Old Rasputin XI | North Coast Brewing Co.

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Old Rasputin XIOld Rasputin XI

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

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.60%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
This brew is to commemorate 11 years of brewing Old Rasputin. This is Old Rasputin aged in 12 year-old oak bourbon barrels for nine months.

Added by stumac on 12-05-2008

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Ratings: 219 |  Reviews: 146
Photo of KevinBrewer
4.78/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Had this at Hamilton's tonight. What a surprise! I asked the bartender what was special about Rasputin XI, and he said it was their 11th vintage. First sip, oh my god. Definitely bourbon barrel aged. Walnuts, oak, bourbon, chocolate heaven. Christ, man. Shit. Smells of chocolate and dark bourbon. Black with a huge fluffy tan head that lasts. Velvety in your mouth, shit. It's like a chocolate bourbon shake that warms you up and never lets you down. One glass, and you feel like you're roasting marshmellows over a goddamn campfire. Shit. Two thumbs up.

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Photo of berkey
4.47/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Corked and caged 500ml bottle pours completley black. Absolutley no light gets through this one. Forms a very large brown head with a faintly red hue that leaves ring after ring of beautiful lacing.

Strong vanilla and oak rule the initial aroma along with some sweet alcohol notes. Also picking up some malty chocolate aromas. Smells a bit like whiskey spiked Ovaltine. Found myself spending more time smelling this one than I do on the typical tasting. One of the better smelling beers I've had.

Taste is a little more typical of the style with chocolate and some roasty malt flavors. Still picking up some vanilla but not quite as strong, also hints of coffee. It's remarkable how much wood flavor there is here without getting that bitter tannin flavor. Thick and creamy mouthfeel one expects from an RIS.

Very drinkable in that the complexity hides the alcohol well but it gets you eventually. Wishing this was my first beer of the night. Can't remember ever taking this much time finishing a 500ml bottle. Thankfully, this beer warms well.

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Photo of TurdFurgison
4.15/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I got this in a trade from Madorb at DLD and brought it to a beer battle at Buckeyesox's place (against Darkness, Kate the Great, and others). This beer was dark black color with a thick poof. The beer smelled rich and a little bourbon-y, roasted malts and strong vanilla from the barrels. The taste was excellent, dark roasted sweetness and vanilla The only drawback was the relatively thin body which didn't match the massive aroma and flavor. Well carbonated but kind of flacid body as compared with the other great stouts we were drinking. Very good overall but I remember the X being a more complete package (including a matching body).

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Photo of paytoplay
3.26/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

The most dissapointed I've been in a beer in a long time. Nitro tap at Hamiltons SD. If you told me this was Guinness I'd believe you. No vanilla or oak. No nose, maybe some malt and roastyness. It was easy to drink. Hard to belive the Alc is that high. But it was super expensive and I'd never try this again.

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Photo of radshoesbro
4.73/5  rDev +11%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

nitro at hamilton's. this is one incredible beer! pours black, with a tan foamy head that leaves a lace that looks like you're staring at tree rings! incredible! smells of malts and slight hops. it was actually somewhat hard to get a good nose with all the other smells there. tastes of strong malts with a slightly smokey atmosphere that wasn't overwhelming at all. there was a nice vanilla element to it that sort of masked a lot of the subtle elements of the beer, but it wasn't overpowering. if it weren't for the fact that it was $10 a glass and it poured so slowly i would've had this all night and i could drink it pretty much forever.

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Photo of d0ggnate
4.7/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Nitro tap at Hamilton's. glad to have this opportunity on North Coast night.

A: Took 5+ minutes to pour to goblet. Rich black/brown with beige marshmellow-like head.
S: Subtle bourbon, silky vanilla and familiar barrel aged flavors.
T: Creamy smooth vanilla and spices.
M: is there even alcohol in this? Bourbon-ness is warming.
D: This is the ultimate "sneak up on you" beer. I have renewed interest in North Coast.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.58/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Finally able to knock yet another one offs the list this week. It has been a very amazing run over the last couple of weeks, nailing down some of the things I have looked forever for. This one falls tight in there as well. Served at cellar temp and decanted into a goblet, this one was consumed on 04/30/2009.
The pour was exquisite and easily one of the best I have ever seen. Pitch black with a perfect head of light tan capping it off. Slow faded, literally no fade on this as the mushroom of foam stood on top throughout the entire session and really just looked sublime sitting up there, I was in awe, and the I went in for the smell. Rich bourbon and booze, mixed with wonderful notes of vanilla. Really well done here. Nothing really overpowering here at all as everything was pretty well balanced I have to say. As it warmed though the bourbon and vanilla were mingling with a deep chocolate and almost tobacco like smell that really gave it tremendous depth. I was a touch let down though as I went in for the rest. It was smooth, very well carbonated, but a little thin for me. I was expecting it to come off as a huge, thick monster, but it was just a wee bit thin, but still very nice. Rich vanilla and bourbon on the flavor, almost hot, but too much complexity for it to be anything less then stellar. Molasses and again that tobacco like flavor coming through very nicely in the finish and then a long drawn out oaked vanilla like flavor to seal the deal. A smooth, wonderful sipper indeed.
Overall this was very, very solid. I have to say I liked thee X better, but this one was remarkable in that it was well balanced and very well defined.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.4/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Sampled at Dark Lord Day 2009.

A: Very dark with a tan head and very nice lacing.

S: Strong notes of bourbon as well as roasted malts, coffee, and chocolate.

T: Quite a bit of bourbon to go with the coffee and chocolate that are layered atop the roasted malts.

M: Thick, creamy, and ever-so-smooth.

D: Pretty drinkable, although a little full to be truly outstanding here.

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Photo of HopHead84
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours black with a large frothy head. The head is light brown and the retention is excellent.

The aroma has a decent bourbon presence, with some figs and molasses. Chocolate is evident, as well as a small amount of coffee. Other aromas are of vanilla and oak.

The flavor is of bourbon with chocolate and a little coffee. Figs are again noticeable, as well as molasses and oak. It's pretty boozy and I think the flavor will improve with age.

The beer is robust, with good carbonation and a chewy, chalky mouthfeel.

An awesome bourbon barrel stout. It's a bit hot, but great nonetheless.

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Photo of route66pubs
4.52/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had on tap at the Verdugo.

A - poured a deep, dark black with a big foamy tan head, with lots of air pockets in the head, and a long-lasting lace.

S - bourbon aroma immediately, with hints of chocolate as well. Very aromatically forward, this beer does not leave anything to the imagination from the get-go.

T - Aroma led to heavy bourbon taste immediately, followed by the subtle sweetness of chocolate and perhaps some oak or vanilla hints as well. The bourbon comes back strong at the back of the mouth which leads to ...

M - ... a slight burning around the back of the mouth and down the throat. Seemingly a little high in carbonation for the style, but incredibly perfect nonetheless, I almost wanted to savor this one in the mouth for awhile. Until the burning reminded me it was time to let the rest of my body enjoy it.

D - Surprisingly, despite its wonderfulness, I can't rate this too highly on drinkability. Sure, it's still a 4, but a 4.5 or 5 rating would have come without so much alcohol heat. This one, to me, needs to sit for at least a year or so to mellow and even out.

This is an incredibly wonderful brew, with intense and wonderful aromas and flavors. Receives high marks in the barrel aged imperial stout category from me all around, and I'm anxious to put one of these down for the future! (Thanks to Ryan and the Verdugo guys for getting this for us all to enjoy!)

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Photo of brentk56
4.7/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a really dark brown with a massive tan cap that retains beautifully and leaves squiggles of lace all around the chalice

Smell: No mistaking the barrel here, as there is plenty of bourbon, alcohol and vanilla mixed in with the underlying dark chocolate and coffee aromas

Taste: A nice dark chocolate flavor presents itself before being joined, mid-palate, by the boozy bourbon; subtle hints of vanilla make an appearance before the swallow; bold and brassy as the warming fluid makes its way down the gullet, with a bourbon and chocolate finish

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: A real achievement and it would be interesting, if I had another bottle, to see how this matures - Oh well

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Photo of John_M
4.25/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a dark black color with very good head retention and lacing. The head retention is very interesting in this beer; initially there was very little head, but with prolonged air contact and a bit of warming, it became increasingly pronounced as I drank it. So in fact, there was excellent creamy head retention and lacing with this fine beer. As for the nose, one whiff and you can tell this beer was aged for a while in bourbon barrels. There is a huge aroma of bourbon/booze, coffee, chocolate and milk duds (the latter aroma is something I typically notice in imperial stouts that have been aged for a while in bourbon barrels). The beer is moderately sweet, with a dry, boozy finish. Mouthfeel is medium bodied to full, with a slight hoppy, licorice finish. Alcohol is fairly well disguised, but you can tell it's up there. So ultimately this beer is just a bit heavy and tiring on the palate, with the high alcohol a warning to drink this beer slowly and avoid over indulging. Nevertheless, this is a very fine beer from North Coast, one I'm happy to have tried.

As the beer warms up it smooths out and softens a bit, though there continued to be some noticeable bourbon on the finish. Good stuff!

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Photo of DefenCorps
4.15/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

John was kind enough to split a bottle with me. Thank you, friend!

A: Jet black with a finger-thick brown head with great retention and lacing.

S: Raw oak, bourbon, vanilla open things up. Like Older Viscosity but with bourbon dialed down a bt. Great balance b/w bourbon and shout characteristics. Plenty of chocolate with some roast, great smoothness.

T: Opens up with vanilla and bourbon with chocolate and roasted malt sweetness right behind. Vanilla is a bit much for my palate. Very creamy with the combination of chocolate, vanilla and cream reminding me of malted chocolate balls. Finishes bitter with a hint of oak and some vanilla.

M:Medium body with carbonation that's a bit high but a great finish that really balances oak and vanilla

D: Easy to drink, but beyond the 8oz, it's a bit much

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

On tap at Bavarian Lodge on 04/02/09 during special North Coast night.

The review by Emerge077 from the same night is dead on. Vanilla definitely comes through more than the bourbon, which I enjoyed very much. Mouthfeel was thinner than I expected though. Very nice overall.

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Photo of MacDomer
4.65/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

BIG thanks to fellow BA Googzoid10 for helping me get my hands on this one. Much appreciated, Greg!

First off, this bottle looks like it just means business. It's heavy, dark, and looks pretty thick - just like what the beer ends up like.

I poured about half of the corked and caged 500ml bottle into my Duvel tulip. Served at 58 degrees. Looks great - black as night, with a huge frothy and creamy dark brown head. Nice lacing - about as much as you'd expect from this high of ABV. I get a nice frothy cap whenever I feel the need to agitate and stick my nose in there.

Speaking of, this smells awesome. Big bourbon, but not overwhelming. Vanilla, wood, dark roasted malts, nice sweet chocolate and the faintest hint of rich espresso.

Taste is freakin' fantastic. Delicious stout with great big complimentary blast of bourbon, vanilla, and oak. Really decadent without being over the top - gooey, caramelly, burnt brown sugar, chocolate, and just plain ol' goodness. Freakin' fantastic (again).

Mouthfeel is also excellent. Medium body, medium carbonation, and really, really smooth. Coats the mouth, but isn't heavy or too thick. Strikes a great balance.

Drinkability is amazing. I think this has to do with what I'd consider about the perfect about of bourbon - not too much, but a good bit more than a hint/nuance. Also, great mouthfeel, not too thick, not too thin - makes it easy to drink a 500ml. Would love to have this one again!

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Photo of Arbitrator
3.26/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Chilled bottle into a glass. I made the 4-hour (one-way) pilgrimage to North Coast to pick this up, and got into an accident on the way. This greatly soured my mood, but I had one anyway. Let's see.

A: Pitch black with mahogany highlights. 1 finger of tan head that recedes to half a finger and remains there for the drink, with thick lacing down the side of the glass.

S: If you didn't know it was aged in bourbon barrels, the smell would tell you. Strong bourbon and vanilla flavors in the nose, with chocolate and roasted malt rounding out the bouquet. The alcohol sting is unmistakable, and detracts from the smoothness.

T: A rich and complex mix of bourbon, vanillla, wood, roasted malt, and chocolate. These sweet flavors are combated by a pronounced bitterness that fights for attention throughout the entire taste. However, the bourbon flavor definitely tips it to the sweeter end, and my feeling is that the taste would improve with a year of bottle aging. The alcohol is pronounced and unapologetic.

M: Active carbonation, perhaps more than the standard Old Rasputin if I remember correctly. Not as sticky as I would expect, and more medium bodied than full. Enjoyable to the palate. Kind of hot.

D: These aren't cheap drinking, and they were made in limited quantities. I enjoy them but I will not be slamming these back. I will definitely be a future customer of the bourbon barrel-aged series, however. (EDIT: After learning that these now cost $20 instead of the $13 I paid, I had to lower the drinkability. Look, a $20 pint is just insane. This beer is good, but not THAT good.)

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Photo of ATLbeerDog
3.98/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a color identical to coca-cola. Smells of strong bourbon, deep roasted malts along with slight tobacco and raisin notes all present in the nose. First sip is surprisingly overly carbonated with a ton of bitter tobacco notes dominating the roasted malts. Thinly bodied and bitter from start to finish.

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Photo of emerge077
4.32/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap @ Bavarian Lodge. 6 oz. pour +/- served in a 10 oz. North Coast snifter.

Black obviously, with a thin cap of tannish foam. It left flecks of lace and "legs" seemingly as the lace sort of drained itself back into the glass. A brisk swirl brought back the half finger of foam. Aroma was very nice, big vanilla and oak traces, with a sweet fruity ester in there from the bourbon. Flavor was dominant on the vanilla, with dry unsweetened chocolate in the back, and dry woody notes in the finish. Bourbon element was soft and balanced. It wasn't heavy at all, instead it sort of lightly dissipated to creamy foam when held on the palate. Very roasty, with the creamy feel of a latte, and the density of an RIS. Perfect nightcap for a rainy spring night...

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Photo of MasterSki
4.3/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on-tap at the Maproom. Served in a goblet.

A - Two fingers of mocha foam with great retention and beautiful complex lacing. Pitch black - with no hint of lightness at the edges.

S - Huge bourbon and vanilla flavors, with some burnt malts and woodiness. Also some hints of bittersweet chocolate and roast coffee bitterness that comes out a fair bit as the brew warms up. The nose gets super potent at room temperature, and I might have even got a whiff of dark fruits by the end.

T - Starts with vanilla at the tip of the tongue, but then morphs into bourbon bite and roast bitterness as it hits mid-palate. There's still quite a bit of burnt malt, but the other flavors hinted at in the smell don't really show up in the taste. The bitterness in the aftertaste starts to mount as the brew warms up. Definitely less complex that the smell, but still quite excellent.

M - Thinner than I expected, with moderate carbonation and mild residual stickiness. Good, but not as hearty as I'd expect from a RIS.

D - The high ABV, strong bourbon flavor, and residual bitterness make this one a slow sipper. However, the medium-bodied texture actually helps the drinkability in the way, as I don't feel like I've been drinking caramel. Still, I ended up giving a good chunk of my second glass to my wife. The 500ml bottles definitely make sense for this one.

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Photo of jwc215
4.55/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to JWD for this gem!

500 ml cage-corked bottle:

Pours black with a rich light-brown head. Incredible retention with very nice lacing.

The smell is of a wonderful bourbon that is prominent, yet allows chocolate and coffee to come through, adding depth, complexity and a wonderful aroma.

The taste is of vanilla/bourbon with chocolate and coffee. A great bourbon taste that pushes the vanilla, but doesn't completely mask the solid stout character. Sweet, but finishes dry.

The feel is rich, creamy and smooth.

It's strong, but very drinkable. A bourbon-barreled aged lover's "must"!

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

so, at first blush I thought only a 500ml for what this was priced at??? afterwards I decided it was the perfect amount for an amazing beer. This is no mere rasputin. this black beast was rich with bourbon, vanilla, oak, roas, bourbon, and booze. Thankfully that all melded into one of the bettter BA RIS's I've had in some time and I've been very fortunate over the last year. I'd happily have another one of these if at all possible. Recommended if you have a shot at one.

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

Thanks to sonicdescent for trading me this one.

Poured in a big wine glass at 55 F/ 13 C.

Dark brown, dark enough to almost appear black at first glance. Tan head sinks to a nice dense quarter inch and leaves finely patterned lace down the side of the glass.

Aroma of sweet bourbon barrel including quite a bit of vanilla, with cocoa powder, burnt sugar, and dark fruit along the lines of black cherry. A bit closed at first, but once this gets up to 58 or 59 F, it really opens up and some beautiful fresh fruity and floral notes emerge, similar to orange blossom.

Tastes like dark caramel malt and bourbon barrel, very tasty. Charred oak, sweetened by warm waves of boozy bourbon, spice, orange, and fruity dark caramel. Long finish of the same.

Opulent thick smooth texture, after a bit of swirling. A pleasure to drink.

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Photo of yeastsipper
4.62/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle obtained at the brewery. It is a bitch to get to, but this beer made it definitely worth the trip.

This beer was part of a blind stout tasting, in which Rasp XI came in 1/11, besting the likes of Darklord and Abyss. Its place as the top beer was pretty much unanimous.

The bourbon barrel aging is very noticeable right off the top. However, rather than being hit in the face with booze, it is more nuanced. The smell is really sweet and I would describe it as floral. Amazing.

The taste again is a nice mix of booze and floral flavors. There is a strong flavor of brown sugar and very ripe plums, along with touches of coffee and chocolate.

Beer goes down easily. I just wish this was in a bigger bottle. I have no doubt that if this beer had greater buzz, it would easily crack BA's top 20, if not top 10. It was that good....

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

500ml bottle shared by bifrostguard, thanks a bunch man.

Appearance: A near opaque black pour produces two fingers of rich frothy tan head. The head is sticky and lasting while the body is pitch black; pretty ideal for the style.

Smell: Big whiskey aroma, loaded with caramel, vanilla and boozy fusels. Chocolate cake and espresso.

Taste & mouthfeel: Chocolate-covered espresso beans lead to a big bourbony finish of vanilla and caramel. Bitterness is mild to moderate, very balanced against the malt. Medium-bodied, neither excessively rich nor sweet. Fairly hot but in a good way, like drinking a well-aged whiskey.

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

Beautiful beer.

A: Perfect pour - viscous black gold with a creamy tan head that never fully dies. Very nice.

S: Roasty chocolate propped up by some very pleasant bourbon notes.

T: Great balance between the rich, dark chocolate, light roasted malts, sweet bourbon and dark fruits. Beautiful. Nothing is overpowering, nothing is out of place. I love it.

M: Velvet. Deliciously creamy.

D: Almost 12%? Drinks much, much easier than the ABV would have you expect.

Highly recommended. One fine beer.

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Old Rasputin XI from North Coast Brewing Co.
4.26 out of 5 based on 219 ratings.
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