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Beer Reviews: Most Recent

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Bourbon Barrel Aged Irish Channel Stout
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Bourbon Barrel Aged Irish Channel Stout

New Orleans Lager & Ale Brewing Company (NOLA)
American Stout / 6.80% ABV

4.31/5  rDev +0.2% | Avg: 4.3
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This one was aged in a Russell's Reserve barrel for the NOLA event at the Avenue Pub, Jan 30, 2016.

Poured in a plastic cup (unfortunately).

A: A rich dark brown with just a hint of tan head that didn't linger.

S: Oooh, damn, that Russell's Reserve takes over with a hint of dark chocolate in the background.

T: Follows nose with a taste that almost knocks you down. I let it warm just a bit and the flavors settled down to a pleasant bourbon/chocolate/malty vibe.

M: Medium to heavy with medium, thick and chewy carbonation.

O: Glad I got to try this one of a kind beauty. One of the highlights of my Mardi Gras.

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Larry Brown Ale
Photo of brewskifan55
Larry Brown Ale

Yalobusha Brewing Company
American Brown Ale / 6.40% ABV

3.75/5  rDev n/a | Avg: 3.75
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a tasting glass.

A: Shoe polish brown with a tight off-white one finger head that dissipated fast. Decent lacing.

S: Chocolate malts and some cocoa nibs.

T: Follows nose with a light dose of chocolate and a smooth, robust finish. Lightly sweet. In essence, everything a Brown should be.

M: Low to medium with medium, dry carbonation.

O: A decent Brown ale; one I'd like to consume again. Glad they introduced this one to the fold. And named after one of my favorite authors, too.

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Ras Soft Citra IPA
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Ras Soft Citra IPA

Omnipollo
American IPA / 6.00% ABV

4/5  rDev -5.4% | Avg: 4.23
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

With aspirations of fruitiness and refreshment in mind, the Omnipollo team employ the hottest hops on the market along with tantilizing berry additions for a crisp, clean and dangerously drinkable taste.

Ras pours with a translucent gold hue with no indication of the berry influence within. Carrying a creamy white froth, the ale immediately thwarts its tangy citrus glory, leading with orange and descript berries. Bready-sweet and with the likeness of honey, its malt influence is moderate and short on the palate.

Over the middle, the ale opens up- its malt character continues to recede and the "Citra" hops show their tangerine, red grapefruit and passionfruit flavors very well. With that tang of unadulturated raspberry revealing a juicy tartness, the flavors tighten and the texture becomes sharpened. Moderate bitterness leaks into the finish, offering soft herbal verbena and sassafras.

Medium-light in body, a conbination of resolute dryness, berry tartness and hop dryness and the texture becomes just as refreshing as its taste. Finishing with orange and raspberry, the beer evokes thoughts of creamy, albeit bitter, sherbet in finish and aftertaste.

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Spectra Trifecta
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Spectra Trifecta

Founders Brewing Company
Kölsch / 5.90% ABV

3.81/5  rDev +4.1% | Avg: 3.66
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a taster glass.

A: A hazy gold with off white one finger head. Decent lacing.

S: Wow, do those scents set you off. The chamomile, ginger and lemongrass take center stage over a light malty backbone.

T: Founders has taken an ordinary Kolsch and perked it up with some fun flavorings. Everything in the nose pops as the lemongrass and ginger fight for attention. Chamomile relaxes the drinker for a nice summery feeling.

M: Low to medium with medium carbonation.

O: A fun take on the kolsch that makes it memorable.

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Imperial Plum Bu
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Imperial Plum Bu

de Garde Brewing
Berliner Weissbier / 5.60% ABV

4.42/5  rDev +8.6% | Avg: 4.07
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Golden color, good fizz, low head retention. Smell is mineral with a tiny bit of fruit. Taste is subtle, not overly sour, refreshing and crisp. Plum is again very subtle but just enough to compliment the acidity. Delightful.

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Nut Smasher
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Nut Smasher

Willoughby Brewing
American Double / Imperial Stout / 11.00% ABV

4/5  rDev -11.3% | Avg: 4.51
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(poured from a crowler into a bowl)
A: Motor oil black; quite viscous; would have preferred smaller, packed bubbles, but OK.
N: Large chocolate, PB, and chocolate on the nose. Think PBCP x 2--intense up close, decent pushed back.
T: Flavors mimic PBCP, but with more intensity; almost no detection of the increased ABV; very smooth.
M: Not as thick on the tongue as I would have liked; coating, but only barely.
O: A nicely done brew, but more work on the head / head retention and more viscosity will make this killer. Also, barrel age it.

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Prairie Hop
Photo of brewskifan55
Prairie Hop

Prairie Artisan Ales
Saison / Farmhouse Ale / 8.00% ABV

4.1/5  rDev -2.8% | Avg: 4.22
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed in a taster glass.

A: Opaque golden with a tremendous off-white 2 finger head that wouldn't quit. Nice lacing.

S: A bit of barnyard funk mixed in with some great floral hops and fruity Belgian yeast. Peaches and mangoes dance nicely on the olfactory.

T: Light malts dance in with those terrific citrus flavors, followed by a kiss of Belgian yeast. Floral and fruity.

M: Medium with low to medium, dry carbonation.

O: Glad I got to try another winner from Prairie. Terrific.

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Julius
Photo of Dustin013
Julius

Tree House Brewing Company
American IPA / 6.80% ABV

4.69/5  rDev +1.3% | Avg: 4.63
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

12/21/15 batch still going strong

A- Beautiful cloudy dark golden orange
N- Ton of citrus, slight tropical fruit
T- Pretty much same as the smell, citrus up front, tropical finish. Excellent.
M- Same as every tree house IPA, chewy and delicious.
O- This is another awesome beer by my favorite brewery (even though I can only get in trades). Only negative is it is TOO easy to drink!

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Liberation No. 1
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Liberation No. 1

Straight To Ale
English Barleywine / 9.00% ABV

4.09/5  rDev +2.3% | Avg: 4
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This one was in the back of a friend's fridge. Glad he decided to share. Looks like it's aged about 2 years.

A: That dull brown with ruby highlights that seems to be characteristic of b-wines. Not much head or lacing.

S: A malt bomb with caramel and a bit of dark fruits. Some booziness is coming through, too.

T: Oooh, this one has a terrific malt character. The aging has done it well. Picking up some bourbon aspects along with some dates and raisins. A terrific sipper.

M: Medium mouthfeel with low to medium carbonation. I agree with Cliff, it could use more carbonation.

O: A superior (and aged well) English barleywine. I'm glad Thile decided to bring this beauty in for Superbowl.

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Backburner - Barleywine Style Ale
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Backburner - Barleywine Style Ale

Southern Tier Brewing Company
American Barleywine / 10.50% ABV

3.83/5  rDev -4.3% | Avg: 4
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Barleywine styles are my favorite, but I found this a little harsh. It is worth the try, but may benefit from sitting a while. I bought another and plan on letting it sit about a year to see if it mellows out any. This would be an excellent recipe for some sort of barrel. I just find it a little out of tune as is.

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Phobophobia Patersbier
Photo of KeithE
Phobophobia Patersbier

Alarmist Brewing
Belgian Pale Ale / 4.80% ABV

3.93/5  rDev +1.3% | Avg: 3.88
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I can't pronounce the name but I recently had this on draft at a local Bar Louie and I thought it was pretty good.
They were calling it Phobo at the bar because I guess no one else can pronounce or remember it's full name either. Appearance was good with a nice golden color and a little foam on top. It had a nice crisp pale ale flavor with some fruit tones. Supposedly it is a summer beer, but it is being released in the winter which I don't quite understand, however I would rank it right up there with other well regarded pale ales and would order it again if given the opportunity.... summer or winter!

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Pineapple Express Smoked Pale
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Pineapple Express Smoked Pale

Elysian Brewing Company
Smoked Beer / 5.40% ABV

3.93/5  rDev n/a | Avg: 3.93
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this beer on-tap in an imperial pint glass at Elysian Bar. It's a smoked pale ale with pineapple added -- interesting!

Appearance: light gold hue with a dash of haze and a thin layer of ivory foam. Not bad.

Smell: malty and fruity with a dash of smoke. The fruit isn't immediately identifiable as pineapple, but it does add a nice element.

Taste: lightly malty and toasty up front with an interesting smoke character that develops. There is a bit of pineapple character, but it is subtle. I give this beer points for style and creativity.

Mouthfeel: medium body with a good level of carbonation and creaminess.

Overall: this beer is weird but I like it.

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Founders Porter
Photo of Ahypercube
Founders Porter

Founders Brewing Company
American Porter / 6.50% ABV

4.76/5  rDev +12.3% | Avg: 4.24
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

So my local Whole Foods Finally started getting some Founders brews and I could not be more stoked.

L: The bottle looks gorgeous--great coloring. Looks like a statement: "I like my beers like I like my women." Dark, rich, sexy, and apparently with a velvety black body and a good amount of great head. Poured into a sniffer with exactly two fingers of it and lots of lacing that lasts incredibly well.

S: Smells like a cappuccino sitting next to a coffee cake. It pains me to have a stuffy nose right now, because this beer probably smells much better than I can currently detect while still getting over this cough.

T: At least I can taste it. God damn this is fantastic. I had high hopes, and they were thoroughly fulfilled. Opens with chocolate and whole grain crackers, filling up quickly with a whole lot of roasty, high-quality dark coffee paired with earthy, grainy hops all drizzled over with a distinctly strawberry marmalade flavored malt. Finishes with a perfect blend of sweetness, coffee, chocolate, and roast each peaking in that order. I'm impressed they managed to keep the ibu's down to 45 in such a flavorful and strong beer (not super high, but solid at 6.5). I have to add that the aftertaste starts off really sweet, but the more you sip it, the more that roast flavor builds, growing from toasted coffee to burnt black french bread with a bit of rosemary.

F: A tad thin for my taste, but quite decent. Slightly creamy, slightly syrupy, like a caramel macchiato made with 2% milk. Nice and zangy on the tongue.

O: This is a phenomenal beer. Definitely deserving of the A rating--I'd honestly give it a 97 or a 98. Reminds me a lot of Sierra Nevada's Coffee Stout. I bet this one is made with cold-brewed coffee too. Makes me crave a cup of chamomile right now for some reason. In the bottom half of my range of preferred ABV, so this would honestly be my idea of a session beer, alongside the less bitter single IPAs and heavy lagers.

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Hombre Mexican Lager
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Hombre Mexican Lager

Elysian Brewing Company
American Pale Ale (APA) / 4.80% ABV

3.84/5  rDev -0.3% | Avg: 3.85
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

I had this beer on-tap in an imperial pint glass at Elysian Bar.

Appearance: medium golden hue with a thin layer of ivory foam. Not bad.

Smell: sweet and malty with a "beery", yeasty quality. Not bad, but could be a little cleaner.

Taste: malty with a dash of toastiness and a balanced sweetness. I think it works very well.

Mouthfeel: medium-light body with a decent carbonation and creaminess.

Overall: I tend to like this style, and this is a pretty well-wrought example. Quite drinkable indeed.

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Backyard Chicken
Photo of flagmantho
Backyard Chicken

Elysian Brewing Company
American Pale Lager

3.94/5  rDev n/a | Avg: 3.88
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this beer on-tap in an imperial pint glass at Elysian Bar.

Appearance: medium orange hue with a dash of haze and a finger of frothy ivory foam. I like it.

Smell: lightly sweet orangey aroma. Not bad.

Taste: orangey hop flavor with a bit of pine underneath. This is made with Mandarina hops, and I believe it.

Mouthfeel: medium body with a well-integrated carbonation and a good creaminess. I quite like it.

Overall: a very drinkable and interesting beer. A successful experiment.

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Bald Eagle
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Bald Eagle

MoreBeer
American Double / Imperial IPA / 8.00% ABV

4/5  rDev n/a | Avg: 4
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Craft & Draft. Pours a clear orange, with a tall head with good retention. Dank smell, with notes of pine, citrus and overripe mango. Crisp and refreshing, with notes of caramel, lemons, a bit of pine and a very thin layer of lambic sourness.

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Hodad Porter
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Hodad Porter

Fiddlehead Brewing Company
American Porter / 5.50% ABV

4.1/5  rDev -0.5% | Avg: 4.12
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Just lucked out as I was there getting 2nd Fiddle and tried this beer as a tasted. Wound up getting a growler and glad I did. Just a very solid porter and I would absolutely buy it again if available when I next visit.

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Snowball Saison Ale
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Snowball Saison Ale

To Øl
Saison / Farmhouse Ale / 8.00% ABV

3.75/5  rDev -4.8% | Avg: 3.94
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

33cl bottle. Pours a clear light orange, with a tall white head that gives way to a fine white lacing. Smells of citrus hops, saison and brett yeast. The taste is herb bitter, with notes of grapefruit and honey. A bit of harsh bitterness in the aftertaste, the kind that makes your mouth tight - thankfully, it works OK in this beer, but still, it's not among my favourite tastes.

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Amite Duroc
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Amite Duroc

Chappapeela Farms Brewery
American Porter / 6.50% ABV

4.03/5  rDev n/a | Avg: 4.03
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a taster glass.

A: Shoe polish brown with very little head and a tan ring that lingered. Light lacing.

S: Picking up cocoa nibs and some dark chocolate. The smell isn't really strong.

T: However, the taste is wonderful. A light trickling of cocoa followed by a chocolate finish that just goes on and on. The barrel aging and bottle fermentation make this one special.

M: Medium with low to medium carbonation. I would've like the mouthfeel to be a bit thicker.

O: A terrific first offering from the new kid on the North Shore. This is one to share with friends and perhaps a chocolate chip cookie.

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Weihenstephaner Vitus
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Weihenstephaner Vitus

Bayerische Staatsbrauerei Weihenstephan
Weizenbock / 7.70% ABV

3.96/5  rDev -6.8% | Avg: 4.25
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Very cloudy golden body, eggshell white velvet creamy head, looks like foamed milk, with no lace. Nose has a lot of clove spice, a bit of caramel. The flavor is similar, the spicy clove all but overpowers the rest of the flavor, which contains some faint warm sweetness and banana and apricot. Finishes dry with a touch of yeast. At least it is full-flavored. Body is great; creamy and full, but not very heavy.
Honestly, I was expecting more. The spicy clove was just too much, barely leaving room for any malty, fruity, ester notes. Look and feel were extraordinary, however. I'm always impressed with what the Germans produce with basic ingredients, but this didn't live up to what I'd dreamed it would be.

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Nine Two Ocho
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Nine Two Ocho

Wanderlust Brewing Company
Saison / Farmhouse Ale / 8.20% ABV

3.75/5  rDev n/a | Avg: 3.75
look: 3 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Big, surprisingly sweet tequila nose on this -- a la agave-sweetened apple/white grape juice -- alongside a hazy bronze body, zero head to speak of, portending the rather light carbonation on this one. Combine that light carb with the continuation of the juice theme on the palate, and it gets a bit sweet and syrupy as you go. The taste isn't at all unpleasant, but the body and heavy, oaky tequila sweetness all combine to make this a sipper and really not even something you'd want a whole bottle of. I like 928, but this one feels like it sat in the barrel a little long, losing its way a bit.

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Calico Copper Amber Ale
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Calico Copper Amber Ale

Ballast Point Brewing Company
American Amber / Red Ale / 5.50% ABV

3.88/5  rDev +1.3% | Avg: 3.83
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

This is a nice brew, sort of a hoppy American Amber/hybrid ESB sort of thing. BP was really into alternative labeling for a while, eh -- this is, apparently, an ESB-style ale (their words), their Pale Ale was really kolsch-style, and so on. Anyway, it really is a nice drinker, lovely stuff out of the bottle, big rocky beige head that hangs around a bit, leaving light lacing in the glass. Aroma was malt, not as sweet as you'd expect for a beer that clearly must have a good amount of caramel malt, plus some American hops that offer a bit of tea, a bit of herbs/flowers, and maybe a dash of citrus. It all works nicely. Palate is similar, with a goodly hit of bitterness from the hops. In some ways, I like it, because I am, after all, an American craft drinker, weaned on hops. On the other, it got perhaps a touch woody bitter at times, just a bit overdone, and I would've appreciated more restraint and more openness toward letting the malt shine. Still, it's a tasty drinker, a welcome mid 5%'er in these days of oversized ABVs. Like so much of BP's core lineup (Pale Ale, Wahoo Wit, Longfin Lager, and even Big Eye), these are all clearly very well crafted, very dialed in, very reliable. Those may sound like backhanded compliments, but increasingly I value that more than all the daring and creativity in the world.

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HopHands
Photo of shaemmerle
HopHands

Tired Hands Brewing Company
American Pale Ale (APA) / 4.80% ABV

4.31/5  rDev +4.4% | Avg: 4.13
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I honestly don't understand Jason from "the bros" rating on this one. It is abit cloudy, but few beers of note these days are completely "true to style" If he has a problem with this beer, he should take issue with the cloudy pale ales being put out by Treehouse or Trillium, right in his back yard.

Nonetheless, this is one of my favorite local Pale Ales. Smells great, tastes great, everything you want from a pale ale. Lemony, hoppy, and easy to drink. When I am introducing someone to Tired Hands, I have them start with this one, before moving on to the rest of their lineup.

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Mocha Wednesday
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Mocha Wednesday

The Bruery
American Double / Imperial Stout / 19.20% ABV

4.96/5  rDev +13% | Avg: 4.39
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

750 mL bottle (2014 vintage) shared with friends.

A: Pitch black, as expected. Thin mocha-colored (obviously) head which dissipates quickly. Small amounts of carbonation are visible with no lacing.

S: Strong espresso with blended tones of bourbon, chocolate, vanilla, caramel, roasted malt, etc.

T: Follows suit with the smell/aromas. Any residual sweetness of Black Tuesday is muted by the espresso/coffee and chocolate notes. This reminds me of a dessert beer... brownies and coffee combined.

F: Full bodied and somewhat heavy with low carbonation, but that is to be expected.

O: Overall, I a very glad to have the opportunity to try this. This is a very unique beer and definitely worth checking out. Cheers!

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Evil Twin Yin & Yang
Photo of Saviour
Evil Twin Yin & Yang

Evil Twin Brewing
Black & Tan / 10.00% ABV

4.29/5  rDev +5.7% | Avg: 4.06
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L - black, almost opaque, with nice creamy head;
S - notes of citruses and chocolate, very nice blended;
T - the same goes for taste, balance between ipa and imperial stout is close to perfection;
F - nice smooth aftertaste with pleasant bitterness;
O - very interesting and uncommon beer. Strongly recommended.

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