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Babayaga - Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

191 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 191
Hads: 447
Avg: 3.92
pDev: 10.2%
Wants: 60
Gots: 52 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project visit their website
Massachusetts, United States

Style | ABV
Foreign / Export Stout |  7.00% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: m1ked on 11-10-2009

Babayaga, our autumn seasonal beer, appears each year just as the winds begin to blow a little stronger and the nights bring Winter’s first frost. The beer is a 7% export-strength woodland stout. We found this beer in a cauldron in a tiny wooden cabin perched on chicken legs in the woods near the Volga River. The old lady inside, an ancient witch/wise-woman/baby-eater called Baba Yaga, let us try some. We liked it so much, she said we could brew it for all of you here back home, as long as we named it after her. And so we did! How could we not have: she’d have eaten us if we didn’t!

It took us a while to figure out the secrets to Baba Yaga’s recipe, but we think we’ve got it: We smoke some malt with rosemary, and we add a few other eerie embellishments that she’s making us keep hush-hush. We ferment with a mix of English and Belgian yeast strains. This beer should taste like Eastern European folklore, like woodland, streams, cold dark nights and woodsmoke. Enjoy it!

…And what’s over here? A poem about the eerie old woman and the beer she brought to us! Close your eyes, imagine yourself lost deep in the foggy thicket somewhere, and click the little linky below…
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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 191 | Hads: 447
Photo of Sammy
3.88/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

bottle from bierkraft, bottled in October 2011. A very pleasant drinking smouth. Silky mouthfeel, not thick like an IS. Black with enormous retained white bubbly head. Mild roast and anise on the nose. Great stout, with a bit of smoky head in the finish. Great drinkability.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.97/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle shared at a tasting at MrHirschybar's place.

Pours an opaque dark brown with a tan head that settles to a film on the top of the beer. Small dots of lace form on the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark malt, dark fruits, and some slight cocoa and coffee aromas. Taste is pretty much the same. There is a medium roasty bitterness on the palate after each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good roasty stout with some nice smells and flavors.

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Photo of kylehay2004
3.92/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: half finger head which disappears quickly, little lacing.

S:light roasted malt with a subtle vanilla, hops and smokey notes.

T: Burnt and bitter coffee mostly. Some roasted malt, with chocolate, vanilla and firey.

M: full bodied, very oily. Moderate to high carbonation.

Overall: Very interesting beer. The first sip is a little overwhleming but after a few sips this mellows out into a nice complex stout. Has some strong Rauchbier characteristics.

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Photo of metter98
3.88/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The beer is jet black in color and poured with a finger high creamy tan head that faded away very quickly but left lacy patterns of bubbles on the surface.
S: There are light to moderate aromas of dark roasted malts, chocolate and coffee in the nose.
T: The taste is similar to the smell and has a moderate amount of bitterness in the finish.
M: It feels medium-bodied and smooth on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation. The finish is quite dry.
D: The stout is quite easy to drink because it isn't very filling.

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Photo of brentk56
4.47/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a charcoal black color topped by a rocky tan head that leaves a fair amount of splashy lace

Smell: Heavy on the roasted malt, but with some unusual elements which I presume come from the secret rosemary smoking process

Taste: A little bit of chocolate and a little bit of fruit and then the roasty, charred malt really steps up; I wouldn't have guessed rosemary, but there is an almost Belgian Stout character to this, though it doesn't have the yeast profile I have seen from the Belgian versions; a bit of sweet licorice on the finish but also some spicy rye character as well

Mouthfeel: The body is clearly influenced by the malt bill, what with wheat and oats in the grist; as a result, the body is light and creamy for a stout, with buoyant carbonation

Drinkability: Love the creativity and love the flavor - kudos

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.98/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Grab me the baggie pants, cause this is a beer that drinks like a meal. Strongly malted and hearty enough to satisfy both the stomach and the sanity of those dark and dreary winter days.

It's strong black pour matches that of the winter mood. But a creamy mocha head brightens the mood as memories of hot cocoa start to come to mind. Like a thick blanket, the foam tucks in the beer and laces with intricate patters as the beer fades.

Aromas of burnt stuff is all over the beer's nose- burnt sugars, torched wood, burnt fruit, burnt coffee, burnt nuts- all that's missing is the heavy smoke elements that you'd expect from all these dry roast elements. A faint backbone of vanilla and cream burrows deep within the roast and carry with it a mildly ester and perfume note.

Although the flavors are heavily circulated around roast as well, it leads with a creamy starch and soothing malted milk taste. But then the strong roast coffee, burnt toast, seared wood embers, and cocoa come soaring in with aggressive burnt barley taste. Even the caramel sweetness seems scorched as it accompanies mild licorice, grape, and perfume taste.

Its full creamy texture is chocked full of char and dryness that hold onto its robust structure until very late in finish. Only then does the dryness of roast and warmth of alcohol prevail. This leaves room for coffee-like bitterness and roast astrincency to become noticed.

Of course there's the perfumy lavender notes that distinguish this "winter warmer" from an export stout that could come around any time of the year. But the spice aids in aroma but distracts in taste and texture. Added fruit esters and better supporting malt sweetness could have garnered better accolades. Keep in mind, this will be a fan favorite for those that prefer extreme roastiness in their stouts.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a pitch-black color stout with a large dark brown foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of dry roasted malt with light residual sugar notes (maybe some lactose) and light smoked notes. Taste is a complex mix between some dry roasted malt with some light smoke notes and some light spicy malt notes. Body is quite full with light creamy texture and good carbonation. Well brewed with good level of complexity while retaining a good drinkability level.

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.95/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

tan head rises up above an entirely black body. Wonderful retention leaves it several inches high and deposits tons of side glass web like lace. The smooth vanilla and cocoa aroma melds wonderfully with hints of coffee and a touch of molasses. Very complex here. As i take a sip the huge full bodied feel comes in waves over the tongue and settles down with a wonderful coating feeling of sweet chocolate and vanilla. As this fades though a very nice bite of hops comes in and seals the deal, body is a touch thin and there is some off notes going on in the finish, but overall i think it really worked quite nicely.

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Photo of nickfl
3.62/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured with a one finger head of light brown foam on top of an opaque, black body. The head settles rapidly and leaves almost no lace on the glass.

S - Rich, dark notes of chocolate, molasses, coriander, and a hint of smoky coffee.

T - Sweet, sugary malt up front with some brown sugar and caramel. A bit of bittersweet chocolate comes out in the middle with a lightly smoky note. Finishes as caramel, molasses, and light coffee flavors join the party with light grainy bitterness to balance the significant sweetness.

M - A thick, syrupy body, moderate carbonation, and a sweet finish.

D - The various components imply that this might be an over the top type of stout, but it is actually fairly drinkable and the more unusual flavoring aspects such as the smoke are well integrated. In fact, it almost goes too far into being a smooth, well balanced beer to the point that it comes across as kind of bland in the finish with an excessive level of sweetness that lingers on the palate and hurts the drinkability towards the end of the glass.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.09/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to Bobby for sharing this one.

A: The pour is a deep dark brown, essentially black, with a fluffy tan head.

S: The nose is not all that appealing nor intense. Some roasted malt, coffee, and perhaps a touch of plastic.

T: There isn't too much in the flavor either, but it doesn't quite have that plastic sensation. The only real flavors are some roast and mildly sweet malt.

M: The mouthfeel is thrown off a bit by an intense carbonation, which is nearly to the point of annoyance.

D: This wasn't a particularly good beer, and another let down from Pretty Things.

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Photo of jlindros
4.5/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at Armsby Abbey, served in a pint glass.

A: Huge thick rich head that never wants to leave. It takes 3-4 minutes to pour as he has to keep scraping off the head to fill with more beer. Eventually when I get the glass, the head very slowly fades, but still wants to hang around and enjoy the party. The pitch black color traps light surrounding it, almost as if they dimmed the lights just as the beer arrived in front of me, or did they?

N: Nose beckons you with roasted malts, coffee and toffee. Some slight oatmeal flashes me thoughts of breakfast, with my coffee on the side. Then some dark chocolate gushes out in waves, battling its way into the nose trying to fight through the roasted malts and coffee. The chocolate starts to win and become more dominant as the beer breathes and warms.

T: Wow, I think this weighs more per density than the glass its in. Its super rich and pretty thick. Again it bombards you with roasted malts and some more dark chocolate. I'm detecting quite a bit of caramel as well, and I don't mean caramel malts, I mean real caramel. Perhaps it is a product of the malts, but it adds a nice touch. Almost like one of those really interesting coffees you get that have lots of chocolate and caramel in them, except this time in beer form. Some creamy chocolate milk presents itself a little as the beer warms and breaths. As my taste buds start to get past the rich chocolate coffee roasted flavors, I start to get some bitterness that builds a bit. It's a combination of the earthy stout-like charred bitter flavors, and some spicy hop characters pushing out. Then almost a very hint of alcohol warmth that starts to build, both the hop bitterness and alcohol warmth build as the beer magically gets drunken.

M: Very rich and pretty thick, almost have to chew it. Good carbonation to go with it, no Tomme'd beer here. It also leaves a coating around the mouth and tongue reminding you of the flavor for a while.

F: It finishes semi bitter and a nice slight hoppy flavor. The rich creamy chocolate also sticks around, giving you memories of being a kid and drinking the chocolate milk from the carton. Most of the roasted malt and coffee flavors have subsided by the finish. The bitter earthy charred stout-like flavors present themselves quite a bit at the end, probably accentuated by the bittering hops. Although, except for the coat of chocolate and caramel that coats the mouth and tongue, it finishes pretty clean.

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Photo of mactrail
3.65/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A black malty beer with a taste of the campfire.

A fairly strong taste of smoke and ashes. Dark roasted malt provides a little sweetness. Herbal flavors like sage. Bitterness pervades the stuff. Burnt raisin toast and dark caramel. Bitter chocolate cupcakes. Fairly thin body. Dark, dark brown in the chalice with pleasant foam and lacing. Flavors are clean and intense with an aftertaste of malty grains. Bitterness subsides into an artichoke taste, like Cynar.

22 oz bottle from Beer Revolution in Oakland. Quite sippable, but be prepared for a different kind of smoke.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.26/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

1 pint 6 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into a Weizen glass in low altitude Orange, California. Expectations are average. Reviewed live. This is me first beer from the brewery.

A: Pours a one finger head of appealing tan colour, incredible cream lacing, great thickness, and good retention (~ 5 minutes). Colour is a nontransparent solid black.

Sm: Caramel, cream, nuts, and chocolate. A mild strength aroma.

T: Chocolate and cream and the most pleasant flavours in the build. Hints of caramelized malt. It's not as complex as I hoped, but it's pleasant and enjoyable. Bland and a bit boring, all things considered. Well balanced.

Mf: Smooth, wet, and a bit creamy. A touch too thin, but it's forgivable.

Dr: Quite drinkable, but also boring and unremarkable.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.33/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

“Bottled Oct 2010 Batch 2” poured from a 22oz bottle into an imperial pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep dark brown color, with a short dense beige head that fades very slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains roasted malts, chocolate, dark fruit, coffee and a touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out with a sweet burst of dark fruit and bourbon up front but those flavors fade and transition into the more constant flavors of milk chocolate and coffee. There’s a hearty roasted malt character and a mild but complementary hops presence creating a good balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Smooth and crisp, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

O: Very tasty, goes down quite easily, slightly filling, good kick, very good representation of style, this is an excellent beer to drink for a long time if you’re in the mood for the style.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
3.83/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Kind of surprised to see new stuff from Pretty Things all the way out on the west coast. A nice, pleasant, hearty and rustic stout. Mildly smoky and seems a touch of spicy on there as well. It's a good winter stout. Even though there are parts of it that stand out in their own ways, it strikes me as well balanced.

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Photo of smcolw
3.56/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Impressive starting (dark tan!) head--leaves modest chunky lace. No light shines through the dark brown color.

Mild alcohol aroma behind the typical chocolate and black patent smells.

A moderate stout profile--there's notable alcohol in the swallow. The body is lighter than most stouts, but the carbonation is low enough to have the beer feel right. The aftertaste has toasted bread flavors with a light plum relish.

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Photo of mdfb79
3.58/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From 7/9/10 notes. Had at a local DC tasting thanks to argo0 (RB).

a - Pours a dark brown color with one inch of brown head and light carbonation.

s - Smells of chocolate, vanilla, and roasted malts. Little bit of smoke as well.

t - Tastes of bitter chocolate and coffee, as well as roasted malts. Little bit of caramel malts.

m - Light to medium body and moderate carbonation.

d - A decent stout. Some nice roasted elements to the smell and taste. Would give another shot but probably not seek out.

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Photo of mdaschaf
3.61/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a deep dark brown almost black with a 1.5 finger tan head. The head is really fluffy and thick, very nice.

S: Not a ton going on, seems a bit closed. A little bit of roasted malt, some coffee, and a little bit of chocolate.

T: A bit of roasted malt, some baker's chocolate, and a little bit of coffee. Again, seems rather closed, not a real intense flavor profile.

M: Medium bodied and moderate carbonation. Slight dry finish.

O: Its not bad, but there was nothing that stood out in this beer. Have had a bunch of other beers from Pretty Things, and this is the only one thusfar that is a disappointment.

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Photo of drabmuh
3.5/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a DFH signature glass because it was clean and at hand. Beer is brown to black, hazy, thin head that disappears, no lacing on the glass, low carbonation.

Aroma is estery -- almost bubblegum, very yeasty, nice though.

This should be classified as an export stout. Beer is sweet on the front, thinner in body than expected, strong, heavy with alcohol. The midpalate is fruity, estery, filled with a floral sort of yeast, the finish is relatively dry but not overly so. It is odd that the roast bitterness comes up almost as an aftertaste. Interesting beer overall. Quite good.

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Photo of woodychandler
3.79/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

I am now committed to reducing, if not eradicating, my backlog of bottles and I have taken to enlisting aid in doing so. The real logjam comes in the form of bombers. Do not misunderstand me, I am capable of drinking the contents of a bomber by myself, but I am hesitant to do so. Bomb(er)s away!

A little backstory on this one: The bottleneck sticker reads"Bottled October 2011" and it was presented to me on my 47th birthday (25 Feb 2012) by my doppelganger clonsin, Jim Barnes, who was repping for Pretty Things at the time. Justin Chlan and I were now joined by one of my former mentors, Tom "Beek" Biechler on the porch.

From the bottle: "Good Time Artisinal Beers"; "Sylvan Stout".

After popping the cap, I gave everyone a generous pour. This created a finger of dense, deep-tan/light-brown head with good retention. Color was a deep, dark-brown (SRM = 44), allowing zero light penetration. Nose was really rich - molasses, anise, light charcoal, vanilla. Mouthfeel was surprisingly only medium. The taste was semi-sweet with flavors including dried dark fruits, dark chocolate and a little bit of smokiness. The finish was dry and smoky and we decided to go in a different direction for our next beer.

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Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Exiled for sharing this beer.

The beer pours an inky black color with a light brown head. The aroma is fruity with some light smoke. The flavor is sweet fruit, sometimes dark fruit and sometimes other fruit such as cherries. The smoke is of medium strength. Medium-high carbonation and medium mouthfeel.

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Photo of Billolick
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 ounce bomber, with a cutsie paper tab over the cap, that lets me know it was "Bottled November 2009" Nice, fresh and tasty beer. Always interested in giving a new brew from hyper artisinal Pretty Things a try. Pours pretty darn near black, the head also is a quite dark shade of mocha. Head is of moderate height, and shows much better then average staying power, then turns to a thick film and collar and leaves slippery and sliding sheeting and ample ridges and ripples of lacing. The sniff emits healthy notes of vanilla, dark malt, raisins, and chocolate. Rich and flavorfull stout, more of the same flavors on the tongue and mouth. Smooth and comfortable mouthfeel. More then typical roastyness. After trying several of the other eclectic PT brews, I was unsure of what to expect from a "Sylvan Stout" (whatever that is) from them. What I got was a pretty straight ahead, hearty/robust/flavorful and underneath it all, tasty and enjoyable stout. Nice job and well worth giving this one a try.

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Photo of Gavage
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: pours a black color with a short milk chocolate colored head.

Smell: roasted malts and oatmeal provide a pleasant aroma.

Taste: roasted malt, oatmeal, bits of chocolate, rosemary, some earthiness, a hint of coffee grounds, and a decent bitterness.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied. Lightly crisp to start, smoother at the finish. Long aftertaste here.

Overall: a funky stout with a bunch of flavor, and the rosemary spice really come through here. Very enjoyable and easy to drink beer.

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Photo of BARFLYB
4.1/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I missed the boat when this was originally released and was surprised to find a bottle poking around the shop, split with oglmcdgl.

Baby Yaga pours your standard stout black with a nice bright tan head that's condensed and creamy looking, nice sheets of lace on the way down, kinda sticky.

Smell is your standard stout as well with the roast ruling the roost. A whole lot of roasted malts and even some smoked ones as well. Some assorted nuts with warming and brownies with significant warming, some vanilla as well.

This stout tastes a little burnt, but it is not over done. I usually don't like the burnt/smoke flavors but it's so low in baby that it meshes well with bakers chocolate, small vanilla beans, and nuts. A small grainyness towards the end and even a little hop kick from a almost year old bottle.

Feel is medium and smooth and not overly bitter, this is easy drinking with not much intrusion from off and overly smoked flavors, it's carbed up PRETTY well ande I have no complaints.

I like this beer, I like it alot, I like that it's not 10 percent and it's not overly heavy. I drank it with ease. I am steadily impressed with Pretty Things beers, a good company.

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Photo of johnnnniee
4.08/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled 11/2009 and somehow got lost until tonight. Pours a solid dark brown with faint garnet highlights when held to light and a fluffy tan meringue head that sticks lots of lace on the way down. Smells of roast and lots of caramel dark sugars and dark fruits. Spicy earthy aromas remind me of wood and ginger. The flavor is kind of a cross between a stout and a Belgian strong dark ale. The roasty caramel and chocolate flavors meet some spicy and earthy flavor reminiscent of some dark Belgians. Nice sugary fruity flavor. Medium body with a moderate level of carbonation and a sweet bubbly mouthfeel. This probably wasn't the best candidate for aging, but it worked just the same, its a very nice beer

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Babayaga from Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project
88 out of 100 based on 191 ratings.