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Smuttynose IPA "Finest Kind" | Smuttynose Brewing Company

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1,823 Reviews
Smuttynose IPA "Finest Kind"Smuttynose IPA "Finest Kind"

Brewed by:
Smuttynose Brewing Company
New Hampshire, United States

Style: American IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.90%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
You could say, then, that Smuttynose IPA is a physical salute to the glory of the American hop grower. The citrusy hop flavor coming from a mixture of Simcoe and Santiams is pleasantly balanced by a smooth bitterness from the Amarillo hops. The beer itself is light bodied and crisp with a golden color that will throw a slight haze, as we bottle it unfiltered. At 75 IBU's, this is definitely not a training-wheels IPA, but is meant for hop lovers looking to satisfy their craving in a way that's not easy to find. We think they’ll be quite pleased.

75 IBU

Added by Bierman9 on 03-12-2004

For Trade:
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Reviews: 1,823 | Ratings: 5,213
Photo of mnj21655
4.22/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a nice copper color with a white head and good lacing. Smells strongly of floral/citrsuy hops. Tastes similar to how it smells, very hoppy and citrusy. Mouthfeel is good. Nice body with a moderate amount of carbonation. As for drinkability this is a great, flavorful IPA. Very drinkable. Thank you Smuttynose.

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Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.42/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 12 ounce brown glass bottle which looks just like the one in the BA Database. Labeled as ”Smuttynose IPA” above a picture of two happy looking chaps sat in deckchairs outside a Trailer. The words “India Pale Ale” and “Finestkind” are below in white text. Best before Dec 2006, no strength listed.

Appearance: Unfiltered the body has a mildy hazed orange body with a crisp white head which laces nicely. Small finely tuned conditioning aids the excellent head retention throughout. Superb presentation!

Nose: I strongly suspect the dry-hopping lends a fresh aspect to the nose. Clean and crisp with highly defined bitterness and a hoppy trait.

Taste: Pine oils mix with a sharp grapefruit crispness as well as some peach laden fruits. Malt lines the middle but the finish is all about the hops. Dry bitterness lingers log after the swallow. Soft edges are supplied by bread features and juxtaposed by the rich grapefruit flesh.

Mouthfeel: Mild biscuit texture to the malts and some yeasty bread dough bolster the thickness of the feel. Occasionally the pine oils lend viscosity but it is never heavy and always well-balanced. Rewarding.

Drinkability: After only a few mouthfuls I found myself at the bottom of this 12 ouncer, oh so easily. I immediately wanted more of this fine brew; heck I wanted a Six-Pack of it in my fridge. The finish is very appealing and the whole brew is nicely poised lending a very Moorish character. More please.

Overall: My previous Review of this beer was of a bottle that had been kindly gifted by Carmen but had to be left in my Car during a particular hot-day whilst down in San Diego attending the Real Ale Festival at Pizza Port back in 2004. I was not sure if that sample had suffered or not, it certainly did not seem like it, but it was hard to tell – yet on reflection perhaps judging by this fresher sample it wasn’t at its best, still great though. So I kept my promise to Re-Review and upped the overall marks accordingly (4 to 4.35). Good stuff, and definitely one of my favorite American IPA’s from the East Coast. Thanks to Erica for the fresh sample!

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Photo of timtheenchanta
4.27/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Burnt orange in color with a medium sized head that holds on top in the form of a thin line while drinking the beer. Thick webs of lace dance down the pint glass. There's a constant stream of carbonation rising that leaves all of the sediment in the glass suspended in the middle of the glass.

Fresh hop aroma with some piney notes shining through. Slight grapefruit aroma that we all know and love but not really too prominent.

Very sweet malty flavor that almost tastes like a candy tingling the tongue. This one quickly turns hoppy. Sweet grapefruit and pineapple flavors tease the drinker before the harsh piney hops scald the tongue in the very dry very bitter finish.

This is a pretty good brew but I don't know that I could sit down with a sixer of this one as the hoppy finish really bombs the tastebuds.

Thanks to cooperrip for a chance to try this one.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.42/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Perhaps it has to do with being from New Hampshire, and perhaps not, but Smuttynose seems to have a way of making beers that don't really stand out at first, but are actually there waiting, ready and willing, for you at all times. They kind of hang in the shadows until you actually pull one out of the corner... then... you notice them!

The IPA is a great example of that. It doesn't hit you on the head with hop aroma, but by-golly if you don't experience some very nice Cascades just opening up the bottle. And then there's the appearance. The head retention isn't superb (it IS very good), nor is the clarity, but what you get seems so say "real" to me. Or maybe I should say "honest". They have integrity. They're just delivering a decent, solid, drinkable beer. And I love that!

The flavor is the same way. It's an IPA so there's a rock solid - but not brash - bitterness to it (well, it is the granite state... remember the old man in the mountain?); and citrusy (grapefruit, even a drop of pineapple), grassy, and piney hops seem to be smeared EVERYWHERE; and the malt base is clean and straightforward with just a "basic", down to earth graininess.

Overall, it's a very, very nice take on the style. It delivers the malt, hops and bitterness while remaining very drinkable. I could go for a few of these.... but watch out, the 6.6% will hit you!

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Photo of Doomcifer
4.52/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Oh, Smuttynose. Pours a beautiful cloudy golden orange with sediment unfiltered floaties the way I like it. Nice white creamy head that leaves behind gorgeous lacing, like an artform, along the glass as it is poured down the gullet. Smells of citrusy grapefruit and hops hops hops. Tastes of extreme grapefruity hops all the way, citrusy, grassy, and pungent. Pucker up! Finish is semi-dry. The grapefruit character takes on a kung-fu grip on the palate and hangs on for dear life until the next explosive sip is taken. Mouthfeel is like liquid velvet and rolls around in the mouth. Perfect carbonation balance tingling on the tongue and never invasive. I could drink these all day long, tolerance permitted. One of the best straight-up IPA's on the market today. This brew very much lives up to the handle of "Finest Kind." Bravo.

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Photo of geexploitation
4.01/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a bright, active yellow amber with a thick, substantial head that leaves lots of lacing. Big hop (pine pitch) aroma on the nose, with yeast as its only counterpoint. This is one helluva bitter beer on the palate -- way out of balance, but not unpleasantly so. Citrus flavors come in first, followed by grapefruit, with a finish that displays just a touch of crackery malts -- the only note in this brew that sounds of malt. Mouthfeel is quite astringent, nearly puckering, with an active, buzzy finish. If you like IPAs, this one will probably be drinkable for you; if you aren't as enthusiastic (like me) it might be hard to put away a bunch of these.

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Photo of blackie
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

appearance: The pour gives a slight, white head that recedes to a thin layer and ring. Poured off the sediment, the beer is a clear, golden amber in color.

smell: Notes of juicy green hop pulp upfront carried on light waves of ethanol. Light aromas of caramel and pale type malts. Notes of tropical fruits including big passionfruit and grapefruit.

mouthfeel: The carbonation is a high medium, and the body light.

taste: Fresh green hops with a nice, light malt balance which allows the hops to dominate. Notes of tropical fruits abound with the pulpy hop flavor, especially passionfruit and grapefruit. A big bitterness gradually takes over and lingers long into the finish with some graininess and residual hop flavor.

drinkability: easy, very tasty

Single bottle purchased at Woodman's in Madison and smuggled back to NC. Notched as best by August '06.

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Photo of lordofthewiens
3.88/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A solid IPA. Golden color, nice medium head. Floral aroma, a little citrus in there also. Tasted initially sweet, then the nice hop sharpness kicked in. Pretty assertive beer. A beer to drink a few of, as long as you're sticking to IPAs. I liked this almost as much as Smutty's Big A IPA.

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Photo of WeisGuy
4.42/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

a - deep golden color, medium-sized white head with a little retention, nice lacing, lots of big yeast chunkies floating around

s - great aroma, you can tell this is going to be a hop bomb, lots of citrusy and piney hops in the nose

t - as the smell would suggest, the start is pretty sweet and rather malty, but soon after that the hops come to the forefront starting with a citrusy taste and evolving into a mouth filling bitterness that goes on forever

m - medium carbonation, light-to-medium bodied, hop oil coats the mouth

d - very drinkable, could easily become a session beer for me, wouldn't want to try to review anything else after a few of these though b/c the hops destroy the palate

Great example of my favorite style. Not on the level of The Mama or Two-Hearted, but a very solid brew all-around.

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Photo of Bitterbill
3.88/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle a cloudy reddish gold with a fairly large head of foam that shrunk quickly leaving a solid layer for most of the session and then.. diminished some more until just a very fine layer remained.

The smell is quite hoppy with notes of citrus like grapefruit and lemon and there's a bit of malty sweetness in the nose as well.

The taste is actually a bit sweeter than I expected. The hops are definitely in control with grapefruit and lemon and a bit of grass but the malt presence kind of eases the bitter tones until the finish when it becomes quite bitter and very refreshing. Good stuff!

Bottom line: A very good example of an American IPA. Thanks go out to jwc215 for including this one in our trade!

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Photo of AlesRTasty
3.72/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- amber/yellow and hazy from bits of floating yeast? white head about an inch thick
S - some hops, very little aroma
T - bitter and dry hop taste. much more impressive than the aroma. very nice.
M- good carb. and "crispness" for this style
D - overall a good beer. I would drink it regularly if I could get it regularly.

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Photo of Liquids
3.62/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Orangey yellow one finger bubbly head. This is unfiltered? there is yeast floating around. I missed the warning, though it seems like it wasn't settled anyhow and would be in the mid even with a good pour. That makes it a bit unattractive in appearance though otherwise it was pleasing. Aroma is citrus rinds and flowers. Not over the top but getting there, good resinous aroma, but all hops. Taste is intense bittering hops. It's definite a hop kick from the start in that plain old bitter sense. Tastes like a few and not just one hop variety but not a million either. Surprisingly, a malty flavor peaks in at the end, of all things. Very grapefruity in flavor. A hop-heads delight. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with full on carbonation; leaves a zippy lively feel on the tounge. For all of that, I admit this was nothing special. I'm finding I like the multi-hop kind of flavor over the single hop kind of thing, but also with this beer I realize the distinction in "where do you put the hops?" so to speak. Abundant bittering hops, vs abundant flavoring hops, vs abundant aroma hops, and all of the above. This one focused on bittering to my palate, so while the hop choices weren't overwhelming, the puckering bitterness made this not enjoyable. I learned something here. Smutty shows their ability to craft well here, though it's not to my palate. A fine beer for the hop lover, but not the IPA I'd return to.

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Photo of BasementBrew
3.83/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A bright beer with a light body and a fruity nose. It started out thin, but grew into an astringent, bitter, hoppy aftertaste. I wouldn't say it stood out in the world of craft IPA's but it knocked commercial brands (like Keith's) and I'd happily buy it again.

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Photo of macpapi
4.35/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've always thought this beer was the best of the lot among New England brewed I.P.A.s Its hoppiness has often seemed more akin to west coast representations of the style than the typically mild northeastern candidates. As such, I've always thought of this one as among the finest I.P.A.s that American breweries had to offer.

Finest Kind pours a nice light brown to yellowish color. Pale indeed! It has a full white head and very nice lacing.

Smell is dominated by fresh citrus and hop notes. A very strong pull on the nostrils. There is a nice combination of grapefruit, lemon and orange here--dominated by the latter two fruits.

Taste is a multitude of hops. A very strong and bitter swallow, which almost overwhelms an otherwise fine grapefruit flavor. This is a very full and impressive tasting beer.

Mouthfeel again is full, bitter and biting. I can see how this beer could be almost unpalatable for non-I.P.A. fans or anti-hopheads. For me though it is very appealing.

Despite the astringent qualities--or perhaps because of them for a h.h. like me--this is an eminently drinkable brew. To my mind, it is complex, well-balanced and potent enough to make it an American heavyweight. Right up there with Two Hearted and Hop Devil as the the most drinkable and sessionable American I.P.A.s

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Photo of BrewDoctor
4.45/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I have to start by saying this my 'go to' American IPA. After years of trying some of the more conveted IPAs from West to East, this one lends it's hand as a benchmark. A great batch of "Finest Kind" is right up there with the best of them. The price is just an Easter Egg on top.

A - Hazy sunshine with a slight hint of unripened oranges

S - Beautiful, floral hop aroma accented by citrus. In a fresh batch, the hop flower is quite pungent. Malts? Not really.

T - The smell tells a lot about the taste of this brew. It starts with the scent of hop flowers as the beer slides toward the lips, followed by a orange, lemon, and grapefruit citrus flavor that leads it's way to a strong bitterness on the tongue. Malt flavor is hardly present as the hops overpower the overall brew giving it a crisp, refreshing flavor that's sure to satisfy. Ahh, just like I like it!

M - Decent mouthfeel with enough alcohol to sting the gums to help accent the 'in your face' hop presence. Again, a crisp feel all around.

D - This beer does well as a single or 6 at a time. The bitterness may turn off some malt lovers, but perfect for a hophead to enjoy all day at a BBQ.

Did I mention that I love this beer? Oh yeh. Thank the beer gods for Smuttynose!

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Photo of TrickKnee
3.65/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

After trying their Big A i was looking for something with a little less bang, and the Smuttynose IPA is absolutly perfect. Was a little worried about the mouthfeel being that it was unfilitered but did not taste it at all. Beautiful fruitful aroma with a lovely color. Definitely a great drinker.

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Photo of snilsen13
3.61/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A - golden with lacey white froth, stays frothy for at least an hour. nice.

S - slightly grassy

T - before the hops hit there is some faint sweeetness, but the end is pretty bitter. these are the hops that are borderline soapy to me... I've noticed hop heads can be pretty crass, makes me wonder ... Now, do not get me wrong, there's more than soap, there is a presence of alcohol in the flavor too, and it is a pretty heady brew. bottom line, it does taste prettty good at $8 a 6 pack.

M - the soapy hop flavor lingers on too long for me.

D - difficult to to drink, but not entirely off putting, this qualifies as a finisher.

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Photo of sloejams
4.48/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

"Finest Kind" as it's formally known, has only been around for only a couple years. I love the label with the 2 fellas on the lawnchairs, enjoying some beer. The guy on the right kind of looks like Drew Carey (If you can make that out). It has a cloudy peach-orange color with a brilliant head that leaves lace rings on the pint glass as I enjoy the nectar. The aroma has a great citrus hop nose: grapefruit and lemon, yum. The taste is much of the same with a caramel malt hint that doesn't balance the bitter hop attack, but I don't think it was meant to. The creamy texture is something that I've found some of my favorite IPAs make complete. This is no exception. Probably the best IPA, I've had from New England. Delicious.

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Photo of TurdFurgison
3.24/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle I brought to OH from CT. The appearance was awesome and, unfortunately, the best attribute of this beer. Deep orange color, hazy with yeasties floating around, with thick foamy top.

The smell was slightly hoppy, among the weakest IPA aromas I've tried. The taste was signifigantly more bitter than the hop flavor leads you to expect. Maybe high alpha acid hops... Also 1-dimensional in that there was no malty counter-balance to the hops.

Not worth the effort to get.

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Photo of granger10
3.92/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Murky orange color with some kind of chunks in it. Yeast or hops? Looks kind of nasty but I kind of like it. Aroma is interesting. A touch sweet but hops. Like sweet pine smell and then grapefruit. Complex, really, but I can't pin it down. Taste is hopped the crap out. But there's not the intensity I was expecting, making this quite drinkable but not quite the palate destroying experience I thought it might be. Good and bad. Lower carbonation and smooth really with a fruitiness that seems to dominate. Drier on the palate than nostrils however. Balanced but hoppy. Finish has more bitterness and alcohol replaces the fruity malts. I drank this one fairly easily and quickly, but its not my favorite.

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Photo of
3.66/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz. bottle. Crystal clear gold with orange tones. Large, rocky off-white head. Aroma was grapefruit hops, very little malt, what was there came through as honey. Flavor was reflective of aroma, with hops as grapefruit, a nice balance of malt (honey was very faint), and almost no aftertaste. Mouthfeel was light, with medium to high carbonation, and moderate drying. A very nice beer, the younger brother to Big-A IPA. I prefer the Big-A version, but this is incredibly drinkable.

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Photo of rayjay
4.47/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Another one brought to me by a friend on a cross-country run, straight from the Foodery in Philly. Thanks again!

Nice pour, nice looking carbonation, looks like it'll lace up nice. Lots of chunks in this one, big thick ones that take forever to sink.

Smells good too. High alpha hops and some "east coast" malt smell, a la 60 Minute IPA.

Tastes really good. Big bitter punch up front, fruity/grapefruity/piney thing for a second or two, then back to bitter aftertaste. Like many of my favorite IPA's it tastes like chewing on hops, which I love. Plenty of fresh flower bite.

Mouthfeel is good, too, with a light malt backbone that lets the hops blast through. Refreshing!

It's great to see the east coast really step it up with this one; too many east coast IPA's have a huge malt body, which slows me way down. It's got plenty of punch and it's nice and light for easy sessioning. A++

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Photo of Estarrio
4.13/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a light golden yellow. Kickass head! Big, white, frothy, with big frothy chunks and some decent retention. Intricate lacings through the last sip.

Standard stock IPA aroma. Floral hops with a bit of orange.

Nice, smooth taste. This is an IPA that you can jump into without being initiated into the halls of hopdom. A lightly sweet, citrus taste is quickly overtaken by a well-balanced, potent hop flavor. The aftertaste is grapefruit. It's not too dry or bitter, making this a very smooth, balanced and highly drinkable beer.

Light to medium body with high carbonation and again, very drinkable.

This is an IPA I could drink after mowing the lawn without a problem and yet it is still a nicely flavored and enjoyable brew.

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Photo of cbl2
3.5/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

3/28/2005 $6.99 6 pack 6.60% Bottled February 2005.


Pours a hazy shade of orange brown with a thin white head on top.


I'm slightly congested, but some orange/citrus notes shine through. I'm not detecting much else, but that's due to post-nasal drip.


Starts off very bitter, with a touch of orange. By midsip the bitterness has quelled a little, to allow some mild malt presence to arise, but the bitterness rears its ugly head at the end. I've gotta say that I'm not overly impressed with this one. It could by my illness, but there are much better IPA's out there.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.42/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a cloudy, pale gold with a thin, white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The robust smell contains hops, sweet citrus and caramelized malts.

T: The taste is very well-balanced between the hops bitterness and the citrus malt sweetness. The two flavors counteract each other so evenly that there’s no after-taste and you simply crave the next sip. Once the beer warms a bit, it leaves a pleasantly bitter hops after-taste.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, clean & dry finish.

D: It’s tasty, not-too-filing, and it’s the kind if beer that you can just keep on drinking. Smuttynose Brewing Co. continues to impress me. I think this is an excellent beer and a great representation of the style.

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Smuttynose IPA "Finest Kind" from Smuttynose Brewing Company
4.09 out of 5 based on 5,213 ratings.
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