Dark Horse Raspberry Ale | Dark Horse Brewing Company

236 Reviews
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Dark Horse Raspberry AleDark Horse Raspberry Ale

Brewed by:
Dark Horse Brewing Company
Michigan, United States

Style: Fruit / Vegetable Beer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Mitchster on 08-05-2003

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Reviews: 236 | Ratings: 702
Photo of mvanaskie13
3.79/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a tall pint glass, color is copper with a feint red hue, head is bright white, small fine bubbles, no lacing.

Smell is tart, light fruitiness, raspberry is noted, feint lighter malt flavors, some biscuit.

Taste is surprisingly fresh, light raspberry and tart flavor, subtle malt flavors, touch of biscuit, decent bitterness but no hop flavor.

Mouthfeel is a little sharp on the tongue from the carbonation, flavors linger, mouthfeel/taste combo is of the more standard fruit beer balance.

Overall, a decent fruit beer, it reminds me of my own homebrew take on a lighter ale with fruit. Raspberry is one to use to get the flavor to come through the beer, also helps to keep the malt/hop profile subdued.

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Photo of chuckv
2.72/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Pours a light hazy orange color, smells a little off fruit. didn't really get any raspberry at first then it came later. a little tart the more it sat the more the fruit came out. nit a huge fan of the fruit beers but try it anyways. will not drink this again, not a fan of this beer.
12oz bottle

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Photo of PorterLambic
3/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Pours a faintly hazy, orange/amber color with a small,off-white head. Retention is decent and leaves some minor lacing.
Smell is malt, raspberry, graham cracker, ginger, faint hops and a hint of brown sugar. Decent balance.
Taste is mostly brown ale with some artificial, tart raspberry added to it. Malt, hops, caramel.
Nearly medium bodied, carbonation is lighter than expected. Drying finish. Faintly warming, though. At best a decent brew, nothing worth searching out.

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Photo of vette2006c5r
3.74/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Raspberry Ale pours a hazy reddish color, with a small lacing head. The Aroma is weak but raspberries are present. The taste has a nice crisp malty backbone, with wheat like flavors mixed in, and raspberry flavors on top. Very drinkable , nice flavors, nothing overpowers. Overall a very nice mellow fruit beer.

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Photo of Ri0
3.44/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

poured 12 oz bottle into Duvel tulip

A - Amber/orange wood color with 1.5 finger creamy white head. Faint ring remains with only a trace of lacing.

S - I pick up some straw, floral hints, berries, grass with clover and honey. Some light malts.

T - Nice wheat and berry flavor, presumably raspberry. Some straw, grass and hints of floral and lemon. Also get some saltine cracker with light malts. Drinking this on a hot day makes it more desirable.

M - Light bodied, slick, wet, with medium carbonation.

O - Definite step up from Shock Top, but if I want a fruit beer I'll turn to New Galrus. My advice is to only get this if it is very hot outside to quench your thirst at only 5% ABV.

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Photo of DeFaz
3.43/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

The main problem with fruit beers is that often the smell and taste of the fruit being employed is simply too strong, drowning out the smell and taste of the malt, hops, and other beer ingredients. Well, here comes a beer that is quite light on the raspberry in both scent and taste. The only problem is that it really doesn't have much else to take its place. Yes, you'll taste some malt and hops, and mostly bread and yeast, and nothing is the least bit offensive. But you won't be blown away by anything. This is a forgettable beer, one that avoids being overpowering but that doesn't have anything to be memorable in the least. No, it's not too sweet or too tart. The mouthfeel is great, as the thickness is right where I wanted it to be and the carbonation is enough to keep it interesting while not distracting from the flavor...but the flavor itself just isn't enough. Instead, consider Thirsty Dog's Raspberry beer if you can find it. Dark Horse's beer just simply doesn't try hard enough. Or, maybe we should celebrate a beer that doesn't surrender to fruit flavors and aims to be a bit more mild. I just don't know, but I do know that I won't go out of my way to find this again.

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Photo of mrfrancis
3.46/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a hazy, murky gold with a bubbly, creamy white head that recedes relatively quickly, leaving only a small amount of lace on the sides of the glass.

S: Pretty neutral nose. All I can pick up are hints of biscuit, cream, and crackers from the malt with a hint of grassy, herbal hops. Disappointingly enough, no raspberry aroma is present.

T: Notes of cream, crackers, and biscuits from the malt are chased by flavors of straw, lemon rind, grass, and herbs, with subtle impressions of ripe red raspberry only developing around mid-palate. The finish is fleeting with notes of raspberry overwhelmed by grass, herbs, biscuits, and crackers.

M: Relatively slight in body, though it does develop a bit more heft once it settles in the mouth. Definitely not the driest beer in the world. Carbonation is fairly supple, but not particularly firm or crisp. Drinkable, but a bit slick for my tastes.

O: Not a bad fruit beer, though I feel I'm being a bit generous in my assessment. This reminds me more of an American pale wheat ale or an American blonde ale than a fruit beer. Nothing about it really stands out. I would not turn it down on a hot day, but I doubt I would seek it out again. Though this beer is well worth trying once, there are far better fruit beers on the market.

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Photo of chinchill
3.56/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz undated bottle served in a snifter. Some sediment remained in the bottle despite a full pour.

The body is a red-orange-amber color, topped by a thin and fragile bone-colored head.

Aroma: RASPBERRY! with sweet malts and a suggestion of caramel. Fortunately, the flavor is not near as sweet as the smell, and is outright tart before the finish. A touch of citrus and bitterness from hops too. Admirably good, natural raspberry aroma and flavor.

Medium-light body seems a tad thin; medium-low carbonation and some dryness in the finish.

O: a well done fruit beer.
{lightly revised in August 2013 following a on tap tasting}

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Photo of tectactoe
2.96/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

On tap at Pete's Garage, during the Michigan-Syracuse Final Four game of '13. It pours a cloudy copper and amber color with an ever-so-slight, faint pink hue to it. Perhaps I'm imagining this hue because I feel like a raspberry beer should be pink. The soapy white head fizzles quite a bit and reduces to a skin pretty quickly and leaves minimal lacing on the sides.

The aroma is a bit underpowered to say the least. Raspberries haunt the edges, but the middle is made up of merely some light grains and not much else. I guess that puts the raspberry in the forefront, though, which is the silver lining. The raspberries almost smell a bit tart on the nose with a little bit of sweetness to back them up. The tail end has a faint, musky smell to it, most likely from the hops. I wish there was more I could pull from this beer, but there isn't much there at all.

Much like the aroma, the flavor leaves me wanting more. I get some very mildly tart raspberries up front - far from being "sour", as it's almost more of a fractionally astringent tartness that peaks instantly and fades away just as quickly. Unfortunately, the raspberry flavors come off a bit artificial and medicinal, leaving almost a chalky aftertaste. The aroma didn't smell quite so artificial, and it's upsetting to see that the flavor turned out to be that way. Some of the musky hops come out mid-sip along with a light graininess. Thin bodied with a hefty dose of carbonation and a crisp mouth feel.

Eh, definitely not the worst fruit infused beer out there, but miles from being near the top, too. The raspberry isn't as strong nor as pure as it should be. Overall, a little boring and uneventful, and the flavors that ARE taking place, aren't the best around. Might be good for people who are easing into the world of craft beer, but they'll soon be leaving this one behind them.

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Photo of AlexFields
3.1/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Pours a lightly clouded medium-dark amber, average head...no hint of fruit in the appearance really, fairly plain.

Smells of light sweet berry, candied sugar, raisin, other generic malt character.

Tastes pretty similar--some moderate sweet berry but not a huge fruit character, some other plain sweet malt.

Mouthfeel is pretty good, solid carbonation, good drinkability.

This is okay, I like it, but it needs a lot more fruit to really shine. I'm confused about why so many breweries still make lackluster fruit beers after the examples set by New Glarus and Selin's Grove.


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Photo of tdm168
3.38/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

A - dark orange with a thin, white cap of foamy head that quickly fades to a thin lacing

S - sweet, tart raspberries with some faint breadiness

T - mildly tart raspberries, some sweetness, some caramel, mild bitter finish

M - very crisp, overcarbonated, light bodied

The overcarbonation here really impacts the overall experience of the beer. The bubbles on the palate confuse the taste buds and cover up some of the flavor. It also makes the flavors that do come through seem fleeting. I think it achieves what it set out to do. It is refreshing, it's fruity without being over the top, and it's light bodied and very easy to drink. Unfortunately, I'm unimpressed. This isn't a beer I'd like to have again.

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Photo of PattyMelt
3.99/5  rDev +18%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

This is a biased review, as this is my favorite go-to beer when I'm not sure what I'm in the mood for. I know it is not the best beer in the world, but I love it and always enjoy it no matter what kind of beer-drinking mood I am in!

A- Pours coppery, with a small head the thins out.
S- Pretty good, you can smell the raspberry but it is not really overwhelming
T- Great! The raspberry taste is stronger than the smell, in my opinion. Raspberry beers are my favorite fruit beers, and this has just the right balance, enough raspberry that you can really taste it, but just below the brink of being too sweet. There really aren't any other strong flavors in there. Some malt to balance out, but that's about it.
M- Very light bodied, easy to drink. Not a whole ton of carbonation. A small bitterness on the back of it, but very clean and drinkable.

O- Like I said, my staple go-to. Enough flavor that you are actually tasting something, but light and easy enough to just kick back and relax with!

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Photo of Lemke10
3.41/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This pours a semi-cloudy copper color with a slight beige head. The scent is mostly wheat with some hints raspberries. The taste has more raspberry flavor to it than you would expect from the color and aroma. There is a rush of sweet raspberry flavor that then turns into a strong wheat flavor before finishing kind of dry and chalky. This is a slight step up from Shocktop Raspberry but still has plenty of room for improvement.

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Photo of Docrock
3.05/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into pint glass.

A - light copper brown, thin head that quickly diminished to a thin cap, minimal lacing.

S - light scent of raspberry essence but not a real raspberry nose, not much else.

T - faint raspberry on tip of the tongue, minor malt and, minimal hops.

M - slight bitter aftertaste but no lingering flavor. Carbonation is very light.

O - refreshing but being a fan of Raspberries, I was a bit disappointed, other than the faint scent, there isn't any real raspberry character to this brew.

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Photo of SerialTicker
3.62/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The one thing I can't say anything about is the appearance ... I had this straight from the bottle at Green Dot Stables in Detroit. If you haven't heard of GDS and live in the area, I URGE you to check the place out. Seriously. Asap.

Anyway, the smell of this beer is much like you'd expect. Or maybe not. It's an ale with some spillings of raspberry in there. But unlike some beers that overwhelm you with the fruit, Dark Horse does it right, and gives you that hop/malt/BEER smell as well.

Taste/feel: Unfortunately I didn't get to completely enjoy my beer because my friends were pushing me out the door to the casino, but I got a few sips in where I could think if I liked it or not... and I do. I'm not sure what it is, but this beer just doesn't blow me away like I thought it might. Sure, you get the raspberries, but I couldn't help but feel "meh" about it. It's still a very drinkable beer super appropriate for Spring or Summer though, and I'd try another.

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Photo of superspak
3.23/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 ounce bottle into pint glass, no bottle dating. Pours lightly hazy golden orange color with a nice 1-2 finger frothy white head with great retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Good bits of foamy lacing cling down the glass. Aromas of tart raspberry, bread, herbal, floral, and light caramel, Nice and pleasant aromas with good balance and decent strength. Taste of biscuit, toast, light tart raspberry, herbal, floral, and light earth. Lingering notes of toast, biscuit, raspberry, herbal, floral, and earth on the finish for a bit. Not nearly as much raspberry in the taste as I expected from the aromas. Mostly biscuit and herbal hops. Minimal cloying flavors on the finish and fairly dry. Medium carbonation and body; with a lightly syrupy and crisp mouthfeel that is good. Alcohol is well hidden with pretty much no warming on the finish. Overall, not a bad beer; but it was seriously lacking in the fruit department in the taste. Was very easy to drink.

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Photo of jtd1969
3.55/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Cloudy golden orange with some slight lacing

S - Some raspberry and slight fermented grape smell

T - Some mild earthy hops with raspberry all through. Similar to a saison, but without the belgian yeast

M - A tad heavier than light in body, but no where near medium. smooth fruit finish

O - Good beer for style, refreshing.

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Photo of deadonhisfeet
3.65/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a New Belgium snifter. Pours a hazy apricot color with a nice tight one finger of head. Nice lacing too. I definitely get the raspberries on the nose. Also get a bit of cherry and lemon as well.

The beer has a light body and a rather thin mouthfeel. There is a light, grainy taste up front and some sweet notes, then a nice wave of raspberry flavors come in. The flavor is pretty well-balanced between tart and sweet. It's unfortunate that the brewer didn't leave it a bit more tart, as it would have complemented the graininess well and made the beer very refreshing. The finish is a bit underwhelming, but still manages to be dry enough to leave you ready for more.

I'm not sure how they brew this, but it drinks like a raspberry wheat beer. It's quite tasty and refreshing.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.07/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

With the raspberries front and center, the beer that is built around the fruit supports the candyish additions, yet struggle to compete with its flavor and strength.

The Raspberry Ale pours an unexpected hazy orange hue and not with the expected redish tint. Thinking that actual raspberries were used in the beer and not colored artificially gives a lot of hope in this fruit beer going forward. The beer builds a creamy and somewhat dainty white head that withstands the session with consistency and ease. Although the beer looks "fruity" it doesn't reveal its secret view from a distant glimpse.

But the aromas sure do- this beer is raspberry through and through. The scent of ripe, fresh picked raspberries calm the olfactories in ways that only raspberries can. A timid support from malt offers a mild grain-derived sweet impression, and light starch while any hop attributes hide behind the pectin of the fruit. Perhaps a spicy note of ginger balances the fruit as much as any other component of the ingredients and likely results from the alcohol and phenols from yeast.

Fruity-rich flavors are certainly fueled by the raspberries, but additional wheat beer-like fruitiness exacerbates the sweetness and fruity notes. A firm and protein-rich flavor and yeasty taste supports the fruit and buffers against the fruit's acidity and the tannin that the fruit may project. Light on hops, the beer remains fruit and malt balanced going well into the finish.

The fuller-than-should-be texture is pushed higher by a lot of unresolved sweetness by both the fruit and from malt. With little balance from hops, and only a slight acidic counterpoint, the beer remains malty until deep into the finish. With little reprieve, the beer is lightly cloying and avoids alcohol warmth and dry malt character.

I rather enjoy the authentic fruit flavors of the beer, but the lack of balance from hops, dryness, or acidity limits its drinkability. For the staunch beer enthusiast, this beer may not cut it, but hey- chicks dig it!

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Photo of rlee1390
3.45/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A-Semi-cloudy orange, one finger head that doesn't last long.

S-Artificial raspberries, and not much else. Not fully artificial but leaning that way.

T-Raspberries that are once again leaning artificial/metallic even. Tad bit of wheat. Semi-sweet but not as sweet as you'd expect from a fruit beer. In a way it is even slightly tart.

M-Light, some carbonation, not that crisp though.

O-Was expecting more, raspberries are yummy and sweet while this beer was leaning artificial and semi-sweet.

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Photo of DCon
3.23/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bought a 12 FL OZ bottle of this from Donnie's Homespun Pizza in Decatur, IL for $4. Poured from the Bright Red/Green/Black Labeled bottle into a 16oz Stone IPA Pint Glass. Had no freshness date on the bottle.

Aroma- Big sweetness and light raspberries make up this nose. Candied and very seducing.

Appearance- Pours no head at all... Hmm. Carbonation or date issues? No lacing is left either. The body is a dark and deep orange color.

Flavor- Has an upfront sweet flavor and then breaks into an average wheat flavor. Raspberry flavor was dry and well hidden... No hops or bitterness at the finish.

Mouthfeel- Light-Medium Bodied, High Carbonation, and has a slight raspberry finish. Better then the flavor!

Overall Impression- A decent fruit beer by Dark Horse but expected much more from these guys! It could have been an outdated brew but who knows without the B.O.D. Average when it comes down to it.

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Photo of JackieTH
3.95/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Orange-red and slightly hazy with a topping of white foam that fades quickly with no significant lacing.

Smell is lightly tart raspberry, very distinct yet not overpowering, played againt crackery biscuit malt elements. Nice.

Taste is quite similar. Immediate tart raspberry flavor on the tip of the tongue fades into a biscuit-crackery malt. The overall effect is refreshing and tasty. It's neither a raspberry syrup bomb nor cloying. Not even close.

Lightly firm body with strong carbonation.

Overall if your seeking a naturally flavored but...put the beer first..fruit beer, this is what you'd want to try. Pretty good, I'd drink another one even though fruit beers aren't really my balliwick.

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Photo of jsisko01
3.35/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance - Pours an orange/copper color with an inch and a half thick, white head that lingers for a couple minutes. Leaves a nice, creamy lacing behind.

Smell - Has a nice raspberry aroma, not overbearing. But that's all I can smell other than grains.

Taste - It has a light tartness. It doesn't really even taste like raspberry to me.. but at least the sweetness isn't overbearing like other fruit ales. I can also taste pale malts, buttery biscuits, and grains. It seems pretty watered down. It has a weird tart-bitterness in the aftertaste also.

Mouthfeel - Light body with high carbonation.

Overall - This beer is ok.. I wouldn't get it again though.

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Photo of Beer_Runner
3.82/5  rDev +13%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

No enjoy by date on the label.
Slowly poured into a standard pint glass.

A: No head formed during the pour. The brew is very cloudy and is a coppery/orange color.

S: The aroma is mild and consists of caramelized malt, a little bready yeast, and just a hint of fruit tartness.

T: The taste follows the aroma. It is a combination of bready yeast and caramelized malt along with a big dose of sharp, tart, raspberry fruitiness.

M: The body is on the heavier side of medium. It has a pleasant amount of carbonation, and is fairly smooth with a clean finish.

O: A good fruit beer. It replaces hops flavor and bitterness with the sharp, tart, and fruity flavors from the raspberries. I would consider this a lambic beer - and one of the better ones. This beer is another beer that will work well when chilled on a hot summer day.

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Photo of Onenote81
3.42/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle. Had this back in April of this year; reviewed from notes. Another ’want’ of mine that started getting distributed to my area. Score! 12oz bottle poured into my Highland pint glass.

Pours a very murky dark amber/gold with light reddish hues. Cloudy beer. Small 1-finger bone white head atop. The nose is interesting. There is some mild tart fruity esters noted, but a sort of hay-like dryness makes up the rest. Grainy nose.

Good body. Faintly syrupy at times, with a bit of a dry finish. Good carbo depth though. My standard for "raspberry" ales is of course NG’s Raspb. Tart, so I expected a wallop of fruit all over this. That, I did not get. What was there instead was a decent beer with all of it malty goodness, grains, light bitterness, and then a decent zip of fruity tartness on the finish. Huh. This wasn’t what I anticipated, but it held its own nonetheless. I like that the fruit character is more muted than in-your-face. Plus, my wife loved it.

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Dark Horse Raspberry Ale from Dark Horse Brewing Company
3.38 out of 5 based on 702 ratings.
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