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Anchor Zymaster Series No. 4 Fort Ross Farmhouse - Anchor Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Anchor Zymaster Series No. 4 Fort Ross FarmhouseAnchor Zymaster Series No. 4 Fort Ross Farmhouse

Educational use only; do not reuse.

39 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 39
Hads: 157
Avg: 3.6
pDev: 25.83%
Wants: 1
Gots: 7 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Anchor Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Saison / Farmhouse Ale |  7.20% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Fatehunter on 06-09-2013

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (28) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Anchor Zymaster Series No. 4 Fort Ross Farmhouse Alström Bros
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Reviews: 39 | Hads: 157
Photo of artdob
2.89/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Pours with a bountiful tan head.

Then the exciting fades a bit. Nose is really light for me, got a breadbox, and some banana, but not a whole lot coming through for me.
Taste is roasty seltzer water - a bit wanting. Mouthfeel also leaves a bit to be desired - a slight fizz, relatively weak here, though some improvement after drinking more of this one.

This brew will be one and done for me.

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Photo of chinchill
3.91/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle served in a snifter.

Excellent looking: copper body woth a large, durable head that leaves a fine partial coat on the glass.
The aroma says "farmhouse ale" but without leather or barnyard; its floral and fruity rather than funky.
The flavor largely follows but has a surprisingly pronounced and complex maltiness. Good balance and complexity.

Feel: medium-light body with medium-high but soft carbonation.

O: worth seeking out.

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Photo of Jadjunk
3.43/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

"Zymaster n [Gk Zyme leaven + master-more at ZYMURGY] 1: a new word coined by Anchor Brewing to describe a brewmaster with hands-on experience throughout the a-to-z process of creating a new beer, from the research and selection of the raw materials and development of a recipe to brewing, fermentation, cellaring, and finishing 2: a unique series of beers from Anchor Brewing, rooted in its exceptional respect for the ancient art and noble traditions of brewing, featuring extraordinary ingredients, innovative techniques, and unusual flavors." Brewed in the style of a Saison/Farmhouse Ale with Yerba Santa (Sacred Herb) added. Available in 22 oz. bottles and on limited draft.

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle to a tulip glass. Served 55 above degrees Fahrenheit.

(Appearance) pours a tan white head of a frothy creamy consistency over a medium hazy copper amber body with moderate relaxed carbonation. Retention is very good, lacing is light and patchy. 4

(Smell) Bready caramel malt body with a soft yeast fruit presence of raisin and fig, a light peppery spiciness, a note of licorice and molasses, a soft alcohol perk and some mild tanginess in the aroma. Its a fairly maltier farmhouse ale than I am used to, but the addition of Yerba Santa comes through very distinctly in the aroma, adding herbal and earthy characterstics above the usual saison notes. The potency is moderate. 3.5

(Taste) Bready caramel malt, lightly sweetened, with a unique peppery, herbal and slightly roasty midsection, finishing abrubtly undersweet and medium dry. 3.25

(Mouthfeel) The texture is slick, lightly syrupy and mildly dry. Carbonation is light, generating a smooth, creamy mouthfeel. The body is medium+ for the style, medium/heavy overall. Balance is herbal and peppery over sweet. Alcohol presence is medium, and there are no off characters. 3.5

(Overall) A pretty unique ale, not quite as simple as a standard Saison, more like a Belgian dubbel with Yerba Santa generating a great deal of herbal and peppery flavors. It's a slow sipper for me, quite filling and heavy on the palate. For the right price, it's likely worth giving a shot. 3.5

Anchor Brewing Company's
Zymaster Series No. 4: Fort Ross Farmhouse Ale

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Photo of babaracas
3.65/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a fairly dark red tinged orange with two fingers thick khaki colored head -- fizzy, a few dots of lace down the glass. Smell: unripe peach, quite herbal and slightly medicinal and green; faintly toasted whole wheat biscuit with honey in the back. Taste: dilute pear-apple juice, peach skin, herbal with a bitter component... (looking up yerba santa, maybe this is it?) it's like a high-powered sage plus arugula plus aloe. Light caramel in the back... warmer this becomes more of a player. Feel is a bit fizzy, finishing crisp. Interesting beer... where there is seemingly potential for a really good biere de garde mixed in here, it maybe hits the yerba a bit too hard and ends up being just interesting.

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Photo of Jeffreysan
4.25/5  rDev +18.1%

Appearance: Pours a beautiful, cloudy, deep, mahogany color, speckled with orange highlights and two fingers of white-colored head that dissolved into a quarter of a finger of foam that completely covered the top of the beer.

Aroma: Wow! Big, pleasant aromas of bready, toasted malt, imparting notes of freshly baked sourdough bread and French baguettes, blended with funky aromas of Belgian yeast, sweet aromas of candied sugar, as well as spices such as coriander, saffron, honeysuckle, and some faint notes of dried stone fruit such as dates and figs. The aroma is quite inviting and delicious.

Taste: Just as inviting and delicious as the aroma. There are strong flavors of toasted malt up front, imparting notes of freshly baked sourdough bread and French baguettes, followed by some lots of funky Belgian yeast-like flavors of orange-like citrus, a touch of sourness, and spices such as black pepper, coriander, saffron, honeysuckle. There’s quite a bit of candied sugar and dried stone fruit-like sweetness, as dates and figs. The beer finishes with a touch of bitterness and sourness at the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied and very effervescent as there is quite a bit of carbonation. With an ABV of 7.2%, there is no alcohol on the palate.

Overall: Wow! What a great American version of a Belgian Farmhouse ale! Recommended!

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Photo of Tone
3.58/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy, copper color. 5/4 inch head of an off-white color. Great retention and great lacing. Smells of alcohol, yeast, sweet malt, hint of biscuit, and a hint of hop. Fits the style of a Saison / Farmhouse Ale. Mouth feel is sharp and crisp, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of alcohol, sweet malt, hint of biscuit, hint of hop, yeast, and a hint of caramel malt. Overall, the malt/biscuit levels are much higher than I'm accustomed to in a Saison, but still a good beer.

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Photo of arizcards
3.56/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a bomber from BevMo in early February for $6.99. Bottled on 5-17-2003.

Beer poured with very little head, amber-orange in color.

Nose is yeasty with some fruity esters.

Taste is lemon zest bitterness layered over a good size malt base.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and decently carbonated but lacks the lightness i would expect for the style.

Overall not a bad beer. i get that farmhouse brews are supposed to represent local ingredients but the result is a bit off the saison style in terms of the feel.

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Photo of fourstringer
3.65/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 1 PT.6 FL. OZ bottle into a Duvell tulip. Moderate to aggressive hand. No clear date, but the label is stamped 3YQ. Maybe it's a Q. I dunno.

A: Hazy copper-orange body. 1 finger of mostly white head. Below average retention. Scant lacing.

S: Sweet yeast nose with a floral, fruity quality. Bready malt. Biscuit. Fruit is somewhat indistinct, but has a pleasant overall scent. Traditional hops float in the background. Honey. Maybe caramel.

T: Lightly bitter initially with a touch of yeasty spice. A semi-sweet malt appears midway. Returns to a moderate bitterness, relatively heavy for the style, and finishes fairly dry. Mildly herbal and floral, but the malt feels prominent. Little of the fruit noted in the smell. Light alcohol presence.

M: Bit less carbonation than your average saison with a bit fuller body. Good match for the flavors.

O: Fairly malt-forward for a saison. A bit of a biere de garde vibe. Reminiscent of Anchor Steam in certain ways. Drinks well. Flavors and scents were nice, if not a bit lacking in depth.

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Photo of EnojysAnyBeer
4.45/5  rDev +23.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A- Pretty dark for the saisons I've had, looks like a pale ale but with an incredible head of micro-bubbles that patches up in clumps.

S- Sweet dried fruits - peach and pear on top of a hearty malt backbone.

T- Tart and pleasant with the perfect amount of "funk" from the yeast. Sweet, but balanced by bitterness.

M- Perfect. Moderate body with plenty of micro-bubble carbonation.

O- Easy to drink with tasty bubblegum and fruit notes. An excellent example of the style with everything in check and a happy mingling of light flavors.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
3.58/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

(Served in a globe glass)
A- This beer has a slight dense deep copper body with a butter cream head full of big bubbles. There are strands of microbubbles trailing up the side of the glass.

S- The flinty wet stone aroma, geosmit, has some plastic hop notes in the finish.

T- The slight tart note leads to a slightly tin taste in the slightly toasted malt notes that finishes with a pungent hop note. There is some circus peanut esters that get over powered by some nougat characters as it opens.

M- The medium mouthfeel has a gentle fizz and no alcohol heat.

O- This beer has lots of odd flavors and an odd tangy flavor perhaps from the yerba but the nougat flavor that grows and lack of malt or farmhouse yeast character makes this beer a bit underwhelming.

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Photo of Jevers
3.41/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Served from a bottle, poured into a tulip glass. Serving temperature 45 degrees.
Appearance-deep copper red color, little head
Smell- clean and malty, not what you normally expect from a farmhouse.
Taste- clean with a good malt backbone, but no strong yeast notes
Mouthfeel - medium with sharp carbonation
Overall - good, but with cleaner malt notes than i would expect.

Btw, first time writing a review using this format. Apologies for errors.

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Photo of smcolw
3.81/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Nearly clear amber color. Two finger head that settles slowly leaving a thin blanket of lace with emphasis on each ring after every sip.

Good crystal malt aroma. A bit of alcohol and a touch of citrus rind sourness.

Far more bitter than the smell indicates. This starts almost immediately on the initial sip. There is a subtle farmhouse sourness as well. The soft malt gets a bit lost to these two flavors. The finish is biting and lasting. Good body and carbonation. Overall, this is flavorful but not overly complex.

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Photo of emerge077
3.66/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Snagged the last bottle in the cooler.
Apparently this was bottled end of May, so 6 months old at this point.

Slightly hazed dark orange, thin layer of loose foam on the surface, tight collar of foam around the edges. Decent clarity, a little bit of lace, retention is not the greatest, especially for a Belgian style saison.

Toasted grains, malt sweetness, fruity pear esters in the aroma.

Lightly tart, pears and light caramel, aftertaste has a building earthy bitterness. Body is medium, initial carbonation is good but it peters out a bit. It's ok, sort of complex but falls short after awhile. Worth a try but not really worth seeking out.

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Photo of Jason
3.72/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

22oz brown bomber with a freshness code on the back label.

Very unique, the use of Yerba Santa brings elements not seen in beer yet stays subtle enough to let this still be a beer. Anchor really needs to play around with extreme brewing more often.

LOOK: Clear rusty amber hue, excellent head

SMELL: Very earthy, resin, evergreen, white peaches, brioche

TASTE: Soft herbal tone, solid malt backbone, mild resin, tobacco, faint mint, broth, mild caramel, modest hopping, warming alcohol, green plantains, peppery, semi-dry finish

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Photo of Zorro
3.74/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Deep amber maybe burnt orange colored beer with a smallish white colored head. Near clear with just a hint of chill haze.

Very aromatic beer, I can smell it from 10 feet away. Strong fruity aroma that reminds me of juicy fruit gum. Banana and ginger with some bubblegum. Little bit of coriander scent. Cherry juice and faint menthol. Very mild wild flower aromas.

Starts out mildly sweet with a taste of banana flower. Stout bitterness in the finish. Sweet fruity and bitter sums this up. Could be more complex but I not about to stop drinking it. One strange taste, roasted hay flavor. Banana, grass, bubblegum and wild flower flavors.

Mouthfeel is good.

Overall this is a tasty beer. Not quite traditional Saison flavors, more like the same beer brewed with a fruity ale yeast. Tasty stuff get a bottle.

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Photo of vkv822
3.56/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz : tulip

Clear, amber red with a foamy, off white head.

Belgian-saison style yeast character in the nose and palate, floral, herbal notes.

Medium body, crisp finish. Foamy, fizzy carbonation.

A tasty, fairly standard saison. Prominent floral and herbal notes blend well with the yeast notes.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.58/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

i feel like this has the wrong yeast for a saison, it just doesn't have that wildness, that funk, or even a Belgian essence. that said, its a tasty ale for what it is, and I am glad anchor is making new varieties, I have been waiting for that for awhile it seems. clear golden on the pour, honey color, the look is wrong for the style, but the head is foamy and rich and an inch tall. its got a nose of warm fermentation temperatures, and a syrupy malt element that is thick but not too sweet. the taste is way more grain forward than I expect in a saison, almost caramel English type malt rather than light French Belgium stuff. not at all yeast driven, and not even yeast interesting, but a tasty ale, if a bit boring. well carbonated and I like the medium body on this, more of a fall type. overall this didn't wow me like I wanted it to, but it was enjoyable nevertheless.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.04/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

22 ounce bottle - $6.98 at Sherlock's in Kennesaw, Georgia.

Bottling date: May 17 2013.

Appearance: Pours a lightly hazed, dingy copper-hued body with a smallish, wispy, off-white head.

Smell: Blended fruit notes, fragrant spices, and sweet-scented elements atop a bit of light toast, a bit of cookie.

Taste: Bready pale malts, restrained wheat maltiness. Rock candy sweetness. Teensy taste of marmalade, a nibble of apple. Touch of banana. Variety of peppery spices (star anise, clove), light bitterness. Rolls back and forth between the sweetness and spiciness while sustaining the fruitiness throughout. Crispish finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium-plus carbonation.

Overall: A beer that is ultimately just okay.

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Photo of scottfrie
3.79/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Bottle into snifter.

A: Pours a burnt amber with a huge fluffy off-white head that slowly faded into a thick film that left clinging lace down the glass.
S: Peppery spice and fruity yeast on the nose with hints of peach, nectarine, and mandarin orange.
T: Slight banana, very fruit forward, slight dough, peppery spice, herbal hop, floral finish, apricot, apple juice, slight orange. Finish is sweet, floral, and fruity with hints of apple juice, and the aftertaste has a decent bitterness to it.
M: medium-full body, greasy, slightly syrupy mouth, super fluffy and soft carbonation.
O: A bit thick but a solid fruit-forward saison. Sweet but very drinkable. Great spice profile.

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Photo of ckollias
4.03/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Enjoyed this bottle out of a Belgian tulip glass.

A: Pours a copper hue with a thick, fluffy, white head that slowly dissipates down the slide of the glass leaving a nice trail and ending in a solid persistent lace.

S: Sweet caramel and hoppy aroma.

T: Similar to the smell there is a sweet caramel flavor with a mild hoppy background that finishes on the sweet side of dry.

M: Medium body and medium carbonation.

O: This is a solid beer – it actually improved as it warmed up a little.

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Photo of russpowell
3.35/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 2.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Pours an effervescent copper with 2+ fingers of cream colored head. Minimal head retention & lacing

S: Pears & appleskins, plus apricot & a touch of dirt

T: Follows the nose, much grassiness & leafy hops up front. Very dry with green appleskins as this warms, a bit of white pepper as this warms. Finishes fruity, dry & with grass & hay notes, candi sugar notes as well, too dry for my liking

MF: Medium bodied, subtle carbonation

Hides the ABV well, but can't get to worked up over this. On style, but way better Saisons being made right here in Oklahoma & Missouri

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Photo of dv8sean
4.05/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

Nice golden-orange glow. A little darker (crystal malt?) than many saison-slash-farmhouse styles out there, but that's ok with me.

Aroma is a beguiling mix of barnyard funk with fresh hop aroma. I dig it.

Flavor, like the color, has a bit more malt influence than typical for the style, but the yeasty influence and ample hop bitterness keep the balance playful.

Mouthfeel is exemplary. Maybe it's San Francisco's priceless water source, but Anchor's beers seem to consistently have the best textures. This is the best aspect of this particular beer.

Judged on its own merits and without strict consideration as a "Farmhouse Ale", this beer is great. Those expecting a more pale-yellow, less aggressively hopped beer may be a bit weirded out. However, those looking to take some Old World substance with a healthy dose of Left Coast style should be stoked.

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Photo of Arithmeticus
4.3/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured chilled, chez White

A: perfect creamy head; clear copper; good carbonation; nice lacing
S: sweet yeast, bubblegum
T: delicious; very yeasty; sweet, not hoppy; it's remarkable that it can be such a clear glass despite the amount of yeast going on; complex

I really like this beer; outstanding, exciting, and remarkable

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Photo of andyfrancis
3.06/5  rDev -15%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Served in a pint glass.

Deep golden amber with a nice fluffy, near white head.

Smells medicinal and like a sweet floral candle. Not in a way that makes me want to drink it.

Oh no. Like a mouthful of sage. I really don't like this. About the most flowery saison I can remember.

A little syrupy for the style, the flowery taste stays with you for a while.

I haven't had any of the previous 3 in their Zymaster series and this makes me a little hesitant to try the future ones.

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Photo of artoolemomo
3.94/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance- Pours up a fair amount of head which shows good retention. The head is a slightly off-white with hints of yellow while the body is a slightly hazy, medium to dark amber that glows medium when held up to the light. Some lacing is left behind.

Nose- Nice aroma but it's pretty much a one trick pony. Banana from both the bottle and the glass with slight hints of clove from the the glass. Vigorous swirling only reveals a mellow version of this aroma. Good but simplistic.

Taste- Reflective of the nose- banana is the central taste. Mild notes of spice and bitterness from the yeast hang around the edges. Lots of spice that invigorates the tongue. If I were unaware of the style designation, I would immediately assume that this was a tripel. Notes of clove and coriander. Most allspice spices but nothing that would something as interesting as what “yerba santa” or “hoja santa” has been variously described as. Although, on second thought, this seems to fit many of the various qualifiers for hoja santa.
Spice from licorice, anise, sassafras, black pepper, nutmeg, and mint all factor into the flavor profile. Its spice seems to overpower the spice of the yeast in quite a positive way. Bitterness dissolves away pretty quickly, as does much of the banana. This has quickly turned into a spice bomb that seems dominated by clove, anise and nutmeg. It seems on the fringe of a vague style but is nevertheless, quite enjoyable. Some cinnamon as well.

Mouthfeel- Between medium and light bodied with loads of carbonation. All good for the style.

Drinkability- Bitterness may be a bit much at times but the spice is so appealing. I don't remember the exact price ( 5 to 6 bucks for a bomber) but pretty good for a Belgian style ale.

Overall- Be it tripel or saison, it does not seem to matter much. This beer is fairly well rounded and overwhelming with the complexity of its spice profile. It's better than what people have been grading it but do not expect to be similar to some of the standards of the style i.e. Dupont and Phantome. There is no real funkiness but I do not think that is a requirement of the style. I think of it more as a tripel. Still worth a try. It's cheap enough and definitely interesting enough, whatever it is.

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Anchor Zymaster Series No. 4 Fort Ross Farmhouse from Anchor Brewing Company
82 out of 100 based on 39 ratings.