Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout | North Coast Brewing Co.

12,189 Ratings
Old Rasputin Russian Imperial StoutOld Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout

Brewed by:
North Coast Brewing Co.
California, United States

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by kbub6f on 01-18-2001

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Ratings: 12,189 |  Reviews: 3,720
Photo of John44
4.42/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Photo of bmwats
4.42/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a standard pint.

A: Really dark brown. Pours into a 2 finger greyinsh brown, frothy head. Settles fairly slowly, but leaves a little foam on the surface. Heavy initial lacing slowly retreats back into the brew leaving some remnants on the sides of the glass.

S: Roasted malt, dark bittersweet chocolate, a little almond, a little butterscotch, and a smoky woody tone.

T: Dark roasted coffee (very prominent) and bittersweet chocolate. Has a pungent hoppiness, and strong alcohol flavor. Almost like really malty, but not not sweet Kahlua.

M: Thick, hearty, and robust. Again, strong alcohol envelops the whole palette. Leaves a pungent, but by no means overpowering, peaty aftertaste.

D: Very good brew to sip and savor.

Ok, this brew has awesome atmosphere. Beautiful dark brown pour, with a nice little foamy head. Nose is full, complex, and very pleasing. A real treasure trove of components. Flavor is likewise full and pleasing, although more simple. Nice balance though. Overall, this is a great quaff.

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Photo of Road_to_Beervana
4.42/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

L: Near Black with gorgeous 2 finger tan head. One of the most visually appealing stouts I've seen

S: Roasted malt with chocolate notes, very comforting

T: Nutty taste with candid caramel tone. Did not wow me as it was overly forthcoming with the hops too soon.

F: Very nice carbonation tied to a oily/slick feel, very well done.

O: Definitely a solid stout, think this would fair better in the cold of winter, will try again and re-evaluate.

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Photo of HipCzech
4.42/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Serving: 12 oz bottle ("11082016") poured into a 9 oz Libbey Embassy snifter glass.

Appearance: Inky black with fringes of dark brown. Builds a nice head of khaki foam that slowly recedes to streaky lace

Smell: Deeply roasted grains, light woodsmoke and emerging alcohol as it warms.

Taste: Complex malt body with layers of roasted and burnt grains, espresso and some bittersweet chocolate in the close. A healthy dose of earthy, bitter, herbal hops keeps any sweetness in check.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied and smooth with just enough carbonation.

Overall: Big, bold and complex; definitely lives up to its reputation as a classic RIS.

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Photo of Dantes
4.42/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Package: 12oz. crowned brown bottle, labeled 8.9% ABV; no date information. Black and gold label with a forbidding portrait of a greeting or saluting Rasputin. Russian inscription I can sound out but not translate.

Cost: $5.49 a 4-Pack at Total Wines

Presentation: Imperial Pint glass at ~50ยบ

Appearance: Opaque, but of a slightly lighter brown than the typical imperial stout. More like a bittersweet chocolate than ebony. Copious gunsmoke on opening. Generated a medium-dense one-finger cocoa head, which resolved into a patchy slick.

Smell: This exhibited a deep, rich, roasted malt aroma, with some coffee and chocolate notes. Surprisingly subdued hops.

Taste: Good first impression. A bit sweeter than I expected, with lots of different sensations happening at once: coffee, bittersweet chocolate, nuts, malty sweetness, and just enough hops to keep it interesting but not so as to be intrusive. Much less espresso–like than the Storm King. More like a Sam Smith’s. As it warmed, the more fruity elements came to the fore, with currants, prunes, and some gentle eau-de-vie warmth. Medium finish despite the relatively light body.

Mouthfeel: This was somewhat roughly carbonated and not as thick or creamy as I expected. Certainly doesn’t have the viscosity of an Expedition or Sam Smith’s, but the flavor makes up for a lot. Similar in body to a Storm King, but with better balance.

Drinkability: Very drinkable for an imperial stout. The relatively light body allows for an extra one, and it has a nice balance of flavors (not too hoppy, not too espresso-like). Alcohol is unobtrusive.

Backwash: I have to say that I enjoyed this MUCH more than the Storm King. I found that it had better balance, allowing the perception of many different flavors. It has all of the flavor and is smoother. Perhaps the Storm King is a beer better sampled after aging (I have some from last year for comparison), while this is ready to go now. The lighter body and slight sweetness remind me of Perkuno's Hammer. I’d love to try some of the Millennium Edition, as it is described as being very thick. Unfortunately, I passed on the one bottle of it that I saw. I can imagine how something like this kept Rasputin alive under the ice of the Neva.

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Photo of MarkSCCOT
4.42/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A. Dark oil black, hardly opaque despite my best efforts. Little to no head despite best efforts.

S. Rich deep coffee, cocoa, dark chocolate and the sweet burnt caramel smell. Some hops in the background.

T. Starts with a blast of bitter hops but evolves to chocolate, coffee, caramel and malt.

M. I think they nailed the proper level of carbonation. Creamy finish but still clean.

D. Pretty strong, otherwise more drinkable.

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Photo of ebraun
4.42/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass.

A: Super deep black with a thin, tan head.

S: Roast and malt on the nose with a hint of licorice.

T: Deep roasty goodness with more licorice and some chocolate. Very well balanced with some alcohol warming as well.

M: Silky

D: Very drinkable for the style. Most folks would be pretty goofy if they finished the entire four pack.

Really enjoyed this beer, just a very good way to wind down a work week. A nice treat.

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Photo of AndyAvalanche
4.42/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Duvel tulip glass. This beer pours black in color, only slight highlights of dark brown while pouring it. There is a tan colored head, similar to a cola head just less fizzy. It goes away only after a few minutes. I didn't expect to see much lacing to it, but it has a different sort of stick to it. It's almost like a syrupy consistency that every so slowly slides back down to the liquid on each sip you take. The aroma has quite a bit going on and in my opinion is much better from the bottle than on tap. As most RIS's there is a great deal of chocolate in the smell as well as the roasted malts and some roasted coffee too. The hops really stand out in the smell however, and are probably the most dominant feature. It took me several sips before I noticed how strong the hop taste was. Initially you taste the dark chocolate and roasted coffee. It's well malted too, but overpowered by the coffee and chocolate. After the 3rd sip or so, the hops again become a more dominant feature of the flavor. It's still a very tasty beer, a great combination of all the ingredients. The mouthfeel was good, but after awhile, the hops leave your moth just the slightest bit too dry. Its still full bodied while at the same time being a little silky, but it's still certainly more dry than it needs to be. This is still a very drinkable RIS, or beer in general. Consensus...I think I like it a little better from the bottle, but I'd never turn either down!

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Photo of kdivers
4.42/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of spursfaninla
4.42/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

First, I had this in a bottle (of course,) so I am rating it as that, not comparing it to a draft beer.

Local liquor store stocks these in four packs, so glad.

This is an exceptional beer. Great flavors, no weaknesses. Best all-around stout I have had. competes with my other favorite widely available stout maker, Samuel Smith.

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Photo of Beer4Baltimore
4.42/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

-from the notes and poured from a 12 ounce bottle
A - black is beautiful, especially with a big brown head on the top.
S - sweet nutty roasted dark chocolate malts.
T - amazing amount of malt complexity happening with this one. The dark chocolate is incredible!
M - thick but I wouldn't expect any less considering the malt load.
D - excellent dessert beer

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Photo of enjambed
4.42/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

My first review!

Served slightly chilled from bottle into stem glass.

appearance: Being a stout, you're not going to see anything surprising here, but it still looks very appetizing, like a fresh espresso. Black as night, a moderate pour produces an average sized, bubbly khaki/light brown head that settles down to a layer of foam.

smell: Roasted malts, coffee, maybe a bit of alcohol, very nice

taste: Chocolate, black licorice, and (my favorite) dark fruits or raisins come through here along with the coffee, ending with some good warmth from the alcohol. I gotta have some of this in the winter! It's a big stout for sure, but I don't find the flavor overpowering.

mouthfeel: Not as thick as I was expecting, more on the medium side, but it doesn't get in the way

overall: Old Rasputin is a nice, big imperial stout. I usually don't drink beers this big, and was surprised by how long it took to finish a bottle. The flavors are well balanced and it's not gonna wreck your palate, but having two in a short time period will definitely knock you off your donkey. Not exactly a beer you'd have at a party, but it's good sipping during a movie or reading a book (it will take half the movie to finish).

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Photo of harrymel
4.42/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured to NB globe, as usual.
I've had this beer countless time, figure it's time to review.

A: Pours black. No light. 3 finger head retires to nearly confluent tan foam cap. Lacing is affluent, but consistent.

S: Resin, pine, dark malts, molasses, anise, alcohol. All well balanced. I have never aged this beer, now is the time.

T: More of the above. Plenty bitter with additions of cocoa, coffee, earthy hops, licorice. Very nice.

M: Thick, viscous, excellent mouthfeel with moderate carbonation.

D: Fantastic beer. Not surprised in it's level of appreciation on this site. Fantastic.

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Photo of Viggo
4.42/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours a super opaque black, little bit of red on the edges, creamy dark brown head and lots of lace. Smells like dark roasted malt, hops, coffee and chocolate. Taste is sublime, lots of roasted coffee, hops, dark chocolate finish. Very thick and full, perfect mouthfeel and carbonation, amazing beer. Reminded me of Rogue Imperial Stout a lot but smoother. Thanks for the taste DrJay.

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Photo of orcrist_cleaver
4.42/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

As I find my beer fridge filled more and more with tropical and citrusy IPAs I find myself yearning for ross classic RIS when I need something dark and roasty to warm my innards. Luckily, my local watering hole has this as a constant
The tap pour never disappoints. Always greeted with a creamy light mocha head on a black colored beer with brown and reddish highlights. Sweet, roasty, fruity, light char, licorice, caramel mocha nose. Astringency from roasted chocolate malt and coffee are initial impressions on first sip. Background flavors of toffee, dates, and raisin. Lingering char and licorice. Lush, velvety feel with smooth warmth. Not overburdened by alcohol. Clocks in at ideal ABV for style allowing great balance of flavors.

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Photo of jaluria
4.42/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Summary: A very tasty and enjoyable beer with relative complexity and smoothness

Appearance - It poured a very dark brown, almost black in color and seemed somewhat viscous. It had a very nice medium-brown colored head that stayed intact for more than a minute.
Smell - Hint of nutmeg, but first impression was of chocholate and Ethiopian coffee. Very pleasing because it was subtle & slightly unexpected.
Taste - Smooth and full-bodied, and yet crisp with a dry semi-sweet chocholate taste.
Mouthfeel - Lingering dryness that just doesn't seem to go away. My mouth felt like I was continuously tasting the beer.
Drinkability - Very good; can easily have a few of these. I'm not sure what it can be paired with because of it's accented texture, but I think a fruit-based dessert would be good.

Additional comments - I think this beer is well-balanced because no one ingredient is over-powering, but that also causes it to not be distinct and memorable.

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Photo of MunchkinDrinker
4.42/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours completely black. No hints of light around the edges. A moderate dark cream head that leaves some lacing.

S - Dark fruits, like blueberries and raisins. Some chocolate. Very slight hop spiciness amongst a very strong dark malt backbone. Very appealing and exemplary of the style.

T/M - Flavors don't quite come through as they do in the smell. Rich and smooth but not heavy. Chocolate comes through in the aftertaste, as does the fruit. The hops come through stronger in the flavor than the smell. Pleasant.

D - High alcohol, but easy to drink. Wouldn't drink more than one per sitting, but would have one every night. :P

On edit: Mouthfeel in some bottles has a biting carbonation that needs some mellowing out before flavors start coming through.

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Photo of Bcaulin
4.42/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice deep brown in color -- Can definitely catch a little light through it around the corners of the glass. Not pitch black like some of the bigger stouts. Nice head that quickly receeds into lacing. Lots of carbonation.

Lots of chocolate and dark malt in the nose.

Really nice smooth taste. Has a lot of that same flavor of the dark roasted and chocolate malt. The taste lingers for what seems like an eternity.

Excellent smooth mouthfeel. Very well rounded and balanced RIS overall. Definitely one I will be going back to.

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Photo of dpcoz
4.42/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

(Originally Reviewd on 04/16/2010)

North Coast - Old Rasputen Russian Imperial Stout (9% ABV, 12 oz bottle)
Glassware - Yuengling Black & Tan pint glass

A - Pours medium body, I wouldn't say 'motor oil' consistency like some Russian Imperials, but definately not a cola-like Solid caramel head that dissapates soon after the pour. I see no light is passing through this pint glass - dark and lovely the way it should be.

S - Malts, chocolate and coffee hit the nose immediately, some hops and caramel in the mix as I swirl the pint glass. Little smell of alcohol at the end.

T - Light hop on the fromt of the tongue, roasted/burnt malts are the dominant flavor with some bakers chocolate. Strong Coffee/Espresso character. Finishes kinda sweet which is interesting in that it starts out hoppy and harsh.

M - Medium Body, definately not full.As stated above, enters harsh but leaves the mouth with a sweet-like aftertaste. Don't really realize the strength of raspy while drinking it (9% ABV)

D - Easily drinkable, again, watch the ABV, you could easily down a couple of these like they were black & tans! End of the pint glass was like a frothy milkshake. Enjoyable Stout, nice complex flavor. The malts, coffee and chocolate create a good balance of harsh and sweet, the light hops are refreshing.

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Photo of AgentMunky
4.42/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a St. Bernardus goblet.

A: Looks like a typical Russian Imperial Stout. Dark dark-brown with thin nutty-coloured head. Implacable and imposing; I look forward to drinking this beer.

S: So nice. Lightly-roasted, gently-sweet malts. There is a definitely fruity tone to the alcoholic sweetness. Some hints of chocolate and even less of coffee.

T: Deliciously tasty. A smooth, sweet beer, with surprising spicy notes appearing at the end of the taste (cinnamon and something akin to paprika spring to mind). The main taste is mildly bitter, a roasted flavour with a hint of hops. The aftertaste is slightly sticky with savoury chocolate notes opening up amidst the aforementioned spices.

M: Carbonation lightens the taste considerably, but cannot stem a creeping sticky sweetness in the aftertaste. Not unpleasant, but not a point in its favour either.

D: With the notable exception of Bell's Expedition Stout, Old Rasputin is the best Russian Imperial Stout I've ever consumed. While by no means a light fare, it is more accessible and consumable than other beers of the same style. Very drinkable and highly recommended.

EDIT: The following review is of a bottle aged in a friend's wine cellar for 14 months (and an additional month and a half sitting in my refrigerator.

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a St Bernardus goblet. Reviewed 25 December 2011. I can't find a best by date, but the neck label has almost completely peeled itself off.

4.5A: An excellent cocoa-coloured head forms an impressive crown to a coal-black beer. Utterly dark and completely opaque, this is what I like an Imperial Stout to look like. Great lacing.

5S: Mmmm, yes. Huge and boozy. Less dry than I remember, but much more fruity and alcoholic. Very similar to Bell's Expedition Stout which, in my book, is a very good thing indeed. Richer and more rewarding than I initially thought, ten minutes later I still haven't taken a sip. I'm simply letting my nose revel in these sensations. Superlative smell. Blueberries?

4T: This is more what I expected from an aged Rasputin. Moderate chocolatey bitterness with virtually no hop presence and a sweetish fruit/alcohol maintaste which trails off slowly leaving very little aftertate. Disappointing after such a monumental smell, but still quite nice.

3.75M: Thick and almost sticky. Little carbonation. Nice enough.

4.25O: A very good beer, but I'm not sure the changes in flavour advocate ageing. Most of the spice and bitterness has absented itself in favour of slow, mellow sweetness. I probably prefer a fresh bottling, but I might age another one because it changed character significantly more than the Expedition Stout after cellaring.

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Photo of ccarney2
4.42/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Jet black body that pours about a finger and a half of cappuccino head that disappears quickly into a film like head.

Smell - Sweet, roasted malts off the bat, including hints of chocolate and plum, that give way to a more refined and complex smell. Vanilla stands out in the finish as well as a bit more of the dark fruits. Hides the 9%ABV fairly well.

Taste - Starts with the sweeter dark fruits (cherry/plum) but quickly and painlessly fades into a more of a dark bitter chocolate style finish.

Mouthfeel - Moderate to low carbonation, but a fairly thick beer that coats the tongue.

Overall - Clearly this is a great imperial stout that anyone should try if they get the opportunity, but it's not only that. This beer has so many characteristics of a good stout. There is the malty sweetness up front, the bitter chocolate finish and the moderate carbonation that is included in this style. Drink this beer. Now.

Taste -

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Photo of Running4beer
4.42/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours out a dark black with a medium brown head that remains with you and your beer till the very last drop. Sweet malty chocolate roastiness and dark espresso was the combination in the aroma. Taste was similar chocolate, roasted malt, plums and espresso/really dark coffee. Very good stuff had a sweet flavor but not overly sweet, as it warmed it smoothed out and the flavors came out a little more. Easy drinking brew very little carbonation and a medium to full bodied texture. This is all good here.

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Photo of ngeunit1
4.42/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a deep dark brown black color with a finger-plus tan-brown head. The head slowly reduces to a ring around the glass with some nice lacing left behind on the glass.

S - Aroma is full of rich roasted caramel malts and some strong coffee aroma. Almost espresso. Touch of smoky elements with a little bit of chocolate also mixed in.

T - Lots of sweet roasted and rich caramel malts and coffee flavors. Also some nice smoky flavor and a touch of chocolate. Through the middle more off the sweet caramel malts come through with some nice oak and roasted flavors alongside. The finish is full of roasted malts and coffee flavor with a touch of bitterness which linger nicely.

M - Medium bodied with moderate-plus carbonation. Feels fairly thick and creamy. Maybe just a hair more carbonated than expected.

D - Very drinkable. Lots of flavors that are really nicely balanced and fairly complex, but it does not drink super heavy.

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Photo of littlekidlover
4.42/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I used to drink this a lot on tap at the Map Room in Chicago. It was not until recently when I moved to a neighborhood that lacks good beer selection in every store that I realized how much I truly love this beer. By chance a liquor store near me that has a paltry craft beer selection happens to carry this. The appearance is "none more black" even held up to the light BLACK! There is a medium tan head which quickly goes away. It smells mostly of coffee and dark chocolate, maybe a little burnt caramel and oak. The taste is everything in the smell, add a little dried fruit and hop bite. Mouth feel is silky and a little sticky with enough hops to balance it out to not be "sticky sweet" I could pretty much drink this beer until the high alcohol knocked me out, it is not difficult to drink at all.

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Photo of Tomas77
4.42/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer is well made. An almost black color but not quite opaque. A creamy,brownish tan head is persistant throughout with lace following along nicely.

Initial milk chocolate aroma up front especially when swirled at around 55 degrees. This is followed by some mild roast and coffee notes.

More roast in the flavor than chocolate followed by a bitter espresso like taste at the back of the tongue. Burnt and acrid as you go on. Probably from the roasted barley. A little sweet also which is nice.

A very smooth full bodied beer. A creamy,slick feeling on the tongue. Alcohol shows up later in the finish but is well hidden until then. Good balance between hops and malts.

Just a good beer.

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Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout from North Coast Brewing Co.
4.28 out of 5 based on 12,189 ratings.
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