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Black Hole | Mikkeller ApS

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Black HoleBlack Hole

Brewed by:
Mikkeller ApS

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 13.10%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Brewed at De Proefbrouwerij.

Ingredients: Water, malt, roasted barley, flaked oats, dark cassanade, honey, hops, coffee, vanilla and ale yeast.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 11-24-2006

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Reviews: 376 | Ratings: 775
Photo of L0ne
3.87/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Had this one a while back. Remember enjoying it but thinking it was strange and unique for a RIS. Didn't take notes and can't recall many of the details.

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Photo of VelvetExtract
3.69/5  rDev -2.1%

-Bottled- Pours an oily, inky black color with a light gathering of slick, dark bubbles that dies off quickly. Looks flat after. Aroma is heavy on dark fruit, coffee and alcohol. Deeply roasted barley. Smells like port, too. Flavor is rich, sweetness and roast. Potent, sweetened coffee and burnt oats. Raisins and plums and port. Vanilla extract. Big, oily, slick, lingering feel. Unfortunately, this bottle is completely flat. It enhances the port/sherry feel. The alcohol is still present but you can tell the couple years of sitting has mellowed it out a bit. I wish the carbonation hadn't flees this one because it's pretty yummy otherwise. It has aged well and I'm not going to crucify this beer for going flat.

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Photo of LittleDon
3.75/5  rDev -0.5%

Opened with little to no aging. Purchased at Jester King two weeks prior. Dark and malty with a bit of acidity on the finish. Dried fruit and coffee aroma. Surprisingly smooth for the ABV. Lighter body than expected. A bit of the alcohol shows up at the finish and as the beer warms.

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.36/5  rDev +15.6%

Bottle purchased at Oliver's Beverage in Albany, NY.

Pours a very deep black (what did you expect?), with no real head or lacing.

Smells like chocolate, roasted malt, sherry, dark fruits, and espresso.

The taste is similar. Slightly oily in taste, with rich creamy nutty coffee flavor, a slight bit of spicy booze, vanilla, chocolate liqueur, sherry, roasted malt, and burnt coffee grounds. Very sweet and intense flavor.

This one is a little more thin-bodied than I expected a 13.1% stout to be. It's not too thin, though, I just wanted a thicker body and mouthfeel. Still very creamy, and ultimately pretty drinkable, because the alcohol is hidden fairly well.

I had heard that there was major bottle variation with this one, luckily me and those involved at the share last night, this was a good bottle.

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Photo of FLima
4.03/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Deepest black color, black hole is an appropriate name, not even light ray escaping. It made a two finger thick caramel head with medium retention but keeping a constant plate.
Really nice and bold aroma, truly balanced meaning roasted notes don’t offset hopping and other nuances. Notes of licorice, espresso, cocoa, earthy and citrus hops, pine, wood, powder milk, grapefruit and some dark fruits.
Sweet flavor of lactic acid, piney and citrus hops, molasses, honey, coffee, licorice, vanilla, red fruits and oats. Dry and bitter aftertaste with a lingering roasted note.
Full creamy body with low carbonation. Definitely does not feel as 13.1% abv.
Good beer with great looks and smells, very lactic and a tad overly sweet though. While it was cold, citrus and piney hops was refreshing its bold and complex flavors and it was really pleasant. Still I enjoyed trying it.

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Photo of KYGunner
3.5/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Absolutely gorgeous appearance this has a deep yet bright black body and a creamy dense foam head.

The aroma is lactose-sweetness, with a tinge of boozy sherry, brandy and creamy marshmallow.

This starts sweet and boozy with a cloying liqueur and port like flavor. The further into it I went the lactose-sweetness began to grow and it was only counter balanced with a very port like alcohol. Far too cloying and boozy for me.

The feel is thick and full with a nice creaminess but it's hurt by the strong booze.

I love a stout but this took sweetness and alcohol way too far.

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Photo of barczar
3.99/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11 vintage.

Pours jet black with a frothy chocolate head that dissipates into a ring of foam.

Aroma is boozy, with notes of chocolate dominating the underlying roast character.

Flavor is sweeter than expected. Chocolate dominates into the finish, which is slightly charred. Sherry notes add complexity.

Body is very smooth and fairly thick, with minimal carbonation and noted alcohol warmth.

A little overly sweet, but a good nightcap. Like the rich chocolate notes.

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Photo of BMMillsy
3.68/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle from Tipples. Pours pitch black with a massive dark brown head that goes up 3/4 of the glass. The head turns more creamy and khaki colored as it dissipates. Big sweet and roasty aroma, definite bitter roast on the smell, some brown sugar and chocolate and a bit of dark fruit. Big sweet malts up front that fades into a super smokey roasty flavor that envelopes the palate. Lots of dark sugars and a hint of chocolate, but mainly roasty malts all over. Thinner than expected, a medium mouthfeel with low carbonation. This came off on the cloying side somehow behind the roast, and a bit alcoholic. Meh.

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Photo of titty_mcbitty
3.36/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: Thick black with no light coming through the glass. Medium thick tan head.

S: Sweet sweet chocolate, raisins, and booze.

T: Super sweet sugary chocolate, prunes, raisins, licorice candy, cherry syrup, booze, coffee bean, espresso. The flavor is too sweet and boozy for me.

M: Thick and velvet like but not a heavy thick- more so a smooth thickness. Very cloying.

O: A bit of a disappointment due to the extreme sweetness and booze that shines through a little too much. Not terrible, but not great.

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Photo of Ozzylizard
3.73/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Unmarked bottle at 55 degrees into imperial pint
Aroma of coffee with hint of alcohol
Head large (6.5 cm), light brown, rocky, slowly diminishing to a partial layer with a 0-10 mm edge.
Lacing present as small islands and archipelagoes
Body dark brown with slight reddish tinge around edges
Flavor of weak stale coffee without the bitterness, actually somewhat sweet. No alcohol, no malt, no hops, no diacetyl. Ends slightly sweet and flavorless.
Palate medium to full, lightly creamy, carbonation soft.

Not a bad example of a coffee stout, just a little weak in flavor. The 13.1% ABV is well hidden – I don’t even have an alcohol afterglow in my stomach.

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Photo of tmzl
4.36/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Look: Medium sized, thick, mocha head with good retention. Think but thick layer stays on top for the ride, leaves quite a lot of fine lacing. Dark, dark brown, can't see through. Looks good.

Smell: Some dark fruit, black berries; dates connected with sweetness. Roast stands out the most with light dark coffee, milk and bitter dark chocolate notes. A pleasantly balanced mix, nothing really overwhelms. Something refreshing about it, like it a lot. Light alcohol notes come up, when it warms up, but nothing too distracting.

Taste: Medium roasted sweetness with milky chocolate that goes into dark and light coffee. The light sweetness that comes through is surprising and does it good. There is a sour part that keeps it fresher. This part is most noticeable right before the end - very smooth and appealing light sour with black currant, black berries. Also some tart, maybe with some help from the high alcohol contend (alcohol itself hardly to detect). Ends with medium roasted (and some light coffee) bitterness accompanied by light-medium sweetness.

Mouthfeel: Full, smooth, creamy, light carbonation. Gets almost sticky when time goes by.

Overall: Was expecting it to be a lot sluttier, but the balance and flavors were smooth and in line. The specter of notes is rich already, would really like to taste some barreled version of this one. A fine example.

Bottle 2 years old.

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Photo of tviz33
4.11/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 12.7 oz. bottle in to a snifter.

A- Blacker than the ace of spades. Beautiful 2 inch medium brown rocky head.

S- Lovely hops smack me right in the nose. A little bit of coffee is the only thing tell me this is a stout. Charred wood and black licorice.

T- Again, this is a fairly hoppy stout. Lots of roasty notes and even some sour ones. Barely any coffee noticeable.

M- Silky smooth full body. Fairly light on the carbonation.

O- This is much different than I expected. Not a super thick, rib-sticking brew, but a very good offering. I was impressed that at 13.1%, the alcohol was barely noticeable. Not too shabby.

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Photo of BradtheGreat7
3.91/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Okay I purchased 2 bottles of this back In summer of 2013.. Why 2 well I'm not sure, but am I glad I did! The first bottle I opened was absolutely awful! No carbonation, no head, some weird flat smelling black liquid that was tasted, spit out and poured out. I am heated now, but I bust open the 2nd bottle and my review then started. I've found mikkeller brews are a bit hit and miss. Even from the same batch. As both these were best by 2014.

Large extremely dark green bottle. Actually a dark green that seems to be serving some purpose. The label is pretty nice as well with silver foil gracing the neck and a synthetic cork. From De Proef on back. Pourd this into a Belgian style stemmed tulip glass.

A - dark colored and nearly black. Really a bit of a dark dark brown. Tan head sits decent on top, but not out this world looking. Just a pretty good looking stout not leaving much stick.

S - deep roasted chocolate, a leathery note, and coffee with some funk notes. It's really not bad, but its nearly a barrel aged character yet this isn't a barrel aged brew. Not sure i exactly approve.

T - rich mocha and coffee notes with some sort of weird dark fruit. Has some roast to it with alcohol notes but not boozy. It's a decent stout flavor but I was expecting a flavor monster from such a large brew.

M - smooth and creamy. Has some thickness to it, and its shockingly smooth.

O - okay, so I am bit let down by the dud bottle, and while the 2nd bottle seemed fine I really can't see this as a special imperial stout at the price paid for it. Sure, it has some quality, but this just wasn't all that special as I thought it would be when I found it. I'm not sure I'd spend money on it again, but it was worth the 1 time experience. It's class is in the brewer's creative thought process when creating Black Hole. I'm just now sure it delivered the price paid. Still, if you can find it and have the extra cash to spend give it a try.

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Photo of mfnmbvp
4.45/5  rDev +18%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12.7 fl oz. bottle, with no apparent bottled on date present. I got this beer from Benz Beverage Depot in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on a recent trip there. My first time having this beer, expectations are high since the stouts I've had from Mikkeller in the past were delicious.

Poured into a clear balloon snifter glass.

A - Pours three giant fingers of mocha colored froth. Body is an opaque black. Head retention and creaminess is astounding based on this beer's big 13.10% abv. Nice strands of mocha lacing. Looks like a true beauty of a Russian imperial stout.

S - Smells wonderful also. Coffee isn't exactly leaping out of this one, but there are tons of big roasty malt notes, powdery cocoa, milk chocolate, some lactose, and a cola tartness on the end that I can't quite place. Just the faintest hint of alcohol fumes. As it warms, the dark fruit character begins to lurk out more: figs, dates, black currant, etc. Maybe even a subtle piney hop presence, although I could be imagining it.

T - Taste is truly amazing. Again, the coffee flavors aren't exactly leaping out of this one, but they are in there. Along with some bittersweet dark chocolate, creamy milk chocolate, and a tart raspberry / cherry / red fruit on the finish. Only minor alcohol fumes noticeable. Really enjoying the sour fruitiness to this beer, it almost reminds me in some ways of Deschutes Black Butte XXV.

M - Feel is of bitter roast, and a tart sour tingle on the tongue. Crisp carbonation, sticky, sugary, and sweet like a chocolate covered raspberry. Thick, syrupy, and viscous.

Overall, a surprisingly complex and tart stout from Mikkeller, with layers of goodness. While I wouldn't necessarily label it a coffee stout, it's still just as good either way. This might be one of the best beers I've had from Mikkeller yet, which has been amounting to quite a lot lately. Big 13.10% abv is expertly well masked, although probably destined to doom me. A must have stout from Mikkeller.

Mikkeller Black Hole ---4.5/5

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Photo of ryan1788a5
3.78/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12.7oz bottle poured into a large snifter. This bottle was cellared for a year before consumption.

A: Deep inky black. One finger of brown head retains well. Impressive at such a high abv. Lacing is plentiful and sticky.

S: Lots of roasted malts at work on the nose. Deep woodiness. Hints of smoke, a bit acrid. Bakers chocolate. Raw honey. Strong herbal push, black licorice. Vanilla bean. Lots of darkfruit at its core, plum and black raspberry specifically. Mild prick of alcohol.

T: A lot of sweetness initially. Syrupy sugar, honey. Vanilla bean. Raspberry and black currant esters, spike of alcohol follows closely behind. Roasted malts eventually pull through with flavors of wood and char. Bakers chocolate and black cocoa powder. Coffee beans. Dries quite a bit into the finish and ends with a lot of woody and smokey malt flavors.

M: Thick and hefty body. Slight sludgy and weighty feel, definitely syrupy. Little to no carbonation. Alcohol lends a soothing warmth upon swallowing.

O: Over the top and rather sweet for me, just too much in the way of adjuncts. It doesn't derail the drinking experience, but it does hamper it. I can picture some of the barrel aged versions being quite good, as this might provide the balance needed to take the edge off of the sweetness. I will commend them for hiding 13+% abv so well, the alcohol has no bite at all. Of course, time in the cellar probably had something to do with that too.

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Photo of Labeorphile
4.52/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass. Maybe I got lucky here, but unlike other reviewers I got a beautiful thick, long-lasting, tan head with lacing all the way down the glass. Beer itself was deep brown with a little highlight. Perfect looking stout.

I hate coffee beers and so I was expecting an overpowering coffee smell. But in was surprised, excellent maltiness with the coffee woven in well. Even better was the hop smell coming through! Totally caught off-guard.

Flavor was great as well. Most coffee beers are too heavy on the coffee and taste terrible. This was extremely well balanced and enjoyable, along with the creamy mouth feel. The ABV is really high at 13.1% but you would never guess from the way the alcohol is hidden.

All in all a surprisingly great beer, that I recommend, even if you don't like coffee stouts.

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Photo of Kenzie
3.99/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Mikkiller refused to disappoint with this rich barrel aged beer. It lives up to it's name, especially in appearance. It is pitch black with a thick coffee-colored head. Upon drinking the beer my mouth is filled with a rich but smooth texture that gives a burst of coffee, caramel, and especially licorice. It makes even Deschute's Abyss seem light. This is just my style but more of a special occasion sipping drink to share and not something I would hog the entire bottle for myself. Of course I would purchase it again.

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Photo of IPA35
4.5/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Best before: 10/02/2016

I had the tequila version a while ago. Now it is time for the normal version, I shame I could not drink it before the special BA version. Drinking this unchilled. Anyway,

pours pretty a thick, not as thick as I remember, dark brown with a mocca head. When held in the light a little dark brown (coffee) is visible at the bottom.

Cascade! I smells some sort of American hop in here with a fruity, piney note.
Could also be that it's just the honey and I am dead wrong.

Behind that one picks up on the coffee and thus the roasted malts.

Overall this smells pretty confusing but good.

The taste is like I remember it to be without that unique tequila resiny fruitiness.
A very sweet beer but not as extremly cloying as the tequila version. Still I get more citrus and hoppy notes than I get roasty, coffeeish flavours. Maybe this is a pretty fresh bottle? Aging it would bring out the stout underneath more I guess and because the beer is so dark the fact that it is in a green bottle should not really matter.

Make no mistake, the bitterness on the aftertaste IS from the roasted malts.

As it sits in your mouth you can detect dark fruits and other dark-malt induced flavours. There is also a warming alcohol sensation but it is impressively well hidden for the ABV, it really is.

Still the hoppy sweetness reduces the typical stout aroma's.

The mouthfeel is nice and smooth, low carbonation (but certainly lacking carbonation as the older bottles with the cork supposedly did).

Overal a very interesting beer. A stout that is dominated by American hops. A highly drinkable beer to me. Maybe with a little age it would become toned down on the hop and that would allow the stout with its coffee and vanilla to shine through.

Recommended, even though this one is pretty damn expensive.

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Photo of Strix
4.29/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pitch black, brown edge, very little head.

Deep rich coffee smell.

Coffee, licorice, malt, sugar, alcohol. Deep and dark.

Smooth silky mouthfeel.

Strikingly different from any coffee stout I've had. Well named, this is quite boozy and full of the darkest coffee flavor I've had in a beer. Quite interesting, complex, and unique.

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Photo of stcules
3.58/5  rDev -5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pitch black, almost no foam.
Smell of toasted malt, raisins, some date, a hint of vanilla, and something woody.
In the taste even cocoa and liquorice, raisins and dry figs, and alcohol.
Full and intense body, cocoa and raisins in the aftertaste, with liquorice in the finish, and again, quite boozy.
Big and important beer, strong alcohol, to sip. But, after all, balanced and pleasant.

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Photo of Scooter131313
4.5/5  rDev +19.4%

I prefer dark, heavy beers; especially Imperial Stouts.
I like them cold. I prefer them in a frosted wide-mouth glass.

The Black Hole has a wonderful strong flavor, that gets better with each sip.

The high alcohol content (ABV: 13.10 %) is unmistakable.

Great dark head.


I purchased it in St. Paul, MN at the Ale Jail.

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Photo of Knapp85
4.03/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This poured out as a very dark black brew. The head was very thin and didn't leave much lacing or retention. The smell of the beer is pretty strong, some deep herbal roasted malt aromas and boozy chocolate on the nose. The taste of the beer has a nice complex roasted malt flavor with licorice flavors in the finish. The mouthfeel of the beer is sticky, syrupy and smooth. It's thick and dense also. Overall this beer was pretty good. I think it is a little underrated on here but to each their own.

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Photo of kvgomps
3.52/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.25

Poured from a bottle with the first synthetic cork I've ever seen on a beer. I was intrigued.

Absolutely zero head with seemingly no carbonation at all. Not sure if this is intentional or a function of the cork or something else altogether. Don't particularly care.

There's a lot going on with the aroma. Label mentions coffee but I don't get it. Smells like a wine-barrel aged stout. At this point., very excited. I go to take my first sip and am stopped by the alcohol. Sort of like trying to drink a wine or scotch before it breathes. Second attempt and the zero carbonation is confirmed. Again, not a big deal as it is a stout, but the total lack is a bit of a surprise.

Much like the aroma, so much going on with the flavor. Strong red wine, roasted malt, a medley of dried currants, a strong alcohol burn and a faint touch of coffee. Not a bad combo but the problem is that the flavors aren't separated. It ends up being muddled and frankly it just doesn't handle the ABV well. It is closer to a mead or port than a stout. Not necessarily bad if that's your thing.

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Photo of ngeunit1
4.16/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Dark brown-black with a finger of frothy chocolate colored head. Fades at a normal pace.

S - Dark chocolate and dark caramel malts, roasted coffee, molasses, black licorice, vanilla, some dark fruit, and some booze.

T - Dark chocolate and sweet dark caramel malts, roasted coffee, black licorice, molasses, some vanilla and dark fruit, some citrus and pine hops and a bit of bitterness, and some booze.

M - Full bodied with moderate carbonation. Smooth with a warming and sweet finish.

D - Nicely balanced big imperial Stout. Nice body and mouthfeel.

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Photo of Rutager
3.8/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

375 ml that I've oprobably had around too long. Served at cellar temperature. Holdbar til 01/07/12...

Appearance. Pours black and still. Crap.

Smell. Dark bakers chocolate, molasses and a little bit of woody red wine. Smells really good actually...

Taste. Dark dark chocolate and plenty of it. There's some rum and dark malts with a bunch of coffee in the finish and a fair amount of booze, but not as much as expected with the big abv.

Mouthfeel. Fairly full bodied and completely flat. Probably my bad for keeping it over a year past it's BB date, so I'll keep that in mind with the score here.

Overall. Great tastes and quite smooth for such a high abv. The body could be fuller and I wish there was some carbonation, again, my bad probably.

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Black Hole from Mikkeller ApS
3.77 out of 5 based on 775 ratings.
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