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Alpha Dog Imperial IPA | Laughing Dog Brewing

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very good
308 Reviews
Alpha Dog Imperial IPAAlpha Dog Imperial IPA

Brewed by:
Laughing Dog Brewing
Idaho, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
A true hop bomb brewed plenty of Columbus and Mt Hood hops for a piney hop character. Premium Pale, Honey and Munich malt make this beer a little less malty but packing plenty of hop punch.

127 IBU

Added by bitterthebetter on 02-14-2009

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Reviews: 308 | Ratings: 664
Photo of SFLpunk
3.23/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Thanks to George for grabbing this for me at Julio's last week! 22oz brown glass pry-top bottle. No date. Starts to gush right as I opened it. (Been stable in fridge for days...)

Pours a bright, warm orange (literally) with thick, foamy white head that has huge retention power! Lots of lacing!

Nose is soapy citrus, peppery, lemon zesty, floral and lots of sour mango. Palate is...tart...wait. I think this is infected. Hang on.

**After reading other reviews, there is one other person who notes a distinct "Sour green apple" puckering quality. I think we both had infected bottles. This bottle shows flavors that I would expect in a Wild Ale, say Wild Devil, and not in a DIPA. I will rate this as is, and then re-review if the chance permits itself.

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Photo of RoyalT
3.25/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Appearance – This is a beautiful ale. It is clear, dull orange in color, with a massive off-white head.

Smell – There’s a wonderful mix of strong orange, light lemon, and a bit of fresh pine to this nose. The malts are light and sweetish, laced with caramel and a bit of spice.

Taste – The hops find there way to the taste but the lack of malt flavor makes this a one-sided lightweight.

Mouthfeel – This was the ale’s weak point. It is incredibly light for the style. I wouldn’t call it light-bodied but it’s not far off. There’s some annoying bitterness that would be OK with a bigger malt sweetness but again the malts are completely absent. The carbonation is flat which again is OK for a big, thick, DIPA but here makes it somewhat boring in between the cheeks.

Drinkability – This ale is actually quite smooth so went down well but I definitely won’t buy again.

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Photo of jmdrpi
3.25/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle, no date.

appears slightly hazy, orangish golden color. thin white head that disipates to a frothy covering. strong aroma of piney hops. slight citrus.

taste doesn't have much malt, hops dominate - earthy pine is the stand out flavor. thin to medium body, with medium to high carbonation.

overall - just average for the style, needs more malt to back up the aggressive hopping in my opinion.

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Photo of Ego
3.25/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

ah, yet another DIPA... let's see if this is more bark than bite.

monster head rising 3 full fingers on an easy pour, a quiet talker it is hanging around for some time before settling, dark straw in hue, a medium collection of carbonation is happening in the body, oddly the lacing is a bit spotty... a little lighter in color than most in this department but looks are not the end all be all

faint tropical fruit, an almost smoke like tone, a waft of yeast tone, some stinging nettles of pine are detected... but a pretty mellow endeavor

taste etc...
mild mannered, the hops signature is pine.. like in floor cleaners, medium body with nice prickly carbonation, the hops are really bugging me here, they are medicinal tasting especially in the aftertaste, it does hide the ABV well and it actually feels like a higher ABV (or maybe I am just getting daft in my old age), the body is probably the best trait of this brew

nothing alpha about this, this is not the leader of the pack or even a top dog, or best in show, or some other bad dog tie in that I can not think of at the moment. I do not recommend this, it isn't a pour out but there are so many better options why bother

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Photo of DefenCorps
3.26/5  rDev -14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Grabbed this at State Line last week based on Robert's recommendation. As an aside, I find it a little sad that we can get beers from Idaho in MD but not stuff from Sly Fox.

A: A clear amber body with good clarity and a gorgeous 3-finger thick eggshell-white head that sticks around a while, leaving some really pretty lace. Great stuff

S: Plenty of sharp pine and grapefruit pith on the nose, with a mild caramel sweetness present. Mild biscuit-like malt is present and the combination of the hop and malt aroma is pretty good. Definitely herbal, with a mild minty aroma. Solid. As it warms up, alcohol is apparent on the nose, which is perplexing given the low ABV

T: Average. Opens with a sharp pine bitterness blended with a caramel sweetness. I doubt it's because the beer is old, because the hops definitely are fresh. The balance leans strongly towards the bittering hops, with reduced flavor hops, and plenty of malt, viz., not my idea of a great DIPA. Finishes dry with an overwhelming bitterness.

M: Medium-light with crisp carbonation. The bitterness is a bit overwhelming, and not in a good way. Moderately resiny on the palate.

D: This is not my idea of a great DIPA, but it achieves what it aspires to be - bitter and sweet. One glass is enough for me.

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Photo of Back_in_the_Saddle
3.27/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

This was poured into a snifter. The appearance was a hazy copper/orange color with a one finger white foamy head that dissipated within about a minute. There was some light speckled lacing clinging slightly. The smell had some grapefruit/piney aromas here and there. The taste was similar. On the palate, this one sat about a medium on the body with a fair sessionability about it. The carbonation was somewhat sharp but not overbearing. Overall, good DIPA, it’s nothing over the top.

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Photo of gopens44
3.28/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Frothy 1/2" head that clings a little, but nothing fancy. Color was medium dark copper and hazy.

S - Not too much going on in the nose, but what did come across was a touch in the citrus spectrum with a slight bitter hop bite.

T - Plenty of honey taste wrapped around the bitter piney hop taste. Not too much depth in it's character though.

M - Medium carbonation and somewhat smooth. A little more thin than I expected. Finishes a little unbalanced as this thing falls apart a touch at the end.

I had this on tap at some point in time and was fairly impressed. Sadly, I revisited it in bottle form, which may be the reason why I'm less impressed this time around.

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Photo of Vancer
3.28/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Time for some Alpha D on this fine fall day. Pours a clear amber into the Corsendonk tulip, plenty of eggshell white head nestled on top.

Sweet orange, bubblegum and hoppy goodness in the aroma. Raspy wood pine in the quaff, semi-harsh and bitter. Not one of the best Impy IPAs I've ever had, but it'll do today. Chewy body, this has potential, with the hidden alcohol, but doesn't really deliver.

Only about $6.50 for a bomber, so not much of a waste.

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Photo of KOrtega
3.29/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz bomber poured into a tulip glass (served at 57F)

A-Beer pours a hazy golden orange. Head starts off rocky and white then settles to a more frothy/creamy consistency as the head settles (which it settles fairly quickly). Only a small amount of lacing.

S-Citrus, acidic (grapefruit) aroma with subtle grassy and malt notes.

T-Starts off citrus/sourish with some salty hints. Through the finish the beer becomes more salty and bitter. There is also bitter citrus on the finish.

M-The beer stuck in the palate and lasted quite nicely. Not light but definitely not heavy.

O-I love Imperial IPAs, just not this one. I like, but not love, this one. The nose is fairly subtle with the beer, but the taste definitely is a good punch. The appearance is very appealing and would be intrigued if I saw this poured up at the bar. The lasting mellow bitter flavor makes this a nice, slow drink.

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Photo of nitro0292
3.3/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a cloudy golden yellow. Ample sticky white head leaves solid lacing.

Smell is hops and yeast, almost smells like Brett. The yeast actually dominates.

Taste is not as yeasty as the smell implies. No real malt presence, but bitter American hops fight with the yeast to balance each other. Bitterness and yeast bite linger in the aftertaste. Meh.

Mouthfeel is fine, not overly carbonated, not syrupy or too thin.

Not sure what is going on with the yeast in this brew. Is this bottle conditioned? There is no bottle date, so I don't know if this taste is due to fading hops, too much yeast or just the way my palate tastes the blend of hops.

I want to like this...but I don't think I would get this again.

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Photo of spoons
3.3/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a bomber.

Looks nice and orange, slight haze with a white head that leaves great lacing.

Smell is ok for an imperial. Some musty bread notes with a noticeable hop (citrus) presence but the malt is strong in the nose. Makes it seem clouded.

The same goes for the taste. Just a bit jumbled. A good bitterness from the hops but a little to crisp and dry. The malt presence is there but all it does is mess with the hops. The malt isnt strong enough however to leave a sweetness to balance.

Just ok. but I wont go for it again unless they clean it up.

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Photo of Knapp85
3.3/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer poured out with a big fluffy white head and a hazy golden body. The smell is really nice in here, there is a massive hop aroma coming off of this one. The taste is great on the first few sips and as it warms up that all goes downhill. The taste to me just gets a bit strange, can't really describe it but it wasn't good to me after a while. I finished my glass and was thankful for that at least. The mouthfeel is a little thick but not oily. Overall it was good in the beginning and then just fell apart.

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Photo of cameraman
3.31/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

An orange color that has touches of gold along the sides of the glass. A thin white head forms at the top of the glass that dissolves away to a thin layer. Very bread like aroma with cracked grain being the main scent, then it blends to floral and citric fragrance. The bread and cracked grain start at the beginning of the taste, then it soon overwhelmed by the hops. The hops bring a plethora of flavors citrus, tobacco, pine, and some grass. The feel is watery thin from the front staying that same consistency all the way through. This is an okay IPA, the color is standard and the aroma is very tame. This beer shows its teeth in the taste with some strong flavor, though the feel was less than I expected. The flavor picks up this beer, every other aspect is slightly below par, a palatable beer.

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Photo of rickyleepotts
3.32/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

I see this beer all the time at Total Wine & More, but have never bought it. Nothing from Laughing Dog has impressed me. But as I was reading this, and seeing how bitter is was going to be, I started to get excited. IBU stands for international bittering units, and this beer has an IBU of 127. That is REALLY high, considering most double/imperial India pale ales are around 100. The Palate Wrecker from Green Flash is 136 (some say 137 depending on the year) and that will pretty much destroy your palate. Regardless, 127 is enough to get me excited!

This is the only beer on the list from Laughing Dog Brewing. Let's hope the author picked a good offering from them. Bottoms up, people!

In the Glass: I would wait until the head goes down before I started reviewing this, but that might take 20 minutes! I did a hard pour on this bottle, and the head is a few inches tall. The suds are just sticking to the side of the glass like glue, too. Nothing beats an IPA with a thick sticky head! (So many things I say on this blog could be taken the wrong way… but trust me, always about the enjoyment of the beer.)

Nose: Today is April 1st, 2013. This beer was bottled on April 8th, 2012. The ABV is big enough this beer should have aged well, but I would love to try this fresh. Nothing beats a fresh IPA. For a beer with 127 IBU, I expected the aroma to be a little more powerful. Don't get me wrong, it still has a great aroma. But it isn't the hops that I was expecting. I will say, for the ABV and the size of this beer, $4.99 is a good value regardless of the flavor. Speaking of the flavor, let's drink!

Flavor: There are the hops I was expecting. They aren't overwhelming, but they are abundant. The flavor profile actually changes a few times over the course of a drink. At first, the hops are balanced and boring, but then toward the back of the palate the piney dryness kicks in and as you swallow it becomes almost grapefruit sweet. Then, as you continue to swallow, the hops begin to taste like pine cones. The dryness is really nice, leaving me begging for another sip. If you said, "Is that a double IPA?" I am not sure I would be able to tell you… again, not as powerful as I expected. I bet Sheryl hates it. She isn't into hops like me!

Mouthfeel: At first, it's boring. There isn't much going on at all. Then, as it slides across your palate, it begins to open up. As you do swallow, the flavor really explodes and a nice thin layer of bubbles leave your palate excited for a second (or third) drink. I swished the beer around, and the flavor, especially those sweet grapefruit notes, REALLY come out. That is actually a much better flavor. If you are drinking this, I highly recommend swishing it around in your mouth a little bit. You're welcome!

Aftertaste: The aftertaste is piney at first, but then it begins to turn a nice drying bittersweet flavor that I like in an IPA. I still wouldn't call this a double IPA, but I wouldn't call Hop Stoopid a DIPA, either. That beer has an IBU of 103, and it tastes like a boring pale ale. One of the only beers that brewing company makes that I dislike.

This is a good beer, don't get me wrong. But this is NOT a typical DIPA in my book. I asked Jazz if he has had this, and he didn't care for it. I am picky when it comes to barleywines… but I am REALLY pick when it comes to an IPA. But hey, I can't like them all. Where is the fun in that? Cheers, people!

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Photo of rebelthrower
3.33/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Nice amber/orangey color with a little haze. Head was big off white and took a long time to go down. Left a think lace on the glass.

S: The aroma a citrus seems to be a lot of yeast and malt as well.

T: Starts with strong hops, grapefruit and bitterness. A little bit of the yeast in the middle. Finishes sweet and hoppy.

M: Very smooth and crisp and medium carbonation. For an imperial IPA it seams to be lacking a little in the hoppiness.

D: Considering the the ABV, it is easy to drink. The taste isnt overwhelming or intense.

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Photo of JoePat
3.33/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer pours a dark gold/orange color with an off white head that dissipates pretty quickly.

I get a lot of orange juice/grapefruit citrus in the aroma. A little caramel sweetness but it is pretty faint.

The flavor is sweet and grassy. Very bitter with not much hop flavor. This beer is cloyingly sweet and very rich. It was clean and no off flavors.

The mouthfeel is pretty average and nothing stands out good or bad.

This beer is way too bitter and sweet without enough flavor. I had a hard time finishing this glass.

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Photo of meatyard
3.33/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy, pale, golden/orange with a 1.5-finger, white head that lingers nicely and leaves a bit of lace.

The smell is orange, something else (?) and some sweet malt.

The taste is nearly identical to the aroma with very mild bitterness.

Mouthfeel is medium with moderate carbonation.

Drinkability: It's easy enough to drink but without much intensity for a DIPA. It doesn't do much for me, especially compared to so many better DIPAs on the market.

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Photo of tone77
3.35/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a brown 22 oz. bottle. Has a dark golden color with a 1 inch head. Smell is hoppy, some tropical fruits. Taste is really bitter, quite a hop bomb. a touch of fruits, loads of hop bitterness, a bit unbalanced for my liking. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and overall is a decent beer.

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Photo of degerbah
3.36/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a pale yellow that is almost transparent. Very little head at all and what little there is dies away quickly without any lacing at all. The aroma is hoppy, but not nearly as hoppy as I would have thought given the style. The taste is overpoweringly hoppy. The hop flavor is more of a fruity tasting hop that sticks on the tongue for a long time after each sip. the mouthfeel is slightly gritty, whish isn't unusual for a DIPA. Not at all my favorite DIPA. I think its a little too harsh for wasy drinkability and the aftertaste sticks in my mouth so long that I don't really want to take another sip.

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Photo of dickroop
3.37/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a bomber into my pint tumbler, this DIPA is golden, almost clear, and had a healthy 1.5 finger head from a fairly vigorous pour. It left some lacing and maintained a small head for a good while. The aroma was stronger than many, a citrus-floral punch with bready notes. Alcohol was noticeable.

The taste was quite a disappointment after the nose. Most of the great aroma was missing from the flavor, leaving an overly sweet and malty flavor with indistinct strong lasting bitterness. There were some caramel-candy flavor notes, some musty and metallic off-flavors, and a few toasty malt notes.

Mouthfeel had some sourness around the edges of a medium-to-light body, and a little alcohol warming. The carbonation added little to the enjoyment. Also a malt-stickiness. I now have to go and pour the second half of the bomber and decide if I really want to drink any more of this.

On the bomber's second pour, there was still a great head, and a lot more cloudiness from the bottom of the bottle. The nose by this point was absent, even though the brew had had a good opportunity to warm up from it's initial fridge temperature. The taste (now warmed) might be imagined to have a bit of an orange flavor note, but mostly it's the same as originally described.

As to drinkability, sadly, I'm not sure this brew is worth finishing the last 11 oz. That gives it a rather average-to-low drinkability rating. Granted this bomber has been in my fridge for several months, and who knows how long it took to get from Idaho to me (no date-stamping or "enjoy-by" suggestions). I'd love to drink this closer to the source, especially as a draft beer. But I'm not inclined to buy another bottle of this apparently rather average "Imperial IPA", especially at $5.99/bottle. Despite a great name, this bottle was rather disappointing.

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Photo of kbeals
3.38/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Sent to me by the ever generous JohnGalt1...

A- A bright orange brew capped with two fingers of foamy white head. Pretty good head retention with great multi-tiered, sticky lacing.

S- Hoppy bitterness with a bit of a sweetness in the background. Very earthy, not very citrusy.

T- Loads upon loads of hops come at me in waves. The sweetness of it kind of ruins the taste a little bit. Once again, earthy hops more than anything. somewhat piney.

M- Heavier body, very slick. I swear you can feel the oils from the hops in the mouthfeel.

D- Pretty drinkable. This was a good beer and I would buy it again, it's just not on that other level like other DIPA's. I feel like the DIPA style has been nearly perfected by so many other breweries it's hard to distinguish between a mediocre and good DIPA. This one is good, but not great.

Thanks agin, Toby! I owe you tons for some of the brews that you sent me.

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Photo of smanders
3.38/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured out of a big, brown bomber (with no printed expiration date or ABV%) into a British pint glass.

Appearance - a hazy, dark peach color. Firm head and not-too-bad lacing.

Smell - might be some hops in there! More pine than citrus, although I catch a hint of sweetness too.

Taste - BitterFest! Even some Hopheads may run from this one. It all will depend on what kind of hops you prefer.

Being a big citrus hops fan (Pliny, A Little Sumpin'), I thought Alpha Dog could have been a little more balanced. Nevertheless, it's better than a lager.

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Photo of JuicesFlowing
3.4/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a balloon glass.

Look: Peach, lighter caramel color. Foamy white head leaves a film, good foamy lacing.

Aroma: Spicy, resin, faint sweetness, bitter citrus. Very boozy.

Taste: Something immediately off, kind of musty. Very sharp bitterness that covers up any malt sweetness. Sharp lemon juice finish.

Mouthfeel: Fairly dry.

Overall: Just something in the taste profile that puts it off.

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Photo of HosP
3.4/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured 22 oz beer into snifter.

A- Golden orange in color. Very hazy with lots of carbonation bubbles. White fluffy head with sticky lace left on glass.

S- Big fruit, citrus hop aroma throughout the nose. Smells like juicy hops.

T- Follows the nose, lots of hop flavors up front until the end. Grapefruit, citrus mostly at the beginning. Some piney flavors come in towards the end. Some dull bitterness at the end sticks with you.

M- Medium body, lots of carbonation. Bitterness stays with you.

O- Solid DIPA. Nothing overly great, but still good. The more I drank though did have a slightly weird after taste.

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Photo of deereless
3.4/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: Tightly packed head, a light golden straw color, lingering froth - 3.75, S: Lots of earthy hops, green pine needles, faint hint of Bazooka Joe bubblegum, floral - 4.00, T: Bitter almost pungent hop bite, pink grapefruit, rum soaked raisin bread, hops dominate the beer - 3.00, M: A little sticky and creamy - 4.00, D: An true Northwest IPA - brash, not the most balanced, decent beer worthy of a try - 3.00

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Alpha Dog Imperial IPA from Laughing Dog Brewing
3.79 out of 5 based on 664 ratings.
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