Sour In The Rye | The Bruery

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Sour In The RyeSour In The Rye

Brewed by:
The Bruery
California, United States

Style: American Wild Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.80%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
We brewed this ale with around 40% rye as a base malt and let our sour yeast and bacteria eat away at it in oak barrels for over a year creating a sour ale with a complex character of rye spice, oak and a subtle funk.

Added by womencantsail on 08-09-2009

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Reviews: 303 | Ratings: 2,464
Photo of Gtreid
2.07/5  rDev -51.1%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

750 ml. bottle poured into my CCB tulip.

A: It really looks like rye whiskey in the glass. Very little head, no lace, and really just a flat quality.

A: Not only does it look like whiskey in the glass it smells like it too. I am getting very few sour notes. The rye is dominate.

T: This is not good. The rye is overbearing, and there is very little sourness. There is also a cloying sweetness that is not pleasant.

M: This is not carbonated, it is slick and oily, and the body is lighter than expected.

O: This is not a good beer. The lack of carbonation and the overpowering rye, did not make this drinkable at all. We had quite a few beers to get to, and I didn't want to waste my time or my palate on this train wreck. It went down the drain.

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Photo of kscaldef
2.52/5  rDev -40.4%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Edit 5/17/2013 - I didn't take notes for a full review, but the 2013 vintage gets a 4/5 from me. Substantially better than either previous release.


Epic Bruery sour/wild tasting, 3/4/2012

Side-by-side batch 1 & 2

Batch 1: light honey color. Vinegar, acetone, and sweet apple notes. Some cherry and peach.

Batch 2: slow gusher. Cloudy with floaties. Apricot aroma with a mustiness, bordering on moldy.

Batch 1 seems better than batch 2, but I wouldn't particular seek out either again.

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Photo of BearsOnAcid
2.88/5  rDev -31.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Maroon body, very small (almost none) off white head.

Acetic cherry aroma up front. Sweet malt in the background. The rye was slightly noticeable with a slight spice blended into it.

Strong and funky sourness. Balsamic vinegar with light ketchup flavor. The acidity burns your throat. The rye was absent in the flavor. A sample is enough.

I guess the majority of BA must really like drinking salad dressing. Or it's the rarity. Hard to tell.

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Photo of intransitive
2.9/5  rDev -31.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

look: Deep amber, with a frothy head that departs quickly.

smell: I don't get much of one

taste: Quite puckeringly sour, not entirely pleasant . Unripe fruit and grass. More odd than delicious.

feel: Astringent, with a burn that lingers in my throat.

overall: A strange thing. I'm someone who loves sour ales, but this one isn't doing much for me. Maybe the fruit varieties fare better? There's a chance that the novelty of this beer will become a taste that I adjust to over time... and I have another glass worth that I'll polish off while I think about that... but my initial response is mixed.

(edit: I poured that second glass, had a few sips, and poured it down the drain)

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Photo of ktrillionaire
2.9/5  rDev -31.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Thanks to Blaine for the share

A - It pours a caramel-brown hue, and is somewhat murky; the head is tan and minimal.

S - The nose offers notes of red apple skin, and strong solventy acidity. Acetic notes are heavy. It has some traces of acetaldehyde but they are minor enough to be buried under the vinegar.

T - Big acetic notes, again, and there is a much stronger acetaldehyde presence here, to the point of suggesting acetone. This beer is just one-dimensionally sour. I also pick up on some apple sweetness, and some oak, as the brew airs out, but I really am not crazed about any part of the flavor.

M - Fairly light-bodied, with nice carbonation; quite good in this aspect.

O - Not fantastic nor horrible, but it is certainly not something I would seek out. Very similar to Cigar City's Vuja De.

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Photo of DefenCorps
2.97/5  rDev -29.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Bottle from my Reserve Society shipment that I received thanks to Andrew.

Pouring a mildly hazy crimson with a thin, choppy off-white head that recedes to a thin disk leaving some frothy bubbles and not much lacing, this beer looks decent. The nose is pretty enjoyable. Right off the bat, there's red wine vinegar along with a bright fruitiness. Along with that , there's a blend of raw oak and vanilla, as well as a moderate grainy, rye character. The initial sniffs brought to mind some coconut, but that that seems to have disappeared. There is, however,a moderate berry character with cherries and maybe even a touch of raspberries? Solid stuff, this.

Like the label would have you believe, the palate here opens bracingly tart, with a bright, red wine vinegar sourness with a moderate acetone character. Again, the mid-palate has cherries and some raspberry/strawberry sourness, not unlike New Belgium's better offerings. The mid-palate brings out some of the rye, but it's most felt as a slick, mildly goopy (but not "sick" from pediococcus) along with a mild spiciness. Sour with vinegar on the finish, this beer is medium in body and has a low level of carbonation. Moderately vinous as well, especially before the lasting sourness of the finish takes over. The sourness hides a lot of the oak, revealing just a little bit of vanilla and wood. The alcohol is well hidden, which I guess is a plus, but given the high sourness here, I wouldn't be surprised if some the ethanol has been converted to acetic acid. While initially enjoyable, this very quickly (maybe 3oz in?) gets to be a huge chore.

Ultimately, this beer is just overdone like nobody's business. Drinking a whole bottle is nigh on impossible, I'm going to have to make a salad dressing or something with this. I would not age this any longer as at this point, my bottle is already a lot more sourer than an of the C&C La Folie's I've had. This seems like a recent development as some of the early reviews mention balance, low sourness, neither of which are evident from this sample.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.01/5  rDev -28.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Bottle: Poured a hazy peachy color ale with a nice large foamy head with limited retention and some light lacing. Aroma of lactic acid notes with quite a bit of vinegar and some oak notes is OKish. Taste is mostly dominated by loads of vinegary notes with some oak and a high-level of acid notes. Body is full for style with good carbonation. I don’t get what the fuss is with this beer. I thought it was really one-dimensional and acidity level wad too high for my liking.

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Photo of scottfrie
3.08/5  rDev -27.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

750ml bottle into snifter. Either 2011 or 2012 vintage I think. No bottle date.

A: Pours a deep dark burnt amber color with minimal carbonation. Looks a bit like iced-tea, but with a few more bubbles. A fuzzy collar lasted most of the beer through.
S: Heavily oxidized notes dominate. This just smells old and tired. I get notes of sherry, cardboard, and caramel mixed with apple cider vinegar, figs, musty wood, and raisin. Hints of acetic acid mix with the lacto.
T: Rye spice hits first followed by notes of port wine, raisin, apple juice/vinegar, caramel and dates. There is a musty barrel quality throughout, along with a kiss of tart lactic acid. Unfortunately, there is also a bit of harsh acetic acid. Flavors overall are no longer bright, and this mostly just tastes like a caramely apple cider. It’s not an off-putting flavor necessarily, just way different than the fresh beer.
M: Medium-full body, fairly sweet overall with a touch of stickiness, low acidity but what is there is sharp, low tartness that is no longer drying. Carbonation does bubble up on my tongue, but overall it’s fairly low.
O: I’ll have to re-review with a fresher bottle, but this was definitely past its prime. Not necessary bad, just old, muddled, and rough around the edges.

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Photo of corby112
3.09/5  rDev -27%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a dark ruby red color with a thin off white head that immediately disappears. Some visible carbonation bubbling up but no lacing.

Slightly funky aroma with a decent barrel presence and lots of sweet rye, dark fruit and malt. Earthy with subtle barnyard character, funky bugs and toasted oak. Subtle acetone presence but nose is dominated by funk and spicy rye.

Medium bodied but a bit thinner than expected with a balance of oak, funk, spice, rye, dark fruit and sweet malt. Slightly tart and puckering but more funky than sour. There's more acetone than the nose suggests but it isn't too overpowering or vinegar-y. Dry, toasted oak and lots rye flavor. This beer would probably be terrible if it wasn't for the rye but it counters the funk and acetone with a nice sweet and spicy character. This is complimented by some dark fruit and sweet malt. Finishes dry and tart with a touch more acetone. Overall, well balanced and flavorful but the acetone turns a beer that could be amazing into slightly above average.

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Photo of mactrail
3.1/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

I tasted several sours recently since Local Habit had quite a few on tap for several days. This was my least favorite out of the bunch, but I'm apparently in the minority on this one.

Nearly clear amber in the glass with some decent foam to start. Smells of bread, rubber, and old socks. Quite sour from the first sip. A wee hint of fruity, malty sweetness that is soon overtaken by the vinegar. this one sets my teeth on edge.

An interesting ghost flavor of the malt brew this used to be, before the bacteria were turned loose. Just plain sour, but it has a lingering grainy and faintly hoppy taste. Not much for drinkability.

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Photo of AJKing
3.16/5  rDev -25.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Looks great, clear amberish, with some red. Thin white head that fades. Smells vaguely acidic, but unremarkable. The taste is mostly sweet, with stone fruit overtones, but also features some flowery notes. I was overall unimpressed considering the massive reputation of the beer, but considering what it was I also firmly approved of the acid/sweet. If anything, I was looking for a drier finish and more sour, but that could just be personal bias.

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Photo of craytonic
3.18/5  rDev -24.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Cloudy, murky brown with a small white head

Smell: Light tart and funkiness with some dark fruits and a touch of sweetness. Touches of vanilla

Taste: The rye plays an odd role here, it doesn't really fit in. It is sour and odd, but lacking in depth.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with low carbonation

Overall: I wasn't very impressed with this one, it is very one dimensional and I find the rye to be odd.

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Photo of SpeedwayJim
3.26/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to ipa247 for this one. Poured from a 750ml capped bottle into a Cigar City snifter. Shared with schen9303.

No head with spotty, minimal lace. Beer is a clear reddish bronze. A bit poor.

Nose is tart red fruit and vinegar. Nice and sharp but rather subtle.

Opens sweet. Tart vinegar, sour apple, cherries in the middle. More vinegar and some sweetness at the end. Strongly acidic. Finishes sour and rotting red fruit with more vinegar notes. Almost flanders-red like.

Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Smooth in the mouth and puckering and prickly going down. Abrasive too. Decent. The rye smoothness actually works well here.

The addition of rye to this sour beer really imparts a new dimension. Smoothness in the feel helps bring out the flavors well. Still though, a bit over-the-top sour for me with a touch too much vinegar. A decent beer overall but a bit lacking in the balance/flavor department.

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Photo of Auracom
3.39/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From the 2012 RS allocation. 4-5 oz. poured into a FFF Teku on June 8th, 2012.

A - Beautiful burnt orange coloring with 1/2 finger of a white head. Quick reduction down to edge bubbles, okay lacing, lots of legs though.

S - Big apple cider vinegar, lemon, rye spiceyness, and a touch of oak.

T - Almost exactly the same as the arome. The blend is generally mellow. Not as balanced as Oude Tart. A bit of green tart apple, lime, and further rye which really comes through in the aftertaste.

M - Light-medium body, good carbonation, dry finish. Its weird but I get a lot of alcohol warming on the back end of this one.

D - Aroma was overall a bit better than the taste. Just not ambitious enough and a little too single note in the sourness. Worth a try though.

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Photo of Jmoore50
3.48/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

With one of the best names to come across the beer scene in a while, it was really too bad that the beer was just alright.

It pours a very golden rust color that is really beautiful looking. The problem lies with the amount of carbonation that this bottle had. We popped the cap off of it and just a faint hiss sounded. I knew when I poured it into my glass that this was going to need a lot more carbonation.

The smell was of caramel and biscuit malts, spicy rye and pepper. It had a distinct sourness to it as well, like a grapefruit thats sat in the son too long. Either way, it smells very interesting because there is spice from the rye and the sourness'. Very interesting.

So with the lack of carbonation and the lower level of actual sourness, this thing was a unique brew. It has a heavy mouthfeel, so the whole experience is interesting. There is a sharp sourness first with the beer, then the rye and accompanied malts all follow. Its fairly complex, with an array of tart and spicy flavors meddling on the palate.

Overall I would like to have this on draft and see what the differences are. I would of also liked to try the first batch of this, since the reviews are higher from the 2009 run.

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Photo of maximum12
3.5/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to the generous lurchingbeast, who sent this bottle along as an extra in a BIF. Big 750 ML bottle split with my wife.

Pour is cloudy dark orange with ample carbonation. Nose is an oversize kick to the post of sour...there might be a touch of rye, but that might be my imagination. Or that is said "rye" on the label. In big font.

Sour in the Rye suffers from the shortcoming of most sours - where's the variety? Big lemony bite in the forefront wrapped around an acidic edge; pretty standard issue stuff. There's a tiny edge of spiciness, & a nice splinter of oak on the end. Not as mouth-wringing as some sours, pretty easy to take down.

Fairly standard issue stuff, & a pretty good brew. I'd have liked the rye to see its shadow more than it does. Can a brewery please make sours with some other tastes in them? That would great. 'Kthxbye.

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Photo of Rhettroactive
3.52/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From 750mL bottle to CBS snifter on 5/12/12
*From notes

-- Thanks, Siege --

A: A hazy, cloudy cider color. A big, straight pour yields a white .5 finger head that fades quickly. Decent white collar rims the beer.

S: Tart, with creamy caramel in the no too distant background.

T: Not as sour as you'd expect. It's got a splash of funk up front, then it's a bit sweet on the mid, with a few grams of residual sugar lingering around. The finish showcases caraway, smoked toffee and a touch of dulce de leche.

M: Reasonably bubbly. Thre's enough weight here to make an impact, yet it doesn't drag down the flavor profile.

O: Not a half bad beer, really. I can't say it's all that memorable, and the sweetness on the mid-palate was off-putting. But I'd say in a few months, maybe a year even, this should be drinking well.

Hold your stash, as this is a reasonable way from peak.

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Photo of srandycarter
3.53/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Golden, bright amber. Tight bubbled white head that reduces to a risk in a few minutes. Tight bubbled lace.

S - Some rye, grapefruit tart and herbal attributes.

T - Tart with some malt sweetness.

M - Light bodied, good carbonation and balance.

D - A little too tart for my taste.

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Photo of DavoleBomb
3.54/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a tulip.

3.0 A: This isn't any fun. Seems to be barely carbonated. I got a about one finger of foamy white head that fell almost instantly. Lightly hazed yellow orange color.

4.0 S: Never smelled anything quite like this. The rye does some great things in here. It gives a huge "grainy herbalness" that I can't help but love (almost like caraway seeds). Big lemony fruitiness. Not very sour though. A light tartness with little acidity. Oaky and herbal with lemon tartness.

3.5 T: Tastes similar to the nose. Herbal caraway seed graininess. Spicy earthiness. Tart lemon juice. Lightly acidic overall. Very minimal funkiness. Not very complex, but tastes good.

3.0 M: Medium body. Carbonation is a bit too low. Not particularly creamy or spritzy with a tangy lemony finish.

3.5 D: Tasty beer and nothing quite like it. I'll enjoy my other two bottles.

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Photo of OlieIPA
3.57/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

8 oz. pour at The Bruery on 8/10/09

A: Exhibited a nice glowing orange/tangerine hue with a somewhat sufficient head and lacing quality.

S: Nice mix of barrel aging, musky malt, and sour tartness....neither one standing out more than the other.

T: Prominent white zinfandel/green grape fruitiness, along with a slight tart bite. Sort of similar to a sour gummy worm, with a nice sweet finish to go along with it.

M: Much more full-bodied than expected with mild carbonation.

D: Very nice, kind of reminded me of New Belgium's La Folie in many ways; easy drinker and full flavored.

Overall: A try it beer. Cheers!

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Photo of nlmartin
3.58/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The beer was served in a tulip and lightly chilled.

A- The body of the beer was a light orange coloration. The head quickly resolved and disappeared. The beer looks nice but where is the head?

S- The aroma of the beer is lemony tartness and a bit of funky herbal grain spiceyness. Vinous notes with sour apple or possibly apple cider vinegar.

T- The flavor of the beer has sour grapes and very tart apple fruityness. Combined in the flavor is a very acetic and lemony oak flavor. Nicely sour throughout the flavor.

M- The body of the beer is medium and very smooth very low carbonation. Nice dry finish and not a hint of alcohol. The beer needs about double the carbonation.

O- The aroma and the flavor are nice. The beer needs at least double the carbonation.

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Photo of Sean9689
3.62/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Mike (AgentZero) for this one. Been looking forward to trying this for some time now. Poured into Bruery tulip.

A - Pours a muddy brownish/red color, no head, lacing, or retention to speak of. Some random bubbles here and there, but that's about it.

S - Acetic and lactic sharp sourness is the main player in this one. Very very sharp sourness, not much tartness, with light vinegar note.

T - Much the same as the nose, very sharp acetic and lactic sourness, minimal tart, and a light vinegar note. Pretty one-dimensional for me here.

M - Light bodied, light carbonation, very dry finish.

O - One 4oz sample is enough for me here. This beer is (dare I say it) too acetic for me to enjoy all that much. It's not a bad beer, by any means, just a little over-the-top. Decent.

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Photo of ThickNStout
3.63/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750mL bottled acquired through the Reserve Society. Bottled 11/22/12. Served in a Terrapin snifter.

Pours a musty orangey brown with a thick finger and a half head. A hazy film stays on top of the brew but doesn't lace very much.

Smells funky for sure. Sour lemons, vinegar, yeast, tart mustyness and faint sweet oak.

Now that's tart. None-too-subtle puckering crab apple, lemon, sour cherries and vinegar with lighter underlying notes of spicey rye, very subtle vanilla oak, funky yeast and some earthy character. My taste buds are too busy being pummeled by the tartness to detect any booze whatsoever. An interesting mixture of fruity sour and more subtle earthy sweetness.

Slick lightish medium body with a pretty strong dose of bubbly carbonation. The tart, puckering lemon/vinegar lingers on the tongue for a good long time.

I'm still just dabbling in these sours so while this isn't something that I'm going to necessarily crave it was an enjoyable departure from my typical big stout and IPA routine. I'll most likely buy this again sometime and I'm certainly looking forward to trying the kumquat variation in the near future.

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Photo of seaoflament
3.65/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed this one at the Beachwood BBQ Sour Fest during the New Belgium night. It's always exciting to try a new sour beer from The Bruery, or any new beer for that matter.

The beer was a hazy, fiery orange color with a very thin ring of the most miniscule sized bubbles.

Very fruity upfront with a noticeable amount of spicy rye, orange peel, grapes, and hints of cherries in the background.

Hmm, there's a slight grainy flavor initially that I wasn't too pleased with. After that grainy flavor there was a mixture of sour orange, grapes, and rye in the finish. Malty mid-palate with a sprite-like soda flavor and carbonated mineral water. Some apples, pears, and citrus flavors too.

Low to moderate carbonation, just a tad syrupy for my liking. Quite an interesting sour that's worth a try.

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Photo of AgentZero
3.72/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of asianzero and shared with the Chicago Crew Rejects.

A - The lable is actually kind of a decent indicator of what this beer is going to look like. Murkey brown with an off-white head that didn't show much.

S - A lot of acetic and lactic sour notes, with some vinegar, fruit, and tartness. Smells pretty nice, but very sour.

T - A very acetically sour beer. Lots of lactic sour, along with some sweetness, slight vinegar notes and a little bit of tart quality. Fairly mouth puckering, and not bad.

M - A little creamy, medium bodied, moderate carbonation.

O - This is a pretty solid beer, although not spectacular. It's sour enough that it makes it hard to drink tons of, but it was pretty enjoyable and I could drink it again.

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Sour In The Rye from The Bruery
4.23 out of 5 based on 2,464 ratings.
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