Founders Backwoods Bastard | Founders Brewing Company

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Founders Backwoods BastardFounders Backwoods Bastard

Brewed by:
Founders Brewing Company
Michigan, United States

Style: Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.20%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
"Wee Heavy", cave aged in oak bourbon barrels.

Added by CortexBomb on 01-30-2007

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Reviews: 1,822 | Ratings: 8,022
Photo of TheHoppiest
4.67/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the Founders squat 12 oz bottle into an oversized snifter. As always, I love the Founders cover art - this time with an old-timey back woodsman with a wide-brimmed floppy hat and a grisled countenance.

Pours a deep, deep ruddy ruby, almost mahogany, with a small amount of sediment. A thin ring of caramel-colored head, with a thin pool in the middle of the glass.

Smells of yeast, boozy grapes, solvents, and earthy grain.

Tastes of sweet malt, caramel, yeast, and definite bourbon whiskey. Earthy, woody, and bold, this is a sipper of a beer. Leafy notes mid-way through the beer, with some bite that's not quite bitter.

Mouthfeel is somewhat sharp, full, and bold. Warm in the mouth and down to the belly, you feel this beer throughout.

I love this beer. Yet another winner for Founders!

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Photo of pzrhsau
4.48/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3

A: Nice rich brownish hue topped by a decent sized coffee/tan head.
S: My first reaction is to sense the oak woody aromas coupled with sweet notes from the bourbon aging. You also get a nice combination of sleep malt with a slight sweet caramel scotchiness.
T: It has a smooth combination of flavors both from the bourbon barrels and it has a balanced sweetness from the malt. This combines to create a vanilla/caramel sweetness that is very bold.
D/M: The aging really has given this the characteristic of a scotchy smoothness. It goes down really easily which is scary because you don't overly sense the 10% alcohol that goes into this bad boy. Very nice to sit and enjoy but hard to switch to other beers that do not pair the weight.

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Photo of WildRage
2.2/5  rDev -48.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Let me preface this with saying that I love scotch ales - I love Old Chubb, and I typically love beers aged in bourbon barrels - Black Ops comes to mind. That being said, I had a really hard time finishing one bottle of this 4 pack. It was like drinking bourbon - almost no beer taste to be found. If you love bourbon, you will love this beer - but be warned that it is EXTREMELY overpowering. I typically love Founders beers - had the Breakfast Stout and Nemesis on tap last night -- but I can't see myself buying this one again.

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Photo of rrski198
3.65/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark, thick, crimson colored. LIttle to no head. Very little lacing.

S: Bourbon, molasses, alcohol. This is backed up by rye, chared wood and dark dried fruits (raisans, prunes)

T: Sweet, creamy, boozy. Bourbon flavor is promenent. I keep getting rye in the flavor(from the bourbon?) Burnt earthy flavors and again, kind of like licking chared wood.

M: Very little carbonation. Very boozy. It lingers on the gums. It is hard to hide a 10.2 ABV.

D: Overall, they are advertising the bourbon barrel aging. They get that for sure. However, I would like to get something else besides Bourbon and sugar. I think it is a good beer, and interesting, however, I wouldn't purchase again (I paid $14 for a 4 pack).

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Photo of donniecuffs
5/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into a snifter at the Mohawk House in Sparta, NJ. Deep opaque, reddish-mahogany, with one finger of beige head that retained and laced excellently. Very little visible carbonation. The aroma revealed a huge cherry-vanilla/whiskey/oak essence, with some caramel apple and smoke as well. The taste? Wow...sweet malty, caramel-apple, cherry-vanilla, then followed by more sweet fruitiness before finishing on an ever so subtle bitter peel finish, that hid the alcohol content ridiculously well. As a matter of fact, if it wasn't for the whiskey in the nose, I wouldn't get much hint of alcohol at all. The feel was a silky smooth medium thickness, with no carbonation. The crazy thing is that the alcohol presence is such a non-factor, that you can find yourself having downed three snifters of this stuff, and still be yearning to session more. I know I was. Anyway, I sampled this at my virgin trip to the fine establishment known as the Mohawk House (see review), but even if I didn't like the place, I would've come back just for this beer. I can't remember when I have given a beer review 5's across the board..if ever. This beer is excellently done on all fronts.

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Photo of Augustiner719
3.77/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a tulip glass.

Pours a nice deep brown color with some red hues I. It. Creamy off white head with alcohol sticking to the glass. The aroma is pure malty bourbon with a nice sweet caramelized bourbon aroma. The flavor starts out intense but falls off completely. Really lands flat and boozy on the backend. Initial sweetness and starts out very nice, but dry and austere on the finish. Nothing going on but booze after the first second. As for drinkability, this is ok, not something I want more than one of but for what it is I think it's a definately sipper and a sharing bottle. Worth a shot but not on par with their other bourbon a barrel beers.

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Photo of GabrielM
4.05/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Shared by Wadsey, and incredibly generous BA. Thanks again, Clint! Poured into a tulip.

A - a deep, dark, rich mahogany color with a nice amount of off-white head on top.

S - maple, bourbon, brown sugar, a tinge of alcohol.

T - bourbon and maple sweetness, vanilla and oak. A little alcohol on the back.

M - extremely smooth and perfect amount of carbonation. Very light and airy in my mouth, but with a great variety of flavors.

D - the high ABV and sweetness might get to be a bit much, but with some age and (temperature) warmth, this baby is a winner!

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Photo of muttyd
3.92/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Deep brown pour with a tan head that fades into a faint ring. Sticks all over the glass. Aroma is of bourbon, cherry and vanilla. It almost feels as though the bourbon aroma is burning my nose hairs. Big caramel, burnt sugar, roasted malt, and bourbon flavor. Big chewy body, and very boozy. One bottle is enough for me, this is a big beer.

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Photo of Mitchster
4.65/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

$3.50 for a 12oz bottle @ Jacks. I've had this before, but haven't reviewed it evidently. 10.2% ABV per the bottle. 50 IBU's.

Pours out to a clear very dark mahogany, forming a nice sized tan head which is thick and leaves a nice sheet of lace and has good retention. The carbonation is moderate to mild. The aroma is rich with vanilla, caramel, souring milk, big amber malts, obvious bourbon notes, rotting cherry and toast. The mouthfeel is thick and hearty with a dense body. The taste opens with rotting cherries and herbaceous hops, followed by vanilla, sweet dates, figs, and a well-balanced bitterness in the middle. Huge malt bill. The aftertaste is a pleasant mix of sweet and bitter with toast, leather, grain husk in the finish. Some people have noted that this is a touch hot, but I like it.

Founders makes great beers and this is no exception. This is exactly what I think of when I think bourbon aged scotch ale, and this is near the top of the list when it comes to bourbon aged beers (The best bourbon aged beer that I've ever had was brewed by Jeremy for the BA party at HopCat...a bourbon aged porter on nitro that tasted like chocolate milk) Great beer. Try it.

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Photo of stimulus
4.27/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a Founders snifter.

A: Pours a very deep ruby red that is only clear when held up to the light. It has a light tan head that settles quickly.
S: Caramel, vanilla, bourbon, smoke, and a touch of alcohol.
T: Still basic caramel and smoke flavors of the base beer, but these are sweetened by vanilla and toffee from the oak for a bit until the finish, which is oh so much bourbon and definite alcohol.
M: Well carbonated, medium bodied, and even smoother than the Dirty Bastard.
D: The nice bourbon flavors are accompanied by quite a punch of alcohol. I know this beer is 10%, but wow. This could definitely benefit from some aging, which would probably take away the alcohol flavor in favor of the vanilla, bourbon, and smoke notes.

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Photo of Pezcraig
4.78/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Very dark brown color with a thin head.
Aroma: Sweet malt and bourbon.
Taste: Bourbon, caramelized malt, maple, vanilla, and dark cherry.
Mouthfeel: Very smooth and silky, creamy and rich.

As stated before, its a sipper. Let it open up, take this slow.
Enjoy this if you can find it.

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Photo of polio
4.82/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

this beer is great!
i bought it because the label is awesome.
i drank this beer in a chilled mug. the color of this beer is a dark brown almost red color. very small head. the taste is very creamy. the taste of caramel is very goes down smooth and feels great in your mouth.

ps this beer has one of the coolest labels ive ever seen.

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Photo of ramseye4
3.68/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A=Pours a very dark brown color, completely opaque, with a thin head.
S=Smells just like the bourbon barrels it was aged in, and with a faint vanilla undertone.
T=Straight Whiskey, with some malts,and with a very strong aftertaste of alcohol. Surprisingly, it is very smooth despite the high ABV.
M=Very full bodied and chewy
D= The strong alcoholic aftertaste makes this one a sipper, I wouldn't want to have more than one of these in an evening.

Overall it is well done, at first the alcohol teetered very close to overpowering the taste but as I worked my way down the glass it became more mellow. As I conclude drinking it, it gives me a nice,pleasant, relaxed feeling.

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Photo of thagr81us
4.13/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served from tap into a goblet at the Founders event at Duckworth's. Poured reddish-brown with a minimal off-white head. Maintained excellent lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt and bourbon. The flavor was of sweet malt, alcohol, and syrup. It had a medium feel on the palate with light to mild carbonation. Overall this one was very nicely balanced with a nice flavor. The aroma on this one was quite nice as well. Probably one of my favorite Scotch Ales to date. It is also crazy drinkable to weigh in at 10.2%...

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Photo of dogfishandi
4.07/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

recieved this in a trade with jpmclaug. thanks again!

12oz stubby bottle pulled from my cellar floor. tough to read date stamped on the neck. *0/08/10?. poured into a standard pint.

pours out a dark ruby red, dark dark brown color. half a finger of tannish fizzy head that disappaited completely after about 5 minutes. no lace to speak of, but has decent legs on the side of the glass.

big bourbony, boozy alcohol is most obvious. with that there is lots of burnt caramelized malt. also bits of maple, vanilla, and oaky woodiness.

lots of boozy bourbon, but behind that theres some complexity to it. lots of burnt caramelized malt. maple, oaky, woody, just bits of smoky peat, maybe not enough. bits of honey and lots of sweetness. the barrel aged qualities of this beer really show strong, not so much the scotch ale qualities. still damn tasty non the less. went very nice with some sharp cheddars as always.

thick viscous, chewy mouthfeel. very light carbonation which definatly compliments the beer.

this is definatly a sipper at 10.2%. one bottle per session is enough. good to share with friends, and definatly a nice night capper.

im very glad i got a chance to try this. if this was readily available to me, i might get some to age, but i prolly wouldnt go out of my way to trade for this. im not sure of the price, but its worth a try.

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Photo of ohiobrewtus
4.13/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Pours with extremely thin layer of head that is mildly off white. Very clear, reddish/copper color, bordering on brown.

Aroma - Malty sweet with dominant burnt/toasted caramel (likely from kettle caramelization) and slight hints of alcohol, toffee and biscuit. No hops present. Alcohol hotness increases significantly as it warms.

Mouthfeel - Medium full body, medium to medium low carbonation. Overall a slightly creamy, smooth mouthfeel with just a hint of dryness in the finish.

Flavor - The burnt/toasted caramel from the nose dominate, but the toffee/biscuit and malty sweetness continue. Very faint earthy hop bitterness with a slight alcohol warmth in a finish that provides a faint touch of dryness on the back of the tongue and the very back of the roof of the mouth. Alcohol warmth in the finish increases significantly as it warms.

Overall - A great example of the style with exceptional caramel notes and a surprisingly subdued alcohol profile considering the 10.2% abv.

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Photo of superdedooperboy
3.8/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12-ounce brown bottle poured into a snifter glass. Bottle stamp tells me this was bottled on September 30, 2010 at 17:55, making this fairly fresh at just over a month old.

Pours a deep cherrywood hue with a nice clarity and a small off-white head that dissipates quickly, barely hanging on to the walls of the glass as the contents fade away.

Immediately the aroma gives this away as being barrel-aged, and bourbon barrel-aged at that. A huge whiff of vanilla, woody oak and a distinct bourbon character compromises the foreground, while in the background there is the slightest hint of peat that signals that this is, in fact, a Scotch ale at heart. The note is nearly imperceptible, and if one were not paying attention it would easily be missed, but it is there nevertheless.

The palate opens with sweet and slightly smoky malt notes before quickly being taken over by oaky vanillin, which bombards the palate throughout the remainder of the drink; sweet caramel notes peek through meagerly but have mostly hidden themselves in the pores of the wood. A more distinct wood character mingles with a touch of peat toward the back, perhaps with a little hop character, though it's difficult to discern as things become a little hot and boozy, leading into a long, warming finish. Vanilla and wood linger long afterward.

Drinkability isn't exactly the name of this beer's game. It's evident from the first whiff that this is a sipper, and it's an excellent one at that, though it would definitely be nice if a bit more of the base beer's character would show through after the barrel aging process. For fans of Bourbon and beers aged on Bourbon wood, this is definitely worth a shot, and it makes a heck of a nightcap. Sadly, because the base is so masked by the aging, it becomes a good deal less interesting than it could potentially be. I'd like to see how this cellars, though, as it certainly has cellaring potential and could, mellow and become more intriguing with a bit of age on the bottle.

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Photo of 33nickadams
4.1/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

a- amber brown color, not much head, not any real retention, translucent
s- slight bourbon smell
t- not as overpowering in bourbon as I though it would be. I'm not a big bourbon barrel fan, but I'm enjoying this
m- full and thick
d- probably could only have 1 a night. But I bet it would age supremely

I really enjoyed this experience. When I started I didn't even think I could finish it, but as it warmed, it took on entirely different characteristics. Like I said, I'm not a big bourbon barrel fan, but this was a nice surprise.

Edited on 2/4/12- I love this beer now. It's one of my favorites. I'll try to get it every year.

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Photo of Lazerlobe
4.22/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Murky brown with mixed up sediment, great head.

S: Big sweet malts, raisins, vanilla,

T: Wow! Powerful bourbon, soft toffee and roasted malt meld together. Some smoke and robust malts linger on the palate. Bittering hops come through a bit at the end.

M: A bit hot, but delicious nevertheless. Rich mouthfeel is to be expected and does not let down.

D: I love this beer and would pick up some more if they were on the shelves out here.

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Photo of busternuggz
3.83/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

2009 12 oz bottle poured into a Belgian glass.
Nice ruby-brown color with a 1/4" khaki head. The head settles to a thin frothy layer but leaves persistent lacing.
Smells like bourbon & bourbon spiciness, oak, caramel, and an odd sweet note like marzapan. A little subdued.
The taste is rich, leading with bourbon, spice, and oak notes, then caramel and just a little cocoa, with a creamy sweetness on the finish. Alcohol burn comes in on the aftertaste with a little astringency, but this mellows as it warms up.
Very nice texture. Lighter side of full bodied, smooth and creamy, especially as it warms up.
Pretty smooth for a barrel aged 10% beer, but the alcohol heat brings the drinkability down.
Overall pretty rich and tasty, but the flavors are too dominated by the bourbon notes and it has a bit too much heat.

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Photo of paulozanello
4.05/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at a Founders event at The Big Hunt in DC.
Pours a dark brown color with ruby red hues. Creamy beige head with good lacing.
Smell is mainly of bourbon, vanilla, oak and some dark/chocolate malt.
Taste is very strong and starts with caramel and chocolate but soon gets overpowered by a heavy bourbon and vanilla blast.
Creamy mouthfeel with moderate carbonation and some alcohol notes. Aftertaste is chocolaty and oaky.
Great well balanced scotch ale. Definitely going to buy me some bottles later this week.

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Photo of Wisconsinality
4.17/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into Duvel tulip.

A- Pours a dark brown with amber tints around the edges of the glass. A small head, about a quarter of a finger worth only leaves a small ring around the glass. No lacing left behind.

S- A lot of complexities here. Big hints of bourbon, peat and some nice brown sugar. As it warms some black licorice comes out, a little alcohol and is rounded out by some vanilla.

T- Big bourbon, smooth but not overwhelming. The bourbon gives way to some vanilla, brown sugar and the peat makes itself known. The alcohol is very well hidden, only noticeable by the warming.

M- Full bodied and very smooth. A touch of warming on the throat from the alcohol. No real feel of carbonation to speak of.

D- This is one of those dangerous beers. Big abv that is hidden well and all around great flavors. If you like big bourbon notes, this one is for you.

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Photo of nhindian
3.25/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12oz bottle poured into a Delirium Tremens tulip.

This is an interesting one for me. At this time, it is my second barrel aged beer and my second Wee Heavy, and the first time both come together for me. Not really sure what to expect but here goes!

A - Pours a really muddy, ruby red color with brown and plum highlights. Builds about a 2.5-fingered head that is almost gone before I can turn around and look at it again. Some minimal lacing on the side I'm drinking out of, but besides that the glass is pretty scarce.

S - Smell is dominated mostly by sweet, smokey peat, malts, and bourbon. Oak and earth tones are really prominent, and after straining, I can barely pick up some fruit and vanilla notes.

T - The first thing I really pick up about the taste of this beer is the overbearing sweetness in the aftertaste. There's the Wee Heavy characteristics I found before, and the bourbon is there too, but the most memorable thing about this beer is the long, sweet aftertaste. Could definitely benefit from more bourbon character or some way to balance the sweetness. The finish is long, and I can pick up the vanilla and oak a lot more easily than the nose.

M - Mouthfeel is medium to heavy with mild carbonation. Rather than getting more of the bourbon shock I experienced with Weyerbacher's Insanity, this leaves the palate relatively barrel-taste free and the most forward characteristic is the sweetness.

D - Drinkability for me is fairly low. It may be just me getting acclimated to both of the styles, but I found this to be a real sipper and it wasn't easy to get down. For me, the sweet malts were just too much for this beer.

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Photo of wspscott
3.77/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle in Duvel tulip
bottled 0/27/09

A: Pours a dark brown color, looks like a dark english brown ale. There is no sign of a head and only a slight hint of off-white lace.
S: A definite "bourbon-ness", some wood and vanilla scents along with some sweetness, no sign of hops.
T: The bourbon is very upfront, not overpowering, but definitely there. The malt character that I expect in a Wee Heavy is not apparent or is hidden under the bourbon. There is absolutely no sign of the alcohol
M: There are some drying tannins here which help to prevent this from being cloying. A medium level of attenuation combined with just enough carbonation also help a lot.
D: A nice beer, not too overpowering with the bourbon character, at the same time, it seems a little one dimensional. I just read my review of Dirty Bastard and it seems like some of that goodness is missing. I like this beer, but don't love it. May have to revisit in the future. Worth trying if you are a bourbon fan or really like barrel aged beers.

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Photo of Vonerichs
4.17/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Deep orange-red body with no head whatsover.

For a scotch ale, this was surprisingly aromatic. Tons of vanilla and butterscotch. I also picked up coconut and wood.

Impressive flavor, too. The bourbon qualities are vanilla and wood. It has a peat/smokey scotch-like finish.

The mouthfeel, despite being a little boozy, is smooth and well rounded.

High abv is the only detractor, otherwise a very drinkable beer and one worth seeking out.

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Founders Backwoods Bastard from Founders Brewing Company
4.26 out of 5 based on 8,022 ratings.
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