Hammer Of The Holy | Clown Shoes

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Hammer Of The HolyHammer Of The Holy

Brewed by:
Clown Shoes
Massachusetts, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Hammer of the Holy, an American Imperial Stout aged in 40-year old Jamaican rum barrels, incorporates holy water, signature dark malts, and malt smoked with vampire killing stakes. Dear Undead, "Die, monsters, die!"

Added by jim_carignan on 11-23-2013

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 49 | Ratings: 326
Photo of gatornation
3.75/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a dark brown color with a Khaki head. Rich smells of malts and dark fruits with chocolate and rum. Taste is roasted malts,chocolate coffee mixed with wood vanilla and rum, lower carbonation with a thin body, slight booze with slight rum, had this one in the cellar only bought one, not a memorable or recommended offering

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Photo of JebBeerFish
3.79/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A: Classic Chocolate brown r.i.s. look, 1/4 head on gentle pour.

S: light rum, molasses, dark chocolate

T: not as roasty and dark as most Clown Shoes r.i.s. The rum adds a sweetness and lightness to the beer, while still being very much a r.i.s. with classic bitter dark chocolate
flavors. The rum's presence is limited to a sweetness, no real rum flavor.

F: Creamy.

O: The rum is a nice change for Clown Shoes, but nothing above average here.

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Photo of Jadjunk
3.93/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

"Hammer of the Holy (2015 Vintage) is an Imperial Stout aged in rum barrels for over 8 months, and it incorporates holy water, signature dark malts, oatmeal, and malt smoked with demon-killing stakes. Dear Undead, 'Die, monsters, die!' Sincerely, Clown Shoes Beer." Brewed in the style of an American Imperial Stout aged in Rum Barrels, available in 22 oz. bottle as part of an occasional rotating release.

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle to a snifter glass.

(Appearance) Pours a rich medium brown head of a frothy foam consistency over a black body. Retention is good and lacing is light and patchy. 4.25

(Smell) Moderate roasted grain, trace peat smoke, tangy moist oak with a nip of grain alcohol. Potency is moderate. 3.75

(Taste) A solid and accessible malt blend of chocolate, roasted malt and smooth caramel with a clean undertone of alcohol, a bit light on body but nicely balanced. Not much emphasis from the peat smoke, but very solid delivery of rum qualities, generating lots of complex dark fruit flavors with comparatively light gruff alcohol character. Finishes clean with traces of dark fruit syrups. 4

(Mouthfeel) Texture is slick, smooth, lightly chewy, clean. Carbonation is mild, generating a mild frothiness and a mellow crisp finish. Body is shy of medium for the style, short of heavy overall. Balance is nearly even sweet to roasted and specialty malt character plus grain alcohol. Alcohol presence is moderate and there are no off characters. 3.75

(Overall) A mild tempered American Imperial Stout with an equally gentle rum alcohol backbone, but nicely balanced and complex. I was expecting something a bit more gruff and aggressively flavored, but this beer drinks solid and is nicely balanced, with a nice complementary rum fruit and barrel aging treatment, nothing is overdone in this beer. A winner for nicely balanced and highly drinkable Imperial Stouts, but the lightness of the body could be made much richer for an even more outstanding malt flavor profile. 4

Clown Shoes'
Hammer of the Holy American Imperial Stout

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Photo of Fcolle2
4.17/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours viscous jet black in color with a dark tan head. Aromas of roasted malt, vanilla, oak and hints of dark fruits. Roasted malt is more prevalent in the taste with a slight ashy flavor. Flavors of dates, hints of chocolate and some sweetness from the rum. Mouthfeel is thick moderately carbonated and slightly ashy in the finish.

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Photo of pagriley
3.77/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Pours thick with big mocha head that recedes to thin lacing
Chocolate and oak on the nose, with some smoke in the background
A touch of smoke, but lacking defined barrel character and base beer backbone
Medium bodied - expected more heft and body for the ABV

Overall the rum barrel isn't working for me here - the oak is dominating, but the barrel is indistinct and earthy, with an odd aftertaste. OK but not great

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Photo of LloydDobler
4.2/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from 22oz bomber into snifter

This is straight black but looks thin as I pour it. The thin layer of fizzy foam dissipates quickly and leaves a small ring that borders my glass. The nose is really sweet: sweet rum(not boozy), rasins, deeply smoked malts, burnt brown sugar. Tastes are pairilleled with the smell fairly well. I was really hoping for more of a rum presence in the taste, but nope. It's just not there. The base beer is really good, if not for a bit thin.

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Photo of darktronica
4.34/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

22oz bomber of the 2015 edition. Seems to be much less emphasis on the smoked aspect, compared to the original batch; this was most evident in the flavor, enough so that I double-checked the label and saw that it's now labelled as an "American Imperial Stout" instead of a "Smoked Imperial Stout."

It's still aged in rum barrels, though, and that's where the beer really gets its distinctiveness this time around. Clown Shoes has a knack for getting great flavors out of their barrel program, and this is no exception. That said, it is not a boozy barrel-bomb at all; the rum simply brings out some fruity, quad-like flavors that are uncommon in a stout and really help the beer stand out. There's quite a bit of apple, plum, and date alongside the more typical vanilla, oak, and molasses flavors. This all plays nicely with the smoked malt, which really does play second fiddle this time around but adds nice accents of smoke, tobacco, and leather to the finish.

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Photo of SpeedwayJim
3.94/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

750ml capped bottle into a Cigar City snifter. Shared with schen9303.

Pours pitch black with a .5 finger dark mocha colored head with moderate retention. Lacing is thick and spotty but sparse with little retention. Decent.

Beer is booze, mocha, sweet soy sauce, chocolate, fudge and molasses. Great aroma profile but a bit mellow.

Opens smoke and roast. Vanilla, coffee and sweet soy sauce in the middle with hints of molasses and booze. Fudge and a bit of dark fruit hints at a touch of tartness. Tobacco, peat and more dark fruit at the finish. Some cocoa powder and sweetness in the aftertaste. Tasty!

Full bodied with moderate to low retention. Slick and oily in the mouth and smooth and a bit hot going down. Finishes messy and sticky with a lingering, oily aftertaste. Very appropriately heavy.

This beer is really solid. Maybe not quite as "fudge-y" as others in the style but it has nice complexity and a moderate-to full body that's quite appropriate. Worth trying for sure.

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Photo of ThrewRedButter
4.46/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

L - Pitch black with dark brown on the edges when held up to the light. Half a finger of tan head.

S - Dark fruit bomb with raisins and plums. Roasted malts, coffee, oak. Rum is not overly sweet.

T - Unique blend of quad-like dark fruits and milk chocolate, coffee, roasted malts, charred oak, and a faint hint of toasted coconut. Rum is perfect as it isn't too sweet and doesn't burn.

F - For an 11.00% imperial stout, it doesn't coat the mouth as it should, but it gets the job done. Referring back to the abv, there is NO alcohol presence and not even a warming sensation in my chest with each sip.

O - Mix a big, BA imperial stout with dark fruits and add rum. A lot of complexity with a less-than-stellar mouthfeel, but it's enjoyable enough to overcome its shortcomings.

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Photo of Nominoe
3.89/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I don't know how to judge the appearance of a barrel aged imperial stout. It's black as hell, with a brown head and decent lacing. What else can you ask for?

The smell is misleadingly somewhat sour/funky, probably from the rum barrels. It smells delicious, just doesn't cooperate with the taste particularly.

The taste is a hammer ful of smoke up front, as stated on the bottle's label. The rum is subtle and comes through your nose after having a sip and swishing - like having a shot or something, amazing! The smokiness subdues as the beer warms and really starts to blend in with the rum to deliver the beer's holiness.

The feel is certainly chewy, but it has a slightly carbonated, bubbly feel that I really don't expect from a high ABV, barrel aged, black-as-night imperial stout.

Overall, this beer is delicious and enjoyable, but it does not compete with other barrel aged imperial stouts by the same or other breweries. I don't think I'd drop $15 on it again, but the manager at my local store found one in the back and put it on the shelf. I noticed, purchased, and opened in the same day. No regrets.

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Photo of jdhilt
3.94/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a three finger tan head that fades slowly to thin layer leaving some lace. Black color, no highlights. Light-medium carbonation and medium-heavy body. Rum nose and flavor is baked rum and licorice. High ABV is hidden. Lingering bitter finish. Pricey at $13.95 for a 22oz bottle from Colonial Spirits Acton, MA.

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Photo of tikk
3.35/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

Looks deep black, quicklyrics disapating head. Smells rummy, and smokey. Tastes of black licorice, one of my least favorite flavors ever soaked in rum, but rinsed off. Mouth feel is watery and weird, not what I expect from an imperial stout. Not a huge fan. Glad I tried it. Would not get again

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Photo of stortore
4.12/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle into a snifter.

Dark, thick looking pour. Small foamy head with some lacing. Smells of lots of roasted malts, some rum, a little chocolate and vanilla, a hint of smoke. Taste is heavy on the roasted malts, some oak, chocolate, vanilla, caramel. Light rum taste, but it's impact on the beer seems greater. Well blended flavors. Full bodied, well carbonated. It's a tongue coater.

Another really enjoyable offering from Clown Shoes. I agree that if you are looking for big rum, you will be disappointed, but this is a solid, flavorful beer that is well worth a purchase.

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Photo of Dope
4.13/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottled 01/14/15.

A: Jet-black pour. Very tall, very dark and very heavy head. Top-notch head retention. Moderate lacing.

S: Nice rum aroma. Kinda like caramel and molasses mixed together. Smoked malt is notable with a wood smoked aroma. Light sweet chocolate.

T: Again with the rum up front. Smooth caramel initially. Very smooth. Smoky, bittersweet roasted malt follows. Turns even more bittersweet in the finish with a pure cocoa essence. Very light acrid smokiness mixes in for the lingering aftertaste.

M: Heavy, smooth. Silky smooth.

O: Rum barrel really smooths this one out. Ultra smooth. Even calms down the smokiness. Mellow and heavy qualities lend drinkability. Nice.

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Photo of antott0523
4.3/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

A: Pours an opaque, black with a dark brown hue. The head resembles a dense espresso foam. It settles but sticks around. Some lacing on the glass. No visible carbonation.

S: The nose offers soft touches of vanilla and rum. A bit of a dark and stormy thing going on.

M: Deceivingly light and silky smooth mouthfeel.

T/D: Clown shoes barrel-aged offerings vary greatly. Billionaire is a harsh, booze ridden brew with an unpleasant ethyl-like quality that hopefully mellows over time. Gardenstate Rhapsody is a delicious big booze, big nose, nearly perfectly executed flavor bomb. Hammer of the Holy, however, is smooth and subtle with a touch of sweetness including rum and vanilla, balanced by a semi dry roasted, woody and slightly smokey finish. It's not in your face, but it's well crafted and extremely drinkable. You won't know you're drinking an 11% beer. The booze is completely hidden. Overall, behind Gardenstate this is my favorite barrel aged offering from Clown Shoes. Cheers to the brewers at Clown Shoes.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.36/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

BOTTLE: Brown glass. 1 pint 6 fl oz. Great label art. Branded pry-off pressure cap. 2015 vintage; 450 cases were released this year.

Reviewed live as an imperial stout aged in rum barrels per the label. I'm suspicious of the statement about bourbon barrels being "reconditioned" with rum, and when I inquired, Clown Shoes claimed they couldn't elaborate due to a NDA. Suspect, but I'll give the benefit of the doubt.

11% ABV. Served cold into a pilsner glass at low altitude in Austin, TX, and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

No bubble show forms as it's poured.

HEAD: 1 finger wide. Nice tan colour. Has superb creaminess, with a soft appearance and an even, smooth consistency. Great complexion. Retention is good for the high ABV - ~5 minutes. Leaves no lacing as it recedes.

BODY: Predictably, it's an opaque solid dark black. Not an ink or jet black, but dark. No yeast particulate or hop sediment is visible given its opacity.

Appears well-carbonated. It's a good overall appearance for an imperial stout, but isn't unique or special within the style.

AROMA: The barrel character is prominent, with vanilla from the bourbon & rum as well as a hint of sugarcane rum goodness. The barrel melts into the base beer, which brings stellar notes of chocolate malt, baker's chocolate, cocoa, dark malts, marshmallow, cream, malted milk/whoppers, faint raisin, and toffee. The barrel character, though dominant, doesn't seem to eclipse the base beer. I do long for some roasted barley presence, and some coffee might help curb the apparent sweetness, but this seems balanced overall and never suggests a cloying beer. The authentic vanilla is a stand-out characteristic, and I like the seamless blend of bourbon and rum character, though more of a toasty oak presence would really set off the barrel notes nicely.

There's no detectable hop or yeast profile, and I find no off notes.

Aromatic intensity is moderate.

TASTE/TEXTURE: The barrel character steals the show, with subtle-yet-dominant notes of bourbon-derived vanilla, faint rummy sugarcane, barrel sugars, and some mild char. Sticky marshmallow in the base provides the glue that holds this cohesive build together, complemented aptly by the sticky sweet dark malt and chocolate malt foundation. Additional complexity comes from malted milk balls/whoppers, softening cream, brewer's chocolate, a kiss of raisin, and a hint of rummy molasses.

There's a nice marriage of texture to taste, with the creamy, soft, smooth, and wet feel accenting the vanilla (my favourite note in the whole profile). It has an apt medium to full body, plenty of stickiness (which may turn off some drinkers), and ample heft and weight on the palate without ever feeling overbearing. It's slightly overcarbonated to its detriment, and as one drinks more she may note that its stickiness draws out the beer's sweetness too much, but overall this mouthfeel is appropriate both for the style and the flavour profile. Still, a bit more coarseness and dryness would be nice, and would ideally complement a roasted barley note.

Indeed, the absence of more bitter notes like roast and coffee to balance the sweetness (which intensifies as it warns) holds the beer back. Additionally, it's surprisingly shallow in terms of oak and/or toastiness considering its 8 months of barrel aging.

Still, it's a cohesive build. It's not quite a gestalt whole, and I wouldn't say it's more than the sum of its parts, but I do like it and it's mostly balanced, save for that pesky sweetness. Definitely a dessert beer, but it hides its ABV well enough that it's not a sipper per se. Other reviewers have noted smoke; I find none at all whatsoever. Also, aside from the oddly smooth and wet mouthfeel, I find no trace of oatmeal (at least in terms of taste).

Admittedly, I expected far more of a rum presence. The mild rum here is a bit disappointing, especially when you compare this to, say, Avery's rum barrel aged beers. More commitment to the rum barrel would be ideal.

Overall presence on the palate is nice.

As it warms, faint notes of plum and date emerge.

OVERALL: Those hoping for a rum-heavy imperial stout will be disappointed, but this is on par with Clown Shoes' other offerings in that it's a pretty good but not great imperial stout with plenty of potential. The base could use some additional intricacy, and the barrel notes should be more evocative. It's not a highly expressive brew, but it'd be unfair to call it shallow. I'm glad I tried it once, but wouldn't pick it up again at its unreasonably high price point.

It's not the sipper it should be at 11% with barrel aging, and drinks surprisingly easily - which is one of its better attributes. I do wonder why the smoke isn't coming through. Oats are poorly implemented, lending it an unnecessarily smooth and wet feel. The discerning drinker will be appeased but unimpressed.

B- (3.36)

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Photo of pat61
4.29/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Fruit with a hint of rum on the nose with coffee and chocolate. Brilliant dark brown under a 1” finely bubbled light tan head, persistent and lacy. A fruity palate with dark dried fruit, prune, with an underlying sweetness and chocolate and coffee in the background. The sweetness lingers approaching cloying leaving a little stickiness on the lips. Not enough bitterness to balance. Big and chewy with average carbonation.

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Photo of sdeese21
4.86/5  rDev +18%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

The rum adds a nice layer of complexity to this beer. Very smooth, very creamy with a nice, subdued rum aftertaste. Some heat at the finish but definitely not boozey IMO. Very enjoyable!

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Photo of PicoPapa
4.01/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle. Pours a pitch black color with an inch of medium brown head. Good amount of lacing. The aroma is lots of booze and wood with some cocoa, earth, and a hint of roasted malts. Almost smells like its Bourbon aged instead of Rum. The taste is where you really tastes the rum. Lots of wood flavor as well as cocoa and roasted malts. A hint of smoke with some raisins and earth. Finishes with more Rum and wood as well as the Cocoa. Mouthfeel is on the thin side for the style. All things considered it's pretty drinkable. Overall, its a barrel aged beer from Clown Shoes so of course it's good.

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Photo of changdulla
4.28/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This is my first rum barrel aged beer. I gotta say that I love it! The rum really comes out as it warms. I am definitely gonna get some more of these. I bet it would be great with a little age on it.

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Photo of TX-Badger
4.66/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very dark brown almost black with oil like viscosity and nice khaki colored head. Rum, coconut, oak, vanilla, roasted malts, and a light sweetness on the nose; follows onto the palate. Finishes with barrel character and a little sweetness from the rum. Very nice.

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Photo of Roguer
3.95/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Dark tan head, decent retention, nice lacing. Solid black brew, as expected.

Nice strong stout aroma, with noticeable notes from the rum and oak. (Really, the rum is indistinguishable from bourbon on the aroma.) A bit of cocoa and raisins, but the barrel is really dominating.

Flavor follows, with a nutty, woody, rum-dominant flavor. A bit of smoke is noticeable, growing in strength on the back-end. Some dark fruit (not particularly tart) mingled with chocolate and roasted barley.

There's an odd, woody, not-quite-right flavor in the brew - not an off flavor, exactly. I attribute it to the rum, although it could as easily be due to the smoke. There's something just not quite to my liking in here.

As it warms, it becomes noticeably more fruity, and the smoke and rum mellow out significantly. That improves the flavor significantly, but at the same time, makes it come across more as a barrel aged English barleywine.

Thick, cloying, long wet finish; super drinkable for 11% ABV.

An interesting beer, worth a try. I have a feeling that most will either love or hate this brew.

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Photo of GregJ
4.33/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours black with a dark tan head. Overpowering smell of sweet barrel aged character and some dark chocolate and booze. Tastes of dark rum, dark chocolate, some charcoal but just a little, dark leathery fruit, dark roast malts. Medium body and carbonation. Sweet rum, dried dark fruit, and a little burnt malt on the aftertaste. Great flavor with depth of character.

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Photo of DeepBrew
4.43/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 22oz bottle into snifter

A: Oily black with slim tan foam that disappears into a rim and leaves behind spotty lacing on the side of the glass

S: Malt with some rum and barrel, does not overwhelm, but it pleasantly shifts as it warms

T: Malt with some smokiness, booze with some rum flavor, a bit of sour probably from the barrel and a discrete dark chocolate bitter. Well balanced

M: Creamy and boozy, strengthening as it warms

O: Very well executed and a great drink

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Photo of MDDMD
4.1/5  rDev -0.5%

A-dark brown black color with a nice tan head and good lacing

S-coffee, smoke, alcohol, dark malt, toffee, molasses

T-dark roasted malt, coffee, oak, smoky, light molasses, vanilla, rum

F-medium body with moderate carbonation, smooth and a little boozy

O-nice imperial stout, but a little boozy now, would like to try this again in the future

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Hammer Of The Holy from Clown Shoes
4.12 out of 5 based on 326 ratings.
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