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Smuttynose Gravitation (Big Beer Series) | Smuttynose Brewing Company

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304 Reviews
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Smuttynose Gravitation (Big Beer Series)Smuttynose Gravitation (Big Beer Series)

Brewed by:
Smuttynose Brewing Company
New Hampshire, United States

Style: Quadrupel (Quad)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 12.50%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
This big, dark ale is brewed using a variety of Belgian specialty malts along with 200 pounds of raisin puree per batch. The resulting flavor is a viscous mix of dark fruit, rum, toffee and raisins balanced with aromatic fruitiness of the Belgian yeast.

25 IBU

2009 - 6.6%
2010 - 12.0%
2011 - 12.5%
2012 - 12.0%
2013 - 11.5%
2015 - 12.3%

Added by Oxymoron on 01-01-2009

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Reviews: 304 | Ratings: 602
Photo of LilBeerDoctor
2.76/5  rDev -24.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Bottle. Pours a dark reddish brown with a small light tan head. Aroma of raisin, sweet malt, sweet dark fruits (plum, prune) and vegetal notes. Ick. Flavor is very very sweet with raisin and dark fruits. Sticky palate and rather carbonated. The flavor is not as bad as the aroma but still. This really is an awful quad though, with no similarities at all to the top Belgian quads.

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Photo of Viggo
2.83/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

22 oz bottle, big thanks to grub for sharing!

Pours a clear dark ruby red, almost brown away from the light, thin light tan head forms, quickly settles to a thing ring around the glass, a few lace spots sticks, looks alright. Smell is neat, more like a bock than a quad, raisins, some caramel/brown sugar, biscuits, very bready, lots of dark fruit, something kind of citrusy and floral, not what I think of when I think of quad, just doesn't have that character. Taste is very sweet, lots of raisins, iron, brown sugar/caramel, iced tea, almost cloying, lots of fruit juice, some alcohol, dates, biscuity and dry in the finish, almost feels like my teeth are rotting. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with medium carbonation, alcohol is hidden relatively well, but just insanely sweet and cloying. Very sugary finish, just doesn't seem like much of a quad, and too sweet to be very enjoyable regardless of adherence to style. Thanks Russ!

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Photo of roscoehnj
2.83/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Whenever I see a new Smuttynose Big Beer series I pick one up because I've never been dissapointed. Unfortunately this one breaks the streak.

Looks good, smells like a good quad - there could be a lot going on here.

Taste - whoa, whats with all the residual sugar? This is the sweetest quad I've had and that's not a good thing. The overpowering sweetness overshadows whatever complexities reside in this beer. There may be a lot there but I just can't get past the sweetness and can't finish the bomber. It might not take more than a few tweaks to make this good and I hope the folks at Smuttynose rethink this one.

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Photo of horshack7
2.83/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Out of a 22 ounce bomber comes a very dark burgandy with a light fomay head. That thins out to about half a finger worths.

Aroma: Scents of plums raisins mild hints of rum and other dried fruits. Delicate notes of roasted malts and little bits of hop notes.

Taste: Out of the gate it starts out smooth. Only little hints of figs and raisins with the slightest bits of hop bitterness. Not as hearty as I thought it might be but it's not too shaby.

Notes: It is not as big as my first impression of it was but it's decently drinkable. Cheers

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Photo of Satchboogie
2.83/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Reviewed from notes: 2011 vintage

A: Pours dark muddy brown/red with 2 fingers of tan head, fairly tight bubbles, decent retention, leaves just a little lacing.

S: Prunes, raisins, banana, lots of alcohol, brown sugar.

T: Lots of banana, prunes, raisins, and a little apple upfront with a somewhat subdued malt body, light to moderate brown sugar. Alcohol absolutely takes over quickly throwing out a ton of phenols and solvent-like qualities. Very rough and boozy finish that tastes more like a cleaning solution than a beer. Not all that malty, no complexity or depth, and not very tasty.

M: Medium body, moderate carbonation, harsh alcohol and plenty of burn. Not smooth at all.

O: Maybe a couple of years on this bottle would work wonders, but as is, it's a mess. I wouldn't suggest this to anyone, especially not as an introduction to Quads. I wouldn't want anyone thinking this is what a Belgian quad should taste like.

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Photo of charlesw
2.85/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Cloudy brown, little head. Smells... Yeah. That's a problem, isn't it? Smells a little musty. Like oxidized homebrew or something. Hints of brown sugar, molasses.

The big part of the taste is the musty/homebrew/oxidation thing. Bleh. Plenty of brown sugar, molasses and licorice root but none of those with any sweetness. Might taste a touch of chocolate, too.

Edit: and on reading other reviews, no, I'm a bit surprised. I mean, it's like they weren't drinking the same beer I was! What's up with that?

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Photo of rtepiak
2.85/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

an amber beer with the gravity that is visible in the way the bottles are trying to work there way to the surface. about 5 seconds delayed of about three finger nails worth. nose of booze and apple brown sugar. palate of raisin and metal that fades over time... apple and burnt clove. hurts the teeth so much sugar and poor body. nothing worth trying from a otherwise pretty successful lineup.

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Photo of EPseja
2.87/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Had this one on hand, but it didn't make the field of eight in the Blind Double Elimination Quad tasting I just did with BAs yelterdow and bootz.

Served from a 22oz bottle in a Chimay chalice at just below cellar temperature.

A - Dark, reddish brown; clear, with a decent 1/2 inch head that sinks to a thin mat after just about a minute. Lacing is very sparse.

S - Massive overripe bananas with some alcohol soaked figs. Is that a hint of ginger? Notes of sweetened soy and raisins as well.

T - Very syrupy sweet with brown-sugar malts and a bananas foster toastiness. Alcohol peeks in at the halfway mark, along with a pinch of yeast. Medium dry hoppiness in the end, with a warming but ambiguous aftertaste and some cloying.

M - A bit watery going in, but tingly. Rises to a big mouthful of rolling seafoam, with a slightly gassy and belly filling swallow.

D - Very forward, overt sweetness keeps this beer from ever developing the subtleties that make a superb Quad into a work of art. Never really breaks out of average in any aspect. Would have fared just about as well as the other American Quads did in the tasting I had.

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Photo of pdoran10
2.89/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

from bomber into tulip very dark brown almost black. little to no head. smell is plum, spice, and bready. taste is a letdown. i get plum and spice immediately replaced by pretty harsh alcohol burn. great flavors are there but alcohol dominates.

mouthfeel is fine but feels a bit thin and flat compared to some of my other favorite quads. drinkability is a real big issue here as even having a full pint is a real struggle with the alcohol dominating.

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Photo of Nordstrand
2.9/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I'd like to say this beer tastes like cherry since this is my virginal review. Zing!

It's a beautiful color and has a strong fruity scent but is overwhelmingly boozy and taste too strong of alcohol. A bit too complex and strong for this hop seeker.

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Photo of joepais
2.93/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Bottle poured into a snifter produced a finger worth of off white head that changed to a thin lace. The color of the body was a burgandy to purple and slightly hazy.

I had a ton of fresh dark fruit aromas rising from the glass. Raisins were most definitely the most predominant smell in the bunch. The flavor was dark fruit forward as well. Very sweet, not to much in the way of bitter spices. Almost to coy in my book for a Quad. The alcohol was well hidden, but I think a little more heat might have helped the flavor. Medium feel in my mouth with good carbonation.

I like sweet brews but this one was a little to much for me. I finished the bottle, but not looking for another. There are much better American Quads out there. Smutty dropped the ball on this one. To bad I really wanted to like this one but it just wasn't up to par in my book.

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Photo of muttyd
2.94/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

A - Ruby pour with little to no head. Almost looked like slightly soapy water. Not the best looking beer I've come across.

S - Rum, raisins, and brown sugar. Some band-aid & medicinal aromas peak through, but its pretty one dimensional. Smells very hot (as the beer warms up).

T - I know its used a lot, but this one really follows the nose. The overpowering raisin-y, almost cloying sweet sugary malty flavors dominate the beer. Not getting any yeast/bready aromas. Very boozy as well.

M - Creamy and very, very hot.

D - Not what I was expecting, not an ideal but rather mediocre quad. However, I find it rather enjoyable as I sit here after a long day at work.

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Photo of HalfFull
2.98/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Standard American bomber opens with a light pop. Poured into a tulip glass, the Gravitation pours a slightly muddled burnished copper with a half inch of off white cap. Head settles to and maintains a light ring.

Aroma is sweet with dark cherry holding up some rich dried fruit. Raisin, plum, dates and prunes even. Alcohol notes are pretty volatile. Bit of brown sugar spice. Belgian yeast notes are light beyond the dark fruit presence but unique and slightly intriguing.

Taste follows along the same lines. Lots of dark fruit and brown sugar. A bit thick and oily, somewhat sweet and syrupy as for the feel. ABV is noted in the smell but rather subdued in the flavor department. A testament I would say to the residual sweetness of this beer. The alcohol does hit you swiftly however, and not a surprise at a robust 12%.

Feel again is a bit rich for the style as I prefer a better attenuated Quad. Complexity is also a bit lacking on the finish. On the flip side this beer does gain strength as it warms into the 60's I would guess but I'm not sure it's worth the calories.

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Photo of BeerAdvocate
3/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

From BeerAdvocate Magazine Volume III, Issue II:

A new Quad from the Smuttynose Big Beer Series of rotating strong beers. This one is brewed with 200 pounds of raisin purée per batch--WTF.

Rich mahogany with ruby hues and a beige head that fizzes (you can hear it) down to barely a ringed lace. Major fruity esters, boozy, strawberry-rhubarb jam, ripe plum, raisin and underlying malty tones in the nose with a hint of earthy root vegetables. Thick on the palate; vicious, chewy, slick and silky mouthfeel. Slight creaminess from a spritz of fine carbonation. Massive sweetness up front, cloying, with rich toffee, a ton of toastiness (perhaps a bit too much specialty malt?) and some dry chocolate. This is all overpowered by intense fruity esters and a massive raisin presence that gets real jammy at times. Spicy. Slight warmth. Medicinal too, which just tastes too much like cough syrup. At this stage, it's hard to finish, but we did and things due mellow as the beer warms.

We're major Smutty fans across the board, so it pains us deeply to criticize, but this is nowhere near a Belgian Quad. Unfortunately, everyone will compare this to a Quad, as that's what they call it on the label and they failed to mention the most unique ingredient used in the beer--raisin purée! That said, kudos for creating something innovative.

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Photo of Beerenauslese
3/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a clear reddish amber, which is unusually light colored for a Belgian Quadrupel. Low head retention, just a fine ring of bubbles around the perimeter.

Smells malty sweet and boozy, with a little spice.

Tastes very sweet (cloyingly so) and boozy. It tastes like a (not very exceptional) port wine, maybe that is due to the raisin puree that is added. A tinge of hoppy bitterness in the finish.

Body is light, with little carbonation, gives this a flat mouthfeel.

Drinkability is low, due to the ABV of 12% and little else flavorwise going on. I'd have to say it does not live up to a Belgian quadrupel in flavor; only in the alcohol blitz which, unlike Belgian quads, is not matched by a diversity of interestingly complex flavors. Maybe it would be better for Smuttynose to just say it is a raisin beer, like Dogfish Head's Raisin D'extra--but that would not garner any extra points either. It begs the question: Why do people not like raisin beers? Are raisins too foreign an adjunct to beer?

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Photo of jampics2
3/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22oz into a snifter.

A big Quad from Smuttynose? Sounds interesting enough to warrant the $7.99 price tag. About the highest ABV brew you'll find in Ohio these days, dangerously rubbing up against the ABV cap's shins like a drunken, frisky cat .

Looks average at best. This beer actually has a decent color - brown with red highlights. But there's no sign of any carbonation. I don't expect nor want a milkshake thick head on a quad, but can a brother get a touch of film and light lace? This looks like brandy in my glass.

Smell is raisin and alcohol. Sweet and sugary, with just too bold an ethanol base. Not great, but there are a few elements of the quad - dark ripe fruit and some brown sugar - too.

Taste is also just lackluster. There's nothing Belgian about this, just a caramel and raisin bomb that is way too boozy. Some toffee, vanilla and fig as well, but all dominated by a burning fusel alcohol that lingers and just ruins it.

Mouthfeel is syrupy and not well carbed. Just not great, average at best, and finish is a frying pan over the head of stinging alcohol.

Gravitiation is it's name. Perhaps gravity really was at work here, and what went up (Smuttynose Big Beer Series) eventually fell back down. At any rate, I expect a bit more from these guys and just didn't see it here. A bit less focus on the raisins and a bit lower ABV would make this much more tolerable. It comes off like a homebrewer's poor attempt at a Trappist 10 or 12.

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Photo of prototypic
3.01/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Gravitation pours an interesting crimson stained brown color. It's a little hazy, but has really nice burgundy highlights when held to light. A light tan mass of bubbles collects on the surface, but rises no higher. It disappears quickly, and leaves very little evidence of its existence behind. At least the color is nice.

The nose is rather weak and could really use more strength. Caramel malts hit the nose first. They smell a little sweet. There's a hint of light spices and perhaps a little dark fruit. Smells like a little plum and raisin. That's about it. Not good for a Quad. I'm not getting any Belgian yeast. Alcohol seems to be blended pretty well for a 12% beer. Eh...it doesn't smell awful, but it doesn't smell like a good Quad.

The flavor is a little better, but it is average at best. Especially for the style. Caramel malts seem to be the buys. They do taste a little sweet, and do a credible job of holding things together. A reasonably strong raisin flavor emerges. It works fairly well with the caramel flavor. Light spices and cherry are secondary. I'm not getting any Belgian yeast. Big miss there. Alcohol is also quite strong in flavor. It's a little warming, but the sheer flavor is just too much. Finishes boozy with a tangy dark fruit flavor.

Gravitation has a medium body that leans full with warming. Carbonation is very light. It feels quite smooth. Mouthfeel is easily its best feature. Nonetheless, it's boozy and goes down slow. A bomber is real challenge.

I've become a big fan of Smuttynose Brewing Company. Unfortunately, Gravitation is not one of Smuttynose's finer moments. In fact, it's their worst beer that I've encountered. The biggest problems here are the complete lack of Belgian yeast and the overbearing alcohol. Those aren't small mistakes when it comes to brewing a Belgian Quad. As a result, this is a very average take on the style. This one needs a bit of work.

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Photo of BeerMeDatBeer
3.01/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 2 | smell: 1 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

I was looking forward to trying this one out. Unfortunately, when I broke the seal, it smelled like a Keystone.

The taste wasn't bad for a quad ale. There are a lot of flavors at work, and it takes some time to sort them out. I liked the smoothness of the beer, as well as the taste. The beer works.

In terms of appearance, I don't like the Smuttynose labels at all. It looks like something a third grader could pull off with a half hour of time and the Paint application on his laptop.

Overall, I am not sure I got the experience I was looking for. Generally, I relish the taste of a good beer, but I also like the story that goes with it. By that, I like it when you can tell a brewery has had some fun and let the creative juices flow when putting together their product. This is why Stone products, to me, are enjoyable.

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Photo of Murchmac
3.03/5  rDev -17%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

My non BA friend from NYC shipped this to me. Thanks Deputy.

Pours a dark reddish copper, clear, with a big head that settles down to ring around the collar, it might have the power of greyskull though.

Smells of some raisins, dried dark fruits, alcohol. Like skeletor farted after drinking plum wine. That guy needs to eat a cheeseburger.

Tastes hot, sticky sweet, from my head to my feet. Did Orko have legs, or what was under that sheet?

Read the reviews, they're all right. Split this beer with Man at Arms or Teela. I had Castle Greyskull as a Kid, but not sure this beer can hold aloft the mighty sword.

No matter what you think going into the beer, clear out an hour, it's a sipper.

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Photo of stercomm
3.03/5  rDev -17%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a bomber

A - hazy dark copper almost brown, very slight off-white head that stayed around for maybe a second, thin layer around the glass no lacing.

S - Wow, very rich; raisins, candied fruits, slight maltiness.

T - Too syrupy for me, very heavy, lots of candied fruit, alcohol is well hidden but you know it is there.

M - Heavy

O - Too rich for my taste

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Photo of Reagan1984
3.03/5  rDev -17%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

As a Smuttynose fan, I have to say that I was disappointed in this effort.

Off white fizzy head that vanishes rather quickly. No lacing at all. Purple/Amber color that is very deep.

Aroma is of sweet grains, with slight alcohol. Some dark fruits. Dates, Raisins.

Flavor is smooth and malty sweet. Not much depth or spice here. Pretty straight forward and one dimensional. Straight malt sweetness with some plum flavors.

Sticky sweet and smooth.

A bit too sweet to be drinkable.

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Photo of jamie2dope
3.05/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

It is always nice to see a new big beer from Smuttynose in New Hampshire. I love the artwork on the label, which I am guessing is some sort of tribute to Milton's Paradise Lost. Anyway, back to the beer; pours a dark rosy color, with just a lacing worth of white heading. Brown bread in the nose, followed by some sweet dark fruit, creamy, almost reminds me of a dessert wine in some ways. Taste starts off with a punch of chocolate, then some fruity flavors, and ending on a malted milk ball quality (not unlike whoppers). Body is thick, syrupy and boozy. Sweetness can become a bit much at times, making it a tough one to finish on your own. This was an ok beer from Smuttynose, but I don't feel that it resembles a Quad. My first thought after sipping it was that it had a strong bock character to it. I am not one to quibble over style, but it does say on the label that this is a Belgian style quadrupel. Anyway, not bad at all, just not something I will be going back to any time soon. Cheers

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Photo of KTCamm
3.07/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Poured from 22 oz big beer series btttle. Pours deep reddish brown with immediate high foam that settles down quickly.

Very aromatic - floral, citrus, fruity - hints of sour cherries. Very noticeable.

Taste is a fruity start with a malty finish that lingers. I pciked up an unusual taste that was harder to pin down - not quite a medicine-iny taste, but it remind me of that. Overall thick and chewy.

Overall it surprised me at first, grew on me a bit, but by the end of the 22oz., I was ready to be finished. Not the best quad I've ever had.

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Photo of dsa7783
3.07/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

22 oz big bottle series just purchased...
Appearance: Deep, dark, ruby-red, night-amber hue... Minimal head that soon dissipated and deposited a thin film of lacing... Compared to authentic Belgian examples, this depiction doesn't even come close...
Smell: Grapes, sweet candied sugars, heavy malts...
Taste: Tastes like grape juice medicine... Way too sweet and unbalanced... I usually love Smuttynose beers, but they wrecked it with this one... They should stick to reproducing classic American examples and stay away from the Belgians... This one just doesn't cut it...
Not particularly recommended...

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Photo of jrstamp
3.1/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

22oz into a tulip

Very small, thin head, gone in a flash and even a vigorous swirl doesn't get you much back.

Alot of sweetness on the nose with some type of fruit I could not figure out at first. The raisin puree from the notes makes alot of sense.

It tasted alot like I thought it would, really sweet and sticky. Definitely see where they were trying to go with the quad and you feel the alcohol after the first 12oz.

Not something I could drink a whole lot of, but is something that could be split and sipped on for a while. Too sweet for my liking and that says alot.

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Smuttynose Gravitation (Big Beer Series) from Smuttynose Brewing Company
3.65 out of 5 based on 602 ratings.
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