Fiddlehead Brewing Company

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IPA - New England
Ranked #61
Ranked #249
4.46 | pDev: 8.3%
Fiddlehead Brewing Company
Vermont, United States
Notes: "Tropical fruit notes.Straw colored with a hazy glow. Pineapple and Cantaloupe are dominant characteristics. This beer finishes with a slight tartness.
Reviews: 177 | Ratings: 1,472 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by maximum12:
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maximum12 from Minnesota

2.7/5  rDev -39.5%

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.

Nov 05, 2014
More User Reviews:
Photo of Stevedore
Stevedore from Oregon

4.46/5  rDev 0%
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

Oct 21, 2014
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Beldark from Connecticut

4.73/5  rDev +6.1%
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.

Aug 20, 2015
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Damian from Massachusetts

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.

Sep 17, 2013
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BoldRulerVT from Vermont

4.37/5  rDev -2%
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.

Jan 12, 2014
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bahnfire from Vermont

4.5/5  rDev +0.9%

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.

Aug 24, 2014
Photo of hillvt4me
hillvt4me from Vermont

4.25/5  rDev -4.7%

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.

Aug 22, 2014
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tylerstravis from Colorado

3/5  rDev -32.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Dec 03, 2014
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cpetrone84 from Pennsylvania

3.9/5  rDev -12.6%

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.

Sep 09, 2014
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SkiBum22 from New York

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

Jul 31, 2015
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ONovoMexicano from New Mexico

4.35/5  rDev -2.5%
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.

Oct 08, 2014
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JRendon02 from Texas

4/5  rDev -10.3%

Dec 01, 2014
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BullDoza from Texas

4.87/5  rDev +9.2%
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 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.

Nov 12, 2015
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tim007007 from Illinois

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

Jul 25, 2015
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ottodyer from Minnesota

4/5  rDev -10.3%

Dec 07, 2014
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Resuin from Massachusetts

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

Poured from a 12 ounce can into a tulip. This was canned on 10/2/14 (date stamped on bottom of can), so 12 days ago.

Appearance: Pours a just slightly hazy light amber/gold color with a yellow hue. A couple fingers of quite light and fluffy, white head remain and slowly fade to a white layer atop the beer, leaving full lacing down the glass. (4.5)

Smell: Big tangerine, fresh oranges, floral hops, a dash of honey, a hint of earthy tones. That orange flavor is just huge - much larger than in any beer I've experienced. Lovely, unique aroma. (4.75)

Taste: That huge orange once again, like eating a segment straight from the fruit, earthy notes, hint of resin, floral hops, light biscuity malts. Finishes a little watery which is interesting. This drinks like a very light IPA, but with huge flavor. (4.5)

Mouth-feel: Medium to well carbonated with a light to medium body. Finishes really smooth and light. (4.5)

Overall: What an interesting IPA. Very interesting and delicious fresh orange flavors dominate, but are complimented by earthy and floral notes, along with some biscuit/cracker characteristics. So light for a DIPA - truly a unique beer.

Oct 14, 2014
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OnryAndMean from New York

4/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sep 05, 2014
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M_chav from New Mexico

4.75/5  rDev +6.5%

Sep 20, 2014
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NateSylvan from New York

3.92/5  rDev -12.1%

Nov 22, 2014
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djrn2 from New Jersey

4.25/5  rDev -4.7%

Nov 05, 2014
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Schmuckles from Rhode Island

4.9/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Aug 23, 2015
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kdivers from New Hampshire

4.22/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Oct 23, 2016
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brians52 from Virginia

4.25/5  rDev -4.7%

Oct 26, 2014
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msryd9 from New York

5/5  rDev +12.1%

Nov 29, 2014
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BillRoth from Maryland

4.49/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a pack at FBC. Excellent creamy full bodied IPA. Usual hazy quality and flavors, but considerably more rounded balanced and drinkable than many NEIPAs. Also melon came across nicely within usual tropical fruit suspects. Which is saying something when compared to other Vermont beers I was drinking that week. Standout.

Feb 04, 2020
Mastermind from Fiddlehead Brewing Company
Beer rating: 99 out of 100 with 1472 ratings