Gatekeeper | Indigo Imp Brewery

43 Reviews
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Brewed by:
Indigo Imp Brewery
Ohio, United States

Style: American Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.00%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
ABV - 5%, IBUs - 40, OG - 55

Added by adamette on 08-11-2009

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 43 | Ratings: 69
Photo of PDXHops
1.24/5  rDev -62.2%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

This is thankfully my last (for now) bottle of open-fermented Cleveland goodness from Ryan011235. Poured into a Maudite snifter, Gatekeeper is a decent looking beer, deep brown with an initial fizzy head that settles into a thick skim that's in no hurry to leave. No lace.

Flashback city, as this smells almost exactly like I remember my first homebrewed stout: sure, there's some roasted malt in there, but the overwhelming aroma is that of "uh oh". What do you know, it tastes pretty much the same as well. (Although I had the good sense to tidy up my sanitation after a couple of homebrew batches. I would have been embarrassed to serve that putrid mess to anyone. Then you've got the Imp, who actually routinely put this kind of crap in the public's hands on purpose. But I digress...) Sourness and astringency completely overwhelms any roasted malts aside from a hint of espresso in the finish. The watery feel, while unpleasant enough, is far from the worst problems with this beer. Atrocious.

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Photo of misfit1034
1.62/5  rDev -50.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

Shared with two friend and drank from an oversized wine glass... I am really hoping that this was a bad batch/bottle but aside from the appearance and mouthfeel this was one of the worst beers I have had... Smell and taste were a porter and cigarette butt mixture... I really want this to be an isolated incident because the word of mouth that I have gotten on this brewery has been nothing but good and I want to try more of their stuff but fear buying it again....

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Photo of hustlesworth
2.04/5  rDev -37.8%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

A- a thick and viscous lookin brew, nearly black with ruby highlights and topped by a thin tan head. The surface of the brew bubbles and swirls, this one does indeed look alive.

S- coffee and cocoa with a fruity tartness and unexpected fruit blossom type floral character. A quick swirl of the glass reveals a deeply roasted bitter chicory coffee edge with underlying carob sweetness.

T- boing! overly sour and not cool. Tartness overwhelms nearly all other flavors leaving only weak coffee standing, ashamed and alone. Blah. Sour like bile.

MF- finely bubbled carbonation and ok body I guess

D- thankfully my last imp probably ever. Their open fermentation style just doesn't agree with me or with the porter style. Drain pour.

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Photo of Ryan011235
2.33/5  rDev -29%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into a pint glass at Hal & Al's on 11/12/10

Dark reddish-brown. Vigorous carbonation foams up, eventually hitting one finger of foam. The head fizzles out just as quickly are it rose. Thin collar of retention. No lace.

Deep aroma of roasted dark malts mixed with scorched caramel & tobacco. Very grainy with a hint of cherries. Warmth brings out sweetness in the aroma.

Tastes odd in general but close enough to a porter, I suppose. There are some definite off flavors, though. Dry, roasted coffee; burnt overtones; hints of dark chocolate on the back half. Earthy hops aren't particularly bitter but are a decent fit, regardless. Not so fitting is a tartness that emerges are the beer warms.

Full bodied; possibly the most viscous porter I have ever had. The feel is kind of slick. Carbonation is pointed without being too fizzy; it peaks quickly. Coffee, chocolate & nutty residuals linger on the finish.

Gatekeeper is certainly a bizarre beer but close enough to a porter to be amusing. On the lower cusp of drinkability. Aside from the "are they marketing an infected product as an intentional sour" debate, I have to wonder if there is severe bottle variation - the feel of the beer I had doesn't fit with many of the other reviews.

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Photo of squirrelpirate
2.34/5  rDev -28.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Indigo Imp Gatekeeper poured chestnut brown with a decently sized tan head. No lacing down the glass as the pint was consumed, but overall a good appearance. The aroma was predominanantly roasted barley and coffee notes, no discernible hop balance or other complexities. Fairly simple.

There is an overwhelmingly sour taste from the onset. Some roasty and coffee flavors there, but not much. The sour flavor seems to be a combination of lactic sourness and a citrusy pucker. Just pure astringency in the finish. Not at all pleasant.

Mouthfeel is a little light, but appropriately carbonated. Drinkability suffers because of the sourness. You might be able to get used to it enough to finish the bottle, but not enough to open another one.

I researched the brewery and I can only hope that this particular batch went badly. The open fermentation method and "slight flavor variations from batch to batch" mean that this could very well be an enjoyable beer, if you find the correct batch. Some of the earlier reviews indicate that this porter can be quite good, so try it and see.

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Photo of ABOWMan
2.54/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

This porter is a real fooler.

I poured a typically deep mahogany color which was nearly opaque. There was very little head and no lacing evident. So far so good.

The aroma also smelled like a typical porter with notes of chocolate, coffee and roasted malts. All very appetizing.

Here is where this porter shocked me. The flavor was more reminescent of a Belgium flanders ale with its sour grapefruit flavor profile than of an American Porter. There was no hint of the chocolate of coffee notes that I smelled when I poured this beer.

Mouthfeel was also atypically thin for a Porter and the drinkability would have to be rated as poor for a Porter with such strong sour notes. I would not recomment this beer unless you like sour beers.

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Photo of nickd717
2.58/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.5

12oz bottle thanks to Ryan011235. Here we go again from Indigo Gimp.

Looks decent actually, clear dark brown with a nice one finger tan head.

Really roasty aroma, with coffee and not much else to it. Smells ok I guess.

The flavor is fine, just really weak and watery. Roast, coffee, charcoal, and H2O.

Very watery mouthfeel with average carbonation. Thin as Kate Moss or Kate Hudson or Mary Kate Olsen on a coke bender.

The best I've had from the Imp, but still subpar.

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Photo of MCDuhamel
2.59/5  rDev -21%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a pint glass at cellar temperature.

A: Poured a cola-like head that dissipated nearly immediately, leaving a light ring around the glass. Very dark brown, but not quite black, and transparent against the light. The color is correct for the style, but the lack of any head is a shame.

S: Roasted grain predominates in the nose, with a hint of coffee and cocoa.

T: The flavor is at first a nice roastiness, leading into an almost lemony sourness that is seriously out of place, and which ends up dominating. There's a slight hint of buttery vanilla, just noticeable on the fade.

M: The mouthfeel is quite light, and presents as a session beer. Fermentation is present but not aggressive or distracting.

D: The relative lightness of the beer would lend to treating it as a session beer, but again the odd sourness probably limits most people to one of these at a sitting.

Overall: I am again disappointed with the most recent offering from this local small brewery that I really want to like. Open fermented porter sounds so promising! The funk, though, manifests itself as a rather weird citrusy presence that just seems out of place for this style.

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Photo of Cresant
2.78/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured this 12 oz. brown bottle into a Guinness pint. No date. The body was very dark brown and the head was the color of a chocolate milkshake. The texture of the foam was soda-like and it faded quickly, leaving a ring.

The smell was ashy. Metal and toasted malts. Typical but understated.

Taste was lightly toasted bitterness. Not too sweet but enough to give it some balance. A little more sour than your typical porter (due to the open fermentation tanks!?). Some sour cherry flavor. Difficult to describe, but a bit hollow. Not very interesting flavors but interesting brewing techniques. I'm not sure I would call this one a success. Not a sour or wild ale but a funky porter. That's it - it tastes like a wild porter.

Mouthfeel was thin and smooth. Tiny carbonation.

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Photo of EricHeff
2.88/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

I recently stumbled upon Indigo Imp and saw it was a local brew from Cleveland and I had to give it a try. Gatekeeper is my second Imp beer.
It pours out almost black with a very small and brownish head, much like many porters. The smell also is much like others with some cocoa and maybe coffee but theres a hint of something in there that I just cant place.
The first couple drinks were good with a bit of sour but as I let it warm I noticed the sourness coming through a lot more. It is almost like there is a bit of a fruity after taste from it that fizzles on the tongue. Very odd for a porter.
Overall I give this an OK label. Defiantly interesting and worth a try for its uniqueness but its so hard for me to top Eddie Fitz from GLBC here in Cleveland.

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Photo of TheViolator666
2.92/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle poured into pint glass.

A: Looks decent. Pours a nice dark brown that lets little light through. Has a nice full head that stays for a bit. Slight lacing.

S: Honestly, this smells horrible. Reminds me of when you open a garbage can and there are cold dirty coffee grounds that have been rotting for a while... mixed with yeast and Guinness. Blergh.

T: Taste is better than the smell, thank fuck. Tasted of well roasted coffee and a smidge of dark chocolate.

M/D: I really would like this one to be more full bodied, but I also understand that it is a porter... could still be a bit thicker.

I can see that this brewery is improving by the beer, and this one has potential. I'd like to see what happens to this one with age.

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Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
3/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I got this beer from drgonzo3705. Thanks Paul!

12oz bottle served in a standard pint glass.

L - black with a very short lived cocoa head.

S - roasted malt, vanilla extract and baker's chocolate.

T - roasted malt upfront with the vanilla extract coming into play before finishing rather dry with light bittering.

F - medium bodied with a slick feel.

D - it was ok.

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Photo of srandycarter
3.16/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Near black, tan head leaves to ring fast. Some cling lace.

S - Earthy, burnt chocolate/coffee. Malt wafts up into it.

T - Not much in the front, ends with bbq smoke.

M - Medium body, fair carb, not enough malt to even get some balance.

D - Good to try one. One is enough.

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

Pours practically opaque with a small tan head that dissipated quickly. The smell is of roasted malts, coffee and some bitter dark chocolate. The taste is a bit disappointing after the smell. The taste, it seems, has a bit less complexity with the roasted malt and coffee tastes being most pronounced. Body is a bit thin for my taste, even for a porter. That being said, this is a decent porter, just not anything special.

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

A - Pours a dark brown, a little thinness, a small head with little lace retention.

S - Lots of malt, notes of baker's chocolate and coffee, some caramel and dark fruits as well. It's a full smell, but not exactly robust.

T - Roasted malt and some chocolate, a bit of sweetness present, not a lot of coffee or anything. Honestly, it tastes a bit thin for my taste, not a lot of complexity here.

M - Again, fairly thin mouthfeel.

Overall - It was just a decent porter. Nothing remarkable. Missing a lot of components that makes up a solid porter.

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Photo of breathinghope
3.2/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Any brewery with label art that features an imp drawn in the style of Mike Mignola (of Hellboy fame) automatically scores points with me. As a result, I had high hopes for Indigo Imp's Gatekeeper when I purchased it. In addition, being an Ohio guy tried and true, I definitely wanted to support a Cleveland brewery if I could. I wish, wish, wish I could have followed through on drinking this with words of awe and wonder, but it just ain't happening.

The Gatekeeper is billed as 'a robust Porter' brewed in a classic style with Black and Caramel malts. Its appearance upon pouring had me hopeful, as this baby is dark and smooth. Head was caramel forth, fingertip thick, with some obvious sediment having been poured into the glass. Hurray for unfiltered, bottle-conditioned beers! Smell was promising, too, with hints of burnt sugar.

Initial mouthfeel wasn't bad - as I'd pointed out, this beer poured smooth, and my initial sip echoed that. However, afterward, there was... well... not a whole lot going on. I got those hints of caramel and slight sweetness, but the rest of the overall sensation (and this was throughout the bottle as I drank it from a wide-brim Chimay glass at the suggested temperature) was kind of thin. It tasted like a pretty decent Porter that had simply been watered down, rendering it slightly tasty but overall, rather forgettable.

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Photo of prototypic
3.21/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Gatekeeper pours a very dark chocolate fudge color. Looks onyx. No light cuts through at all. Impressive. A nice mocha tan head covers it and rises to a finger and a half in depth. It takes its time receding, and leaves a nice, sticky coat of lace behind. I’m impressed.

The nose is on the weak side, but isn’t bad. It features a pretty solid mix of roasted and chocolate malts. The chocolate variety smells like bittersweet dark chocolate. Not sweet at all. Roasted coffee is definitely in the mix and complements the malty scents pretty well. Alcohol is buried. It’s simple and straight forward, but isn’t bad.

The flavor is very consistent with the nose, but seems even a little shorter on flavor. It does have a decent base of chocolate and roasted malts. It does have a light, bittersweet dark chocolate flavor. I’m not getting any real sweet flavors. Coffee is there, and works alright with the other flavors. Unfortunately, the flavors just don’t seem to carry through. They all seem to trail off toward the end. It’s not bad, it isn’t quite good either.

Gatekeeper has a lighter body that feels a little on the thin side. Carbonation feels a little active and buzzy. It’s average overall. A little more body and fewer bubbles would help. I guess it goes down it easy, but I’m not enjoying it a great deal.

Gatekeeper is an okay American Porter. It’s not bad, but lacks in just about every category other than appearance (and carbonation). It needs a little more aromatics, more flavor, and more body. Having said that, it really is alright. I think it’s worth a try if you can find a single bottle. But, if you’re in the market for a great American Porter from Ohio…this is not the one you’re seeking.

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Photo of Clydesdale
3.29/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Pours an opaque black color. The light brown head is small and rather short-lived. Lacing is minimal. Well, ok...

S: Some moderately robust roasted maltiness, with firm hints of dark chocolate and some coffee. A bit of a vaguely lactic sweetness is also present. Interestingly, there's a pungent tartness to the nose as well - equal parts lemon juice and lactic yogurt cultures. They've advertised the open fermentation methods this beer was brewed with - perhaps this is the result?

T: A mild, unobtrusive roasted malt presence up front. Pleasant and moderately assertive dark chocolate flavors are joined with a weaker coffee flavor. I don't get much of a hop flavor or bitterness. There is a flash of the same lactic/lemon tartness near the finish, which fades gradually into a lingering, vaguely smoky sweetness with an aftertaste of lightly burnt malt.

M: On the light side of medium bodied. Carbonation is slightly soft. A slight pucker into the finish from the beer's tart flavor.

D: I'm on Gatekeeper #5 out of this six pack (not on the same night, of course), and I still don't really know what the hell is going on here. Interesting? Yes. Memorable? Probably. Good beer, or gimmick? Uncertain. Personally I find the idea of a tart porter better in reality than it might seem on the drawing board. This is a flawed, unfocused beer, but it's definitely worth trying for the inevitable reaction it will provoke, whether it be positive, negative, or just plain confused.

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Photo of Mississipping
3.31/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a very, very dark brown, almost completely black.  When held to light, the tiniest bit of light penetrates only through the top.  A medium brown head with very tight bubbles sit on top and stubbornly sticks around most of the glass.  Minimal lacing left behind.

S: Roasted malt, bakers chocolate, and only a hint of coffee, caramel, dark fruit, and hops.  The smell is really pretty nice, but it's typical and not very robust.  You really have to be looking to find each of the various aromatic qualities.

T: Much as the smell suggests, roasted malt and chocolate up front with just the faintest touch of vanilla, caramel, coffee, and hops.  The aroma was pretty subdued, and the taste is even more so.  At the finish, the roastiness amplifies a bit and lingers with the hops and a slight grassiness.  There is something that seems a bit off in the aftertaste.  Not completely off-putting, but just odd.  

M: Lighter side of medium bodied with medium carbonation.  Creamy and velvety, but feels slightly watered down.  

D: Overall, this porter is pretty drinkable, but it's not one that I would drink a lot.  It really looked great, and I loved the exception retention of the darker head.  The smell, taste, and mouthfeel just weren't there to back it up, though.  Not a bad porter, but rather typical and toned-down.  I also enjoyed the burst of roastiness at the finish, however, it was accompanied by an off-flavor that really counterbalanced my enjoyment.

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Photo of cooncat
3.32/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Live review, and a tip 'o the hat to Adamette who gave me this brew to sample.

Poured at about 55 deg F into my SA glass. A firm pour produced an opaque beer, with a smallish mocha colored head. Head retention is not impressive, and there is only minimal lacing on the glass. Even a swirl leaves no lacing on my glass.

The nose is promising, with roasty notes of malt, accompanied by light aromas of coffee, chocolate and some dark fruit. Fairly complex nose for a robust porter, even if its not classic.

Taste exhibits roast malt up front with some astringency. The dark fruit flavors are more pronounced in the taste, while coffee/chocolate seem to fade. A bit of earthy hops are in the background as well. Now half way through the glass and at room temperature. There is a bit of a tawny port wine flavor coming through now, probably the aforementioned dark fruit flavors coming to the fore. Mouthfeel is med/thin, and that is surprising, as the carbonation is fairly low .. perhaps as low as 1.6 volumes. ( low carbonation generally equals bigger mouthfeel) Drinkability may be this brew's forte, as it is at session strength. However, my overall impression is that I would only reach for a second of these, only if the rest of the brews were BMC calibre.

Not terribly impressive, especially since I've had plenty of homebrews that are much closer to style than this brew. Tough to top Edmund Fitzgerald in the Robust Porter category, but an "E" for effort with this one. Worth giving it a shot if you get a chance.

Na Zdravje!

Edit: (5-27-10) I could have sworn that this was originally listed as a Robust Porter, but I see its now listed as an American Porter .. not a BJCP style (Brown, Robust and Baltic are the BJCP porter styles). The American Strong Ale is a catch all category in which you find many brews that don't fit BJCP styles. Perhaps the American Porter is such a style.

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Photo of goblue3509
3.36/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark cola like color with a one finger coco color head which eventually recedes to skim and leaves a small amount of lace on the glass. The aroma is of a big roasty smell along with hints of coffee. The taste follows the nose with a few differences. The backbone is of a big roasty malt, in the middle are hints of dark chocolate and coffee. At the very end thier is a sublte sourness from the yeast. The taste is good and interesting. The mouthfeel is good maybe a little thin. Overall this is a solid beer, it makes a good session beer with enough flavor to keep me interested. I would say this is a good try.

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Photo of Cylinsier
3.43/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz.

Pours jet black, dark tan head is thin and dissipates to a lacing.

Smells of cocoa, roasted coffee, oak, and a hint of brine.

Tastes of roasted coffee, nutty oak and a grape tartness. A bit of brine saltiness.

Medium to full body with tingly carbonation on the tongue.

This is a weird one. Not sure II's open brewing suits a porter, but it's not terrible. Just different. I like it okay, not sure I would have it again, but I'm enjoying it. Worth a try. Strangely tends towards an oyster stout.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
3.43/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Very lively ale. Probably a bit too much. The carbonation interferes quite a bit with the flavor delivery at the start. But it tones down slightly pretty soon into things. Molasses and sweet malt tones. But again, lots of carbonation. Too much for me, really. A nice brew with some good character, but too much bubble getting in on the mix. I feel like this would be a Belgian stout, if it was intentional with the carbonation.

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Photo of ONUMello
3.5/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass
A: Very dark brown with a thin fizzy head that quickly disappears.
S: Aromas of coffee, chocolate, and roasted malt.
T: Just like the smell: coffee, chocolate, roasted malt.
M: A bit thin, but rich and pleasant.
O: Far from the best porter I've had, but decent and one of the better Indigo Imp beers I've had recently.

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Photo of wyattshotmaker
3.52/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

poured into a pint glass with a small head that dissipated quickly.dark brown,roasted malt and coffee in the nose.dark chocolate and roasted malt in the nose,very thin mouthfeel.drinkability is good though.

needs more body. still pretty good,but if im gonna get a porter im gonna get something with more body.really pretty watery if you ask me.kinda disappointed.

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Gatekeeper from Indigo Imp Brewery
3.28 out of 5 based on 69 ratings.
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