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Five | Surly Brewing Company

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very good
136 Reviews
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Brewed by:
Surly Brewing Company
Minnesota, United States

Style: American Wild Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.50%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
In the Surly brewhouse, brewing our Anniversary beers mean one thing: forget what ya know and try something different. In honor of FIVE glorious years we bring you a 100% Brettanomyces fermented dark ale aged in red wine barrels. Flavors of sour cherry, tobacco, oak and classic "brett" barnyard funk balanced by dark Munich malt chewiness. Enjoy immediately or age at cellar temperature for a couple years.

Added by sarro on 08-23-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 136 | Ratings: 503
Photo of stealth
4.82/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Ahh, the beer that turned me on to sours. Thanks dragomni - I am indebted to you eternally for this gift you bestowed upon me.

Dark red-brown pour with steady carbonation bubbles. Not much of a head to speak of. You can smell oak, apples, barn, manure, funk. It's nasty, in a good way.

This is a very earthy brew with a tart red wine quality. The brett funk is there the entire time, and really hits your palate firmly with steady tartness and puckering sour. Very dry finish.

Love the mouth watering, salivating sensations that Five creates.

Five isn't as good as my favorite sours, but it will always be one of the best, in my book, due to the 'intangible' in that it turned me on to this style of beer in the first place.

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Photo of silentnoiz
2.73/5  rDev -30.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A - dark red with a small head

S - sour cherries and oak, some vinegar

T - sour cheries, oak and red wine vinegar

M - fairly lively up front then thins out from the middle to the back

O - I'm not a fan of sours, but this is certainly interesting.

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Photo of SummitVA
4.47/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Soft hiss as I pop the cap. Deep mahogany pour puts up a thin head, although carbonation appears steady.

S - Beautiful mustiness, and complex brett funk of wet earth, mushrooms, and green apple. Darker malt scents suggesting stone fruits, with plum jumping out at me especially along with some cherry, as well. Oak character a bit of heat.

T - Earthiness of the brett is very forward. Palate opens to a complex blend of sour apple, vanilla, and faint burnt sugar. Tartness of the finish is firm and crisp, and pleasant taste of green apple lingers in the finish along with a dry tannic quality. Alcohol heat is imperceptible.

M - Medium-bodied beer that drinks much lighter given the crisp finish. Carbonation is a bit on the lower end, but beer remains lively overall.

O - Really happy to have tried Surly 5 at long last. Fantastically complex brett character and solid tartness make for a beautiful dark wild ale. Todd and Omar just don't miss. Happy New Year!

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Photo of Treebs
3.88/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml waxed bottle that took forever to get off. Served in a Surly Darkness snifter, graciously shared by danielnovak3.

A: Pours a dark brown body, semi hazy, with a light khaki colored head. Wasn't really expecting that.

S: Slight vinegar with a mild acidity is present up front, but it quickly subsides to a tart cherries and apples with a mild funk. The nose is a little to restrained for my liking.

T: The red wine barrel really comes through and shines with mild oak flavor as well. The sour cherries are present with the slightest hint of light vinegar. Those flavors quickly fade to an unexpected malty finish.

M: High drinkability in this one. Light bodied with nice carbonation, but the flavors don't linger long on the palate.

O: The tastes are bit restrained already and I can't see this getting to much better with age. The malt heavy finish kind of threw me for a loop as well. A nice and different beer.

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Photo of JoEBoBpr
3.88/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip glass from a 750ml bottle.

A - Pours a nice dark mahogany brown with some slight carmel hints. There is a thin light tan head that is dense but recedes quickly.

S - Aroma is delicious. Starts off with some delicious vinous notes and some nice tart vinegar notes. There is some mild sweetness akin to cherries and grapes. Quite tart with some nice tobacco notes and some slight oak.

T & M - Taste starts off a bit light but still yummy. There is some nice tart notes as well as some slight vinous notes. There is some nice cherry and bretty funk in there as well as some nice woody notes and slight tobacco. As the beer warms there is a nice leathery tone to it and the tobacco intensifies. The moutfheel is surprisingly light with some nice carbonation.

O - Fairly good AWA. Nice tart notes but nice overall flavors as well.

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Photo of kojevergas
4.2/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on-draught at Cafe 23 in Minnesota. Reviewed from notes. Expectations were high.

A: Pours a one finger head of great cream, good thickness, and pretty good retention. Colour is a solid black.

Sm: Red wine, bacteria, yeast, and pleasant souring hops and funkiness. A moderate strength aroma, but very pleasant.

T: Wonderful sourness, funkiness, and yeast alongside red wine notes. Very complex and subtle. Extremely well balanced and quite nicely built.

Mf: Smooth and wet. Very complementary of the flavours and style. Not too thick or too thin. Just right.

Dr: Very drinkable for a sour beer. I'd definitely love to have it again. A bit pricey, but excellent. The red wine and sourness coalesce beautifully. A real gem of a beer that would be wonderful with age. It might be disrespectful to pair it with food.

I was sad to hear that Cafe 23 will be closing soon.

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

998th Review on BA
Bottle to Snifter
22 oz

Thanks to Poonamibaxter for this bottle. Appreciate it mucho buddy!!

*Shared by those at MrHirschybars*

App- A red color I was/wasn't expecting. A bit darker and cloudier than what I envisioned pouring out of the bottle. More in tune with really just a red wine with more carbonation. I always think wild ales to be a bit more pink/purple. This was a great color with a lot of frothy bubbles on top. A decent amount of cling and lace.

Smell- As soon as you cut the wax and pop this one open, you are greeted with some wonderful funk from the Brett, you get a lot of deep ripe acidic fruits including some cherries and some strawberries. You get some some bitter notes and a deep layering of them all.

Taste- The wild ale here is a very new departure for Surly and I think they personally nailed it. It was funky, fresh, vibrant and flavorful. The Brett hasn't evolved as much as I know it's going to and right now as a young ale it's doing a good job with what it is. Aged in wine barrels to give a depth of flavor, some tannins and some tarty-puckering flavors.

Mouth- Light light-medium bodied and medium carbonation. Residual dark fruits and a lightness behind it.. The bretty flavors linger only for a short time. I like the feel of this one quite a bit. Not too prickly. Not too dry. I like it just like this. I wonder how long it will stay if you lay this one down.

Drink- I was very curious as to what the 1st sour from Surly would be like. This was a complete surprise to get this bottle from my buddy when he moved. I was very happy with what we got to try at this party. This bottle was a good departure from what I have come to love from Surly. It was new, exciting and although the style had been done before, this was still very flavorful.

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Photo of thagr81us
4.3/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks goes out to MBrausen for helping me out to get a few of these bottles! And also thanks to caSSino for picking them up and bringing them to me. Thanks guys! Served from bottle into a Mikkeller taster flute. Poured a massively dark reddish brown with a half finger light tan head that subsided to a minimal amount slowly. Maintained decent lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, tart, sour, fruit, sour cherry, and wood. The flavor was of sweet malt, sour, tart, sour cherry, wood, funk, and very subtle tobacco. It had a medium feel on the palate with high carbonation. Overall this was a pretty good brew. I was expecting quite a bit going into this one, and this one brought the goods. It was quite complex in both the aroma and flavor. Some of the flavors like the tobacco definitely threw me off quite a bit, but it worked quite well with everything that was going on here. A really well put together brew by Surly that everyone must try. Nice job Surly!

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Photo of tewaris
3.4/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

That wax was a really really really dumb idea. Just a pain in the ass, nothing else. The bottles looks horrendous anyway, so there goes the "classy presentation" part.

Poured into a wine glass. The beer is deep garnet colored with a good clarity. Initially a light brown colored head of moderate size formed, but it fell soon into a persistent ring. The aroma is quite funky, if not sufficiently strong: street dog just back from the sewer, soft oak, and generally sour (acetic). Other notes? I'll put them under the red wine umbrella, about which I don't know anything!

The sour notes in the taste are stronger than I expected. The impression I got from the forums was that this beer was more about the Brettnomyces and not about the tartness. Having tasted it earlier and today, I think that it is sufficiently sour, but of course not intensely so. The mouthfeel, however, is flawed in my opinion. For a beer that tastes as tannic as this one when warm, the body has to be bigger. The red wine notes really come through with temperature. Generally dark and tart, Five delivers what it promises; but is it great? Hardly so.

For a brewery that makes beers like Furious and Darkness, yeah, Five is bit of a letdown. For a first effort, it's pretty good. I sincerely wish Surly the best with their next sour.

4, 4, 3, 2, 4

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Photo of Sammy
3.88/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sour aroma, dark bodied with substantial head. Very creamy for the style. very good drinkability for a sour. Brett and the blending are nicely done and result in a balanced creation. Cherry and oak flavours are understated. Thanks Pete for sharing another Surly gem.

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Photo of dogfishandi
4.5/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

big thanks to pete for bringing this to our last tasting!

750ml waxed and capped bottle poured into a darkness snifter.

pours out much darker than expected, almost black, a very dark ruby red color, tannish colored head.

intense barnyard brett funk and sour cherry. really attacks the nostrils.

sour pie cherries, tons of barnyard, musty brett funk, rich maltiness, tobacco, leather, almost a bit of lactic funk.

medium bodied, nice feeling carbonation, so intensely sour.

overall, a really solid sour, such an intense sour brett character with still a nice rich maltiness. reminds me a bit of bruery oude tart or marron acidifie, flanders red almost.

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Photo of Gtreid
4.05/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Got this in a trade a while ago, but I can't remember from whom, sorry. 750 ml poured into my Founder's tulip.

A: Pours a deep cherry brown. Nice finger or so of sand colored head, that faded to a thin collar. No lacing to speak of.

A: A little light, but the notes from the red wine barrels is nice. Other notes of cherry, dark ripe fruit, and tartness.

T: Slightly sour red wine with notes of oak, cherry, raspberries, and grass. The brett has not had enough time to really show its face, but the sourness that is there is just fine by me. it finishes dry and sweet.

M: Good levels of carbonation, medium body. Really pretty nice for the style.

O: I really liked this one. Obviously it needed more time to fully develop, but that's my fault for opening the bottle too soon. Would like to revisit this about a year from now.

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Photo of SmartyPints
3.14/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from 22oz bottle.

A- Poured a darker brown with some light amberish hues to it when the light hit it. Two finger beige head shows decent retention. Sticky web lace all over the sides of the glass when I drink this one.

S- I get a lot of darker fruit on the nose right off the get go which I didnt' expect. Some light sour cherry notes right around the middle with vinegar as well. The vinegar notes last toward the end which blends with a light oak aroma and settle alcohol notes. Not as sour in the aroma as I thought it was going to be.

T- The malts come out first which are like caramel and bready. Light sour cherry notes follow this before I get a vinegar flavor that lingers lightly throughout the rest of the beer. The backend is where I pick up some light oak notes along with more cherry and a hint of vanilla. The alcohol is very subdued in the ending and finishes well with the vinegar toward the ending.

M- Light-medium mouthfeel. Carbonation could have been a little higher as it seemed a little flat to me. Vinegar, caramel malts, and light cherry are left on the palate. Aftertaste is hints of barrel, light alcohol warmth, and lingering vinegar sourness. Flavors were put together well just a tad underpar for my liking in the style. No off flavors were present when drinking although with the vinegar lingering it would be hard to tell otherwise. Heavy drying on the palate with each sip.

O- This was a good first attempt for Surly into this style. I can respect them doing this but the aroma and flavor were just kind of average to me. More sourness could have come out in both categories and it would have made it stand out among other sours.

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Photo of Beerdregs
4.22/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: pours with an ample white head. The color is orange-amber much like a pale ale.

S: Oak, sourness kind of like a balsalmic vinegar.

T: Sourness but with some oakiness from the wine barrels. Very difficult to pick up much malt from this.

M: moderate amount of carbonation with a very dry finish that makes you want to pucker.

O: This is an excellent beer. Another great addition to their anniversary line up. I have to admit I do enjoy La Folie better however. Thanks to Heritage liquors for Beer Geek X-mas!

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Photo of mothman
3.5/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a beige head. Leaves a little bit of lace. Color is a dark caramel bronw.

Aroma: Brett funk and a little sourness. Not too sour. Cherries and oak. Medicinal. Malts and spices.

Tastes: Caramel and bready malts. Medicinal bretty funk. Oaky. Cherries and vanilla.

Mouthfeel: Kind of tart, kind of funky. Lighter bodied with a lower amount of carbonation. Ends clean.

Overall, it's an okay wild. Nothing to amazing. Somewhat drinkable, but nothing to go crazy over. Above average.

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Photo of orangesol
3.68/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to therealnomayo for bringing this one along on our Black Friday beer trip.

A - Pours dark brown with a small white head leaving light lace down the glass.

S - Smells of dark fruits; mostly raisins and figs; chocolate, sour cherries, balsamic vinegar, and some oak.

T - This one is pretty vinous up front quickly giving way to a mix of light funk, dark fruits, more balsamic, chocolate, damp earth and lots of oak tannins. The finish is pretty dry with a tiny bit of funk, lingering for some time.

M - Medium body and flavor with moderate carbonation. Feel is funky up front giving way to a good dose of dryness in the finish.

O - For their first attempt it isn't too bad. It had some good qualities but in reality it wasn't mind blowing. I wouldn't turn it down in the future.

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Photo of Urbancaver
3.75/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thaks Nate For bringing this
Pours a dark reddish brown. Nice off-white head.
Smells tart and roasty. Dark sweet malts and lots of sour notes. Tastes tart and wine heavy. Lots of roasted malts. A most chocolatey beer for a sour. Highly carbonated. Overall not that great

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Photo of KarlHungus
4.23/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Stanley's Barroom in Nordeast Minneapolis. This beer arrives a clear ruby color. The head is one inch of firm white foam that recedes slowly leaving good lacing. The aroma is of tart cherries, and faint caramel. The aroma is quite weak for a sour beer. The taste, however, is abundant and full of complexities. It has a sharp tart cherry quality, some broken in leather, faint hints of wood, a touch of sweetness, and a well integrated sourness. The mouthfeel is medium-full bodied with a velvety texture, a dry finish, and effervescent carbonation. Overall, this is a very well crafted beer. It may not be the most sour beer out there, but it isn't trying too be. It is more of an easy drinking workingman's sour that would pair well with a large variety of foods. I would drink this beer again without hesitation, and look forward to Surly further exploring the realm of sour beers.

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Photo of drabmuh
4.2/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sent to me by kbutler, the long awaited Surly Five. Unfortunatley for it, a B+ doesn't get you on the top American Wild Ale list.

Beer is darker than expected, quite dark, thin tan head, low retention low lacing.

Oaky, mildly acetic, mildly lactic throughout, interesting.

Beer is good, definitely an above average sour, effervescent on the palate, strong oakiness, nice brightness, creamy lactic, great finish. I really liked it.

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Photo of scottfrie
3.85/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to rudylaw for hooking it up.

A: Pours a very dark brown with a thin bubbly head that faded into a thin collar leaving wispy lace.
S: Sour notes of fruits and sweet berries with a hint of marshmallow, caramel and honey. Very berry-like.
T: I get dominant notes of sweet berries, lightly tart fruit, and dark malt. There is a bit of acetone in the finish, and the brew is vinous overall. The brett adds a nice dimension, but it’s not prominent. The flavors are good but not overpowering.
M: Medium-thick body, low carbonation, thick mouthfeel, and a drying mouthful that is hardly a desert though.
O: Pretty good but not steller, and not very sour at all. The mild sourness adds a nice red wine dimension though, and I thought this was enjoyable albeit a bit lacking. Thanks again Anthony!

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Photo of iLovehops23
3/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Dark fruit, roasted malt, and chocolate in the aroma with just the faintest bit of vinegar/sour character. The fruit consists of charred cherries and perhaps raisins. Interesting, though not particularly pronounced, vibrant, or aromatic.

The flavor is an interesting combination of roasted malt, dark chocolate, raisin, cherry, and a mild sourness underneath it all. While all that sounds good on paper, the flavors don't truly combine for all that pleasurable of a drinking experience. The roast and chocolate are dominant and the flavors are very muddied. I would prefer less roast and chocolate and more fruit and sour.

Thin to medium bodied with somewhat low carbonation.

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Photo of siradmiralnelson
4.12/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 22oz bottle into Globe glass.

A. 2 finger head. Color is dark brown with some reddish hues. Moderate retention. Not much lacing.

S. Complex aroma. Definitely sour smell. Some tart cherries. Some funkiness/yeast as it warms.

T. Cold this beer is very sour, with a lart of tart cherry. Has a wine quality to it. Get some oakiness as it warms along with a more pronounced Brett flavor. Also get more of the malty base as it warms that lends some raisins, fig, prune flavor.

M. Medium bodied. Low carbonation. Lingering sourness, but overall finishes pretty dry.

O. Its a sour. In my opinion a pretty approachable one. Shame on me for not letting the entire bottle warm up before drinking it, but I did get a nice range of flavor from cold to warm. Interesting beer. Nice job by Surly, which comes as no surprise.

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Photo of smakawhat
3.95/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a tulip glass. Thanks goes out to translucent.

A very small tan and foamy head that disappears fairly quickly. giving off lots of snapping carbonation. Not a collar left. Body however is incredibly dark with a classic dark walnut brown/black body. Impressive to see that color on such a wild like beer.

Nose is an interesting sweet green apple, and hint of tartness. Great balance and a sense of almost baked apple pie. Very nice nose on this. Mild brett sense, but a nice apple angle on this.

Very fleeting taste. A sense of oud bruin malt and sour, but falls quickly. Apple sour comes through and vanishes after a swallow but there are other flavors that seem to follow. Mild cherry, definitely sour fruit, but a very fast finishing beer. Mouthfeel goes toward extremely light bodied without much viscosity. Some nice noticeable tight carbonation which is enjoyable and not distracting.

Overall nice tasting but also very fleeting. Enjoyable to drink no major complaints.

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Photo of CPeterson
4.03/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A -- A deep garnet / brown brew that pours to a two finger khaki head and settles to a fine skim leaving no lacing.

S -- Sour cherry, fig, hints of banana and wood.

T -- Acid and earth upfront; sour cherry and malty goodness in the forms of raisins and fig, lightly tannic like red wine and funky as all get out.

M -- The acid dominates but doesn't completely overwhelm. Leaves a good pucker and lingers around a while, slightly resinous.

D -- Reminiscent of a Flanders in many ways, a very nice entry for Surly in the sour category. Worth a pickup and a revisit.

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Photo of syrupjoe
3.58/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap into oversized wine glass at Black Sheep in downtown St. Paul.

Pours a dark amber root beer color - almost completely opaque except for hints of color around the edges. 1F light mocha head with tiny bubbles. No lacing.

Nose is definitely sour with notes of cranberry, toasty vanilla and oak.

Raw cranberry bitterness with almond creaminess and vanilla and oak tones.

Moderate carbonation - tiny bubbles, tight, crisp.

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Five from Surly Brewing Company
3.94 out of 5 based on 503 ratings.
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