Terrapin Big Hoppy Monster | Terrapin Beer Company

591 Reviews
Terrapin Big Hoppy MonsterTerrapin Big Hoppy Monster

Brewed by:
Terrapin Beer Company
Georgia, United States

Style: American Amber / Red Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.30%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
Imperial Red Ale.

Added by rajendra82 on 10-09-2004

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 591 | Ratings: 866
Photo of magine
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a seidel mug.

Pours a cloudy very dark tea color; red tinted brown. Very good looking color. Huge off white head. Head sticks and settles to a two finger wide depth. Massive lace coats and sticks to the entire glass all the way down. The head settles to a nice fluffy island as you drink. Excellent.

Brew smells of big flavors. Huge hops; floral, fruit and earthy/piney hops. Then come the caramel, chocolate maltiness. Wow what a great smelling brew.

Brew is very smooth and balanced. Exceptional mix of big flavors. Big chewy malts here; caramel, chocolate, roasted earthy nuts and grains. Then you get the mulitplie flavors of hops here; floral, earthy, grapefruit and citrus maybe. Brew finishes only slightly bitter. Wow - excellent stuff here.

This is a big tasty brew that looks awesome, tastes awesome and drinks easy. At over 8% alcohol.. look out. Stellar stuff.

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Photo of brentblackwell
4.39/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Very dark brownish red. Almost looks chocolate-like. Some carbonation. Thick, cloudy beer around the middle, thinner at the edges. The color is a plus, as it's mysteriously appealing. Small beige head but it has great retention.

Smell: Malty, malty, malty. Bready as well. It's a delicious-smelling beer. No matter what you think of the taste, this beer smells even better. The caramel malts are as inviting as any I've ever whiffed.

Taste: Tastes great. The malts immediately take over as it hits your tongue, but they slowly give way to oaky hops. The hops don't overwhelm, and considering the name, they play a surprise supporting role in the taste of the beer. There's a slight zip of carbonation at the end that adds another layer to the taste.

Mouthfeel: Predictably thick, creamy, almost chewy (in a good way). Thick like molasses - it stays cohesive in your mouth. The thickness is welcome, and doesn't distract from the taste.

Overall: A brilliant beer. It's beautiful from pour until the last drop hits your tongue. It's a pleasure with every sip, as it has a near-perfect blend of texture and taste. And to top it off, it's one of the most aromatically gorgeous beers I've ever encountered. Stunning, and worth every penny (~$11 for a 4-pack).

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Photo of KevinBrewer
4.82/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Hazy brownish red with a big creamy tan head that lasts, leaving spidery lacing.

N- Smells like a bourbon-barrel-aged beer. Big vanilla aroma meshes with a mouth-watering oaky booziness. A touch of dark herbal hops and bready malt in there as well. And way in the back, there is the faintest whisper of roasted grain husk.

T- Big sweet toasted caramel malt with an nice oaky booziness to it. Just a hint of roasted grain in the background. Surprisingly smooth. Not much in the way of bitterness, just enough to balance the huge malt base. The hops really play a supporting roll, with dark herbal tones adding complexity to oak. Finish is fairly long, pleasantly boozy and oaky with a soft clean bitterness. A touch of grain husk in the aftertaste.

M- Medium bodied, very creamy, silky mouthfeel. Moderate carbonation with a bittersweet finish.

D- Overall, a fantastic brew. Really polished and elegant. The hops are definitely a highlight, but the emphasis in the name should be on 'monster.' Although, this is vintage 2010, so I'm curious to see what it would taste like fresh.

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

12oz bottle from 2010.

Pours hazy amber with a fluffy beige head of a half inch. Torn sheets of lacing throughout the glass and a solid skim coat.

Aromatics lead off with sweet malt, light roast, and some mild, piney hops. A hint of candied grapefruit follow through.

On the fuller side of medium bodied with a slighty chewy mouthfeel and a bit of syrup.

Sweet malt, roasted barley, and pine bark start the palate. Traces of grapefruit, toffee and earthy citrus follow through. Medium bitterness with plenty of residuals.

Finishes with lingering sweet malt, dried pine resin, and roast.

This beer is showing some age. The nose is very lacking in hops and quite faded on the palate also. The residuals and mellowed hopping give this one the character of a light barleywine.

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Photo of dk83022
4.17/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a traditional pint glass

A- Fairly dark for an amber ale. Has an almost deep cherry tint to it.

S- Alcohol. Very complex with similarities of a strong ale.

T- Heavy with a lot of flavors. Roasted malt, fruit, with a tiny hint of citrus.

M- Great body at first, fizzles out a little bit.

O- Great, Great beer. Big fan of the brewery!

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Photo of Florida9
3.27/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Murky, faintly transparent, deep brown in color. Barely forms a head on an aggressive pour. What does form is yellowish tan in color and hugs the edges of the glass.

S: Lots of earthy hops and caramel malt with some brighter citrus notes and alcoholic heat.

T: Heavy on both the hops and malt. Heavy caramel malt, some roasted malt, toffee with a strong dose of earthy, dank, bitter hops. Alcohol is prevalent on the finish. Kind of just tastes "muddy."

M: On the heavier side with an astringent bitterness.

O: Really too much of everything keeps this beer from being balanced in anything. Thick malts, earthy hops, dirty tasting and rather boozy for just 8.3% ABV.

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Photo of Thickfreakness
4.72/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thank you Brewcrew2010 (Jared & Danielle) for the trade at the Glens Falls Brew Fest)

A- A two finger tan head sits atop a Mahogany/Red brew. Beautiful lacing drips away and never leaves. Sticky, foamy, and thick! This is an Imperial Red?

S- Sweet caramel, toffee, coffee, dark chocolate, figs and roasted/candied pecans. This is a 2009 vintage so the Hops are all but gone.

T- Still a touch of citrus in the taste... but really gets covered up by the sweetness of the roasted barley. WOW!!! I'm really digging the coffee, caramel and roasted nuts!!! I've never had an Imperial Red like this! It's fantastic with age on it... wish I had a fresh one to compare it to.

M- More like a porter or honey brown ale in mouthfeel! Really coats the tongue! A touch of coffee/hoppy bitterness on the tongue, but the sweetness is where it's at with this one! Pair this one with something as simple as coffee cake, or with a decadant 7 layer chocolate cake!

O- This is fantastic!!! I was thinking something completely different before I poured, smelled, and tasted this one! What a nice surprise!

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Photo of titosupertramp
4.3/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a dark, murky amber. Finger of off white to tan head. Sticky lacing all around the glass.

S: Tons of sweet malt, caramel, toffee with decent amount of piney, resinous hops.

T: Certainly sweet, but a little more bitter than I expected. Caramel, toffee. Hops are more floral and citrusy in the taste to me. Very good taste on this.

M: Full bodied. Creamy and smooth.

D: The 8.3% doesn't distract or appear to me in the taste or smell. I could easily drink a 4 pack of Big Hoppy Monster.

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Photo of JesteR14
3.31/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A- Very dark amber, cloudy so that you cant see through it. Not black, but a very dark camel color. Very nice and great to see. Nice redness in this beer that leaves it a great appearance!

S- I get a lot of toasted malts when i smell this. Mild hopness for this hoppy monster. Should be big malty monster!!

T- Woah. This one has a very different flavor than what im used to. Lots of malts and a light hop bitterness. This surprises me... Over the top malts....

M- Smooth brew, and not that strong of a flavor, despite the strong alcohol level. I would still sip on tis one..

D- Not my favorite from terrapin. Its got a good, smooth imperial red ale taste, but just not my thing!

Not the most hoppy beer, which is a surprise to me. Its boozy and malty, but still a well done sipping beer.

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Photo of Thur123
3.8/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

This brew pours a deep brownish red color with khaki head, about one fingers worth of head. The smell is big sweet caramel malts with a pungent an earthy hop aroma arising.  There is a juicy, not tart fruitiness as well. Orange, pine resin, and maybe something like sweet and tart apple juice. 

Glug glug glug 

The flavor is balanced and big, with a strong caramel malt flavor that reminds me of English malt bases. The caramel is the strongest aspect In this, but there is a real hop presence as well.  The hop flavor is oranges and for some reason and for the first time. I'm getting a big apple aspect, something like fresh pressed apple juice. The piney resin flavor sticks around copared to the other hop flavors. The mouthfeel is smooth and full bodied.  The over all drinkability is good.  the slight heaviness detracts from the drinkability but only just a little bit.   Over all this is a tasty imperial red but could do with a bit more hoppiness.  

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Photo of dubinsky
4.05/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle into a C&B Bruges snifter.

A - Pours rather thick and viscous and is dark amber, almost brownish color and a tad murky. One fingers worth of a creamy, tan color head the receded rather quickly leaving some nice lacing behind.

S - The smell is surprisingly sweet and malty. Brown sugar, caramel, toffee, and stone fruits. This beer reminds me of a Belgian triple or a light barley wine in the sweetness it presents. Zero hop presence. Yet to find out what makes this a "Hoppy Monster."

T - Ooooh, this is unusual. The sweet maltiness comes secondary to the hop forward taste, rather it starts of super hoppy, mostly pine and resin and finishes sweet and malty.

M - Medium to full bodied and rather creamy and chewy. Decent carbonation.

D - This is a very interesting beer. Although not what i was expecting, it was a wonderful and surprising mix of malt and hops. It is a very drinkable beer that hides the fairly high ABV well and i will welcome this again if i am lucky enough to find it.

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Photo of boudreaux
3.6/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle. Best If Enjoyed By: VINTAGE 10AA

A: Drank straight from bottle

S: maybe it's because I drank it straight from the bottle, but fairly weak aroma overall; from what I did smell, chocolate, wheat, and a touch of citrusy fruit

T: sweet up front, with a touch of bitterness; can be divided into two distinct flavors; at first, sweet and fruity, with peaches and pineapple flavors up front; the flavor follows up with a bitter, hoppy taste, with a touch of the malty wheat and bitterness from the hop

M; very mouthy; not light, but more full-bodied; a touch of fizziness; very hoppy and bitter; almost makes you pucker; similar to the Terrapin Rye and Hopsecutioner styles from their Imperial/"big beer" series

D: fairly drinkable, especially if pairing it with fries or some type of strong food; however, since this tasting is by itself, a little strong for a session; still, a solid brew on the drinkability scale

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Photo of Aaron420
4.3/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I poured this one into a snifter.

A: This beer pored a little darker than I one would think for a red ale. It was more of a medium to almost dark brown with a small creamy white head.

S: Light fruity tones mixed in with malty aromas coming out. With a nice mix of citrus notes from the hopes.

T: A nice malty and hoppy mix. It has a heavy citrus taste come through for a pretty high abv.

M: This is a pretty drinkable beer that is very tastey but I would not recommend having more than a couple in one sitting.

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Photo of n2185
3.75/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: Definitely doesn't pour like a typical amber. It pours a chocolaty brown with a finger of tan head. Head retention is fairly good and it leaves a nice lacing on the glass.

S: Some caramel malt with dark fruits up front like raisins up front followed by some pine hop aromas.

T: Similar to the smell, there's a blast of caramel malt and dark fruit up front. Then the hops kick in, providing a good amount of pine with some bitterness in the aftertaste. The sweet malt also sticks around in the aftertaste.

M: Medium body with some light-medium carbonation.

D: This drinks more like a light barleywine than an amber ale. This bottle might have some age on it, which could contribute to that. Goes down very smooth with a nice mix of malt and hops.

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Photo of stimulus
4.44/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Just picked this up the other day, only to find that it had a batch code of 09AA, so it is well over a year old. It was so good though, that I felt the need to review it even though it probably no longer resembles the beer it was intended to be consumed as. (However, on Terrapin's website, it is noted that the beer can withstand cellaring for 2-3 years).

Poured from a 12 oz into a snifter.

A: Pours a deep murky brown with a one finger caramel head.
S: Dark fruits, like raisins and figs, followed by some sweet caramel malt.
T: Just the slightest twinge of hops left with sweet, complex fruity flavor through to the finish.
M: A bit sticky, but full-bodied and well carbonated.
D: Strong, but there is no trace of alcohol left in this imperial strength brew, so it goes down easier than expected.

Wow! What a shocker, this tastes like an English Barleywine, or a cellared American. I might go and pick up a few more now: this reminds me of a 3-year old bottle of Old Ruffian, which I thought was fantastic. (So I rated this to style as a Barleywine.) It is truly amazing how well the malt backbone holds up and a testament to the skills of the brewers over at Terrapin.

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Photo of JayS2629
4.73/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Deep dark mahogany, murky with one inch thick creamy tan head that leaves beautiful creamy sea foam lacing.

S- Biscuit, caramel malts with grassy whiffs and sugary notes. Deep resiny pine tones with hints of citrus.

T- Deliciously sweet caramel and toffee on the front. Rich honey notes and biscuity middle with a nicely bittered grapefruit, citrus, and pine finish. Very well balanced. With sweet malts in front and a nice hoppy finish you get the best of both worlds. The sweet isn't cloying, it is nice and mellow and while it tries to hang on it slowly fades into a mellow hop finish. Amazing!

M- Mouthfeel is pleasant, but thick and creamy. Take your time.

D- High in ABV, thick and creamy makes it a sipper. Delicious taste makes it one to be careful with. Very enjoyable and easy to drink.

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Photo of emagana
3.85/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a redish brownish color.
half a finger of head and plenty of small bubbles for carbonation
scent starts off very sweet malts with hidden touches of hops.
taste are right there with the smells. malty sweet honey suckle with some alcohol presence. the hops are the backbone on this one and not the showcase like it should be.
leaves a sticky mouthfeel which i find glorious. i like this one as it has some character. i think this one will perform better if it had more alcohol and hops presence. overall i would like to see this on the west coast. not sure how fresh this bottle was but i like this one with age.

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Photo of happygnome
4.42/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

a: pours a deep hazy caramel color with about an inch of head that disappears slowly but leaves a good amount of sticky lacing atop the beer and around the edge of the glass

s: sweet caramel malt flavor that is quickly balanced by flowery, sweet citrus hop bitterness

t: sweet caramel malt flavor that is balanced by flowery citrus hop bitterness. This is a very nicely balanced brew

m: medium to full bodied beer with a good amount of carbonation

overall, this is a very nice brew

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Photo of adam42381
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2010 Edition

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a New Belgium globe. Best before date reads Vintage 10AA.

Appearance: Pours a murky dark caramel color with light barely creeping through around the top and featuring a 1-2 finger creamy tan head. Excellent lacing.

Smell: Floral, grapefruit and pineapple hops with candied fruit and sweet caramel malt. Just a hint of alcohol in the background. Smells delicious.

Taste: Floral and citrus flavors up front followed by caramel malt in the middle then a punch of grapefruit hops at the finish. Aftertaste is bitter but not harsh. There's an excellent balance between the malt and hops. The alcohol is very well masked in the flavor.

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied with a good amount of carbonation. Very creamy.

Drinkability: Very high drinkability. This is is kind of a sipper because of the elevated ABV combined with the creamy mouthfeel. You wouldn't want to drink too many, but you'll really enjoy the ones you do drink.

Overall: Excellent beer overall. I would highly recommend this. This, along with Lagunitas Lucky 13, is one of the best high alcohol amber ales I've ever had.

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Photo of Dreadnaught33
3.31/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Had this on tap a while ago at Paradiso in Old Town Alexandria, VA.

A: Reddish brown with almost no head and almost no lacing to speak of. Opaque nice look though.

Barley any smell. Some sugary malt comes through, some wheat, my brain might be implying hops but i have to struggle. Some taffy coated hop esters.

The taste is better but still not amazing. Much more sugary wheaty malt than hops, with a definite alcohol sweetness. Some bitter ending hop presence, but man I think it should have more as an Imperial.

Mouth is average and drinkability is good.

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Photo of Gorgoroth
3.33/5  rDev -18%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Received as an extra in a trade with Mike3865. Thanks! Shared with BA mermatinger. From notes taken on 01/14/11.

Presentation: Typical brown 12oz bottle with kind of goofy, cartoonish artwork. I gathered from the label that this beer is contract-brewed for Terrapin, which I found surprising. I was also unable to figure out a date for this beer because the "best by" field was blank.

Appearance: Poured into my oversize 24oz snifter, this beer is ruby brown, with a frothy, rocky, one fingerwidth cappuccino-colored head which dissipates quickly to a soap, spotty layer over the whole surface. There is little visible carbonation and mild, spotty lacing.

Smell: Well, without needing a "best by" date I can tell this is not fresh. The smell is malty, bready and raisiny but there are no hops. So far, nothing big or hoppy about this beer.

Taste: There is a pervasive celery-like flavor, much like a past-date pilsner. Mostly it is caramely and raisiny with a very slight hoppy flavor on the finish.

Mouthfeel: Light-to-medium body with sparkly carbonation on the tongue. Not much else to say about mouthfeel, unfortunately.

Drinkability & Final Thoughts: Okay, I have no doubt that this beer is really good when it's fresh. I'm reviewing the only bottle of this that I got and I can't imagine that it is fresh. It's not tainted or infected, just past its prime, and that's a shame. As such, it is not a very good beer. I sort of felt bad reviewing it, but if there is one past-due bottle out there, there are probably more and thus a review of one seems appropriate. I guess the lesson here is to try this beer fresh, which I would still like to do some day. It was not a repulsive tasting experience, but it was a bit of a let down, especially seeing how highly many others have rated this beer.

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Photo of Beejay
4.15/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks DmanGTR

A: A hazy dark chestnut color. Nice full tan head, fluffy, and it seems to be lasting pretty good.

S: Lots of caramel and syrupy malty goodness. There is a touch of earthy/piney hops, but it is somewhat subdued by the malts.

T: Found the hops. Nice and earthy, with caramel and malt dominating the finish. Drinks like a strong ale.. A touch of booze as well.. Tasted nice.. some bready notes as well.

M: Medium bodied, carbonation works for the style.

D: Very nice, tasty. Glad I got to try this beer!

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Photo of dedrinker
3.5/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Rusty reddish amber color with a khaki head.

Aromas of caramel malt and piney hops.

The flavor dances back and forth between the fruity sweetness of the caramel malts and the piney hoppiness. It's not quite a hoppy monster, but a monster of a fight between caramel malt sweetness and hops.

medium-full body, some alcohol flavor comes up, and the seriosuly fruity-sweet-caramel malt goes fighting on down to the last with the piney hops for a bitter-sweet finish.

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Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.7/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Reviewed on 12/21/2009. Bottle. Pours an amber brown with a thick off-white head. Aroma of sweet apple, caramel malt, citrus and tropical fruits, and a touch of cinnamon (?). Flavor is quite malty with some fruity notes upfront and a bready malt (particularly pretzel malt) finish. Not your typical IIPA but quite good with some interesting malt flavors. I don't get the sweet/sticky notes that other raters have reported.

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Photo of thedoubler55
3.65/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Very dark beer, dark tint of copper

S: Strong hint of citrus hops right when you raise the glass, very sweet malts at the tail end as well

T: Unique spicyness, with some hints of grapefruit and citrusy hops

M: Very acidic beer not to good for me, thick as well

D: A good beer but not something I look to be trying again.

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Terrapin Big Hoppy Monster from Terrapin Beer Company
4.06 out of 5 based on 866 ratings.
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