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Illumination - Central Waters Brewing Co.

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.

260 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 260
Hads: 873
Avg: 4.03
pDev: 18.11%
Wants: 95
Gots: 79 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Central Waters Brewing Co. visit their website
Wisconsin, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial IPA |  9.00% ABV

Availability: Spring

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: CaptainIPA on 06-01-2010

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 260 | Hads: 873
Photo of HopHead84
4.08/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4


Another generous extra received in a trade with eyncognito, thanks Ian! Poured into a snifter, the beer is dark orange with a thick dirty white head, good retention, and scattered lacing.

In the nose I detect sweet and bitter grapefruit and a perfumey aromatic quality in addition to pine notes. There's also a bit of ripe orange with a little pith. The malt backbone is caramel in character and it creates an impression of a well balanced Double IPA, lending sweetness.

The flavor is bitter up front with notes of unripened grapefruit and orange, with balancing caramel malt sweetness. Alcohol is evident in the finish, but it's well integrated in the well balanced flavor. The finish is bitter citrus and sweet caramel malt. The beer is medium bodied with a soft, sticky mouthfeel and a moderate level of carbonation.

Overall, a well balanced, quality Double IPA that is definitely worth a try. I'm enjoying this take on the style quite a bit after drinking so many dry west coast style DIPAs lately. My only complaint is the ugly label.

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Photo of theghost3
4.15/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to XaulZan11 for this.

Poured into a snifter. Appearance is slightly hazy orange with a 2-finger white head. Lots of lacing.

The smell is strong of juicy grapefruit hops at first, then the smell kind of takes a hiatus before coming back with piney hops and biscuity malts. The taste is grapefruit and pine hops with some honey, alcohol and medicinal qualities. Mouthfeel is medium-bodied, somewhat sticky and smooth.

This is a drinkable DIPA. Beautiful appearance with a nice grapefruity hop profile. Definitely not a session brew with the high ABV and rich flavor. Pairs nicely with blue cheese.

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Photo of ballz50401
4.37/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz. bottle (bottled on 05/2010) into a snifter glass. Pours a nice dark golden/orange with lots of carbonation and a big soapy head with good lacing. Alot of perfumy, citrus, pine resin hops in the aroma with some caramel malt sweetness. I get some dark fruits and citrus flavors with some sweet caramel and honey. This has a nice smooth full mouthfeel that finishes with a good hop bite. A pretty nice DIPA that doesn't fall flat with the hop bitterness. Nicely done.

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Photo of pdoran10
3.95/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

beer pours out a deep, thick dark golden color with nearly a full finger of lovely sticky head. smell is mango and citrus with resin. really pungent and exciting. taste is a bit of a let down compared to the smell. i get resin and a hint of pine strong up front with slight grapefruit as an afterthought. taste doesnt seem to follow the smell. mouthfeel is thick but good for a double ipa. drinkablity is good, but will assault your palette with hops the hop flavor isnt good enough to overcome this.

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Photo of beerwolf77
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into my imperial pint glass the beer is golden orange with about two fingers of bright white head. Great retention. Lots of sticky lace left around my glass.

The aroma is fragrant bouquet of piney resinous hops and tropical citrus fruits. It's like mangos and grapefruits rolled in fresh pine needles. No malt getting through in this one. I could smell this all day.

The flavor is simply a mirror of the nose. Full hop blast but no shredding bitterness. It has a mango/pineapple/grapefruit smoothness. Like the sweeter side of those fruits. The piney kick is there as well but not until the finish. Spot on perfection.

Medium creamy body with solid carbonation. Light dry finish.

Overall another straight up winner from CW. Super flavorful and hoppy yet easy enough to have more than one in a sitting. Paul is steadily becoming one of my favorite brewers.

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Photo of cvaypai
4.35/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle to dfh signature glass.

Appearance - Pours with a fluffy white 1 fingered head with some large bubbles throughout. Leaves a wonderful lacing down the glass as I drink. Hazy golden orange with not much visibility through.

Smell - This beer smells absolutely wonderful. Tons of grapfruit and grapefruit fly right out of the glass. I can smell it from feet away. A bit of pine, honey and orange comes through also. A faint little hint of sweet malt.

Taste - Tons of fruity flavors, the grapefruit and the pineapple come out immediately. A bit of resiny pine comes through as it warms along with a great bitterness, albeit a bit harsh. I like the harshness though and the biscuity malt rounds it out, you can't taste much of it, but it's there.

Mouthfeel - The weight is right where this beer should be, medium to heavy mouthfeel and good carbonation. The bitterness bites the tongues and coats the tongue but it's maybe just a bit harsh at times.

Drinkability - For a 9% dipa the drinkability is pretty darn good. 1 or 2 a night is it for me though. I will be buying this again, if that is any indication of its drinkability.

Finally the DIPA I've been looking for out of a Wisconsin brewery.

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Photo of NorthsideFred
4.37/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into my favorite snifter.

A: Looks great! Pours a rusty orange with a thick foamy white head.

S: Very fresh citrus scent.

T: Delicious! Wonderfully fresh taste. Light, sweet (but not overly so), citrus, not too bitter. I like this a lot.

M: Full-bodied, and perfectly carbonated.

D: Drinkability is higher than just about any DIPA I've ever had.

This is an excellent beer. I had it side-by-side with Lake Erie Monster. It crushed Lake Erie Monster! I don't want to take anything away from LEM, because it is a good beer, but not in the same class.

This is a great summer beer. I need more!

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Photo of Wisconsinality
3.95/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into SA perfect pint.

A- Pours a crystal clear orangish golden with a big two and a half finger head. The head dies down slowly and leaves great lacing on the side of the glass.

S- A big mixture of pine and citrus hops. I pick up a little bit of the malt base and some nice biscuit. Also seems to be a little orange peel.

T- Midwest hop heads rejoice. Huge amounts of bitter hops punch your tongue right away. The malt is almost nearly no existent. This is not your typical Midwest DIPA. Just a slight biscuit finish.

M- Nice bitterness that you don't usually see from Midwest DIPA's. Medium bodied with great carbonation and is very dry on the finish.

D- The 9% abv is pretty well hidden but this is a pretty intense beer so I wouldn't really want more than 1 or 2 at a time except for my bachelor party in which case I had 6.

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Photo of Axic10
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Received as an extra in a trade with BarrytheBear. Poured into a standard pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a hazy amber with a thin layer of head.

Smell: Not as hoppy as I thought it would be. Pleasant grapefruit, pineapple and mango aroma mixed with a very nice smelling malt aroma.

Taste: Taste is similar to the nose. Heavy citrus flavors of grapefruit, pineapple and mango. Aftertaste is a mix of hoppy bitterness mixed with malty sweetness.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a dry finish.

Drinkability: Very good DIPA that was a pleasant surprise. I would pick up more of this if I could. Probably one of the better Midwest DIPAs I've had.

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Photo of portia99
4.13/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle received in a trade with mothman. Thanks for another great one Ben! Poured into a Portsmouth tulip.

A - Pours a super clear and bright amber orange color with 2 fingers of dense whipped creamy white foam with good staying power. After a couple of minutes the foam falls and leaves lots of sticky lace on the glass.

S - Tons of pine and some rich citrus and tropical fruits. Grapefruit is up front along with pineapple and mangos. A quick whiff of alcohol, some lemony smells and very faint sugary and caramelly malt in the background.

T - Pine and grapefruit up front. Some sugary sweetness, alcohol, pineapple, and a full and crisp bitterness round things out. Malt is subdued and takes a back seat to the hops, but some sweetness and a light caramel character do make an appearance.

M - Medium bodied with carbonation somewhat on the low side. I'm getting a light prickly feel but also a smooth and creamy fell for the most part. Big bitterness lingers into the aftertaste and dominates. On the inhale I pick up noticeable alcohol, but this doesn't make it into the flavor, feels like it is going to bite me, but then disappears.

D - Overall, this is a very good DIPA. Loaded with citrusy and tropical hop flavors, full of bitterness and just enough malt without it becoming too much of a focus. This one wasn't on my radar, but really glad to have an opportunity to try this. Hope to revisit this one some day.

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Photo of dpnelson1978
3.35/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

12 oz. bottle into Duvel tulip.


A: Huge rocky head over a bright dark straw body. Sediment visible on the bottom of the bottle. Excellent head retention, generous cover, and thick rocky cover.

S: Pineapples and pine needles. Slightly sweet, and somewhat aggressive, but pleasant.

T: Strong citrus flavor on the front end, pine immediately after and following through to the end. Lingering bitterness, and a very slight caramel sweetness.

M: Light to medium body and fairly high carbonation. Hop astringency is the overwhelming characteristic of the beer's mouth.

D: Great beer to drink one of over a meal. Not really a session style beer even if you disregard the 9% abv.

O: Good beer, but not great. Hop heads will love this beer, but I'm looking for something with a little better balance.

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Photo of hardy008
4.15/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark gold / light amber color with a 2 finger white head with good retention and nice lacing. The aroma has grapefruit, oranges, sweet malt, and pine.

The taste is grapefruit, oranges, malt, and pine. Same as the aroma. A very nice DIPA. Not overly sweet, and not harshly bitter either. A very nice balanced beer.

Medium bodied, proper carbonation, and the alcohol is well hidden. This is a very nice beer. It falls a little short of the top DIPAs such as Dreadnaught, Pliny the Elder, HopSlam, and Abrasive Ale, but is still very, very good.

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Photo of Mdog
4.8/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Slightly hazy orange-amber, huge head.

Smell: Pretty strong citrus/grapefruit.

Taste: Pineapple and sweetened pink grapefruit. Big sweetness before a dry but not super bitter finish.

Drinkability: I really like sweeter DIPA's and this one goes down fast. Not too bad at $10-$11 a 4 pack.

A double IPA that I haven't reviewed, so picked up a 4 pack. I like my DIPA's on the sweet side and this definitely hits that target. Plenty of hop bitterness too and easy to drink, not too heavy feeling. Highly recommended!

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Photo of mothman
4.25/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had this the other night side by side with PtE, but not decided to review it so I don't mess up any tastes.

Poured into Bruery glass.

Pours 1 finger of creamy beige head. Pretty decent retention leaving some sticky lace rings. Color is a hazed golden bronze.

Aroma:Very similar to pliny. Big hop bite right up front. Lots of floral and pine notes. Tons of citrus fruit flavors. Just a touch of bready malts show. A very nice aroma.

Taste: More bready malts show here than the aroma. A very big chewy taste to it. A strong floral hop profile with an instant rush of grapefruit citrus. Also has some orange notes in there.

Mouthfeel: Very bitter, but also creamy. This was one of the biggest differences when comparing the beers. Pliny didn't have this creamy feel to it. A fairly big body with a good amount of carbonation. Ends with a massive amount of hops in the aftertaste.

Overall, I was really shocked with this beer. It is a great dipa and something I would have a hard time believing came out of the midwest (despite the malts showing through a bit). It is pretty drinkable at 9%. Hats off to central waters for this one.

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Photo of jjanega08
4.47/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A= This is the last of my four pack so I figured now is the time for a review. The color is a nice semi hazy golden amber color with an excellent two finger head on it holding pretty steady with excellent lacing on the glass.

S= The most pineapple I've ever smelled in a beer. It actually smells like pineapple juice to me. What kinda hops were used in this? Other than pineapple I'm not sure how to describe this. A slight citrus slight pine smell???

T= The taste is initally pineapple juice again. Wow, I've tasted pineapple in a beer before but nothing like this. There is a little extra citrus bitterness in the mid pallate and the finish is a little pollon bitter hoppiness but I'm being picky there. This is pineapple all the way.

M= A nice light carbonation. Maybe a little less carbonation would be better but there isn't much wrong with this.

D= Again as I have said throughout this review... This beer tastes sooo much like pineapple to me. The finish does get a little hoppy bitterness to it but the taste is pineapple. Unbelieveable. This beer is worth seeking out just because it's so different.

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Photo of homebrew311
4.15/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Received as an extra in an in person trade with millah- thanks!!

A: pours golden with fluffy white head, heavy lacing and good head retention

S: big fruity hops on the front with tons of tropical notes including mango, orange and papaya along with some pine as well. A touch of malt at the end.

T: like the nose, big hop presence up front along with some sweetness. Malts come through in the middle with a hot alcohol finish

MF: high carbonation, medium body

D: another great beer from Central Waters. Nice tropical hops which reminds me of some of my favorite DIPAs. Everything is in balance.

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Photo of drpimento
3.2/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

yeah, I can say Palate Wrecker as well as Tastebud Trasher. Just another crank the hops way up and there you are. Prefer a little more aesthetics m'self. Poured with a nice, white, foamy, frothy head and lots of lace. Color is a clear amber. Nose is HOPS, big grapefruit ( not my thang) with a some malt. Flavor's the same as aroma. Finish is the same as flavor plus alcohol and fairly long. Not a session.

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Photo of sweemzander
4.08/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle poured into an imperial pint. Bottled in May 2010. Thanks to beerwolf77 for yet another bottle!

(A)- Pours a clear orange color that produced a good fluffy white head with good retention.

(S)- A good dry piney citrus with lemon, lime, and pineapple.

(T)- A good dry piney dryness with the same citrus from the smell. Has a light creamy sweetness of pineapple/honey at the end.

(M)- A good carbonation level and balance. Everything you should expect from the style. A good piney bitterness and citrus sweetness.

(D)- A solid DIPA with everything in the right place. A good drinker with a crisp and refreshing feel in a style that sometimes gets too malty. Chalk up another good brew from Central Waters.

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Photo of KeefD
4.35/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy tangerine orange color with a two finger white head that stuck around for awhile with nice sheets of lacing down the glass - probably helped that I drank it so fast! Aroma is big time citrus goodness, plenty of orange and pineapple (my favorite hop aroma in DIPAs), malts barely make themselves known, and thank goodness there isn't much of pepper spiciness that I detest in some versions of this style. Great flavor on this brew! Hops are citrusy, with flavors of orange, grapefruit, light pine, and a touch of medicinal qualities on the dry finish. Again, as in the nose, malts are hard to detect, but what does make it's way out can be described as crackerish and bready, light sweetness, and maybe could be amped up a touch for balance. Body is medium, but is bit alcoholic and hot on the finish which makes the body seem lighter than it is. That being said, I've been gulping this thing down awfully fast despite the 9%. Good, drinkable, high ABV DIPA here. Nice job CW!

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Photo of mdwalsh
3.96/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

My father in law picked this up more or less on accident for me near the brewery. The man doesn't even drink, so this was a pleasant surprise.

A: Lighter than most IPAs but a nice three finger head on the first pour that goes down to a one finger. Golden orange with great active carbonation and rather clear. The head really maintains a nice texture. It do with a bigger head though to release some more aroma.

S: Very citrusy aroma, almost lime like. There's a little sweetness to it, but it isn't particularly strong. Latter in the glass I get a little funky cheese aroma.

T: Similar to the aroma, but a bite less sweet and a more biting bitter. It's actually quite bitter. (My wife says something about reminding her of eating the kernals that didn't pop in popcorn). I get a little bit of a carmelly or roasted grain, very little, and it's hidden behind the hops. I think I would call this more of a double hopped IPA rather than an all around Double IPA.

M: Lighter and smoother than many IPAs which is nice, a lot more quaffable than say Hopslam or Gemini.

D: Drinkable if you like a strightforward bitterness, otherwise less so.

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Photo of morimech
4.43/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance- Hazy, radiant, deep, golden-amber color with two fingers of dense white head that had excellant retention. The head eventually settles to a thick cap. Heavy lacing is left on the glass. Hard to imagine a DIPA looking much better.

Smell- Pungent hop aromas. Hints of grapefruit, pineapple, and pine. Underneath the citrus bash of hop aromas, there is some softer notes of tropical fruit. Malt does not make an appearance here.

Taste- A lot of citrus upfront. Some passion fruit and mango as well. Malt is dry and is used to just transport the hops. Very high bitterness which is not surprising. No sign of alcohol.

Mouthfeel- Full bodied with soft carbonation. Wonderful texture for such a bitter beer.

Drinkability- About as drinkable as a DIPA of this magnitude could be. Maybe two bottles at the most before the palate would be fatigued.

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Photo of Buebie
4.02/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a 4 pack of this for $10.99

Poured from the brown bottle into an oversized snifter. An inch of off white froth forms and is slow to recede.
Color is a murky marmalade, hazy really and glowing orange when held to light. I like the unfiltered look of this beer.
Lace rings line the glass.

Aroma is very strong of grapefruit, sweet caramel and pine. Hops are purfumy and strong but malt also comes through too. Just a bit of spice in there as well, this is chode tickling aroma right here.

Taste is much similar to aroma, hops are biting alongisde a little bit of pepper and aspirin. Dank hop flavors.
Malt shows through with buttery caramel and mild husky grain flavors.
Mouthfeel is slick with mild carbonation bite and a little bit of fullness to it.

Overall a great beer but some of the aspirin flavors become a bit cloying as do the peppercorn spice flavors. Still a gret double ipa providing all I had hoped for and more.

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Photo of gatornation
4.75/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

pours a beautiful amber/orange color with a perfect 1 finger head with clingy sticky lacing..the smell is mango.peach,pineapple,grapefruit..its a tropical feast for the nose..it follows with juicy hops/malty smells..the taste is exceptional it starts with a tropical barrage of fruit then some grapefruit infused hops..all balanced out with some sweet malts..a perfectly balanced dipa of supreme creamy taste..CW has hit this style out of the park.the mouthfeel is medium/full for a 9% and finishes in the end with a bitter hop taste in the back of the mouth that tells you that you want more..the drink ability is off the chart you just want another sip or another serving..so easy to down 2 of these very fast.exceptionally smooth ,creamy and very hoppy/ flavorful..very very recommended

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Photo of jera1350
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark burnt orange in color with a nice layer of creamy tan foam on top. Nice gobs of lacing on the glass.

Fresh citrusy goodness fills the nostrils. Pineapple, orange and grapefruit with a malty sweetness as well.

What a hop profile! Picking up some pineapple and citrus and then a wave of pine sweeps in. A nice sweetness that seems to be more fruity than caramel. Strong pine resin and grapefruit bitterness lasts until the next sip.

More than medium bodied, smooth with some very soft carbonation. Finishes tongue suckingly dry.

Drinks well for the style and abv. This is a DIPA that should be on everyone's radar. Top notch and sure to satisfy all hopheads.

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Photo of dirtylou
4.35/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz single - probably my 4th sampling of this new DIPA

appearance: tacky label featuring a bright green hop - bright orange-copper body with a nice foamy white cap and strong retention

smell: bright citrus hops - tangerine, ruby red grapefruit, pine, bready

taste: impressive DIPA from a brewery that has never really offered up a great hop-centric brew. Very fresh waves of citrus flavor - tangerine, grapefruit, orange, lemon peel, pineapple. What makes this one a little different is the spicy rye kick and rustic bready notes. I dig this one - keep the special releases coming CW

mouthfeel: big, moderate bitterness, smoothness from the abv, spicy

drinkability: good

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Illumination from Central Waters Brewing Co.
90 out of 100 based on 260 ratings.