Fred | Hair of the Dog Brewing Company / Brewery and Tasting Room

864 Reviews

Brewed by:
Hair of the Dog Brewing Company / Brewery and Tasting Room
Oregon, United States

Style: American Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Fred was created to honor beer writer and historian Fred Eckhardt. It is made with aromatic and rye malts and includes 10 different hop varieties.

10% alcohol by volume
65 IBUs.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 08-13-1998

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Reviews: 864 | Ratings: 1,804
Photo of Viggo
4.35/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch #59! Pours a hazy caramel brown, very opaque, smal white head forms and it laces real well. Smell is of pine and caramel, little bit of toast, and a little alcohol. Taste is amazing caramel sweetness, and piney hops, tiny bit of alcohol is present and the balance is phenomenal. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, low carb and very full and rich, very warming. Excellent beer.

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Photo of DrJay
4.4/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Listed as batch #59 on the label. This beer was completely opaque, really hazy, and a nice caramel colour. There were big flecks of yeast in suspension, and overall, this seems to be "the chunkiest beer ever". Excellent lacing of the light tan head too. The aroma is a nice balance of pine and caramel that's a bit bready and toasty. A hint of alcohol was present as well. Moderately high bitterness was balanced by caramel maltiness and a bit of toasted grain. It finishes with some citrus hops and alcohol warmth. Creamy texture with well-integrated, moderately low carbonation and an off-dry finish. This is a fine barleywine with a nice focus on balancing big malt with big hops and bitterness. Thanks Viggo!

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Photo of clvand0
3.69/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours an amber color with a large head that had nice retention and left lacing on the glass - lots of chunk came from the bottle. The aroma didn't do it for me - very strong - lots of bready and lots of hops that I don't really recognize. The flavor was much the same. Big malt presence, but there is a very strong hop presence as well as a lot of alcohol. Lots of fruits. Tastes a lot better than it smells. The mouthfeel is moderate, but seems a little oily and thin. The drinkability is ok, but it is very strong and aggressive.

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Photo of silenius
4.48/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Batch #58

It doesn't surpise me that this beer is classified on this site as an American Barley Wine. The bottle says it is a "Golden Special Ale" but as I was drinking it I couldn't help but think of much it tastes like a Barley Wine.

It pours a red gold with an ample fuzzy head that eventually looked like the top of a malted milk to me. Lots of lacing on the chalice walls.

Smell is quite nice with pear brandy overtones, chocolate (more of that malted milk here!), hops, figs and alcohol. I had to deduct half a point for the slight burning in my nose after sniffing this beer.

I taste caramel, chocolate, hops, candied pears and spices infused into a really warming brew.

Mouthfeel is warming, drying and oily all at once.

Maybe with some time it will mellow out to a point where I want more than one at a time, but right now it is drinking nicely.

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Photo of GCBrewingCo
4.59/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

The beer poured into the glass chunky and nasty with a golden amber color. The head was tall and large and fine bubbled lasting to lace the glass.

The aroma was evident from a mile away. Deeply fruity and malty with a strong ale presence. The beer aromatic was bready and hoppy and uniquely interesting and complex. The aroma contained some higher alcohol spicy phenolics that added complexity.

The flavor was malty with a strong bittering a bready flavor that contained a deep fruit character. The bittering was assertive and agressive and backed up by the malt flavors which were also strong and yet well done. The hop flavors were well aged and well presented.

The finish was hoppy and bitter with a dry edge, but still retained a strong malt presence into the afteraste and long lingering bittering. The body was full and viscous and well done. Alcohol added complexity throughout the beer, but really showed in the warming that occurred post consumption.

12 ounce bottle, Batch Number 35. It appears this batch was from 2002 per the label, but who knows when I purchased it. Anyway, a heck of a beer...

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Photo of TastyTaste
4.4/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A gigantic tops this beer off from the moment of the pour. Body is very dark brown, very hazy with just a little visible yeast. Dark fruit, rum, raisin, but also slightly tart. Huge flavors, sweet and earthy malt, plums, raisins, and strong hops (although not over the top for a barleywine). This is a very well balanced barleywine, very drinkable, and not overwhelming (still has some teeth, though).

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Photo of Sammy
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep, rich taste, batch 54. What an initial head-read instructions, pour slowly. Creamy barleywine taste, honey sweetness and drying with spicy bit of burnt barley taste at end, orange citrus. Golden orange lucious, great hop experience. Thank you JoeMcPhee.I had a bottle 1.5 years later at Volo Cafe which was fine as well.

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Photo of donnebaby
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Roiling boil of bubbles shoots from the base and holds a massive dry and poofy head. Color of the brew is blotted by the carbonation and seems like it was about to explode in the bottle. Turbid dark orange color body.

Nose is fermenting tropical fruits -- mangos, with raisins, dates, and currants. Spicy alcohol touches. Full of malt breadiness.

Taste holds ample malts body, instantly spicy from the alcohol and hops in the mouth and the throat. Malt taste gives way to an excellent toasty cinnamon spice after. Slightly burnt character. Nutty. Restrained sweetness works.

Medium bodied, medium alcohol barley wine. Very nice and full of flavor.

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Photo of nrrd
4.23/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, batch 54.

Beer pours dark amber with a lot of head (perhaps a little over carbonated). Mild, spicy aroma.

Taste is really, really good. A little yeasty and hoppy at first, giving way to a strong, sweet caramely maltyness and a spicy finish.

I expected something very Belgian, based on the appearance, but this is pretty different. Maltier than most beers of this type, with just the right balance of hops and spiciness.

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Photo of amatuerbeerguy
4.37/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours out hazy golden honey color, thick off white head, that stays on the glass. Strong hop smell with floral essents, some malt breaks thru. Strong alcohol warming, with malt lingering in the taste. With a some apple fruitiness apparent though the hops are strong again in the taste like the aroma almost a sweetness with the hops though. The spiciness the hops gives of is somewhat of an undertone to the bitterness and the floral character. The creamy full bodiness, lends to the proper carbonation, and alcohol warming. Nicely balanced with the malt break thru, hoppiness, and alcohol warming.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
4.54/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

(Served in a chalice)

A-This beer pours a hazy golden brown color with a nice creamy light tan head. It has a strong carbonation of tiny bubbles. Nice Belgian lace with each sip.

S- The smell of complex layer of hops is strong. Some notes of green fresh hops, piney resins, grassy hops and a bit of pineapple hops. There is a hint of pale malt that gives it a sweet smell.

T- Very smooth pale or light caramel malts that blend with a alcohol warmth and a spicy hop finish. The hops are very floral and the bitterness of the hops is very faint. Definitely fruity notes of apples or soft pears.

M- Very creamy full mouthfeel with a slight alcohol warmth that is not to hot. I would guess higher than 10% though.

D- Very good complex beer with a nice hop addition. It taste like an American Golden Strong Ale. It has all the nice characteristics of a Belgian Golden but the hops are American strength. It is pulled all together and balanced which is very nice. Its not to common to find a beer with big alcohol and big malt that has big hops to balance. Well done.

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Photo of shippos
4.11/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

poured with a thick white head on a clear brillant golden honey color with a thick 2 finger head that fades to a nice thin coating.
sweet malty sugary aroma...not much hops mostly malty sweetness mixed with alcohol and some softer fruity notes. decent amout of carbonation in this that cuts through what would be a bit too thick and over sweet body...nicely balanced match with the amount of alcohol presenting itself. starts out a bit lively in the mouth and is very easy to drink...good beer.

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Photo of kmpitz2
4.39/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This brew pours a dirty straw color with a 3 finger head that falls to a healthy coating over the beer. The nose is really nice. Ther eis a bit of citrusy and spicey hop, alcohol puffs, and some orangey caramel in the malt. The flavor is very different. Slight roasty, slight soy sauce, not sure what the hops are doing, but I really like it and it is a lot. Everything comes together very nicely. There is a spicey and piney residual hop on the finish. Very very nice. The feel is thick and nice. Slight carbonation. Drinkability is huge. Its very easy drinking. The flavor keeps me coming back. Well built. I can only imagine what the barrel aged is like.

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Photo of xgrigorix
4.53/5  rDev +11%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Twelve ounce brown bottle, batch #54, no dates.

Pale amber in colour. Beautiful cap of whipped cream like meringue. Fast moving lines of thin carbonation. Heavy rings of lace are left clinging to the glass.

Warm & fruity aromas mix flawlessly with light estery alcohol aromas. Very inviting.

Incredibly fruity. Notes of apple, berry, honeydew & citrus crawl all over this thing. Caramel, biscuit, & a kiss of spicy rye that gives it a delicious twist. Finishes dry & very well hopped. Hop flavours of citrus & pine, fresh cut grass, & herbs linger as the throat warms slightly to welcome this luscious concoction to my esophagus. Full bodied, lush, delicate carbonation. Brash, bold, elegant, & sophisticated all at once.

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Photo of Truh
3.71/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Wondered where in the heck Wilma could be with this one on 5/27/2004. 12-oz. bottle poured in a shaker glass.

Huge, frothy meringue-like head. Honey to amber in hue. Peaks and low valleys are the tableaux between liquid and head. Constant carbonation going on. Some fruity esters up front, with some noticeable clover and sweet grass, maybe buckwheat, and a sizzling alcohol. Nice and juicy with some big malt, and not too hoppy, but the green stuff is definitely in there, with a cloying, penicillin-like taste at close. Quite enjoyable for this time of year (was May at that point), though I think I prefer the Adam

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Photo of mgdeth
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance - Batch 57. LIght amber and orange in color. Massive head - I mean, this carbonation is crazy. Yet it does not appear to have a wild yeat infection. Hazy.

Smell - Spicy, yet not like a Belgian beer. Fruity, maybe something like a papaya (but not strong) with faint grainy notes. No hops in the nose, or minimal hop aroma. Alcohol is also present.

Taste - Even the foam in this beer has a big taste to it. Alcohol flavor hits fairly hard. Tropical fruit flavor is well balanced with the hops. This beer has so many flavors happening at one time, it is difficult to describe.

Mouthfeel - Big body, alcoholic warmth. Highly carbonated.

Drinkability - This is a tough one to drink. The high alcohol combined with so many flavors makes the beer really complex. It is not unpleasant (and the flavor is very good), but this is no neophyte beer.

Comments - This is a serious beer. Dogfish Head 120 Minute and World Wide Stout are both easier to consume, and this one has half the alcohol. It might be a good idea to cellar this beer for a good long while. Talk about a down and dirty ale - this stuff is great. Don't be fooled by the label: "Golden Special Ale."

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Photo of santoslhalper
4.17/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearence: Pours a cloudly amber with a creamy off-white head.

Smell: The smell is a bold mix hops and a great caramel malt smell.

Taste and Mouthfeel: The taste has a suprising balance for the incredible complexity. The hops are juicy and citrusy with a tiny bite to them, while the malts are bready caramel. It's very well rounded. The yeast is noticble but not bad, and the mouthfeel is fizzy and crisp.

Drinkability and Overall: An interesting beer, complex yet balanced. An odd barleywine for sure, but an enjoyable one. It's not for the weak of palate, but I think hopheads will find some joy in this beer.

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Photo of Jason
4.01/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: 12 oz bottle with a batch # of 54 on the label.

Appearance: Very frothy … not a gusher but the carbonation was very active during the pour. The head retention was the best I have seen in a long time. The sediment stayed to the bottom the bottle to yield a semi-clear reddish orange hue.

Smell: Yeasty with a blunt tropical fruit aroma. Spicy grain. Estery and mild caramel in the nose as well.

Taste & Mouth Feel: Full bodied with a creamy slick mouth feel. Rose-like alcohol, bitter hop with a hard yeasty bite. Spicy rye grain middle to end. Malty with lots of toasted husk on the palate. Finishes with a big spicy bite.

Drinkability & Notes: A very original brew, a sipping brew as well. By all means let this warm up to cellar temp before you drink it.

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Photo of RoBotGod
4.05/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

(Batch #56) They were right with golden. It looks like a part of the yellow brick road. Thick head and a really thick lace. There are still marks from where the beer was first poured. This beer is slamming with flavor. The 10% really hits you in the face but is soon covered up by the golden yeast and heavy malt. The hops stick out like a fat kid wearring bright green spandex. A heavy molasses after taste that coats your throat and the glass. One of the better beers Ive had in a while and one of the manny great beers Ive had out of oregon.

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Photo of granger10
4.58/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I had a blind barleywine tasting last night and this beer took first out of the 8 beers involved. Here's my notes on it:

Appearance: Honeyish color with a solid creamy head that holds up decently. Holy Crap! There is an exorbant amount of yeast in here and the yeast is thick and big. Nice and dirty . . . I love it!

Smell: This is a very, very aromatic beer. It's not real hoppy or alcoholy but more sweet. There's a sweet roll nose on it combined with caramel but I can tell there's a lot of hops and alcohol in there, they just meld together nicely. Slightly fruity in the end.

Taste: Begins with a caramel sweetness then toffee. There's a spicy flavor in here that seems to work with the sweetness. The yeast provides a buttery flavor that's light and also works with the spicyness but brings out some fruit flavors the further I go. Hops are abundant but not bitter at all. Very complex hop strike here. There's some woody tones the whole way, I'm getting oak and a little vanilla with it. No alcohol fusels at all. Finish is amazingly aromatic meaning I'm getting all the flavors from the beer every time I breathe. Amazing!

Mouthfeel: The yeast provides a great body, nice smooth thickness. Great balance of flavors are in there. The slight butteryness makes it a little slick on the tongue which I really like. I'm loving this beer.

Drinkability: Oh yeah this is drinkable. I couldn't put this down. Not a sipper as its too enjoyable and not quite intense enough. The flavors let themselves known but aren't overbearing.

Overall: One hell of a beer. The brewers who brewed this know their stuff and then some. Amazing.

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Photo of goodbyeohio
4.2/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

bitch #54

pours a super foamy amber with minimal carbonation and nice, thick lacing. very intricate, wish i could include a picture

aroma is unique, to say the least. i detect strong cumin notes along with corn and maltiness.. not what i expected but interesting and not at all bad.. unless of course this ends up tasting like colt 45.

sure enough it does not. first thing to hit me is the creaminess of the head that sticks to my upper lip and coats my tongue. then comes a buttery, smooth flavor with a mix of spicy hops intertwined. all this followed by a serious alcohol kick in the ass. makes no effort to hide its abv, but since it emerges in aftertaste only, i will forgive it.

the more i drink, buttered toast comes to mind in the nose as well. this is a really good beer. i've passed it many times on the shelf, and today's trip to town and country sealed the deal. this would be a great complement to fried chicken. don't ask me why.

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Photo of orbitalr0x
4.18/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch #57. Fred departs the bottle a dirty amber orange brown hue with a huge pillowy white head in my tulip glass. Wow..thick patchy lacing sticks to the side of the glass as the massive head slowly works its way down. Impressive. Big spicy, citric hop notes battle each other as they waft up into my nostrils. Hints of pepper mesh with sweet caramel candy, vanilla and fruity tones. Complex and intruiging.

A nice sweet caramel/toffee maltiness arrives first along with a veritable cornucopia of hop notes...floral, spicy and citric all make a showing, with hints of tropical fruits. A candi sugar sweetness does a good job of balancing out the bitterness. A yeasty, spicy finish makes this seem like a Belgian-esque barleywine to me..quite an interesting brew overall.

Mouthfeel is suprisingly arid on the palate...good body with a lot of tight, bubbly carbonation. A bit less carbonation would make me happy. As for drinkability...this is definetly a sip and savor brew. I could see having a couple on a cold night. I might have to track more of this down to cellar. Many thanks to weefisheads for the opportunity to sample this one.

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Photo of oxmasterscream
4.92/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Wow. What a pleasant surprise coming off of my last HOTD brew, Ruth, which I nearly despised.

App: Poured into a tulip glass... cloudy copper with a big, cream colored, frothy, thick head which left massive lacing as it was consumed.

Smell: Awesome. Complex. Wonderfully fresh hop aromas coupled with a heavy malt presence. Spicy, fruity, cotton-candy, golden raisins, vanilla, sweet, golden pastries, a bit of citrus... damn, I can't put my finger on one of the smells but I can't get enough of it. I took a deep whiff between every taste.

Taste/Mouth/Drink: Yow. Big time hop burn. Wickedly spicy and seriously fruity. Finish is bitter sweet and lingering. At times a citrusy, sour tang was left throughout my mouth. A candy-like sweetness is balanced by crisp, spicy hops. Warming but not overly alcoholic tasting. Mouth is thick and full but still bubble and prickly on the tongue. Really enjoyable. A top-notch barleywine. The way one should taste. I wish I had bought more than one.

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Photo of babydoc
4.05/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Batch 51, in a twelve ounce bottle.
Pours a dark cloudy apricot, with a generous creamy yellow white head. The head slowly bubbled down to a thn layer that persisted until the end, leaving bits of lace down the chalice. Nose was apple, caramel, and apricot. Tastes of sweet malts, with apricot, fruit, then tart hops. The carbonation and alcohol contribute to a prickly buzz on the tongue, leaving a creamy mouthfeel and alcohol warmth on the tongue and palate. It's a potent brew. Lovely, but a bit much to drink all evening. Love to have another tomorrow, and would like to taste batch 51 later on, too.

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Photo of RedDiamond
4.37/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

For the sake of expedience, I’m combining two reviews into one. Both are of the same beer bearing the amicable name Fred, but one was served on draught at the Horse Brass Tavern, the other poured from a 12 oz. bottle originating from my local market.

The Horse Brass actually serves 20 oz. imperial pints of this powerhouse 10% ABV barleywine. This is an insane serving size though it works well as a taunt to your young adult male friends who think all beer is a variation of Bud and who can be coaxed into pounding an imperial pint of barleywine to prove their virility. It’s loads of fun to later deride these young fools for their effete shortcomings as they pass out in the toilet stall after having had “just one beer.” More fun than darts by far.

I opted for a more sensible 10 oz. stemmed wine glass that I savored with great reverence. Fred, named for the venerable beer writer Fred Eckhardt, is a huge ale with a tremendous yet tempered bitterness on draught bearing a flavor profile comparable to an imperial IPA. It is solid and soothing with a great polished texture to the tongue and a taste of congealed honey and sharp bittering derived from ten different hops. Fred is dull topaz, clouded, and has a dense body that seems to glow from within.

Aside from being a hearty compelling beer, the essential reason I revisited Fred in its bottled form was to gain a sense of its smell. I made the assumption that the beer itself didn’t actually smell like cigarette smoke and that this intrusion originated at the bar. True enough. The real Fred has a strong aroma of sliced melon and carotenoid fruits such as peach and papaya. There was also a biting element of alcohol. By comparison, the smell was much more provocative from the bottled version, while the overall taste more tempered and inviting on draught.

These differences could possibly be explained by a different batch or age of the beer. While I don’t know how old the draught version was, the bottled version I drank was from batch 58, which in February, 2005 had clearly not achieved its potential. It was still harshly bitter with an accent on its rye malt component.

Though it says “Golden Ale” on the label, Fred is a golden barleywine reminiscent of Old Boardhead. Given time, Fred evolves as a refined ale with much personality – perhaps too much personality to be accurately conveyed from a single tasting.

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Fred from Hair of the Dog Brewing Company / Brewery and Tasting Room
4.08 out of 5 based on 1,804 ratings.
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