Isabelle Proximus | The Lost Abbey

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Isabelle ProximusIsabelle Proximus

Brewed by:
The Lost Abbey
California, United States

Style: American Wild Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
In March of 2006 five guys, Adam Avery, Vinnie Cilurzo, Rob Todd, Tomme Arthur and Sam Calagione accompanied Lorenzo Dabove, The Prince of Pajottenland, through a tour of Belgium's finest geuze producers. Many of the mysteries of lambic production were answered along the way. They vowed to return to the states to brew a sour beer celebrating their experiences. In November of 2006 they reunited at Port Brewing to brew Isabelle Proximus.

In this bottle, you'll find the answers to many of the questions that were posed along their journey near the river Senne. However, like the mysteries of lambic beers, there remains one lingering question that was left unresolved. We hope like us, the next time you're on a pilgrimage to Brussels you'll drop by the Empire Club and let us know whether you prefer Green or Orange...

Added by John_M on 05-22-2008

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 219 | Ratings: 439
Photo of brew3crew
4.6/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks to mistakebythelake for this gem. Wow, never thought I would get to try this.

A-Hazy orange with very little head that quickly disapates...
S-Lots of funky fruit. Lemon and orange amongst others
T-very tart and smooth. lots of fruity. a nice sour that is not lip puckering. The rare really takes it up a notch
M-light and crisp and smooth
O-Wow. Really taste the rare. What a brew!

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Photo of joshuaseresse
4.47/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Huge thanks to brian23456 for busting this out during our recent sour tasting in La Crosse. Thanks Brian! Split 6 ways into snifters:

A - Hayish, yellow color with amber tints. Slightly cloudy. Lots of bubbles and a slight head that dies really quick. A little bit of a foam ring around the edges.

S - Really lovely. Peaches, raspberries, cranberries and strawberries. Hints of light vanilla. Little bit of hay and horse blanket. A tad bit funky.

T - Really smooth and delicious peaches. Funk, cherries and strawberries. Largely follows the nose.

M - Smooth and velvet. Light carbonation.

O - I really enjoyed this brew. You can tell that the workings of each head brewery is visible in this brew. You could also tell that this had some age on it. Not as sharp as I was expecting but very well done nevertheless. Quite delicious.

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Photo of mistakebythelake
4.42/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had the pleasure of trying this twice in almost a weeks span. Thanks to Turdferguson at DLD and then I cracked my recently aquired bottle at BeerandBurbon's (Rodger and Gina's) joint birthday party.

Popped the cork and hissed a bit but no gushing. Poured into a Jackie Os snifter a pale golden yellow with a nice heady foam that dissipated quickly. Slight bubbles after it rested in glass for a bit.

Slightly tart aroma, lemon citrus and some funk is what I also picked up on both times I smelled this collaborative beer. Definitely an acidic nose as well. The complexity of the taste started off with notes of a very dry and sour oak. The Brett and sour funkiness is immediately revealed after along with the lemony, apricot and dry yeast.

Very well carbonated, light and easy to get down with the sourness present. I wish this were available more as it is a stellar beer and well deserving of the attention and affection it commands.

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Photo of TurdFurgison
4.39/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle that's been in my cellar for nearly 1.5 years, then opened at DLD 2011. I took a very large pour, but still was left a little sad that the bottle was finally opened. Such a good beer.

The cork came out with a slight audible, no gushing or anything, then it was emptied in a matter of minutes, so sad. Hazy golden color with very little head to it. The nose is VERY good, reminiscent of DDG or Veritas 004, although it's been a while since I had either of those so tough to honestly compare. I had 2010 Cable Car about an hour after this Isabelle and I can say there are similarities there as well. Sour smelling (of course), with citrus rind and oak, a lot of je ne sais quoi.

All this and more in the taste, deliciously funky, tart citrus character, loads of acidic bite, very good.

Well carbonated even after all this time, so good on every attribute. Really worth the hype, I wish there were more beers like this out there.

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Photo of BeerAndBourbon
4.62/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks mistakebythelake! I've been looking to try this for quite some time. Opened at a joint 25th birthday party for my wife and me. (Yes, she sampled and enjoyed this brew as well.)

A. Pours a thin pale yellow with a bit of orange in it.

S. Lemon, cheesy funk, tart green apple, some cider vineagar, some tart peach, apricot, a touch of honey sweetness.

T. Lots of lemon on the tongue with peach, some grapefruit, green apple, barnyard funk, apricot, just a touch of oak that comes out more as it warms.

M. Thin body with tart acidity and some bright carbonation.

D. Supremely drinkable. I dumped the dregs into the saison that we brewed earlier this day; we'll see if there was anything left alive in there.

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Photo of cpetrone84
4.1/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-pours a pale golden yellow with an active carbonation and fluffy pure white head.

S-light notes of funk come in, slightly medicinal, plastic with a pedio quiality. notes of acidity, sour peaches, soft golden fruits, nice fruity aromas.

T-the flavor is big, very faint with notes of funk. yeast blends in with sour peaches, tart lemons, and a moderate acidity.

M-medium body, very soft on the palate with a moderate carbonation and a very dry finish.

D-tasty beer, balanced and well done. nothing hugely special but still very drinkable with a strong sourness. the funk is enjoyable but somewhat off on its own.

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Photo of drewba
4.17/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Hazy, but bright golden yellow with just a film of head, which receds to a thin ring with almost zero retention.

S - Straight vinegar lemon, highly floral citrus and vinegar, sweet & juicy fruit.

T - Incredibly dry funky & sour lemon with a hint of dry wine-ish green apples.There is a touch of berry and grape tag teaming with the green apples, but it's faint and mild. The unrelenting sour covers up any funk that I'm getting hints of, this is farkin' sour.

M - The carbonation is still definitely here, it's even a bit high but highly drinkable with a somewhat thin mouthfeel.

D - The huge vinegar characteristics linger which is murdering this things drinkability, but I'm not saying I'm going to stop.

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Photo of akorsak
4.77/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Thanks to dukedebourgogne (via Deuane) for this 750 mL bottle. Opened in celebration of Open That Bottle Night.

A: The bottle opened with a pop, yep still good. The ale, when poured into my tulip is crustal clear with a auburn hue. In fact, it looks like a single malt scotch in my glass, save for the tiny bubbles. No head came along, although a miniscule pool of white foam accompanied the first pour. A nice looking beer in my glass.

S: The nose is grassy and wild. Sharp citric aromas, very acidic, pop up midway through a sniff. Fruit and funk add to the mix, an eye-opening scent. Blackberries and raspberries mix with vanilla oaken notes as well. The horse blanket is mild but a steady presence. The complexity warrants my first perfect score, scent-wise, for an American Wild Ale.

T: Oak leads off, sturdy with vanilla notes. Building off of the barrel, the sour acidic flavors come through (but only in larger sips). In smaller swallows, the fruitiness is all that comes through. Green apples and lemon, both tart, drive the sourness. Berries and fleshy fruit linger behind the lemony citric notes, a surprisingly sweet sugary presence. The tartness generally covers up the bretty horseblanket flavors, instead it leaves a prickly, vibrant sensation in the mouth. This is sour as it was meant to be, a complement to the nuances of a blended, barrel-aged beer. Stunning with a dry finish that showcases more of the oak.

M: The mouthfeel is prickly, plenty of tart flavors to keep things lively. The abundance of fruits, oak and buggers is well done. I've never had Isabelle Proximus before but I can't imagine that it hasn't aged nicely over the past few years. Call me crazy, but I think that she could've lasted a few more years with smashing results.

D: As with most sours, the complex flavors are very filling. That limits, to me, the drinkability of the ale. Don't get me wrong though, Isabelle Proximus is worth her weight in gold, a lush sour that hits all the right notes. This bottle is going onto my wall of fame.

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Photo of woosterbill
4.82/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Gigantic, enormous, eternal thanks to Chris for sharing this, a personal whale that I had all but given up on ever getting to try. Between this and the BA Speedway he opened less than a week ago, I'm pretty sure I owe him my firstborn.

A: Hazy, radiant light-amber body with a thin, fine, persistent white head that reactivates with each swirl. Quite nice indeed.

S: Pure sour bliss. Heady, fruity funk leads things off, with sour apple + lemon acidity; the beer then opens up with a plethora of luscious, slightly sweet tropical fruits: peach, cantaloupe, honeydew, sweet grape, and pineapple. A little bit of oaky vanilla adds yet another layer of complexity as it warms. Surprisingly sweet, and absolutely incredible.

T: Starts with intense sourness, then, like the nose, unveils a tapestry of sweet, almost candied, tropical fruits. The acidity never entirely lets go, though, and every moment from teh wetting of my tongue's tip to the drying of the after taste assaults my palate with incredible intensity, complexity, and beauty.

M: Fairly light body with low, somewhat prickly carbonation. Interesting.

D: I could drink this and nothing else forever.

Notes: If angels made sour skittles, they would taste like this. Undoubtedly one of the most purely delectable sours I've ever encouraged. I was absolutely giddy when I saw it emerge from Knifestyle's bag, and was even more excited when I found it lived up to even the highest of expectations. Gorgeous beer.


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Photo of yeahnatenelson
4.64/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A big thank you to Tony for sharing his whitest whale with myself and others. Also, this is my 400th review.

Appearance -- Pours a hazy straw hue with a slim spritzy white head.

Smell -- The real highlight of this beer is the aroma. The nose is very delicate with lemony brett, spring flowers, macerated apricots and peaches, as well as funky horse blanket, stiff gym socks, wet hay, bright acetic tartness, and damp oak.

Taste -- Another big wow: jasmine tea, apricot, pears, wet hay, earthy mushroom, and zesty lemon-like brett character. Acidity is well in moderation; a team player, not a dominating force. Nothing really dominates the other; all are collaborative and in proportion.

Mouthfeel -- Medium-bodied with gentle and spritzy carbonation. Slightly drying. Feels great.

Drinkability -- This is really something special. What sets this apart from so many other wilds is that it is so delicate and nuanced. The aroma is second to none and everything is so well proportioned: one could drink an entire bottle quite easily. I've read from many others that this has been going downhill, which is hard to believe as it drinks so incredibly now. A great experience, though I doubt I would trade the farm away for a second opportunity.

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Photo of koopa
4.47/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared by beerloco at an amazing tasting last night. Thanks Alan! I was surprised to see I hadn't reviewed the lovely Isabelle yet considering I've been fortunate enough to sample her on multiple occasions. I was pleasantly surprised by how tasty she still is. This bottle was definitely better than the last one I had. Alan does a great job cellaring and the final product shows that fact off.

Appearance: Pours btw a cloudy golden and straw yellow with a 1 finger white crown that displays moderate retention and lace.

Smell: Clean lemon brett note, moderate barnyard must, and the faintest cherry fruit note...very remeniscent of some of the veritas beers I've had which makes me think Avant Garde plays a role in both.

Taste: Same as nose. She does not disappoint.

Mouthfeel: Thick side of light bodied with active (but refined) carbonation.

Drinkability: So sessionable.

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Photo of Kaiser81
4.6/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks to Jerz for opening this bottle.

A - Clear, light orange color. It's pretty, and brilliant. There is some light head with nice lacing on the glass.

S - Lemony, zesty with touch of spice,'s got all the characteristics, and the compliment each other splendidly.

T - It follows the taste spot on. Lemon punches your sour taste buds up front, then the zesty/spicy parts come through with a very funky finish.

M - Light body, medium carbonation...and sour sour sour! I pucker my lips after tasting it every time.

D - Hell yes! I wish I had my own bottle, or 2 or 10, of it.

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Photo of AleWatcher
4.47/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Shared by GonzoIllini at our EPIC sour tasting...

Pours a light golden color-- hazy and cloudy. A small white-ish head leaves a a small thin collar of bubbles with some wispy cloudlike globs.

Smells funky, dry, bright and citrusy. Just delicious. Very nice hay like dry funk. Bright lemony flavors are tart and crisp-- great sour bite.

Taste follows nose exactly. Very sour, but flavorful and balanced.

Body is spot on. Nice small bubbles and a scrubbing sensation as the beer goes across my tongue.

Me likey. I could sip this all day. Very impressed.

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Photo of HeyItsChili
4.23/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into a tulip glass.

A - Pours golden semiopaque with a white head.

S - Fruity and funky. Some vinegar-like sourness, little farmy, with apricots, pears, that sort of light fruit nose. Tickles the nostrils a bit with the funkiness.

T - Reminded me in some ways of a dry white wine. Apples, apricots, pears, all sitting on a carpet of funk.

M - really bubbly

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Photo of ZX6Chris
4.69/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Drank this with my wife before heading out New Year's Eve.

A-Light amber with a small white head that settles quickly to a thin cap. I can see the bubbles continually rising from the bottom of the glass.

S-Tart, funky, acidic. Sweet fruits, berries, oak. Smells much better then I remember.

T-A big sour punch when it first hits your mouth. Nicely acidic and tart. Mellows out leaving a spicy, peppery finish. A little sulfur at the end.

M-Nicely carbonated. Light mouthfeel with a nice body.

D-This really is a delicious beer.

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Photo of abecall98
4.92/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks to Adam (Loki83) for sharing this at my families new years party. This beer, pours a bright cloudy yellow tint, with a nice white head.

A - wow, funk, in a good way. The initial wiffs signal lemon peel, orange zest, and Brett funk. It's like Sacrification Pro.

T - amazing. The lemon peel tartness grabs mouth and gives it a powerslam. The funk is noticable with taste of Brett, dough, and it reminds me of a lemon cake under baked. Amazing, again.

M - the beer coats the mouth. The carbonation level is low, and could use more bubbles, but it is still very pleasant.

D - amazing. No alcohol noticed, the sourness is not off-putting. The funk is delicious and the lemon brings me back.

O - a great expirience. I am very glad to have tried this.

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

Thanks Matt for sharing this beautiful gal with us!

Light white head with the low side of retention. Vibrant radiance in color from a baby orange to yellow. Really nice to look at.

Great funk and lemon aroma with some oakyness. Nothing too crazy on this front but still excellent none the less.

Lemon with a tiny amount of acidity and a light pucker. Funk and oak as well but really smooth. Nice spectrum from beginning to end. Mouth wateringly tasty and worth it!

Medium carbonation with a little sizzle combined with a touch of fluff. This nails it too.

Could definitely drink a lot of this one! Too bad there really isn't that much out there anymore.

Had this one side by side with Veritas 006 and this was considerably less bracing. While they were both delicious the IP definitely took the cake in my book.

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Photo of Dreadnaught33
4.12/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I am honored to have this beer thanks to Damian and Lona.

A: Light gold color with barely any head, pretty clean clear look.

S: A divine funk that stings the nostrils in a good way. Other than that, some bright fruit is mostly all i get.

T: Grape, champagne, light apple tartness, and a nice funk. Dry and pretty good balance some some vanilla and oak that is subtle. Good.

M: Dry seltzer feel, I taste some alcohol in there.

D: great sour overall. Glad to have it, but really it's overhyped IMHO. Maybe I'm just more of a hops and malt kind of beer guy.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
4.42/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A huge thank you to Damian and Lona for sharing this incredible rarity. Served side by side with Duck Duck Gooze.

The beer is a slightly hazy yellow hue. The head is minimal and leaves random traces of lacing about the glass. Ooo...nice and kind of beer. Carbonation is fairly low. Mouthfeel is nice, despite the low carbonation level. Beer is very sour but not massively puckering, as I have been told. Isabelle Proximus has a healthy level of complexity about it. Although it's tart, there is no harshness or vinegar notes to be found. An awesome experience. I am so thankful for the opportunity to sample it.

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Photo of Golden
4.53/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pouring into a glass yielded very little white head on golden liquid. No visible bubbles but carbonation evident when on the tongue.

Smell a bit weak with dry white wine, sour vinegar, and farm funk.

Taste just fantastic. Apple cider, citrus, pear, white wine it just goes on and on.

Dry and moist existing harmoniously with sweet and sour for greatness in the mouth feel and drinkability.

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Photo of beresnaub
4.6/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Golden color with small white head that leaves no lacing.

Kevin- Expertly balanced sour with sugar backbone. Citrus and cider vinegar taste with barnyard nose. Very dry with good balanced carbonation.

Brandon- A sequence of sour, tart then a swift pineapple finish and smell. Fried bananas, sour nail polish tart on the nose. Quite delish. These suds are bonkers.

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Photo of nickd717
3.67/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Transcribed from 2008 notes.

Really, really damn expensive bottle at Toronado - 40 bucks! This sour ale was very good but not as life-changing as I expected. Personally I liked The Angels Share considerably better.

Color was a cloudy golden yellow with a small white head.

Aroma was really sour and funky with wild yeast, lemon, and sour dry white wine.

Flavor was yeasty and really funky with Brett and lemony sourness, oak, and sour white grapes.

Medium-bodied with acidity on the palate and fairly high carbonation.

Decent and I liked the 8oz or so I had, but nowhere near as good as the hype.

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Photo of MrFootstones
4.84/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours golden with a pure white head that has some decent staying power. Delightfully clear and sexy.

Aroma is of nectarines, apricots, tangerine peel, and vanilla. So wonderful I could smell it alll day.

Tastes of candied citrus, toasty oak, funk, peaches, musty cellar, damp oak, hay. Slightly acetic which works well with the tangy nectarine going on. Ridiculously delicious.

Mouthfeel is great for the beer, medium mouthfeel, carbonation works well to bring out flavor and aroma.

This is one of those beers where I really have to marvel at the way they achieved the flavor and aroma they did with just bugs and barrels. This was awesome, and I really hope to have it again. Having had it three times before, I can say she has only improved for me. Not falling off at all.

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Photo of JAXSON
4.02/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Nice, lush nose aroma bursting with peaches, apples, nectarines, passion fruit, grapes, and the obligatory brett. A decent amount of stone fruit sweetness coming through in the nose. There's an immediate burst of tartness and acidity in the flavor that isn't completely refined. There are nuances of fruit, and an undertone of mushroom throughout. Very good but probably better in small doses. I drank a whole 750ml bottle by myself, and the acidity just kind of weighed on me. Really good, probably overrated, still better than a lot of well-regarded contemporary lambics. Just lacking a refined character and smoothness to be really awesome.

I've had this a few times since it was released. It has gotten a bit harder with time, not really declined, but not improved either. It's a really nice American sour that has tendencies toward a gueuze. There is definitely complexity there, but I saw it as somewhat unfocused and quite overrated.

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Photo of BrewedAwakening
5/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Cracked open in celebration for my birthday/anniversary with my boyfriend. Poured into 2 champagne flutes.

A: slightly hazy, beautifully dark straw to light gold in appearance.

S: oaky grape, lemon or citrus, orange sherbert, sweet grass, brett funk

T: delightful sourness that immediately encompasses the entire olfactory and taste system. salivation responds quickly and lingers. flavors of melon, citrus, wood, brett and lacto funk. lemony sourness lingers.

M: light bodied, dry, bright and refreshing

D: the hype machine of this beer has not disappointed! this beer is as stellar as they come. it is a brilliant collaboration between 5 of the most talented brewers today and I cannot name another beer that comes close to Isabelle. I also cannot imagine that this beer will get better with age... so drink 'em if ya got 'em!

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Isabelle Proximus from The Lost Abbey
4.54 out of 5 based on 439 ratings.
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