Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Fiddlehead Mastermind

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Chad9976 (1166) - Albany, New York, USA - SEP 2, 2014
I don’t know if anyone other than me considers the “New England-style IPA” to be a thing (i.e. strong IPAs that are reminiscent of Heady Topper), but I keep finding so many of them. Fiddlehead Mastermind is yet another entry into the genre, and while it’s more than solid for a beer, it’s a tad generic for the regional style.

I poured a 12oz can into a goblet. It was canned on 8/21/14 and given to me from a friend (thanks, Jon!).

Appearance: Pale lemony yellow hue. Unfiltered and completely opaque. Pours to a small, white, foamy head which laces and retains fairly well.

Smell: Strong herbal nose of spice rack seasonings; citrus juice concentrate.

Taste: Though billed as a double IPA, Fiddlehead Mastermind drinks almost like a pale ale. It’s more about the hop flavor than sheer bitterness, here. Lemon and orange juices seem to be quite prominent immediately. It turns on a dime into a spicy, herbal concoction of onion and garlic powders. These remain well into the finish and in the aftertaste, though it’s quite pleasant-tasting. The malty backbone seems rather muted; creating for just enough sweetness to offset the hops but not much in the way of complexity or distinct grain character (probably just two-row?). Overall, this is a satisfying palette for sure, but I think even more could be done with it.

Drinkability: For an 8.1% ABV brew, Fiddlehead Mastermind drinks like something half its size. This is due to the very comfortable, well-carbonated mouthfeel. It’s soft and smooth, though it does leave a drying, slightly spicy aftertaste. There’s also some alcohol presence in the taste and some lingering warmth on the throat. Nothing that’s not easily tolerable, though. You probably want to drink this at fridge temp. 
Grade: 8/10

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