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Dark Horse Bourbon Barrel Aged Plead The 5th | Dark Horse Brewing Company

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Dark Horse Bourbon Barrel Aged Plead The 5thDark Horse Bourbon Barrel Aged Plead The 5th
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Dark Horse Brewing Company
Michigan, United States
darkhorsebrewery.com

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 12.00%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
Russian Imperial Stout aged in bourbon barrels.

Added by MbpBugeye on 07-25-2010

BEER STATS
Reviews:
427
Ratings:
3,046
Avg:
4.48
pDev:
20.54%
 
 
Wants:
2,151
Gots:
851
For Trade:
112
User Reviews
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Reviews: 427 | Ratings: 3,046
Photo of stakem
3.98/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

2013 vintage, silver wax 12oz bottle poured into a tulip. The brew appears black with a mocha head that fades leaving string lace.

Aroma has a bit of meaty thing going on then bourbon, caramel and coconut. Some earth and char with plenty of booze.

This is a boozy tasting brew with roast, earth and a surprising amount of coconut. A little solvent then slight caramel and vanilla.

This is medium in body with modest carbonation. Pretty good stuff that has really not decreased in intensity for the 2 years it has been aging. I see what all the buzz is about now but if I had more bottles id likely age them even longer.

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Photo of BMMillsy
3.98/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Another from my trade with deyholla. Pours viscous black with one finger brown mocha head. Aroma of chocolate, sweet molasses, dark fruits, roast, and something off that I am not a fan of (similar characteristics to Tres). Thick viscous mouthfeel with medium low carbonation. Heavy dark fruit up front followed by lots of dark bittersweet chocolate. Slight booze, but don't get much of the bourbon barrel in this. Was expecting a bit more vanilla oak, though my palate might be tainted from the Kuhnhenn BA 4D I had right before this. I tend to prefer non-fruity stouts, but this is generally well done. Relaxing sipper. I find it strange that the regular version was so full of roast and chocolate and this one went more fruity despite the barrel. Oh well, good beer just not as great as I had hoped.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
4/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a pitch-black color stout with a large dark brown foamy head with good retention and some light lacing. Aroma consists of light dry roasted malt notes with some black chocolate notes with medium bourbon notes with some vanilla undertones. Taste is also dominated by creamy black chocolate notes with some light dry roasted malt. Body is full with creamy texture and good carbonation with no apparent alcohol. Not as complex as I was expecting but very well balance overall with chocolate and bourbon creating an efficient mix.

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Photo of SportsandJorts
4/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Appearance: pours just shy of black as can be with just a touch of mahogany around the very edges. small, very dark brown head with weak retention. no lacing but does leave brown viscous legs as it swirls around the glass. completely opaque.

Smell: strong sweet chocolate, roasted malts, brown sugar, bourbon and booze. notes of vanilla, oak and dark fruits are lighter.

Taste: opens up with huge amounts of sweetness coming in the form of brown sugar and chocolate. the middle is full of barrel and dark malt character, with bourbon and a strong espresso taste. strong alcohol in the back end along with some dark fruit.

Mouthfeel: heavy, slick and chewy. large amounts of sweetness but the bitter black malts win out leaving behind some bitterness. warming alcohol

Overall: easily the best beer I have had from dark horse, but with all the great barrel aged stouts out there, this one falls at the lower end of the upper tier.

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Photo of MADhombrewer
4/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to ramnuts

A-Black appearance with a dark tan head.

S- Dark chocolate. Alcohol and some vanilla.

T- Chalky, bitter chocolate. Dry after taste. Not as much vanilla in the taste as there was in the aroma.

M- Medium to thick. A tad thinner than I would have expected.

O- Good ba stout. Nothing extrordinary. Lacks something, but can't really put my finger on it. Maybe a little more complexity would make this better.

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Photo of kbutler1
4/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Draft. Sampled at Great Taste. Pours a pitch black brown/black color with a slight mocha bronw head. The barrel and booze is pretty evident in the nose along with the normal imp stout characteristics of dark chocolate and some leather. The booze is pretty in your face to me on this one with it being the first thing I notice upon tasting, followed by the barrel, dark chocolate, and slight leather. Medium mouthfeel. Overall, I thought it a tad hot but otherwise pretty drinkable.

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Photo of absoluthamm
4/5  rDev -10.7%

Was a lot thinner than I was expecting. Not much to the aroma. Taste was good, but lacking what I'm looking for in a BBA stout. Was really excited for this, but let down. Could be partial palate fatigue from the Black Tuesday before it though.

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Photo of Bosoxfan20
4.01/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours black with a 1 finger dark tan head that settles into a ring around the edge. Aroma is mostly roasted malts and oak. Bourbon is actually rather subdued for the most part. Fair amount of chocolate and earthy tones. Flavor is pretty sweet, and a healthy dose of the bourbon I was missing in the nose. I am digging the dark fruits and they only add to the depth. The body is creamy, rich and full. Runs a little hot, but obviously a BA stout that will only get better with time.

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Photo of Jeffo
4.01/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Got this one in a recent trade with hotpipes29. This one comes eagerly anticipated, so we made quick work of it. Thanks for the trade!

From a bottle into a mini-snifter
Vintage: 2011
Drunk right after the base beer for comparative purposes

APPEARANCE: Basically the same out of the bottle as the base beer, but perhaps even darker and thicker. A sludgy, thick black pour yields a small, medium looking, slightly bubbly, dark mocha colored head with good retention. Head slowly fades to a bubbly wisp and ring. Thick, opaque black body with no carbonation evident. A swirling wisp and thick ring remain until the end leaving some dots of lacing down the glass. Though the head is a little bubbly compared to the base, this is incredibly thick and menacing. Totally evil.

SMELL: Lots of bourbon on the nose with notes of oak and milk chocolate from the barrels. Quite barrel forward, but some roasted malts and dark chocolate notes do make their way through the barrel aging. Medium strength nose.

TASTE: Quite barrel forward on the palate with very little of the base beer left over. Bourbon, oak, vanilla and some nice milk chocolate up front. Bourbon barrel dominates through the middle with a touch of roasted and dark chocolate flavors after the swallow. Bold and lingering aftertaste is barrel heavy with lots of bourbon and plenty of alcohol. Very little base beer sticks around. Flavorful, but not much of the regular Plead the 5th is left to be found.

PALATE: Medium body and higher levels of slightly prickly carbonation. Thick and creamy enough on the palate, especially after it has sat in the glass for a bit, goes down fine with a bite after the swallow. Finishes sticky on the palate and lots of heat lingers. Not as thick and full as the base, but still pleasant.

OVERALL: This was a really good bourbon barrel aged stout. Despite the slightly milder nose and lighter palate compared to the base beer, the look was outstanding and the barrel flavors were very interesting and enjoyable. Like many barrel aged versions of a base beer, however, the barrel aging on this one has almost completely erased everything that was so enjoyable about the regular Plead the 5th. In that sense, you could say this is a phenomenal bourbon barrel stout, but not a phenomenal bourbon barrel Plead the 5th, if that makes any sense. Anyways, I was stoked to be able to try these together and we really enjoyed the pair. Thanks again for this one hotpipes. This was a lot of fun!

UPDATE: Trying a 2012 and 2011 together tonight. Everything is the same in the 2012, though the palate is a little heavier and creamier. I'd give a solid 4 to the newer vintage in this department.

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Photo of JohnnyHopps
4.04/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

I have been waiting a while to try this one, but I was finally able to acquire it in a trade. Needless to say, I was excited to try it but found myself experiencing a mild letdown.

The stout had a mild bourbon aroma with malts lingering in the background. For a 14%ABV, I was anticipating a stronger bourbon aroma. In the initial taste, I detected vanilla, malt, bitter dark chocolate, burnt malts, and perhaps dark fruits. However, the taste just seems to end there with malts. There is a warming nature to the aftertaste, which one might find quite pleasant. In terms of taste, I just do not think this beer finished well. The thickness of the mouthfeel allow a sort of vacuum of malt which led to nothing more. For such a bold style, I expected more taste, and it just was not there.

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Photo of cvm4
4.05/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

2014 vintage

L - Has that motor oil pour and deep, black body with a minimal medium tan head.

S - Rich aroma of caramel, vanilla, oak, bourbon and roasted malts.

T - Roasted malts that develop into a sweet bourbon through the middle and a coffee as well as light charred oak ending.

F - Medium bodied with low carbonation. Has a smooth mouthfeel. The body could be a bit thicker &/or chewier.

O - A legit BBA RIS. Glad I got to try it and wouldn't turn down another.

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Photo of ONovoMexicano
4.07/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle poured into a snifter.

Pours viscous like oil. Not much head, just lacing similar to espresso. Lace remains in a ring on the edges of the glass. The beer sits like black coffee in my snifter. 4.75

Soy sauce bomb on the aroma. Dark chocolate and oxidized hops. Subtle caramel and vanilla and sweetness. Light molasses. 4

Also heavy on the soy sauce, but there's more dimension here. Oak and bourbon notes and a richer dark chocolate flavor. Sweetness appears mid-palate and imparts caramel, oatmeal cookie (which also lingers on the finish) and vanilla. Traces of booze creep in. 4

Medium body and occasional creaminess while at other moments booze appears and thins out the feel. There's a bit of a spicy feel from the bourbon as well. Bitter and dry on the finish. 4.25

Pretty good. I have no complaints.

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Photo of ManVersusBeer
4.07/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is the the silver waxed 12 oz. 2011 version of this delicious beer.

It is a very dark, though subtle dark tan with a little head.
A nice sweet coffee bean in the nose followed by chocolate bar and caramel, not toffee. Just like a Milky Way.
Vanilla, huge vanilla and then caramel with touches of milky cocoa and chocolate milk. That's the bourbon coming through, although I don't taste too much oak. I get some nice butterscotch dipped vanilla ice cream, too.
The mouthfeel has a bit of roasty bitterness which is nice when paired with the sweetness of this brew. It is creamy, mildly sticky with what I feel is below average carbonation. The Bourbon Barrel version is definitely better, and bolder, than the original.

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Photo of Verecund
4.07/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2011 batch thanks to StoutFest. February 16, 2012.

Pours black with a quarter-finger mocha head.

Rich and decadent nose: fudge brownie; toasted graham cracker; strong bourbon presence (with some heat); light vanilla; charred oak and roasted grain. Impressive.

Lots of chocolate notes on the palate, half milky, half dark. Bourbon and fudge. Fairly sweet, but there's an earthy bitterness throughout the mid-to-late palate. It's also pretty oak-forward for a -bal stout; the char is almost spicy on the finish. Still fairly hot -- the bourbon seems to be quality, but it's a bit messy, all things considered.

A little thin in body, with medium carbonation. Appropriately sticky.

Happy to have finally had this. An above-average -bal stout, but a bit hot and messy at this stage to be top tier.

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Photo of hooliganlife
4.08/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

2013 vintage, thanks bevoduz !!

pours jet black, pretty decent viscosity. little to no head. appears pretty still.

very bourbon forward, alcohol infused stout paired with bitter dark chocolate

similar to nose, very alcohol forward. has a lot of Jack Daniels flavors popping out up front. the base is a bit subdued but deep in there is a sweet roasted body.

very moderate carbonation mixed with the alcohol, you get some bite. this has some bite.

good BA stout, maybe needs some time? this is a tad rough on the edges. i am grateful for finally being able to try this thanks to a generous BA.

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Photo of Rutager
4.09/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Huge thank you to yeahnatenelson! 2011, silver wax.

Appearance. Poursalmost thick and black with almost no head, just a fine skim of dark brown bubbles on the surface.

Smell. Bourbon for sure, not very boozy though. Wood and Vanilla are there too, some roasty dark malts and a little caramel and coffee.

Taste. Bourbon, sweet vanilla, sweet caramel and coffee, some booze and a little burnt sugar (more burnt than caramel, anyways), just a little dark roasted malts.

Mouthfeel. Full body, low carbonation. A little warm.

Overall. A nice bba stout, no question. Seemed a little boozy and could probably use another year or two, but really not that bad for a 14% beer. Would love to try it again nicely aged.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.09/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle pour shared by DarthKostrizer at his place.

2011 vintage.

Pours an opaque black with a khaki head that settles to an oily film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark malt, cocoa, cinnamon, wood, and bourbon. Taste is pretty much the same with an alcohol kick in the throat with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer but it’s a bit hot in my opinion.

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Photo of Gfunk720
4.1/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle. Out of my HFS stemware.

A- Pitch black, with a reddish mocha colored head. Some light lacing and a ring of foam retains around the glass.

S- Smells kinda rummy, with hints of roast malt and chocolate. Some excellent light peat and barrel character is also present. There is definitely still some heat and astringency.

T-Oh so smooth at first, then the flavors start to come out. Rich chocolate and bourbon flavors hit the tongue, dark roasted malt and even a hint of smokiness are present. More sweet oaky bourbon flavor, touches of vanilla and caramel.

M- While it is easy to drink for the %, the beer is lacking body. The carbonation is a little too light, and it's just a touch watery. While it does have a nice creamy feel on the tongue, this is the weakest trait.

O- Overall, I enjoyed this beer quite a bit. The base beer is a little thin, but the barrel aging has quite a nice touch. Could use a little time, but the flavors are still excellent.

-GFunk

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Photo of tarheels86
4.1/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

355mL 2011 ed silver wax thanks to mikem409. Pours ink with a larger reddish mocha head settling abruptly to a bubbly layer. Nose is richer vanilla with thicker sweet bourbon. Very reminiscent of Goose Island Bourbon County Stout. Rich wood and mild dark cherries. Very inviting, dessert nose. Taste is silky, rich, spicy bourbon, big dark chocolate. Thankfully only hints of ash that sometimes plague Dark Horse beers. Bitter, thicker. Very enjoyable. Great palate. Lower carbonation with super rich, oily palate. Beautiful stuff. Glad to see this bumped into the Top 50 on both sites. 1/13/2012 8/4/8/5/16=4.1

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Photo of mjpolzin
4.1/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had a 4 oz pour of this at Great Taste of the Midwest. Because I only got to have 4 ounces and because you try so many different beers at this festival, it is tough for me to give this the review it deserves but here it goes...

Bourbon seemed to be the dominant taste in this beer. It was overpowering but enough so that it did mask some of the other stout flavors I usually like to find. From reading some other reviews on this site, I am sure that if I had let this beer warm a bit some of the other flavors would have come out.

I am slowly starting to appreciate Dark Horse as I have started to have more of their beers. When comparing other big stouts that I had during the day at Great Taste, this was for sure one of the top 3.

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Photo of claaark13
4.11/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks Cam. Poured into a Founders snifter after being slightly chilled.

A - Pours black and a light-tan head forms. It soon disappears and leaves minimal lacing. Sticks to the glass alright. It looks extremely appealing.

S - Dark fruits with light amounts of vanilla and oak. Some fudge comes through as well.

T - Fudge quickly turns into into some oak and vanilla, some heat, then a dry vanilla finish. There is also a little bit of burn once the dryness begins to subside. The oak really makes itself present towards the end. The fudge/cocoa/chocolate is there, but really seems to take the back seat to the barrel. There is a little bit of sweetness, which helps create some balance.

M - Medium body with lower carbonation on the tongue. It does the job with the flavors.

O - The flavor seems a little heavy on dryness and virgin oak for me without providing as much caramel/vanilla as I would expect/prefer. I think if they could pull back the barrel just a little bit, it would surpass what I'd call similar beers. Or, if the barrel would be able to present more charred characteristics. I'd drink it again happily and would be interested to open one among similar beers to see how it stacks up.

7/1/12 Update - Dark fruits are showing up in the flavor, oak is still strong and the heat is faded. If you've been holding any of these for a while, you should really think about opening at least one of them soon. 5/4/4.5/4.5/4.25

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Photo of mfavoino
4.11/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Shared between three friends and poured into a Surly tulip. Side by side with the base.

Appearance: Looks like thick motor oil with a nice mocha rim to it. A ring is left along the top of the glass.

Smell: Bourbon dominates the nose. Alcohol, oak, and a dark roasty aroma are the most prominent aromas beyond the initial bourbon.

Taste: Smooth bourbon is the first thing to touch my palate and has a huge flavor. Some roasted malt, sweet chocolate, and oak give it the complexity it needs. Booze warmth as it finishes.

Mouthfeel: Heavy mouthfeel, creamy, and boozy.

Overall: Very much different from the base beer, as the bourbon is strong. I honestly think I prefer the base in this case, but that is not to say that they took anything away from it with the BB version.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
4.12/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a Kuhnhenn snifter. 2012 vintage.

Appearance - Very think inky black pour with a small mocha head. Nothing left after a while. Just a thin collar and three measly and miniscule islands of foam.

Smell - The barrel is very nice, but the aroma of the beer is intense. Bourbon, tons of oak, and a nice hint of vanilla from the barrel. Sweet malts, licorice. Coffee and dark chocolate are afterthoughts compared to the barrel, booze, and sugars.

Taste - The base beer shines through the barrel, but it adds a nice layer. Bourbon is immediately apparent. Deep dark chocolate flavors and a sweet fruit layer. Oak is really intense in the back. Lingering oaky finish is too strong and just pegs it back from perfect.

Mouthfeel - It's heavy, boozy, and overly oaked. Low carbonation. A monster of a beer.

Overall - While this beer is spectacular, the barrel hasn't improved it. Intense oak creates an unpleasant aftertaste. That being said, I had this on tap and it was incredible. Batch to batch may vary. I certainly won't mind exploring different vintages of this.

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Photo of PlinyBeMiney
4.12/5  rDev -8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.25

2012 vintage received via trade w/ TheCherryMan, thanks!

Pours graciously with no apparent head until I force the last on the bottle straight down. Head is a crown of caramel bubbles which settle along the edges of my snifter. The smell is dark chocolate, coffee, burnt vanilla and a musty bourbon. Despite the variety of flavors, everything seems somewhat muted. I appreciate the aggressive (but well integrated) taste of bourbon in an aged stout, but that isn't the case here. I'm just a bit disappointed, and as it warms I get a bit more bourbon, though not as well integrated and a bit fusel. The taste is something I can appreciate. It's smooth and mellow. No alcohol burn, and a nice roastiness. Mouthfeel is silky but a tad thin. My bottle says its 11% despite the description saying it should be 14%. I attribute the thinness to this. This may have been a thicker beer, but this version is definitely a lot lighter on the tongue. Overall, I'm happy to try this. I am starting to realize rarity can elevate a beers score, but in this case the beer gets the job done and I am more than happy to enjoy it. Cheers.

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Photo of redblacks75
4.12/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a pint glass.

A: Dark black, no lacing, very little head, and what color there is to the head is a mocha, tan.

S: Bourbon, & vanilla.

T: Vanilla, burnt sugar, anise, a slight oak taste which may be due to the dryness.

M: It's thinner than allot of stouts I have had before. A medium-low carbonation, with an extra dry finish.

O: The best Dark Horse offering I have had to date. If you are looking for a bourbon forward stout I recommend this. It is a worthwhile offering.

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Dark Horse Bourbon Barrel Aged Plead The 5th from Dark Horse Brewing Company
4.48 out of 5 based on 3,046 ratings.
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