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Imperial Stout | Rogue Ales

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Imperial StoutImperial Stout
1,277 Ratings
Imperial StoutImperial Stout

Brewed by:
Rogue Ales
Oregon, United States

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
12 Ingredients:
Malts: Great Western, Harrington & Klages, Hugh Baird XLT-80, Black, Munich, Chocolate and rolled oats.
Hops: Willamette, Cascade and Chinook. Specialty: Two Secret ingredients.
Yeast & Water: Rogue's Pacman Yeast & Free Range Coastal Water.

88 IBU
73 AA
256º Lovibond

Added by BeerAdvocate on 09-21-2001

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,277 |  Reviews: 821
Photo of JohnnyDuvel
4.05/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I had this after an Old Rasputin, and I must say I preferred that over the Rogue. Poured like motor oil, nice smell and appearance. Has a very good, chocolaty flavor, but is overwhelmed by the hops. I enjoyed drinking this beer (and I felt great afterwards!), but ultimately it is just to dry and bitter. I much prefer the Shakespeare stout (and for this style, the aforementioned Old Rasputin and Samuel Smith's).
(as has often been the case for me, I've come to appreciate this more as my palate has adjusted. Not the best I've had for the style, but an excellent brew nonetheless).

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Photo of mophie
4.45/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Awesome, awesome beer. Black as hell, with a beautiful brown, cafe au lait-colored head. Gorgeous. Intoxicating aromas of chocolate, caramelized plums, currants. The smell alone can induce a buzz. Taste is a combination of chocolate, espresso, dark fruits (again, currants), and burnt toast. And oh yeah, there's alcohol in there. And its taste seems to be intensified by a hop bitterness that pushes oh-so-close to the edge of being out of whack. Thankfully there's enough lingering sweetness and toasted maltiness to balance the taste in the finish. Nice!

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Photo of marc77
4.23/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Jet black and opaque. Dark brown, thin, but persistent head leaves sparse lace. Citrusy hop nose w/ hints of pine combined with chocolate, deeply roasted black patent and dark, slightly raisiny caramel malt. Mild butterscotch emerges as the beer breathes. Assertive hop bitterness hits the palate, and remains dominant to the malt profile. Chocolate malt melds with residual sugars to lend a briefly sweet, milk chocolate impression which is immediately offset by both sharp, slightly smokey black patent and the lingering hop bitterness. Overshadowed undertone of carob and buttery oak. Piney Chinook hop flavor remains strong, and couples with malt sweetness to lend a subtle, sweet spruce like note mid palate. Moderate in body, with a firm mouthfeel that is not quite as viscous as other imperials. Finishes bittersweet, with lingering roasted grain and hop bitterness. This is the 2001 release. Delicious in its current state, but further cellaring may tame the hop bitterness and allow more malt character to provide contrast. Easily the most bitter stout around. Akin to Willy Shakes on crack.

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Photo of MJR
4.59/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

1996 Vintage. 7oz nip bottle.

Appearance: Pours blacker than the ninth ring of Dante's Inferno into my brandy snifter. Being that it's a 1996 bottle, there's no carbonation left...no head or bubbles whatsoever. It moves like diluted motor oil in my glass...

Smell: Wow...what's in there? Sweet malt, roasted coffee, molasses, raisons, rum, black currants, chocolate, toffee, burnt fruit, etc.... What a magnificent aroma!

Taste: For a quick list of the flavors, see my list in 'smell.' It's all in there, along with an amazing bitterness from start to finish. Finishes with a strong roasted flavor along with an interesting chocolate note. Absolutely incredible.

(Edit: As I finish this bottle, the flavor that asserted itself the most was bitter chocolate.)

Mouthfeel: Have you ever swished diluted motor oil in your mouth? Me neither...I imagine it would feel like this... It actually leaves an oily residue on my glass!

Drinkability: I'm going to be honest here: if you have the sack to try this beer, you won't be scared by it. This beer is amazing...I need to get a few more bottles of this for the cellar along with some recent bottles to compare to.

One of the best Imperial Stouts out there. One of the best beers out there...period.

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Photo of inebrius
4.95/5  rDev +22.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottled 2001

I'm trying to gather my thoughts, goddam. Pours a muddied 90 weight with a surprisingly thick, sticky malted milk ball head. Nose of fine dark Belgian chocolate, black currants, hazelnut gelato, black forest cake, a freaking French dessert cart of aroma. Intoxicating! In many ways intoxicating, cozy, a blanket of warmth and flavor, roasty and hop bitter and joy to the buds. This beer is huge, round, silky and a thousand other favorable adjectives. Like a session with the all-time great Russian novelists, transcendent.

Cheers to Billy Stout for the sample! My god man, you could sell this stuff on a street corner.

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Photo of mzwolinski
4.88/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Wow. This beer pours like used motor oil, completely opaque, with one of the darkest heads I've ever seen -- dark brown, a good half-finger thick, and creamy in consistency. Just looking at it you know it's going to leave a good lace. The aroma is intoxicating in itself, chocolatey and alcoholic, with hints of black cherries. Things only get better in the mouth. Creamy and mousse-like in flavor and texture, this beer is dominated by deep malts, while the alcohol lends a nice spiciness mid-palate to compliment its dark fruit and chocolate notes. A very strong hop bitterness (87 IBUs!) gives a nice finish to the drink, and keeps it well in balance. Aftertaste is sweet and with a taste of burnt malts and currants. More full bodied than a pregnant Rosie O'Donnell. Good God this is good.

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Photo of doho95fu
4.23/5  rDev +5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Another solid Rogue Brew. This beer is basically black and the head is thick and the color of a normal stout. The smell is coffee and cocoa. The Taste has those same characters, but there is something with a hint of fruit although I cannot place the flavor. Good mouthfeel and drinkable for an Imperial Stout. I also love these Rogue bottles.

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Photo of mjohn27603
4.7/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled in 2001 - 12 oz bottle. I can't recall anything that poured any darker than this beer. A black hole in a bottle. I get the aroma of raisins. It's a very inviting aroma. The taste is very complex. Bitter but not overly so. There is a mix of dark fruit and some chocolate. This is very close with Bell's Expedition Stout for my favorite Imperial Stout. I think the bitterness is much better balanced than Old Rasputin. I'm going to try an experiment based on Putnam's adivce. I'll leave out half a open bottle overnight and try again tomorrow night. More notes later....

After sitting out for a day: A smoother taste. Obviously less carbonation. Less bitter. A bit more mellowed in flavors. A bit more warming and more coating on the tongue. Tastes a bit more like a quality bitter chocolate. A creamier and smoother taste than yesterday.

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Photo of maxpower
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

1997 7oz. bottle, Dark black color,, thick full body, not much of a head. Sweet fruity-bready aroma. Taste like black licorice and raisins. Smooth, no bitterness in the finish, may be a bit past its prime or bad storage.

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Photo of yen157
3.78/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Alcohol is never a problem for me. I enjoy distilled spirits, wine, and of course beer. This beer, however, was almost too much for me.

Let me quickly say that it was a gorgeous beer. The head was cocoa brown and resembled a thick layer of a chocolate whipped topping on my black beer. It smelled very nice. Generous hopping gave this a substantial hop aroma that complimented nicely with the toasted grains, deep, rich malt, and alcohol in the nose. The first sip was brutal. It was like somebody had slippped a shot of nail polish remover into my beer. Alcohol fumes went right into my nose through the back of my throat. I have never experienced anything like that. As the beer sat for a while and warmed up some of the alcohol evaporated from it and the beer became more drinkable. Rogue's version of one of my favorites was unusually well balanced from the hopping, and was a tasty beer overall. It was even a tiny bit mushroomy. That was a nifty flavor to encounter in a beer, especially an imperial stout.

As you can see, my only peoplem was with the alcohol. I don't even think that it was that high, just not very well masked IMO.

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Photo of OatmattStout
4.06/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ding ding, the first round of two heavy weigth flavors in a super heavy weight Stout. This one is like a a good ass-woopin in a bottle. It looked exceptional in the glass and I don't believe i have ever seen such a dark color head in my life. Then the first sip- like playing you radio at a hearty volume with the treble and the bass both turned up to max. The battle was on between the full ainse, toasted espresso malt side and the Hops, hops, hops on the other. Big flavors in both corners and chewy from begining to end with mouth feel. In the end the hop's win and for me a oatmeal and sweet stout fan to much hops on the finish. But all in all for this style of beer one serious beer and a good one. Maybee I am not man enough and when I take off my training wheels I will be able to really enjoy this one with out a pre pouring pep talk from a highschool football coach [actually I was on the swim team and there are no really manly pep talks to a bunch of guy's standing around in speedos, footbal made for better imagry.]

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Photo of aracauna
4.06/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Imperial Stout Blind Tasting notes (11-16-02): Super black opaque, darkest so far. The aroma is mild, burnt. Flavor is dry, thin burnt bitterness, not a lot of other malty flavors. Good but a little one dimensional.

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Photo of hyuga
4.72/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I've been looking forward to this one for a while. Well, this is one dark, dark brew. An x-ray would have trouble getting through this one. Big brown head on top that leaves good lace, but settles slowly to thin. When i first cracked this, some citrus hop aroma escaped from the bottle, but with the whole thing poured and right at my nose, that aroma is more suppressed and mingles alongside the big malt character. Chocolate to be exact, maybe a little caramel as well. Fruity also, besides the slight citrus. A bit wood-like too. Even a tiny bit peaty and smoky. Very complex aroma, and unique for an imperial stout. On the palate, a great combination of flavors appears, as complex as the aroma. Roasted malt grain, dark chocolate, caramel, and bitter hop oil are noticeable first. Peat and smoke are more noticeable than in the aroma, they add a great character, and come out especially well with retro-olfaction. Sweet fruit hits near the middle, but then leaves. Big alcohol warming. Huge body! Chewy and thick. It can't decide whether to be smooth or aggressive in the mouthfeel department, which certainly isn't a bad thing. Very hoppy finish that holds up even to the last taste bud. A strong contender for the title in the imperial stout category with its great complexity in aroma and flavor, and its massive full body. This is without a doubt one to put back for a while, I'm having a 2001 right now, imagine how much more complexity it would gain with even more aging! Cheers to Rogue once again!

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Photo of Jon
4.73/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2001 bottling (second impression - two years old)

Perpetually black and opaque, Rogue's is one of the most impressive looking imperial stouts I've seen. Dark-hued taupe head sits upon the inky liquid. Smell is a varied assortment of bittersweet chocolate, Pacific Northwest hops, coffee, sweet malts and traces of port. Taste is so concentrated it's unreal. Burgeoning notes of hops stand out the most in this stout, with generous additions of freshly ground espresso, sweet charred malts, chocolate, and alcohol. Finishes quite elegant with just the faintest touch of astringency. Chewy malt accentuates the mouthfeel and a chalky finish that doesn't quit. Vastly drinkable for a beer of its size, this is a great stout that continues to get better. I've got a few more bottles of this vintage in the cellar to track its aging progression. And as good as this is now, it's still only going to get better for a while longer. Great stuff.

2001 bottling (first impression at one year, rated 10-28-02 at 4.5)

This stout pours an intense, defining black with a creamy brown head that subsides quickly. Leaves giant rings of lace all the way down the glass. Nose is diverse with notes of roasted malt, chocolate, a generous dose of hops and coffee. Taste is quite appealing. Roasted chocolate malt, lots of Pacific Northwest hops (thank you), coffee, a hint of cherries and warming alcohol are all present in this mammoth stout. Mouthfeel is a bit oily, but still rather smooth considering its age. This is one fine imperial stout that can stand to age some more, but regardless, it's a step ahead of the pack as it stands today.

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Photo of jackndan
4.97/5  rDev +23.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Rogue Imperial Stout 1996: In a tiny 7-ounce bottle. Beer is thick and black. The blurb on the back says it’s made with free-range coastal water and “two secret ingredients.” Absolutely flat, no head whatsoever, but there are bubbles floating slowly toward the top. Aroma is very pleasant: strong scents of coffee, mixed with sweet/dried fruits, and burgundy/wine. Astonishingly thick body. Incredible tastes, it starts out very sweet, but then follows up hops, and lasts forever as it coats the tongue. Little alcohol taste, but very nice warmth. Think dark chocolate, strong coffee, Cabernet/port, and molasses. Truly wonderful, well-balanced, complex. Well worth the extra trip tonight. I take back the “tiny bottle.” This is the biggest 7-ounces of beer I’ve ever had, and I’ll be drinking it all night.

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Photo of BeerAngel
4.26/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2001: Whew! Pours a thick dark dirty oil black with a modest brown head. Absolutely beautiful! Nice but mellow aromas of burnt chocolate and roasted malt had my mouth watering so much, I was slobbering (well almost). The taste is a nice balance of bold hops and burnt chocolate and strong warming alcohol on the tail. The very thick malty and fluffy mouthfeel is definitely the heaviest that I've ever experienced and goes well with the flavor. This is one bold brew! More proof that the good ole USA has some awesome native brews. Cheers!

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Photo of putnam
4.9/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2001: The color is of black paint. The charcoal-brown head disappears quickly. The smell is of bitterness. Deep, unabiding bitterness of tortured souls. Peets espresso... Burning pine forests...
Sticky, toung-lashing bitterness with a monster grip forces flavors of dried fig, cigar, hazelnut and bitter chocolate (i.e. Valrhona 70% "Guanaja"). This is a big, big beer. Not for the timid. Primordial, bowels-of-the-earth type energy is packed in to this now larger, 12 oz. bottle.

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Photo of Murph
4.31/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2001: This pours so black that it actually starts to swallow up the light from around it and dims the room, it also has a nicethick creamy brown head that sticks to the glass all the way down. Big burnt malt, bitter hops, oats and alcohol smell to this one. This beer greets your tongue with some huge malty and burnt flavors before the hops slap you in the face to wake you up. There is a load of piney hoppiness in this one that gets overpowered as the brew goes on by some of the amazing roasted coffee and bittersweet chocolate flavors that are produced by the malt along with an incredibly smooth character that is imparted by the oats. The brew finishes with a nice lingering roasted/slightly burnt flavor on the tongue with some faint traces of alcohol.. Grab your fork and knife as you are going to need it, this is definitely an amazingly chewy beer with a huge body to it that is nice and creamy as it rolls across the tongue. For a beer of such complexity and thickness this one is still rather drinkable and I would suggest that all try it.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.67/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2000: 9/10/02- 7 oz. XS bottle. Looks like oil as it pours. BLACK. No head, just a very limited collar. The aroma is initially of grassy, resiny, pine-like hops and dark fruit with chocolatey and roasty malts. As it warms, however, the hop aroma is eclipsed by the fruitiness and roast character. The mouthfeel is quite oily, and very silky. The flavor starts with a sharp "burnt currant" note, revealing some chocolatey notes as it warms in the mouth, then a solid hop flavor & bitterness, eventually followed by an intense burnt roastiness. The high level of alcohol is surprisingly hidden. A complex, and absolutely intense beer that's best served in a small glass. (But I was upset when the put the Old Crusty in the small XS bottle!) This does not seem to have aged any better than a recent 2001. In fact, I wonder if it will age well at all, as the hops that are present seem to help distinguish this beer and I don't see the flavors rounding for the better - that will just restrict the complexity! All that might happen is that the hop flavors will become muddled. Hmmm? Only time will tell. An excellent beer in its own right, but not my choice for a stylistically correct Imperial Stout. Still, INTENSE. Makes quite a nightcap.

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

2001: Aroma on this reminds me of Rogue's mocha porter - lots of coffee and dark malt. Lots of coffee in the flavor, with a fairly prominent alcohol presence (wonder what the ABV is on this one?). Easily in a class with Sam Smith's Imperial Stout, and seems a bit sweeter. Another winner from Rogue.

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Photo of ZAP
4.41/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2001: Looks the part....black as a pair of Ronnie James Dio tight black pants (Former front man for Black Sabbath)..a rich burgundy lace that bubbles like a root beer float then fades to almost nothing...Poured out of the bottle like cough syrup...The nose is a tich disappointing...I expected more...A faint fresh hop smell, and some thick malt accents, but it is not a great nose on this one...Alcohol on the buds and a heavy bitter hop bite....The closest one I've tried to expedition, but Bell's isn't hopped up this high (if it is their malt load is much higher)..what is interesting is the hops were not real heavy on the nose, but boy are they there on the buds along with a mocha/coffee flavor...


I find this the closest imperial to Expedition....at first taste I thought the hops were too hot and the malt too light but on second taste I find this outstanding....a great balance...hopped up, but balanced with the nice thick malt......top of the rung for Imperials..

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Photo of tigerpaws
3.93/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2001: While this style is not my fav this is a very good beer. From the dark as night color to the heavy creamy head, it makes you think you may need a spoon to taste it. Very good scent, like the beer is signaling you that "hey I am here". Nice feel on the tongue and the only resaon I give it a lower mark on drinkability is that its not for the novice or the faint of heart................CHEERS

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Photo of beerluvr
4.75/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2001: Pours with a gargantuan rocky, dense rusty colored head. Looks like one could float a coin on it. Settles into opaque blackness, with the nose smelling of chocolate, burnt malts, alcohol and hops...and greatness! Taste is tangy, thick, burnt, hoppy, alcoholic, it goes on and on. It's almost sensory overload with this excellent beer. Finishes with a warming liquor-ish sensation as it flows down the throat. Superb!

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Photo of Bighuge
4.63/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2001: This beer is black. Not a ray of light gets through. It pours a big choclolate milkshake like head. Dense, dark and brown. Lacing ability is impressive as it leaves nice intricate patterns on the glass. Scents of mocha, coffee and molasses all intertwine nicely. The two big standouts on the buds at first are alcohol and hops. But they mingle nicely. These characteristics are more obtruse than in the 2000 sample I reviewed not long ago. But I love it. This is an insanely bitter beer. There are also some slight notes of coffee, anise and burnt malt. (These will probably emerge in a year or two.) The only thing that I really "docked" at this point is the drinkability factor (4.0). The alcohol taste kept me from giving this category an excellent rating.

I only see this beer improving in a year or two. Thanks to Discount Liquor in Milwaukee, I have 2 to cellar and 1 to give to my brother.


2000: Pours a bit like motor oil. A small creamy brown head disappears within seconds. A unique sweet/roasty mix in the aroma. Thick black appearance with fine sediment settling to the bottom. There's a great roasted malt taste present. There's a sweet and a bit of an alcoholic taste reminiscent of fine barleywine style beers. The bitterness is intense, as it should be for this style. And it lingers long after the drink. The IBU is 87.5. It takes an incredible malt load to balance this hopping so nicely. A truly great BIG BEER from one of the BIG BEER kings, John Maier.

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Photo of RonfromJersey
4.48/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

2001: Black, as in black hole, body. Hell, the head is darker than some porters I've had. Head is actually brown like a slighty overdone chocolate chip cookie. Craters like the lunar surface. Great lacing. Roasted malts, chocolate, coffee and hops in the aroma. Rich, full in the mouth. Superb nightcapper.
Bottle says best when aged one year, bottled in 2001. Some sort of coding on label, which might indicate actual bottling, but it would only be a guess (Dec 10,2001 in my case). Anyway beer is quite fine now, at roughly half year (I think).

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Imperial Stout from Rogue Ales
Beer rating: 4.03 out of 5 with 1,277 ratings
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