Lambic | Rivertown Brewing Co.

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very good
74 Reviews

Brewed by:
Rivertown Brewing Co.
Ohio, United States

Style: Lambic - Unblended

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Fermented by exposing the beer to untamed yeasts and bacteria native to Rivertown Brewery, known as House Funk. This blend fermented for over a year in wine barrels.

Added by mcallister on 04-26-2011

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Reviews: 74 | Ratings: 296
Photo of macrosmatic
4.21/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Reviewed from notes. Poured from a 2014 vintage 750 mL bottle into a Brooklyn Brewery tulip glass.

A: Hazy gold, with a one-finger white head with good retention. A big initial blush of visible carbonation settles down quickly.

S: Farmhouse funk, dry and grassy (I assume some Brett), and lactic tartness. Some lemony citric acid with cracker malt sweetness in the background.

T: Lactic tart up front. Citric lemon bite. Funk from the Brett with accompanying barnyard character, which dries this out in the middle along with some faint oak tannins. A bit of sweetness from the biscuity malt. There's a touch of acetic sour bite near the end. It finishes dry and acidic with another punch of funk.

M: Fairly light bodied, though seems about average for style. Lots of carbonation sensation. Not much alcohol flavor but there's a bit of burn which makes me think this might be a bit higher of an ABV than most in style.

O: Very tasty, especially for a regular/rotating offering. I'm not sure the acetic character I'm picking up at the end adds anything to the beer (nor would be style appropriate, I don't think). But fortunately, it doesn't ruin the experience.

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Photo of ONUMello
4.18/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

750ml bottle, 2013 vintage poured into a flute
A: Hazy very light brown with a slight yellowish/pinkish hue. Almost no head but light bubbles
S: Sour - green apple/citrus, some oak, wheat and yeast
T: Also sour, green apple initially, a hit of funk, some citrus, yeast, wheat, and choke cherry
M: Light-bodied, pleasant carbonation, a light touch of tannins
O: Quite complex and tasty. My first Lambic and I'll definitely be exploring the style more. I'll try to buy another bottle of this to try with some age

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Photo of buschbeer
4.06/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1 PINT 9.4 FL. OZ. bottle
Served in a flute
2012 vintage

A - It is a golden color with straw highlights. I got very little off-white head.

S - The aroma is sour with some dank basement. I get some green apple and pear.

T - The taste is tart and vinous. It is acidic. The taste is not as intense as the smell. The sourness doesn't really linger in the aftertaste.

M - Sticky and moderate.

O - This is my first unblended lambic. I enjoy the sourness of the beer, but I would like more. With no experience with Belgian lambics, I am eager to try more. I like this one.

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Photo of boilermakerbrew
4.25/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

From the 2011 batch.

A- Pours a fairly hazy, deep golden in color. Small, off-white head that doesn't stick around long. No lacing due to lack of a head.

S- Fairly tart right up front, with a good dose of citrus. Middle of the scent turns toward a more oak focused tart flavor. Tart but not too sour overall.

T- Pretty much follows the scent to a tee. Starts with a moderate level of tartness, then moves toward a more grainy and oak flavor profile. Grainy, but there is still an underlying tartness throughout the middle of the drink. A dry, tart, and oak focused towards the end with a bit of lingering tart fruitiness.

M- Body is light and fairly highly carbonated. Pretty easy to drink, with even the tartness not holding you back.

Really just a decent sour. Nothing too special, but all the flavors and qualities of a good lambic are there in varying degrees. For the price tag of $10-12 it's not bad, but more than that, and you might as well use time and effort to get the Belgians.

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Photo of HuskyinPDX
3.89/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Bottle opened on 1.5.14
Thanks bstyle!
VIntage 2011

A - Pours a hazy light orange with a small soapy, white head that fades pretty quickly.

S - Tart, oaky, lemon, slightly floral.

T - Tart lemon and orange, oaky and finishes funky.

D - Light body with good carbonation.

O - Nice tartness, oaky, citrus with a pleasant funk. Good beer.

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Photo of sweemzander
4.13/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

22oz. bottle poured into a snifter. Thanks for sharing Matt! 2010 vintage.

(A)- Pours a hazed golden yellow color. Some subtle white bubbles formed.

(S)- Quite dry but with a vibrant acidity. It oozes sour lemon head/peel. great yeasty bits amidst a potent sourness overall. Quite awesome for me.

(T)- Not as sour as the aroma foretold, but it is balanced nicely. Some wheat-like yeasty bread meets some acidic lemon rind at the end.

(M)- A spritzy carbonation level meets a light but zesty acidic lemon citrus overall.

(O)- It is definitely a successful lambic from the states. Always like to see more breweries around here try their hand at my favorite styles.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.74/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

750 mL bottle poured into a snifter. 2011 vintage.

Appearance - Pale hazy body. Not a lot of head. Thin white collar.

Smell - Lemony acidic aroma. Malty. A little grassy.

Taste - Very malty. Lemony sourness that builds. Puckering in the finish.

Mouthfeel - Medium heavy for a sour. Malty. Pretty sour in the finish.

Overall - Not a complex flavor, but it's decent.

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Photo of schwemjw
4.17/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Bright golden yellow, no head. very bright.

S: Honey, tangarine with a dry white wine quality to it (kind of like a dry Riesling). Pungent acidic lemon with a crisp tartness. Young cherries and tart grape. inviting.

T: From the second it touches your tongue a sour funk and tart apple take over. Reminiscent of a cider. Strong yeast presence with a hint of limestone. lemon and hay round it out. A very tart finish that is quite long. Sour cherries come in with a vanilla back end note.

M: Clean and crisp with a long finish. body seems like but the carbonation is there.

O: A nicely balanced brew. Quite enjoyable. The acid and funk is there but in no way overwhelming. /91

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Photo of superspak
4.22/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle into tulip glass, 2011 vintage. Pours lightly hazy bright golden straw color with a 2 finger fairly dense white head with good retention, that reduces to a thin lace that lingers. Minimal spotty lacing clings on the glass. Aromas of big tart apple, lemon, pear, grape, clove, oak, hay, grass, vinegar, white wine, funk, leather, and yeast earthiness. Awesome aromas with great balance and complexity of yeast and oak barrel notes; with good strength. Taste of tart apple, lemon, pear, grape, clove, oak, hay, grass, pepper, white vinegar, funk, white wine, leather, and yeast earthiness. Fair amount of acidic tartness on the finish; with lingering notes of light fruits, clove, oak, hay, vinegar, grass, white wine, leather, funk, and yeast earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Very nice complexity and balance of fruity/spicy/funky yeast flavors with moderate barrel presence; with a great malt/tartness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a smooth, crisp, and moderately acidic mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with minimal warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is a highly excellent Lambic style! All around great balance and complexity of yeast and barrel flavors; and very smooth and crisp to drink with the moderate acidity. A highly enjoyable offering.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.3/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Rivertown Lambic 2012 

Appears apricot hazed hue with a light white head fine streaming bubbled carbonation. Fine speckled lacing left behind. Aroma light fruit hints of cherry peach I'm not sure which fruit this lambic uses, wild yeast notes excellent stuff acidic lactic yogurt notes. Flavors are pungent with tart lively acidity, bitterness from nutty earthy yeast and aged hops rolling complexity with hints of peach/strawberry Chobani yogurt dynamic yeast lively flavors great beer. Mouthfeel bone dry lively carbonation effervescent wine like great finish goes down as uber authentic lambic not like a sugar infused Lindemann, I'm in awe. Overall excellence in a bottle, these brewers are inspired keep the sour wild ale program kicking and you will be successful.

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Photo of standardcherry
4.1/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

CBC Clerkenwell bottleshare

A: Dark orange color. Nice sized white head.
S: Lots of sourness and funky lemons. Pleasant.
T: Not as sour as I was expecting, but I did get tons of hay and funky lemons. Some mild wheat notes to balance it out.
M: Small bodied with medium carbonation. I enjoyed the dry mouthfeel. Pretty effervescent. Refreshing.
O: Very good lambic from Ohio out of all places! Very enjoyable.

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Photo of WillCarrera
3.97/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle, 2012 vintage, poured into a tulip glass.

A- Pours a hazy dark golden yellow color, topped with a thin, watery white head, leaves a bit of lacing.

S- Musty, sweaty funk, a solid amount of acidity, leaning a bit towards acetic. It smells better than I expected, there are some attributes of its Belgian counterparts here that are more present than you typically get in American sours.

T- Moderate amount of acidity, both lactic and acetic here but still leaning towards acetic. Some wheat and grain flavor, along with a bit of lemon and stone fruit.

M- Medium-bodied, smooth feel, dry finish.

O- A very solid American sour. I've gotta emphasize though that this is not a lambic, and never could be (it also probably shouldn't invite that comparison either, which can only ever be unfavorable for itself), but besides the linguistic technicalities this is a really nice, tasty, drinkable sour.

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Photo of MacQ32
4.33/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A - pours a vast orange gold with minimal tan head

S - tons of sour and horseradishy heat. Smells fantsdtic

T - Fairly hard hitting sour horseradish flavors up front slightly watery aftertaste and finish. Great flavor though

M - medium bodied and drinkable

O - fizzes out towards the end but absolutely fantastic up front. I dont know why but I always associate a certain taste in many sours with horseradish... does anyone else know what im talking about?

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Photo of DavoleBomb
2.4/5  rDev -39.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1.5

Poured into a tulip. 2012 vintage. Like the Rivertown Gueuze I had a little while ago, the cap came off of this way, way, way too easily. While this beer may have been flat anyway, the gueuze should not have been.

3.5 A: Mildly hazed orange brown color. No head.

3.5 S: The nose on this is sharp and acidic. Loads of lactic acid with plenty of acetic underneath. Tangy and fruity with peach and apple. Melon and some vinous notes underneath. Hay and dry woody funkiness, but it doesn't hold a candle up to the acid. Oak without much tannic astringency.

1.75 T: Wow. On the pucker-scale, this one shoots right past mouth-puckering and straight to ass-puckering. Most of the time, the first sip makes a sour beer seem more sour than it is. Your palate needs a couple sips to acclimate back to sours. This beer does not apply. It's fully unbalanced with bracing acidity and unrelenting intensity. I can feel my tooth enamel dripping down my esophagus. If you can taste anything past the acid, you might say this beer is tangy and fruity. Again apple, peach, and vinous fruitiness. Hay and oaky woodiness. It's so damn sour that I can't keep it in my mouth long enough to discern any other flavors.

3.5 M: Lighter medium body. Not really any carbonation. Drinks like a thick water, which is a nice mouthfeel for a lambic.

1.5 D: If I'm dead tomorrow then it's probably because I finished the bottle by myself. Wholly undrinkable, even for the most seasoned lambic drinkers. I'm not a sour noob, so I'm not overreacting. This may be even less balanced that the Cantillon Kriek I had a while back. Brace yourselves, acid is coming.

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Photo of ArrogantB
3.58/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I got this in a trade from one of you fine people last year but I have forgotten who, thanks bud! The first whiff of the opened bottle reeked of cider vinegar, uh oh. I poured a couple glasses and it was an amber orange color and while not quite translucent it wasn't turgid or anything. The aroma settled down after a couple minutes and it was less vinegar but still had an apple cider quality. Flavor was more cider, sour, apples, not bad at all. If you are judging this as a lambic you will be sorely disappointed but I do respect them for going down a difficult path. As an American wild ale its just fine. There are just some qualities to authentic lambic that Americans haven't nailed yet, maybe its the funk, maybe its the yeast, maybe its a je nais se quoi.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.06/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Why is it that I overpay for Belgian-syle beer (especially sour ales) that are made by American breweries, even when I anticipate that they will sorely disappoint me? Answer- because every now and then, I am rewarded with excellence. That happened today.

Rivertown's Belgian sour experiments leads them to this 1-year Lambic, released in 2012 and has developed young taste and then given time to finish its fermentation in the bottle and building carbonation and foam character- dying out diligently along the way.

As the beer pours, it decants with light carbonation,yielding a soft creamy head and lacing delicately on the glass. Underneath, the rusty-orange elixir settles with a dense yeasty haze and diffused glow.

As the mouth reaches the rim of the snifter, the pungent tartness ensues. Aromatic with cider, under ripened berries and orchard fruit- soon to follow are the more earthy tones of cellar-like must, cork wood, sea air, horse hair and mild saddle leather. Sour limes, bitter citrus pith and light white wine vinegar come to live in taste and carry through to a finish of sharp acidity and soft wheat bread.

Where the ale is sour to taste, the flavors are very controlled- not to allow the texture to become astringent or bitey. Mild warmth and tartness finish the ale but with a short thin and watery stint in between. Clean, palate-stripping and refreshing - the ale is dry and wine-ish in aftertaste.

I'm happy to say that the ale is spot-on Senne Valley. If the glass blindly arrives at my table and if told it was an authentic Belgian Lambic, then I would have agreed. With few years under their belt, the Rivertown brewers have figured out the sour puzzle in masterful display.

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Photo of ngeunit1
4.16/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Hazy golden-orange with a finger of frothy white head. Fades down at a normal pace leaving behind some lacing.

S - Sweet wheat, tart green fruits, oak, wine, vanilla, lemon zest, funky Brett, lactic acid, pepper.

T - Very tart green fruits, sweet wheat, lemon zest, oak, wine, funky Brett, mild pepper and vanilla, lactic acid.

M - Medium bodied, moderate carbonation. Smooth with a tart and dry finish.

D - Very nice lambic. Great overall balance and complexity.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.97/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle pour for New Brew Thursday's 3rd Anniversary event held at Beachwood BBQ & Brewing in Long Beach, CA.

Pours a murky honey orange with a foamy khaki head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Small streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is sour, tart, and funky with malt and fruity aromas. Taste is much the same with a fruity flavor on the finish. There is a mild amount of acidity on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer with solid aromas and flavors.

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Photo of FosterJM
3.63/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

1684th Review on BA
Bottle to Flute

Shared with JohnBoots and JCDenver

App- A still looking buttery orangey yellow. No bubbles. Just sat in the glass. Pretty standard "lambic"

Smell- So I really feel bad for opening this after L'Brett. There was nothing exciting about this. Still, oaky and a bit of butter behind it. Slightly dry and malty.

Taste- Its a bit better than I thought it would be. Although after the L'Brett. This fell a bit short. Slightly oaky, a little lemon and butter. A small amount of oak but generally we all felt it was good, above average but not the best lambic.

Mouth- A slightly sweet and lighter medium with a medium carbonation. The residual oak and butter is a little small.

Drink- Its better than average, but not the best beer in the world. Pretty solid.

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Photo of BeerAdvocate
4.23/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

From BeerAdvocate magazine Issue #62 (Mar 2012):

LOOK: Bright golden, thin lacing

SMELL: Musty, lemon zest, medicinal, bay leaf, pepper, tart, yeast, oak, faintly vinous

TASTE: Fresh sourness, oak, musty cellar, goaty, yeast, bready, lemon, faint cider, mint, strawberries, mineral

Most brewers steer clear of naming their beer a “Lambic” due to the Senne Valley indigenous affiliation and expectations that come with it. Rivertown is obviously paying homage to the originals with their own twist. From the pop of the cork and an amazing aroma, to the freshness of sourness and oak of the wine barrels, this one is here to impress. Top notch.

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Photo of metter98
3.95/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: The beer is very hazy yellow in color. It poured with a thin white head that quickly died down, leaving a large patch of bubbles in the center of the glass and a thin collar around the edge. The head completely faded away.
S: There are light aromas of sour lemon juice and barnyard funk in the nose.
T: Like the smell, the taste has a little bit of sourness with hints of lemon juice.
M: It feels relatively light-bodied and a little tart on the palate with a low amount of carbonation.
O: For a sour beer, this is definitely very easy to drink. It would make for a good selection for people who are just getting into this style.

Note: 2011 vintage

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Photo of suspect
3.97/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011 vintage poured from a 750ml bottle courtesy of RocPorterFanatic (TiMiaB BIF) into an Ithaca Excelsior Tulip glass.

A: Crystal clear golden color with some copper hues. Aggressive pour leads to a pure white 1 finger fizzy head that disappears fast. Slight lacing, not uber consistent.

S: Nice blend of funk, sour notes, fresh cut grass and some citrus peel.

T: Follows the nose directly with wonderful blends of typical lambic flavors. Not quite as tart as many of the gueuzes but this is an unblended lambic so a bit of a toned down tart can be expected. The funk shines and then is balanced nicely by the pull of the sour fruit flavors. Almost a crab-apple flavor to it.

M: Well carbonated, nice and fizzy. Light-medium body.

O: An easy drinking, delicious unblended lambic. Not that many American breweries are brewing traditional lambics but this one is highly recommended.

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Photo of rudzud
4.05/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Shared with JLindros, poured into a Kate the Great tulip. 2011 Vintage

A - Pours a hazy light golden hue with a light, light one finger head that left some gentle clouding and a nice halo.

S - Nice vinous notes along with some light oak and barrels. Quite subtle and inviting.

T - Taste starts with some awesome very sour lemons and oaky barrels. Super fruity and acidic but then it kinda fades and fizzles out unfortunately to become somewhat pedestrian and mild. Still, quite interesting.

M - Mouthfeel is very, very nice sharper carbonation here really works with that initial sour kick.

O - Overall, surprisingly good. Who would have thought a decent lambic could come out of Ohio!

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Photo of minnesotaryan
4.33/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to TomTwanks for hooking me up with this delicious beer!

Poured into a snifter, pours a nice hazy peach color, not much head on it.

Smells tart and funky, nice sour apple and vinegar on the nose.

Taste is excactly what I want in a lambic, sour and tart fruit(lemon, pear, grape and apple) bready malt, wheat and of course funky wild yeast.

Mouthfeel is a bit light, but it is nicely refreshing and has good carbonation. Leaves a lingering tart green apple flavor.

Overall this a great beer, holds true to the style, highly enjoyable. Would gladly drink again.

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Photo of jlindros
4.05/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to rudzud for sharing, 2011 vintage.

Pours a light fizzy head little lacing murky carrot peach orange color.

Nose is nice, plenty of fruity funk, tart fruit sour, little berry like and vinous, light oak barrel and toasty, light straw grainy funk and hay, mostly tart fruit.

Taste starts like it wants to be super sour and funky but doesn't quite get there, some tart lemony fruit, hay and grassy funky but light as well, touch of a sour berry fruit, etc. Light grainy bready yeasty malt quality. Decent acidity and overall tartness, but feels slightly thin. It's not heavy sour fruit or funk but not subtle either. Finish is tart and puckering, mouth watering light acidity, tart fruit almost grapefruit like, light bready malts, lingering tartness.

Mouth is med bodied , nice carb, light acidity.

Overall nice, much better than I expected from a lambic from Midwest, although not top of the top but still a well done lambic.

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Lambic from Rivertown Brewing Co.
3.97 out of 5 based on 296 ratings.
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