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Cuir | The Bruery

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195 Reviews
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Brewed by:
The Bruery
California, United States

Style: Old Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 14.50%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
Cuir is our third anniversary ale. It is the same recipe as Papier, but again created using the Solera method. Each year we will continue to blend old barrels of anniversary ale with a new batch of the same beer, adding an additional layer of complexity that will grow over time as we continue to age and blend with each anniversary, creating an older average age to the ale.

Added by Halcyondays on 05-07-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 195 | Ratings: 588
Photo of Cavery
3.73/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Shared with SundaySour @ Provisions

Taster #2 into tasters

A: Woody grenadine with mahogany in its genes. Really implies old rustic woods and unpolished coppers. Manzanita reds complete a rather complex appearance. A small bit of froth creates a thin layer of separation between the liquid and open air.

S: Dark dried fruits that really show some age. Smells sweet without being too overbearing. Alcohol complicates the matter in taking this to a funky barrel aged dimension. The smell almost seems to fight itself, the young battles the old with a consequentially dusty dialectic.

T: Old Dried fruits really come through. A tart sun dried element to the overall sniffing profile reigns supreme. Deliciously forward tart plums, cherries, and raisins. A slightly syrupy aspect to the alcohol. This is like a cocktail made of grenadine and maple syrup. Sweet and alcohol dominant.

M: Mouth is medium/light bodied. I'd say that it comes off to light for the flavor and alcohol. It's not flat, but the tart flavor and syrupy viscosity needs some help from the mouth.

O: The flavors are quite good, but it's not anything worth screaming about. The mouth really needs to tame this tart syrupy beast. A good beer that may benefit from the 100% barrel aging version, but I'm not sure it will help the drinkability of this diabetic coma.

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Photo of darktronica
3.73/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Served on draft at the Bruery Tasting Room as part of Orange County Beer Week. Really enjoyed this in the bottle over the years, but it seems to be past its prime; the pour I had exhibited all of the usual trademark flavors of The Bruery's anniversary ales, but it was heavily oxidized.

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Photo of ColForbinBC
3.77/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

750mL champagne style bomber, bottle #04575; poured into a Sniffer

The body sits a muddy brown with maroon/purple highlights. A thin, less than a finger off-white cap. No discernable lacing.

The nose is rich and sweet. Brown sugar, plums, raisins/figs, loads of toffee and a hearty amount of booze. As this warms, I get additional notes of grapes, leather, and vanilla. Extremely complex and deep, but really sweet and boozey.

On the palate, this pretty much follows the nose. Brown sugar, vanilla and raisins/figs dominate with plums, grapes, toffee and leather rounding everything out. Big and boozey and cloyingly sweet.

Full body, oily, with minimal carbonation. Finish is overly sweet.

Overall, this is a complex old ale; lots going on. It's just entirely too sweet. If the sweetness was tuned back a notch, this beer would be leaps and bounds better.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.78/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at the Bruery

A: The pour is sort of a murky copper color with a finger of off-white head.

S: Sweet malts with plenty of caramel, toffee, molasses, and brown sugar. There's a surprisingly dominant oakiness to it and a strange spice note--perhaps all-spice? Hints of booze and dark fruits are also there.

T: Spices which sort of throw me off, but they're quickly covered by vanilla, oak, and booze. Sweet bread, toffee, caramel, and brown sugar make up the bulk of the flavor and there are some mild dark fruit notes.

M: Medium to full in body with a medium level of carbonation.

O: Out of the box, this is the easiest to drink of all the Anniversary ales from the Bruery. Looking forward to the 100% -bal version.

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Photo of trappistlover
3.8/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(On draught at Papago!). Pours dark caramel with khaki head. Aroma has some smoke, dark, ripe fruit, A-1 steak sauce? Taste is sweet, with a bit of sour twang. Alcohol is well integrated given the abv. Full-bodied with sticky, oily mouthfeel. Smooth finish. Good beer and quite unique.

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Photo of AgentZero
3.83/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at Smallbar Division

A - Chocolate brown beer that turns a deep red on the edges. Great looking beige head that didn't leave much in the way of stick on the sides.

S - Caramel, sweet brown sugar. I get some dark fruit and a ton of pears with apples on this one. It smells particularly rich, but not boozy at all considering how high the ABV is.

T - Exceptionally rich. A lot of vanilla, dark fruit, apple core. I don't really get much bourbon on this, and the base seems to be brown sugar and dark fruits.

M - Smooth, mildly carbonated, very full feeling.

O - Solid beer, I really had to try to get through the glass, but at 14.5% this could be a killer if it were easier. It's a very rich beer that you can only take in small doses, but seems to be one of the better ones of this series so far.

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Photo of brystmar
3.85/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: dark brown, much more head than expected for an old ale. Mild lace.

S: figs, booze, banana, dark fruit, hints of caramel, more alcohol.

T: lots of fruit. Bourbon / port. Hints of wine grape-ness. Toffee. Plenty of alcoholic warmth as it descends. Complex, but a beer this hot begs for a couple years of cellar time.

M: thin and weak-bodied like some old ales; definitely needs more body.

D: slightly above average for drinkability given its near 15% ABV. This one's a sipper for sure. Again, a brew like this really needs 3-4 (or more) years on it to mellow out. Right now, this beer in my glass is full of potential.

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Photo of Etan
3.86/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

750ml, #12857, into a snifter.

A: Pours an amberish brown with a nice off-white head.

S: Lots of raisin and prune in the nose, some oxidation, mild oaky bourbon.

T: Heavy grape flavor, almost quad-like, with a backbone of cooked caramel, light oak, dark booze, a bit buttery, and some light bourbon and bitterness in the finish.

M: Thick with light yet creamy carbonation.

O: The prune/grapey aspect of this beer makes it a bit too sweet, but I still enjoyed it.

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Photo of realmpel
3.88/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Maybe it's the solera method being used, but these anniversary brews from the Bruery, which were complex to begin with, are beginning to sport some new layers of flavor that I must say I dig. Cuir has a bit of a chocolate flavor to it that I do not recall tasting in the previous two iterations. Of course, there are lots of similarities, and you get the same thick bourbon-y sweetness as in Papier and Coton. I'm a big fan. This beer is very strong and heavy so I could not have more than one small glass. Still, one to check out.

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Photo of caskstrength
3.88/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a very nice dark red, appropriate carbonation. Actually could have been fewer bubbles given the style and ABV, but I'd rather have a bit too much than not enough.

Smells are on the complex side of things. Plums, leather, and brown sugar are the main players. No solvents, no alcohol.

Tastes are not as good as the smells. More warmth, dark fruits the main thing. Some leather/tobacco. Not very sweet, seems well attenuated for such a big Old Ale.
Would have liked more barrel. (25% not enough). 14.5% alcohol...I certainly didn't taste it.

Mouthfeel was great. This isn't a thick beer, nor a thin one. Carbonation lifts things. More dry than I expected.

This is good. But it's not $20 a 750ml good. Is it just an appetizer for the 100% barrel aged version?

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Photo of cetherid
3.88/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured into a tulip


Beer is a dark brown color, with ruby highlights when held up to the light. A couple fingers worth of frothy off-white head going down to just a small film of head after a minute or so. Decent lacing going on as well.


Dominant booze aroma with dark fruits such as raisins/figs with a little brown sugar. Barrel aging is evident as there is a nice little oak aroma in there. A few more sniffs bring out aromas of leather as well. Complex smelling brew, however a little hot. Cellaring this one would probably be ideal...lets have a look at the taste.


Up front is booze soaked dark fruits...not as sweet as the nose had me to believe but definitely a noticeable sweetness..however the towards the end I get a weird tartness to it...almost like there are some cherries in there. More tart than sour....checking out some posts regarding this beer, a few others noticed the tartness and led them to believe it was infected. I actually enjoy the tartness to this. Just as the nose however, the booziness is a little too warming. It's not really like a bourbon booze taste but more straight up everclear/vodka.


A little on the thin side however good carbonation for the style. I would like a little more thickness to it...maybe a little more stickiness/syrupiness...like I'm drinking a barrel aged 4D. It actually drinks pretty dangerously as the booziness is more up front than in the finish. It goes down pretty easily....surprising for a 14.5% brew.


Overall its a decent beer but drinking a little hot right now. I would like the booziness to die down a bit and have more of the sweet malt/fruit come out. The tart cherry taste was not expected but kind of enjoyable. If it's infected, it didn't really hurt it. If I get another bottle it will be to age for at least 1 year.

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Photo of kylehay2004
3.88/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

3 finger offwhite head with some lacing on a clear amber with brown and red hues body. Aroma is very unique; woody, almost like A1-sauce like with smokey and almost soapy aroma. Flavor is very sweet with a subtle hickory/mesquite flavor. Boozy as would be expected for anything barrel aged. Body is medium but syrupy with light to moderate carbonation. This overall is a heavy beer. The sweetness is a little much. Fruitier then I expected for a barrel aged beer of any kind.

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Photo of swthomas55
3.89/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Sample on tap at the tasting room.

A: oak, toffee, raisins and prunes, vanilla, some alcohol. A harbinger of things to come.
A: brown-orange, hazy, tan head that drops but lingers.
F: huge dried fruit, raisins, cherries, prunes. Oak and vanilla. Malt sweetness barely balanced by hop bitter. Finish is long and fruity / oaky. It just goes on and on,
M: full but not cloying or syrupy. A touch of carbonation keeps it lively. Definitely warming but not hot.
O: a big, flavorful, warming "sipping" beer.

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Photo of amphion1065
3.9/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750 mL bottle into a Duvel tulip. Reviewed from notes.

Cutting through the wax with a corkscrew sort of made me feel like one of the (non-murderous) apes from the opening scene of Space Odyssey. After that arduous ordeal, I was rewarded with this beaut. Seriously, other than de Struise, is there another brewer that makes beers this big look this good? The pour is actually much lighter than I expected: it's a soft auburn, with ruby highlights, not quite opaque in the light. A two-finger very light tan head forms remains for a solid three minutes. Pretty minor lacing with no real legs to make up for it is the only reason this doesn’t get a 5.

Tons of rich malt in the aroma. A classic old ale sweetness, this is rich with toffee and figs. Honestly, I could be fooled into thinking that this was -bal aged, as there are some pretty serious alcohol phenols coming out of this combined with a sort of leathery, woody character. That said, for the actual amount of alcohol in this beer, the aroma of alcohol is remarkably restrained.

Like the aroma, the taste is a carnival of malt. Loads of butterscotch. There's a certain old, weathered element to this beer, rich with wood, tobacco, and leather. The alcohol is really, really muted, much more so than in the aroma. In many ways, this actual reminds me of scotch. There is, however, a very evident, medicinal, cough syrup taste in the finish. As the beer warms, this quality only become stronger, and it really detracts from this otherwise delicious beer.

The carbonation is lively, but not detrimentally so. It does seem to detract from the viscosity of the beer, though this is still very thick and lush.

Given the relative youth of this beer and how enormous it is, it is drinking very well right now. Were it not for that off-putting cough syrup flavor, this would approach perfection for me.

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Photo of oline73
3.92/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I had this on-tap at Max's.

Appearance: Pours a cloudy dark reddish brown color with a finger of tan head that leaves a ring around the glass.

Smell: Sweet with some spices and smoke coming through. Reminds me a little of a bbq sauce. I'm also picking up some dark fruit.

Taste: Very sweet. Hints of smoke, brown sugar, dark fruit, and some spice. The finish has quite a lot of alcohol in it.

Mouthfeel: Medium to thick body with smooth carbonation. The finish is slick.

Overall: This beer would benefit from some aging in my opinion. I enjoyed it, but I don't know that I could drink more than a few ounces right now. Still a good beer.

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Photo of schwaeh
3.92/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750ml bottle shared by Mbpbugeye.

A: Pours a dark tobacco brown. Nice light beige half inch head that fades into some nice lace.

S: Smells somewhat hot with tobacco, rum soaked fruit, sugar, and molasses. Smells like bourbon syrup. I get mesquite BBQ sauce once it warms all the way up.

T: The taste starts as leather, molasses, tobacco, and raisins. The alcohol is very noticable but not off-putting. The bourbon notes are very minimal in this blended version but add to the complexity.

M: Small amount of carbonation. Thick and viscous mouthfeel. Somewhat hot, but not overly so at 14.5%.

O: This is a slow complex sipper with plenty to offer. I'm very happy that I got to try this behemoth of a beer. Consume near room temperature to get the most out of this one.

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Photo of claaark13
3.93/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Founders snifter at cellar temp. The bottle is just cool enough for the outside to fog when touched.

A - Dark reddish brown with a thick white head.

S - Sweet licorice. Some spices and the slightest amount of oak. It smells good, but nothing exciting. Too much sweetness.

T - Sweetness throughout. Not an immense amount as I see in some reviews, but it is sweet from start to finish. Burnt caramel/toffee and dark fruit. I think the licorice in the aroma I was getting is actually raisin. Dry, oak finish. Somehow it is noticeably dry and noticeably sweet at the same time. I actually like how the dryness plays against the sweetness. Not much, if any, booze evident.

M - Somewhat thick. I actually find it to be in line for the style. Not sure if it could get better. I think it will feel thicker in time if carbonation dies.

O - It is good, but I can't say that I'd order more than on serving at a bar....assuming the serving were 8oz or less. I do believe the aging potential here is great. I guess I'll snag more for the cellar.

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Photo of vandemonian
3.93/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I had this on tap at ChurchKey in DC. Cuir is a tasty old ale that takes on many of the characteristics of the whiskey who's barrel it was aged in. The alcohol was a little overpowering.

A: Brown and translucent. Decent head that fades to reasonable lacing. 4

S: Alcohol with a hint of raisins. 3.5

T: Alcohol and buttery, almost whiskey, liquor flavour. The alcohol is overpowering. 4

M: Thick. 4.5

O: 4

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Photo of SFLpunk
3.93/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

2011. 750mL brown glass pry-top bottle. Black wax dipped.

Pours a dark brown color with moderate off-white/light tan head that grips the glass with all its might. Nose is of a huge barley wine, wet barley grain, sticky caramel and toffee, some moist tobacco too. I also get some red berries and maybe a little plum too.

Palate is big and chewy, and huge with alcohols both high and low. Lots of fruitiness like red licorice and chewy dark tobacco and fig flavors too. Slick with booze. Long leathery finish.

Notes: This is a big boozy monster of an old ale. Lots of higher alcohols which isn't surprising given the ABV. Not my favorite old ale - think the North Coast and Alesmith Decadence are better.

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Photo of stakem
3.94/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml waxed bottle poured into a matching Bruery snifter. The brew appears a very dark brown color with solid 2 fingers light khaki head that fades leaving spotty lace.

Aroma of raisons sweet caramel, molasses, dry toasty malt, booze and some papery oxidative qualities.

Tastes raisony, toasty malt, cocoa, molasses and slight herbal character. Some oxidative notes pushing through adding great complexity and focus on the dryer side of the maltiness present.

This is full bodied and modestly carbonated. Great balance of booze, malt, herbal and oxidative qualities. This bottle is 5 years old at the time im opening it but it actually tastes older than that and im really digging it. (I assume this is the product of the solera method of blending/aging.)

Revisit 12 hours after opening for another 8oz pour:
Less carbonation which actually feels more fitting of this big beer giving it a richer, creamier feel. Papery oxidation initially that gives way to lots of fruit like raison/prunes and a seemingly completely masked alcohol inclusion. The aftertaste has a bit of fall foliage feel with herbal bitterness contrasting the caramelized sugars.

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Photo of marikoangel
3.94/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip glass at Amsterdam in SF.

A: It pours an opaque chestnut brown; the color is a bit flat. There was no head and no real lacing. The whole appearance of this beer is just heavy and flat, not very exciting looking.

S: The smell is so yummy! Brown sugar, dark fermenting fruit, prunes, over-ripe fig, candied persimmons, apple juice, molasses, caramel malts and small hints of vanilla and oak. It has a very juicy nose. I know that I'm probably missing some notes in there, but there is so much going on in this beer!

T: Juicy and sweet. I definitely am getting over-ripe fruit and apple juice. Rich caramel malts, dark fruits, sugars, complex. The flavors are less intense than the nose, but still very robust. There is a sour quality in there without it actually being sour...I'm not sure how else to explain that...Dry oak notes. Overall the flavors start out more boozy sweet and intense, then mellows out so quickly that you forget it has a 14.5% ABV

M: Medium body, light carbonation, wet juicy start with a dry finish

O: Overall this is a very drinkable beer...dangerously so! It's easy to forget how strong this one is. It is definitely a good one to split with others. It's not an everyday beer, but a great treat.

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Photo of chinchill
3.95/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Large shared bottle. 4 years old.
Very fruity aroma featuring dried plums and other dark fruits. Bitter and sweet with a touch of tartness.
Warming but not hot.

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Photo of Trilogy31
3.95/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer is coton on sweet sweet steriods, again reminds me of abacus but not quite there. Pours a rusty hazy dark brown amber with a fleeting finger of head. The nose strikes of rich coffee and chocolate along with toffee and nougat, nicely done. The taste brings sweet sugared coffee, creme brulee, a sweet sherry character, along with some dqrk fruits and a tannic bourbon barrel finish. Well carbonated and a tasty beer yet i prefer a year old coton to this guy.

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Photo of homebrew311
3.95/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: deep brown, ruby highlights, thin white head, little lacing

S: lactic acid, almond, maple, and cherry. A whole lot I going on here, subtle vanilla comes through at the end

T: starts off with fig, cherry, and tobacco. A little tartness starts gaining momentum, the end is very acidic with a bit of booziness

Mf: thick syrupy body, low carbonation

O: lots of flavor, nice flavors, heavy on the booziness

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Photo of jwinship83
3.97/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml waxed capped bottle drank from my stone IRS snifter. my wife gave me this bottle for fathers day. to be honest, its kind of scared me. massive ABV, not my favorite style, no one to drink it with me, overall bruey skepticism...oh well, here it goes.

A- the pour yields a very dark mahogany brown with a surprisingly large khaki colored head. as expected, the head fizzles away before my eyes to form no more than a thin skin on the top of my glass. small spots of lacing get left on the sides of my glass.

S- the nose is potent and complex. the alcohol certainly makes itself known, but this beer is a massive 14.5% and "fresh" so ill give it a pass. bready malts mixed with toffee and a little sweet caramel. brown sugar, vanilla (oak), the bourbon comes out a little. decently fruity. raisins/tobacco, cherries, figs, a little bit of green apple skins. earthy and leafy hops.

T- the taste starts out with a ton of sweet malts. caramel, toffee, and fresh baked bread. after that it moves onto the fruits. raisins/tobacco, cherries, figs, dates, and green apple skins, which add a slightly sour character to this. the bourbon and vanilla from the oak are more apparent in the taste than in the nose. earthy and floral hops at the end. alcohol can be tasted throughout.

M- the body is on the extreme upper end of medium. the carbonation is nice and subdued. intense warming from the alcohol, but once again, that is expected.

O- this beer wasnt nearly the monstrosity that i was expecting. very drinkable for the massive beer that it is. especially for how fresh it is. this gives me hope for the bottles of coton i have saved in the cellar. i cant wait do acquire some papier and do a complete mini-vertical (with plenty of people) in a few years.

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Cuir from The Bruery
4.12 out of 5 based on 588 ratings.
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