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Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale) | Founders Brewing Company

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Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale)Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale)

Brewed by:
Founders Brewing Company
Michigan, United States

Style: Old Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.80%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Old ale brewed with molasses and oak-aged.

50 IBU

Added by BeerAdvocate on 08-31-2005

For Trade:
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Reviews: 1,264 | Ratings: 4,597
Photo of JRed
4.2/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours sediment-free, brown-amber hue with small white head. A gorgeous scent of cranberries, caramel, spice, slight egg nog, and a buttery, vanilla cream character. Whew! Tasty stuff. That buttery vanilla cream begins and lingers through to the aftertaste. Toffee, caramel, spice, dried apple skins, sweet alcohol seeps through the thick flavors during the finish mostly. Light carb in body with a mildy thick, syrupy mouthfeel. This is a dangerously tasty ale at over 9% ABV and wonderful to sit down with and consider closely.

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Photo of alcstradamus
3.8/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a murky copper color, hard pour yields not much more than a quarter inch of quickly receding head.

Smell is caramel with deep wood and alcohol notes. Floral hops are quite pungent as well.

Taste starts off with some nice caramel malts and oak, but a little bit of mustiness creeps in and prevents the flavor from really shining to its true potential. Lots of bitter pine hops on the back end. Tastes sort of like an aged american barleywine, the musty aspect is the only real negative.

Medium bodied, some alcohol burn in the finish. Perhaps needs some time, I was surprised at hotness of this one.

Nice beer, the alcohol heat is the downfall in terms of drinkability though. Worth buying maybe once a year, but I wouldn't want it much more than that.

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Photo of jdg204
3.5/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Good old Abe's Beer Shop in Bethlehem provided yet another chance for a new Founders brew. Founders and I are on a fantastic winning streak together and I'm excited to see if we can keep it going.

A: Slightly hazed orangeish brown with a thin head that quickly disappears.

S: Strong alcohol aroma, thick with dark fruit, vanilla, and bourbon. Strong in all aspects.

T: Very full flavor with dark fruits, vanilla, and a strong boozey flavor. Undertone is very bitter but I'm not wild about the balance. The barrel aging was a surprise and didn't help the beer. Flavors don't flow together well at all and it feels messy.

M: Full bodied and very boozey/ bitter on the aftertaste, sounds pleasant but it's not really.

D: This was a very surprising brew, not much of an Old Ale it reminded me of an English Barleywine (and not a great one at that). The flavors didn't seem to flow together very well and to be honest the whole brew felt a bet messy. It was a still a decent brew but certainly not up to the high standards I have for Founders. Try it if you're looking for something unique but don't expect an Old Ale.

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Photo of corby112
2.61/5  rDev -34.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours a murky dark chestnut brown color with a slightly yellowish jaundiced looking hues with a thin beige head that quickly disappears leaving no lacing.

Very earthy, swampy aroma with a little bit of creek water and old boot. Slight chocolate maltiness with subtle hops and a sweet alcohol presence which is very strong.

Again, the flavor is very earthy and leathery with a strong sweet alcohol presence, leathery maltiness, subtle hops, slight chocolate, brown sugar and dirt. There's also a strange vegetable presence with is quite unpleasant and a dirty bitter finish.

This was quite a disappointment for me especially since I love pretty much everything from Founders and enjoy the occasional old ale. I will have to revisit again in the future.

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Photo of jbone78
4.3/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 2 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I got these through trade with marvin312.I have had this one since March 9. This is the date I wrote on the bottle. I am drinking it because I noticed a small amount of oxidation and I recommend waxing Founders bottles.

A- It looked clear in the bottle. It poured muddy orange/red into my snifter. Small amount of head, laces ok.
S- Very oaky smell. I really like the smell of oak in a beer.
T- Oak, spice, sweet malt favors. I like the taste of this beer, but not sure it fits the Ole ale genre. Maybe it does? Either way, I like it.
M- Not super malty, smooth, unlike Ole ales.
D- Very easy drinking beer. I am only going to call this one ale from now on. I deserves it!
Nice ALE!


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Photo of drtth
4.05/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Lightly chilled and poured into a Duvel glass. Glass of cold water on the side to sip from periodically.

Appearance: The beer pours out a clear reddish brown with a ½" tan head that persists for a few minutes then recedes to ring of foam and a thin cover for the liquid. Eventually the cover disappears as well. At first sipping leaves a ring of foam and some sheets that turn into lacing. Later the lacing becomes leggy and sparse.

Smell: The aroma gives a first impression of honey sweetness with some vanilla and caramel mixed in. While there are hints of spicy hops, its almost like this one has been aged in a charred oak barrel.

Taste: The flavor starts almost too sweet until some bitterness kicks in about midway through. Again there is the vanilla and caramel mix in the sweetness, just as if the malt rich beer had been aged in a bourbon barrel. There is an earthy hop bitterness in background and just the faintest hint of well concealed alcohol. There also seems to be a lightly burnt character to the caramel and toffee.

Mouthfeel: The mouth feel is smooth, velvety and slightly sticky with some minimal soft carbonation coming into play. The finish is long and begins with both caramel and vanilla sweetness that then turns into a dry earthy bitterness before the sweetness re-emerges just sitting there way in the back of the mouth daring the bitterness to chase it away.

Drinkability: This is a drinkable beer in the sense that it will be easy to have another some other day. The combination of the high ABV and the sweetness though make it a sipping beer and something to finish off the night with rather than a beer to drink during an evening of dinner and conversation with friends.

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Photo of civilizedpsycho
3.6/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured bottle into pint glass.

Appearance: Dark amber color that was pretty clear with a small and fizzy head.

Smell: Quite a unique smell. It's mostly dominated by an assortment of fruit aromas (blackberry, maybe). There's no overpowering malt or hop smells.

Taste: It starts off somewhat light on flavor with a bit of the fruit making an appearance. It's in the aftertaste where the flavor really comes in. The fruit and alcohol combination provide almost an assault on the palate. I like strong flavored beers, and I like this one, but it might be a little too strong for my taste.

Mouthfeel: It has a fair body that is moderately thick, but not too much.

Drinkability: With the overpowering aftertaste and alcohol content, this beer is a little much. It's good, and I might like to have some on hand to have once in a while when I'm in the right mood; but this is not something I could drink at a party or have a few in a night.

Note: I also tried this in a wine glass and to be perfectly honest: It tastes better. The flavor is still strong, but it doesn't bombard the palate like it did in the pint glass.

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Photo of jdubjacket
3.9/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured one of these into a Stone Barleywine glass.

Pours a copper color with ruby hues. No head to speak of and no lacing.

Smell is sweet alcohol, some brown sugar, and dark fruits.

Taste is dark fruits - raisins and prunes namely, sweet brown sugar, and sweet alcohol. Alcohol is little prominent, but it doesn't detract from the beer.

Overall, a good beer. Tough to drink more than one due to the ABV, but a solid brew.

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Photo of hardy008
3.82/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a copper color with no head. Smell is of sweet caramel malt, a variety of fruit, and a whiff of alcohol. This is a sweet beer with noticeable alcohol, and hop bitterness which makes this one nicely balanced. Can taste pears and dark fruits. Medium to full bodied, well carbonated. The drinkability is good, but the alcohol is more noticeable than I would like. This is still a good beer which I would buy again.

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Photo of kimcgolf
3.9/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle to a nice brownish orange with thick off-white head gthat lingered to mid glass and left decenrt lacing. Nose is a nice, pleasant mix of malted dark fruit, faint spices and a touch of alcohol (bourbon). Mouthfeel is full and a little thick, and the taste adds some brown sugar to the scents of the nose. Long warming finish tops this one off.

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Photo of katan
3.71/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12 oz into a pint

A - Pours a hazy brown to orange color. Head formation is moderately strong, dirty white. Well retained down to a light film. Carbonation appears light.

S - Sweet malt smelling. A bready tone. Has a bit of yeast bite. Some phenolic tones.

T - Starts off malty and sweet - toasty and bready. No hopping in the mid-stream, bitterness is muted. Finishes off with a very strong phenolic tone combined with a caramel toffee malt.

M - Very thick and creamy. Little carbonation bite. This baby is built on a huge sugar base to drive this mouthfeel. Cloying and clinging to the tongue.

D - Moderate drinkability. ABV is pretty potent. Not filling. Taste is pretty smooth, but does become dominant on the palette.

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

Deep copper. High clarity. No head, but a halo of loose foam forms.

I'm getting raisin, molasses and vanilla in the nose. Alcohol is not prominent. It is an inviting, appealing scent, but nothing oustanding.

The taste is a bit more complex than the nose. Very sweet, with a nice kick of bourbony booze as well. Same dark fruit, molasses and vanilla notes as the nose, but somehow more striking on the palate. Caramel as well The alcohol heat and taste provides a nice punch up front, then fades, giving room for the sweet caramel taste to shine. The finish is slightly bitter.

Medium to thick body -- more viscosity than I expected for how translucent this brew is. Slightly dry. Nice feel.

It's a good example of style and quite drinkable if you like the style.

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Photo of Albinoh
4.17/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very nice beer, fits the style.

Deep amber color, with a small head. You can tell the beer has a malty character from its smell. Sweet beer, with a full body and medium carbonation. Coffee like notes and dark sugar. The alcohol sting in this one is quite high, you can tell there is a big amount as its not hidden by the sweetness, I guess it comes out together with the acidity of the beer.

For me the appearance and the sting of alcohol would be the negative points of the beer, however the style dictates that the presence of alcohol so appearance is the one lacking here.

Nice, would buy in winter, as the alchohol would warm up the cold and the sweetness reminds me of christmas ho ho ho

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Photo of tzieser
3.8/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Got this on tap @ sunset grill and tap in Brighton.

Poured a deep dark brown with a very small head that simmered into almost no lacing

Smelled extremely malty and oak-y. Extreme malt smells, with some hints of alcohol. Hops are practically non-existent

Tastes great. I don't have much experience with Old Ales (save for Ola Dubh), but I'd imagine they would taste very similar to this. Very, very malty...probably caramal malts that have turned into a very unique taste with age....very very woody, oak-y taste dominates the pallate. No hops here. I liked the old flavor very much. It tastes musty-- like an old attic would smell like (if you could imagine). The 10% abv is well-hidden by the way

Mouthfeel was good, a little oily, but I'd imagine thats what the style is supposed to be

drinkability is pretty bad. the beer tastes great, i just could'nt imagine coming back for more....especially at 8.99 a 13ouncer

Overall- I was gonna get this, but at 15 bucks a 4 pack-- I backed off. I had to get it when I saw it on tap. I'd say definitely get it if you see it on tap, but don't bother getting a 4 pack....unless you love old ales...

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Photo of mjl21
4.29/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Acquired via trade...thanks Tom! 12 ounce bottle poured into a snifter. Comes in at 9.8% and 50 IBUs. Bottled on 3/12/09.

A-Pours a hazy brown and is very reminiscent of a Belgian Dubbel. It has really no head. A small ring and some limited spotty film stay in the glass. It has minor lace.

S-It is a sweet smelling, big and malty beer. Get lots of rum soaked fruit. As it warms I get a lot of grape aroma.

T-Like the nose, this one tastes big and malty. Lots of sweetness from the malt along with rum soaked stone fruit. I get notes of vanilla and wood, partivularly oak, as it warms. I also get a little bit of earthy hops every few sips.

M-Thicker bodied with a perfect level of carbonation. It is creamy and leaves some residual stickiness on the lips.

D-It is a big beer. The high abv is well hidden. I wouldn't want to do more than one. It is definitely sweet, but not cloying.

Another great beer from Founders. I need to start doing a Founders collection in my cellar.

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Photo of pmcadamis
4.57/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Tried this one in Grafton IL with my buddy Joe V.

A - Greyish black in the glass, this one looks like liquid smoke on top of melted tar. That sounds horrid, but I love weird looking brew! This is like some sort of witches brew.

S - Burnt rubber, liquid smoke, doused campfire, and cured meat. This smells extremely interesting... when I ordered this one, I was expecting a barleywine but this is more akin to a rauchbier; albeit with less sausage and jerky notes and more chemical-y smoke aromas. This smells like old wet moldy wood, roofing tar, freshly laid asphalt on a hot summer day. Awesome. I could sniff this for hours.

T - Tobacco, cured ham, Maduro wrapped cigar smoke, some hints of soy sauce, and salmon grilled on a cedar plank. Damn, this is one helluva complex brew!

M - Full bodied, but not as heavy as I would expect for the heavy flavor profile. This is a little too carbonated for what it is, but it feels nice enough.

D - A little too odd to have more than one at a time. This is definitely a weirdo brew for sipping and picking apart all of the crazy rubbery smoke flavors, not pint after pint sessioning.

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Photo of jpalarchio
4.09/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a pretty unique beer. Even though I've had beers of this style, this one tastes like none of the others.

Color is a deep mahagony and pretty cloudy; a few floaters found their way into my glass.

A very thick and heavy malty taste, hop bitterness is non-existent. Very smooth although you'd be hard pressed to drink very many of these in a sitting.

Still a very good beer, I'll save the three for another time.

This bottle was a year or two old, pretty sure I picked it up sometime in 2007 or 2008.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
4.37/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Delicious on-tap. Poured a hazy chestnut with a short, creamy head, and some rough lacing. Smells sweet with some brandied eggnog aromas. Tastes similar. Very long flavors, sweet and creamy and rich with notes of vanilla, nutmeg, cinammon, and cardomom, with a pleasant boozy note. Very creamy and smooth as well as rich in the mouth. Big and delicious.

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Photo of objectivemonkey
4.37/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Into a tulip, pours a lovely copper amber with a quarter inch off-white head, nice lacing in dots, arches and spiderwebs. The aroma was a bit perplexing to me, for some reason full and boisterous one whiff, dull and receding the next. That said, plenty of woody port wine, some brandy, some dark fruits, some other stuff that my dysfunctional nose is having a hard time distinguishing.

Taste is full and malty, some nice alcohol warming drifts through. Some caramels mix with resinous hops, honey oozing around, rum soaked dark fruits through the finish. Mouth is full, warm, a bit slick with nice, fine carbonation. In all, quite a tasty beer, rather enjoyed it.

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Photo of cvaypai
3.7/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bottle to imperial pint. Bit of age on this one.

Appearance - Amber brown see through, not much to speak of, what it should look like. Little to no head, cap came off pretty easy.

Smell - This is a different smell to me, wood, raisins, molasses, and alcohol. This has that founders smell to it. I am finding it hard to find different smells in here.

Taste - Whoa, tons of different tastes going on here, let me try and explain. I taste milk, caramel, tons of dark fruits and a bit of fig and raisin. At the end I get a small bite, and then a sugary taste after. Last thing that remians is an alcoholic burn. This is quite a taster.

Mouthfeel - This is surprisingly smooth, reminds me of milk at the beginning. Not bad for a beer of its stature.

Drinkability - One is good enough for me to sip and enjoy. This is an interesting beer.

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Photo of capra12
3.63/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Reviewed by myself this time without the Trifecta served out of a snifter glass.

Appearance: 3 fingers of tan head and amber in color

Smell: The alcohol in this is a distinct aroma as well as a hint of concord grapes and subtle malts.

Taste: This opens spicy with some malts and hops which comes through during the middle to end. This brew is rather smooth but the alcoholic finish comes fairly strong.

Mouthfeel: This is medium bodied and leaves a rather hoppy aftertaste but not enough to keep my from taking another sip.

Drinkability: Although it is hoppy I would have another but not on the same night.

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Photo of Arbitrator
2.21/5  rDev -44.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

Chilled bottle into a glass. An extra courtesy of busch03 (and a second from onix1agr). Thanks guys!

A: Pours a murky chestnut-amber body with no head whatsoever. A smattering of bubbles and a light collar around the brew. No lacing to speak of. Kind of disappointing , but I have had this experience with Founders a number of times...

S: Leans toward the sweet, malty side with a dark raisin and cherry character. Some molasses, toffee, slight wood, and booze.

T: Sweet caramel malt with a thick raisin, maple syrup, and molasses flavor behind it. Progresses into a slightly nutty toffee character with some wood and cherries. The finish is brown sugar with booze. It could use some balance. It began to get very syrupy and cloying after a while.

M: Full-bodied, with low carbonation that brings out the flavor -- good for the style. Alcohol is apparent in the taste and has a warming effect on the way down.

D: Tastes like diabetes. Disgustingly sweet, and a drain pour about halfway through -- and this is from someone who is generally to cheap to waste beer. Yecch.

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Photo of argock
4.32/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz brown bottle into a clear glass snifter. No freshness date apparent. Single purchased at Wine Warehouse (Charlottesville, VA) for $3.60.

A: Burnt amber with thin 1/2-1 finger light beige head that reduces quickly to a thin cap with spots of lace left.

S: Aroma is reminiscent of cherry-banana cake with caramel frosting with a woody, light citrus edge. Very bready and sweetly fruity all at once with a flash of heat.

T: The flavor is also very fruity with loads of caramel with cherry, banana, and date/plum accents. There is some toasted maltiness lending a bready quality. Cocoa notes are plentiful as well. Hops are pretty much in the background and add a little leafy touch.

M: The mouthfeel is lightly syrupy if that's possible. It is keenly coating while retaining some lightness, probably due to the even, perfect carbonation. Aftertaste is long and woody and resembles a cherry cordial.

D: A highly drinkable (and good value) old ale/barleywine with well-hidden alcohol and succulent sweet notes that blend together exceptionally smoothly. Another hit for Founders.

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Photo of halfP1NT
3.97/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip glass; the color is hazy, muddy, ruby brown with hardly any head to speak of. Some sediment floating about. A small white ring forms around the top of the beer.

The aroma is sweet and malty with hints of dark fruits. Cherries and apricots. There is also a very slight woody/oaky note.

Taste up front is sweet malts; then come the dark fruity flavors. The sip finishes with a little sticky sweetness, and a warming alcohol presence that lingers for awhile even after the sweetness fades. There is little carbonation in this medium-full bodied beer, and it makes a nice slow sipper. Reminiscent of a barleywine? I would have guessed that's what it was classified as if I didn't read it was an Old Ale. Very enjoyable, as everything from Founders has been so far.

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Photo of johnnieoz
4.08/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, unknown bottling date. Brought back from Ann Arbor in May of this year - so it might the 2009 version, more likely the 2008.

A: Golden amber, off white head with lacing. Some sediment is visible.

S: Molasses, caramel, raisin and somewhat boozy.

T: Very tasty. Easy sipping - but also perfect for some hot n' spicy Gai Prik Khing (Thai green bean and chicken dish) and then to nurse afterwards. The taste buds were opened by the abundance of chilies and now I can really appreciate the sweet, malty complexity of the Old Curmudgeon.

M: Creamy, solid mouthfeel. Properly carbonated.

D: As noted above, best when sipped but it does pair well with foods other than Stilton cheese. They just have to possess some pizzazz!

Overall, one of the best Old Ales I've had the pleasure of quaffing. Prefer it to Bell's Third Coast Old Stock Ale...I think (need to check out that second bottle in my cellar closet).

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Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale) from Founders Brewing Company
3.99 out of 5 based on 4,597 ratings.
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