Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) | Founders Brewing Company

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Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout)Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout)

Brewed by:
Founders Brewing Company
Michigan, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.80%

Availability: Spring

Notes / Commercial Description:
This stout is brewed with a hint of coffee and vanilla then aged in oak bourbon barrels for over a year.

Note, this is NOT simply barrel-aged Breakfast Stout. It is an entirely different beer.

Now labeled as "KBS."

ABV varies by batch.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 12-13-2004

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Reviews: 3,160 | Ratings: 12,363
Photo of wedge421
4.9/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A- Black as night with a kakhi colored head of about .5 fingers.

S - Chocolate with coffee notes followed slowly but surely with the bourbon notes. Just an absolute gem to smell!

T - Perfection! Perfect mix of chocolate, coffee, bourbon and followed by a slight hint of the alcohol. Just blended so perfectly! Bravo

D - Its 11.2% so more then 2 would be tough if you still want to appreciate this absolutely epic brew. BUt other then that it is just so smooth and drinkable.

Check out my full HD vid review at:

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Photo of kylehayworth
4.92/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I feel lucky to have had this on tap, thanks to Jason for keeping me posted. With more to come I'm sure.

A: I watch as the bartender at Chumley's in Broadripple poured my liquid gold into a half pint snifter. It was extremely dark, the light cried out, but I ignored it.

S: It was bottled KBS, but with subtle differences, the bourbon smell was a little more pronounced. You get slightly more alcohol, bourbon smell, with hints of vanilla and caramel.

T: It was simply smooth, great nose helps you taste it before the first sip. This is so well balanced, everything is working together: hints of bourbon, vanilla, roasted coffee, slivers of chocolate.

M/D: I could actually drink this all day. Considering the high ABV (11.2 thanks Jake for the quick response) its amazing. This is what they serve in heaven, because CBS is even hard to get there, maybe someday...

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Photo of Adamdc
4.45/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

'09 KBS 12 oz bottle poured in tulip snifter

A: Black as night. When held up to light, nothing penetrates. Half inch of dark tan head recedes but leaves lots of sticky lacing

S: Very nice combination of aromas going on----dark/bitter chocolate, coffee, molasses, dark fruits, slight bourbon, slight vanilla and booze.

T: All the above mentioned aromas blend very nicely in the taste with a nice finish of bourbon and booze. The bourbon is perfect, the booze is a little too much. Everything blends together very nicely. If the booziness was a little less I would have given it a 5.

M: Thick-bodied! Very full mouthfeel on this one. This is how a big stout should be.

D: As mentioned above, the booziness detracts a little from the drinkability of this, along with the 11.2% abv

I first sampled this last year when I first picked it up and it was much 'hotter'. It has definitely dissipated quite a bit but is still a little on the hot side. With that said, this is a very well-done, big stout. I still have another '09 to have, along with a couple of '10's. Another gem from Founders!!!!

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Photo of billshmeinke
4.48/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Review number 111!!! (I forgot to have something special for review 100, so this will have to do.)

Bottle poured into a Duvel glass. Thanks to a trade with triptens.

Dark black with a hint of brown. Pours a one finger mocha head. Quickly resides to a soapy ring of foam around the edge of the glass. Oily, spotty lacing down the walls of the glass. Exceptional looking, especially when considering the abv and barrel aging.

Smells of mocha, coffee, vanilla, and molasses. Also, a light bourbon and light oak presence. Strong, complex nose. Smells great.

Taste comes full force with mocha, dark chocolate, vanilla bean, bitter coffee, toffee, molasses, and oak. Some boozy bourbon at the end accompanied with a bitter smokiness. The bourbon flavor is lighter than expected. The bitter coffee/dark chocolate flavor is pretty strong, but balanced with all the sweet flavors (vanilla, molasses, toffee). Very flavorful, complex and delicious.

Full bodied, viscous and chewy. Low end of medium carbonation that serves to break up the thickness. Smooth and creamy. Slightly hot as well. Mouthfeel met my greatest expectations for this beer.

This beer is balanced enough, and the alcohol is hidden well enough to be considered to have good drinkability. Also, the flavor is complex and delicious which continues to invite you back for more.

A truly exceptional beer. I'd buy a case if it were distributed out here.

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Photo of CampusCrew
5/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

We had a rare beer night and we all brought some stuff over I'll be reviewing on memory for this one as we had alot of smaples that night. Nearly 10 I beleive.

Wow!!! World Class from the first sip. Not overrated at all. Poured deep dark black and has a nice full body with loads of coffee flavor and some good barrell aged oak flavor.

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Photo of md311
3.92/5  rDev -14%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Was excited to get a couple of bottles thanks to the recent distribution deal in NY. After hearing so much about this for so long, I couldn't wait to get my first taste. Chilled it just right in the fridge from room temperature, and poured the bottle into a pint glass.

Decent head, great aromas. Tons of tastes going on, very complex. First hits with the chocolate, then the coffee, with hints of vanilla and oak. Then the bourbon hits, which I didn't enjoy so much. Was a bit too boozy tasting for me. Overall good, but a bit of a disappointment.

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Photo of olympuszymurgus
3.85/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

From the beerman.. 09, I believe.. 150, it is true..the awaited kbs

I pour the octopus ink into the duvel tulip...well, I watch it be poured...and the darkness creeps up the side of the glass slowly like a disembodied hand in a horror film. Very little carbonation, a touch disappointing but the blackness makes up for it...

Bourbon seethes beneath the placid surface. Coffee and chocolate, slight vanilla and oak. It flows like well used motor oil down my throat, quelching any hope of any scream escaping.

It disappears fast, leaving me wanting. I had heard such things, and now, confronted with the beast I am not as blown away as I had hoped. This was enjoyable. This was nice. This was not The Abyss.

Thank you.

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Photo of mnstorm99
3.51/5  rDev -23%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Pours a nice black color, but I really have to work to get a quick fading decent head (which is somewhat common for Impy Stouts).
Aroma is very nice with an in your face bourbon barrel punch to the face and a rounded coffee and malt background.
OK...they have lost me now, the taste is ok, but this is a muddled mess. Complex? Or...just too much going on? I'll go with the latter. I get the bourbon, I get the coffee, I get the great malt, and I get a good bitterness. These this didn't seem to marry very well here for me.
Mouthfeel is almost perfect, carb. levels are spot on and this one isn't too thick (like many impy stouts). But, again the drinkability of this one (especially for the price) is pretty low compared to others.
I think I'll stick to Breakfast stouts and Bourbon barrel stouts seperatly. More for all of you :)

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Photo of drabmuh
4.37/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2010 release, had to try it, couldn't wait.

Poured into a goblet. Beer is black and appears thick. Forms a thin head of brown bubbles that is diffuse on the surface and quickly breaks. Head leaves some lacing on the glass, carbonation is low.

For being aged in bourbon barrels, I expected a little more booze. Strong sweet, coffee aroma. Booze and bourbon secondary in the nose. Smells good, not as forward with the bourbon as I thought the BCS is in general. Still smells good.

Its not hot, moderate in body, finishes nicely. Sweet up front, not a lot of bitterness in the back, highly drinkable in the palate. Second taste, chocolate, slight, hint of bitter this time in the back, like coffee. Overall an exceptional beer truly.

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Photo of nickadams2
4.7/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A_Thick dark brown liquid capped of by a thin dark brown head. Little retention. Thick lacing.

S_Coffee,dark chocolate, bourbon and vanilla.

T_Dark chocolate, coffee, and bourbon blend together tremendously. Bourbon upfront from start to finish but doesn't overwhelm or overpower the other flavors.
the most well done bourbon aged stout in my opinion.

M_Thick and full bodied warms on the way down.

D_Definite sipper but more than one isnt out of the question.

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Photo of Billolick
4.67/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle, etched on the bottle, "Bottled 2/08/10" Pours black, plain and simple, the head is dark mocha, on the loose side, stays around for a good while, leaves scattered fine bits and some blobs of lace. Bold nose with waves of chocolate, dark coffee, vanilla, and some wood. Rich and thick, a double expresso, mocha, chocolate shake comes to mind....with 11% alcohol tossed in to boot! Simply yummy stuff...dark, flavorful, complex, smooth, cheewy, heady stuff. Hope I can get some more of this stuff soon...Stout lovers rejoice and go get some.

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Photo of Mdog
4.18/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Black, super thick, big brown head, nice lacing. Pretty stuff!

Smell: Kind of get a smoky smell before the bourbon kicks in with vanilla and oak. A hint of coffee.

Taste: Follows the smell, sans the smoke. Very bourbon-centric and boozy. The bourbon covers up most of the stout flavors, a little coffee comes through.

Drinkability: Definitely a sipper/special occasion beer, pricy.

Finally got to try some KBS. I think I will like it more with a little age on it to take the edge off the boozy flavors. Maybe the underlying stout would make more of an appearance with some age. Quite tasty!

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Photo of MisterClean
3.87/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to Abecall for sharing at his tasting.

A - Pours a dark brown with no head, may be slightly flat, even for style. Leaves no lacing.

S - Chocolate, roast toffee, and light bittering hops.

T - Chocolate, roast toffee, some dark roast coffee notes in there as well, some smoke and finishes with bittering hops.

M - Full-bodied, definitely malt dominated and finishes dry. Malts are not astringent.

D - Good overall. I was hoping for more malt complexity and aroma/flavor hops. Nice that there were no traces of alcohol.

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Photo of FreshmanPour77
4.6/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Reviewed 03-28-10
Reviewed cold from a bottle to a glass

A - Black, no head retention but had reddish lacing

S - Bourbon, coffee, malts, warming feeling up through the nose, dark chocolate

T - Smooth, very smooth with sweetness but then masked by a bourbon bite at the end

M/D - Very tasty imperial stout, smooth tasting, very easy to have more than a couple but then I wouldn't remember much and have a massive hard alcohol hang over!! I did only have the one and have one more to try with some more time on it. A see why it came and went so fast, wished I would have gotten more of these!!

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Photo of ekardz
4.45/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - pours midnight black, no foam, little/no carbonation. very intriguing, you couldn't see a spotlight shined directly on this thing! I am ready to jump right in and taste the hype.

S - coffee, chocolate, expresso, caramel notes, reminds me of a starbucks double shot.

T - am I drinking a beer or a coffee? it's got a very nice stout taste, lots of coffee flavors, definitely taste some chocolate, and even seems a bit creamy, reminding me of an irish coffee. I also can taste the bourbon flavoring quite well.

M - not as thick as it looks, very smooth and no carbonation at all. the alcohol is there but do not feel any burn

D - 11.2% Holy Shit! I don't feel any burn at all. I might need to wake up to a KBS every morning to start my day off right! I would have again, wouldn't mind aging one of these beasts for a year or so and tasting again.

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Photo of carlborch
5/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a beautiful silky, dense, black that absorbs all light. A thick, creamy head forms. The nose is firmly chocolate, bourbon, smoke, layered with notes of vanilla and dried fruits. The palate is rich with a medium-full body, with intense lingering of bourbon, chocolate malt, smoke and vanilla. Attractive lacing. This stout makes me smile. Definitely moreish! Reverence and dedication to sensory exploration is a must. This is not a quaffing ale but a serious sipper for pondering and reflection. The alcohol is hidden behind the richness. With dessert or after dinner or whenever you have time to spare and enjoy.

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Photo of david18
4.65/5  rDev +2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I hate to be so agreeable with everyone but this was a pretty amazing beer. I poured it from a bottle into a 20 oz snifter.

Color is very dark, darker than tenfidy. Aroma is amazing, i think the best part of this beer. Carbonation is great and the flavor is very good. Maybe slightly sweeter than I might like but not too hot and I could really taste the oak.

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Photo of mirish72
4.82/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Finally managed to snag two KBS four packs a few weeks ago after months of scheming. I was somewhat skeptical, simply because of the hype, but I was impressed.

Poured into s snifter and it pours incredibly black with a small chocolatey brown head that doesn't stick around too long. The beer has an aroma of sweet, malty bourbon with hints of vanilla.

The beer tastes thick and is very complex, changing with almost every sip. It also hides the booze well, especially as compared to other bourbon stouts. This beer got better with every sip and it takes a lot too keep it to one beer a sitting, trying to make the supply last.

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Photo of morimech
4/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance- Pours black and viscous. A small head forms and quickly settles to a thin film. A light smattery of spotty lacing. Not too surprised by the lack of visual appeal considery the high ABV.

Smell- A lot of vanilla and bourbon scents. There might be some coffee aroma in there someplace but I could not pick it out. Alcohol stands out as well.

Taste- Vanilla! This is the flavor that dominates throughout the flavor. As I worked my way through the 12 oz., the taste score continued to drop as I grew tired of the vanilla flavor. The bourbon adds some flavor dynamic before the alcohol dominates in the finish. Thankfully the brewer hopped the hell out of this beer to cut down on the sweetness. I was waffelling between average and good and went with the higher score as I did enjoy this more than the FBS.

Mouthfeel- Thick and rich like a good Imperial Stout should be. Great carbonation and texture. I do not know how this could be surpassed.

Drinkability- Not that drinkable. The flavors did not drop me to my knees in appreciation and the high ABV, combine to lower drinkability. This beer did not live up to the hype for me, but I can understand how others would thouroughly enjoy KBS.

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Photo of hawks10
4.75/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap tonight at Brixie's in Brookfield...KBS release night, Stone tappings, Tool cover band, great night!!

10oz. pour into a snifter...

Pours black and thick as expected, a slow rising one finger of light brown head emerges and leaves just as fast...a tiny bit of lacing is left behind...

Very nice complex aromas...initially strongly smelling of coffee and some burnt grains, a slowly emerging presence of bourbon and vanilla pops out to sweeten the nose and hint towards a fantastic brew...

Coffee and some dark chocolate up front make for a somewhat bitter start to this drink...sipping on this longer and letting it warm a bit really reveals a sweet side of this beer. Some vanilla pokes out and a modest bourbon flavor add delicious complexity and a nice bit of sweetness to balance out the beer...

This one drinks as it looks, thick, creamy and smooth, very coating on the palette. Light carbonation adds to the slickness of this beer. Slightly boozy after a few sips, overall, just tremendous...

Definitely one of those beers that lives up to the hype and high regard, if not surpassing it. Tremendously smooth and easy drinking for an 11% beer, such great flavor and complexity. This was the 2010 version on tap, I enjoyed it much more than the 2009 version both bottled and draft...but I'll probably say the same thing next year about the 2011...

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Photo of theirishdago
4.38/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

At first glance this stuff is like motor oil, black and viscous. The head is nice and thick and creamy with a dark tan color to it. My first aroma I got was the bourbon, then dark chocolate and a fresh cappucino smell. The taste of this stuff is just amazing. I almost feel guilty drinking it, it's so decadent. Huge cocoa up front with a nice bourbon finish. The bourbon flavor is well balanced with the coffee, just enough to let you know it's there. This stuff is potent, although the alcohol is well hidden. I gave it a lower score in drinkability only because I had trouble finishing my second pint. I guess if I were a bigger man, it would have been easier.

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Photo of Andreji
4.24/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Wow. so the famous KBS was my second-to-last beer tasted while here in the US this season.

Odd enough, my bottle merely says "KBS", but was pulled off some hidden rack by a nice clerk at the Whole Foods in Cambridge, MA that said "if you like that you should try the KBS we have some out back" in reference to something else i won't mention. And then at the register the cashier said "oh i've tried this and this and this from founder's but never the KBS, it's supposed to be brilliant!". so it's seemingly highly recommended and admired.

Pour is, well, mystical perhaps but a bit flat. no carbonation or near to zero. perhaps a zero-carbon beer? ecologic? dunno. cloudy indeed. nice aspect.

Smell is the best of it- a hefty black coffee feel just the way my 5.30am breakfast smells like before leaving for the hospital. not necessarily the fondest of moments but still it's an admirable replica for a beer and it feels like my well beloved coffee all over.

Taste is nice, although generally overwhelming. strong sweetness from right off, obviously based on the alcohol content with a roasty malt background. too strong still, and the hops serve nearly nothing at all when rounding it up. but maybe a breakfast donut feel? plus the body's fluffly and full so to go along with this.

Still- and much like breakfast- this is, by all means, and at the most, a one-a-day sort of thing.

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Photo of SykDoc
4.7/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a snifter. It pours a like a very dark brown (basically black) motor oil. A brown head forms to 1/4 inch and reduces to a partly cloudy lacing over the top.

The aroma is great with a nice up front punch of roasted coffee and dark chocolate followed by a smoother bourbon.

The taste is phenomenal. Great mixture of dark chocolate, roasted coffee, caramel sweetness with an added boost of oaky vanilla and bourbon, which combine amazingly well in this beer.

The mouthfeel is full bodied with a solid level of carbonation that minimally balances with the flavor. It has a pleasant texture and leaves a great coffee/dark chocolate bitterness and dryness at the finish.

This is a fantastic beer. I rated the original very high and have refined my palate. This is right there with some of the best. The only reasons I don't rate drinkability higher is because of the high ABV and strength of taste that does a number on your palate and cognition. Yum!

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Photo of Gmann
4.62/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pour a slick black color, brown around the edges, with a tight any creamy brown head that left some sticky lacing. The aroma is that of Kaluha, nice chocolate scent with hints of coffee and booze. I would swear that this was Kaluha if blind folded. Not much bourbon pick up. The taste is of Kaluha with more of a coffee bite and vanilla presence. The bourbon is subtle but noticable and goes extremly well with the chocolatey flavors. Some light fruit tartness in the back end as well as another blast of roasted coffee. Full bodied and slick but does have active carbonation that breaks up the heavy flavors. Some stickiness in the end. Very smooth and the ABV is nowhere to be found. This is a crazy drinkable beer, great flavors but none in excess all working well together. Glad I bought an extra 4 pack.

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Photo of Soneast
4.67/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Vintage 2010. Served at cellar temp ~55°. Poured into a plain snifter. Color is pitch black....maybe some hints of brown in the right light. With a fairly vigorous pour, KBS only develops about a 1/4", brown colored head, that receded pretty rapidly to a sudsy ring, leaving a modest amount of lace on the glass.

The aroma starts out with some pretty nice coffee and dark chocolate aromas, giving in quickly to a well-balanced bourbon character. Roasty and burnt caramels, with some sweet molasses notes.

The flavor follows suit. The coffee/dark chocolate characters take front seat, followed up quite nicely by a sweet booziness from the bourbon as well as a nice woody/oak character that I don't necessarily pick up in the aroma. The finish is well balanced, starting out with a sweet cream/marshmallow flavor, but falls short of becoming cloying, leaving just a mildly bitter, roast coffee flavor on the palate.

Mouthfeel is thick & sticky-icky. As I swirl it in my snifter, it coats the surface of the glass with an oil-like slick. Carbonation is very mild, just enough to tickle the tongue, but doesn't distract from the creamy mouthfeel of the beer. Compared to some of Founder's other bourbon barreled aged beers, I found this one to be the most balanced with the bourbon flavors. The bourbon is there but it melds perfectly with the characteristics of an amazingly well-crafted coffee stout. KBS is full of complex flavors yet remains well balanced. While I wouldn't recommend drinking more than one or two, all I know is I can't wait to crack my next KBS in a few months!

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Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) from Founders Brewing Company
4.56 out of 5 based on 12,363 ratings.
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