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Noel De Calabaza - Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales

Not Rated.
Noel De CalabazaNoel De Calabaza

Educational use only; do not reuse.

413 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 413
Hads: 956
Avg: 4.04
pDev: 17.57%
Wants: 75
Gots: 159 | FT: 12
Brewed by:
Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
Belgian Strong Dark Ale |  9.00% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerBeing on 10-21-2007

"Belgian Christmas Ale aged in oak barrels."
View: Beers (44) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 413 | Hads: 956
Photo of superspak
4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle into tulip glass, bottled on 10/20/2011. Pours slightly hazy deep ruby red color with a 2 finger dense light khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass, with some light streaming carbonation. Aromas of strawberry, cherry, green apple, raisin, orange zest, caramel, toast, oak, clove, nutmeg, pepper, hay, grass, herbal, light funk, and yeast earthiness. Very nice aromas with good balance and complexity of fruity/spicy yeast, oak, and spice notes; with good strength. Taste of strawberry, tart cherry, green apple, orange zest, raisin, caramel, toast, nutmeg, clove, oak, pepper, hay, grass, light funk, herbal, and yeast earthiness. Light fruity tartness/spiciness on the finish; with lingering notes of strawberry, cherry, green apple, orange zest, raisin, caramel, toast, nutmeg, clove, pepper, hay, grass, herbal, light funk, and yeast earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Very nice balance and complexity of fruity/spicy yeast, oak, and spice flavors; with a nice balance of fruit/spiciness and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a smooth, crisp, and lightly prickly mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is well hidden with only a slight warming present after the finish. Overall this is a damn nice Belgian dark ale. All around nice balance and complexity of yeast, oak, and spice flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the ABV. A very enjoyable offering.

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Photo of mntlover
4.45/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours a murky brown red with a small finger sized tan head from aggressive pour. Some light lacing mainly around the top of the goblet.

Aroma is nice sweet ripe dark fruits with hints of sugary malts, some light earthiness and good oak notes mingled. Also that patented Jolly Pumpkin funk the reason I love this brewery.

Taste is sweet malts with dark fruits mingled but moves to the dry oak flavor and good tart notes. Finish is lingering tartness and some pep from spice light clove and white pepper perhaps. I am biased I know have not had anything bad from these guys but I love the funk.

Mouthfeel is nice a little lighter then you would think it should be but its smooth with just a touch of pep in the finish. Suits this beer well but maybe not the style its listed under.

Overall sadly the beer guys told me the distributor was going to quit carrying Jolly Pumpkin for them. Hopefully someone will pick it up as I love these guys.

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Photo of t8s8l8
3.78/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Currently drinking at Jose pistoles. Great aroma nice dryness, aroma is superb,
A bit oaky overall pleasant. Not one of my favs from jp but still well crafted. Full carbonation adds to carbonation levels. The malt character is softer then expected. For something in this similiar style.

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Photo of rdickey
4.14/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a fairly dark brown, with hints of redness around the edges. The head drops pretty quickly but leaves nice lacing.

Smell: Up front I get a nice dose of that funky tartness (or tart funkiness) that is such a characteristic of the Jolly Pumpkin ales I’ve had. It’s coupled with a pleasant fruitiness, although I’m hard pressed to identify particulars other than stone fruits in general as one element.

Taste: It largely follows the mouth – the tartness comes first, along with the fruits and a slight peppery element. Finally the first hallmark of a Christmas beer appears – cinnamon! Not that you need cinnamon in a Christmas beer, of course. As the beer warms the oak elements from the aging round it out nicely.

Mouthfeel: The beer is medium bodied with moderate carbonation. The alcohol doesn’t show itself in traditional ways, but you can immediately tell that this is a slow sipper.

Drinkability: High (subject to the slow sipper caveat above), and perfect for a cold night.

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Photo of KYGunner
3.96/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

With the face of a stout this beer poured a deep black color with a thick muffin top for a head.

The nose holds a lot of twang, with an acidic, gamey scent. There's some dark fruit like qualities but I can't distinguish which ones.

This has all the signature sour qualities of a Jolly Pumpkin Ale but the tanginess is rather mellow. This allows me to spot some fig, raisin and plum with a back of bready malt.

The feel is sour yet smooth without any harsh carbonation bite. It also holds a rather easy fullness.

This surprised me as it was more subdued in its sour or wild aspects. This enabled more of the flavors to come out and make it an enjoyable experience.

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Photo of Rutager
3.95/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Sour Christmas Beer? Why not, it has to be better than the standard winter warmer.

Appearance. Pours a hazy brown with a little orangy-red and topped with a finger of off-white head.

Smell. Lactic sourness and oak, brown sugar and cinnamon, nutmeg and cherries. Very interesting.

Taste. Lactic sourness, oak and cherry, woody spices and almond, nutmeg, and a bit of raisins. Interesting mix of flavours.

Mouthfeel. Medium body, medium amount of fairly fine carbonation.

Overall. As I mentioned, this is an interesting beer and get's an extra .25 overall for that. Probably not something I would seek out again but an enjoyable, and somewhat complex brew. Always great to try something different (and sour).

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Photo of mtomlins
4.04/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a stemmed tulip glass and shared with friends.

Pours dark brown with a reddish hint in color; 2+ fingers of off-white, foamy head that dissipates quickly. The nose is tart and sour up front with raisins, nutmeg and cinnamon; a bit of bread and some farm funk. The taste is similar to the smell and is tart/sour initially but still retains some malt sweetness; a bit woody. There is lots of carbonation and a medium body, light and bubbly but lacking a bit of body. A tasty beer with a nice balance of sourness, malt and holiday spice.

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Photo of chugalug06
4.4/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Batch 627/628
Bottled: 9-30-13

Awesome calm three-finger, grayish-yellow, foamy, head. Brew has a nice deep red tint; seems to have decent clarity too, with mild cloudiness and some floaties. . Lacing is not existent, but head has nice soft pillow retention.

Farmy, funky, dark cherry, red apple, nutmeg...mellow. Not a spice or sour bomb. Kinda boozy, but not syrupy; more of a cherry booze, you know, the good kind.

Smoothly delicious. Very light, crisp, well defined, dry, mouthy, fruity, robust fruit skin flavors. Apple and dark cherry (true to aroma) hold prevalent. Great mild front-end tartness, not sour, just the perfect amount of tart; like a good cherry pie, not sugary at all. Bitterness is mild and extremely well placed. Carbonation equally great. Very chewy and lippy, no detection of booze burn.

This is a solid beer that seems to be a shelf-turd at almost every store. JP nailed this brew and couldn't have done it too much better. Highly recommended, but I'm not sure I'd let it go too much longer than 3-4 years. I will be seeking 1-3 bottles per year from now on to make sure it's always on hand. Keep em' coming JP!!!

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.8/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

on tap at hops and pie, and absolutely world class establishment. a semi sour holiday brown here, not quite in the oud bruin tradition, but certainly on that block. hazy brick red to brown in color, lasting white head half in inch high. smells like lactic acid, lemon zest, chocolate malt, and something asian. its a very strange combination, but its cohesive and it works. there is a little more grounding in the taste, with the brown ale type malt bill and the souring fermentation goodies taking center stage, but it does have some dried cherry sweetness in the finish, as well as a subtle spice that may well be from the yeast or some rye malt. lots going on here, and it all fits together rather well. i like jolly pumpkins holiday or seasonal beers, they are all so well thought out and unique. there really isnt much like this on the market. tart and sour in the finish, but drinkable still at 9% abv. the feel is a little off for me though, it sort of curdles in the stomach, and as such is a slow sipper. maybe its the acid, maybe its the sugar, but its a little harsh once its down. medium body, maybe more, and excellent carbonation, it still feels slightly heavy. jolly pumpkin can do no wrong for me though, and this is even more far out than the bam stuff, its really different and well done.

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Photo of babaracas
4.21/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a surprisingly almost clear dark brown, reddish dark brown in the glass with two fingers thick cream colored head, spray of delicate lace for the first few inches. Smell: plum, dates, baking spices, brown bread, acetic, vinous and oaky. Taste: red grapes, plum, brown sugar, clove, cinnamon, grape skin, vanilla note, cranberry-like acidity. Medium body, sweet with dry finish; fruity and mildly funky with nice contribution from the oak.

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Photo of silverking
3.72/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

A- cloudy mahogany with a rocky tan head. Decent head retention, excellent lacing.

S- sour cherries, bright green apple, and a full blown sour funk that I was not expecting.

T- sour, funky. The finish transitions to a vague hop profile and a hint of malty sweetness. There is a quinine-like bitterness that sticks to your tongue.

M- clean, crisp. Lively carbonation, but its not overbearing.

O- I was not expecting a sour ale, but it was quite enjoyable.

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Photo of micromaniac129
3.77/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured into my firestone walker tulip glass and got a beer with a brownish color and ruby highlights. Not much of a head was produced during the pour but it had a lighter mocha color. It wasn't particular dense nor long lasting.
It smells like your typical Belgian ale but not a strong dark ale, more like a oud bruin or even a sour. Smells dry and sour with a hint of fruits. Some wild yeast gives a funkiness thats in line with the beer and not overwelming.
In the taste you get sour, vinagar and oak. Think oud bruin here, and your right. Its super dry too, tannin dry. It's malty but a weak malty.
The feel is quite thin with a puckering dryness.
Not your everday strong dark ale but whatever it is, it's quite tasty.

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Photo of buschbeer
4.39/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

1 pt. 9.4 fl. oz. bottle
Served in a tulip glass
Bottled 11-14-2012
Blend 13

A - This beer is dark brown with some dark amber and ruby highlights. It is capped with an inch or two of tan head.

S - I get a sour/tart aroma with some mold/mildew. It get a little green apple and funk.

T - It has a tart apple taste. The dank basement is there, too. I get a sour cider taste. I like it.

M - Medium and sticky.

O - I love this beer. I have been a fan since I first tried it a couple/few years ago. It is probably my favorite Jolly Pumpkin beer, and I like pretty much all of their stuff (besides the price).

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Photo of larryi86
4.16/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 mL bottle, Blend 2 Bottled11-2-10, poured into a tulip

A- A deep burgundy color with a three finger off-white head.

S- Sour, dark fruits, oak, some funk, some earthy spices.

T- Sour, dark fruits, funk, oak, earthy spices, finish is kind of like black licorice.

M- Medium body, lot of carbonation.

O- It is getting better as it warms up. Finish is slightly weird.

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Photo of RandomExile
2.61/5  rDev -35.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 2.5

A: deep brown, just barely red; opaque; scant eggshell/brown ring; consistent arcs and jags of lacing
S: sour
T: sour, fibrous, bile
M: apple crisp
O: Really disappointing. There nothing discernibly Christmas or pumpkin about it. It's a just a poor sour beer.

12oz / Snifter / VGP Columbia, MD

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Photo of SerialTicker
3.91/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had a sample of this at Three Blind Mice in Mt. Clemens, Michigan for a surprising $3.50.

Appearance: A brown sort of color with a nice finger of off-white head. Sip-for-sip lacing. Really nice.

Smell: I’ll admit that I haven’t been particularly blown away by any sour that I’ve smelled (that I remember). This really kind of smells like a dirty trunk to me between the souring yeast and the barrel. It’s not a bad smell, but it’s not exactly a thing I imagine people whiffing and thinking, "DAAAMN that’s good!"

Taste: A bit like the smell. Not as sour as I was expecting. Doesn’t taste Christmasy to me at all? Just tastes... sour. A bit of fig in there as well. I don’t get any sort of cinnamon or nutmeg or anything that would suggest Christmas to me at all. Reading these reviews, I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m garbage at describing sours... but sour with a slight woody flavor does it. Dark fruits. Almost an orange note. That about does it.

Feel: There’s a medium body with a surprising amount of carbonation that I feel adds to the sourness.

Very good beer. Maybe I’m just not quite in love with sours as others are. Enjoyable, but it’s pricey as hell, and not something I could drink a lot of.

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Photo of macher0
4.67/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A. Deep dark mahogany color. Thick fine bubble head that slowly retreats to a frothy fine bubble film. Super lacing.

S. Traditional jp yeast with some spices and a hint of hops. Moderate fragrance. A slight note of neutral oak.

T. Moderately tart with a slight bitter finish. Bretts, spices, hops, and grains. A little malty.

M. Full bodied. Moderately smooth. High carbonation.

O. This sour screams Christmas. Slightly hoppy and peppery but certainly sour. The appearance is excellent. One of my favorite jp ales.

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Photo of spense727
3.91/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance - Dark, cloudy. Very little lacing and murky. Great bottle.
Smell - Like a sour. Can't get anything additional. Intoxicating.
Taste - Quite sour but refreshing. Slight maltyness, very similar to a sweettart.
Mouthfeel - Highly carbonated. Slightly light on the mouthfeel.
Overall - Solid strong dark ale, wonderfully sour.

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Photo of Shroud0fdoom
3.96/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

*25.4 oz. Bottle* This beer is a surprise for me. I popped the cap and poured it in my glass. The brew did leave a nice half finger off white soapy head, that crowned a nice dark iced tea brown body. Ok let's get a whiff of this nice looking beer. First hit is spices. Cherries in there with a touch of raisins. A hint of dry oak, almost like a fine wine. Notes of toasted grains with maybe some sugar. Exposed pears in the background, almost like it doesn't want to get noticed. Now it's time to savor! First wave is of sourness. Cherries and grapes make first part of the aftertaste. Mild wood turns to toasted malt sweetness. Spicy yeast notes follow through like a good BSDA. Alcohol isn't on the palate at all. I like that. There is a hint of metallic in the aftertaste, but not offensive. Citric bitterness closes this brew out, leaving dry. The body is medium-light with par carbonation.

Overall: This was a surprise! I was expecting a spicy, sweet BSDA. The aroma gives a hint of sourness just not enough to tell you this is a sour beer. This beer finishes sweet, almost like drinking Sweet-Tart candy. This brew is good and interesting. I will not buy again, but I do enjoy this brew. If you like Sours, this beer is recommended. If you don't like Sours, this one is still worthy!

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Photo of TwelveOunces
4.06/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750Ml poured into a snifter
Bottle 11-12 (10 months old)

A- pours surprisingly black. Not much of a tan head.

S- Sweet dark fruit. Figs plums and raisins.. A touch of lemon zest and tangy wheat.

T- A very sour beer. A huge tartness at first and a drying mouth feel. A dark fruit but not as heavy as it is on the nose. A bit pf a pomegranate taste and a cherry pit. There is some oak taste but it mostly adds to the drying feel. A sour beer, a lot of hay and some barnyard characteristics.

M- Sour and very tart. Takes your breath away at first. Leaves our mouth dry and sticky.

O- A solid sour, may not buy again because the price but not bad otherwise.

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Photo of Axnjxn
4.08/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle into a teku glass. Batch 8 bottled in october 2012

pours a light brown with a small head. smell is big on cherries , like a flanders red. taste isn't quite as sour as a regular flanders red, but the flavor is there. good cherry kick, oak flavor is apparent too. real nice . smell is a tad better than the taste, but its still solid. medium bodied, mild carbonation.

overall like this one a lot. recommended.

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Photo of dbossman
4.08/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: Mahogany hue with a steady, thin cream-colored head; decent lacing

S: Dark fruits and spices with lingering oak notes; lots of musty, woody dark fruits: cherries and raisins but also bananas and apples

T: Slightly tart, especially on the finish; roasty bready malts; this is extremely balanced and so delicious especially as it warms because the fruits and spices--cherries and apples, especially--become more pronounced

F: Creamy, medium body--a touch thin on the finish

A: A really pleasant oaky, fruity, spicy, slightly tart beer--nice

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Photo of bmwats
4.14/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 750 ml bottle into s snifter.

A: Medium dark brown. Pours a 2 finger, foamy, brown-white head. Disintegrates slowly, but far from completely. A giant foam blanket remains for the duration. Thick blanket lacing.

S: Pungent malt, orange zest, a little nutmeg, and coriander.

T: Syrupy malt, with some fermented raspberry, and a little orange citrus.

M: Thick and syrupy. Slightly sweet and a little bitter in the front, pungent and dry in the finish.

D: Sip and enjoy.

Atmosphere is really good here. Great head, and some great lacing. Nose is malty, fruity, and spicy. Very complex and well-balanced. Syrupy malt, with some fermented fruit, and some triple sec. Overall, this is a great quaff.

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Photo of MarioM
4.7/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

6 month old, 750 ml poured into RR steamed glass

A: Dark brown mahogany with a light tan creamy head made of medium bubbles at the base and small creamy bubbles on the top later. Good lacing left over after head dissipated.

S: Slight fruitiness mostly covered by a Brett like character created from the barrel aging. Very subtle dark fruits, brown sugar and spices.

T: Surprisingly smooth and balanced, wow. This is very characteristic of Jolly Pumpkin without the shocking off-flavors that add complexity to their brews but in a very very good way. The barrel aging shines through very well, obviously the base beer before aging was mild and not overpowering to begin with, lending itself to benefit greatly from the oak barrels. Just wow, wow. The flavors are perfectly balanced, mild yet making this beer extremely complex and drinkable. Slight spice notes and caramel maltiness from the candi sugar most likely added like most Belgian dark ales.

M: Light to medium carbonation. Very subtle roastyness and fruitiness lingers after sipping. A little dry, almost Brett like from the oak barrels. Slight fruity, dark sugar character lingers as well which is very enjoyable. No bitterness left over from the aging process but the slight sourness/tartness shines through and substitutes the bitterness extremely well.

O: I knew I wanted to try this wonderful brew since I first layed eyes upon this bottle at a specialty beer bar in SF. I took a mental picture of the bottle and remembered the name, "Noel de Calabaza". A Christmas specialty ale by Jolly Pumpkin, I could not pass this up when I saw it at my favorite bottle shop near work, Jane's Beer Store. It was kinda pricey so I held off until just one bottle remained, now I'm having it after three months after buying. I could not justify trying this jewel until a special occasion. Thankfully this week was good enough and god-damn am I glad I finally found the excuse to try this.... I've always been a fan of Jolly Pumpkin and had great expectations for this brew but never would I have imagined this being one of my favorite beers. Really, it is that good. I will never walk by this beer and not pick one up. All I have to say is I can;t believe I had this thing stored for so long, ignorance is a bliss until you realize what you've been missing. Damn, I'm enjoying this....

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Photo of mxchap
4.56/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

(Served in a 15cL sample glass)

Appearance: Dark copper, with some red hues shining through.
Aroma: Figs and cranberries as well as the usual gambit for a sour.
Taste: sour and tart. Oak and apples as well. Very complex and ponderous.
Mouthfeel: Just the right carbonation and feel. Nicely balanced.
Overall: A great holiday offering! Sour Christmas ales are uncommon and this one is certainly worth a try.

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Noel De Calabaza from Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales
90 out of 100 based on 413 ratings.