Solstice D'hiver | Brasserie Dieu du Ciel!

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Solstice D'hiverSolstice D'hiver

Brewed by:
Brasserie Dieu du Ciel!
Quebec, Canada | website

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.20%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
This noble winter beer is brown in colour with flaming red highlights. It has a complex aroma of fruits, alcohol and hops. Its taste is delicately sweet and liquor-like with a hint of burnt caramel. It is a very bitter beer with aromas and flavours reminiscent of red fruit. The aftertaste is accentuated by the wonderful flavour of hops.

Added by Rastacouere on 12-10-2003

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Reviews: 431 | Ratings: 900
Photo of Roguer
4.05/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark, nutty brown, topped by a modest cream-colored head with good retention.

Aroma is dark and malty, with a dose of piney and earthy hops lurking just behind strong waves of dark fruit and caramel. Just a hint of chocolate. Smells big, boozy, strong, sweet, and inviting.

Flavor follows: big and bold malty brew. It tastes the way wort smells during the brewing process. Caramel grains come through with big bread and toffee notes. Dark fruit tinges on the outside of the flavor envelope provide prunes and raisins, a big stronger on the back half. A touch of darkened brown sugar, akin to blackstrap molasses, lends a slight sweetness.

Hops are grassy and green and earthy, lending far more overall bitterness - quite a bit - than any individual flavors. Bitter, dark cocoa on the back end, building in strength. The back end is accompanied by noticeable oxidation, a slight touch of booze, and massive bitterness.

Full-bodied flavor, but more of a medium bodied feel; slick and lively, with a sting that stays well below the threshold of annoyance. Slightly sticky on the finish, while the alcohol has a competing drying effect.

This is as good an American barleywine as you're likely to find. Darker and maltier than Bigfoot (arguably the standard bearer in the style), but with a subdued sweetness and excessive bitterness that keeps it distanced from the English style.

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Photo of ClavisAurea
3.9/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottle dated 10/2014 served at cellar Temps in a tulip glass.

Appearance: love the bottle art. The crown cap was the twisty off type which surprised me. The beer poured with medium body and had a thick and sticky tan head. The color is murky deep ruby red.

Nose: classic Barleywine Dark fruits and malty backbone. No hops at all.

Taste: There's the hops. Warming alcohol lends to a strong hop bitterness, malty sweetness is just strong enough to do combat with the hops in this beer. Wine like tannins mingle with the hops and create a vinous character. The boozy alcohol presence tastes and feels a lot like a beer that has been aged in spirit Barrels but without the oak character. Slight medicinal note, herbal, unripe plums, baking cherries. There is no hiding the 10.2% ABV, hot and solvent alcohol esters. The mouthfeel is rich and thick like a Barleywine should be.

Overall: Holy crap this beer is still young at 8 months old! Boozy! This one needs some more time in the cellar. It's definitely an American Barleywine and not an English one; the hops are way too strong to be from the UK. It's nice but truly a sipping beer. I'll check in on my other bottle in a year or so and see if things have settled down. The score will probably go up when those hop and boozy alcohol esters are converted and tamed.

Cellar Review:
Same bottling date as above. Served at warmer cellar temps in a tulip.

Mellowed a lot however the booz is still there. Nice tobacco and port wine flavors. very nice beer.

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Photo of pat61
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L: Pours murky brown with a very thin tan cap
S: A somewhat muted nose with traces of fruit and slight hint of roast.
T: Big and malty with flavors suggestive of an Imperial Stout blended with a Barleywine. Dark dried fruit. Some molasses and sherry flavors as it warms.
F: Medium to medium full, medium carbonation.
O: This is OK but I am having trouble understanding how this rates as high as it does.

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Photo of draheim
3.93/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

330 mL ("2" and "3" notches cut in the label, not sure exactly what that indicates) into a tulip. Pours a deep mahogany amber w/ a thin off-white head.

Aroma is faintly floral, fruity, sweet. Brown sugar, caramel, touch of vanilla.

Taste follows nose. Nice balance of sweet, fruity, floral, and bitter. No single element dominates.

Mouthfeel is smooth and slick, medium to heavy body.

Overall a really nice, well balanced American barleywine.

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Photo of HowardTheDuck
4.16/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very nice malt-forward English-style barleywine with slight notes leftover from the earthy/grassy hops used. Only 10.2% but very boozy on the finish. Great toffee flavors as well.

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Photo of thebeers
3.41/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Murky cherry brown with tiny head. Big aroma of fig, raisins, brown sugar and a hint of hops. Syrupy, creamy mouthfeel. Hops prevalent up front in the taste, then some slight cherry sweetness and pronounced bitterness in the aftertaste. I know this is an American barleywine, but the mix isn't doing it for me.

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Photo of jellikit
4.23/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Amber. Thin head. Clear.
Smell: light caramel. Light cherry. Caramel.
Taste: dates, raisin. Cherry. Light alcohol.
Mouthfeel: medium carbonation. Big body. Sweet.
Overall: Great beer. Well balanced. Was waiting for more hops, but I guess I'm used to NW Barleywine. Tasty. Will buy again.

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Photo of Tucquan
3.8/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Had this on 2015-02-15 in Columbia, PA

A - Almost opaque, caramel-brown with a 3/4-finger light-tan head that fades quickly; leaving very mild lace.

S - Primarily caramel and toffee, raisin bread and a bit of hop perfume/floral. Pleasant but not magnificent.

T - Malt forward with plenty of caramel and toffee, toasted raisin bread and candied orange. The orange flavor morphs into orange zest with a goodly amount of medicinal bitterness, which lingers quite awhile but is moderated by some residual sweetness.

M - Thick body and light carbonation. Substantial and syrupy, which is how I like big Barleywines.

O - Definitely an American Barleywine, which fairly far to the bitter side. Not as balanced as their magnificent Péché Mortel but an enjoyable treat on this bitter cold day in Pennsylvania.

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Photo of pjkelley82
3.77/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the 11.5oz bottle into a small snifter. 9.8 ABV $5 and some change for the bottle.

A - Pours transparent leather brown in color. Almost like a tootsie roll in color but a little lighter. Slightly hazy. A disappointing 1/4in mocha colored head appears that was prominent around the edges and more of a thick skin in the middle where the beer was still visible The head did not last long at all. Almost all disappears within a few seconds leaving the tiniest speckle of a ring around the edge. Supremely sparce lacing but a little bit of legs from the alcohol.

S - Starts off with your typical American barleywine citrus(pineapple,grapefruit skin, sugared grapefruit), then the malt starts to come in and caramel, and dark fruits. Lots of raisins and a fig element in there as well.

T - Taste follows the smell. Nice alcohol warmth at the end and bitter finish. Really nicely put together in the taste category. The bitterness stays and lingers but it's such a malty, dark fruit tasting beer that they are both fighting for dominance.

M/F - Another shining moment for this beer. Creamy, medium with light characteristics, heavy. Low carbonation. A touch dry.

O - One hard beer to score. I've had plenty a better Barleywine but I tend to lean towards the English style. This is a great example of an American Barleywine but shows some glimmers of the English style. Matter of fact, strong glimmers... The appearance was really lackluster to me and definitely stopped this one from being outstanding. The smell was par for the course so really it's only half great. If this was blind it would way up there.

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Photo of GPHarris
4.24/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25


A - poured a one finger thick tan head into a snifter that left good lacing and sheeting throughout. The body was a dark, ruddy brown.
S - cinnamon, chocolate, toffee, booze, raisins.
T - same as above with the booze and raisins dominating.
M - creamy and slick.
O - nice and complex, very drinkable.

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Photo of barczar
3.92/5  rDev +0.3%

Sweet caramel malt aroma, lots of melanoidins, flavor is similar, with raisins and dates, and the finish is excessively bitter. Good malt depth, but not quite to barleywine level.

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Photo of WesMantooth
3.92/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - Poured into Dogfish Head snifter. Very dark reddish brown. A decent sized tan ring stays around for the whole ride

Aroma - Smells like a typical English barley. Dark fruits, sugar, caramel/toffee. Also fair amount of alcohol. Almost sweet rum like

Taste - Hidden surprise here. Some hops that I did not notice in the smell. Everything else followed suit to the nose. Carmalized sugar, and lots of deep malt flavor stand out along with the alcohol burn that stings the nostrils a bit.

Feel - Very smooth. Despite some hoppyness, it feels much like an English style. I would say medium bodied with a little bite in the follow through.

Overall - Excellent beer. I wasnt expecting it to be an American style, but it is more of a hybrid. I would say it actually may lean toward English. The flavors could be a little more pronounced. I would probably score it a little better as and English version. I think this would age really well though.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.52/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

huge barleywine here, right between the english and american styles, how canadian! its copper to honey colored and thick. the head holds on a little while before fading to ring lacing in my globe. the nose is pretty hoppy, but more bitterness than flavor. the grain is big and flavorful, but not particularly layered or dynamic or nuanced, its pretty one dimensional, despite its size, it doesnt seem real diverse to me. thats fine because the hop finish is insanely big, its super bitter and punchy and long lasting. when it warms, it clashes just a bit with the booze, which until now was more mellow. im floored by its effect on me, from relatively sober to relatively blasted in twelve ounces. not easy to do! a well made brew, but less enthralling than most of their others. i might like it more in the dead of winter than i do now.

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Photo of byronic
4/5  rDev +2.3%

Tried a bottle with a year of age.

Pours a very dark brown, almost opaque. Forms a nice off white head leaving a ring on the glass. Very sweet and somewhat complex nose, caramel balanced with dark fruits with alcohol presence similar to sherry. Rich in flavor. Predominately caramel, prune, toffee and a touch of oak. Heavy, thick body with average carbonation, fantastic sipping beer! Very warming in it's finish.

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Photo of chuckbeaster
4.22/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

one of my favorite barleywines.

A: very dark brown, but when held to light it has a dark ruby red color. not much head, about one finger of tan head, but great retention and lacing.

S: this is the one area where the beer lacked. a little bit of burnt sugar and raisin/fig covering up the slight smell of booze.

T: in my opinion the balance between malts and hops is near perfect. it definitely has a bitter finish, but not overbearing at all. Up front is a good bit of malts, almost no alcohol and some bready notes. next comes a little bit of cherry and caramel, and its finished by a slightest taste of spice and a mild bitter taste that lingers for a good bit. almost no alcohol in the taste, you only recognize it by the heat in the gut and the buzz in the mind!

M: the mouthfeel is also exceptional, i'd say medium, but close to the medium-heavy side. imo, it's a little less heavy than a lot of barleywines. great carbonation for a barleywine as well. it's fairly dry, but not too much.

overall: wow, grab this beer! i'm not sure when this was bottled, but i was told it "had some age to it". the bottle has 1 and 0 marked out of 0-9, 0-9) i've been told in Canada thats a date, but in the US (where i am) it's just a batch number. So i don't know if this is batch 10 or if this is from the first batch. I know they only brew it once a year, so i don't think they are up to batch 10, but who knows? ( can someone clarify?) i recently spent a good bit of time drinking belgian ales, and have been branching out to barleywines lately. So far, this is by far my favorite. The mouthfeel almost reminded me of a belgium, but with a little less carbination. the hops in the finish rounded out the fairly strong malts up front. A+ beer in my book!

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Photo of ONovoMexicano
3.97/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.5 oz. bottle poured into a Teku. I can't really tell when the beer was bottled.

Pours what seems to be pitch black, but placing it against light I see the light amber and brown hues it has. The head starts about two fingers thick, foamy and light. It persists well and the dissipation leaves lace streaking down the glass. Lots of carbonation is visible, surging vigorously upwards.

Lots of cereal-like grain aromas hit my nose first, almost more like a Marzen or other stiffly malty German beer. Along with this come some hints of caramel, raisin, and mild sherry.

Still heavy on the caramel- and toast-like malts, which again reminds me of the bigger German beers. Mid-palate the raisins and dates make an entrance, followed after by a blast of spicy hops.

The malts provide a thicker mouthfeel and some creaminess, which works to balance the carbonation, slight heat, and aggressive bitterness that come in later. It's the best of both worlds.

A good beer that probably would have benefited from more age.

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Photo of Darkmagus82
4.05/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into a snifter

Appearance – The beer pours a copper color with a finger of tan colored head. The head has a light level of retention, fading to leave a light level of streaky lace on the sides of the glass.

Smell – The aroma of the beer is heaviest of a caramel smell mixed with some aromas of caramel molasses and some dark fruits of fig and raisin. Along with these smells are some nice rum like aromas as well as a bit of a spice smell of licorice. Some lighter hop aromas of a pine nature mix with the rest as well as a little bit of a chocolate smell.

Taste – The taste with hints of chocolate mixed with a moderately strong flavor of caramel and brown sugar. Some darker fruits are present right from the start with some cherry, plum and raisin as well as some more brown bread flavors. Some booziness comes to the tongue toward the middle of the taste but remains art a relatively constant level never really overpowering the malt and the sweet taste of the brew like in many barley wines. All the while a nice moderately strong pine and earthy hop flavor come to the tongue balancing the sweet rather nicely. The chocolate flavors fade out from the taste at this point with a light amount of a almost tannin like flavor coming to the tongue at the very end, mixing with the rest of the flavors to leave a nicely blended sweet and malty flavor on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The body of the beer is on the slightly thicker and creamier side with a carbonation level that is on the lower side. While not quite as thick and chewy as I would have liked overall the thickness and lower carbonation were rather nice for the flavor and style of the brew making for a rather enjoyable sipper

verall – A rather nice drinking barley wine. It is big in flavor without being both too dry and boozy or too overly sweet. A nice easier drinking one.

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Photo of buschbeer
3.84/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

11.5 fl. oz. bottle
Served in a tulip glass
9.8% abv as opposed to the 10.2% listing
Purchased in August of 2012. Not sure when it was bottled.

A - It is rust colored with burnt orange highlights. A more aggressive than normal pour yielded an inch of tan head. There is some yeast particles and chunks suspended within the beverage.

S - The aroma is full of sweet caramel and dark fruit. I get some figs and dates. Some graham cracker and molasses is in there, as well.

T - It starts out sweet with the taste of caramelized sugar and some dark fruit. I can taste the ghost of a distant hops presence.

M - Medium.

O - It is a sweet barleywine. After reading the bottle it seems that it was meant to be a hoppy barleywine. I wish I would have had a fresh one to compare it to. I think it was already aged when I bought it. This beer is not bad, but towards the bottom of the beers I have tried from this brewery thus far.

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Photo of Caveworm
4.1/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Solstice D'hiver was recommended to me at my local craft brew shop for my first barelywine. The employee's advice has been useful to me in the past, so I purchased a single.

I really like the illustration on the bottle, it is very sombre and bleak complimentary to its name. As a fan of extreme music, this is great to enjoy while listening to some atmospheric black metal. It poured a shimmering black body with a very dark amber head. I was surprised to see a head period, as it kind of reminded me of the consistency of a cola of all things. But in a good way.

The few scents I DID notice were anise and dark licorice.

The taste to me was that of Guiness and Yuengling original lager combined in the very best way possible. You get that kind of malt sweetness with the retention of raisins and coffee, as well as smoothness and drinkability that comes with quality lagers.

The mouthfeel is surprisingly crisp for this being my first barelywine. I kind of expecting the lingering fumes that come with "wine" wine. The high ABV is virtually unnoticeable.

All in all, for my first barelywine, I feel that this was a wonderful choice. Based on this experience, I will now also recommend this to fellow "newbies".

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Photo of Everything_Belgium
4.42/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Most excellent find.

Poured into a tulip glass. Nice pour with about a 1 inch head. Very nice color. Hazy.

Smell is superb. Sweet with floral accents.

The taste is killer. Sweet but not too sweet. Just how I like it. I bit of alcohol taste. Just the right amount.

Overall I would buy this beer again.

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Photo of CalgaryFMC
3.79/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A dark caramel brown murky brew with about two fingers of tan head, poured into a goblet. I like huge beers as much as the next craft nerd but I have to be in a particular mood to really "get" a barleywine, to truly appreciate the experience. The aroma here is great, redolent with toffee and rum notes, orchard fruit, pine-like hop resins and another nonspecific tangy spice note. Smells hot, earthy, and woody but with an overarching malty sweetness. The palate is initially rich and malty, burnt brown sugar and molasses, leather and walnuts. Things then get fruity for a moment, candied cherries, raisins and prunes, almost floral almond extract, something that recalls coconut, only to have these flavors disappear underneath hot spicy alcohols and oak. Reasonably thick and syrupy with a dry bitter finish, all hop resins and nutshells. This one is a tad pungent, rather woody and medicinal, and I think some aging might do it good. I do appreciate the aggressive hopping and roasted flavors.

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Photo of MDDMD
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-brown color with hints of ruby, smallish tan head with some lacing

F-toasted malt, toffee, brown sugar, dark fruit, slight nuttiness

T-dark fruit, toffee, toasted malt, nutty, little spice

F-medium body with light carbonation, smooth, some alcohol comes through

O-solid, if not, spectacular Barleywine, nice sipping

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Photo of CowsandBeer
4.16/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from an 11.2 oz bottle into a Bling Tiger Brewery snifter. No bottled on date that I could find except for some notches on the side at 01/07. I’m assuming this is a few years old though since Dieu du Ciel hasn’t been around KS for several years.

Appearance: Poured down the middle produces two fingers of light tan head; creamy, thick and solid. Dark brown/walnut body. Lots of thin, webbed lacing stuck around.

Aroma: Lots of boozy, almost vinous dried fruit up front. Peanut brittle and toffee in the middle. Finishes with a leathery oxidized note. Heady booze for sure but loving the nutty malts and leathery notes that older barleywines sometimes get.

Taste: The first thing you notice is more of those booze soaked fruits. Like a rum fruitcake or something. Very sweet treacle like malts with a lingering hop bitterness. A nice nutty toffee finish.

Mouthfeel: Spicy and floral alcohol that warms your face. It’s not hot, but very mellow and works well with the syrupy mouthfeel.

Overall: I was worried this bottle had sat around for too long but it’s doing great. It could probably sit for a few more years and develop more in the bottle. Overall it’s a warming, fruity, very sweet and nutty winter ale for the coldest of nights. I’d love to see some barrel variations of this one, as an oaky vanilla or oaky vinous sweetness could really compliment the beer.

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Photo of Noxious26
3.93/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

341ml brown bottle poured in a pint glass. Purchased from Zyn in Calgary.

Dark brown, kinda cola in colour. Very little head recedes to a very thin ring around the edge.

Aroma reminds me of fruit cake with rum. Light and spicy alcohol notes are in behind a rich and complex melding of perserved fruit or mincemeat and banana bread.

Flavour is largely bowled over by the alcohol. Some fruitiness and yeast spiciness punch through the alcohol. Definitely a sipper.

Full bodied with minimal carbonation. What little carbonation exists is little pin pricks on your tongue. The alcohol side gives a little harsh mouthfeel.

Great winter warmer on a cold day. Alcohol is a little more agressive than I typically like, but it's not bad.

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Photo of thierrynantes
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beer bottle (33 cl.) purchased from Chez Clem's and tasted in 2014.

Appearance : reddish brown color with tan foamy head.
Smell : malty and spicy aromas.
Taste & mouthfeel : roasted malty flavors, with alcohol presence in the finish.
Drinkability : a nice beer in the style Barley wine.

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Solstice D'hiver from Brasserie Dieu du Ciel!
3.91 out of 5 based on 900 ratings.
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