Sculpin IPA | Ballast Point Brewing Company

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Sculpin IPASculpin IPA

Brewed by:
Ballast Point Brewing Company
California, United States | website

Style: American IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Originally named Northstar IPA. Debuted in 2005.

Added by brentk56 on 04-02-2006

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Reviews: 2,427 | Ratings: 13,417
Photo of emagana
4.82/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

this must be fresh because it sports the black label.
poured a straw yellow with a 2 finger foamy white head that lingers for a good 5 minutes. medium carbonation.
floral notes of mango lemon zest and fresh pine. very inviting. wonderful smells all raound.
starts off with the great balance of pine and grapefruit. bitter of course but mellows out. well balanced and refreshing.
great beer all around. i will seek this out when i have a chance on draft.

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Photo of DeanMoriarty
4.92/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Pours a light copper/golden hue with a fat head and thick lace from start to finish with a good amount of effervescence.

S: Big citrus spiciness, tons of sappy pine and fresh cut grass - there's some sweet malt at the end, but the hop runs the show.

T: Similar to the smell with tons of resinous hop, grapefruit rind, just a small amount of malt which is nice as it doesn't take away from the amazing hop flavor - it just adds a nice touch to the perfectly rounded flavor of this ale.

M: Well carbonated, medium-bodied (but on the lighter side), crisp and clean.

D: These go down like nothing and if you're not careful the 7% ABV will catch up with you over an evening of drinking these tasty little guys.

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Photo of Duff27
4.53/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours an orange or a dark golden with a slight red hue. Half-inch white head. Plentiful lacing. Magnificent.

S- Is "fresh" a smell? Wonderful floral hop notes. Wow.

T- Citrus...more specifically grapefruit. Pine. Hop spice. Hint of pineapples which is my favorite fruit, hmm.

M- Very creamy. Has a fantastic bite to it.

D/O- I'm overwhelmed at how good this IPA is. Don't know if this comes in 12 ounce bottles but when I asked if there were any in the back I was told "well, let's see if we have any big bottles of it." Luckily, they did have a few bombers on the shelf. I just want to thank all the BA's (especially Bob from the GLBF...don't know his BA name) that recommended this beer on a seemingly daily basis. Definitely worth making a special stop to check if a place 3 hours from home has it. I'm in IPA euphoria right now. Life is good.

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Photo of ncredible1
5/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A. Golden Orange Hue with impressive lacing. This is one good looking IPA

S. Super juicy grapefruit and tropicals (Pineapple,Mango,Tangerine)in the smell and flavor profile. This is probably the best smelling IPA I've ever had.

T. The taste is similar to the smell but with a heap of bitter hops. Grapefruit, pine, and more sweet tropicals. Some sweet pale malts round this beer out nicely. Definitely a sweeter IPA,and a great introduction to an IPA for those who have yet to attempt an IPA. The tast just keeps you coming back for more. Awesome!

M. The mouthfeel is superb. Hidden ABV. Just a well balanced Hoppy to Malt ratio.

D. A wonderfully crafted IPA, and the best one that I have tasted to date. This was a very pricey 22 oz. But if you are into the grapefruit tast of an IPA this hands is the winner.

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Photo of busternuggz
4.62/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22 oz bottle into a pint glass.
Beautiful clear golden-orange color with a foamy 1/2" off white head, dies down to 1/4" with good retention. Leaves soapy lacing.
Smells awesome, particularly as it warms a little. Tangerine, floral notes, passion fruit, pine, apricot, and mango. Seems like I get something different each time I smell it.
Nice juicy tastes of orange, lemon, apricot, and a little pineapple and mango with grapefruit coming out on the dry finish. The hop flavors are complex and not overpowering with just enough malt backing.
Very nice texture, medium bodied and smooth, even a little creamy as it gets warmer. Ends light and dry but at the same time feels like it leaves a juicy coat on my tongue.
Very drinkable, tasty and engaging, smooth and balanced.
With this praise in mind, it seemed like this year's batch was just a little more subdued than last year's. Still an excellent IPA though, probably my favorite.

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Photo of dbhall
4.67/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Wow. great beer. poured from bomber. the color is so nice: orange/peach color. great carbonation with an awesome head. smells like peaches and citrus with some hops. extreme pleasant smell. the taste is incredible. great hops, and some initial peach flavor. how a great ipa should be. mouth is crisp with a very clean finish. i drank the whole bomber, and this was a very easy thing to do.

great beer. cant wait to have it again.

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Photo of fourplayed
4.22/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle pour into 12oz sam adam glass.

1" off white head leaving lite amount of lacing. A clear medium lite golden & amber. some small tight bubbles rising up beginning to end.

Smells a nice sweet floral, hops, sweet citrus and fruits...lovely scents here.

Tastes not as pronounced as the smell. medium earty hops & lite on the malts. some citrus and fruit sweetness.

Mouthfeel is lite to medium. mild zesty carbonation stays with you start to finish. hops add nice bite and there's just a bit of a creamy feel.

Drinks easy, hops up front are balanced nicely with malt, fruit, citrus and carbonation. Just enough going on to keep it interesting. nice mild alcohol warmth in the end.

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Photo of plumcrazyfx
4.47/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Now this is what I like in an IPA. I like them to be something more than just a flat bitter hop bomb. The beer pours a nice copper color with a nice head. Smells very nice and the taste just shines. There is a solid, slightly sweet malt base behind the hops. The hops linger with that slightly sweet flavor. I could drink a ton of these. One of the best IPAs I've had - right up there with Pure Hoppiness, Furious, ans Town Hall Masalla. Now if I could just get it here without breaking the bank.

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Photo of mdwalsh
4.57/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Huge surprise gift from a fellow BA upon moving to town.

A: Straw/Golden orange body, pretty hazy, big slightly off white head with small bubbles, ok lace, pretty good texture. Overall, this beer is good looking but too orange/hazy.

S: Orangey! Like a screwdriver. Very little malt, but it's there. Maybe a little herbal spiciness?

T: Super citrus, of course, more orange. There are other tropical fruit flavors as well, but to me, orange really dominates. I get next to no malt flavor, but there's so much depth and complexity to the hops, I'm ok with that.

M: Awesome, near perfect, but a bit of body might help. Active carbonation is great, it's very much there, but doesn't make this beer too filling/gassy.

D: Amazing.

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Photo of chickenm
4.72/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Wow this is an amazing IPA. Pours a slightly hazy golden copper color with a big white head. Aroma is full of citrus fruits and pine. The taste is loaded with citrus, tropical fruits and hops flavors. Nicely balanced with the malts; this has good bitterness to it, but it is not too over the top. Mouthfeel is pretty much perfect for the style. Medium-light body, moderate carbonation and quite smooth. Great drinkability, the bottle did not last long!

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Photo of Dspohn
4.62/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle into an oversized wine glass.

Big dense off-white head on a glowing but slightly hazy orange body. Left some pretty impressive lacing.

Super juicy grapefruit and tropicals in the smell and flavor profile. This is probably the best smelling IPA I've ever had. Tons of papaya, pineapple, mango, and tangerine. Hardly any malt at all.

The taste is similar to the smell but with a heap of bitter hops. Grapefruit, pine, peach and more sweet tropicals. Some sweet pale malts round this beer out nicely. Definitely a sweeter IPA, I could definiitely see this as being a great introduction to those who are apprehensive to the bitter nature of IPAs.

The mouthfeel is superb. Not truly chewy but so damn juicy that it almost seems like it. No hint of ABV anywhere.

A wonderfully crafted IPA, even at 8 bucks a bomber I still jump at the chance to pick this one up. I hope the move to six packs leaves the quality of this product intact.

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Photo of jeffthecheff
4.27/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Half growler purchased fresh from Decicco's. Pours into a tulip glass with a billowing, thick white head of foam atop a hazy, amber-gold color. Great lacing and at least a finger of retention.

Aroma is pungent, citrusy hops. There is so much citrus going on here, it reminds me of a wheat beer brewed with citrus zest. Strong grapefruit aromas are at the forefront, with a bit of mango and tropical fruitiness. There is only a slight herbal hop bite in the back. I usually wouldn't give a perfect aroma score to a hoppy beer without much of an herbal balance, but the strong, complex fruitiness deserves a 5.

The flavor is simple, with a dry, bitter tone dominating the brew. Malt profile adds nothing behind all these hops. Bitterness is very strong, with a somewhat harsh profile. Hops bring some grapefruit peel, grass, and leaves. Not as much fruitiness is represented as the nose does. I think the fruity hop profile could have given this more depth, but it's hard to please the palate after the aroma is so great.

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Photo of Proteus93
4.37/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I had been interested in trying this for some time, and was always puzzled as to why it was not available among the other Ballast Point brews in Virginia. Nonetheless, when I saw a bottle, I snatched it up.

A: Nice golden colour, and pretty much what I hope for when I think of a 'pale ale.' A touch of haze... appears to be more of a slight chillhaze than an unfiltered brew. Head is modest... about 3/4 of a finger tall, but rather nice, tight, and creamy. Retention is good, leaving a generous collaring of lace and a soft sheet over the beer.

S: The aroma is probably the highlight of this beer. It wafted from the bottle immediately upon opening, and trails the glass wherever it goes, lingering in the air. It's a very citrus-scented beer... a lot of pineapple with hints of grapefruit and some pine qualities. I find myself detecting something like cracker (but not QUITE), as well, which plays into it nicely.

T: Flavour has many similarities to the aroma... the pineapple is there, but it does not have the sweetness, nor does it have the 'acidity' that one might expect when smelling something that seems so similar to pineapple. Rather, it merely 'influences' an otherwise leafy/herbal hop, along with a kiss of grapefruit (slightly sweet) and pine. There's a bit of a tropical note to it, as well. The bottle suggests apricot, peach, mango, and lemons. I can agree on the mango, but I personally do not find myself really getting the others. Nonetheless, it's an excellent tasting beer and that's the bottom line here.

M + D: This went beyond my expectations, and I'm very pleased to have local access to such a stellar IPA. Medium bodied, with a carbonation that's pretty much spot-on... sparkling, and giving way to just a little chewiness at the very end. The higher-than-average alcohol content is masked remarkably well and can go down perhaps a little too easily. A nice brew, and I look forward to having more regular access to it on the East Coast. Recommended.

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Photo of Beernf
4.88/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On draft at the Ballast Point Brewery in San Diego.

I can't add much to what has been posted 800 times here already. This is my favorite IPA because of an outstanding taste and an amazing mouthfeel. Love sitting back and drinkin this beer. Go find it if you havent had it.

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Photo of Chaney
4.85/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

So I guess Ballast Point brewed this batch especially for the DC area. Lucky us! If we don't continue to get this stuff in our area after the overwhelmingly positive results that this smart move will produce (IMO), then I think I'll cry!

I poured this hard into a Founders pint glass. No date on the bottle, but I know through local marketing that this bottle was fresh as hell!

A: Cloudy, golden color with nice bubbly carbonation and about a mammoth 2 inch + head. The visual hop sizzle was a phenomenal spectacle!

S: Very piney, with am awesome display of peach, mango, grapefruit, and other assorted cast of characters of the citrus variety. Ballast Point should get into the air freshener business as a side venture.

T: Hop forward, West Coast style IPA, with all of the citrus fruits I described from the smell. Definitely not the most full-bodied brew I've ever tasted, but this was damn tasty! Any sort of malt backbone I detected initially was immediately slapped away by the overwhelming hops and citrus.

M: This was where the beer really shined. The balance was astounding and the carbonation was comfortable and where it should have been for this style. The grapefruit alkalinity kept the sweetness and/or syrupy quality in check.

D: There is no shortage of great IPAs in the world, and this is among the best. In my area, it seems that Bell's "Two-Hearted" is the go-to IPA that has legions of loyal followers. I've heard rumors that Sculpin is now going to be produced in 6-pks. When and if that happens, "Two-Hearted" may get kicked to the curb.

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Photo of wvsabbath
4.27/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Serving type - 22oz bottle

Appearance - Nice golden tan, 1 inch light white head.

Smell - Nice aroma of citrus, hops, some malts
Pineapple and grapefruit is very present

Taste - Wow, my first impression was pineapple gallore. First beer i had that citrus wise pineapple was the big flavor. Nice balance of hops and malts also. I really like the dry taste the beer has. Its not a mouth crusher but as a ipa its up there in strength.

Mouthfeel - Its dry and mild bitter, so your tounge gets all the fruits, your palete gets the bitterness. Nice beer to suck down and enjoy.

Drinkabilty - Very high. This beer combines everything you want in a ipa, and adds that pineapple twist to make it unique and enjoyable. Limited release will make you enjoy it even more

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Photo of DaveHS
4.63/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A-Pours a hazy, rusty orange with about an inch of off-white head.

S-Pineapple, pine needles, big, resinous hop goodness.

T/M-One sip is all it takes to see why this is such a highly rated IPA. Beautiful, piney flavors assault the palate, followed by waves of pineapple, grapefruit, and alternately floral and bitter flavors. The hop spectrum is pretty well covered in Sculpin. The chewy, prickly carbonation delivers all these flavors very effectively.

D-Now that this is becoming more available (6-packs soon) I will be drinking a lot of this.

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Photo of BDTyre
4.82/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Beautiful IPA. A light orangey-gold with a slightly off-white head that settles slowly and leaves a thin film on the glass and a thin layer on top of the beer.

Rich malt,s and fresh cut grass, lemons and other citrus and a bit of bitter hops.

Smooth blending of hops and malts, with the hops dominant. Slight lemony flavour and a toffee malt aftertaste. Traces of banana, caramel and apple lurk in the background.

Great mouthfeel - smooth but with a nice carbonation to it. Great beer, easy to drink even at 7%.

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Photo of bierenutz
4.33/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-Pours a hazy golden color with a finger thick head and nice uniform lacing on the glass.
S-Nice floral citrus aroma with grapefruit, lemon and orange bouquet and piney hops.
T-Mild sweet citrus flavors up front followed by a malty middle and hoppy end. Liking the way this beer transitions smoothly through these flavors during the tasting cycle.
M-Moderate feel and carbonation.
D-Simply one of the best you can get of this style.

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Photo of HotHands
4.57/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

22oz bomber with the tan label. I guess that means it isn't the new one? Regardless, BP doesn't distribute to western NY. The store owner brought these up from NYC himself. I'll take what I can get.

A - pours a translucent gold with a 2 finger white head that's quite persistent. Good lacing, too.

S - all citrus, all the time - lots of grapefruit, lemon, and tangerine. Some other fruit too - maybe honeydew?

T - follows the nose quite well. Lots of grapefruit flavors backed up by some tangerine and some pine. Some slightly sweet malt too, which complements the hop flavors. With pine flavors I like a more savory malt, but citrusy hops can handle a bit of sweetness.

M - finishes kinda dry for an IPA, which I like (but not too dry). I'm not the biggest fan of the real oily mouthfeel of some other IPAs.

D - I want more! This is great stuff, and I could drink it all night... and I would if I lived in an area that Ballast Point distributed to.

If you wanted to show somebody an example of a "typical" IPA, bumped up to its apex, Sculpin is where it's at. There's no unexpected flavors here, but everything about this beer is done at such a high level.

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Photo of thedon10
3.83/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Drank from a bomber on 9/30/10, smell is really fresh!

A- Nice 3 finger white fluffy head, with great retention. After 5 minutes watching it sit, the head remains with nice lacing on the glass.

S- Strong citrus smell. As IPAs go, this one seems like the citrus will dominate the piney taste.

T- Wow! Bitter hop blast but oh so smooth. Not as bright a citrus taste as I was expecting from the smell, but great nonetheless. Grapefruit taste is in the front. There's a nice earthy pine taste that comes in after the bitter front, something different here.

M- Feels less carbonated than many other IPAs I've had. Not a very bitter mouthfeel, almost has a sweet taste to it.

D- Solid beer, could easily drink a few of these. Not a super hop bomb but full of flavor

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Photo of dubinsky
4.84/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A - Bright golden yellow and orange. Poured into my RR "tion" glass with a nice, thick creamy two finger white head with good lacing.

S - Perhaps this is my favorite aspect of this beer. The Smell is wonderful. Pine, citrus, pineapple, tropical fruits and of course, amazing hop aromas. The smell is filling up the room before i even take my first sip.

T - This is arguably the most balanced IPA I've tried so far. Its got a great citrus and fruit flavor as well as an in your face hop punch, with a light malt presence. I love IPA's like this. Hop and citrus forward, with a hint of sweet, malty backbone to balance things out.

M - Medium carbonation with a light and creamy body.

D - I could drink this all day long. Sure its 7% ABV, but i couldn't tell. I find the balance to be what makes this a hugely drinkable IPA. I thoroughly enjoyed this beer every time i drink it and wish it was less expensive.

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Photo of MeisterBurger
4.11/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A gentle pour reveals a clear, yellowy orange liquid, topped by a lively, frothy head with beautiful sticky lacing. It's lighter in colour than your average IPA, that's for sure.

The aroma is a melange of freshly peeled citrus fruits--oranges, pink grapefruit, tangerines--as well as some hints of more tropical fruits like pineapple and mango.

The taste is surprisingly less bitter than anticipated, with a creamy mouthfeel delivering a nice tasty bitter grapefruit pith nicely smoothed out by a bready sweet malt with just a hint of caramel. It's bitter without being harsh or unpleasant. Finishes quick and doesn't quite pack the punch I was expecting at first, but with every sip the bitterness and resinousness grew. That is, of course, assuming resinousness is a real word. I don't know.

Really. What more can I add? This is the top American IPA here for a reason. This is an amazingly well crafted IPA, if not my own personal favourite.

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Photo of ryan1788a5
4.77/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

22 oz bomber poured into a New Belgium globe glass.

A: Clear golden orange with a thick, creamy, white two finger head. Retention is good and leaves behind sticky lacing.

S: Pine, melon rind, fruity citrus notes, and faint hints of a sweet grainy malt base.

T: Fruity and bitter. Honeydew melon, grapefruit, pineapple, peach, and orange. Pine is there, but not as apparent as it was on the nose. Grainy malt base tries to poke through at times and just barely succeeds intermittently. Fruity, juicy, bitter hop tastes remain on the tongue for a long time.

M: Mouthfeel is great: light and creamy with moderate carbonation.

D: Very high. This is an awesome beer. Tasty as hell and an absolute pleasure to drink.

Notes: Excellent beer. Bitter, but brimming with vibrant, juicy fruit flavors. Perfect West Coast IPA, and easily one of the best IPAs I've ever had. Great from the bottle if you can find it fresh, but a damn near religious experience on tap. Mandarin orange and grapefruit tastes are really augmented.

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Photo of RonfromJersey
4.5/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Golden yellow with a heavy haze. Four fingers of dense level super small white micro bubbles. Excellent lacing.

Big inviting citrus aromas are impossible to resist at more than an arm's reach. Lot of peach, apricot, mango, bit of lemon.

Good solid sweet foundation down the tongue is quickly engulfed by an enormous burst of juicy citrus - apricots, mangos, maybe some peaches. Delightful.

Mouthfeel has a solid firmness that holds everything together. Not watery, not syrupy, nicely in the middle, leaning a bit toward the light, and serves the beer well.

Drinkability so good I'm sorry this beer is almost gone.

A much talked about ipa that backed up all the talk. Bring on fresh six packs.

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Sculpin IPA from Ballast Point Brewing Company
4.38 out of 5 based on 13,417 ratings.
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