Spruce Ale | Siletz Brewing And Public House

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Spruce AleSpruce Ale

Brewed by:
Siletz Brewing And Public House
Oregon, United States

Style: Scottish Gruit / Ancient Herbed Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 12-01-2002

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 35 | Ratings: 36
Photo of Shaw
4.47/5  rDev +33%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled a the Siletz Road House and brewery in Oregon.

This is a deep ruby ale with a foamy off-white head. Its aroma is quite unique, owing to the sitka spruce new-growth tips added for flavor.

It has a very complex taste. Malts, hops and spruce all compete for the palate! A smooth, glassy mouthfeel rounds everything out.

I love it when breweries take beer in new directions. This ale is a serious success.

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Photo of HiroProtagonist
4.29/5  rDev +27.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Siletz Spruce Ale was served from a 22 oz. bomber. In a pint glass, the beer was a nice murky reddish-caramel color, and was topped by a minimal white-ish head. The enticing nose was juicy and bright with a big fruity hop bouquet that was held up by a rich but crisp maltiness. A light spruce undertone melded well with all of this, adding pleasure rather than oddity. On the palate, a delicious crisp, citric-fruit estery malt profile opened up with light hints of enjoyable hop-like spruce accents becoming even more juicy-fruity in the transition to an excellent resiny-hop finish, which left a bowl bubblegum-like fruit esters lingering. The spruce essence in this beer was complementing and added the right touch to the hoppiness, rather than being just an interesting or unusual addition. The body was robust and full, working well with the flavors and character of this beer. This beer was well-crafted, and deftly balanced, making it very drinkable. I highly recommend this spruce-laden IPA, made with fresh young spruce tips picked from the local coast area by fans of the brewery.

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Photo of mikeys01
4.2/5  rDev +25%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up the intriguing Spruce Ale on the recommendation of BA Reddiamond, and it turned out to be a good recommendation indeed. The Spruce Ale poured with some crazy carbonation and more then head aplenty, filling the glass and then some. Once things settled down a bit, I was left with a hazy reddish-amber glass of goodness and a cap of rocky beige foam. Aroma is very unusual and perplexing, hops and spruce tips lending a myriad of pine and citrus notes.
Flavor is quite fruity, wit a slight tartness, a mix of tropical fruit and flowers. Bitterness starts out subtle and builds to a nice herbal, piney finish. Malt kicks in some sweetness in the middle, but more of an apple cider sweetness than a clear malt flavor. . Some of that rocky head managed to stick around to the bitter end. Close study as the beer warms and the glass drains reveals a bit of biscuity malt flavor. I wouldn’t call this quite an IPA, but it does have the bitterness like one. Medium body, very drinkable, I’ll definitely look for more of this one….

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.18/5  rDev +24.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Quite a special beer! A hazy copper body rests beneath a foamy off-white head that holds well and maintains a nice, creamy collar throughout the pint. It leaves some very nice lace at the offset, but it diminishes as the tasting progresses. The aroma is fruity over bready malt, almost like a raspberry wheat ale. The body is medium with a fine-bubbled natural carbonation from bottle-conditioning that caresses the tongue. The flavor is quite fruity, but not really discernable; although it becomes much more malty as it warms. The spruce comes up very gently as it crosses the palate, revealing itself mainly in the dry finish. It's not a bitter beer in any sense, yet it's exquisitely balanced by its mildly resiny spruce character. Quite complex, yet drinkable. Very interesting.

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Photo of Reidrover
4.17/5  rDev +24.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bought this ina 22oz Brown bottle says "ale brewed with spruce tips"

Not usually lover of "odd" falvoured beers but had cash so thought i would give this a go!.

Poured it into a glass/the appearance was ever so slightly murky..but still a translucent brown..nice head to start it faded after a few minutes but clung tenaciouslly to the glass for the duration.
Smell was very fruity only a slight scent of spruce ( or pine) it smelt most of blackberry to me for some odd reason.
This beer fells great on the tongue..a burst of lovely flavor struck me first and had me hooked.It tasted quite "dry" and the spruce can definatlly be tatsed...it says on the label that this beer has very few hops just for bittering all the flavor is from the spruce tips.
Overall a very drinkable beer one which i would take go great with spring or fall camping round a nice big crackling campfire.

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Photo of SurlyDuff
4.14/5  rDev +23.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Bomber with a big ole spruce branch on the label.

Pours a sappy (haha) brown with orange highlights. Minimal head.

Okay, so everyone uses pine often to discribe hoppy beers, thats true. But this is a different type of pine, reminescent of a christmas tree farm/lot.

Not your common 'pine' aroma for sure, not similar to hoppy pine. It's not overpowering, but there is a distinct fresh cut tree aroma, cinnamon, cookies, and in general more of a Christmas flavor than a Winter Warmer or other holiday seasonal, surprisingly. At the same time, i wouldn't consider this a seasonal, and I could see myself enjoying this on perhaps a camping trip here in Oregon among the spruces!

Flavors are rather complex, but a bit light. There is a sweet floral note at first, but sure enough, a spruce taste comes to the palate. Flavor in general is not as deep as I would like. Not that I desire more spruce, but I consider it rather aqueous.

Drinkability is good. The spruce is present, but in no way overpowering. It reminds me a lot of a watered down Rogue Juniper IPA. I believe this is one of my first Gruit/Herbed Ales, and I look forward to more. I would recommend this one.

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Photo of marc77
4.1/5  rDev +22%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Tawny bronze hue, with a light haze. Large bubbled, persistent ivory white head leaves spotty lace. Waft of initially sharp spruce hits the nose, then immediately mellows into a complement to medium lovibond caramel and mildly bready malt undertones. Trace peach esters. Pleasantly judicious in spruce character, and quite clean aromawise. Biscuit laced malt sweetness upfront in flavor is permeated by notes of freshly cut pine tips. Mild hop bitterness emerges mid palate after the surge of spruce subsides, offsetting any fleeting malt sweetness. Malt character is predominantly cracker like, with stately caramel undertones. Subtle suggestion of ripe peach esters surface late. Moderately bodied, with a dextrinous, creamy mouthfeel conducive to easy quaffing. Finishes with fading pine alongside fading earthy, raw maple sap. A tasty, surprsingly balanced brew. Although prominent, spruce is well intgrated and the malt backbone is firm. Akin to Anchor OSA minus the roasted grain character.

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Photo of ZAP
4.02/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Walnut colored brown....hazy.,,,,thin white head that laces the glass...nose is sweet berries...big time raspberry smell (almost wine coolerish)..mouthfeel is smooth....almost a tich of a creamy texture...medium bodied....taste begins with a sweeter caramel maltiness combined with the raspberry fruitiness...finishes a tich sour as a raspberry would....very fruity tasting...

Interesting beer to try...certainly not an everyday beer but a nice change of pace treat..

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Photo of beerguy101
4/5  rDev +19%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Medium brown color, medium head. Piney aroma. A beer made from barley malts, hops and a lot of new-growth Sitka Spruce tips. Full bodied beer. Malty and mild. Not very hoppy, there is a slight fruity taste from the spruce tips. Full flavor, smooth taste. Good balance. Mouthfeel is full and round. Finish is clean and smooth. Aftertaste is slightly bitter, somewhat fruity. Nice beer.

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Photo of kgotcher
3.97/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 22oz bomber. Very hazy orange amber color with thin off-white head and a few weak lacings

Aroma has an earthy base but with sweet malt with fruity citrus. Just a hint of mustyness but not in a bad way.

Nice mouthfeel is light and refreshing.

Fruity and citrusy taste with a very thin maltyness. Finishes clean with a light citrusy aftertaste (almost like after sucking on a lemon). If this really is 6.5 % ABV it does an awesome job of hiding it.

Very interesting and refreshing beer with a nice twist. A glimpse of what beer may have been like long ago.

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Photo of Gusler
3.87/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

The beer pours a slightly hazy deep copper color, the head is titanic in size, creamy in its consistency and a winsome beige color, as it desiccates the resultant lace a thick and clinging sheet. There is a clean aroma of spruce, lots of sweet malt, quite crisp and fresh, and a treat for the senses. Start is malt laden, sweet, the top middling in feel, the finish purposeful in its acidity, the hops quite apparent in their spiciness. You do actually get a taste of the spruce, bitter, perfumed, dry and a different taste for sure, not something I’d want to drink everyday, but drinkable nonetheless.

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Photo of oberon
3.77/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A very odd and interesting brew here,pours a deep amber with a llight slightly off white head seems to be pretty heavily carbonated.The spruce really shows up in the aroma man I really like it there is a real sweetness to the aroma and an underlyinf yeasty note.Flavor was more sweet than expected like overripe fruit with the spruce flavor underneath not overpowering but it lets itself be known.Odd but flavor the spruce tip flavor is there but it dont force itself on you,I like and would try again.

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Photo of thesilverhand
3.77/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked up on a recent beer-and-cheese long weekend trip to Oregon, completely organized by my wife....I'm a lucky man.

Pours a nice hazy orange with a decent off-white foam head. Very similar in appearance to an IPA. Nice.

Smells fantastic. Spicy, fruity and different. Definitely some maltiness, but with an overlay of, well, spruce, I suppose. Neat. Really intriguing.

Tastes similar to the aroma -- some malty, almost candy-like, sweetness underneath, but with a strong bitterness taking centre stage. No hop flavour, but interesting spice and fruit tones.

Drinks really well, but I doubt I'd want a session with it. As an occasional departure from the norm, it's really quite nice. I almost wish there was more blatant "spruce-iness" to it... I was expecting a Christmas tree in my glass, and got something much more subtle. Definitely worth a try.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.75/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Caramel-infused dark orange. The head turns the tables and is orange-infused light caramel. The yin and the yang of it all looks quite fetching. Surprisingly enough, the cap persists nicely and lays down a good bit of lace. For a gruit at least.

There's no question that spruce was used in the brewing of this ale. Quite a few IPAs using certain varieties of hop smell and taste piney, but this is the real deal. It really does smell like a tree, dude. Forgetting the evergreen for a minute, the aroma is interesting and is different from anything that I've ever smelled. There's a sweet, perfumy, herbal character that is a pleasure to inhale.

The flavor profile is distinctive and is some kind of interesting. I'm going to have to sip and think, sip and think on this for a bit. My first impression was 'not that great', but Spruce Ale is growing on me as I get deeper into the bottle. It's sweeter than expected, fruity, herbal and... yes... sprucy.

It doesn't taste nearly as evergreen-like as it smells and it was no powerhouse in that regard. The brewers use Sitka Spruce (also known as Yellow Spruce) new-growth tips. It tastes more like White Spruce tips to me, new-growth mixed with old, from the top of the tree rather than the middle or bottom. That's a joke.

The body is no more than light-medium, yet the finish still manages to linger with a nice herbal sweetness. It also imparts a micro-thin veneer of fruity spruce sap to the mouth and tongue. On second thought, I may be imagining that. The finish is actually pretty clean.

Tough call on this one. Spruce Ale is different enough to keep me interested all the way to the bottom of the bomber, but the flavor isn't really compelling enough for me to seek it out again. It's an easy drinker though and is worth a purchase if you have even a passing interest in the style.

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Photo of WesWes
3.67/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

The beer pours a cloudy dark amber color with a 1/2" white head that quickly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a nice malty scent that boasts of pale and crystal malts along with a very fruity spruce and yeast aroma; very cool. The taste is decent. It has a fine malt base with a fruity spruce flavor and slight hop bitterness in the aftertaste. The mouthfeel is average at best. It is a medium bodied beer with very little carbonation. This is a very cool idea. It has good aroma and flavor, but the mouthfeel is lacking. Add some carbonation and you've got something here. I'm scoring it extra for being something unique.

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Photo of cswhitehorse
3.62/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The spruce poured a cloudy amber with a light foam head. It had no freshness date on the bottle. The aroma was a strong pine scent. It tasted of that spruce pine and berry. The mouthfeel was thin and soft on the palate. I would try again but it would have to be a hot windy day.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.6/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

The beer sits an almost brilliantly clear, ruby amber color in my glass. It is topped by a frothy, initially two-finger thick, amber tinged tan colored head that had to be vigorously coaxed to even that height. The aroma has an unmistakable aroma of spicy, fruity, fresh spruce. This note is a mix of sweet citrus fruit (though different from a hop derived citrus character, perhaps it is a bit softer), something sort of like juicy fruit and a touch of spiciness that is sort of like light cinnamon, but not really. Underneath is a malt character heavy on crystal malt.

The taste is actually tart up front and is fairly dry. The tartness sticks through the flavor profile to the finish, where there is also a lightly astringent tannic character that reminds me of green tea. A nice toasty backdrop of malt character is here, but it plays quite the secondary role here. This could really use some malt sweetness, it would help liven up the citrusy spruce notes as opposed to the tart side of things. Still this beer is quite enjoyable, it definitely works as a counterpoint to the sweeter Alaskan Winter beer (which is the only other spruce beer I have had). The spruce character, with its tartness and citrus note, make me think of grapefruit as opposed to an over-tart lemon.

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Photo of UnionMade
3.56/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle courtesy of Mikeys01. Thanks man!
The beer pours a murky amber brown, almost approaching ruby if not for the cloudiness. A thick cap of almond head tops the brew, growing with fervor, but just shy of escaping it's confines. Great lacing and retention, waves of foam clinging to the glass in a ladder-like pattern.
The aroma is surprisingly neutral. I was expecting something similar to a pine forest, when it's really a rather subdued grove of tall sitkas. The malt is sweet and balancing, mostly a soft toastiness, allowing only a gentle pine scent similar to the kind you get in some hops. Pleasant fruitiness, hinting at milder berries like strawberry and blueberry.
The flavor starts with a sugary caramel toastiness, hints of strawberry and blueberry moving in slowly. The pine flavor comes into the middle, contributing a slight tang that's not quite bitter, more acidic than anything. The spruce picks up in the finish, adding considerable acidity that serves to counter the malt sweetness. A hint of berry and pine in the lingering aftertaste. Sturdy carbonation supports a lightish medium body. Very smooth, easy going mouthfeel.
An interesting brew, to say the least. I would have never guessed 6.5% abv. The mellowness of the flavor would suggest something in the 4.5-5% range, if you ask me. A very gentle beer. The spruce is really interesting in the way that it's more acidic than bitter. Unusual stuff. Worth a try sometime.

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Photo of rkuhnel
3.56/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From a 22 oz bottle this poured a remarkably clear ruby to amber that rose into a fat white head that left good lacing. Nose was spruce as the name implies, with a good clean mouthfeel Flavor is not bad after you get used to the spruce with a touch of hops. Finish dry and slightly bitter. Very different and fun to drink. Once that is.

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Photo of GreenCard
3.55/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: medium-light copper brown, good clarity though a twinge of haze, thin layer of sudsy tannish head, great sheets of lace

Aroma: sweet apples, caramel maltiness, some ethereal piney/woodsy notes, strawberries, soap, christmas

Flavor: a slight tartness hits first, then a subtle malt sweetness peeks through, then followed by some odd "twinges" that I can only imagine is the spruce, also a surrounding berry-like essence which (I think) reminds me of lingonberries, the finish is dry and bitter with a "sappy" aftertaste

Mouthfeel: medium-full, zesty carbonation, a touch of acidity and just a hint of astringency

Overall Impression: I'm wrestling with this one. It's definitely good, but I'm not sure if I can call it great. My girlfriend (who doesn't drink beer) has called it her second favorite after Ephemere, after the requisite sip that I ply her with. Certainly interesting to note and out of left field, I might add. It's definitely worth a try. I'm sure you'll find yourself searching and searching the flavor and aroma as I did. It keeps calling you back for further analysis!

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Photo of sinistersteve
3.53/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A beer made with spruce tips and very little hops. Interesting, when the guys and I brew beer, we usually pull those things out when they fall into the boil-tanks. But then again, we've had sessions where things that should not belong in beer has fallen into our boil-tanks.

Anyway, on to the beer.....Great amber color and the head retains nicely. Fruity overtone on the nose. Odd taste though. Perhaps it is the spruce tips. It just doesn't seem right for an ale. It's not horrible by any means, in fact, for some of the experimental beers I've had this was quite pleasent. This one I wouldn't mind sharing with a friend over a football game.

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Photo of RedDiamond
3.38/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I've enjoyed bottled versions of this beer sourced from bottle shops in and around Portland for many years. Oddly though, I'd never had it on draught on my visits to Siletz.

On my latest trip I corrected this oversight though I must say, where draught beers at the site of production are generally a better bet for non-oxidized fresh beer, in this case I think I prefer the bottle. Perhaps they just don't have the turnover at the Siletz Roadhouse for this distinct specialty beer to sustain its vigor on tap.

Still, the flavor does deliver precisely what one might expect a spruce ale ought to. It is a beer of pinesap hinting somehow at ginger.

I'd had a pint of Bill's Tavern's Spruce Ale earlier in the day and by way of comparison, Siletz's is far more engaging. Though it's shy on suds, it boasts a more defined spruce profile with a fuller ale body. Presumably, it also has a healthy measure of vitamin C.

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Photo of czechsaaz
3.34/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Kind of strange aroma. A little like wheat and a little woody. A little tiny bit of hops but not really malty either.

Amber colored, clear with a nice head that fades to a solid 1/4 inch layer with good lacing and decent rising bubbles.

Flavor is probably a personal preference thing. I like the woody christmas tree effect and it's pretty subtle. Good malt backbone with hop bitterness and really no hop flavor aftertaste. Good fruity yeast profile. The spruce lingers on the back end. So it works for me but I could see some people hating this.

Medium bodied with a light carbonation level.

Well, I could match this with food pretty well. But drinking it by itself was a bit much in a 22oz. A glass would have been better.

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Photo of tschmidlin
3.34/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A good concept, but the bottle I had was less than impressive. First, it wasn't carbonated well at all, and poured a bit hazy. I can forgive the haze though, because I'm not sure what spruce tips do to beer. The smell is faintly sprucey, but mostly malt and caramel. The flavor of the spruce is subdued, and malt and burnt caramel dominate. There's some fruitiness to it that is pleasant, and a slight bitterness to help balance the sweetness. Overall though, it's disappointing. The lack of carbonation kills it, leaving no head, and making the beer seem more watery than it actually is. I think it could use more spruce flavor too, but perhaps not if it was properly carbonated.

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Photo of akorsak
3.15/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A 650 mL bomber from Liquid Solutions.

A: The ale is much darker than I expected. I was anticipating a lighter amber colored ale but this one is a dark orange, almost brown color. The head is nonexistent nor is there much indication of carbonation.

S: The aroma is an interesting, almost pine but not quite one.

T: The flavor is different (that is putting it nicely). The use of spruce as a bittering agent is interesting. Similar to Fraoch or Alba, the ale packs a punch that one would not expect to be in a beer. There is a distinct bitterness that is woody and tartly sweet. That bitterness overtakes the whole ale, preventing any malts from coming through. The lack of carbonation is reminiscent of a sahti.

M: The mouthfeel is unusual. The lack of hops is not something that I am used to but it doesn't offend the tastebuds.

D: A very interesting take on how ales used to be brewed. Worth a look if only for the throwback aspect.

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Spruce Ale from Siletz Brewing And Public House
3.36 out of 5 based on 36 ratings.
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