Dark Force | HaandBryggeriet

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very good
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Dark ForceDark Force

Brewed by:
Norway | website

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
From a country far, far away, comes the only imperial Wheat stout in the known universe. This Imperial really strikes back. Made with wheat malt and wheat yeast.

Added by Sigmund on 06-17-2007

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Reviews: 315 | Ratings: 502
Photo of siradmiralnelson
3.95/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 22oz bottle into Globe glass.

A. Poured a 2+ finger tan head. Good retention, and good lacing. Color is black.

S. Smells pretty much like the name. Smell of an Imperial Stout with some wheat smell. Chocolate, roasted malt, alcohol. Smells kind of like a grassy wheat smell.

T. Taste on first impression is a muted Imperial Stout. Chocolate, roasted malt. Has a wheat taste on top of everything else that is hard to describe. Provides a sweet contrast. Has a pretty nice chocolate flavor. Overall flavor is kinda weak for a Imperial Stout.

M. Mouthfeel is a bit thin. Medium bodied. Medium carbonation.

D. Drinkable enough for a 8.5% beer. Flavor and taste seem to be a bit lackluster for an Imperial Stout, maybe thats what happens when it is made from wheat. All of the right flavors seemed to be there, they just seemed to be duller than they should be.

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Photo of weeare138
4.02/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Batch #73, brewed in April of 2007...

Appears a dense, dark black with a 2 finger head of light tan that slowly fades. Lots of scattered lacing is left around the glass.
Smell is of smoked malt, cocoa, caramel, molasses, raisin, and ripe fruit.
Taste is a mirror of the aroma, though there is just a hint of oxidation that is showing(and expected for a beer that's over 3.5 years old). Molasses, ripened fig, and smoked malt pull through amongst the flavors.
Mouthfeel is medium-full bodied, creamy, somewhat chewy, and a true sipper.

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Photo of MM3
3.62/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I had this beer a few days ago. This review is based on the notes that I made during the tasting.

The beer is black with a dark brown head. The head built up nicely during the pouring, but collapsed soon after to a small solid layer of foam.

The first thing that I noticed about the smell were the fruity aromas. Then the roasted, smokey and chocolate appeared to me.

The beer's taste was a combination of malty sweetness and a roasty bitterness.

The mouthfeel was thin due to the large amount of carbonation of the beer. In my opinion this beer has too much CO2.

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Photo of samtallica
3.88/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I edited this review because this beer get substantially better as it warms. Much more chocolate, coffee and fruit shine through in both the nose and taste. This beer is deliciously complex at room temp. Original review is below.

A: Pours pitch black with a giant, fluffy tan head. Head dissipates slowly. Lots of nice lacing.

S: Burnt smoke, if there is such a thing. Was scared to take the first sip.

T: Bitter chocolate up front, some spicy phenols. Leaves a burnt, smokey finish. Better than what the nose hints at.

M: Lighter in body than I expected. Highly carbonated for the style. Enjoyable.

D: The 500mL bottle is plenty for me. If not for the price, I could see myself drinking this again if the right mood hit.

Overall this an enjoyable beer. Different than anything I've tasted before.

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Photo of zhanson88
2.12/5  rDev -46.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1.5

Appearance: Dark Force pours close to pitch black in the glass with a towering expresso head. Retention is awesome, and lacing is fine and pretty abundant. It looks pretty thick on the pour, but not the thickest I have seen. Still, it does look great.

Smell: I get roasted and burned malts. Also a bit of sweetness and soapiness. Not really the most appealing smell.

Taste: Right off the bat there is waves of burned malts and smoke. I feel like there is more underneath that (possibly coffee, slight bitter chocolate), but everything is completely overshadowed by a smoky/burned flavor. This is not something that I enjoy drinking.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: Body is definitely not full, probably a bit over carbonated for me. It looks like there is a lot of people that enjoy this beer and rate it highly. By all means, it's probably worth a shot. It's not for me though.

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Photo of billab914
3.7/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured fro ma 500ml bottle into my Portsmouth tulip glass. It poured very thick and pitch black in color. It also poured with a giant fizzy and frothy head to it that filled 3/4 of the glass. It took about 6 pour and wait sessions before I got a enough to call a full glass. The head finally settled to a thin covering where it remained well into drinking it.

The aroma shows a lot of bitter baking chocolate like flavor coming through. It has some roasty and burnt flavors to it as well. I get a little bit of the smoother and sweeter malt in the background, but it's almost hidden. It's definitely extreme, like the bottle says.

The taste shows a lot of roasted character to it Dark chocolate, coffee and some burnt flavors come through. A little bit of the sweeter wheat malt comes through and gives it a little smoothness. In the finish I get more of the roasted, bitter-sweet chocolate, but a little of that wheat malt is in the background as well with just a bit of a fruit like flavor to it. The dry and burnt flavor lingers for a while as well.

The mouthfeel is on the heavier side with moderate carbonation. Drinkability is decent for such a big and extreme beer. it had a ton of roasty and burnt flavors to it but also a bit of chocolate and sweetness to balance it out just a hair. It leaned a bit too much on the roasty, burnt and bitter side of the spectrum to be overly smooth or drinkable though for me. it is a big, bold and a pretty interesting beer to sip on this evening though.

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Photo of AkaiOni
4.72/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

The appearance of this beer left me in awe. It comes out a beautiful dark black. The smell left me dreaming like was was swimming in a sea of wonderful warm roasty maltness.The pour from the bottle left a beautiful creamy head. With the first taste I could tell this was going to be good. The balance between the roasted flavors and the malty character was excellent, not as much wheat as I was expecting but it came through in the end to leave me with a huge smile on my face. They did a fantastic good using roasted, sweet, and malty characters from the malts. There was little presence of bittering which didn't dissatisfy. Enjoy this, savor this, love this.

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Photo of Frosty80
4.65/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Color: pours very dark brown. sits midnight with a thin dark brown rim and a small, creamy, mocha head

Smell: aromas combine to give a quick, initial smoked meatiness. good combination of wheat aroma, roast, smoke, chocolate and bright alcohol

Taste: very elegant for an imperial stout, especially one with such an ominous description. great balance of above characteristics: wheat, roast, chocolate, alcohol (warming, not harsh), and a little smoke that peaks through mostly in the finish. bitterness is very low. finish is clean with a little smoke and wheat

Mouthfeel: smooth and creamy full body with medium carbonation

Notes: brilliant brew. the experience isnt quite as big as the description would imply but it doesnt let me down. fantastic beer

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Photo of twelvsies
4.11/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Double Extreme Imperial Wheat Stout... Sure, why not. That's a lot of adjective but I can handle it. HB seems to make some really interesting beers, so I am all about the experimentation. At first pour, holy head, Batman! Literally poured less than a quarter of the beer into the glass (20oz pint) and it nearly filled up with head. It slowly recedes, but retains a thick, foamy two fingers at least, and it's still there minutes later. Foamy, yes, but the liquid itself is sludgy and thick looking, literally pouring through the foam like Drain-o. Perhaps the consistency of an imperial stout, but more like the head / carbonation of a nice German wheat ale. Nice rich malt aromas, dark and roasty, as well as fruity yeast esters. Lots of roast and nice char in the flavor as well. Aside from the rich stoutlike qualities of this beer, there's a nice subtle zippy side to it that adds some spice notes and complexity. Intense, rich, and refreshing somehow all at the same time. Nice texture, chewy yet fluffy. A sipper but entertaining to drink. This beer is full of paradoxes and the wheat addition really adds a nice dimension and taking a little edge off. Definitely a unique and creative beer. May the Force be with you... (sorry, had to...)

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Photo of bruachan
4.4/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

super opaque brown with a good half finger of toffee-colored froth. head was enthusiastic at first, no doubt thanks to the wheat

smells deeply roasty, with enough sweetness to keep balance. earthy hops and some fusel heat

strong hop presence, which couples with the strong kilning to make one intense beverage. strong bitterness tangos with heat and a sensible kilned astringency. wheat keeps mouthfeel manageable and active, whereas some RIS feel stagnant. chicory flavors, anise perhaps some dried cherry

some might chirp that this is porterish...meh

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Photo of silentjay
3.81/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

deep muddy brown that settles opaque and black with a huge creamy mocha colored head that sticks around for minutes and laces ok.

didn't know what to expect for an aroma from a "Double Extreme Imperial Wheat Stout" but once I whiff it, everything fits. some darkly toasted wheat bread with some coffee, fruits, a touch of chocolate, smoke, molasses. very grainy, like a multi-grain toast. some tart fruits and some sweet dark fruits as well. pretty complex aroma, but it doesnt mesh seamlessly into something overly appetizing.

taste is similar to a dunkelweizen with darker, roastier, malts and a bit more bitterness. wheat and multi-grain toast with some tart fruits, citrus fruits, and sweet dark fruits are added to the more normal stout flavors that stay in the background a bit, but add some roast, cocoa, and coffee. unique? yah. tasty? yah. delicious? not quite.

a touch on the thin side for an Imperial stout with a lot of carbonation and an odd coarse finish.

drinks okay. flavors aromas and body don't come together as a whole well and the oddness of the mix seems to be the most dominant aspect. the parts are good, but the summation falls short. its still a very good beer, just not up to what I was expecting.

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Photo of ratedz
3.87/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown with a very thin chocolate head that dissipated quickly leaving behind little to no lacing.

Smells of roasted malts, dark chocolate, and a hint of coffee.

The dark chocolate and roasted malts hit the mouth first followed by hints of wheat and smoke. Some bitter coffee flavors round out the back end.

Mouth feel is on the thin side for an RIS and heavy on carbonation. It almost feels like a thick Coke on the tongue.

The thinness of this RIS makes it fairly easy to drink. It's not as much of a sipping beer as other, thicker, imperial stouts.

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Photo of bobhits
4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Is my math off? I can't imagine this is a really high volume production beer. Too big for most, too different for many, and well a price that will scare of a few as well. That said this is one of 1080 bottles and batch 287. Does this mean they have 287 batches of 1000+ bottles?

Pours dark mahogany into the glass. Quickly turns opaque black. Builds up a nice thick finger head that seems to be lasting and lasting. Oddly doesn't leave much lacing. I suppose there isn't much of an oily body?

Clearly since they claim it, my first and only imperial wheat stout. It starts with bitter roasted and toasted characteristics, but quickly turns to a sweet, mild touch of sour, and a lot of hops that reminds me of Belgium saisons. The beer finishes extremely cleanly given how big it is. A touch of bitterness will linger, but for a large stout, very dry.

Very dry roasted burnt malt aroma. A bit of an alcohol wheat like note. Coffee very lightly placed as well as some almost fruity aromas.

A lot of bubbles and almost super carbonated. Bites a touch and I'm not sure what causes it...could a lot of things. It's an odd mouth feel I must say. It really drinks like a stout mixed in a really strong wheat wine.

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Photo of drabmuh
3.53/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to bmanning for opening this. What the hell is an Imperial Wheat Stout? I guess this is it.

Beer is black but brown at the corners and kind of hazy with a thin brown head of tiny bubbles, lacing? no.

Odd aroma, mild smoke, odd fruits, a little malt, not much roast.

Beer is coffee, lots of it. Mild smoke, is there wheat in here? Maybe this is why there is only one of this "style". Its an OK beer overall, its mildly sweet, a little chocolate bitterness. Its just OK.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.88/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle opened by bmanning at a recent tasting.

Pours near black with a thin mocha head. Nose brings forward some roasted malt with a bt of smoke, but does not reveal much underlying depth. Taste brings out a bit more with some chocolate and coffee. Along with a bt of sweetness. Feel is fairly full. Drinks quite well, but isn't as good as Odin's Tipple.

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Photo of trbergman
4.08/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

500mL bottle poured into a tulip.

A - Pours a viscous, opaque dark brown with one finger of dense, cinnamon-colored foam.

S - Roasted barley, dark chocolate, coffee, caramel, and maybe a hint of phenols.

T - Chocolate and coffee with a grainy background and a kiss of smoke. Earthy and herbal hop flavor with assertive hop bitterness to complement the roast. Wheat comes through more strongly as the beer warms, with clove and mild banana esters. Alcohol is a bit hot, but not overpowering.

M - Slick and velvety, with a full body.

D - A welcome twist on the style - worth a revisit in the future.

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Photo of Richardberg
3.85/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - filled up my pint glass with a huge brown head. Decent retention but no lacing. When it settled, was left with a very dark (not quite jet-black) liquid. Doesn't look as sticky/viscous as other RIS but it's clearly gonna be strong.

S - lots going on here. You definitely get the wheat notes typically found on very different styles, but the overall character is still a RIS. Plenty of cocoa powder, charcoal, toffee, burnt malts, etc to remind you what you're up against.

T - surprisingly sweet out of the gate, and stays there on the way down. The big dark flavors are present, no doubt -- especially the charcoal/smoky overtones -- but I still have the impression of a luxury dark chocolate turned into Nestle candy when it hits the tongue. Oh well. I'm just sensitive to sweetness, as anyone who reads my reviews knows. It would still be a "4" were it not for the boozy nature. Nothing extreme, but most of Haandbryggeriet's expensive competition has learned to be trickier about disguising their high-gravity beers by now.

M - excellent. only moderate body, not too viscious, but it coats the mouth very well. Oily, slick, velvety, pretty much everything you'd want in a big stout except for thickness/body. Would probably be a "5" if I had a nitro-tap to puff it up a little bit.

D - really bold flavors that clock in at 8.5% ABV...but the presentation is totally solid. No harder to drink than the average RIS, and far more interesting. Recommended.

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Photo of brystmar
4.02/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Black as night in my pint glass with tons of brown head atop. The head fizzles away and leaves a small patch atop the brew, but zero lacing. Smells of wheat with chocolate malts in the background. A touch bready too.

Big blast of chocolate and wheat up front, turns to sweetly roasted malts, finishes bittersweet and dry with some residual hops. Some boozy warmth as it goes down to remind you it's an imperial stout!

Smooth and creamy texture with just the right amount of carb. Glad my brother shared it with me, but wish I had my own to finish.

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Photo of crusian
4.51/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

weird, this actually smells wheaty... if blindfolded this would be presumed to be a hefe or a bad pale... I did not expect that.
oh, the taste on this is VERY sweet and smooth. This is unlike anything I have ever had. you NEED to try this, just for its unusual character. More brewers need to make a wheat imperial stout. It is a style I could see coming into its own. no bitter finish. Wow, I so want more of this, I am kicking myself for not buying more. I am a Russian Imp stout freak, and this is so different from the norm that I am a little giddy about it. BUY it.

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Photo of lavellen
4.73/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had this because the style of Imperial Wheat Stout sounded awesome. It was great! This poured with a very fluffy brown head. The chocolate notes really came through with the wheat later in the tasting as the beer warmed slightly. The aroma was a little "homebrewy" as my friend put it, but still not off putting, probably just from the import process. Great Job brothers from the Nord!

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Photo of mdfb79
3.88/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 16.9 oz. bottle into my Duvel tulip. Batch 217. Bottle says it's the "only Imperial Wheat Stout in the known universe". Interested to see how this one tastes.

a - Pours a dark brown, almost black color, with 2fingers of dark tan head and light carbonation evident. Tiny bit of lacing.

s - Smells of bitter chocolate, roasted malts, cocoa, vanilla, dark fruits, and a hint of alcohol.

t - Tastes of cocoa, coffee, roasted malts, bitter and sweet chocolate, toasted malts, and dark fruit. No alcohol in the smell.

m - Medium to full body and moderate carbonation. Pretty thick and smooth.

d - I thought this was a pretty good RIS. I thought the smell was a littl sweet/weird, but I enjoyed the taste a lot. Would definitely try this one again.

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Photo of zoso1967
4.25/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled 6/20/08

Dark force is emerges from the bottle an impenetrable black with a nice mocha colored head. The head fades quickly and leaves very little lace on the snifter. Holding this beer up to a bright light reveals only a slight degree of translucent dark brown around the very edge.

The aroma is much like your usual imperial stout, but does stand out somewhat. It is roasty with hints of coffee and chocolate, but it also has a definite nuttiness and an almost smoky quality to it that is quite nice. As the beer warms it gains a fairly strong apple aroma.

The flavor of this beer is nuts. Dark and roasty with bitter cocoa, but also a very pronounced flavor that I can most liken to balsamic vinegar, minus the vinegar character. There is also a lot more smokiness in the flavor and some fruity apple like notes. It also carries a certain amount of tartness as well as some charred astringency. Oh, and somehow this all works out to taste good!

The mouthfeel is very smooth with low carbonation, but also extreme light for a beer of this size. In fact, I think I would call this light to medium, and not the other way around. It finishes effortlessly, leaving burnt malt flavors on my tongue.

This is a wonderfully sipper of a beer that took me well over an hour to finish while chatting with my wife. It seems that every sip brings up a different profile of flavors, and it changes a lot as it warms. With all of this being said, I did not think it was world class, but definitely the most intriguing imperial stout I have drank so far.

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Photo of TheJollyHop
4.42/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Cocoa, charred dried fruits, smoke and roast scents; sea air as well.

Solid, fluffy, molasses hued head; jet black body.

Smoke upfront, smooth chocolate, smoked malt, roasted barley, and a touch salty. Finish is salty sweet.

Complex medium to light body, effervescent, and highly carbonated. Wheat manifests itself in the mouthfeel while the alcohol adds a pleasant warming character.

Finish isn't excessively lingering yet the flavors are all for the most part balanced. An interesting, albeit delicious brew.

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Photo of sogrady
3.7/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I missed the bourbon tint mentioned by the other reviewers, but that's possibly because this followed a bourbon aged Allagash Black, so that would have been lost on me.

In any event, the Dark Force is an excellent RIS. The usual chocolate, coffee and dark fruit notes are accented by a distinguishing smoke component. The body is dark and thick, as befitting the style, and well balanced front to back.

I've had better imperial stouts, but this is well worth your time.

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Photo of TheQuietMan22
4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Straight pour into a pint glass produced a ton of chocolaty tan head. Don't do that with this beer. I should have taken its wheat character into consideration. The color is an opaque black. No light came through. Somewhat fittingly, the head dissipated to leave a creamy, cappuccino-like spiral galaxy of dense foam.

Smell: As I let the head settle, the glass was an arm's length away from me and I could still smell the bourbon quality mentioned in other reviews. However, the scent faded entirely after letting the glass and bottle breathe. The wheat was played up, but all the aroma qualities point to stout. Toasted coffee and dark chocolate malts, a tiny bit of caramel, and dark fruit (cherry and maybe fig).

Taste: Toasted and hop bitterness, as well as a little alcohol, upfront, which gives way to stout's usual suspects: coffee, chocolate, and dark fruit. The taste is much sweeter than the aroma leads on; the figs and cherry from the smell play a large part in that. When I got down to the bottom for the second glass, I loosened the sedimentation and poured it in. Though a little chunky, it gave the beer a dunkelweizen quality with a little ripe banana.

Drinkability: I'm not sure what the Dark Side has to do with Norse mythology, but I like how the Norwegian woods quartet is thinking. It is not as original as they make it sound, but it is a top-notch brew. May the Dark Force be with you.

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Dark Force from HaandBryggeriet
88 out of 100 based on 315 ratings.
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