Life & Limb | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

very good
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Life & LimbLife & Limb

Brewed by:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
California, United States

Style: American Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.20%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Sierra Nevada & Dogfish Head collaboration brew.

Added by mjl21 on 11-14-2009

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,540 |  Reviews: 745
Photo of ineva
4.55/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured within its own shadow, very dark with a fluffy 2 finger head, leaving amazing lacing.

S: Sweet syrup roasted banana's, boozy goodness, dark chocolate raspberries.

T: Smooth cocoa, maple with a alcoholy presence, touch of molasses, mild dark fruit, hazel nut.

M: Wow this brew just gets better and better. Its automatic once you know it.

O: Earth's juice tapped straight from Mother nature itself.

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Photo of Janderson91
4.2/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to hawks10 for hooking me up with this one. Bottled in Fall 2009. Enjoyed on 07/23/11.

A - Pours a pretty clear dark brown with some deep red around the sides. A small tan head forms and recedes quickly. Leaves some splotchy lacing.

S - Biscuity malts and some maple syrup. A hint of alcohol and maybe a light piney aroma is also detected.

T - Tastes like an imperial brown ale. Big biscuity malts and a hint of maple syrup and also some cola-like flavors. Again, that piney, woody taste is present. This is a very good and interesting beer for sure, although I expected more of the maple syrup flavor. What's here is very good though.

M - The mouthfeel is pretty good. I've never said that a DFH beer was over-carbonated, usually everything they have a hand in has a rather thick consistency. This one could benefit from just a hint less carb though.

O - Overall, I really enjoyed this one, as did my bottle-sharing friend. It seems to have aged quite well, can't wait to pick up a fresh bottle after batch two comes out soon!

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Photo of Knapp85
4.2/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I was so glad to get a bottle of this back when it first came out. The beer poured out as a deep rich looking brown color with an off white colored head. The head was thin and didn't do too much in way of lacing. The smell of the beer has some earthy fresh wood aromas mixed with some sweet maple and some caramel too. The taste of the beer was sweet mostly. Had a very light bitterness in the back end. The mouthfeel was very silky smooth, this beer was very easy to drink. Overall I feel that this beer was a really good calaboration between two breweries who don't really make beers of this style. Very interesting.

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Photo of Bendurgin
4.03/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Grant for sending this one my way. Poured into a tulip. Pours dark cola colored brown with a finger of light tan head. Thin sparce lace on this.

Maple comes right into the forefront on this one with some ddark fruits. Figs or dates and maybe a little bit of orange in the background. All malt on this one. Caramel, toffee and maple on this one. A little sweet on this one but it's really not over the top. Actually pretty well done with a nice fruity character to balance it out.

Very robust chewy mouthfeel with low carbonation. Overall a nice collaboration here. A pretty unique beer that is easy to enjoy and sip on. Gotta share this one though cause it's a bit boozey.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
4.67/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured a deep brown color with good carbonation and a small white head.
S:Nose is hops, booze, maple and a bunch of other stuff all muddied together.
T: Taste was all over the place. Maple, hops, grape? orange? caramel, wood..who knows?
M:Mouthfeel is warm, sticky, booze and a disaster.
O:Besides being a stronlg ale my wife and I were unsire what or where this beer was going. Not a fan.
Re review of a 2009 bottle
Wow. This beer brought the thunder. Ages extremely well. Maple, caramel, citrus and wbooze are more evident and distinguished now than fresh.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.5/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a very dark brown, nearly opaque with only the slightest bit of light coming through on both the sides and the bottom of the glass. Very rich color, with slight reddish tints, but mostly just a deep russet brown. A smallish maybe one finger high head of gold and tan colored foam rose up from the bottom and lay across the top of the glass like a pillow. This settled down eventually, but left behind a thin film covering the top and very nice side glass lace.

I did not think this would be coming off as strong as it did. Lots of wood and oak like aroma mixed in as well. I had to let this one sit and warm up to see what else was going to be coming through from it. The next whiff was much more complex then the first. Lots of oak notes still underlying, however these were now being layered in with a good bit of dark fruity notes, plums, or raisins perhaps. Still a touch hot from the aroma, as the alcohol was very discernable.

. A very robust and full flavor profile, this was definitely one to sit down and think about as you go through it. A full on blast of spiced alcohol was the first thing that I noticed, kinda hot, but as it warmed it mellowed out and by the end of the session had all but blended into the background and simply become an outstanding ale. Loads of dark fruit notes were permeating through the flavor. Prunes, Raisins, Figs all very discernable in the flavor and really adding balance to it as they melded together. Lots of spice here as well, very big. The notes of oak and wood in the flavor were clearly becoming evident as it warmed, giving it a very subtle, yet very powerful presence. I can see why people rave about this; it is very unique, very dark, and very seductive almost. The flavor really needed some time to catch up with you, the first few sips were nothing compared to the last few, really outstandingt silky smoothness that really lets the flavor pop and keeps it from getting too heavy. In fact it was really not filling at all, despite how big it was it was excellent as far as that.

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Photo of mdaschaf
4.1/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

From notes. Had on cask at the DFH brewpub during the weekend of compelling ales.

A: Served in a goblet, the beer is extremely dark brown, bordering on black. A perfect, slightly tan colored, head formed on top, about 1/2 inch which lasted for most of the time I was drinking. Wisps of lacing down the side.

S: Toasted malt and caramelized sugar, a little bit of molasses and cocoa. The maple shines through as well some light woody aromas and raisins.

T: Slightly sweet from the maple syrup, which gives a nice rich flavor, but does not overwhelm the beer. There is an earthiness and some cocoa. Solid roasted malt flavor as well as some darker fruits like raisins and plums.

M: Medium bodied with great carbonation. It was incredibly creamy, probably due to the fact that it came off cask, but it made it amazing to drink.

O: A really good beer. It was certainly helped by the cask, but the flavors were nice and it was incredibly drinkable for 10%.

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Photo of emmasdad
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks so much to schmittymack for bringing a bottle of this one over last night; had one about a year ago and forgot to rate it, so...

Poured a rich brown color with a creamy light brown head. Aromas of molasses, maple, chocolate and malt. On the palate, medium bodied, with flavors of dark fruit, molasses, dark chocolate and light booze.

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Photo of Schmittymack
4.42/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Finally cracked the bottle I've been hanging onto for a bit last night at emmasdad's house. Poured a dark brown with a decent brownish head. Aroma of malt, honey, and a bit of smokiness. Taste was very nice: sweet malt, maple syrup, honey, and some kind of fruit (dates?). Alcohol is well hidden and the mouthful was smooth and creamy. Wising I'd have gotten more than just the one bottle now.

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Photo of aerozeppl
4.62/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Super deep brown color. Some red highlights when held up to the light. A quarter finger of brownish head. Good head retention for the ABV and some lacing as well.

S: The nose is amazing. Rich malts. The honey and maple syrup come through nicely without ever being sweet. Tobacco. Earthy. A touch of smoke. The alcohol is there as well but it never dominated.

T: Smooth as part of the taste. Nice sweetness. Some chocolate. Tobacco. Earthy. The maple syrup is there but not as sweet as it was fresh. Just a ton of malt complexity. The finish has a nice mix of tobacco and a touch of dark fruits.

M: Super smooth and creamy. A real treat.

D: I had this fresh and thought it was a little too sweet. It is drinking super nice right now. I think it still has some legs though. Just showing a touch of oxidization. Really well done.

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Photo of radioscooter
3.98/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Listening to the Smiths and sad because my 17 year old cat is dying. Worn out on many beers and haven't the energy to even look through the cellar. Popped this in the freezer about 45 minutes ago on the off chance.

Poured from 24oz bottle into a taster glass. dark brown body, beautiful thick frothy head with draping curtains.

Been doing dark ass BA stouts lately. This is a step up, lightness-wise. Hah. Dark molasses and tangy dark fruits. Chewy malty goodness.

Not TOO sweet. Not TOO Mapley. a Living ale, that now lives within me, as I slip into a depressed slump.

This is a Baby Bear beer. Which means it is Just Right.

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Photo of Nesued
3.85/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - Poured a nice brown color with some lively carbonation forming with the pour. A two-finger head formed which resolved to a small tan ring that retained throughout the tasting. Nice lacing forms as the level of the beer diminishes.

Smell - Roasted sweet malt aroma. Some caramel notes as well. Plumb and dark fruit comes through as well.

Taste - Some maple and caramel tastes opens this beer, nice malty backbone and some slight hop bite at the finish along with a bit of an alcohol presence as well. The middle is surprisingly satisfying in both the complexity and the depth. I say "surprisingly" only because I wasn't expecting the density I found in this beer.

Mouthfeel - A full-bodied beer. Nicely coats your tongue as it circles your mouth. This body adds to the ability to further distinguish subtle nuances.

Overall - It's been about 5-6 months since this beer was released. I had it quickly after it was released and didn't care for it much. Way to hop-forward. Given a few months, this has aged very nicely into a very good ale.

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Photo of josefnewsong
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark, sweet, medium bodied, and drinkable as hell for the abv. Definitely some grape/raisin flavors dominating the brew with a bit of alcohol warmth. As it warms the lack of body and complexity shows itself but it is still a very tasty beer. Not spectacular but very good.

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Photo of EgadBananas
3.48/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown, looks almost black. Nice light brown head and decent lacing.

Slight maple on the nose, some booze, astringency, , caramel,.and sugary notes.

Sugary maple notes, booze, slight chocolate as it warms, with some caramel. Despite the sweet factor, it's not cloying.

thick and smooth with a creamy texture and no carbonation

The drink is pretty good. I wish I could have tried it fresh...

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Photo of firkinhophead
3.63/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

pours with a bubbly, thick head that pops like soda and leaves pits in the foam. 3 fingers settles to a thin raft of bubbles and foam with some nice lacing. dark brown with some nice ruby highlights.

aroma of cola, vanilla, sweet malts, and spruce. some raisiny, dark fruit notes as well.

taste is malt forward, with caramel, molasses, vanilla, and roasted notes of cocoa. Dark rum and alcohol rise up in the middle, with herbal, piney hops barely pushing through at the end. Semi-sweet finish with some lingering spice notes of licorice, allspice, and cinnamon.

slick velvety mouthfeel, medium body, moderate carbonation.

a bit too herbal and medicinal in the end. alcohol sits on top, even after 6 months. Sweetness early yields to drying alcohol and root spices as the glass drains, leaving a burnt, unpleasant residue.

A bit disappointing. It has it's moments, but the flavors just didn't come together for me.

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Photo of maximum12
4.1/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to chickencoop for sending me a bottle of this in a while-ago trade; I appreciate it since I wasn't smart enough to grab a bottle while it was around Minnesota. And you don't see too many 24 oz. bottles, eh?

Pour is black, without even the ritualistic bit of color along the edges; Hades black. Smells nice & sweet, dark malts, wisps of maple syrup.

I had a glass of this when it first came out at Stub & Herbs in Minneapolisk, & Life & Limb reinforces the impression I had there: simple. Extremely malty, mild roast, molasses. Alcohol is present too, even after a year plus in the cellar. Bare shavings of dark fruit.

Leaves a tingling, numbing impression on the roof of the mouth like a shot of hard wood alcohol. Flat & heavy, but the wood really comes out as the beer warms up & makes it both tasty & more inviting to the mind.

Really, really good beer that bumps right up on against excellent territory; it's really developed since I had it on tap & thought "unh, OK, whatever". Almost worth seeking out another to see if it continues to improve. Love the maple. OK, it really does stray into excellence.

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Photo of garbercury
3.7/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A huge shout out to Beerwolf77 for his incredible generosity, Todd you are indeed the man...

Poured into a snifter to savor.

A--Deep, dark brown, ruby red/garnet, nice beige head, not a ton of retention on the lacing...

S--Prunes, raisins, hops, figs all blend into an interesting, complex nose.

T--Wow, there is a lot going on with this beer. There is certainly a alcohol burn, and the hops are still pretty strong. I do get some of the dark fruits that I got from the nose.

D--Well, this is an interesting collaboration. I had a bottle I was aging and again, thanks to generosity, I got to try this a little after a year of its release. It still could use some cellar time, and I think it will benefit from it...

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Photo of coldmeat23
4.14/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

GLASS: Snifter
TEMP: Cellared @ approx 55 degrees

This at first appears to be black, which kind of threw me, somewhat. Backlighting it reveals it to a very dark brown though. Actually, we can take it further, upon closer examination. It is a ruby-hued, very dark shade of amber. It's head is almost the same light brown color as capuccino foam. The retention is good and the lacing is plentiful but slightly slick.

I get maple notes, right off the bat. Subtle, but unmistakable. Lots of butterey caramel notes. Light hints of marascino cherries. Mild, yet creamy, milk chocolate notes. Figs. Dates. Dried fruits. Mild booziness. Tree bark. Belgian candi sugar. Roasted nuts. Toasted white bread.
A very deliciously inviting nose!

Loads of rich maltiness, along with mild chocolate and some light traces of coffee, give this an almost porter-like taste. But then you've also got some belgian yeast and candi sugar sweetness going on as well. The sweetness of the maple syrup is here and the bich syrup is bringing a hint of dry balance. This really follows the nose quite well, actually.
It's quite well-done.

This is medium-bodied and has a light-to-medium level of carbonation, which suits it well. Very smooth, with a slight hint of creaminess.

Although the alcohol is hidden quite nicely, the flavor on this one is really a bit too big to qualify as an easy drinker. Delicious, but a sipper, for sure.

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Photo of PDXHops
3.93/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Ryan011235 for sharing this bottle, which we split into oversized snifters. The body seems to be an optical illusion; too dark to be brown, yet there's no such thing as 'light black'. Charred amber highlights when held up to light. A finger of already thick head settles into an even denser skim. Lazily scattered streaks of lacing.

The nose is lushly warm and boozy, mysterious layers of burnt and baked sweetness, a touch of tobacco. Exceptionally smooth and coating with a modest carbonation made up of very tiny bubbles; a soft feel to be sure. Maple syrup and brown sugar bring the sweetest flavors, molasses and cherry pie take things into tangy territory. There's an underlying bitterness that flares up from time to time. Charred and woody notes disrupt the smoothness now and again. Roasty and sweet finish that doesn't have the lingering booziness I'd anticipated based on the nose.

Overall impression: Quite an enjoyable sipper.

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Photo of ChristianBlack
4.82/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Love this brew. Love it. Love it! Very dark brown black color. Decent head.

Aroma of malty goodness.

Love the maple flavor. That's what made this beer memorable.

Overall, an excellent brew and one that won't forget. I would write more but that's really all that needs to be said. Excellent brew. Loved drinking it.

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Photo of CraftAleRookie
3.95/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured in a 9 ounce tasting tumbler, number 4 in a series of tastings for the 2010 Holiday.

Very dark brown ale, light does get through around the edges. Very thin 1/4 inch head that disappeared to almost no lace. Aroma of malt, toasted marshmallow, candied fruit. Sweet notes.

Tastes of barle, malt, and a twist of hop is notable. Maple hints are there, with an slight sweet (but faint) edge. Regretably, this bottle is somewhat flat. But the silky feel helps the mouthfeel score.

Overall, a good brew and one that will get more interesting with age. Going to wait a few years before popping the cap off my second bottle.

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Photo of scottfrie
4.12/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

24oz bottle into New Belgium snifter. Batch 1.

A: Pours an extremely dark ruby-brown with a billowing khaki colored head that took forever and a day to recede into a thick oily film that left epic sheets of lacing down the glass. Great head retention.
S: Not picking up much, but I know it's there under the thick head. I get notes of sweet malts and molasses with light hints of dark fruits and alcohol.
T: Sweet caramel, toffee, molasses and birch are prominent. At times I get flashes in my brain of alcoholic root-beer. Overall fairly sweet, almost like brown sugar. Hops take a back seat at this point, but there is a light bitterness to the finish. The aftertaste has just a hint of alcohol similar to rum soaked raisins. Very porter-esque.
M: Really smooth mouthfeel with a medium-full body that is closer to the full end of the spectrum. Carbonation is soft but tingly enough.
D: A year of age has knocked back some of alcohol and made this an exceptionally smooth and rich dark beer. This was my favorite beer at the time when I first had it exactly one year ago today (last Christmas). While I feel my palate has matured over the year, and I've had hundreds of world class beer since then, I still feel like this is at the top end of the 'beer greatness' scale. I'm glad and have a few more bottles of this, and I wait in anticipation to see if any more ever gets brewed.

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Photo of lstokes
3.94/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is a very pretty beer, an opaque, slightly burnished brown with a lovely molasses head and decent lacing. I did not like the smell at all--roasted malt and BURNT toffee.

The taste is nice, though--opens with a burnt caramel and then expands with the syrups, with wood and leather, with some surprisingly fruity esters--plums and raisins--and the resiny pine hops to give a very full taste profile.

It's a little viscous in the mouthfeel, but I imagine that's to be expected with the syrup. In summary, this is a great drinker, experimental like you expect from DFH, but also smooth and delicious. Too bad we've already cracked our bottle--I wouldn't mind another few of these.

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Photo of clarkm04
4.02/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served from 22-ounce bomber

Appearance- Very heavy and dark. Minimal head retention with slight lacing.

Smell- Caramel, toffee-like notes mixed with a boozy note.

Taste- Very complex taste with a mixture of caramel, toffee-like, the birch and maple syrups add to an undertone to the beer. Has a nice front and finishing notes. I had this beer fresh last year on tap and out of the bottle and age has made this beer settle down some of the booziness and sharp notes of the beer. I'm really impressed with the added smoothness of the beer without losing some of the amazing flavors. I enjoy the syrup flavors in the beer but it makes the beer somewhat sticky on the lips and glass.

Mouthfeel- Very heavy. Sits on the tongue with minimal carbonation.

Drinkability- Fairly low which is to be expected for an American Strong. This beer is definitely a one and done for me. I am excited to drink my other two bottles and I wish Sierra Nevada and Dogfish would brew this beer again.

Overall- Very unique and good. I would definitely recommend this beer especially if you enjoy complex, thick, and slightly boozy beer.

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Photo of ColForbinBC
4.09/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to Josh for being overly generous.

24oz bomber poured into a pint

The body sits a dark chestnut with a purple hue underneath a one finger tan cap. The head rose and fell without much fanfare and settled to form some bubbles and delicate lace.

The nose on this bad boy is heavily boozy, thanks to the age. Large amounts of toffee and caramel with a touch of molasses, that is rounded out by plums and dark cherries. A pretty hearty nose that is equal parts deep and broad.

Plums and cherries with toffee dominate the palate. Heavy amount of booze hits through the middle and then fades to a warming finish. The flavor profile doesn't seem as complex as the nose would let on. I think the booze takes the reigns a little too much, but I have to respect the fact that this bottle has been aged.

A lush, medium body with a creamy feel. A little hot due to the heat from the ethanol, but tolerable. I'm having no problems putting this guy back. A definite sipper; drinkability is on par for the style.

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Life & Limb from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
3.97 out of 5 based on 1,540 ratings.
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