Midnight Expression
Pizza Port Solana Beach

Midnight ExpressionMidnight Expression
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German Schwarzbier
3.92 | pDev: 10.97%
Pizza Port Solana Beach
California, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Very Good
Midnight ExpressionMidnight Expression
Notes: Formerly called Moonlit Sessions Lager.

also called Midnight Expression
Reviews: 245 | Ratings: 373 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Bierliebhaber3
4.17/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This is a black lager (schwarzbier) with a nice, foamy tan head. It’s dark even for its style, more like a stout actually. The smell is faint, but you can make out a slight chocolate, coffee smell. The taste backs up the smell, though the coffee is definitely the stronger of the two here. There is a strong malt backbone for a schwarzbier and a bitter acidity to the aftertaste, much like drinking a cup of coffee. The taste, like the appearance of this beer is very much like a stout, though maybe slightly lighter, which makes me instantly like it more than your run of the mill, everyday lager that I was expecting. It has a lot of body for a schwarzbier, but is still light enough that you could put down a lot more of these than most stouts. Nice balance all around.

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Bierliebhaber3 from Massachusetts, Jun 10, 2016
Photo of thedrunkpoet
3.47/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 2.75

Yo. I just popped open a bottle of this sucker after my girlfriend got mad at me because we were discussing feminism related to the new Game of Thrones episode. This shit was bottled on December fucking 20th 2011. It's old. I bought this one down the shore, at Crest Tavern's liquor store. I was shocked they had Port Brewing. This was the only Port Brewing they had. I figured it was skunked. Fuck it, I bought it anyway. Holy canoli. This beer tastes like a Roman fucking Pontius Pilate Imperial Stout. I had only a few beers before this one. And taking two sips of this hit me hard. Harder than any beer I've taken a sip of, harder than any barley wine bullshit. IS this possible? Can you age a fucking Midnight Lager for four years and it turns into some crazy intense highly alcoholic bullshit without going skunkeD? I don't know. Maybe I'm just drunk and tired from working 12c hours at Monk's Cafe. Whatever. I'd like to have a freshie of this beer. I feel bad poruning any of it down the drain, but the gf wants to kill me already, so drinking any more of this will be the warpath to my own demise. Maybe I'll have just a few mor sips?? Peace.

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thedrunkpoet from New Jersey, Jun 01, 2015
Photo of MrBoz21
3.73/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured opaque murky brown. Big foamy tan head that did not sustain.
aroma: delicate and light. chocolate notes. A little chalky.
Taste: smooth and slightly dry. chocolate character. Not a lot of hop but a citrus character that lingers.
Mouthfeel: Moderately dry. Feels right.
Overall: awesome drinkable lager. very enjoyable

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MrBoz21 from Colorado, Feb 17, 2014
Photo of Curtis
3.92/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours black, not a hint of light gets through. Thick foamy head, almost rootbeer-esq in appearance. Smooooth.. good mouthfeel, very drinkable. Smell roasted malt, coffe chocolate, very nice. A lot of porter characteristics, yet lighter in body ike a swartzbier. Very good beer and highly recommended.

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Curtis from Utah, Jan 29, 2014
Photo of StonedTrippin
3.73/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

excellent black lager, love the surfing theme too. it could not be priced any better, at under 3 bucks a bomber, this could become a go to for me. dark brown pour with a lively rising mocha head, looks like a good porter. smells like heavily roasted malts, more than the normal schwarzbier calls for. chocolate too, dark and rich, and lager yeast. the depth of flavor caught me off guard, lots of complexity and layering here. chocolate is really forward, cool in a lager, and the roast of the barley is about as dark as it can be. lager yeast doesn't do quite enough to lighten it up and shorten the finish, that part is a bit out of whack for the style guidelines, but I almost prefer its chalky long bitter finish because I really like the flavors here. a touch thin on the body for all the depth, but it is a lager I suppose. an excellent beer overall, one of the better black lagers ive had.

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Photo of AgentMunky
3.84/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 22 ounce bottle into an Allagash cervoise glass. Bottled 26 December 2012.

A: Tan-brown head, thick with decent retention. Black body turns Coca-Cola brown in direct backlighting.

S: Lightly roasted malt. Not much else.

T: Tastes like a schwarzbier. Very true to style. Chocolate. Smoke. Roast malt. Lightly lagerish yeast profile. No hops. Slightly ashy.

M: Thin-bodied. A bit metallic-feeling (but not tasting).

O: Fantastic example of the style. Recommended.

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AgentMunky from New York, Sep 26, 2013
Photo of FlyingBull
4.18/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I had this beer on tap at Terra on El Cajon blvd in San Diego. It was on their rotating tap.

This beer came in a traditional pint glass, with about 1/8th inch off white head. It was a full pour...which I appreciate and I'm sure that's why there was little head. (There's a joke in there somewhere...) The appearance was a translucent black. The aroma was malty with small but present roast note - like very mild coffee brewing. I really didn't pick up any hop notes. The taste for me was all malt with roast malt present - very well balanced. It had some hop bitterness but was balanced by slightly sweet malt. It was like Negra Modelo but wayyy better. Mouth feel was medium body with good carbonation.

Overall, this beer was a really nice black lager; well balanced and flavorful. I had 2 pints which is uncharacteristic of me when there's sooo many beers to try. (p.s. The food was great too!)

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FlyingBull from California, Jun 21, 2013
Photo of Tone
3.68/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a black color. 2/3 inch head of an off-tan color. Great retention and great lacing. Smells of roasted malt, sweet malt, hops, hint of smoke, and a hint of pale malt. Fits the style of a Schwarzbier. Mouth feel is smooth and crisp, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of roasted malt, sweet malt, hops, hint of smoke, and a hint of pale malt. Overall, good appearance and blend, but the bitterness that the roasted malts impart it too strong for a Schwarzbier.

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Tone from Missouri, May 17, 2013
Photo of Act25
4.24/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

22 oz bottle in an assorted six-pack at WHOLE for $14.99 - great deal.

A - Very dark and handsome, between stout and black. A medium, soft, tan brown head. Looks and laces like a stout.

S - Boom! strong bouquet of mineral aromas; nicely bitter, oily, sensuous, appetizing. Some grassy sweetness and toasted, roasted grain.

T - Excellent taste. it's bitter, roasted, smokey, dark grains. Slight presence of charcoal and burnt wood in a good way. Beach bon fire, boardwalk. Also nutty and grainy, some one wrote like a bran muffin. Mineral, earthy, reminds me of my spring garden. Coffee and chocolate notes round out with sweetness but finishes nicely refreshing and dry. Complex. Good session or meditation beer. Good with food.

M - Despite complexity, there are no off or overpowering notes, and it feels smooth and drinkable. A great black lager meets stout. Easy going. Not overwhelming, but rewarding.

O - If you like stout, black beer, you must try this.

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Act25 from New Jersey, May 17, 2013
Photo of BeerForMuscle
4.14/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A - Somewhere between cola and black. A thin, soft, light brown head. Looks like a stout.

S - A strong bouquet of mineral aromas; smells of bitter, metallic mineral water. Some honey sweetness and dry roasted grain.

T - Definitely bitter, dry roasted, dark grains. Strong presence of charcoal and burnt wood. Is also nutty and grainy, like a bran muffin. It tastes like it was made from rich, raw mineral water. Mild, semi-sweet chocolate powder adds some sweetness before it finishes pretty dry.

M - For all of this flavor going on, it's quite smooth and drinkable. Typical of a schwarzbier, and that's why I love them. A rocking session beer.

O - I got this 1 pint 6 oz bottle for $2.99 at my local beer store, Jack's Wine Sense. Can't beat that.

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BeerForMuscle from New Jersey, Mar 09, 2013
Photo of spinrsx
3.82/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

22oz Bottle from Bevmo La Quinta for 4.50$

Appearance - Dark brown colour with an average size fizzy/frothy beige head. I can't make out the amount of carbonation showing and there is some good lacing. The head lasted for 5-6 minutes before it was gone.

Smell - Malts, chocolate, grains

Taste & Mouth - There is an average amount of carbonation and I can taste malts, chocolate, and coffee. There are also some smokey/burnt notes and a bit of a nuttiness. It ends with a chocolatey aftertaste with a lingering roasted coffee bitterness.

Overall - It smells like a Schwarzbier but has the flavour of a RIS or a porter. Regardless, it's very good and packed full of flavour.

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spinrsx from Ontario (Canada), Feb 28, 2013
Photo of Philousa
3.32/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

Pours a dark black with a khaki, creamy head, fitting the style nicely. Coffee, light roast, cream soda, wheat bread crust, and bitter chocolate round out the aroma. Flavor starts with sweet chocolate, a hint of lactic sugars, turns quickly to bitter, burnt toast, and dark, slightly chalky chocolate. If there are hops in this, they are well hidden. I'm guessing earthy English hops, since I don't get any nectar you find in noble hops. Feel is creamy with a slight chalk to even it out. Finish is slightly dry. Loving all the diversity of flavors in this sessionable lager.

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Philousa from California, Feb 18, 2013
Photo of Jadjunk
3.7/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

"It's not often that a great summer swell coincides with a full moon, but when they collide, nature affords us a rare opportunity to paddle out long after everyone has called it a day, these moments are a solitary pursuit with empty lineups, but those who carve graceful lines under a full moon understand how things can be dark, lonely and rewarding at the same time. So next time you paddle in from an overcrowded beach break, remember that nothing tastes better than a cold beer after a session. We suggest a glass of this smooth roasty black lager for contemplating empty lineups and waves that go on for days, most likely you'll long for epic summer swells under moon lit sessions opening the doors to isolation and empty secret spots of an age trying to pass us by..." Brewed in the style of a Schwarzbier (Black Lager). No bottle date, but this is their early winter seasonal release, possibly from late 2011. Purchased on discount from locals at Smokerise.

Poured from a 22 oz. bomber to a pint glass. Served north of 45º Fahrenheit.

(Appearance) Pours a brown creamy head of a large size over a very dark brown body, near black. Retention is quite nice and lacing is thin but consistent throughout. The appearance of this beer is quite exceptional for what could have been a very shallow dark lager. 4.5

(Smell) First impressions are faint chocolate malt and some black patent malt with a roasty sweet tone paired with a bread-like yeast character. There's some fruit here too- dark grapes and plum mostly, perhaps indicative of an overdue bottle to drink. It's largely in balance still, even without a significant hop aroma, there manages to be a bitterness to round out the mild sweetness. The aroma is clean and the potency is medium at best. At its age it's not ideal but it is certainly a decent smelling beer. 3.25

(Taste) Up front is most of the aged qualities- the rush of unexpected fruity esters and a touch of wet cardboard oxidation. It all fades away quickly leaving a clean, heavily roasted caramel and black malt blend, slightly dry but expected for the style. the finish is very enjoyable, a wonderful blend of black malt bitterness and mildly chocolatey roast, with a touch of syrupy sweetness that keeps balance in check. Drinkable throughout, although a little heavier in body than the average Schwarzbier. 3.75

(Mouthfeel) Crisp and slick with a touch of airy carbonation, it has a slightly dry finish. Body is medium+ for Schwarzbiers, light-medium amongst all beers. The carbonation is very good for the style, not overly busy but lively. Alcohol presence is medium at the highest. 4

(Overall) Out of the schwarzbiers that I have had, this one is certainly one of the better ones, even with some (obvious) age on the bottle, most of the flavors are well preserved and the beer is quite well balanced. Carbonation is present but not overdone and neither sweetness or bitterness take over the flavors, leading to a drink that specializes on drinkability, especially fitting since I'm here alone with an entire bomber of it tonight. Worth a shot if you find a well-priced bottle or if you enjoy a fully flavored, yet light bodied and drinkable beer. 3.75

Port Brewing Company's
Midnight Expressions Lager

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Jadjunk from Georgia, Jan 27, 2013
Photo of mltobin
3.73/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

I picked a bomber of this in Western Mass. Poured into a pint glass and it pours a black color with a thin light brown head, which continued to sit with a nice ring throughout consuming the beer. Its` nose has coffee, over cooked malts, some caramel. The taste is roasted malts, smoky, while a tad watery. Mouthfeel is very nice, it is creamy and finishes clean. All things considered, this is an enjoyable beer and while I was on the fence when I see it in the aisle (for the 10th time or something), I am glad that I finally picked it up on one of my infrequent visits to a bottle shop in my neighboring state to the north.

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mltobin from Connecticut, Jan 09, 2013
Photo of BeerDawgs
4.2/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A 22oz bottle dated from 2011.

A - Pitch black, creamy looking, no clarity. No much head or lace, but this is what a Stout is supposed to look like

S - Roasted grain. Dark chocolate.

T - RIch. Caramel, sweet chocolate, coffee flavors. Damn tasty!

M - High in carbonation, smooth and oily. Excellent.

O - A great tasting, light, stout. I had this one after a Guinness, and it kicked the Guinness's butt. Very tasty and it won't knock you out like an imperial stout!

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BeerDawgs from Georgia, Dec 14, 2012
Photo of DocJitsu
3.05/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours an opaque black. No head at all. Mouthfeel is wet with slight carbonation. It could've been a bit creamier. Aroma is pretty disappointing. Smoky like a burnt piece of toast. Pretty weak flavor of dark roast malt. Some underlying notes of plasticky cream. I'll never make this mistake again.

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DocJitsu from Florida, Dec 09, 2012
Photo of BeerManDan
3.25/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

The color was a very dark brown, with a little tan foam and some lace on the side of the glass.
The smell of roasted malts, yeasty bread and a hint of herbs had a pleasant and soft aroma. The taste was different than the aroma. The taste had a bitter flavor of roasted malt (maybe over roasted, which gave it a smoky flavor). Also, a hint of an herbal nature. For me, not a Lager I would buy again. My first disappointment from Port Brewing!

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BeerManDan from California, Nov 21, 2012
Photo of justintcoons
2.79/5  rDev -28.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a pint glass.

Opaque black with 2 fingers of brown head. Good head retention and decent lacing.

Caramel and hints of charcoal. Cocoa and a touch of dark fruit.

Pretty much follows the nose. Caramel, cocoa and charcoal. Some smoke and a faint touch of raisin. Some bitterness on the end.

Medium bodied and smooth with a slight crispness.

It is what it is. Easy drinking and a little on the boring side.

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justintcoons from Pennsylvania, Oct 16, 2012
Photo of Stinkypuss
3.62/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Midnight Expression
Port Brewing Company / Pizza Port
Style: Schwarzbier
ABV: 5.00 %

LOOK: Pours a hazed dark brown with a bit of sediment. Looks like a typical schwarz, a bit lighter in color.

SMELL: Roasted malts, lager yeast, firm, bready notes, and a touch of herbal hops.

TASTE: Malty, smokey roasted flavors upfront with some nice char and hints of coffee. There is a bready, pumpernickel bread influence. Hops are mild, leafy, and noble, but have presence enough to provide ample bitterness to go with the roasted edge.

FEEL: Medium bodied, well carbonated, chalky finish, with malt and roast lingering.

OVERALL: Not a bad schwarzbier, highlighting a rich, malty flavor. Enjoyed this bomber for what it was and it did drink easily. A little loose around the edges, but still a solid dark lager.

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Stinkypuss from Pennsylvania, Sep 29, 2012
Photo of superspak
4.1/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bottle into pilsener glass, bottled on 12/20/2011. Pours pitch black color with a nice 1-2 finger foamy tan head with good retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Spotty foamy lacing on the glass, with a good amount of carbonation streaming up. Aromas of chocolate, roasted malt, toffee, caramel, coffee, light char, grass, and herbal. Very nice aromas with nice balance and complexity. Taste of cocoa, coffee, roasted malt, caramel, toffee, toast, herbal, grass, and earth. Lingering notes of cocoa, roasted malt, coffee, caramel, herbal, and grass on the finish for a bit. Nice flavor balance, complexity, and robustness; no cloying flavors at all on the finish. Medium-high carbonation and medium body; with a fairly creamy, chalky, and crisp mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is well hidden with zero warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is an excellent schwarzbier! Very robust and balanced roasted flavors; extremely smooth and crisp to drink. Really enjoyed this one.

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superspak from Michigan, Sep 26, 2012
Photo of nickfl
4.01/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours with two finger of light tan foam on top of a black body. The head settles at a modate pace and leaves good lace.

S - smoky notes of dry toffee and chocolate.

T - Dry caramel up front with some dark bread. Light molasses in the middle and a finish of smoke, cola, and dry chocolate with herbal hops and moderate bitterness.

M - Medium body, moderately hi carbonation, and a dry finish.

D - Not bad, it is a little outside of the traditional German mainstream for the style, but that is to be expected from port. It is perhaps too roasty and smoky for the style but still white drinkable in the end.

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nickfl from Florida, Sep 18, 2012
Photo of kylehay2004
4.03/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: single finger tan head with nice lacing on a jet black.

S: roasted malts, coffee, dark chocolate and hints of vanilla. this is very stout like.

T: smokiness comes out more in the flavor with a nice coffee and roasted malt base. vanilla and milk chocolate late in the finish for a sweet ending.

M: full body with moderate carbonation. nicely smooth.

Overall: I have limited experience with this style. This one is very flavorful and full bodied but still light going down making it very drinkable.

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kylehay2004 from Illinois, Sep 18, 2012
Photo of Darkmagus82
3.78/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Served on tap in a 10 oz chalice glass

Appearance – Served a black beer with a one finger tan head. The head faded relatively quickly to leave a moderate amount of lacing.

Smell – The aroma was of roasted malt with a good presence of chocolate and coffee. There was also a light caramel sweetness as well as some lighter more herbal hop aromas mixed within.

Taste - The taste begins nice and roasty and remains that way much throughout. The flavors initially are of a coffee and chocolate flavor with a light amount of caramel sweetness (quite light). The caramel grows a bit in strength in the middle of the taste where it is met with the appearance of a light herbal hop flavor. The caramel however fades once again and the brew becomes even more dry toward the end. With the drying of the taste comes some notes of char and a nutty flavor, which when combined with the roasted coffee and dark chocolate from the start of the taste, leave a dark and dry flavor to linger on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The body of the beer was on the average side with the carbonation there as well. A bit of a thicker body may have suited the dark flavors slightly better, but for the style and dryness I think it was pretty good.

Overall – Roasty and tasty. While one I would not take as a session beer, it is one to have every once in a while.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
3.82/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Review from 2/2010 notes. Poured into a Gulden Draak tulip. Pours a very dark brown, appearing black. Light to medium body. Thick medium tan head and lacing. Roasted malt, hops aroma. Strong stout-like coffee, chocolate and roasted malts up front. The middle and end are not as robust, but still pleasant. Flavor rapidly tapers off, probably because of the low ABV. As it warmed, the finish got a little bitter and sour. A tasty schwartzbier. An above average low ABV dark beer.

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LiquidAmber from Washington, Aug 07, 2012
Photo of RblWthACoz
3.65/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

As a beer, this is good. But if the aim was a schwarzbier, then it seems to miss the mark a bit, to be honest. It strikes me more as a kind of smoky porter than a schwarzbier. But for what it is, it certainly is consistent. Nice and smooth and fairly deep. Probably just a bit too deep for the style.

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RblWthACoz from Pennsylvania, Aug 05, 2012
Midnight Expression from Pizza Port Solana Beach
Beer rating: 88 out of 100 with 373 ratings