Bitter Chocolate Oakmeal Bourbon Barrel Stout
Stone Brewing

Bitter Chocolate Oakmeal Bourbon Barrel StoutBitter Chocolate Oakmeal Bourbon Barrel Stout
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Style:
English Oatmeal Stout
ABV:
11.4%
Score:
90
Avg:
4.09 | pDev: 12.22%
Reviews:
59
Ratings:
200
From:
Stone Brewing
 
California, United States
Avail:
Retired (no longer brewed)
Wants
  9
Gots
  41
SCORE
90
Outstanding
Bitter Chocolate Oakmeal Bourbon Barrel StoutBitter Chocolate Oakmeal Bourbon Barrel Stout
Notes: Originally inspired by recipes of two Team Stone members, Stone 12th Anniversary Bitter Chocolate Oatmeal Stout became an instant classic. The onyx-hued beer also proved to be an ideal barrel-aging specimen, thanks to its rich, thick mouthfeel and chocolate-heavy flavors and aromatics.

An already magnificent beer’s mouthwatering recipe of unsweetened chocolate, flaked oats and dark-roasted malts is made even more deliciously complex care of oak barrels that previously nurtured bourbon. These amazing vessels impart oak and coconut-like flavors upfront while accentuating the silky smooth midpalate with oak vanillin notes. The finish is long and intense, with layers of chocolate and oak vanillin. You might be tempted to lick the glass for every last drop of this delectable adult confection.
Reviews: 59 | Ratings: 200 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of MonDak_Joe1953
4.13/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

500ml bottle. Caged and corked bottle. Bottled 'July 2016'.
Black colored body, with the thinnest of garnet back lit highlights. Lots of fizzy tan head, which results in a partial island and ring. No lacing.
Aroma is light with roasted malts chocolate and light vanilla.
Taste is heavy with dark chocolate malts, and light vanilla. Light coconut and oak barrel. Chocolate and vanilla in the aftertaste.
Medium plus mouthfeel, but the overall experience is aromatic and light. Very good carbonation.
Unusual combination of dark chocolate and a lighter expression of coconut, vanilla, and oak. These balance well in the full taste expression. Each pour brings more foam/head than body but the head/foam quickly fizzes away. Very expressive beer in all aspects.

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Photo of macrosmatic
4.09/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from (very) long-standing notes. Poured from the 500mL bottle into a J. Wakefield OG teku glass. Consumed sometime in September 2017 (exact date not recorded).

A: Very dark brown, opaque, and forms a one-finger tan head with good retention. Low but as-expected visible carbonation. Very pretty for style.

S: Bourbon, dark chocolate and cacao, and oak tannins. Dark roasted malts. Notes of coffee, vanilla, caramel, and spice from the bourbon. Nice, but honestly fairly muted – the components are all there, but it’s just not a big aroma for the style. The bourbon is the dominant component, but it’s not overpowering by any stretch.

T: Bourbon and chocolate mixed together – dark chocolate, baker’s chocolate, cacao nibs. Dark roasted malts, dry barrel tannins, and oak. Bitterness from the chocolate and the roasted malts. Mild caramelized sugars and leather. More bourbon and dry cacao at the swallow, and the bourbon outlasts in the hang. There is nothing in the flavors that suggests oatmeal to me particularly.

M: A nice thick mouthfeel for style – the fullness of the oatmeal is found here, rather than on the palate. The alcohol is obvious but not overly hot for barrel-aged – I’d call it fairly balanced actually. Low but again, as-expected carbonation sensation.

O: Not a bad beer at all. The nose was the biggest letdown, but it wasn’t indicative of a lack of flavor. For my tastes, the bitter chocolate adds a nice counterpoint to the sweetness of the bourbon and the oatmeal stout style in general. The barrel presence was managed with a deft hand as well, getting as much out of it as they could without overwhelming the other flavors here. Solid, though not amazing.

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Photo of Tucquan
3.67/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Had this on 2018-10-19 in Columbia, PA from a 500ml bottled July 2016

A - Opaque dark brown with a 3/4-finger light brown head that drops quickly leaving almost no lace.

S - Lots of barrel character. Oak, bourbon, dark chocolate, vinous.

T - Dark chocolate, cherry cola, espresso latte, light char, bourbon., herbal spice, hint of sourness. Medium roasted/hop bitterness.

M - Odd. Medium-heavy body and high carbonation; like having a soda. Slick after the CO2 dissipates.

O - Kind of an odd duck; like having a mix of spicy cherry cola with an Imperial Stout. Drinkable but I wouldn't seek it out.

Notes: I capped the 1/2-full bottle and had it 4 days later and enjoyed it much more. The high carbonation and most of the cherry cola flavor had dissipated and it was much more like drinking an Imperial Stout than a soda. I raised my Taste and Feel ratings but they are still on the low side because of my initial experience.

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Tucquan from Pennsylvania, Oct 19, 2018
Photo of ManapuaMan
3.19/5  rDev -22%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Much like community member Harrison8's review below, I acknowledge this aged brew has a sour and musty aftertaste that, for me, really tanked the experience. Usually I wouldn't rate an aged beer but, since this beer is retired, anyone who will be cracking a bottle will be doing so with an aged specimen so it's relevant.

Looks great - puffy khaki head that lasts, coal-black body, thick and viscous.

Aroma is where it starts to go awry - char, smoke, bitter chocolate, roasted malt....and tart cherry and musty luggage in an attic. Perhaps something went awry during aging although my storage conditions are consistent and I've rarely encountered problems.

Taste is all the good up front- bitter chocolate, roasted malt, dark fruit - and then the bad (to me) - sour cherry tang and musty almost Brett-like funk. Chalky and dry finish and the beer is a mouthful.

Not my style but could work for others.

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ManapuaMan from Massachusetts, Oct 02, 2018
Photo of Harrison8
3.81/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours black with two fingers of caramel foam that forms dense and frothy and lingers for a while. Aroma is dark roasted and toasted malts with a hint of bitter chocolate and a lactic cherry bite. Bourbon and char have faded almost completely from this bottle. Flavor profile is bitter chocolate, coffee, roasted and toasted malts with a sour lactic bite. This beer delivered a little off-kilter as it aged. Mouth feel is medium-thick with a fuzzy, velvety texture that bites sharply just at the end. Overall, good dense notes, but this beer didn't age well. Despite the sour twinges it has, it's still a pretty darn good beer.

Served in a 12oz snifter from a 500mL bottle.

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Harrison8 from Missouri, Jun 28, 2018
Photo of Phyl21ca
4.46/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle: Poured a pitch-black color stout with a large dark brown foamy head with good retention and some great lacing. Aroma of bitter black chocolate notes with some bourbon notes with light oak notes also discernible. Taste is a mix of dry lightly bitter black chocolate notes with some bourbon notes with some dry woody notes also apparent. Body is full with nice thick body and great carbonation with light warming alcohol notes. Very well brewed with not much residual sugar but still good drinkability and complexity.

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Phyl21ca from Quebec (Canada), Jan 12, 2018
Photo of neenerzig
4.59/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a bottle from batch # 1 of this beer. I was a huge fan of the 12th Anniversary Stout when it first came out in 2008 and when Stone brought it back as part of their Encore series last year. So I knew I had to try this version. I've had this sitting in my cellar for over a year now aging, and finally got the urge to open it tonight. Brewed on 12/5/2015 and aged for 7 months before being bottled in July 2016. Poured out of a 500 ml. bottle that I had one hell of a time getting to uncork, probably the hardest time I've ever had uncorking any corked bottle I've had to open, upon being poured into my snifter, this beer is a very dark, almost black color with a very tan/light brown head that's about an inch thick when first poured. Head settles eventually to a very thick ring lining the inside of the glass along with huge cluster swirls of foam on the beer's surface and some nice spots of lacing on the inside of the glass. Roasted caramel malt, chocolate and coffee, vanilla and oak bourbon all greet the nostrils nicely indeed. The taste pretty much follows suit, with some roasted caramel malt sweetness that gives way to chocolate and a slight hint of coconut along with hints of coffee. There is certainly also a bit of vanilla, and the bourbon oak flavor is just the perfect amount. Enough to know it is there, but not trying to dominate the flavor profile like in some other beers of this style. Has an earthy hop presence that adds a nice hint of bitterness along with the black coffee notes. The 1/2% ABV is well masked in the flavor profile indeed. Even after aging in my cellar for a year plus, there' still enough hop bitterness there to remind you this is, after all, a Stone beer. Has a crisp, slightly oily and slightly chewy, also frothy, medium to full bodied mouthfeel with moderate carbonation. Has a clean, slightly dry finish. Another excellent beer from a very excellent brewery!

Eric

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Photo of ZebulonXZogg
4.14/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Brewed 12/15, bottled 7/16
L: Pours almost black, no visible light passes thru. Small brown heads fades quickly leaving a small ring. No lacing but a little brown film clings to the glass.
S: Bakers cocoa, bourbon and ash.
T: Bitter chocolate is upfront, hints of vanilla, smoke and some dark fruit.
F: Medium bodied, very smooth, minimal carbonation. ABV well hidden.
O: Quite tasty, but missing something in the end. Probably a one and done.

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ZebulonXZogg from Illinois, Sep 28, 2017
Photo of Tony210
4.26/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Look: Pours the pitch black with a thin tan head.

Smell: Bourbon barrel, bitter chocolate, espresso, vanilla

Taste: bittersweet chocolate, espresso,
Molasses, burnt roasted malt.

Feel: creamy and slick.

Overall: The name of the beer begins with "Bitter Chocolate" and it definitely is. Very bitter upfront on the tongue, some sweetness to it in the middle. And the finish is again quite bitter. You do pick up some nice barrel notes, vanilla, coconut. Overall a decent beer.
This bottle was bottled July 2016. I just found it in the store a few weeks ago, I am not sure if it was on the shelf for a long time or if Stone held onto it for a little while.
9/3/17
500ml bottle
4 rating

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Tony210 from New Jersey, Sep 03, 2017
Photo of yesterdayfaraway
3.27/5  rDev -20%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

L: pours thick, pitch black with no head
T: just terrible honestly. Burt chewing tobacco, molasses, bitter chocolate and medicine booze.
F: thin but highly carbonated

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Photo of stortore
4.1/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

500 ml bottle into a snifter. Bottled July 2016, had 2/4/17.

Pours dark, near black, opaque, with a one and a half inch head of darker foam and a good amount of foamy lacing. A very spicy aroma, not sure what gives it that. Bourbon, oak, malt, chocolate, vanilla, some smoke and molasses. The taste has that same kind of spice thing that I can't identify, malt, bourbon, oak, less vanilla than the nose, chocolate, some caramel and molasses. There's an odd kind of bitterness throughout. Smooth, a solid, full body, a little creamy, a good level of carbonation.

This is good, but something is lacking. The malt and barrels are nicely balanced, but the flavor just doesn't jump out for me. Not enough bang for the buck with this one, as it has a pretty high price point. Guess I expect these 500 ml bottles from Stone to be more special than this one is.

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stortore from Illinois, Jun 23, 2017
Photo of johnnnniee
3.48/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle from Greg and Jane's
Solid black color with a huge frothy tan head that persists. Chocolate roast and sweet bourbon with bits of oak vanilla and tart cherry. Lots of alcohol warming and bits of tart cherry lactic starting to come out. Creamy silky mouthfeel. Pretty tasty but this one does seem to be turning assuming it was clean when it was bottled.

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johnnnniee from New Hampshire, May 23, 2017
Photo of gcasher
4.67/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

This stout is awesome! The malt is charred and black. There is an ample mocha foamy head. The mouthfeel is super creamy. The bourbon barrel dominates the front taste with oak and sweet bourbon. The rich stout flavors follow. The aroma is sweet bourbon. The bitter chocolate flavor comes through in the finish. What a treat!

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gcasher from Pennsylvania, May 12, 2017
Photo of SHODriver
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured into a snifter to a black beer topped by a finger and a half of dense dark tan head that fades to a collar around the edge of the glass with some lacing
S: Smells of bitter chocolate and roasted malts with some oak. The bourbon barrel has some notes of caramel and vanilla as well.
T: Taste is oak and bitter dark chocolate with some caramel and vanilla along with some slight coconut. Lots of bitter chocolate on the palate with some dry oak as well. Swallow is dark chocolate, roasted malts, a little charred wood.
M: The beer is pretty full in body with a smooth feel in the mouth. Carbonation is adequate for the style and the beer has a dry finish.
O: Overall this one is pretty good. Not the best but not the worst either. Good flavors and complexity but I wish the barrel was a little more forward.

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SHODriver from North Carolina, Mar 30, 2017
Photo of WickedBeer
4.37/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Picked up at the Stone Company Store in Pasadena, CA.

Poured into a snifter style glass.

Look: Pours a jet black with a two finger beige head of foam.
Smell: Booze, oak, bourbon, and chocolate. Really nice cacao bitterness in the finish.
Taste: Again getting strong bourbon flavors and strong notes of coffee and dark chocolate. Really nice finishing balance of vanilla notes and roasted barley.
Feel: Sticky and sweet, a wonderful adult dessert! Heavy, almost syrupy body with a light carbonation. Great overall feel.

Fantastic small batch from Stone!!

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WickedBeer from Alabama, Mar 04, 2017
Photo of Smakawhat
4.54/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Poured from the bottle into a large snifter glass. Batch No. 1 Series 2016.

Big rich and tall bringing dark mocha head. Deep bubbles with a chocolate looking top, sitting on a very darky walnut brown nearly black body color.

Very intense aroma. Large notes of hazelnut and big fruit. Hints a little dark red wine grape, with big touches of whoppers malt candy. Twinge of tartness here as well though which seems a little out of place.

Luckily there is no infection, except for an infectious tasty palate! Creamy amounts of hazelnut and chocolate dark warmth. Mid palate has quite a bit of hop blasting action and bitterness. Exotic hop flavors with char and barrel notes mixing in to create a real unique flavor. Fruit quality hinted on the nose is replaced with far more bitterness mostly from a surprising hop angle. Tangy hits of faint tropics, and lots of hebality too. Faint creamy and vanilla mixes in with some nice barrel character and flavors too.

Surprising take on a brew, and very tasty.

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Smakawhat from Maryland, Mar 03, 2017
Photo of mschrei
4.59/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Brewed 12/5/15. Poured into a Pipeworks Tales from the Oak snifter. Had a very healthy head on pot that dissipated rather quickly. Dark brown with no thinning on the edges. Smell is a strong bourbon barrel presence that almost gives it a sour character, followed by a normal roasty oatmeal stout scent. Taste is very layered. Barrel presence is strong, but the oatmeal stout character is prevalent as well. Chocolate notes are there with a semi-sweetness. I don't know how bitter it is, but it isn't as sweet as most chocolate beers. Feeling is smooth up front with a sharp barrel tang in the back. Definitely boozy. A deeply flavorful beer. Outstanding.

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mschrei from Illinois, Jan 24, 2017
Photo of dbrauneis
4.28/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours an opaque thick viscous jet black in color with moderate amounts of fine active visible carbonation along the edges of the glass and faint dark cola brown highlights. The beer has a three finger tall dense foamy dark mocha head that slowly reduces to a large patch of mottled thin film covering the entire surface of the beer and a medium thick ring at the edges of the glass. Light to moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate to strong aromas of roasted malts, dark chocolate, cocoa, and bourbon with moderate aromas of charred malts and toasted oak. Light aromas of brown sugar, vanilla, and molasses sweetness.

T: Upfront there is a moderate flavor of roasted malts with a lighter flavor of charred malts and a light to moderate amount of brown sugar + molasses sweetness. That is followed by moderate to strong flavors of dark, bittersweet chocolate and cocoa powder. Finally there are strong flavors of bourbon and toasted oak with moderate amounts of vanilla. There is a moderate lingering bourbon booziness in the finish.

M: Full bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Smooth, almost creamy upfront with a light amount of alcohol warming in the finish (which slightly intensifies are the beer warms).

O: Very enjoyable with a really nice combonation of bourbon/oak, bittersweet chocolate, and roasted malts. Easy to sip on and a beer that I would definitely enjoy having again.

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dbrauneis from North Carolina, Jan 12, 2017
Photo of hman43
4.03/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Look: It pours black with a dark brown creamy head.

Smell: It has aromas of rich chocolate, bourbon, oak, oats, floral, and citrus. The bourbon and chocolate are in the front of the aromas with the hops being in strong background support and the other aromas completing the complex profile.

Taste: The flavors are strong with chocolate, bourbon, oak, and floral elements. The citrus and oats are part of the complex flavors.

Feel: It has a full body with a smooth, creamy texture. The hops works in combination with the malts for a long lasting floral, chocolate, and bourbon finish.

Overall, this is a beer full of rich malts and combine with hops that almost acts like a black IPA with bourbon.

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hman43 from North Carolina, Dec 26, 2016
Photo of rodbeermunch
3.87/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours 90% black, maybe 10% dark brown, good 3/4" tan small bubbled head on the top. Aroma was bitter chocolate for the most part, lesser bourbon.

Taste, pretty good. Chocolate still the biggest thing, not sweet, more bitter. Good use of oats. Smooth mouth feel. Very mild alcohol presence, even though the abv is much higher than what you perceive of it. Roast is there too, probably second biggest thing beyond chocolate. Carbonation on point.

$20/500ml is pushing it cost wise. I'm on the fence if I would buy a bottle at that price. Thankfully a few other beer dudes have brought these to tastings, so I'm all set I think.

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Photo of Tone
3.77/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a black color. One inch head of a tan color. Great retention and great lacing. Smells of strong bourbon, sweet malt, roasted malt, slight pine, and a hint of yeast. Fits the style of an Oatmeal Stout. Mouth feel is sharp and clean, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of strong bourbon, sweet malt, roasted malt, slight pine, and a hint of yeast. Overall, good appearance and feel, but overwhelmingly alcohol-centric.

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Tone from Missouri, Dec 20, 2016
Photo of jakecattleco
2.07/5  rDev -49.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.25

Likely infected, nose had nothing but sour red wine. Drain poured and reported to Stone. Purchased in August in Sacramento, aged at sub 55 degrees.

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jakecattleco from California, Dec 18, 2016
Photo of DoubleSimcoe
3.55/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Total letdown from Stone here. I was expecting a barrel-aged beauty like the 2014 Fyodor's Classic masterpiece, but what I found here was a mess of tart-fruit flavors and spoiled milk aromas. The nose is pure blue cheese and mold. Not sure this is what the brewers intended for this beer. Couldn't finish it.

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DoubleSimcoe from Pennsylvania, Dec 15, 2016
Photo of pezhead_79
3.89/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

There have been some reported infected bottles. This one seemed fine to me, the beer was just not as good as expected. It has a smooth mouth feel and a pleasant taste. Overall it's good, just not worth the price point.

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pezhead_79 from Indiana, Dec 02, 2016
Photo of BlakeAM
2.32/5  rDev -43.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.25

Something went terribly wrong here. It smells like rotten fruit, dishwater, baking chocolate and a hint of booze. It tastes like it smells.

I've been a huge Stone fan since I got into craft beer 7-8 years ago, but these overpriced corked offerings are trying my patience. I'm guessing this could be infected but it's not the same souring effect I've experienced in other bba stouts...

Please fix your barrel program before releasing more stuff like this...

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BlakeAM from Illinois, Dec 02, 2016
Bitter Chocolate Oakmeal Bourbon Barrel Stout from Stone Brewing
Beer rating: 90 out of 100 with 200 ratings