Duchy Originals Organic English Ale | Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd

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Duchy Originals Organic English AleDuchy Originals Organic English Ale
202 Ratings
Duchy Originals Organic English AleDuchy Originals Organic English Ale

Brewed by:
Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd
England, United Kingdom

Style: Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Brewed for HRH The Prince of Wales's Dutchy Originals (duchyoriginals.com) with profits donated to HRH’s Charitable Foundations. Made with organic barley including some from the Home Farm at Highgrove (princeofwales.gov.uk)—the country home of HRH.

Added by rastaman on 09-29-2003

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Ratings: 202 |  Reviews: 180
Photo of Drew966
3.03/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Duchy Originals Organic English Ale pours almost the same color brown as the bottle with an off white head from a one pint and nine tenths ounces bottle. Malt is noticeable in the aroma and just a bit of hops. Good malt/hop balance, but the finish is less than great, being a bit metallic. Not bad, not exciting either, just kind of average. Worth a try.

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Photo of Suds
3.92/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked up from Beers of the World in Rochester, this brew has a classy label and a nice appearance. It’s a slightly amber tawny color (very clear) with a shallow dull-white head. Fairly low carbonation. The aroma is a mix of fruit and roasted malts: toast and bread crust, caramel, apple and dried fruits. It’s a little rustic and subdued, but very pleasing. The taste is dry, with a slant toward malt flavor in the foretaste. Significant bittering and a resiny hop flavor takes over by the finish, which has a lingering bitterness. A dry and estery brew with a moderate malt taste and a considerable hop finish: Not a bad beer. It’s restrained and well put together. It doesn’t grab you from the onset, but I found it enjoyable.

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Photo of DogFood11
2.63/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Another hard to find brew scored at the wine house. Now, wether or not its a quality find is the most important thing. Poured into a tulip it formed a modest white head that leaves scattered lace. Light copper body and medium to mild carbonation.

Well I just got done with a traditional ESB that I consider the standard to judge against and this one...well it stands up although with a hitch in its gallop. It bit on the dry side for my liking. Hops are well placed and balance this brew out nicely. Malts have a caramel lean that fits nicely. Metallic creeps into the picture as it warmed up late in the aftertaste.

Notes: A balanced brew that ends up being on the malty side. Not one I'll hunt down by any stretch.

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Photo of JayTheFinn
3.6/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked this one up at the Green Jug in Woodland Hills, CA for just under $3.

Nice amber color with a decent white head. Light bit hazy. Good combo of sweet and bitter flavor. Light and airy carbonation in the mouth. Nicely balanced, smooth and easy drinker. Label boasts that it exclusively uses organic barley, which is great but I didn't notice anything in the flavor different from others in this style.

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Photo of Shiredave
4.04/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Classy looking bottle complete with USDAOrganic certification emblem.

Very pretty beer, deep red/gold amber with a sticky, barely off white head. Great cling and retention and slow, sparatic bubbles of rising carbonation. I couldnt NOT give this a 5.

Aromas are soft - lots going on but you have to breathe deep. Nice floral and earthy hop with mild malt sweetness behind. I expected a more pronounce caramel malt nose from the color but still quite inviting and classically British.

Straight up UK Bitter flavors - excellent balance and tasty dry, hoppy finish. Balance is the key to this one and it has a wonderfull complex ebb and flow of the malt / hop ying and yang. Not really unique or exceptional but very delicious and highly drinkable.

Nearly medium bodied when enjoyed at room temp. and maybe a bit over bittered - but I aint complaining! This is a fine , if a bit pricey session beer. I think profits go to help poor English kids learn to play Polo.

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Photo of clickpush
2.93/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pour: 500ml bottle to tulip glass. This is a very active and lively terra-cotta colored beer, and although the head is a bit thin, it too bubbles and changes as the very visible carbonation streams upwards.

Nose: This beer has a complex aroma that seems to cover a lot of bases. My first reaction was a bit of fruitiness, plums maybe, and then the malt smell came in, adding to its sweetness. At the end I picked up some herbal hints of cilantro.

Mouth: A very disappointing flavor for such an inviting looking/smelling beer. Aside from a weak-bubbled entrance, this beer completely ignores the front of the mouth, heading straight to the back with its dry, bitter flavors of melon or citrus rinds. The beer disappears quickly after swallowing and doesn't present any alcoholic warmth either. I know it's an ESB, but there is no depth or balance in the flavors. I also find the carbonation to be too weak in the front and too strong in the back - the inverse of the carbonation qualities that I most enjoy.

This is was a big let down considering it was a beer-of-the-month pick at Plump Jack's, home of the best beer selection in SF.

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Photo of Absumaster
4.01/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

It pours a brown colour with minimal lacing, no matter how high I pour it in my glass.
Smell was sort of disappointing, there are a lot of hops on the label and although this beer is bitter, very little hop aroma is present.
Taste was bitter with distinct caramel notes, very round and full flavoured beer, some fruitiness like a typical English ale. After swallowing some molasses/ chocolatemalt/ candy sugar tastes can be detected. I could also taste a slight metallic taste, but this was not very disturbing.
Aftertaste was full and bitter, so I had to swallow each sip a couple of times. Very good example of the style.

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Photo of GCBrewingCo
3.2/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The beer poured into the glass very lightly hazy pale golden amber with an off-white and frothy head which did not rise much, but was persistent enough to lace at the glass.

The aroma was lightly fruity with an estery profile and a caramel malt presence. The aroma was lightly earthy as well.

The flavor was light with a mineral profile and a caramel malt presence. The flavor almost contained an astringent chracter and the bittering, while not overly strong, dried out the beer in an instant leaving a metallic mineral characteristic on the palate.

The finish was dry with lasting metallic mineral character long and unpleasantly into the aftertaste. The body was just below medium with a low carbonation level. I'd skip this one, nothing very interesting and not much in terms of flavor.

16.9 ounce bottle.

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Photo of WesWes
3.95/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer pours a dark gold/amber color with a thick frothy offwhite head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a smooth pale and light crystal malt scent along with a slightly bitter/fruity yeast aroma. The taste is good. It has a light malty flavor that is easily drinkable. It goes down with ease and finishes with some light hops and a bit of residual sweetness. It has a nice English ale yeast fruitiness to it. The mouthfeel is decent. It is a low bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a pretty good beer. It's light and easily drinkable with a decent malt/hop character.

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Photo of doubleipa
3.45/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had this at a beer and cheese tasting. It was matched with Quicke's Goat Cheddar - Devon. Virtually zero head. Some hop aroma, but mostly faint malt. Nothing really stands out about this beer. It did have a nice fresh taste to it, though. Could drink a bunch of these.

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Photo of gdogalishus
2.69/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Sering from Bottle
Serving temp: 47.7 degrees F
pH: 4.34
Alcohol %: 4.63 ABV by residual extract method

Served from the bottle into a curved pint style glass. Large tan head of about 1.5 inches. Mild carbonation with few bubbles apperant in the glass. Good, filtered type clarity... isn't this supposed to be organic? Where's the yeast slurry? I kind of expected that from an organic style beer that markets to the "traditional" style brewing. Oh well. Still the appearance is inviting. A hint of red, copper color.

The aroma is missing. There is nothing in the nose of this beer. No hops, no malty sweetness. Aroma is completely missing (or maybe my nose is broken? Nope, can smell the remains of my Bluebird sitting next to it!)

Taste is bitter and dry. A resinous hoppy character in the flavor dominates. Not bad, but the grinding hoppyness begins to agitate the tongue after a few swallows.

Mouthfeel is destinctively thin and lacking body. This lack of body intesifies the dry hoppy character.

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Photo of Daredevil
2.91/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

I had quite some expectations on this brew, as Duchy Originals claims to offer 'uncompromisingly good food' ... but one again (as with their biscuits) I must admit to be rather disappointed .... someone earlier on described this as a 'piss' ... now I wouldn't go that far, it definitely is drinkable but I wouldn't label it as enjoyable ... too watery, too sweety (sweety as in marshmallows or cheap toffees), well sure not up to it's ambition ... as the profits of the sales of this brew go to Prince Charles' Charitable Foundation it would have been great if they could have found a better brewer ....

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Photo of clvand0
3.72/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours an amber color with a small head that disappears fast and leaves a little lacing on the glass. The aroma is mostly comprised of floral European hops with a bit of a biscuit thing. The flavor is what you would expect from a solid ESB. Nice bitterness and hop flavor with a good balance of malts. Nothing spectacular, but solid.

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Photo of Brent
3.5/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Everything one would expect this beer to be - a bit stodgy and stiff, with straightforard ESB-ish hopping and basic caramel malt flavors. Nothing to excess in any direction. If one is looking for what I would think a classic, baseline ESB, then this would pretty much be it. I'm sure that on cask or less well traveled, this beer would be quite good, but, as it is, it is a bit better than average.

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Photo of palma
1.86/5  rDev -48.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

An almost horrible example of an ESB. Extremely light bodied. Lack of malt flavors. Unbalanced. Astringent. A striking hoppy aroma immediately comes through as soon as you open the bottle but this is not followed by any malt whatsoever. Taste is like a bad over-hopped lager. No complexity, bland, thin. Not good and will definitely not buy this again. The bottle looked nice, that's about it.

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Photo of kmpitz2
4.1/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very nice golden color with a finger and a half of tight head that falls to just under a finger over the beer. Clarity is good and bubbles release from the bottom every few seconds. Nose is pretty subtle. I get solid toasty British malt base with a light earthy hop and very slight fruity character. Smells nice. Flavor is okay. The same characteristics from the nose are here, but there is also a slight metallic character. First to hit is an incredible toasty malt character, lightly grainy, but very tasty. This is followed by crisp and clean bittering from noble hops. The finish is a nice combination of toastyness and very light bitter. The metallic taste from the first sip is not carrying through in the rest of the beer. Enjoyable. Feel is moderate with very light carbonation. Keeps drinking very easy. I think this is a solid brew. Not as good as some of the bitters I have had off a hand-pull, but from a bottle, I'd have this one again. A nice bitter.

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Photo of scottum
3.1/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pour out an amber with a flat white headskie. Flavor is mild. Bit of a biscuit chew in the malt, hops are not but front, but add the bitter balanceing. Mouthfeel is average, not super smooth at all. I was very excited to see a new organic beer choice as I try to limit my entire diet to only organic sources, but alas this brew does not deliver. it ain't bad, but it is just a very simple ale. I suppose it doesn't have any lofty claims so I can't fault them for that, but it's just not special in any way. Meh. Not bad as a black & tan with some Wolaver's Oatmeal Stout.

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Photo of claytri
3.67/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The Ale poued a clear amber with an off white head. The aroma was of floral hops, it was very light and nothing else really came thourgh. The taste though had a start of light malt with just a tad of vanilla, then a nice light hop finish. The feel was medium and oily, yet it had a pleasantly dry finish. This is a delicate session beer. It had very distinct yet subtle features an enjoyable beer.

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Photo of TheLongBeachBum
1.63/5  rDev -54.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Presentation: 1 Pint 0.9 fluid ounce, Half Litre bottle, sealed with a black crown cap emblazoned with a gold emblem on it. Cream colored main and neck labels have lots of Gold and Black Royal crests and emblems. Certified USDA Organic. No freshness or strength listed.

I gleamed this from the website “Duchy Originals Ale has been brewed in the traditional way, using a blend of the finest aroma hops and malt made from Plumage Archer barley harvested from selected organic farms in Britain including the Home Farm at Highgrove. This traditional ale has a ruby colour and is rich in body with a balanced bitter flavour. Duchy Originals Organic Ale does not contain any artificial or genetically modified ingredients. When HRH The Prince of Wales created Duchy Originals in 1990 it was because of his belief in the clear advantages of organic farming: the production of natural and healthy foods and sound husbandry which helps to regenerate and protect the countryside and wildlife. This Duchy Originals Organic Ale is the result of such endeavors.”

Appearance: Clear and highly polished copper body with thin broken off-white head. Trace carbonation with minimal lacing. Unappealing and lifeless.

Nose: Stinky sweaty nose, like a punctured Wellington boot filled with skinned haddock, rotting plankton, new born baby “yellow turds” and live Octopus. Dank, wet, damp and utterly repulsive. Smells like the Mother Superiors sweaty skunked Nuns pouch.

Taste: Why do I now have images of going down on the Mother Superior!?…..oh my, my own creative descriptiveness is making me feel repulsed, I think I need medical help. Discipline Bum, discipline…..take one for Her Majesty!!! Well I am trying but now I am assimilating Organic beers with those hairy Catholic Nuns who have big moustaches, home made Rainbow sweaters and Tank driving licenses. Gosh this one is not good. Earthy in a compressed soil and autumnal leaf compost kind of way. If this is Organic, gimme Commando style shaved runways, Silicon implants and plucked eyebrows anytime. Wretch!!

Mouthfeel: Reminds me of the times that I dunked McVitie’s Digestives into a hot steaming cup of Yorkshire Tea for a half second longer than the tensile elasticity will allow. What I scoop out from the bottom of my Mug feels like this, saturated biscuit and oatmeal totally drenched and watered down.

Drinkability: Well I have to admit I dumped half of this one. Take some white granulated sugar, put it in a spoon, heat it up and dissolve the resultant sticky black mess in water…..and hey presto….you have Wychwood Duchy Originals Organic English Ale. Drainpour!!!

Overall: Thin, watery, sugary and very metallic. A **HUGE** disappointment, I saw the “Duchy Originals Organic English Ales” and “Prince Charles Charitable Foundation” and went headlong for the purchase. Had I seen the small print reference to “www.wychwood.com” on the reverse label (as I did once I got this one home – duh me!) then this would have stayed firmly on the shelf. Rightly so!!

Classic Witchpiss, I mean Wychwood.

Sets the image of English Organic beers back to the Stone Age.

One thinks that this is Bloody awful. No wonder Prince Charles drinks Timothy Taylor’s Landlord.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.1/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Wychwood's organic ale pours a just-slightly hazy copper body beneath a heavy dollop of off white froth that holds quite well and leaves some very nice half-rings and crags of lace about the glass.

The nose is fruity (some orange, some dry apple - coming from both the hops and the yeast) and somewhat mineralish and earthy over a delicate, lightly caramel-accented malt base.

In the mouth it flows smoothly with a medium body and restrained carbonation.

Hoppy fruitiness greets you first in the flavor, followed by a more pungent, leafy character. Across the middle and into the finish it's bitter, herbal, and caramelishly malty.

Delicately balanced and teetering on falling away from flavor, this is a massively drinkable pint that could easily take you through many toasts in a night at the local.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.41/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pristine tangelo with a definite reddish blush. A little more red and I could call it blood orange. The cap is orange-tinted ivory in color and has plenty of character. The pitted upper surface falls unevenly and leaves thick, chunky hunks of lace in its wake. DOOEA has a very nice appearance that, as someone else has pointed out, does not belong to a brown ale. I'm guessing English pale, bitter, ESB, something along those lines.

The nose is too weak by half. I can appreciate an undercurrent of pale malt, along with an underwhelming amount of hoppiness that is orange-like and somewhat herbal. Because of the lack of power, no other impressions are possible. I hope the flavor has more going for it than the aroma.

Organic English Ale is okay on the palate, but I'm still not impressed. This is a hop-driven beer, even if the little buggers are having a hard time keeping the car between the ditches. The first flavor to greet the taste buds is a barely sweet maltiness combined with orange zest-flecked herbs. Next is an increasingly bitter hoppiness that is no longer fruity. Wrapping things up is a Burton-on-Trent hard water firmness that retains most of the hop bitterness, but little of the hop flavor.

The flavor profile seems lackluster to me. There's a lot going on, but it isn't going anywhere worth going. I'm still not sure what the proper style would be, but I'll go with ESB since it is (bitter, that is). The finish fades without fanfare and doesn't compel me to keep drinking like really good beer does.

The mouithfeel is on the light side of medium and is well within bounds for the style (the one that I've assigned anyway). The soft carbonation is akin to a cask-conditioned beer more than a bottled one; a characteristic that I'd be more enthusiastic about if the flavor was more exciting.

I'm not surprised that Duchy Originals Original English Ale (not a very poetic name, now is it?) is brewed by Wychwood. It has their 'okay, but little better than average' fingerprints all over it. Oh well, at least a portion of my $3.49 went to the Prince of Wales's Charitable Foundation. It'd be nice if a little something went to the brewery's R&D department as well.

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Photo of Quaffer
3.53/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

16.9 oz. bottle.

Appearance: This beer poured a clear, copper colour . . . definitely not bottle conditioned. An off-white, slightly orange head rose up perfectly to two fingers. It settled at an average pace and became thick and dense as it did so. A thin skin of bubbles remained behind for quite awhile. A decent amount of lace was left behind on the side of the glass.

Smell: Typical aroma for a generic an English ale. Candy-sweet fruity esters dominated, but were backed up by solid cracker-like malt and some hops. The hops had a pungent sourness to them. A little bit of molasses sweetened and thickened the aroma.

Mouthfeel: This beer was light on the tip of the tongue, but it quickly thinned out to a watery mess. It wasn't dry, just thin and watery. The carbonation was nice, but it didn't make up for the lack and quality of the body.

Taste: Light, sweet malt combined with sharp apple and white grapes upfront. A light hops bitterness arose in the middle to balance out the beer, but that didn't take much. The malt dried out on the finish, but it did remain. The aftertaste was tinny. The flavor, while not as thin as the mouthfeel, could have been beefed up a little.

A nice, drinkable beer that I did enjoy, but it could use a fuller flavor and body, in my opinion. The slightly metallic aftertaste became a little distracting by the time I finished the bottle. I'm not so sure that this beer is different from the brewery's original "Organic Ale." I think that they just slapped the word "English" on the label. As added evidence for this argument, this is definitely a bitter (like their original "Organic Ale") and not a brown.

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

This has a nice light brown color with low to medium white head. The smell is mainly of brown sugar and malts, with a slight tang from the hops. The taste is pretty well balanced, with well rounded malty flavors, light hops, and even subtle yeast flavors. The mouthfeel is nice and crisp and certainly refreshing. This is perhaps a bit light, but tasty none the less.

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Photo of cypressbob
3.72/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

500ml bottle

Pours with an amber body, quite fizzy, tan head with poor retention, no lacing

Smell, spicy nose, some hints of clove, esters present

Taste, estery and malty, slight biscuit finish, very little hop profile

Not a bad ale, nothin spectacular but solid all round, almost like a poor mans fullers 1845, with less alcohol, flavour and class

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Photo of GreenCard
2.74/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Appearance: darkish amber, good clarity, thick layer of spongey tan foam, good retention, lace

Aroma: bready maltiness with a roasty edge to it, woodsy English hops, edge of yeast, touch of toffee

Flavor: dry grainy malt profile that is smacked around by a hearty hop flavor/bitterness (EKG probably), hint of caramel, dark malts, distant hint of grapefruit rind, finishes dry as a bone with a long-lingering hoppy bitterness

Mouthfeel: medium body, fine carbonation, crisp, a bit astringent

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Duchy Originals Organic English Ale from Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd
Beer rating: 3.59 out of 5 with 202 ratings
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