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

very good
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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: 454
Photo of Sammy
4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A cognac of beers. Chocolate and vanilla, like that Sam Adams beer. A sipper, rich ingrediants and worthwhile seeking out. Complex bourbon aroma.Good looks as well.Buffalo tasting.Superior barleywine.Only the best from HOTD. Booze is well hidden, I did not realize it was a 10 plus.

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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 largadeer
3.78/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks, Kevin.

Dark, ruddy amber body. Completely still.

A lot of oak and oxidation on the nose, smells a lot like Fred from the Wood with light bourbon overtones. Oxidation lends an earthy sherry quality, nuttiness, and there's plenty of sweet pale malt from Fred balanced with the barrel.

There's more bourbon on the palate than the nose, along with plenty of oak. Caramel flavors are balanced by strong tannins and slightly nutty, sherry-like oxidation. Full-bodied, pretty much still though it isn't to the beer's detriment. Oak heavy finish, almost spicy.

Nice stuff, slightly more enjoyable than Fred from the Wood to me.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.15/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Bottle: Poured a deep brown color ale with almost no head and no lacing – pretty much flat. Aroma of Kentucky bourbon with some vanilla is pretty powerful with distinct alcohol ester and loads of brown sugar notes. Taste is an unbalanced mix between strong notes of bourbon with some loads of brown sugar notes and some light vanilla. Body is full with almost no carbonation and loads of alcohol ester is discernable. Too boozy and too sweet for my taste – probably the type of beer that could be split four ways for a 12oz bottle.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.78/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle shared by drabmuh. Served in a SAVOR wine glass.

Pours a moderately-dark caramel color with a short off whiter head and a thin collar. The nose has bourbon and some slight oak tannin. Heavy malt and light caramel. Flavor is a bit more integrated with a touch less tannin. Medium body with low carbonation. Pretty good, but the bourbon takes over the base beer and is a bit too one-dimensional.

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Photo of wethorseblanket
3.88/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Bottle procurred by Aussy13 last year. 2011 vintage. Thanks.

A: Pours a murky reddish light brown with 8 to 10 bubbles (count them quickly) at the rim leaving zero lace. Essentially still.

N: Toffee, almond shells and husks, whiskey, and a twinge of slightly sour apricot pits. Oddly interesting oxidized sherry-like notes.

T: Layers of sweetish bourbon, oak wood, caramel and toffee.

M: Full body and no carbonation. Sweet boozy finish.

O: Unexpectedly undesireable. I can only sense what could have been.

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Photo of Rifugium
3.95/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Not sure where I first had this, but this review is for a 2011 bottle I acquired in Portland, and cellared until June 2014.

Prying the cap off gave a tiny hiss, indicative of the practically non-existent carbonation I expected. Poured into a HotD stemmed taster, a murky burnt orange color, with no head, and extremely low carbonation, with the tiniest of collars around the rim of the glass, which left microscopic strands of lacing. An interesting aroma, raisins, caramel, chocolate, vanilla, dried orange peel. A lot going on in the taste as well, but largely reflected the aroma: chewy caramel and brown sugar, raisin, heavily oaked bourbon still apparent even after years of mellowing, vanilla and dried citrus zest, with a candy-like sweetness. I'd imagine this was much boozier fresh, but the bourbon and overall higher ABV was pretty well-integrated at this point. Body was closing in on full, mouthfeel was slick, but the practically lifeless carb sort of detracted from the mouthfeel. I always know HotD brews are going to be low carb, but I still always wish there was just a bit more in there to liven up the mouthfeel. Still a good brew overall, but with a complexity in the flavor that might come off as messy to some.

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Photo of billab914
3.41/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 3.5

2009 vintage. 12oz bottle poured into my Dogfish snifter. It poured a murky brown color and very still looking.

The aroma seems pretty bourbon dominated with a lot of alcohol showing through. Woody oak, brown sugar and a malty caramel flavor round out the flavors. The bourbon is good, but it feels pretty one dimensional.

The taste shows a lot of the bourbon influence. Up front is especially dominated by a bold bourbon flavor. In the finish is where more of the woody oak, vanilla and brown sugar mix with a little of the malty sweetness of the base beer. It's a little boozy and bourbon dominated up front, but the finish is very good. Fred seems a little overshadowed by the bourbon, but the bourbon is pretty tasty and smooth though.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied, but completely flat. I like low carbonation in bourbon forward beers, but this is a little too low.

Overall, it was a good beer but wasn't a great beer in my opinion. The no carbonation aspect hurt it a lot and made it feel almost like a bourbon cocktail and not a beer. The bourbon flavors were very good, but that seemed like all it had going for it.

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Photo of womencantsail
4.25/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 bottle from Derek. Thanks!

Pours a cloudy dark golden color with a small off-white head. Intense bourbon and booze aromas come through immediately. A hint of caramel and butterscotch with vanilla and oak being strong contributors as well. Intensely sweet on both the nose and palate. Lots of sweet caramel, vanilla, and whiskey notes on the tongue. Decently woody, but not quite as much as regular Fred from the Wood. Perhaps a hint of maple syrup on the finish. A hint of carbonation would have improved this already good beer.

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Photo of mdfb79
4.22/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From 06/09/12 notes. This was a 12 oz. November 2011 bottle tried side by side with a 3 year old bottle of Fred and Fred From the Wood.

a - Pours a hazy, orange brown color with one inch of off white head and low carbonation evident.

s - Smells of bourbon, dark fruits, vanilla, caramel malts, and some wood/oak. lots of bourbon and vanilla in the nose which I liked a lot.

t - Tastes of bourbon, caramel malts, oak, vanilla, sweet dark fruits, toasted malts, and roasted malts. More caramel malts than the nose. Very nice.

m - Medium body and low carbonation. Not too hot at all.

o - Overall I liked this one quite a bit. While the bourbon is very up front in the nose, it isn't as much in the taste and isn't too hot, which is good. I'd put this on par with the normal Fred we had, though it was split who liked which one better. We all agreed FftW was the best of the three. Still, would like to have it again.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by drabmuh. Thanks Matt.

Served with Adam, Adam from the Wood, Cherry Adam from the Wood, Fred, Matt, Doggie Claws '05.

The beer is a murky copper/brown/orange hue with virtually no head. The aroma brings bourbon, oak, subtle fruit and spice. Good flavor, slightly tannic. Smooth bourbon taste with low carbonation. A tasty brew. A bit less sweet than regular Fred, which is nice. Like the other beers in this lineup, this is suitable for slow sipping and savoring. Overall, very good. Something I would definitely enjoy having again.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.78/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a Kate the Great snifter. 2011 bottle.

Appearance - Murky bright amber. Not a hint of a head. The slightest puff of air when I cracked it open, but that's it. Leggy and sugary.

Smell - Bourbon, oak, and fruitiness. Apples and a peach aroma that was missing from other treatments. It gets more intense as it warms. A touch of acidity as well. Reminiscent of Fred from the Wood.

Taste - Sugary, for sure. Masks some of the flavors. Pale palts and tons of fruity flavors. The bourbon is a little more subdued here, but the oak is more intense. That slight acidity is interesting and blends with a hop bite to really cut the sugars.

Mouthfeel - Yeah, it's flat as hell. It would be so much better with a slight tingle of carbonation. As it stands, it's a sweet, flat, sugary sipper.

Overall - Could be so much more. I would love to try a 2012 bottle of this. Warming and delicious., but just a touch too sweet and too flat to be great.

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Photo of stakem
4.09/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Big thanks to Joe for the hookup on the recent Hotd releases. Poured from a 12oz bottle into a matching Hotd tulip. The cap pries off with hardly a hiss. Poured from more than a foot above the glass, it displays no carbonation. It rests nearly lifeless in the glass with a color of muddy brown that is not too off from looking like fresh apple cider. A bit of particulate floats around in suspension. A collection of about a dozen bubbles sit around the rim of the glass.

The smell of this brew includes a toasty rye malt inclusion. Some notes of smoky wood interplay with raisins, caramel and candy sugar sweetness. Bourbon is quite present accenting the alcohol character along with some raw oaked quality and soft vanilla inclusion. As the brew warms up, it breathes with a little bit of a nutty aspect. Overall, this is a solid and very deep smelling brew that is quit bold yet inviting.

The taste is huge with bourbon and it covers all aspects of the things I love about big barrel aged beers. It has enough residual sweetness to help tame the huge spirited reinforced alcohol inclusion. Toffee and raisins have a bit of almost plum and cider feel to it. Toasty rye malt breaks up the contrast of sweet verse booze and takes the focus of the beer into more of the barrel flavoring realm. Caramel, vanilla, raw oak, toast and char with a mild astringency towards the back end. Seemingly each sip is a little different and for that reason I really enjoy what is going on here in this brew.

Perhaps the biggest let down in this brew is it's drop dead lack of carbonation. It is full bodied and smooth in the feel. It is thick enough but carries enough alcohol inclusion that it is slick and does not coat the inside of the mouth. While being still does not fully distract from the experience, just the slightest amount of carbonation would have taken this brew into a holy realm... really. It is certainly worth the effort if you get a chance, solid deep brew here.

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Photo of johnnnniee
3.01/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Received in trade from brewtechnik, thanks for the opportunity!
The bottle opens with barely a pfft and pours a murky deep brown color, zero head and just a smattering of bubbles. For fucks sake brewers if you are going to release a premium product for a premium price QC the fucking beer before you release it. Smells heavy of sweet bourbon and oak with lots of sugary caramel and toffee malt sweetness. The flavor is sweet sugary malt with lots of caramel, brown sugar, dark sweet fruits, oak vanilla, and bourbon. Thick body with a sweet sickly syrupy mouthfeel, and a non existent level of carbonation. Smells great, tastes ok, the mouthfeel is shot from the lack of carbonation. I didn't give Flat Abbey any slack and I'm not giving this one any either. This could be a great beer, I guess I'll never know.

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Photo of MasterSki
4.05/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Another one thanks to ChrisPro. Served in a snifter. Not sure what vintage this was.

A - A few stray bubbles, but otherwise still. Transparent dark golden body.

S - Loads of bourbon and oak, both of an earthy and spicy character. Fred is long gone - he's been overwhelmed by Mssrs Woodford, Blanton, et al.

T - The taste has a touch more sweet caramel malt to it in the periphery, but it's still quite heavy on the vanilla, bourbon, and oak. A slightly tangy finish, from both bourbon and rye.

M - Smooth, medium-full body. Creamy and lightly dry in the finish. No carbonation, and some definite bourbon heat in the finish.

D - A bit of spritz would help make this more drinkable. If you like drinking bourbon, then you'll dig this, but it's somewhat heavy-handed. Age will blunt the alcohol a bit, but I don't anticipate this carbonating any time soon. I like spirits, so this was nice in small doses.

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Photo of drabmuh
3.67/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Was not a huge fan of this beer, regular Fred is way better. At the time of this review, this beer is the #23 top beer on the "Top Beers - American Strong Ale" list. Fun.

Beer is dark amber / hazy with low carbonation, low head, thin wispy white bubbles, no lacing looks OK.

Aroma is a mixture of bourbon and bourbon, with a little oaky fruitiness from the barrel and from the yeast I assume.

Beer is light to medium in body and really sweet, very bourbony, very strong, alcohol cuts through immediately, leaving a dryness on the palate, strong throughout. A decent beer but as stated before this is like Fred if you put a shot of bourbon in it, not as complex as advertised.

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Photo of aasher
4.07/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours a light bodied caramel syrup, dirty dark amber with only an ever so slight, light watery head. The nose is superb. It's full of smooth bourbon, sweet toffee and caramel, with a lot of oak, a lot of wood! The flavors are nice as well. There is a lot of oak and spice. I'm surprised that those lead off. There is smooth bourbon, malty spice, toffee, caramel, silky fudge, a lot of oak and what I perceive as a touch of cherry. It's very interesting. The lack of carbonation actually doesn't body this beer much at all. The beer still coats your mouth with silky caramel. Overall this beer is really, really interesting. I like it a lot. It has a unique twang to it, making it almost unrecognizable of compared to the regular.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.18/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Thanks to Chris and Adam for this bottle!
2012 Vintage poured in to tulip.

A -Murky/swampy brown/orange in color with a small amount of cream coloured head.

S - Bourbon, vanilla and oak dominate the nose with a slight bready/candy sweetness in the background. The base beer is completely drowned out by the barrel aging, but this is still an excellent nose.

T - The barrel qualities are dominant, as the nose suggested. Bourbon, toasted oak and vanilla flavours are noticeable up front and throughout. Traces of the base beer show up in the finish with some floral notes and a sweet candy-like flavour.

M - Medium body with some chew. Light carbonation.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
4.29/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011 Bottle picked up at the most recent dock sale by inflatablechair and buckeyeboy... Thanks a ton fellas. Poured into my Delerium goblet. The bottle did hiss slightly when I capped it, but the beer pours (as advertised) completely still. Slightly hazed deeep reddish amber... very pretty... looks thick and boozy... no head, no bubbles, no lacing... just good looking brew.

Wow .... nose shows big everything... bourbon... caramel... brown sugar... vanilla... wood... even hints of coconut and maybe some dark cherries.... very very complex.

Damn... this is one huge brew... tons of bourbon and wood... thick vanilla caramel without being too sweet.... toasty wood and coconut... quite a bit of EtOH on the finish... Thick and oily... mouth coating with no carbonation at all.... burns down the gullet like a nice swallow of bourbon.

This is damn good... some bubbles would help quite a bit... but this is a sipper like no other... I am very impressed.


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Photo of John_M
4.03/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The 2012 version, purchased at the HOTD tasting room.

The beer pours a fairly dark brown color with very good head retention and considerable lacing all around. The beer smells pretty impressive as well, as I pick up brown sugar, light chocolate, bourbon and a hint of dry citrus. The flavor profile replicates the nose, but has more complexity I expected. There is also much more bitterness in the finish than I would have expected, and it balances the bourbon, toffee and brown sugar very well. Mouthfeel is medium bodied to full, with a long, moderately sweet, somewhat bitter finish. Alcohol is well integrated into the flavor profile, though you can tell it's up there a bit in this beer.

An interesting beer, but like the first time I tried it back in 2009, it still isn't wowing me. However, I feel as if this beer is pretty ageable (not that I'm likely to have the opportunity to confirm this), and I would be curious to see what this is like in another couple of years.

Edit from 7/29/12. Had this beer again at the Wildwood HOTD dinner event, and the version there was much better. I suspect the wait staff opened the beer some time in advance, giving the beer a chance to open up. Also, the version at Wildwood wasn't nearly as cold as the bottle I enjoyed at the tasting room, and I think that helped as well. Just something to keep in mind...

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Photo of yourefragile
3.72/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz 2011 bottle.

Pours darker than regular Fred, a dark crimson golden with a thin white head, no carbonation, and settles in a still murky liquid. Booze and bourbon dominate the aroma with vanilla, honey, clove, brown sugar. Nearly still body, silky smooth and thick, with a sticky, dry finish. Flavor is syrupy and sweet, following the nose but more bourbon, oak, tobacco and vanilla. Enjoyed regular Fred much more.

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Photo of HopHead84
4.19/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4



A: Hazy sunset amber with a small bubbly head.

S: Rich toffee melds with oak, caramel, and vanilla. Lightly smoky. Citrus is evident, redolent of apricot, tangerine, and grapefruit. Candi sugar blends with brown. Leather is apparent.

T: Sweet caramel with candi sugar. Fruit is reminiscent of apricot and grapefruit. Oak and tannins are apparent. Bourbon is pronounced and there's a little vanilla. Alcohol is tame in the rich bourbon caramel citrus finish.

M: Medium body with no carbonation. This is pretty much tap water flat. The mouthfeel is sticky with notable warming.

Overall: A very nice decadent sipper. Carbonation would be nice, but its absence is not detrimental to the beer.

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Photo of sweemzander
4.56/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz. bottle poured into a snifter. 2011. Another huge thank you to Jason for this bottle!

(A)- Pours a hazy caramel-like amber color. Not much head formation at all, but some tan to transparent bubbles did form.

(S)- Lots of leather, fig, honey, tobacco, and a large dry oak barrel character. A subtle musty oxidation funk, but it fits this quite well.

(T)- Very similar to the smell. A big leather and tobacco component with an evenly large oak profile too, but balanced together with sweet toffee and caramel/fig. A little subtle spice note on the end.

(M)- Despite being flat in the carbonation level department, this is another great example of the excellence of making an expertly balanced barrel aged beer. Superb ABV integration and smooth as hell with practically no burn despite being 12%.

(D)- Alot of reviewers are knocking this one down a bit for its flatness, but to really be honest with you, it does not bother me one bit somehow. Despite the flatness, this beer just works and does not lose a single step for me. Yes, it could improve with a better carbonation level, but it just simply does not bother me that this is flat.
As I said earlier, another great example of expert barrel aging while still being balanced, complex, and well integrated together.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
3.98/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

A: Poured a ruddy golden color color with low carbonation leaving a small white cap and some bubbles

S: Amazing! The nose is very complex; wood, vanilla and candy are dominant but bourbon, coconut, light booze are also prominent

T: Good. Bourbon, vanilla, sweet candy, upfront leads into coconut, candy, woody and Earthy notes. The end falls flat due it's lack of carbonation

M: Flat and poor. It loses me on the lack of carbonation, loses taste, body and overall feel.

O: Good but sordove disappointing due to the carbonaton or lack thereof.

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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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Bourbon Fred From The Wood from Hair of the Dog Brewing Company / Brewery and Tasting Room
3.95 out of 5 based on 454 ratings.
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