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Bourbon Cru - Hardywood Park Craft Brewery

Not Rated.
Bourbon CruBourbon Cru

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
90
outstanding

50 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 50
Hads: 297
rAvg: 4.09
pDev: 9.29%
Wants: 49
Gots: 79 | FT: 8
Brewed by:
Hardywood Park Craft Brewery visit their website
Virginia, United States

Style | ABV
Quadrupel (Quad) |  12.00% ABV

Availability: Spring

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: YumYumGumGum on 05-02-2012

Hardywood Bourbon Cru is brewed in the fashion of the abbey quadrupel, the grand cru of many of Belgium’s revered monastic breweries. Bourbon Cru displays a sunset orange hue with a substantial head and brilliant clarity after months of barrel ageing. The maturity and melding of flavors brought on by the freshly drained, half-decade old Virginia bourbon barrels from Fredericksburg’s A. Smith Bowman Distillery lends an extraordinary sense of harmony to Bourbon Cru.
Almond toffee and oaky vanilla aromatics give way to dark cherries, raisins and mature whiskey. A bit of plum flavor is greeted by caramel overtones and an assertive yet incredibly rounded body and a lingering, bourbon-laced finish.

18 IBU
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 50 | Hads: 297
Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.44/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle into a Duvel tulip. Because nothing says a hot summer day like a barrel-aged quad.

A: Pours a dark chestnut color. The head is a one finger off-white shade that starts off looking rough, but becomes smoother as it recedes. It retains a thin collar around the edges of the glass quite well, and tries to leave slight lacing on the glass.

S: There isn't a huge oak character here, more of a general bourbon note - still, it's presence is very welcome. I actually pick up more in the way of milk chocolate and hazelnut than I do typical dark fruits. However, they are there, if not as bold as I'd like them to be. Good aroma, but I expected more.

T: Bourbon opens the flavor profile quite respectably. After that...to be frank, I'm not picking up a whole lot. I think the problem is that apart from the bourbon character, the other flavors blend too much, harming its distinctive complexity. The finishing flavor is far more nutty than fruity, or even caramel-y. I don't note much of an oak character, either. I'd say it's closer to an English barleywine than a Belgian quad. Still, I love how it isn't remotely harsh. In this barrel-aged world, I can safely say I've had a few non barrel aged 10%'ers that were boozier than this. Still, I wish it had SOME depth to it - it's getting a little boring drinking this.

M: This one is pretty dry on the back end. Really dry, actually. It's also rather clean (for a quad) as well - giving it good drinkability and roundness at the cost of reduced decadence and flavor. That's actually this beer's best feature; in spite of the bourbon presence, it could honest-to-Slaanesh pass for a 7% brew. Even as it warms up, the alcohol presence is well hidden. Good carbonation helps drinkability, too.

O: This does an excellent job of providing bourbon qualities without the heat. As a quad, though, it's not very successful. There isn't much sense of complexity or boldness. But you know what? I like it to an extent. I won't have much trouble killing this by myself. (2,018 characters)

Photo of dwren89
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: orangey amber, hazy brownish color, thin residual off white head

Aroma; spicy/peppery Belgian yeast phenols, sugary sweetness in the malth, thick bready scent, orange and banana fruit whiffs, slight bourbon aroma

Taste: Belgian yeast character peppery and spicy up front, heavy breadiness, slight bourbon like alcohol burn in the throat on the finish, slight banana and orange fruitiness, sweet finish

Mouthfeel: thick and viscous, full bodied, slightly vinous with noticeable alcoholic strength, medium carbonation

Overall impression: A comparatively less complex quad than the true Belgian Trappists but with some interesting bourbon notes that make for an interesting sipper. Much closer to an abbey quad than a Trappist style quad because of sweet finish. (775 characters)

Photo of yamar68
4.21/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Big thanks to cw577enfield for this one!

Swampy ruby gold body with a half finger of milky tan head... great sense of lace.

The nose really caught me off guard, in a good way. Quadruples and bourbon barrels can produce a pretty overpowering nose on their own, so I expected this is really be strong. Not really, though... mellow sweet grains layered with honey and faint bourbon.

The heavy malts and bourbon both surface on the palate, but it's still surprisingly drinkable. Cereal sweetness, smooth bourbon, a bit of that metallic brown malt... velvety consistency. Nice.

Another tasty treat from Hardywood. Thanks Colin! (627 characters)

Photo of DrinkSlurm
4.28/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from tap into tulip at Mekong in Richmond Virginia. Deep amber brown color with white lacing. Looks too light to be a quad but still looks good. Wow the aroma is fantastic! Huge bourbon and vanilla aromas with sweet date and caramel hints.
Same for the flavor...raisony caramel and vanilla bourbon flavors are dominant. Woody and boozey vineous finish. Its packed with flavor. Its very dry and boozey but really amazing sipper. Awesome brew and a style not often aged in bourbon barrels. ..but after having this, they should. Highly recommend this brew. (561 characters)

Photo of StonedTrippin
3.58/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

sort of a weird one here, dubbed a quad, im not sure it meets those specs. it pours a pink hued burnt orange color with just some suds along the edges. the nose is real sweet, real alcoholic, and real bourbon heavy. some figs and brown sugar as well, and a spice element. its pretty crowded. the flavor boasts a nice Belgian yeast, which is about as quad as it gets, the rest is punishingly sweet, under carbonated, and a little thin. it just lacks the depts. of a good quad, despite flashing all of that in the aroma. I taste alcohol soaked raisins too, which is the best flavor feature. thin on the body, unsatisfying in that way because it doesn't hold up with all the booze, which becomes too intense with all the sugar in the sweetness. a tough combination for drinkability, and when combined with not quite enough bubbles, it drags a bit. still though, an interesting release, and a beer that might do well with some age. thanks to drlovemd87 for exposing me to this oddball. (981 characters)

Photo of wvsabbath
4.3/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Serving Type - 22oz caged and corked bottle

Appearance - Dark tan/ burnt brown with a minor 1/8th inch head, decent lacing.

Smell - Bourbon, oak, caramel malts, spices, grapefruit, cherry, sour notes.

Taste - At first sip the whiskey is noticeable but mild and smooth, mixed with caramel malts and spices. Vanilla, oak and a little sour flavor comes out. Hops provide minimal grapefruit bite. Added yeasts aren't overpowering, add some sweetness, along with some molasses and brown sugar.

Mouthfeel -Tongue gets the bourbon, malts and spices, where the palate picks up more sugars and fruity notes. The Aftertaste comes up very mild and bourbon flavored, but not alcohol strong.

Overall - Nice beer, not as alcohol influenced as the smell lead me to believe. Drinks more like a strong ale then a quad, lacking the sweet yeast kick that so many quads have. Alcohol is masked really well, making this really drinkable. Another great beer from hardywood. (957 characters)

Photo of n2185
4.09/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: pours a murky orange-brown with a finger of beige head that fades into a frothy ring with a little lacing.

S: vanilla, caramel, oak, and bourbon up front with sour and tart fruits. There are notes of pineappleand cocnut as well. Interesting, but good.

T: similar to the aroma, vanilla, oak, caramel, bright citrus, tart fruits, and bourbon. Light alcohol presence.

M: medium body and carbonation, this beer is surprisingly light for a bbal quad. Which is a good thing.

O: a good and interesting beer overall. I suspect an infection, but so far it's worked for the beer's favor. (585 characters)

Photo of alpinebryant
4.51/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a light clear chestnut color with a sticky lacing head that hung around for a while but was mostly around the edges.

S: Aroma of a sweet fresh bourbon oak barrel. Sweet malt and very light bourbon with a light belgian musky aroma. Vanilla and toffee.

T: The wood flavors are fresh and oily rather than aged or stale / Still green tasting in barrel. After reading the description a little clearer, I guess these barrels are only 5 years old. I kinda like this flavor added to a strong ale to be honest. Flavors of vanilla, green pear, purple plums and light toffee mix together for an interesting combo.

M: Medium body with light carbonation .

O: Overall, I enjoyed this pretty well. I have not had a ton of Cru's per se, but this is one of the more interesting that I have had. A Greenhorn barrel aged cru with notes of vanilla , toffee and bourbon. Definitely would have again (894 characters)

Photo of Thorpe429
3.24/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Thanks to Matt for picking this up. Served in a cervoise. Pours a brownish color with a slight reddish hue. The nose has loads of sweet malt and just a touch of bourbon in the background. Mild dark-fruit notes,but nothing really Belgian about this. Flavor is similar. Too heavy on the sugar without much barrel and no notes from Belgian yeast. Medium body. Boring. (364 characters)

Photo of rfbenavi80
4.83/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottle poured into a snifter. Shared with a friend.

A- Pours a hazy medium orange color, with a touch of caramel and yellow highlights. The head is minimal, not lingering very long just long enough to settle into a ring around the edge of the glass that does not lace.

S- Sweet bourbon and vanilla right off the bat. Lots of caramel and oaky barrel aging aroma.

T- Follows nose well. Sweet bourbon, oaky, vanilla, flavors with a caramel aftertaste. Finishes remarkably smooth for a 10% ABV beer.

M- Full bodied creaminess. With a smooth aftertaste.

O- An outstanding beer that I would recommend to anyone who like or dislikes beer. Bourbon Cru brings a new depth to beer that is unparalleled. (700 characters)

Photo of jlindros
4.5/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Once again huge thanks to rudzud.

Big fizzy 1+ finger fizzy head fades fairly quickly decent lacing, fairly hazy cranberry chestnut reddish mahogany colored.

Nose big bourbon, vanilla oak, sweet molasses caramel like, the bourbon is ridiculous. Some toffee and light nutty caramel malts, little earthy grassy spicy hops as well. Then some fruits, dried dark figs and dates like little plum. Very nice.

Taste starts kinda sweet, caramel toffee malts, little toasty and syrupy. Then bourbon and vanilla galore! Nice sweet toffee bourbon, light oak barrel and vanilla, etc. Some candi sugar, toffee and caramel, etc with fairly sweet. Quad is somewhat background like now, with some fig, date, plan, etc, but the bourbon oak overpowers it. Light booze warmth and tingly even, some light esters from the booze with a light green booze flavor. Finish adds light bitterness, more quad flavors and dark dried fruits, some bourbon and vanilla, etc. Long lingering flavor, light sticky sweetness.

Mouth is fuller bodied, good carb for abv,

Overall quite nice. Malts are nice, hops add a decent lighter touch, and most of all the bourbon barrel really adds nicely. (1,159 characters)

Photo of rudzud
4.32/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Received in a trade and poured into a Kate the Great tulip.

A - Poured a deep dark crystal clear dark maple syrup amber grade hue with a one finger off white head that fades to leave light clouding and nice fluffy halo.

S - Aromas of loads of nice sweet bourbon, vanilla, and white oak. Nice malty sweetness and and more delicious vanilla.

T - Taste is just delicious. More vanillay bourbon so delicious so bourbon sweet. Light buttery oak but mostly vanilla oak barrels here. Incredibly faint dark fruit on the end that immediately fades to bourbon alcohol. So much bourbon here which actually cancels out most of the quad. Still, just delicious.

M - Mouthfeel is nicely carbonated for the style to help keep this up off the mouth/tongue. Very tasty.

O - Overall this was a very enjoyable beer. The bourbon was strong, but I enjoyed that immensely. Delicious vanilla too. (877 characters)

Photo of MDDMD
4.2/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-brown amber color with a small off-white head and little lacing

S-malt, caramel, bourbon, dark fruit

T-dark fruit, caramel, slight nutty flavor, bourbon

F-medium body with moderate carbonation, some alcohol presence noted

O-a well-made BBA Quad for your sipping enjoyment (277 characters)

Photo of CarolinaKev
4.07/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz. Bomber into my favorite Westbrook tulip.  Nice ark orange reddish brown color. Smells of vanilla, apple and slightly sweet malt. Taste of vanilla, slight bourbon and sweet plum. Medium body lacking the spice of other Belgian style quads. Overall, very good brew from U.S. it has been in my fridge for about six months  waiting for cooler weather to enjoy.  (379 characters)

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.97/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Wowcoolman for sharing this one at his tasting.

2012 vintage.

Pours a hazy honey brown with a foamy beige head that settles to an oily film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, brown sugar, caramel, dark fruit, wood, and bourbon. Taste is much the same but slightly watered down with a woody finish. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer that is tasty and drinkable. (498 characters)

Photo of drabmuh
3.5/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Beer shared by someone at a recent tasting, thanks. Served in a ticking snifter for the purposes of ticking. Beer is brown and hazy with a thin tan head of small and medium bubbles, no lacing, low retention.

Aroma is sort of bourbony, malty, syrup.

Beer is thick and sweet with a boozy finish, hard to drink, not very enjoyable. I don't think this will be a repeat for me. (374 characters)

Photo of MasterSki
3.85/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle shared by Sean. Served in a Russian River tulip.

A - White foam that settles to a thick collar, but no lace. Transparent amber body.

S - Lots of oak and whiskey presence, with some fruity quad and treacle in the periphery. The barrel-aging is a tad heavy-handed but this still solid.

T - Again, lots of whiskey and oaky vanilla, with notes of chocolate, treacle, red fruits, and estery yeast backing things up. Alcohol is reasonably well-hidden.

M - Medium body, lower carbonation, super dry and tannic texture, and mild alcohol warmth. Perhaps a bit thin for the listed ABV.

D - Solid stuff, but not something I'd be able to drink in large quantities. I wish the whiskey wasn't so overpowering. Executed well enough that I'm interested in trying other offerings from Hardywood Park, as this isn't the easiest style to impress with. (844 characters)

Photo of kylehay2004
4.23/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: 1.5 finger head with excellent lacing on a straight deep amber hazy body.

S: oak, bourbon, sweet caramel and toffee.

T: oak, bourbon, sweet caramel and brown sugar intermingle near perfectly. Vanilla, maple syrup and cola notes. Slight bitter finish.

M: medium body and moderate to high carbonation.

Overall: very good but very strong. Even for a 10 percent beer te alcohol is strong with the bourbon but this one makes it to your head even faster than expected. Many solid offerings from this brewery. (509 characters)

Photo of siege06nd
3.73/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A. Pours a nice cloudy ruby color. A nic quarter finger of head emerges from the beer with some good lacing.

S. Vanilla, caramel, some dark fruit, bourbon, and a light earthy/vegetal kick.

T. Sweet cherry, brown sugar, caramel, lots of bourbon and oak, and some very sweet, bready notes. Base beer feels a bit thin and lacks the toasty, chocolatey character I expect from a quad. But the barrel aging is excellent, and imparts some lovely qualities to this.

M. Medium-full bodied with good carb level and some of the best barrel integration I have seen.

O. A good, but not great, beer. A barrel alone does not make a beer great, and in this case I think Hardywood's base beer is lacking in robust flavor: it drinks a bit thin. All the same, this is a quality offering and I encourage you to give it a tick if the opportunity presents itself. (849 characters)

Photo of billab914
3.8/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle poured into my CBS snifter. It poured a darker caramel color with a thin, spotty lacing scattered across the top of the beer.

The bourbon is pretty noticeable in the aroma with brown sugar, oak and a little bit of booze. I get a pretty big sweet, crisp, apple juice like flavor to it as well as a touch of caramel. The bourbon is very nice, the sweet, crisp fruits felt a little overdone and sugary though.

The bourbon is the flavor that continues to shine for me in the taste. Again, I get a lot of very sweet, crisp fruits with apple juice coming through more up front as a little grape comes out in the finish. The dry, woody oak shines in the finish as well with a touch of vanilla to it. The Belgian yeast spice started to come out a little more as it warmed. The notes of brown sugar and caramel really mix well with the bourbon.

The mouthfeel feels a little too light and slightly watery for the style. Carbonation was a little on the high side, but very delicate and almost silky.

Overall I thought the bourbon flavors were fantastic. They managed to get all the really great flavors out of the barrel without much boozy alcohol at all. The beer flavors however seemed a little overly sweet and sugary to me with the lighter, crisp fruits being the focus of that component. I think it could have used a little more of a darker fruit character and a little more balance to the sweetness. I loved the bourbon flavors though. (1,450 characters)

Photo of ao125
4.47/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is solidly one of the best beers I've had in 2012... and possibly ever.

Drank out of a plastic pint-sized cup, at the Hardywood Park Craft Brewery, in Richmond, VA on 6/2/12

The beer itself is a bourbon barrel quad, that appears to have been aged in A. Smith Bowman Distillery barrels - which can mean only one thing: Virginia Gentleman brand bourbon whiskey.

Appearance: Beautiful dark rust-colored maple syrup in color. A bit darker than what I would expect for a quad, but it hints at what you're going to find.

Smell: Explosive bourbon. Also vanilla and burnt sugar.

Taste: Did I mention bourbon? Bourbon. The malts turn this is into an easily drinkable bourbon beer. A tiny bit of Belgian "funk" on top of a really nice balance of traditional quad flavors.

Mouthfeel: My only argument against this beer is the mouthfeel, which is a little thin for my taste, but the thinness definitely makes this easier to drink than if it were closer to motor oil.

Overall: Wow. Find this beer. Lay a bottle down and drink one as soon as you're able to. I cleaned out the Whole Foods in Richmond, VA since the brewery wasn't selling bottles that day (though they typically do). This is a special beer.

I look forward to more greatness from this brewery. (1,257 characters)

Photo of DmanGTR
4.15/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to BJ for this awesomeness. Shared with a few friends at a beer tasting.

A nice, deep copper tone that kept quite clear until I poured the sediment in. It sported a light white cap that dissipated shortly thereafter. Very excited for the first sip. You can definitely taste the quad. A delicate front with notes of caramel and toffee, bringing forth a multilayered experience with malt, bread, vanilla, oak, and raisins. The bourbon accents the beer rather than dominating. Some may say that the bourbon is too light, but I found this to be a good quality of the beer. A bit prickly on the palate, had to swirl it a bit to reduce carbonation, but overall, a very tactfully crafted beer from a brewery that deserves attention. (733 characters)

Photo of zaphodchak
4.73/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Kinda cola looking, thinnish white head.

Rich and magnificent nose, vanilla and oak and lots of Belgian quad fruit.

The bourbon lends a bit of tang to this, traces of orange, plums, dates, and plenty of figs. It's truly a magnificent quad even fresh. A bit hot on the finish, but this came from the brewery just a couple weeks ago.

Thinnish, but with some cola-ish brightness. Not the best, but really I have to dig to find anything wrong with this.

It is absolutely all I could have hoped for from a bourbon barrel quad. I hesitate to say perfect, but then I say it anyway. (578 characters)

Photo of Rhettroactive
4.29/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

From 750mL C&C bottle to Bruges hybrid glass on 5/10/12
*From notes

-- Thanks to John & Eric for picking this up for me --

*It should be noted that this beer has been aged in Bowman Bourbon barrels

A: Surprisingly clean ruby in hue. A slow pour yields a .75 finger head. A thick, rich collar rims the beer. Minor lacing follows.

S: Pretty fantastic stuff. If you're a bourbon guy (or gal), then you owe it to yourself to check this BBQ out. Mounds of freshly toasted coconut, warm vanilla bean and a pretty hefty amount of bright red cherry and vine fruit. As it warms, I do get a bit of that Belgian yeast quality in the bouquet.

T: Some banana, Belgian candy sugar and a touch of rustic yeast. The Belgian influence here is right up front. But it doesn't own the profile, as it morphs into a certified bourbon bomb - a controlled, well put together bourbon bomb on the mid. Extremely expressive and wonderfully constructed. At no time did I feel that the bourbon or booze was too much, it paired beautifully with the base Quad. It finishes with a touch of residual sugar - maybe a gram or two at most. As it lingers in my mouth, I continue to get the coconut, vanilla, maybe even a hint of warm chocolate. Complex from top to bottom, and really God damn delicious.

M: Here's the one snag: the feel. Shockingly thin for such a big, bold and flavorful beer. The carbonation is proper and right on point. My issue is the weight. Not all BA beers need to be the consistency of used motor oil, but something a little bigger, a little thicker would make this Bourbon Cru even better. Mediocre body at best.

O: My biggest complaint about this beer (other then the mouthfeel) is that I drank my only bottle. This is a fantastic BA Quad - quite possibly the best BBQ I've ever come across. I'll be heading to Richmond soon to snag another couple of these for the cellar. Heartily recommended.

*Watch out for Hardywood Park, folks. Good things in the making. (1,958 characters)

Photo of YumYumGumGum
4.62/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Beautiful hazel appearance. Very clean translucent beer, with two fingers of barely off-white head. Minimal lacing occurred when served in a bar glass.

S - Ultra aromatic. Bourbon, oak, dark fruit. Bourbon is pretty overbearing but pleasing.

T - Bourbon, wood, pretty figgy, something more distinct maybe grape in the tart aftertaste. Blew me away when it was room temperature.

M - Good carbonation, should be great next year from corked 750ml bottle.

O - Very strong brew from a relatively new brewery here in Richmond. I got 9 bottles from the release and I am ecstatic. I was very impressed with the bourbon barrel-aged quad. (644 characters)

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Bourbon Cru from Hardywood Park Craft Brewery
90 out of 100 based on 50 ratings.