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Stone Smoked Porter W/Vanilla Bean | Stone Brewing

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very good
535 Reviews
Stone Smoked Porter W/Vanilla BeanStone Smoked Porter W/Vanilla Bean

Brewed by:
Stone Brewing
California, United States

Style: Smoked Beer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.90%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
In 2006, almost exactly 10 years after we first released Stone Smoked Porter, Stone Small Batch Brewer Laura Ulrich had a brilliant idea: What if she added whole Madagascar vanilla beans to a small batch of the finished beer? And voilà, Stone Smoked Porter w/Vanilla Bean was born! It was an instant hit, as the resulting flavor combinations—rich vanilla melding with the malty, chocolaty, coffee-like characteristics of the beer—were practically made for each other. Originally available only as an occasional growler fill or on tap all-too-briefly at special events or in our restaurant, this exquisite creation was released in a single bottle run for the first time in 2012, much to the delight of its many fans…who instantly began clamoring for more.

Added by MiScusi on 08-31-2007

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

For Trade:
User Reviews
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Reviews: 535 | Ratings: 2,358
Photo of brureview
3.45/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I had this on tap in Providence. Not bad, but I was very disappointed given the Stone reputation.

The color was a good dark coffee brown, and there was a little head.

The vanilla smell was not strong- I expected more.

Mouth feel was okay- moderately carbonated.

The taste was average, a bit of vanilla, with a standard porter finish. Nothing to write home about.

As the beer warmed up, I was waiting for more- it didn't happen.

I have tried many porters, and this is average. There could be improvements: the vanilla could enhance the finish and smell, but it doesn't work out with this beer.

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Photo of JohnnyMc
3.65/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I have always enjoyed the original Smoked Porter so I wanted to try this.

Pours out a nice deep black with a mocha brown head.

The aroma has a lot of smoke along with vanilla and hints of chocolate and roasted malts.

The taste is very similar. There is a decent amount of vanilla, but the smoke seems to be a bit milder than in the original Smoked Porter. There is a nice balance of the semi-bitter and sweet chocolate notes and the roasted malts.

Overall, this is an enjoyable beer, but I still enjoy the Smoked Porter more.

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Photo of grittybrews
3.53/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured dark brown with a finger of light khaki head. Aroma dominated by smoke, cocoa, and a hint of coffee (not much vanilla).

Moderate carbonation and a fairly light mouthfeel. Smoke and cocoa up front followed by vanilla and a wave of astringent coffee.

I was hoping the vanilla would be subtle and balanced but it seems almost too weak here. The smoke and roastiness definitely dominate. Nice enough, but I was expecting to like this one much more than I did.

EDIT: After trying this side-by-side with the chipotle smoked porter (which I preferred), the vanilla was a bit more evident.

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Photo of ngeunit1
4.42/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a dark brown-black with a finger of frothy khaki colored head. The head fades down at a normal pace leaving behind some nice lacing.

S - Aroma is a mix of roasted chocolate malts, smoke, and vanilla, with a bit of lactose sweetness and some light coffee.

T - Starts off with a mix of roasted chocolate malts with vanilla and a bit of smoke. Through the middle, the smoke and vanilla flavors get stronger with a touch of coffee and lactose. The finish is a mix of roasted chocolate, vanilla, and smoke.

M - Medium-full bodied with moderate carbonation. Feels smooth with a smokey and sweet finish.

D - Very drinkable. The vanilla really accentuates the smoke and chocolate flavors nicely. Excellent balance.

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Photo of DonDirkA
4.83/5  rDev +24.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Vanilla bean comes across very strong in the nose. Its right up front backed up by chocolate and very slight coffee notes. Theres a little roastiness but no apparent smokey scents like in the original and the chipotle. There's roasted, smokey flavors right up front along with a strong vanilla bean taste. The smokiness and vanilla sweetness blend together in a really interesting way. The chocolate flavors come up next and it all fades out into a slightly sweet smoked coffee taste. This is an awesome brew. The chipotle was good but this is definitely my favorite of the three (including the original).

EDIT: So, I'm having another one right now and it is much smokier than the last one I had. Still smells very vanilla and the flavor has a lot of vanilla but the original smokey characteristics of the Smoked Porter stick out a LOT more than before. Still delicious and much more unique than just vanilla bean. Thank you AJ's for having some in Tucson.

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Photo of jsanford
4.05/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours black with reddish-brown edges and a very dense khaki-colored head that looks like the foam on a cappuccino. Aroma consists of sweet chocolate malt, bitter coffee grounds, a touch of caramel, lightly charred smoke, and sweet vanilla bean. Really liking the interplay between the vanilla and the smoke. Taste is similarly sweet, with lots of vanilla bean, chocolate malt, caramel, and roasted nuts. Mouthfeel is quite smooth and fairly creamy, with a medium-full body and good carbonation. Overall a superb addition to the Stone line-up, but I may have to give the edge to regular Smoked Porter. I'll see how the Chipotle version stacks up.

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Photo of brystmar
3.04/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Loved this on draft at DLD, let's see how it fares from the bottle. 12oz'er shared by blatantdream.

Dark brown body spills into my glass as lots of tan head forms on the surface. Aroma immediately shows oxidization and not much more. Fortunately this died down as it warmed, and the vanilla is now at center stage instead of the cardboard-y-ness.

Taste is meh, and the body is massively overcarbonated. Bland, basic malt base is nothing special. Tastes very oxidized, mild smokeyness in the back I think? Bitterness lingers after I swallow, and it feels totally out of place.

This is just not very good, and that's a shame given how great it was on tap. Avoid the bottles.

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Photo of sinstaineddemon
4.09/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - dark brazil nut brown with a thin tan head that fades quickly

S - smoked peat style malts with a subtle vanilla backbone, not to much, like its supposed to be there

T - This porter doesn't alienate its roots to be a gimmicky vanilla bear. The porters smoked chocolatey malts are tasty, and the subtle vanilla inflections just add to its greatness. The vanilla truly seems like part of the beer and not an add on.

M&D - a deep character beer, plenty of style appropriate elements, layered vanilla flavors, smooth and easyto drink. another winner from Stone.

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Photo of wvsabbath
4.5/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Serving Type - Bottle

Appearance - Dark black with traces of tan, foamy, creamy 2 inch head and lots of lacing.

Smell - Classic stone smoked porter, roasted malts, chocolate, coffee, molasses, dark fruits like plum and rasin, and the addition of vanilla.

Taste - The vanilla bean is really present. The smoked, malty, chocolate, coffee kick of the porter mixed with the vanilla gives it a almost, creame soda like flavor. Very smooth, sweet and tasty.

Mouthfeel - Malts coat whole mouth, tounge gets lots of chocolate, coffee and dark fruits with the vanilla. Palate gets more malts and a huge vanilla blast. Finish is nutty, malty and a little bitter.

Overall - Tasty, and enjoyed the vanilla moreso then the pepper version. This is a straight up dessert beer, sweet, creamy and rich. Till orginal smoked porter is the best, but this is #2 for me. Good stuff here.

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Photo of tobelerone
3.92/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep dark brown verging on black. Small, quickly settling cream colored head with some slippery lacing. Strong vanilla aroma with some smoky, charred oak and dark malt notes, light caramel and an underlying bitterness.

Flavor also features vanilla prominently; the smoked character of the beer is fairly subdued; dark and bitter roasted malt; low sweetness, some brown sugar perhaps but not much. Again this beer is all about the vanilla; has an extract taste to an extent; aggressive bitterness gives a bit of balance. There’s something of a cream-soda vibe going on underneath everything as well.

Medium body and carbonation; slightly smooth and creamy, but still pretty active mouthfeel. Lingering bitterness in the aftertaste. Will appeal to vanilla fans who don't mind a bit of a bitter bite.

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Photo of OWSLEY069
4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep amber to black in color with an off white head. In the aroma, sweet vanilla, coffee, and even notes of cinnamon. In the taste, sweet vanilla, a coffee roast, and it feels a bit creamy. A small bite and a medium to lighter bodied mouthfeel, with a small dry to sweet vanilla and cream like aftertaste. Big vanilla, coffee and cinnamon. Tasty, but I can see this getting to be a bit too sweet at times.

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Photo of BeerBuckeye
3.26/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours a lighter brown with foamy 2 finger head.

S- smell is light smokiness and not much else. Hints of dark chocolate malt. Not incredibly impressive though.

T- taste is smoky on the beginning and through the whole beer. It finishes with just a touch of vanilla bean, but not much.

M- Its robust but overall pretty smooth.

Overal- I honestly failed to spot the vanilla in this. It was so weak and overpowered with smokyness that it didn't really wasn't even that noticeable.

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Photo of scottfrie
3.71/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle from recent release. Duvel Green tulip.

A: Pours near black with a huge light cream colored head that took forever to slowly collapse into a dense film leaving a complex network of sticky lace down the glass. Great retention.
S: Vanilla bean comes through nicely over notes of marshmallow (vanilla), and roasted malts. Vanilla dominates and reminds me of ice-cream.
T: More of the base porter comes through than it did on the nose. Malt flavors are deep and roasted with hints of caramel and chocolate. Vanilla is more integrated than the overpowering nose but it’s still prominent. Finish is slightly bitter; aftertaste is full of vanilla bean.
M: Medium body, ample but unobtrusive carbonation, and a smooth mouthfeel.
O: Despite everything there is something about this beer that I don’t love. It’s not a bad beverage, and I’d drink it again if it was handed to me, but I think I prefer the original to this one.

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Photo of SpeedwayJim
3.77/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle into a Cigar City snifter. Side-by-side with the regular and Chipotle versions.

Same as the regular but with a touch more head retention.

Vanilla beans are actually rather prominent on the nose. Provides some nice sweetness that balances the smoke and roast aromas. Nice.

Opens sweet. Vanilla beans are upfront. Creamy. Roasted malt, smoke, and chocolate in the back. Much sweeter and smoother than the original. I like this.

Just like the regular version. Light bodied with moderate to ample carbonation. Prickly and bubbly in the mouth but rather smooth going down. Mellow finish with a slightly lingering aftertaste.

This one is a bit better than the regular. The vanilla really works to smooth out the rough edges created by the smoke and roast and the feel fits the style a touch better also. The addition definitely worked here.

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Photo of matttttYCE
4.17/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours into a nonic pint with a nice 1 1/2 finger head of tan creamy suds. Lace is nice and sticky and the head sticks around for a bit.

The aroma is creamy vanilla bliss and a wonderful toasted coconut side dancing on a solid bed of malty sweetness, light smoke/char, and roastyness, with notes of cocoa powder and coffee coming along for the ride. Smells a bit like creme brulee (both the desert and the Southern Tier beer). Wonderful smell.

The taste follows well with the aroma. Vanilla sweetness, toasted coconut, and smoke/roast qualities dominate but aren't exactly aggressive. All the wonderful qualities of a nice porter - the bitter coffee, the hints of chocolate/cocoa, the smooth roasted malts - mix so wonderfully with the balanced smokiness and the near velvety smooth vanilla and coconut properties. Lovely flavor.

The mouthfeel is just what a porter should be. That is, light, creamy, and smooth, not weighing you down, but with enough substance that you realize you're drinking something deeper than a pale or a pilsner. Carbonation is medium or medium-high, consistency is smooth and silky, body is light-medium, and the finish is lingering wonderfully.

Love regular Stone Smoked Porter, this iteration is fantastic as well. The Chipotle version is very nice and complex but not quite as good as the vanilla is, in my opinion. Upon a second visit (bottle) this beer still impresses me, though not quite as much as the initial bottle I had. Maybe I was a little too excited at the bottling of a beer I'd seeked our for some time. Either way, still a great beer and worth trying if you like porters, smoke, or Stone Smoked Porter.

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Photo of smakawhat
4.05/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a nonic pint glass.

A real nice tan head three fingers, but forms rather quickly on the pour and settles quickly also. Body color is a very dark dark walnut brown red hues also. Compared to the Chiptole pretty much identical although this one didn't seem to foam up as big as the other.

Sweet roast malts sensing, but not much vanilla angle. Some faint smoke but not really getting accented. Creamy sense with the vanilla. Smells good, but the chipotle version highlights the malt and roast better.

Vanilla creaminess really jumps to the forefront highlighting a velvety smooth body and texture. Roasty dark malts linger slightly complimenting vanilla tones well. Smokey angle seems a bit lost with the sweetness though.

Overall it's still a very tasty porter, with a great feel more than anything, however I prefer the Chipotle version with its emphasis on bringing out the roast and smoke of the porter considerably more. A decent brew regardless.

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Photo of Domingo
3.73/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown color. Looks nearly black, but the light reveals it to be brown. Not a lot of head, but a little bit.
The nose is relatively smoky, but not as much as I expected. A little vanilla character is there, but it's also mild. In general, the nose is pretty subdued.
The taste starts off sweet and warm with vanilla cream. The back end is where the smoke and roasty stout notes kick in. A little on the sweet side, but not out of whack.
Reminds me of a sweeter version of the Denver Beer Co Graham Cracker Porter. I kind of wish it were a bomber since it is pretty easy drinking. It's sweet, but really refreshing...and not boozy at all. It's almost an inadvertent chugger for me.
As long as the pricing is solid on this, I'll grab another bottle or two. I can imagine a draft version being nice, too.

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Photo of Dope
3.73/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours dark brown with a huge effervescent light brown head. Fades slowly with loads of lacing all over the glass.

S: Pretty much all smoke and vanilla bean. Like smelling vanilla ice cream that someone melted with a torch. Almost like creme brulee actually.

T: Smoke at first and then a nice vanilla bean flavor. Becomes sweet momentarily from the vanilla and then goes back to smoke and char in the aftertaste.

M: Medium bodied, a bit drying.

O: Not a bad brew, but the smoke far dominates everything in the beer. The vanilla is nice and sweet and tries to balance but in the end it's all char and smoke. The chipotle version I had the other day wasn't quite as smokey and was much better balanced and tasty.

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Photo of n2185
3.03/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Pours a very dark brown with a finger of tan head that recedes into a thin ring with little lacing.

S: Sweet vanilla dominates the nose with the smoke and roasted malt notes relatively subtle.

T: Roasted malts are a bit more present here before a strong vanilla flavor hits. The finish is bitter and charred, clashing with the sweet vanilla in a not-very-pleasant way.

M: Medium body and carbonation, I'd prefer if it were creamier.

O: An alright beer, overall. Not undrinkable, but the vanilla is too strong and artificial tasting, and it clashes with the roasted malt characters.

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Photo of warnerry
3.7/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours deep brown with two fingers of creamy looking tan head. Head has good retention and leaves nice lacing.

S - Lots of vanilla in the nose, along with coffee, cocoa and faint smoke.

T - There is more smoke in the taste, but vanilla is still the most prevalent taste, along with coffee. The vanilla flavor is a nice complement for the base beer, but it seems a bit heavy handed here. Not bad, but a bit too much vanilla. The finish turns earthy and smoky with a bit of char.

M - Medium mouthfeel with some lingering earthy bitterness. Carbonation seems about right.

O - Pretty good, but I don't have much desire to have it again. I wish the vanilla were a bit more subtle.

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Photo of jethrodium
2.44/5  rDev -37.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

12 oz bottle. Pours a dark cola brown with a small tan that has head decent retention and leaves lots of small spots of lacing on the glass. The aroma is vanilla. Lots of sweet vanilla and a bit of coffee and cocoa. The initial taste is sweet with a lot of vanilla, a bit of coffee, a little bit of chocolate, and more vanilla. Finish has lingering vanilla. Medium body. Low carbonation. Vanilla just overpowers everything here and comes off as way too sweet. Disappointing.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.95/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Stone's usual brash demeanor takes a more delicate stride with the vanilla coat that adorns their ever popular Smoked Porter.

The beer pours like many other porters; with a dark brown color and delicate creme that gives the dark ale a very espresso-like appearance. Capped by the dainty off white foam that's fueled by carbonation, the beer trails with subdued islands of lace.

But a visit to the nose brings something different- the coffee and chocolate notes that are familiar to porters are complemented by the unmistakable and savory veil of vanilla and campfire. Where the mild smoky notes bring about a spice complexity, the vanilla soothes the senses and evokes a calming response to the nose.

The love affair that the smoky coffee flavor and vanilla companionship provide a masculine and feminine taste that plays out on the semisweet malt base of slightly scorched molasses, light taste of malted milk, and bittersweet chocolates. Toast, walnut oils, and coconut play out underneath the firm malt underpinnings and the decoration of smoke and cream.

Mild to texture, somehow the palate expects more fullness, richness, and viscocity. But the low-lying carbonation allows the ale to rest weightedly on the palate for full appreciation of flavor for a semi cask-like effect. A patient transition across the middle palate lands at the finish with a light mouthfeel of silk and mint-like alcohol warmth.

Although the vanilla provides a soothing effect to the otherwise masculine porter, the mouthfeel keeps me yearning for an imperial version of this beer. But its effortless palate and high rate of drinkability more than make up for it.

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Photo of avalon07
4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a brown color and a somewhat clear consistency. There was an inch and a half of foamy, tan-colored, long-lasting head. Great lacing.

S: The vanilla beans dominated the aroma, along with chocolate and malt.

T: Like the smell, the taste was all about the vanilla beans (not a bad thing). Also had traces of chocolate, coffee, malt, and mild hops. The smokiness wasn't as pronounced as I thought it would be. A very enjoyable flavor.

M: A decent amount of carbonation with a dry, smooth finish. Medium-bodied.

O: An oddly likeable, easy to drink porter.

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Photo of rudzud
4.42/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a bottle of this at Julio's, poured into my Duvel tulip.

A - Pours a nice rich oily black with a good two finger mocha head that fades to leave nice side lacing and good creamy blanket.

S - Excellent smokey porter notes, smoked malts and sweet roast. Very strong vanilla presence here. Incredibly strong, much stronger than when I had it on draft last year.

T - Ohhh yah. Nice rich, roasty malts and some light smoke. The heavy hand in this is the vanilla bean, which while some may say "oh, too much" I say it is just perfect. Love how up front the vanilla is. Just decadent.

M - Mouthfeel is good and creamy, very nice for a porter.

O - Overall I really liked this beer. Like it a bit more than the draft version, which I think suffered in the nose factor. Lovers of vanilla should seek this one out.

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Photo of barczar
3.9/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours an opaque dark brown, almost black, with a solid half inch creamy, dense tan head that lingers.

Coffee grounds, roast, smoked malt, cocoa, a bit of nuttiness and a hint of vanilla comprise the aroma.

Vanilla is far more prevalent in the flavor, dominating throughout the profile, while heavy roast malt, cocoa, and slightly acrid, tangy coffee taste form the backbone. Bitter hop flavor rounds out the finish. I didn't get much smoke flavor until the aftertaste, when it became a little plasticy. Malted milk balls surface as it warms.

Body is moderate, with more carbonation than anticipated. There's a bit of biting astringency and alcohol warmth.
It's strangely light on the tongue.

Overall, flavor of the vanilla is much more dominant than the smoke character. Good base porter, but I would've liked more balance in the smoke and vanilla characters.

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Stone Smoked Porter W/Vanilla Bean from Stone Brewing
3.89 out of 5 based on 2,358 ratings.
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