Bourbon Fred From The Wood | Hair of the Dog Brewing Company / Brewery and Tasting Room

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Bourbon Fred From The WoodBourbon Fred From The Wood

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

Style: American Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 12.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Bottles (12 oz) released November 2011
Batch 2 bottles (12oz) released July 2012.

Added by jdense on 07-25-2009

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Reviews: 128 | Ratings: 455
Photo of metter98
4.01/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bottle at Hair of the Dog Brewing Company, Portland, OR

A: The beer is somewhat hazy caramel amber in color. It poured with just a few specks of bubbles around the edge of the glass.
S: Moderate aromas of vanilla, oak, and toffee are present in the nose.
T: The taste follows the smell and is very toffee-like, with notes of vanilla from the oak.
M: It feels medium- to full-bodied and a little sticky on the palate with no carbonation.
O: This makes for a nice dessert beer and is something that needs to be slowly sipped.

Note: 2011 vintage

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of brewskifan55
4.4/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The Batch 1 Version; 2011. Poured into a beautiful HOTD tasting glass at the brewery.

A: Dark brown with very little head. A nice stationary rim around the glass.

S: Bourbon, oak, vanilla, caramel, toffee.

T: Follows nose with a sweet, oaky booziness. Vanilla, coconut, malts from on high. Brown sugar, a bit of dark fruit, too. As it warmed, the tastes kept enhancing.

M: Medium with low carbonation.

O: One of the beer highlights of my Portland visit. This is a celebration beer, to be sipped with friends. Damn fine stuff.

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Photo of Bosoxfan20
3.62/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2011 Vintage= Batch 1
Let's face it, this is not a pretty looking beer as it pours into the glass. A murky thin lake water with basically zero carbonation. Aroma provides a strong, boozy, sweet, rich charred oak, and sooo much charred oak. Flavor follows nose well with some added caramelized candy and fruity esters. The bourbon is solid, but it can distract from the yeast notes and spice of the rye that the base beer so eloquently conveys. Mouth feel isn't overly hot. Mid body that drinks very easy for its ABV. Quite flat.

Overall, pretty dang good. Probably not one I would go out of my way to hunt down, but certainly worth exploring if given the chance. I would prefer the base beer to this, but a nice change of pace.

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Photo of Beersnake1
4.6/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a '13 poured from fridge temp to a taster. Haven't had it fresh, so I don't have that to compare this to. Pours a nice hazy golden color, with zero carbonation (as seems typical with HotD beers). Getting a ton of bourbon on the nose, with a lot of dark fruit and caramel. Taste is nice and sweet, and a bit boozy. The bourbon comes through nicely. Amazing stuff!

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Photo of Goblinmunkey7
3.74/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

2011 vintage.

Appearance: Clear rusty copper. Deep reds and browns with a mild orange tint. No head to speak of, but barrels do that (this might also be the batch with a carbonation issue). Still with a tiny bubbly collar. No lacing.

Smell: Still loaded with bourbon 3 years later. Huge vanilla and toffee notes. Some coconut and a deep wooden barrel. Malts are massive and sweet. Caramelized malts hit a wide range of sugared sweetness. Caramel, toffee, butterscotch, and even a hint of molasses. Deep coconut. A touch of oxidation has crept in. So much butterscotch and coconut. Sweet and incredibly boozy. Some mild hints of what were slightly earthy hops. Alcohol spiciness. Bready. Sweet.

Taste: Sweet caramel bourbon. Deep rich sweetness. Malts push an underlying bready element. Layers of butterscotch, coconut, and vanilla. Bourbon and alcohol are softer than the nose would indicate. Crazy sweet. Pushes toffee and deeply caramelized sugars. Vague earthy hints in the back with an alcohol spiciness. Brown sugar, lots of it. Some kind of fruit...plum maybe...or fig...I'm not sure. Warming and subsequent sips push a raw, slightly spoiled sugary flavor on the back. Small sips are key. Slightly vegetal at room temp. Sips like a sweet malty bourbon.

Mouthfeel: Slightly slick and smooth. No carbonation. Medium pushing right up on full body. Clean as can be.

Overall: Fred is a big dude.

Like every HotD beer, this is burly as hell. Sweet but complex and quite the sipper. Well played. For a catch-all style, this is hard to beat.

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Photo of cpetrone84
3.83/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pour is a murky pale brown with no head. Nose is strong bourbon and wood with a good bit of caramel and some hints of dark fig and fruits. Nose is more sweet, less bourbon. Caramel and lots of toffee, a bit of slightly charred wood and notes of bourbon. Flavors are a bit more muted than the nose. Full bodied, sticky and chewy, with virtually no carbonation and a soft clean finish.

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Photo of BierJager89
3.34/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 1 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: Glowy ambery orange, with almost no head.

S: The smell, don't smell it. It smells awful.

T: Earthy note, oak, vanilla, caramel, some fruity notes, some mustiness.

M: Medium bodied and overly smooth. Flat.

O: Dont smell it. Taste it and you'll be happy.

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Photo of AgentMunky
2.89/5  rDev -26.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a FIrestone Walker tasting glass. Vintage 2011.

A: Golden amber. No carbonation. No head.

S: Stinky and unpleasant. Very strong kitty litter.

T: Hm. Interesting. Funky and weird. Sugars. Funky yeast. Molasses. Dryish, Belgiany influence.

M: Dry and sour.

O: This is deep and interesting and complex, but is not very good. I would give it another try, but as is it's awfully disappointing.

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Photo of Lorianneb
4.08/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

2013 vintage poured into a teku glass on 5/25/14. Thanks to jrocco2021 for this beer

A- pours dark amber with no head. A few bubbles around the rim. No lacing

S- straight up bourbon nose. Could smell the booze as I poured it. Vanilla, brown sugar, dates

M- flat, but it doesn't kill the experience.p, although some carbonation would definitely make it better. Slick on the tongue.

T- bourbon up front. A bit boozy. Brown sugar and vanilla. Sweet. A sipper for sure

O- overall, a very nice beer. A boozy sipper by the fire

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Photo of portia99
3.99/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

3rd and final in my series of Fred beers to celebrate the life of my recently departed cat, Fred.

12oz bottle (2011 vintage) poured into a gold rimmed Harpoon 100 Barrel series stemmed glass.

A - Pours rather muddy, medium amber in color, and practically devoid of any head. Only a thin ring of bubbles for a collar shows any sign of life in this beer.

S - Bourbon up front with a firm intensity, rather boozy overall. I wouldn't have called it as accurately (nutty would be my description), but the label says almonds - and sure enough, I'd say they are right. Toffee, caramel, hints of rye, estery, brown sugary sweetness...and more bourbon...this one is shaping up to be a serious sipper.

T - Bourbon for sure, although somehow this is rather devoid of heat, even at 12%. Definitely sweet, more than the regular and simple "Wood" version. Fruity and estery, much more so than other versions. Still sweet, but a bit subdued by the other flavor character shown. A bit of molasses layered through toffee and caramel sugary flavors. Not sure if it is the bourbon, but the sweetness is much thicker in this version, trending towards cloying.

M - Near still for carbonation which I am not much of a fan of...body is medium high - a bit of life would have probably kicked this up a notch too. Quite sweet and sugary (need to brush my teeth after this one). Boozy and bourbony. I get a lasting sugary coating on my lips that on every lick gives an almost crème brulee burnt sugary impression...this can't be a bad thing!

O - Overall, still quite good, but perhaps the weakest of the Fred variations. A case where barrel aging doesn't help the beer and perhaps takes away some of its finest nuances. The original Fred was the top of my list tasting these in succession. Tasting separately or between/behind/in front of other beers...who knows - may change the impression, but Fred - FftW, BFftW progression took a bit away each time (and I don't believe it to be from reduced coherency despite the 10%, 10%, 12% strengths of these beers. Regular Fred was supremely balanced and this almost by default had to diminish from there. All are great beers, but this BFftW is the least balanced and least flawless/most flawed of the bunch. Worthy of a sample for sure, but the original Fred, for me, is the way to go in the future...rarity doesn't pay off in this series.

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Photo of NCalement
4.21/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle poured into A Westy XII glass.

A- Pours a flat amber red. Looks flat. Transparent, thin, and juicy. Looks like a heavy hitter.

S- Bourbon, leather, tobacco, vanilla, booze, sugar cane, raisins and maple syrup.

T- Wow. Lots of complexity here. Bourbon, vanilla, raw sugar cane, molasses, toffee, leather tannin's, tobacco, raisin, caramel and booze.

M- Flat. unfortunately it's just too flat. Has a nice viscus mouthfeel that hides the %12 abv well, but again its just... flat.

O- As always an amazing beer from HotD!! They are one of my favorites and although this beer is flat I feel that's the least of my concerns, when it taste this good!!!

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Photo of timc100
4.26/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25


Murky, dark gold/blood orange. Decently hazy - absolutely zero head, just some bubbles.

Huge whiskey aroma - surprisingly dominated by peat and smoke. Pronounced bourbon as well - toffee and some caramel and sweet maple syrup. Very whiskey driven.

Taste defined with incredibly rich toffee, maple syrup, boozy-caramel, barrel-vanilla, some dark fruits and slight notes of lighter tropical fruits that blend with the vanilla/toffee. Nice whiskey-boozy heat on it as it goes down.

Flat. Zero carbonation. However, though it is not ideal it does not detract from the beer that much. It smells, drinks and feels like a rich malty spirit.

Pretty one-dimensional and abrasive fresh, however delicious - interested to see how it ages. Also - the sweet maple syrup component is interested given no additive.

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Photo of maxcoinage
4.08/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottle, 2013 Vintage , into snifter with an aggressive pour that left no head at all. color is a light mahogony, beer is fairly clear

You can smell the sweetness in the aroma, some bourbon, nuttiness, oak, maple

Taste is very sweet - raisins, toffee, vanilla, molasses, with some booze on the back-end

Mouthfeel - no carbonation, medium body, syrupy, warming finish

Overall - an enjoyable sipper that was fine for a cold winters evening, but it was almost too sweet. The hint of whiskey kept it somewhat balanced from the sweetness. this would be good to split with someone. would like to revisit it again when it's properly carbonated.

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Photo of Axnjxn
4.06/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz 2013 release into a FW Teku.

Pours a hazy copperish red color with absolutely 0 head. The smell is very intense bourbon and maybe some caramely sweet notes too. Pretty much as i expected with the aroma. The taste is extremely big in flavors. Massive amount of bourbon and smoke to this one..wood is apparent on the finish. I get a lot of caramel , toffee and butterscotch too. Very much full bodied with absolutely no carbonation. Definitely a sipper.

Overall this is just another example of an extremely complex beer from HotD. I can imagine there being a lot of differing opinions about this one.

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Photo of mhksuccess
3.62/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pour from a bottle into Lawsons snifter glass
pour was amber color and absolutely flat as a board
no head totally flat and no lacing
smell is heavy whiskey
and taste is similar flat whiskey and HOTT very HOTT
think if it had some carbonation would have been better
this is not up to the level that you would think

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Photo of Rutager
4.18/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Another beauty brought to the tasting by Boozecamel last weekend.

Appearance. Pours copper-gold and very still. We were warned this would be the case but it's half expected from the brewer anyways.

Smell. Toasted wood and bourbon, raisins and caramel, and some light toasted coconut. Someone suggested cat pee and I did get that too. It's amazing how perception can change when someone plants a seed like that.

Taste. Big caramel and burnt sugar, old dank wood, bourbon and some molasses and honey.

Mouthfeel. Full body and no carbonation. Luckily this beer gets away with the lack of carbonation better than others.

Overall. Very nice despite lack of carbonation. Thanks again Phil!

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Photo of Phobicsquirrel
4.9/5  rDev +24.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Had this at the pub in Portland. Very dark and little head. Smell of bourbon and sweetness, maybe some chocolate as well. First sip was amazing, a blast of sweetness and thickness of molasses (or close too it), and the bourbon wasn't over powering but was still very up front.

I had a few glasses and it is one great beer. I would compare it to bourbon country but with this one, I almost feel it is a bit better. However it depends on the mood I'm in.

Notes on the beer during the tasting:

Sugary Sweetness
Long Finish

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Photo of Holland
3.98/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.75

2011 version, I think it's batch 1.

A: murky brown to khaki colored beer with no head whatsoever, and no sediment visible even though its translucence changes with the angle. Looks viscous. Okay, after letting it settle in the glass and then pouring a bit there is a lot of sediment visible.

S: sweet, oak, sugar, malt, molasses, and fruits like apricot and raisin are quickly evident. Some burnt sugar is in there.

T: exactly like the smell, but fruitier and sweeter than expected. Also much less oak-driven than the smell.

M: terrible carbonation if there was any at all. Feels too heavy without any carbonation.

O: amazing that the flavors and their delivery did not suffer from the lack of carbonation. Does not taste like 12% at all. Excellent beer, but I'd love to try a carbonated version.

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Photo of papat444
3.91/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

***2011 Vintage***

Big thanks to Boozecanel for this one.

Poured from a 12oz. bottle.

Appearance: Pours a hazy, leather brown color. Zero head and no lacing really. Looks like a huge glass of spirit.

Smell: Soaked in bourbon, quite strong, bit of almonds.

Taste: Lack of carbonation doesn't seem to be affecting the flavor. Bit of dark cherries, bourbon & caramel intertwined, toffee, quite sweet, candi sugar.

Mouthfeel: Zero carbonation makes it different but flavor backs up the feel to salvage it.

Overall: Would have looked if it had conserved it's carbonation but overall the flavor makes up for it.

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Photo of jaasen64
4.2/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 2.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into HF sherry glass.

A- Pours a brownish orange copper color with some slight translucency. Beer appears perfectly flat in the glass with next to no carbonation (just a couple very small slowly rising bubbles) and absolutely no head whatsoever no matter how hard you pour it. Would probably be a nice looking beer if it had just a little bit of carbonation to it.

S- Toffee, caramel, molasses, sweet bourbon that inter-plays very nicely, hints of oak, creme-brulee, very dessert-like. All in all this has a fantastic nose, the balance between the bourbon and base beer is fantastic- being very dessert-like, pleasant smelling, but not overpoweringly sweet.

T- Sweet caramel covered toffee, rich molasses, touches of honey and vanilla, extremely well-integrated bourbon that balances perfectly with the beer and adds to the dessert-like quality, faint hint of citrus hops come out in the background and are slightly more pronounced on the finish adding a subtle complexity to the beer. This beer tastes fantastic, the more I drink it the more the subtle nuances of the complexity come out. Definitely a dessert beer, almost like drinking liquified creme-brulee.

M- Medium bodied, incredibly smooth for the abv, I could easily get drunk on this before even knowing it. Huge downfall is the lack of carbonation which adds a slight bit of wateriness to this beer.

O- If this beer were actually carbonated it would be fantastic, even without the carbonation it is still a great beer with nice complexity, a very good drink-ability, and fantastic nose. While this beer isn't over-poweringly sweet or cloying, it should be recommended as a dessert beer. Even being flat I would recommend anyone who loves sweet, complex beers to try this out.

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Photo of Smurf2055
3.61/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

2011.5 vintage. Pours deep golden with a finger head. Smell is peaches, oak, vanilla, belgium. Taste is strong woody flavors, oak and vanilla, good bourbon, slight sourness, some base beer still there. Good beer.

2012 dark hazy orange with a finger head. Smell is citrus and cream, some oak. Taste is sweet juicy fruit and spice. A lot more of the base beer comes through on this, very nice.

2011 darker blond/orange with almost no head, very undercarbonated. Smell is strong bourbon oak and vanilla, fruit and spice. Taste is vanilla, smooth and fruity, some booze, pretty mellow. Overall, ok.

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Photo of rlee1390
3.89/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A-Clear amber, not much carbonation, or head.

S-Bourbon, caramel, toffee and oak.

T-Bourbon, caramel, oak, cherry, charred. As it warms the balance improves.

M-Light and watery with hardly any carbonation.

O-Some carbonation would do this beer wonders, still good, but a batch without carbonation issues would be amazing.

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Photo of DCon
4.44/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Received a 6-pack of this while visiting Yakima, WA and visiting my local friend from Portland. Cheers to beer friends! Poured 12 FLUID OUNCEs of this brew into a 20oz Yakima Tennis Club Pint Glass. Has "YEAR MADE 2013" on the front of the label.

Aroma- Huge candied/sugar aroma starts this one off with bourbon following close behind. Toffee may be the best description of this one. Enjoyed coming back to smell this one!

Appearance- With a vigorous pour, didn't even get a half finger of head. Since this was barrel aged for over 18 months, this must be the reason behind this. Nice color to the body with a dark copper, orange tint. No clarity behind it which means there is plenty of ingredient in this one!

Flavor- Sweetness, sugar, fruit, and toffee all come up strong. Finishes with a light bitterness level but the hops are covered up by the sweetness and sugar.

Mouthfeel- Medium Bodied, Lightest Carbonation (almost flat), boozy, and then finishes sweet with a hint of caramel/toffee. Not sure about this flat attribute though...

Overall Impression- Wow, what a treat! Enjoyed the hell out of this beer and looking to age at least 2 of these bottles for at least a year. Recommend this guy. Try if you can.

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Photo of Hugonaut13
4.05/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 2 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2012 bottle poured into snifter. Big thanks to Standardcherry for this bottle.

A - Pours a deep, cloudy caramel brown with some dark brown yeast floaties in it. Plenty of carbonation in this bottle thankfully. A fingers worth of white foam at the top that is extremely slow to recede. Not a very attractive beer.

S - bourbon, oak, vanilla, and caramel all mixed together and quite strong. It's obvious that this beer took on A LOT of barrel during it's time. This is not a bad thing, smells tasty!

T - Is about what you would expect after the smell. Starts off with oaky brown sugar/vanilla combination. When it was cold, there was some bitterness in the mid that was close to off-putting, but that left as it warmed. It was replaced by lots of sweet malts and dark fruits. Very good. Leaves with a very apparent sweet bourbon taste. Pretty good stuff once it warmed up.

M - Thick and rich is the best way to describe this. The alcohol is also quite present, not that I mind that. This is a definite sipper. Infact, I'd suggest having a glass of water along with it. A bit of a chore to drink.

O - This is one of the most bourbon barrel forward beers I've ever had. The base Fred is completely lost and was taken over by the barrel. Thankfully, I enjoy the strong barrel presence. This is a beer to pour when you only plan on having 1 and have time to enjoy it.

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Photo of blackie
4.12/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

draft at the brewpub

a: draft served in a super cool branded tulip at the brewery, medium amber in color with a cloudy haze, creamy coating head with good retention

s: loaded down with sugary complexity - raisin, honey, brown sugar, lovely bourbon pulls in vanilla and coconut, caramel, sweet alcohol

m: thick and syrupy, sweet fullness, smooth moderate carbonation

t: heavy caramel and dark fruits of raisin and fig, brown sugar, strong bourbon with vanilla and raw oak, big warming alcohol, rich and sweet

o: this one doesn’t hold back on the sweetness and barrel, and that’s something I dig, loved it


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Bourbon Fred From The Wood from Hair of the Dog Brewing Company / Brewery and Tasting Room
3.95 out of 5 based on 455 ratings.
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