verbose hoppy aroma. Fits right in line with all the other exceptional Vermont born hoppy beers. Juicy tropical fruit with an empaphasis on citrus. Specifically noticed mango and melon.

T-Holds par with the nose. A big bite into a ripe mango slice. Fresh cut grass and oranges. Other intense tropical fruit flavors. Finishes with a sweet, candied citrus flavor.

M-Resiny. Has some nice body to it. Well carbonated. Bitterness lingers.

O-Yeah, Fiddlehead just jumped into the ring at the battle royale of VT hop bombs. Wish I could have gotten my hands on some cans!

Jul 22, 2014
Photo of FondueVoodoo
FondueVoodoo from Canada (BC)

4.34/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Thanks to @tom10101 for sending me this amazing dipa

May 04, 2015
Photo of RABouffard
RABouffard from Maryland

4.69/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bready with a slight titanium and math algorithm, swedish fish, and other fish too. Mango and tropical fruit notes, and a treble clef. Come on, what is wrong with you people reviewing this beer. It is an awesome double IPA, what does a "wet plant stem" taste like? Dank???? Are you beer advocate reviewers going to Vermont and smoking weed???? Anything tastes great if you've been smoking weed. Cheetos and vanilla ice cream notes....

Dec 12, 2015
Photo of jas0n02
jas0n02 from California

4.91/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Excellent beer! Very smooth for a Double IPA. Pours a golden murky orange. Awesome flavor burst of orange, mango, and pineapple. One of the all time greats in terms of IPAs

May 06, 2016
Photo of mattmenas
mattmenas from West Virginia

4.91/5  rDev +10.1%
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.

Jan 24, 2015
Photo of dar482
dar482 from New York

4.56/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

The beer comes in a reddish amber.

The aroma explodes of juicy mangoes, peaches, oranges. Just sweet nectary 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.

Dec 18, 2014
Photo of IvoryFoxhole
IvoryFoxhole from Virginia

4.56/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

OH YEAH. Lucky to be in VT during silent can release. Canned 4/1/16. Poured into Lawson's tulip glass.

L: Beautiful slightly hazy deep golden amber. 2F+ soapy head, pretty good retention, lots of lacing and a ring.

S: Awesome floral, citrus, tropical bouquet. Lots of mango, pineapple, grapefruit, orange peel. Piney dankness behind. A bit of light malt to keep it all together.

T: Fruit bomb up front with pineapple, citrus, mango all working great together. Light malt. Piney and slightly bitter on finish. Definitely a juicy character to it.

F: Medium-bodied, light to medium carbonation. Very well constructed, bitterness and alcohol heat well-controlled and finish has right amounts of dry and sticky.

O: Very worth the side-trip and extra expense and definitely lives up to all the hype.

Apr 16, 2016
Photo of jlindros
jlindros from Massachusetts

4.48/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Can picked up at Julios yesterday somehow... shared with Rudzud and kyle.

Pours great fluffy airy creamy almost 2 finger head that fades at a need pace with tons of lacing coating, hazy wheat orange color.

Nose brings bright hops, mild dank resin, but lots of citrus, dank resin, orange rind and grapefruit pith, Clementine, orange cream notes, so much dank resin and mild earthiness and hint of pine.

Taste brings nice orange cream, juice orange cream hops, little tangy, nice dankness, orange rind and nice grapefruit pith, nice Clementine juicy, little earthy grassy hop, faint chewy spicy notes on the back end. Nice creamy malt, little malty flavor. Finish is drier, big lingering spicy hop with nice big bitterness, nice pith and orange peel lingering nicely.

Mouth is med bod, nice creamy malt, good carb.

Overall very enjoyable, booze hidden well, nice hop profile, nice creamy malt, well done.

May 30, 2015
Photo of BaggedBug23

2.75/5  rDev -38.3%
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

Jan 10, 2015
Photo of Jdavis23112
Jdavis23112 from Pennsylvania

5/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Right there with Heady in my opinion

May 16, 2015
Photo of gcasher
gcasher from Pennsylvania

4.43/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

16 Oz Can, Fresh, Thank You Hunger Mountain Co Op
Similar to iPa with grassy/vegetation flavor, but obviously stronger
Intense hops with muted malt and a bitter follow through
It works really well and was a pleasure to drink on my camping trip.

Aug 06, 2017
Photo of ManapuaMan
ManapuaMan from Massachusetts

4.41/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Punting to a 4 for the look since I drank straight from the can. I do love a chilled Vermont IPA in a pounder. One of life's pleasures. I just assume it's a beautiful shade of golden orange that wows.

Aroma is right up my alley - pith, citrus, pine and a hint of ripe fruit. The latter element is restrained keeping the beer from smelling like a fruit farm.

Taste is crisp citrus, pine, grapefruit, orange peel, herbal tea and an underlying earthiness. For all the references to being "juicy" this a citrus, piney and moderately bitter beauty, which is right on. "Juicy" "fruit bomb" "hazeeee" "pillowy soft mouthfeel with no bitterness" - enough of that shit.

(rant over)

ABV is non-existent, drinks smooth and crisp throughout with great carbonation. A real treat.

Sep 16, 2017
Photo of sordyl
sordyl from Illinois

3.75/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Jul 01, 2019
Second Fiddle from Fiddlehead Brewing Company
Beer rating: 99 out of 100 with 2303 ratings