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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 ToasterChef
3.12/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I fill my Lion's Pride goblet from a 22oz bottle. The beer is opaque and tan colored. A pinkish/tan head rests on top. It is somewhat small and settles to a ring of foam around the edge of the glass. Swirling the glass leaves a foam slick on the walls.

Aromas of raisins, Belgian candi sugar, and alcohol make up the nose.

Prune and raisin flavors dominate, with some sugary sweetness and plenty of alcohol. It's a little harsh at this point, but probably will mellow out over time.

The beer is full bodied with average carbonation. The coating is sticky but not too thick. Warmth from the alcohol is present throughout each sip.

This is a decent enough quad but it doesn't stand up to the giants of the style (Pannepot and the various Trappist quads). Still, if you see a bottle available, it would be an interesting experiment in cellaring.

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Photo of BeerLover99
3.12/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: deep copper/wood body, no head, and no lacing

S: big ripe fruit (raisins/dates/fig nose), malt
and big boozy smell

T: sweet ripe fruit, big malt,
long sugary/boozy mild sticky finish

M: med body, semi-dry/light sticky mouth

O: Usually LOVE Smuttynose and also
really enjoy Belgian beers, but this one just
didn't work for me. Too much sugar/fruit with
booze and not enough body.


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Photo of chinabeergeek
3.13/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

22oz bomber. notching on the label says it was "bottle conditioned in: 2009"

poured into tulip

somewhat dark, brownish red, but not opaque. almost bright ruby red under the light. light tan head doesn't have very good retention, and the lacing is pretty sparse too.

aroma of plus, dates and molasses, with very weak hint of nutmeg. very faint grassiness. whiffs of alcohol and trace of phenols.

flavor has sweet prune and raisin fruitiness with molasses and caramel, meeting with a very mild hop bitterness. hint of resins. faint alcohol and phenols. moment of acidity before the sweet finish, with more of that very weak hopping.

relatively smooth, but quite a bit thinner than hoped. twinge of astringency in the finish. moderate carbonation.

reasonably priced, but quite underwhelming. i don't see this getting much better with age, but who knows?

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Photo of mrandypandy
3.13/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

22oz bottle from the Foodery (North), in Philadephia.

A- Pours a deep mahogany with a light tan head. Decent carbonation is present and the head leaves minimal lacing on the side of my glass.
S- Aroma is OK. I get some muddled fruits mixed with some solvents and alcohol.
T- Not quite what I was expecting. The booze really peaks through and overshadows the fruits and dark belgian candy sugar. A bit sweeter than I would have liked.
M - Medium to heavy body, decent carbonation.
D- Honestly, I had trouble finishing off this bottle. The high ABV and boozy sweetness made it a struggle.

Overall, a very underwhelming Quad and by no means one of my favorite Smuttynose offerings.

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Photo of LordAdmNelson
3.15/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I wasn't super impressed with this one, which is a shame because I typically have really enjoyed the Smutty Big Beer Series. This one whiffs though at the style. Pours a murky dark brown with very little head that recedes to a small ring around the glass. Fruity aroma, big on the grape/raisin/date aromas, some sticky malt to back it up. Taste is a one note raisin flavor, largely unsupported by other elements. Where's the character? Sweet, sticky, one-note. Not exactly my expectation of a Quad, undercarbonated as well. This one should be pillowy, but it falls flat, just being sticky in the mouth. Ok drinkability, though it is very sweet, and ultimately not very interesting. I love the Smutty BBS, but this one misses.

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Photo of Liverpool08
3.18/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark pepsi colored brown. Very small off brown head that goes away quickly. Aroma of malts and raisins but not overly sweet smelling.
Taste goes with the aroma. Very malty with that sweet raisin flavor. Also a hint of the alchohol.
But the alchohol doesn't intrude, its just peeping thru. Overall a little to sweet for me. Never a big fan of raisins, so I think thats what puts me off this one a little.

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Photo of Patrick999
3.18/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

My first Smuttynose. Thanks for coming to Florida. I like these Smuttynose labels....clean font, cool pictures.

A - Poured into a Chimay chalice. Decent thumbnail head, quickly settles. Has that turbid, murky brown body typical of a quad, but not as muddy as some I've seen.

S - You can just tell this is a massive malt bomb. Raisin, lots of raisin...an atomic raisin bomb, even.

T - Just a big-assed malt bomb and no lie. Sweet and raisiny, with a deep bready underpinning. Has a good taste but really lacks the complexity of a true quad or Belgian Strong Dark from a Belgian brewer. Lacks the spicy yeast character and comes off as too sweet, even for a quad.

F - Sticky, very full-bodied. Sometimes I have a tough time with beers that feel like this. The fact that I do like the underlying taste helps.

D - A sipper in any respect. It would be better to share the bomber, maybe even 3-5 ways in very small glasses, but I am going to finish it.

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Photo of LOCAL
3.18/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

2008 22oz bottle

Appearance: Pours a dark brown with reddish hues and a small tan head.

Aroma: Sweet malt, raisins, Perhaps a hint of apple.

Taste: Caramel, raisins and other dark fruit, golden delicious apple, brown sugar, sweet malts.

Mouthfeel: Thick and oily.

Overall: Not too bad, though it's certainly not holding a candle to any actual belgian quad as others have stated. I do find it a bit too sweet for my liking, perhaps it will settle down with age.

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Photo of eberkman
3.2/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Pours a deep reddish-brown. Lots of clarity. Small tan head that vanishes instantly.

Smells typically Belgian -- yeasty and spicy with traces of alcohol. Taste is similar. Dark fruits, candy sugar, toffee, roasty malts, tinge of booziness. Nothing particularly memorable or complex.

Mouthfeel is the real loser here. Watery, thin and shockingly flat. Bad bottle perhaps? Disappointing. I may not finish this one -- the mouthfeel kills it for me. I wonder if others have experienced the same thing.

This won't replace any real Belgian quads. A disappointment from one of my favorite brewers.

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Photo of younger35
3.2/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Received this brew as an extra from the ever generous BeerTruth. Haven't had a Smuttynose brew in quite some time. Quads are not my favorite but I can definitely appreciate the style and done well they can be tasty. Drank from my The Lost Abbey goblet.

Appearance- Uggghhh... We got a gusher here, even when very cold. Pours a chill hazed dark crimson brown with a fairly small one finger light tan head considering it was a gusher. A small cap and big thick collar remains leaving a tiny bit of lacing.
Smell- Big bold nose that is super fruity and sweet smelling. Loads of dark luscious fruits that smells a lot like concentrated prune juice. Some dark overly ripened black cherries and chocolate covered cranberries. Somewhat yeasty and Belgium like but this thing smells hella sweet. Some dark burnt bread crust and a touch of caramel as well.
Taste- Yep, super duper sweet. Tons of dark fruits such as prunes, raisins and figs. Reminds me a lot of a Barleywine. Not overly hoppy but a slight bitterness tries to cut through all that sweetness. Some bready malts are present along with quite a bit of caramel and some light cocoa. So sweet and cloying though. The yeast is more noticeable in the nose but there is a small amount and it's lightly spicy. Finishes with some slight alcohol and way more cloying raisin sweetness.
Mouthfeel- Medium body that is surprisingly smaller than I was expecting. The carbonation is nice and crisp though with a great scrubbing feel.
Drinkability- Well... It's obviously WAY too sweet to sit back and enjoy thoroughly. Maybe with a bit of time it'll settle a bit but by then the bottles might be bombs. I think the flavor is okay and it's on the right track but until the sweetness subsides, stay away from. Thanks for sharing Adam!

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Photo of Gmann
3.21/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a ruby brown color with an average khaki colored head that settles into a light head. The aroma is pretty non-existant for a Quad, not much aroma at all. The taste is of grape juice, kind of sugary but not really, I dunno. Does not have the complexity of a good quad, not even close. The body is thin, no real dark fruit flavors or malt complexity. It doesn't taste bad, not at all, but just doesn't taste like a quad or belgian brew. Not sure if a belgian yeast strain was used or any candi sugar. Moderate feel, with fizzy carbonation; finishes sweet. If you are looking for a sweet old ale with fizzy carbonation, this might be for you. Doesn't really remind me of a belgian beer at all, just a sweet beer. I guess this is the first BIG BEER Serier beer that I am disappointed in, though, again, it doesn't taste bad.

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Photo of Yesac
3.22/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A- Very dark ruby color. no head, just a ring around the edges.

S- Dark grapes and raisins ...lots of caramel and some yeast.

T- Right along with smell. Dark grapes and fruits with a big punch of toasty malts and yeast at the end. Malt taste lingers.

M- Thin/Medium bodied. Weak coating on the palate.

D- If you're into grapes and raisins, this is the brew for you. I see the description says this is made with 200lb's of raisin and it sure resembles that.Tastes like a fruit mash. Not enjoyable, I couldn't finish this. Smuttynose hasn't impressed me.. I think I'll stay clear of them after this.

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Photo of barleywinebrewer
3.23/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

picked up a couple of these to check out the latest from one of my favorite breweries. Unfortunately what poured as a nice looking mahogany brew turned into a brow sugar overly sweet experience. I'll try again next year if they bring this back, but I'm all set for this year.

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Photo of utopiajane
3.24/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

This poured a murky reddish amber with a thin head that fell fast to a thin ring, shimmering wet lace and alcohol legs. Little yeast floating on top. Very light in color for a quad looks more like a barleywine. Nose is raisin, dark fruits, plum, date, caramel malt, candy sugar, a quick glimpse of bread but really more cake like malt and alcohol. Has a very high abv. Taste follows the nose all the way. Raisin, butter and rum. Reminds one of fruitcake. It’s a little out of balance with no bitter at all and lots of booze. It’s immediately warming, medicinal and has just a bit of spice. Mouthfeel is thin and has a sticky fruit juice quality to it. This is a big sweet beer with not a lot of carbonation that finishes dry from all the booze. It was not unpleasant but I would call it an interpretation on the belgian quad.

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Photo of TK5150
3.25/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

2009 bottle.

A- Pours a nice ruby red/brown with a beige head.

S - The smell is mostly dominated by raisins and caramel, but I'm also unexpectedly picking up on some vanilla as well.

T - Taste is raisins and caramel, some vanilla and a little bread and spice on the back end. There might be a little cherry in there as well. Not a terribly complex beer, but fairly tasty. A little too sweet for my liking though...it's pretty hard to finish a bomber by yourself.

M - Decent mouthfeel, medium bodied.

D- Hurt due to sweetness, but is not very hard to put back...has the right amount of carbonation.

Even though this is not very quad like, I do have to say I like this better than Rochefort 10 and St. Bernardus 12. I'm not a big fan of the style. Most of the time they are too sweet and have wayyy too many fusels, esthers, and other higher alcohols in the taste. They're like bad homebrews that have been fermented at too high of a temperature and have insufficient yeast pitching rates. This one is at least clean. Overall though, a decent enough beer.

2009 Score: 3.65

EDIT: Now rating the 2010 edition.

This beer was re-done this time around and is now a 12% alc. beast.

Pours a murky amber with little head. The aroma is mostly apple, sweet crystal malt, and alcohol. The alcohol is reminiscent of bourbon, and if someone told me this was barrel-aged, I would not disagree with them (it's that strong).

The taste follows suit, with the addition of vanilla and a yeasty spiciness. I am generally a huge fan of apple in my big beers, and this is probably the only thing saving this one. Unbelievably sweet, probably more so than last years. Glad this bottle was split with a buddy.

Syrupy mouthfeel.

Alcohol becomes more and more prominent the more I drink. I do not see this getting better with age, it is already too sweet. I think Smutty needs to axe this one, and get a better style to fit in the rotation of the Big Beer Series.

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Photo of UncleJimbo
3.25/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Sampled from a 22 oz bottle. I had looked forward to this beer, but was disappointed.

The beer pours a clear, brown color with some light brown foam, but not a large head. The smell was malty with a light sweetness and a touch of something fruity-sweet or herbal. The flavor was malty, but it had a strong, off-putting flavor that I could not put my finger on. I thought it might be from their yeast since I recall this same flavor in the Winter Ale (Dubbel), but it was not as pronounced or unpleasant there. Someone told me that it is from raisins that are used in the recipe. The mouthfeel was good: smooth, creamy, medium-full body. The strange flavor takes points off the drinkability.

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Photo of beersolicitor
3.27/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Extremely dark mahogany with some hints of amber. Tons of tiny bubbles coat the side of the tulip, but fade quickly along with the already minimal head. With a careful swirl, some lacing remains, but it too fades disappointingly fast.

Mouthfeel was thick and syrupy (and not in a good way). Rather than the smooth, rich, complex sweetness of the best Quads, this was more akin to a fountain Coke that hadn't been properly watered down.

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Photo of BostonHops
3.28/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

bomber (22oz) served in a snifter.

pours a murky dark brown / chestnut tone while yielding a 3/4" beige head. moderate head retention and some lacing evident. nose is bold enough, headlined by a big dose of dark fruits - primarily raisin with a little cherry and some candied sugar. decent aroma, nothing earth-moving.

taste is likewise sweet: dark fruits, caramel malt, and some spice. a bit overly sweet, though i wouldn't call the sweetness cloying - although it comes close. fairly boozy, especially in the finish. medium-full mouthfeel with average carbonation.

overall it's an average american quad, and would probably fall to below average if you stack it against all quads (read: belgians included). wasn't expecting rochefort 10 here but even by american standards it's fairly middling.

(originally reviewed: 10-03-2011)

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Photo of rajendra82
3.28/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The beer was dark red in color, and looked good despite a head smaller than typical for the style. The smell was a mix of dark skinned fruits and spices, but was not as strong as most other beers of this style. The taste was much simpler than I like, as the fruit juice like sweetness was dominant over other tastes. There wasn't much spiciness or bitterness present to counterbalance the pleasing but one dimensional flavor. The beer also felt oddly thin in the mouth. I'd say that this is a couple steps behind the other Smuttynose big beers I've sampled thus far.

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Photo of MbpBugeye
3.29/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Having just spilled this all over my bedroom and after finishing cleaning the place up, I poured this into my Chimay goblet.

A- The beer is much lighter than many quads. Its purpley mahogany. The head (which was foaming out of the bottle right after I dropped it) dissipated before I knew it. Im left with a pretty stagnant looking beer.

S- Well, my room smells pretty good right now. But in the glass this beer is pretty weak. Its g

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Photo of elgiacomo
3.32/5  rDev -9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle, 2010 batch. Served at cellar temp.

Pours deep red/brown with a small light tan head that quickly fades to a wispy cap and ring. Eventually just to just a tiny ring.

Aroma is dark fruits, mostly raisins and cherries with some plums and figs thrown in, belgian yeast, some alcohol, caramel, brown sugar, and toffee. Moderate strength.

Flavor is quite rich with strong dark fruits, a lot of raisins, cherries, plums and figs, a touch of chocolate, good caramel and toffee, molasses, brown sugar, candi sugar, yeast, pretty sweet but does have a rum-like finish with some alcohol heat...in fact more alcohol than I expected for an 8.5% brew, tastes like 11% or more. Starts to become a bit medicinal.

Mouthfeel is on the thin side of medium bodied, oily, sticky, low carbonation.

Far from my favorite Smuttynose brew, and I've had many better Quads. But, for $5.50 a bottle it's still a solid beer.

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Photo of SFLpunk
3.32/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Shared with sleepnbballrlife.

22oz pry-top brown glass bottle. 2010 release, 12% abv.

Appearance: Reddish brown with thin bubbly tan head.

Nose: Holy booze bomb. Some banana/clove, dried fruits and black leather. Smells much better than 2009.

Palate: Banana peel, dried figs, corn husk, zucchini/squash and kiwi with skin on (props). Moderate finish.

Notes: Super boozey. Much better than 2009, miles better - BUT still not a great beer. No sense of balance and a little one-note-y with the banana/clove bit.

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Photo of JayNH
3.33/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours a deep clear burgundy with a large foamy head. Solid retention and lacing.

S- Mild alcohol warmth. Dark sweet malt, fruit notes of plums, figs and raisins.

T- Sweet candy sugar, too much, it really overwhelmes everything else. A grassy hoppiness in the finish.

M- Sweet, slick and heavy. Way undercarbonated, almost flat.

D- Ok, a very mild brew.. It goes down easy but definitely a disappointment for a quad. This is like an overly sweetened dubbel.

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Photo of TTAmod
3.34/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The artwork on the bottle actually caught my attention, then I noticed it was a Quad...score! Sorry, but I'll be comparing this one mostly to The Reverend, which I had the other night. I haven't had Rochefort, etc, for a while, so I can't fairly compare this to Trappist Quads.

Bomber poured into Chimay chalice.

A: Pours an odd hazy brown (much akin to apple cider.) Very little head. What's left of the head leaves a decent lacing.

S: Smells like dark fruits (cherry? raisin?) and heavy alcohol.

T: Starts decent enough with a smack of dark fruits, bready yeast, and a nice malt base, but it gives way to pure alcohol. My palate is fairly insensitive to alcohol in beer, but this one has a very heavy medicinal, sterile alcohol on the back end. It's a bit too much. A shame, especially since it's promising in the beginning. I won't hurt it TOO much, however, since it's hard to be subtle with the alcohol at 12%. I've definitely had more abrasive beers in the 12% range.

There is a slight raisin overtone, but don't let the 200 lbs per batch scare you...it doesn't really show through.

M: Not too bad. On the lighter side of medium. Just a TAD too light for a quad.

O: Definitely worse than The Reverend, but it's still pretty decent. Like stated before, it's an interesting experiment. It's not really a great example of a quad, but I'm glad I tried it. Not for the faint of heart, but at $6 per bottle, there really isn't any reason not to try it if you haven't before.

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Photo of Kraken
3.35/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Reviewed February 19th

Poured from a 22 oz bomber into a 16 oz pint glass. Firm pour results in a 1/4 inch of off-white/tan head. Head fades quickly and leaves a spotty lace. Color a deep robust, but clear red.

Nose- Sweet raisins and figs. Some grape and apples come through. Lots of dark fruit.

Palate- Whoa lots of raisins. Very sweet. Smooth. Lots of interesting coco, some candied apples. Floral qualities, tones of vanilla. Slightly cloying.

Mouthfeel- Sticky, mildly cloying. Smooth.

Drinkability- Good, however one is more then enough

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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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