Redhook 8-4-1 Expedition | Redhook Ale Brewery

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Redhook 8-4-1 ExpeditionRedhook 8-4-1 Expedition

Brewed by:
Redhook Ale Brewery
New Hampshire, United States

Style: American Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
An American-Style Strong Brown Ale developed by eight Redhook brewers working in four teams of two to create one beer. The ale reflects a compilation of each team’s individual receipes that were then carefully blended into one distinct beer. 8-4-1 Expedition Ale offers complexy flavor notes, delivering malty sweetness, medium bitterness with hints of smoked flavors and oak chips balanced by the addition of honey, brown sugar and candi sugar.

55 IBU

Added by henrysunset on 02-09-2010

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Reviews: 86 | Ratings: 105
Photo of July2Nov
2.82/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Bought at Whole Foods in Honolulu, HI for $8.99.

Appearance: Thin lace of head, which is maintained during the whole of the beer. Burnt-caramel in color.

Smell: Sweetness pours out of the nose with hints of buttered toffee, and a coca-cola scent.

Taste & Mouthfeel: This is a case of the nose steering me wrong. Strong alcohol-wood flavor hits you upfront and stays with you. Bitter bite with an acidic aftertaste. The smoked wood taste is very prevalent. Not a big fan. Too much alcohol flavor for my liking.

Drinkability: This might be for some people, but I just couldn't enjoy this beer. Red Hook normally has a decent selection of beers, but this one is not on my top list. All I can say is that at least it was a limited release.

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Photo of cjgator3
2.86/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

22oz bottle

A- Pours a dark brown color with a light tan head.

S- The aroma is a lot fainter than expected for a high ABV barrel aged beer. The nose has some malt and caramel and maybe a hint of wood.. I'm not picking up much of the barrel aging in the nose. The hops are pretty subdued as well. Not a horrible aroma, just pretty subdued for a beer of this style.

T- The taste starts out with some malt and caramel with a good amount of sweetness. I'm picking up some wood notes as well from the barrel aging along with some bitterness in the finish. I like the front end of the taste, not a huge fan of the finish. The hop bitterness in the finish just doesn't fit in with the rest of the beer.

M- The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation.

D- Overall, I wasn't very impressed with this offering. Wouldn't purchase this one again.

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Photo of goldbot
2.94/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark brown with thin, off-white to tan head. Mostly clear with plenty of carbonation. Not much head retention or lacing. Smells like almost nothing. A hint of grainy malt and a slight whiff of oak, otherwise barren. Tons of oak flavor without being overpowering. Tannic but again not overly so; there's no mouth-puckering effect from the oak. Caramel and bready malts back up the oak. This beer isn't bad but it is kind of a one track oak affair; not much else going on in it.

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Photo of whoneeds8
2.99/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottling date March 8, 2010.

Poured into a pint glass a transparent dark amber with a one finger off white froathy head. Good retentiona and great lacing all the way down. No apparent scent to my really bad nose. I mean I'm getting nothing out of this nose. The taste is rather benign. It has typical brown ale flavor but the promise of an oak flavor is very abscent. There is a good amount of brown sugar flavor that might be too strong. Not enough of anything else to really distinct this as anything but a really strong brown ale. There is a slight alcohol burn to the mouthfeel. Over all, this "limited" is just that . . . one and done.

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Photo of cichief
3.06/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 22 oz bottle.

A- Poured a nice brown, with a decent tan head.

S- Malty, with little hops presence.

T- Toasted malt, no noted hops, somewhat sweet for the style.

M- Smooth, well carbonated, not overly carbonated, but nothing special,

D- Decent brown ale, not a refreshing beer, but falls in the style.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.11/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Dark bittersweet orange with a infusion of brick red... which isn't too crazy a color for an Imperial brown ale. A three finger head of tight-bubbled, ecru hued foam does a fine job plugging the top of the pint glass. When it finally begins to fade, it leaves a respectable amount of lace in shredded sheets.

The nose is akin to a toasted-earthy barleywine whose alcohol could be more completely buried. For a beer with this many ingredients (6 malts, 5 hops, honey, brown sugar, oak aging), precious few of them are appreciated on the sniff.

8-4-1 Expedition is closer to a miss than a hit. Imperial brown ale doesn't seem to fit, so it's probably best to stick with American strong ale. As in the nose, nothing really stands out on the palate... expect alcohol that is borderline hot. Improvement (softening) with warming is this brew's only real hope to snag an above-average taste score.

The malts are steely caramel-like with the slightest bit of wood smoke imaginable. None of the hops (Alchemy, Cascade, Willamette, Crystal and Sterling) make a bold move. Honey? No. Brown sugar? Uh-uh. Oak? Maybe a little. Sorry, but this unfocused mish-mash never does come together into anything resembling good beer.

The body/mouthfeel is actually respectable if your standards aren't too high. Slightly too boisterous bubbles (that aren't fading quickly enough) keep the score from climbing up to the next highest number.

Craft beer kudos to the brewers at Redhook for aiming high with this Limited Release, but they need to follow through and actually hit a target that's worth hitting. This stuff comes across as 'big beer for big beer's sake' and isn't an Expedition that I care to take again. Not even if it's a short walk across a lightly traveled street.

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Photo of jondeelee
3.13/5  rDev -14%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

8-4-1 Expedition Ale (the spring 2010 batch)--an oak aged ale brewed with honey--begins with a sweet, malty nose, loaded with brown sugars, apricot, pear, hints of banana, and a nice grapefruit hop counter, all atop a baked-bread grain base.

On the tongue, the hops kick in immediately, washing the tongue with grapefruit and pine notes. Beneath this is a good layer of malts, including brown sugars, vanillas, a hint of cola, and white grape. Just at the end, the cherry-wood smoked malts make an appearance, bringing a husky, yet sweet grain touch. The aftertaste is mainly hops, though some of the sweet malty fruit esters linger on. Mouthfeel is medium-light, and carbonation is medium-high.

Overall, while I quite like the flavors in here, I find myself wishing that the hops weren't as prevalent, as they tended to overpower the malts and wash out many of the fruity, sugary notes. As well, a slight alcohol tinge (9.5% ABV) is present in the mouthful, increasing in potency at the very end of the aftertaste. I found the beer very drinkable, but not quite to the level that the "Limited Release" label, or the "8 brewers working in 4 teams" story led me to believe.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
3.15/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Review from 5/2010 notes. Poured into a Gulden Draak tulip. Pours a dark red brown, thin off-white head. Aroma of caramel malt and light fruit. Spice and fruits apparent on opening. Smells nice. Initial flavors of hops, fruit and light malt, middle spicy with fruits. Finish sharp, acrid, like quinine. The aftertaste is not good. An interesting beer with a major flaw in the finish.

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Photo of armock
3.18/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Poured an amber color with a tan head that leaves lacing behind

S - Is of sweet malt and some alcohol

T - Follows the nose with sweet malt upfront and a lot of alcohol

M - This beer has a thin watery body with medium carbonation to it

D - This isn't good enough to be a limited release theres no body to it and its way too boozy not a beer I'll be buying a second bottle of

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Photo of beertunes
3.18/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This called an Imperial Brown Ale on the bottle, so that's the standard I'm using in my review. Poured into 16oz balloon. The beer poured a very pretty reddish-brown color with just under an inch of tan head that dissipated quickly and left a decent amount of pretty lacing.

The aroma was malty and a touch on the sweet side, with a bit of hoppy spiceyness at the back. Otherwise the scents were fairly neutral and benign. The taste was very similar, just more fully developed. There was a bit of an alcohol hotness that will probably mellow with a few months.

The body was too thin for a beer this big. Drinkability was decent, but at 9.5% ABV 1 22 at a time is more than plenty. Overall, a decent beer. Worth a shot now, and I'm going to stick a couple away for bit and see how it goes.

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Photo of honeybrewer
3.28/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

22 oz bottle poured into a pilsner glass.

Medium brown in color, amber when held to the light. Super thick off-white creamy head that takes a minute or so to fade down to half an inch or so, which hangs around all the way to the bottom of the glass.

Earthy, malty smell with a bit of hops. Also a bit of mustiness, like over-ripe fruit, not at all unpleasant.

Good malty flavored brew. Little bit of earthiness, also getting a dash of citrus hops I believe. Kind of leaves a slightly unpleasant bitterness on my tounge and in the back of my throat.

Despite the enormous head this beer has only moderate to low carbonation, yet still retains a good mouthfeel, which thickens even more as it warms a little.

Overall this is an enjoyable but not excellent brew, if somewhat overpriced.

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Photo of lpolinsky
3.28/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - I really like the dark brown, hazy color. Nothing is floating around in my beer, but the color is pretty beautiful.

Aroma - I smell malts and oak. There's a hint of something sweet, but pretty much it's malt.

Taste - Not sweet at all. Super hoppy & malty to the point where it's almost not pleasant. But it's a great brown ale example.

Mouthfeel - The flavor almost burns into my mouth. Lots of malty and oak flavors, but not much of anything else.

Drinkability - I could drink a lot of this quickly because of how malty the beer is, but I'd probably get sick of it quickly too.

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Photo of Docer
3.3/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Found a bottle... poured...

- Clear dark murky brown.... quick fizzy head down to nothing much left but a slight ring.

- Smelled the room up kind of boozy-like.... sweet, woody... and slightly grainy. Unique... and too unique.

- Sweet, and the honey is there.... clear and present. Woody thin.... slight hops.. sweet malt... and oak. All the stated flavors are there.... but it is kind of a mess. Strong, but yet smooth.

- As stated... strong, yet smooth... slight medicinal hint of alcohol... thin, but parching dry.

- Overall I finished the bottle... but the flavors just seemed like they were designated for other beers. It's almost spilled out just like the numbers numerate. The flavors were just intended for different beers, and this was too much all for one. Interesting, and loved the bottle.

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Photo of emmasdad
3.35/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Being billed as an imperial brown ale, brewed with honey and cherry wood smoked malts, had me intrigued. Upon pouring this one into my Duvel tulip, I noticed the rich dark brown color, nearly opaque, barely touched by orange at the edges. Huge foamy ecru colored head rests atop the beer. Aromas of oak, honey, brown sugar and milk chocolate. Taking a sip, this one becomes a huge letdown--some kind of Robitussin cherry cough syrup thing going on here, along with a little sweetness. Another letdown from the Red Hook limited series.

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Photo of alpineclimber
3.35/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I brought this one back from Oregon. Poured into a chalice, a small white head on a clear ruby and brown brew.

Smell is of fruit, lots of fruit and fruity sweetness. There is a mild smell of malts. The smell is appealing.

The taste brings a blast of fruit and bitterness. The bitterness dominates the palate and the aftertaste. The brew is a tad hot with the alcohol not very well hidden.

Good, medium mouthfeel.

This is a really interesting beer. This beer is like a really hopped up Doppelbock. This beer smells and looks like a Doppelbock but is a lot more bitter then a Doppelbock. The perceived alcohol is similar to Samichlaus but Samichlaus is 14% ABV, a lot more then 9.5% which this brew is. I am intrigued but not impressed.

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Photo of comfortablynumb1
3.37/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Fisrt craft of the new year...

Poured form a bomber into a Ballast point pint glass. Bottle is dated Mar 08 10...

A - Poures a deep mahogany with a one finger tan head. Not much in the way of head retention or lacing to be had here...

S - Honey, caramel, and lots of malty notes...

T - Not as smokey as I was anticapating. A little bit of smokinees does come through though to let you that it is there. Lots of malts in this one. Also pick up honey, caramel, and brown sugar. Ends on a hoppy bitter note with a touch of alcohol warmth. While this one is pretty good, I think it could have been a little more balanced. Goes from sweet to a hoppy bitterness fairly quick...

M - Definitely medium bodied with a decent amount of carbonation. A little watery for my liking...

D - Interesting take on a brown. Glad I got a chance to try this one, but it is probably something that I won't be revisiting in the future...


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Photo of Duff27
3.41/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Spring 2010 bottle

Pours a thin, quick receding head, Beer is a murky brown. Lacing is nil. Nice alcohol legs though.

"Smells like Double Dead Guy" Big malty smell.

Brown sugar with a touch of smokiness. No hops detected. Tastes like DDG as well, hah...albeit a little subdued, which isnt a bad thing. Noticeable alcohol but not too bad.

Thick mouthfeel, a little syrupy.

Not bad at all. Split this bomber, may get a bit much for one person. Best Redhook I've had thusfar. Thanks TATURBO.

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Photo of htomsirveaux
3.41/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. bottle tried 6 Sep 2010. Poured in the 0.4 L Kur Pils snifter.

Medium sized lacy brown head. Well carbonated. Cloudy warm dark reddish brown. Soap, alcohol, brown sugars and some perfume in the aroma. Starts nutty with some astringency. Toasted hazelnuts, almonds and some brown sugary sweetness. Finishes a bit sweet and sour. Toasty aftertaste. Medium body. Warming ethanol.

Imperial brown ale seems kind of counterintuitive.

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Photo of cgmees
3.43/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Billed as an imperial brown ale, brewed with brown sugar and cherry wood smoked malts.

Appearance was a rich dark brown color, hint of cloudiness. Huge foamy brown colored head.

The aroma is a little underwhelming, with a big brown sugar presence, along with some caramel, a little smoke, and a bit of alcohol.

Taste had a mild earthiness, some chocolate and smoke.

OK Drink ability. Was not as impressed as I hoped to be from this one.

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Photo of lordofthewiens
3.45/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

In a snifter this beer was a cherry amber color with a small tan head. A fair amount of lace. It had a sweet, honey aroma, some fruit, and a spicey/peppery aroma. Sweet honey taste, cherry, piney hops. But (and sometimes there's always a but) the mouthfeel was entirely too sharp and medicinal, like drinking Robitussin. Not likely to try this again.

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Photo of brewdlyhooked13
3.45/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - a hazed but rich amber with a pale mocha cover. Not very thick but has good staying power, leaving some good legs of lace on the glass.

Aroma - sweet malt and pungent citrus, reminiscent of arrogant bastard. Notes of oak after setup, an interesting and inviting smelling beer.

Taste - base malts are not as sweet as I would have thought. Bitterness kicks in quickly, leaving some acrid flavors in the wake. Is that the wood or the beginning of off-flavors or infection? Is it the bitterness of the hops? So many possibilities, it's a bit hard to figure out but it's a little rough and may be a tedious glass to work with. Ends with the bitterness, dry and a little harsh, and some light abv warmth, well-hidden for 9.5%. Grows on me some as it warms and the palate adapts but there I am questioning the beer's integrity at this point, a bit of a distraction.

Mouthfeel - medium feel, crispness is lively but not off the charts, so an infection here is unlikely.

Drinkability - peculiar. Not all bad but took some getting used to. If the bitterness could be dialed down a bit I would like this more.

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Photo of Spider889
3.48/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Bottle says Spring 2010 on it.

Poured a rich mahogany with plenty of red tint to it. It glowed red in the light. The head was rather dark and creamy, and this left decently thick intermittent lacing.

The smell was immediately of wood. The bottle says cherry wood smoked malt, so I'm not sure if it was barrel aged (I think it was) but I would assume in oak even though they don't tell you that. Other than wood you get a mild sweetness and some spicing and plenty of hops. At 9.5% you can also detect a decent amount of alcohol in the nose.

The taste once more begins with a shot of wood flavor. It's very drying but not overpowering. There are loads of hops prickling the palate and I can taste brown sugar as well. The aftertaste is reminiscent of powdery cinnamon on the tongue. Finally you taste the alcohol throughout. This beer leaves a respectable burn deep in the throat.

Mouthfeel was medium bodied mostly due to the malts and syrupy sweet characteristics. Low on the carbonation and high on the alcohol.

Drinkability suffers, the booziness really runs away with this beer. It masks a lot of subtle complexity that I believe is there, only I couldn't taste it. This isn't a bad beer by any means, but I'm not likely to buy it again, and I couldn't drink more than a glass or two of it.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.49/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Served in a Dogfish Head snifter.

Is there any style so vaguley named and defined as "American Strong Ale"? I would say no. Still, compared to other such brews, I'd have to say that this guy is one of the best-looking I've seen. After the initial pour, I left the snifter in the kitchen momentarily to let it settle and to prepare the living room table for the impending meal (frozen/microwaveable fettuccine). Upon my return, I found Shania Twain on my counter. I literally said, "Nice!" I did. Sitting there was a dark uncut garnet topped by a solid finger of gypsum. It was the strong ale equivalent of the Guinness look. Now, while I've been typing this, that "Birth of Venus" seafoam has settled away, but I cannot deny the perfection that I bore witness to (and, besides, this new look isn't all that bad either). Gotta tell ya, expectations are running quite high. And, of course, the smell punches these expectations in the gut. "How dare you expect good things?" Optimism be damned, indeed: A weak line of leather, dark malts, alcohol, and that new paint smell (I've always described it as some variety of cranberries or an as-yet-unidentified cran-X blend, but am not sure why). It isn't necessarily wholly bad, but assuredly a knock to the system. Now I don't know what to expect, which could actually be a positive here: If my expectations aren't set on either side of the spectrum, a Heisenbergian situation, it's statistically improbable that they will be unmet or even met altogether. The perfect tasting storm. Sadly, though, the taste follows the nose a bit too closely. That brushed suede returns, not realizing how out-of-style it is; the cran-X has transmogrified into a figgy appletini; and the dark malts have become more wheaty than anything. Some mild coffee notes drift around as though smoking were still allowed at some Starbucks somewhere. All-in-all, an average performance on the tongue. At least I can't say that it was entirely disagreeable. Though I can see all sorts o' bubbly goodness throughout the glass, the carbonation is pretty low, or at least undistinguished. As such, the body is able to let itself go; unfortunately, because of the ho-hum flavors, this heftiness is perceived as just plain fat, teased by those cruel schoolyard punks. Honestly, I can't see myself really going after this brew again, but I also can't see myself turning people away from it in stores. It's a Calipari point guard in the eyes of ultra-loyal collegiate fans.

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

Picked this up in Kansas, bottled in March 2019

Pours crimson with 2 fingers of tan head. Great head retention & average lacing

S: Plums & cakey notes, plus some leafy hops once warm

T: Follows the nose, subtle boozeyness, a hint of cherry, vanilla & herbal hops up front. Some oaky/boozey notes as this warms, also a bit of pine & caramel, plus more figs & a touch of raisins

MF: Kind of thin bodied for the style, firm carbonation. This thickens up a bit, once warm, good balance

Not a bad take on the style, but not a good as I hoped. Still; I'm happy to see Red Hook spread it's wings, love the extra effort on gussying up the bottle art as well...

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Photo of briman
3.5/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a very clear medium brown color, with a one-finger cream colored head that maintains well.

Malty, with hints of caramel, vanilla, cocoa and smoked malt. Some alcohol in the background as well.

Flavor has a charred oak character, and is malty with some caramel. Finishes with a reasonably sharp lingering bitterness, with a fair amount of alcohol.

Medium body, with active carbonation. Chewy. Overall, an interesting brew with quite a bit of complexity. The alcohol in the finish is a little too strong, and kind of takes over the taste. Also, would be better with a little less carbonation. It's a little biting as is.

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Redhook 8-4-1 Expedition from Redhook Ale Brewery
3.64 out of 5 based on 105 ratings.
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