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Stone 08.08.08 Vertical Epic Ale | Stone Brewing

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492 Reviews
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Stone 08.08.08 Vertical Epic AleStone 08.08.08 Vertical Epic Ale

Brewed by:
Stone Brewing
California, United States

Style: Belgian IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.60%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
The Stone 08.08.08 Vertical Epic Ale is a Strong Golden Belgian style ale highly hopped with American hops (Ahtanum, Amarillo and Simcoe). The beer pours pale golden with a thick and creamy white head of foam. The aroma is full of depth: nuances of pepper, clove, and banana from the Belgian yeast strain, and the resiny citrus notes from the American hops blend together nicely to provide a complex aromatic character. The taste is spicy, hoppy and fruity, with a very dry and a pleasant bitter end. The bitterness lingers nicely, and provides a refreshing finish that leads you to want to drink more and more of this beer!

Added by froghop on 08-04-2008

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 492 | Ratings: 888
Photo of ThreeWiseMen
4.3/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Poured a clear gold with foamy two finger head. Head is sticky and produces a decent amount of lacing. Head diminishes to a small white cap after a minute or so.

Smell: Bubblegum, unripened bananas, Belgian yeast, some citrus (orange, lime), and a touch of alcohol.

Taste: Bananas and cream, loads of bubblegum, cotton candy, and a touch of citrus. A very interesting flavor. A tiny bit of alcohol in the finish, but the ABV is masked extremely well (8.6% Holy Shit!). Reminds me of the circus - lol.

Mouthfeel: A little bit of a warming effect is felt down in the belly, but otherwise I would not guess that this is 8.6%. Really smooth and fairly light with a low carbonation. Once again, the masking is unbelievable.

Drinkability: I've read about beers tasting like bubblegum before, but I had never actually experienced that taste until now. This almost seems like a novelty beer. Even though the taste may sound incredibly sweet, it's pretty toned down and enjoyable. I would drink these all day... but I would get F*#KED UP! I still can't believe how they mask teh alcohol so well. Way to go Stone!

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.3/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Lemon drop yellow with sunshine colored accents. There's nothing darker than pale malt in there, that's for sure. The alabaster colored crown looks fantastic. The upper surface is a teeming mass of glassine bubbles that leave miniscule craters when they pop. Lovely lace rounds things out in fine fashion.

I'm kicking myself for not cracking the crown before today. If I had realized that Greg and the boys brewed a highly-hopped Belgian IPA this time around, I never would have waited this long. The tropical fruitiness of the Simcoe and Amarillo hops has surely faded, but it's still wonderful. A pinch of spicy clove is nice as well. Last fall, this score probably would have been 4.5.

Even though the hops have lost some of their punching power, VE 08.08.08 is still damn good beer. It's good for the same reason that Gouden Carolus Hopsinjoor, De Ranke XX Bitter, Houblon Chouffe Dobbelen IPA Tripel and Urthel Hop-It are good... they combine pale malt, lots American hops and Belgian yeast, all wrapped up with a high-ABV bow. What's not to love? Especially if you're both a hophead and a Belgianophile, like me.

This beer isn't quite the equal of the ones mentioned above, but I'm going to cut the taste score some slack since it's my fault that I didn't experience this annual ale in its freshest and hoppiest state. The flavor profile includes sugar cookies, candied pineapple chunks, pink grapefruit, tangerine and a sprinkling of clove and white pepper. A sweet start... becomes a bittersweet middle... becomes a quasi-drying finish.

The mouthfeel almost deserves the next highest score. In the end, though, it isn't quite full enough for 'American big beer greatness' and it isn't expansive and fluffy enough for 'Belgian big beer greatness'. On the other hand, drinking quickly, although not recommended, is a cinch.

08.08.08 is the fourth straight killer beer in the Vertical Epic series. It's probably too much to ask for that Stone would release a Belgian-style IPA (this recipe will do just fine) on a year-round basis, but here's hoping. Bottom line: a fine tribute to the great Belgian IPAs.

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Photo of thekevlarkid
4.31/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured out of the bomber a 24 karat gold with a yellow lab-coat head of foam two fingers thick. After a minute the head became rocky and then descended to a thin coat of small bubbles. Broken lacing. Aromas of floral hops, honey, pineapple, spices and some other citrus. Delicious and complex nose. The flavors were equally demanding, wet hops, piney hops and resin all making it a little bitter. Hints of blueberries, white pepper and grapefruit. Develops a bubblegum like sweetness in the background as it warms up. Quite balanced for a distinctly aggressive brew. Good mouthfeel, medium body, light carbonation and quite drinkable, especially for 8.6%. Has many attributes of a legendary beer but it is very expensive ($7.99 here in Btown; as much as a six pack or growler of high quality, LOCAL craft!). It surely will age well too for those as obsessive as I!

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Photo of lordofthewiens
4.32/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip, this beer was a golden color with a medium-sized white head. It had a fruity aroma, mainly apple, with a nice malt background. I also detected a bit of a floral aroma. Taste was the fruit and malt up front, a little yeast funk, some spice, finishing with a bit of hops. Fairly dry.
A likeable beer.

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Photo of Padron4KM
4.32/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Golden straw with a thick creamy head that quickly collapses to a thin cap. Streams of tiny champagne like bubbles rise to the surface.

Aroma is complex to say the least. Definitely banana up front with subtle tones of clove spice, layered with citrus and pine, - "You got IPA in my Belgian Golden ALE, no, you got Belgian Golden Ale in my IPA!"- Whatever happened it's interesting.

Flavor is complex as a well, peach, apricot, spice, followed up by some pine and light citrus.

Finish is long, lightly dry, piney hops and fruity malts. Nicely balanced. This one should hold up well.

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Photo of Tdizzle
4.32/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Poured into a snifter, this beer pours a clear deep golden color with a tiny white head that rapidly dissipates. Each sip yields only a few spots of lacing.

S- Sweet aromas of pears, green apples, bananas, and clove are backed up by spicy Belgian yeast and piney hops. There is a very grassy and floral essence to the smell of this beer, and the alcohol becomes only slightly noticeable as the beer warms.

T- The initial taste is of sweet fruits and spicy yeast. The expected hop bitterness kicks in as the sweet and spicy flavors fade away, all of which yields a surprisingly not-so-dry finish and a lingering bitterness on the palate. There is a slight alcohol presence on the finish as well.

M- The mouthfeel is thick and syrupy, with very mild carbonation.

D- The 8.6% ABV is very well-integrated, and the moderate hop bitterness is pleasantly unobtrusive in the flavor profile of this beer.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.32/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a hazed apricot with a pretty nice head. The smell is a bit of sweet malt, spices, and citrus. THe taste was quite the same with some more Belgian yeast in there, with the citrus flavors coming a bit to the front. Mouthfeel was pretty big as a result of the sweetness. Quite drinkable.

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Photo of Douglas14
4.32/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Wow...I was really thrown off guard with this one. It is much lighter than the 07, and is blatantly much hoppier. The aroma is awesome , it's hoppy yet has the sweetness of a Belgian. The taste sweet and fruity and has a nice hop bite that lasts the whole sip...it's kinda weird because it's plays with your senses, in a good way though.

Awesome beer, cool to do the vertical taste test.

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Photo of sweemzander
4.32/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz. bottle poured into a tulip glass. No bottled date found.

(A)- Pours a cloudy yellow/orange color. Mediocre white head formation, but the retention was excellent. Some lacing present.

(S)- Seriously sweet citrus with significant hop strength. Lemon, orange, peach, and apricot finish.

(T)- Interesting orange and apricot fruits with a respectable hop strength. Light honey sweetness in the background. Almost has a bubblegum flavor to it.

(M)- Fairly thick in texture. Sweet with slight bitterness and puckered citrus. Good carbonation.

(D)- Great flavors with an interesting citrus twist from your run of the mill IPA. The bomber didnt last long and neither will the next!

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Photo of ZimZamZoom
4.32/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber split between two pint glasses.

Semi-clear golden color, with a few floaties, and a thin white head without a lot of lacing. Aroma of ripe pear, some Christmas spice, citrus and even some white pepper. Taste is laden with alcohol, mixed with over-ripe pears and some papaya or other melon. This is pretty complex and tasty.

Big body, alcohol burn not a terrible lot of carbonation. This is pretty good, I bet it gets better with some age.

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Photo of Wildman
4.32/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured a clear light medium amber color and formed a small bubbly white head that coated the glass with lace as it subsided. A small amount of carbonation is present. The aroma was of malt, caramel, candy and a touch of yeast and hops. The flavor was like, wow, where were all those hops hiding in the aroma. The hop flavor dominates over the malt, whereas in the aroma it was the other way around. Flavors of pine and citrus with a small amount of candy and pepper sneaking through. A good beer, just not sure where it fits.

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Photo of paco1029384756
4.32/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a somewhat hazy bright golden color; not much head or carbonation, but a solid ring of lacing.

Scent of citrus, bready malts, yeast, candi sugar, and bananas. A slight scent of alcohol actually helps the scent by giving it a sharpness that makes it seem lighter than it really is.

Taste of yeast and candi sugar initially with a rush of citrus flavor coming in and blending very well. After the initial taste is some bananas and a bit of alcohol that again helps the beer by making it lighter; even with the presence of the alcohol it does not seem like it is that strong.

Mouthfeel is light and smooth, with a bite from the alcohol making it refreshing.

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Photo of DrJay
4.32/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked this one up in NJ a couple of weeks ago. Time to try this year's VE.
Poured a clear gold with a short white cap. The foam settled fast, leaving fine bubbles in a collar and covering the top of the beer with a few larger bubbles clumped up around the sides. Very sticky lacing, sheets at first followed by small spotty clumps at the bottom of the glass. Fruity aroma up front, tropical (not quite pineapple) and lemony with clove spiciness. As it warmed, there were earthy notes, along with grassy hops, light bread and bubblegum, mellow alcohol and white pepper. Flashes of grapefruit and pine emerged from time to time. Bitterness was present throughout, but really just formed a base for the other flavours to build on. Malt character was straightforward, a little biscuit and bready towards the end. Fruity up front, juicy fruit gum and citrus for the most part, a bit of apple and berry. Phenolic and spicy starting mid-palate and carrying through the finish. Lingering combination of bitterness, cloves, sweet fruits, and warm alcohol. Medium bodied, off-dry, carbonation added a slightly creamy texture. This is a nicely balanced beer, quite drinkable yet with a fair bit of complexity. One of the VEs that I've enjoyed the most fresh.

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Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
4.32/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle served in a tulip glass.

L - 1st pour was clear orange/yellow color with a white head that left some sticky lacing.

S - light fruit, candy and malt aromas with a good dose of Belgian yeast.

T - taste follows the smell, very good tasting brew.

M - medium bodied with mild carbonation feel.

D - crisp, refreshing and easy to drink.

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Photo of Yaz8
4.32/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz. bomber poured into a pint glass. Pure gold color, crystal clear, generous head that left just ok lacing, but a solid film throughout. Spicy belgian yeast aromas dominate, accompanied by floral hops, spices and strong pepper. Yeasty flavors are strongest on the tongue, but also features light fruits like apricot and pear, plus a sugary sensation like a good belgian. Medium to full bodied, just the right carbonation, and pleasant malt and grapefruit aftertaste.

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Photo of DovaliHops
4.32/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very slightly hazy golden color with a medium-small white head that disappears quickly. Scent is Belgian yeast, lemongrass, a little bit of hoppiness left, apples, spices, orange peel, and pear. Lots of fruitiness going on. Taste quite delicious. All the fruitiness is very present in the taste, but the hoppiness has faded away completely it seems like...maybe not completely, but damn near close. Tons of apple and pear flavors. I also get some white grape flavors that are comparable to 10-10-10. The lemon zest lingers on the palate after every sip along with some pleasant spiciness and a bit of alcohol warmth. Mouthfeel is full-bodied and crisp. Drinkability is high. I never had this beer fresh when it was released over 2 years ago, but I think it's drinking very well right now. Gonna save the other bottle for the Epic 2012 vertical!

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Photo of Greggy
4.33/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a 2 finger head with niice lacing, blond in color with just a hint of sediment.

S- Big fruity aromas of banana, and fresh hopiness

T- Starts out sweet with notes of banana, musk mellon, and nice fresh hop oil. Finish is mainly dry with a slight residual fruitiness.

M- Nice low carb and great balance.

D- Nice easy and refreshing belgain-pale. Would love to have this gem again.

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Photo of stephendedalus
4.33/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

An exceptional beer. I have not picked up a Vertical Epic for a couple years, so I was a little curious as to where this year's release would take me. What's that? A Belgian Strong Pale Ale? Yes, please. And I was not disappointed...

Appearance: golden, honey-in-apricots sort of hue. Perfect, with some lively but overly animated carbonation. A legitimate head and some good lacing (esp. considering the ABV).

Smell: Floral, hoppy, slightly spicy.

Taste: Just like it smells, with a touch of sweetness, and j-u-s-t a hint of the alcohol bite. A really well-rounded beer. Dangerous, actually.

Mouthfeel: Starts smooth, fills the mouth -- smooth at the end, too, but with just enough body and hoppiness to qualify as a quality pale ale.

Drinkability: Wish I had more than one...

Another very good offering from Stone -- one worthy of being enjoyed by itself or paired with a meal. Slainte!

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Photo of Slatetank
4.33/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the chilled 22oz into a goblet + pint

A - A burnished golden that is resplendent and has excellent clarity. A rocky bone white cap crowns the ale of approx 3/4 inch w/ a very tight bead. The lace is like a doily in its symmetric pattern sticking to the glass. The second glass has a gentle haze, but you can see the minute bubbles rising to the surface.

S - The smell is a blend of herbal hops and subtle spice notes from belgian yeast almost like fresh cut sweet grass in its floral citrus element w/ a vegetal green bell pepper sweetness mixed with pear essence.

M - The texture is moderately full carbonation w/ a grainy herbal hop blend and a mild rush of alcohol warmth w/ hop astringency, but a mild malt sweetness combines w/ the medicinal texture

T - A grainy, bready malt taste at first w/ a hint of biscuit is paralleled by a candy-like sweet taste and a spicy, astringent american hop flavor. The hops have subtle citrus and there is a dry aspirin note w/ a navel orange mixed w/ white pepper. The taste continues to evolve with more grapefruit-like hop taste as it warms and mellows. Light toasted grain flavor and mild alcohol as it finishes w/ a taste like chewing on a sweet radish.

D - One of Stone's finest beers in the vertical epic series I have had and I love the combo of Belgian yeast and west coast hops. The taste is great and I especially enjoyed how it changed over time (6 months) from the time I first tasted it. This ale went well with my puple rice cracker topped with bavarian blue brie. I am looking forward to attempting the homebrew recipe on stonebrew.com

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Photo of MadScientist
4.35/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This pours a deep gold with a glowing haze. The off-white head produces about a finer of foam with average retention that leaves lacing on the glass.

This smells like a belgium triple brewed with American hops the hops are prominent but the the belgian yeast is right behind it. The hops smell strongly of pineapple and citrus while the yeast has a a some pepper and a bit of clove. The yeast aroma also has some mild fruity esters like oranges and peaches. There is an alcohol aroma that is soft and perfumy.

Pineapple and lemon dominate the flavor along with a moderately strong bitterness. There is malt support in following that gives me the impression that pilsner malt was used to lighten the body.

A light, fluffy body with a fine moderately low carbonation that dances on the tongue.

This beer has aged nicely, the assertive hops aroma and flavor is still there but more like a tripple with some years on it than the hops punch I crave in a young IPA. There is defiantly that pilsner malt character of a light body and faintly in the aroma and flavor.

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Photo of GRG1313
4.35/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Perhaps the best way to start is quoting one of the guys I was drinking with since, in summary, I share his conclusion....namely, "Beer Deluxe."
I agree. High quality; high taste.

The 08 08 08 is a light honey color with an assertive lemon/grapefruit nose. Nice balance of underlying malt but the hoppy character really carried at least this day.

Big grapefruit and lemon flavors but with a rich and bright mouthfeel. Beer tasted of quality. Big flavors and body. Complex layers of citrus.

This is an all around great food beer, as well. Don't just save these for your vertical tasting. Drink a few every now and then...good beer!

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Photo of neenerzig
4.35/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Finally got around to trying a bottle of this. A bomber poured into my tulip glass. This beer pours a mainly clear, but slightly hazy deep, medium golden color with a bit of an copper/orange hue. Lots of little bubbles continuously rising up to the top of the glass. White head is the size of my thumb when poured, settling to a nice surface covering with a thick white ring lining the inside of the glass. Very nice lacing here too. Aromas of sweet malt and some definite fruit, such as apple or banana are present along with some spice, and definite hops. The taste follows suit, Sweet, spicy malt withe the aforementioned fruit followed by a definite citrus hop presence. Rounds out with a bit of a sticky, candy like taste. The sweetness comes out a bit more as the beer warms. Has a somewhat crisp, smooth, sticky, full bodied mouththfeel with moderate to heavy carbonation. Easy to drink, especially as the beer starts to warm a bit. Another great one here from Stone. The 8.6 % ABV is well hidden tastewise but certainly starts to creep up on you when getting close to finishing a bomber of this.


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Photo of Oakenator
4.35/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep gold that is clean filtered. Minimal head on this 9 oz pour but good carbonation during consumption. Aroma is true to the style and adds a string citrus presence - maybe grapefruit. Flavor puts this in a Belgian dubbel category and the strong alcohol is well masked. More citrus and a strong dosing of hops. Very enjoyable even 4-5 years later.

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Photo of MisterClean
4.35/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared with me at a homebrew day

A - Golden pour with lots of head, but dissipates quck.

S - Sour belgian sugar esters, caramel and flowery hops.

T - Another beer I can appreciate. Smell matches taste.

M - Full bodied and balanced. The taste of a sour belgian strain of yeast lingers, yum.

D - Definitely drinkable and cannot wait to open my own bottle at home now.

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Photo of ATPete
4.35/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle

Pours a transparent yellow/orange color with a small white head that disappears quickly leaving some patching. Lots of visible carbonation and no yeast sediment to speak of. The nose is delightfully spicy balanced with a wonderful hoppiness. Most of the same characteristics come through while tasting. Notes of orange, chocolate, apricots, and lots of harmonious spice, the alcohol is present but definitely not dominant. The Belgian yeast plays a large role in the overall taste of the beer. The beers main character is mostly hoppy but is well balanced with some bold pale malt that really supports the flow of the beer. This one is killer, finally a Vertical Epic i will go back to! Its mouthfeel is medium/light with shy carbonation and a subtle, non offensive alcohol heat, making this one dangerously drinkable. A truly excellent beer.


i was lucky enough to sample this one on draught this weekend at BCTC up ant Ommegang. I took no notes on the draught offering but i remember saying, wow this is going to be awesome next week.

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Stone 08.08.08 Vertical Epic Ale from Stone Brewing
3.98 out of 5 based on 888 ratings.
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