Old Viscosity | Port Brewing

883 Reviews
Old ViscosityOld Viscosity

Brewed by:
Port Brewing
California, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by drewbage on 08-11-2004

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Reviews: 883 | Ratings: 1,975
Photo of Jimmeekrek
2.51/5  rDev -39.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

After reading reviews of this, I had fairly high hopes for this beer. Very disappointed to say the least. A very average beer, that had such an overwhelming bitter burnt coffee taste, that it basically masked all other flavors in it, including any signs of barrel aging. Maybe I just got a bad bottle, but when I split a bomber 3 ways, and still end up with about 3 ounces being poured out, it's a rather epic fail.

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Photo of soulgrowl
2.64/5  rDev -36.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Appearance: Viscous indeed - but not that viscous. Cola black with ruby highlights and a fleeting, malted milk-colored head.

Smell: Weird, gluey, paint-like resin; vanilla, honey, brown sugar, and pancakes. This does not smell how it looks, which is to say that it doesn't smell very strong or good. Something about it reminds me of cinnamon rolls.

Taste: Hmm... rather vacuous and boring. Not much going on here except cheap bourbon, cola, dark chocolate, rum-soaked raisins, and sugary bock-like malts. Not bad, I guess, but not good.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, thick, creamy, and not too syrupy.

Drinkability: I don't really get this beer. It's imbalanced - too sweet, and the barrel aging comes through in a bizarrely woody way. It isn't bad - at the very least, it's interesting - but it isn't a beer I'd be too excited to try again.

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Photo of jjanega08
2.66/5  rDev -35.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

No indicated vintage on the bottle.

A= The pour is thinner than I expected with the name. It looks a deep brown color coming from the bottle into the glass and in the glass it's a nice solid black. The head rises to about a quarter finger and falls fast into a ring around the glass without too much lacing on the glass.

S= The smell is a mix of roast and intense sweetness that leads to a slight soy sauce smell. Nothing like the triple bock but a bit soy saucy.

T= The taste is again a nice roast and a lot less sweetness than the nose reveiled. There is very little bourbon in the taste and very little of the flavors that go with bourbon barrel beers. Not much oak or vanilla. The wood is probably the most dominate character in the bourbon portion of this beer.

M= The mouth isn't as thick as I thought it would be despite the name. It is a nice smooth drink however.

O= A little bit of a let down. The bourbon barrel isn't well represented and the flavors aren't filled with enough punch. It's not a total let down but it's a sub par imperial stout when compared to other imperial stouts.

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Photo of brystmar
2.71/5  rDev -34.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Loved Older, let's see how the base compares.

About what you'd expect from a stout, great retention. Smells oxidized, a little fruity, some booze, and honestly smells like it's over-carbonated if that makes sense.

Taste disappoints. Boozy with dark fruits first, then strongly roasted malts dominate for some reason. Transition between flavors isn't smooth or logical. Oxidized. This isn't for me.

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Photo of wifehatesthebike
2.8/5  rDev -32.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A: Dark and thick, thin light brown head.

S: Dark and milk chocolate. Some dark fruit. Smells like it should be full of flavor.

T: Strangely bitter, not what I remember from this beer. Also warming. Stout floavors never fully develop on the palate before the bitterness takes over. Bitterness grows on the finish and lingers.

M: Average here, chewy and smooth.

O: I remember this beer being more malty when I had it off draft last. I liked that version, this one, not so much. Bitterness overpowers all other desired flavors.

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Photo of ms11781
2.91/5  rDev -29.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

22oz bottle into a tulip glass.

Pours a solid black with a small light brown head. The head dissipates pretty quickly and leaves a very thin ring around the glass.

The first thing that strikes is that the nose isn't all that strong. Some chocolate and coffee notes are present along with a hint of black licorice. At times some dark fruit comes across but it doesn't amount to much. Nothing here really stands out.

There is a roasted malt character that stands out first in the taste, along with hints of chocolate. The coffee element is much stronger than the nose. In the middle a strong oak flavor comes in and overpowers everything else before drying out with a very bitter finish.

Full body will low carbonation. Feels smooth at first but about halfway through it starts drying out and continues to do so right through the finish. Bitterness lingers on the tongue for quite a while but isn't all that pleasant.

Drinkability is ok. Sometimes the oak flavor can be a bit much and the dry finish isn't exactly pleasant. There isn't much notice of the alcohol and the beer goes down fine but the most prominent aspects, the oak and the drying finish, can be too much at times.

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Photo of Vancoubeer
2.92/5  rDev -29.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Not as impressive when compared to other beers brewed by port. It had the traditional unfiltered cloudy look to the beer. It was pitch black to be precise. When compared to Santa's Little Helper, this is not a stout but a very dark imperial ale. The smell was not that impressive. It was almost scentless. I reallly had to look for a scent. The taste was almost devoid of what black brews taste like. I tried to warm it up bu letting it sit and it did a little help. What I was looking for was a roasty flavor but it was not there. I think the bourbon barrels masked this away. Also there was not a wood texture that most barrel beers have. It was boozy, which was not evident, which was a plus. I just did not enjoy this when compared to other darkies. It was think but not like syrup yet it was a bit carbonated. I felt that it was a good mouthfeel. It was hard to drink. This is a unique dark ale that I would skip unless I found it on draft. It took a long time to drink because I was constantly hoping the warmer the better it would taste but it did not.

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Photo of RunDWP
3.01/5  rDev -27.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Notes on the bottle make various comparisons to this brew to motor oil. They need to be a little careful here, because I was indeed making comparisons of this brew to motor oil, but for all the wrong reasons.

Things started well, as I poured this into my tulip glass and a nice, chunky tan head arose above the jet black color of the liquid. The aroma was a little musty, a little roasted malt.

Hard to to describe the taste. Lot's of roasted malt here, and a strong coffee flavor, but coffee that's been sitting in the pot too long, not really good strong espresso coffee. Couldn't really taste the bourbon, but could sure taste the alcohol. Maybe a little raisin? Lot's a roasted bitterness, but not much to balance it.

Well yes, there is some heft to the mouth feel, but I didn't find it highly viscous. Basically what I would expect from a beer of this type.

It was hard to choke this one down with all the strong flavors, alcohol presence, and lack of balance. Frankly, I'd just assume have a decent lager than deal with all the unbalanced and out of control flavors here.

Port Brewing has blown me away with some of their beers, but I'm afraid this isn't one of them.

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Photo of lurpy1
3.03/5  rDev -26.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

One of several beers muled back to Minnesota, bomber split into two pint glasses.

Dark as night, but the head really will not stop. Maybe its a spillover from the plane trip. The pour is not as gloopy as the name would suggest.

The smell is a decent combination of malt, roast, and woody tones , definitely pick up the oak aging. All of the above ar present in taste, but it doesn't blend all that well. Even worse, all those nice flavors are drowned in a sea of alcohol burn. The upshot made this beer sometimes not so fun to drink.

There was a decent amount of carbonation, but I would have liked a slicker mouthfeel.

With less alcohol, this could be really good. As it stands it was a letdown. Would drink again, but of the stouts I've tried this is lower mid-tier at best, better only than the disasters.

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Photo of BenZ
3.07/5  rDev -25.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Bottle has been properly cellared since it was purchased 2 or 3 years ago. I should have tried it fresh. Either it aged very poorly, or it was always bad. Good carbonation and head, but a very strong metal aroma. Taste has some metal, the taste of brooklyn black chocolate stout plus too much bitterness. I was hoping for better.

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Photo of asabreed
3.15/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bomber into a Brooklyn snifter / tulip, shared with friends. How is this not a double stout or RIS? Huh.

Appearance: Nearly opaque with decent lacing, but lately stouts for me just don't build any kind of decent head above the body of the brew. This is in that category.

Smell: Marshmallow, charred wood, ripe berries. and some roasted malts. But fairly one-dimensional, even as it warms, without a lot of nuance.

Taste: Wow. I've complained about a few stouts lately that the bitterness levels are just over-compensating for the sweetness, but this is the opposite. Like drinking-honey sweet, and that's so up front that it's jarring, and masks a lot of the subtlety that the oak aging should be bringing to the table. There's some decent marshmallow sweetness, charred oak, and some raspberries and maybe some cherries, but that's really after the sweetness goes away. The sweetness dissipates slightly when it warms, but it's still there and just way too prominent overall, which makes it headache-inducing to a certain degree.

Mouthfeel: Big and cloying and sticky, with a lot more carbonation needed to get it out of that feel-like-you're-drinking-honey kind of category.

Drinkability: A whole bottle there's no way I could've finished myself, so I'm glad it was split between some other folks too. Overall I expected much more from this, and am a bit disappointed. But again, because it was split, it was easier to justify trying it. I would've drain-poured the rest of the bottle from being too cloying and kind of out-of-whack overall.

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Photo of coreyfmcdonald
3.15/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

A: Pours a very dark brown with a half finger light tan head that quickly recedes to a film.

S: Molasses, licorice, and bourbon mix together equally. I don't get much roast or chocolate.

T: Quite different than the aroma. I get roast and bourbon mixed together with a bit of dark chocolate in the background.

M: Very thin with adequate carbonation.

O: Very, very thin which takes away from the flavor. A bit weak, but not bad. Nothing about the flavor is bad, but the mouthfeel takes a lot away.

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Photo of roadhouse
3.16/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a snifter.

Appears jet black in color, thick and viscous, no surprise. Tan head of about one-third of an inch sinks to a skim quite quickly. Spotty lacing is left behind.

Aromas of oak, anise, vague roasted malts, and a very slight caramel sweetness. This is bourbon barrel aged? Where's the bourbon?

The taste is similar with the oak and anise up front, more roasted malts, a bit of charred wood, then the end is vinous kind of like wine. Again, where's the bourbon?

Mouthfeel is medium-full, kind of chewy, with a soft carbonation.

This reminded me of Haand Dark Force which I did not enjoy. It must be aged in bourbon barrels that have never had bourbon in them. Not what I expected at all, I would not recommend it.

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Photo of donkeyrunner
3.22/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Opaque black. Thin, dirt tan head that fades to a milky skim then dissapears completely. True to it's name it looks like a glass of motor oil.

Smells of roast malt, chocolate, dark fruit (esp. black cherry) alcohol, and sugar.

Sweet dark malt and chocolate up front with dark fruit alcohol in the middle and back. Subtle underlying roastyness throughout. Hardly any noticable carbonation. Mouthfeel is viscous with alcoholic heat. After a 22oz. bomber I was all done with this beer.

Big and boozey, Old Viscosity lives up to it's name...but who wants to drink motor oil?

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Photo of sweemzander
3.23/5  rDev -22%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

22oz. bottle poured into a snifter. No bottled date found.

(A)- Pours thick & dark black as the darkest night. Produced a good fluffy tan head that dissipated rather quickly.

(S)- A deep/rich roastedness with chocolate & molasses. A touch of dry woodiness. A spiciness that might be nutmeg or something.

(T)- Just like the smell. A very dense roasted wood component that is borderline burnt. Almost chalky on the finish.

(M)- A good carbonation level. Rather hot in the alcohol department. A nice roasted profile, but it is really boozy, almost killing off most of the flavor this has to offer if it were not so burnt tasting.

(D)- An interesting beer that is ridiculously full-bodied and potent. Could age for a long time considering how it currently tastes. In my opinion it needs tons of time to age in order to smooth out its edges. Not bad though.

 862 characters

Photo of Onenote81
3.23/5  rDev -22%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Bottle procured from yeahnatenelson. Thanks, dude! Not sure the vintage on this one.

Poured into an Allagash chalice. This beer is aptly named, as this beer pours very thick and viscous. A massive mocha head billows forth. Excellent retention; total coating of the glass edge with lace. The nose is very malty with hints of candy-malt, graham cracker, chocolate powder, and a fresh clean aroma on the finish. The nose is a bit dry.

The mouth is full and heavy. Carbonation adds a little bite to it, but this is short and fleeting. This is a way roasted beer. It's bordering on charred and harsh. There's a fleeting coffee flavor, but it's of the burnt variety. Vinous grapes, wine, oak, and alcohol wrap this up. Eh. It's alright, but my hopes were higher going into this. Call it hype, call it what you will, I was disappointed nonetheless.

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Photo of julian
3.23/5  rDev -22%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A: thick & viscous (surprise, surprise). Color is jet black with absolutely no light passing through anywhere. Aggressive pour yielded an active bubbly chocolate colored head which dissipates but not completely, leaving a nice frothy layer on the surface and around the edges. Lacing is relatively boring and minimal.

S: Smell is a strong fruity mix of berries, cherries, plum with a sugary malt sweetness. Kind weird, because I'm pretty sure there are no fruits in this beer, AT ALL. There's a pretty noticeable alcoholic presence.

T: Somewhat ashy with subtle hints of bitter chocolate. Relatively high alcoholic taste; not hard to discern the woody barrel essence in this beer as well as the bourbon notes linger on your palate as the other flavors subside. This is a pretty intense beer! It's not terrible but also not great. Not sure what the fascination is with this. Overall, kind of boozy.

M: This was warmed up a bit before serving but is still cool, just not completely cold. Carbonation is on the low to mid range. Consistency isn't as thick as I was expecting. Pretty intense with a strong alcoholic presence and throat warming. Very boozy.

D: This is a sipper, not something to be guzzled down. Definitely a beer with a lot of bourbon essence. I think a bomber of this at the end of the night or on a cold winter's night would be good...but I could think of other options that would suit the situation better.

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Photo of Erdinger2003
3.24/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a small head with a smaller lacing and has a great black color. The smell is sweet roasted malts with coffee flavors that smell delicious. The taste is very strong with alcohol and coffee roasted malts. The mouthfeel is a little less than ok, but still ok. Overall the drinkability was a little low due to the high alcohol flavors. I don't think I would have another one.

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Photo of jwinship83
3.27/5  rDev -21%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

22oz bottle served at cellar temp

A- black body with a small beige head on it. very stout-like. not much lacing, and very little head retention.

S- lots of chocolate. vanilla and oak as well.

T- very hot. thats the first thing i noticed. some oaky qualities, and the rest is sweet and roasted malts.

M- full bodied, but not as thick as the label would indicate.

D- meh, this one just didnt do it for me. too hot, not enough (any) bourbon flavor, not as thick as i would have liked. its not an offensive beer, i guess i just expected more. glad to see this one is available here, but i doubt ill buy another one.

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Photo of DefenCorps
3.28/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I picked this up over Thanksgiving 2007 at Julio's in MA. In continuing my attempt at drinking down the cellar (at least, removing beers that shouldn't be there), I grabbed this tonight. Plus, I just had Older Viscosity the other night and it's about time I try the non 100% BA version.

Old Viscosity pours a surprisingly lighter color than its Older cousin. Very dark brown with deep, reddish brown highlights, there's a dense, brown head that rises briefly before falling to a ring, leaving no lacing. On the nose, this is surprisingly muted. A little oxidation is present, mildly paper-like, and there's some mild molasses and licorice. Bourbon character is rather mild, there's some mild vanilla present. Roast character is very light. A little alcohol appears on the back end. Decent.

The palate is much, much better than the nose. Opening with a blend of mellow bourbon, vanilla, a little heat and some caramel, this is pretty enjoyable. Not as oxidized as the nose would suggest, there's just a wee bit of wet paper. However, the mid-palate has a surprising lack of flavor. There's some caramel present, along with a little bit of nutty flavor. I'm surprised, the caramel even overshadows the cocoa. The finish has a blend of caramel sweetness and a rather noticeable (and long-lasting) licorice character, along with some mellow bourbon. A touch tannic as well (surprising, given that this is a blend of BA and non-BA beers). Carbonation is moderate, and this medium-bodied beer feels pretty good on the palate. Ultimately, as good as it is, it really isn't making a statement.

As an aside, one thing I've noticed (at least recently) is that west coast brewers are shying away from including a roasty base for their stouts. Of course, it doesn't apply to the old dogs (Stone, Alesmith etc), but the more recent stouts and porters have been sweeter - Black Tuesday, this, RR's (excellent) porter, GF's Silva... I wonder if that's a trend of some sort.

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Photo of n2185
3.29/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a jet black with about two fingers of chocolate-colored head. The head dissipates into a nice brown layer on top of the black beer with some decent lacing.

S: Smokey roasted malts with some dark chocolate and bitter coffee. About what you'd expect for any imperial stout, though nothing really sticks out.

T: Similar to the aroma, there's a lot of dark roasted malt and smoke flavors. There's some bitter chocolate and hops in the aftertaste, leaving a smokey, bitter finish with a little alcohol burn.

M: Thick, heavy body with more carbonation than many imperial stouts, which goes with the smoke and bitter flavors well.

D: This beer goes down pretty easily, though without the creaminess found in many imperial stouts.

Overall, a pretty decent imperial stout. There's just nothing about it that really makes it stand out from the pack.

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Photo of ShanePB
3.3/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I pulled this from the cellar last night to split on a breezy, cool Spring evening outside. A 2010, 22 ounce bottle poured into two snifter glasses.

A: Deep black body, dark brown along the upper edges topped with a dismal yet creamy beige head. Retention was tiny, only a thin ring but the lacing was on point leaving it's traces along the glass walls in a rather chaotic pattern.

S: Oak, cedar, coffee beans, 80% cocoa chocolate, roasted chocolate malts and some faint, dried, earthy hop notes. Complex and dark but missing something to give it a well balanced aroma.

T: Wood notes are the centerpiece to this beer, oak barrels shine through along with some dusted cocoa powder. Roasted coffee beans awaken mid-palate and last well into the finish along with some extremely bitter dark chocolate notes.

M: Medium-bodied and quite carbonated from what it is, no signs of oxidization, but dry and chalky on the palate. Not my expectation for something of this style.

Even for only filling my glass to the 10 ounce mark, I unfortunately found this beer quite a chore to down. Perhaps it was because the night was winding down after I've already had a few but my mood nor taste buds were alive sip through swallow. I would revisit again with an open mind though any anticipation would be ill drawn.

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Photo of GClarkage
3.3/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

05/16/07- Purchased at Ledger's Liquors in Berkeley, CA.

Presentation- 22oz bottle with no freshness info. Poured into my Duvel tulip.

Appearance- Murky dark brown pour. Bucketloads of sediment. Looks like and extreme muddy river. I've never seen a color like this in a beer. Pours with a 1/2 inch head and leaves very light lace.

Smell-- Super roasted malted caramel. Decent grapefruit hop aroma with a boozelike scent as well.

Taste- Super intense bitterness from an overload of hops. Like an amped up Arrogant Bastard. Malt liquor like flavor with burnt malts. Flavor overlaod! Flavor overload!

Mouthfeel- Medium to higher carbonation level. Ultra long lasting burning hop bitterness.

Drinkability- Damn this was harsh. A bit too much for me, especially in the hops dept. An interesting intense experience for sure though.

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Photo of cgarviereg
3.3/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle at home ... deep black ... medium tan head ... rich sweet meaty malt nose with a little whiskey ... big bourbon front... too much bourbon ... it domintaes way to much and distroys its balance... behind the bourbon is a decent rich roast malt but all other characteristics are overpowered

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Photo of cbutova
3.31/5  rDev -20%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Notes taken a few nights ago.

A- Black with a creamy dark tan head that has good retention. Ample amounts of lace down the glass.

S- Roast malt and not much else to me. Kind of hard to pick much up. Slight alcohol strength.

T- Like a 100% cocoa dark chocolate bar. Very bitter dark cocoa. Roast malt and dark fruit are in the initial flavor with very, very low amount of wood in the finish. Slight alcohol.

MF- Creamy moderate oily body with alcohol heat and cocoa bitters. A bit light for what seems like it should be thick and oily.

DB- For what they make it out to be, it is a bit of a let down. All I keep going back to is the extremely dark cocoa.

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Old Viscosity from Port Brewing
4.14 out of 5 based on 1,975 ratings.
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