St. Bernardus Abt 12 | Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

2,778 Reviews
St. Bernardus Abt 12St. Bernardus Abt 12

Brewed by:
Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

Style: Quadrupel (Quad)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 10-14-2001

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Reviews: 2,778 | Ratings: 9,453
Photo of pat61
5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

L: Pours brilliant chestnut topped with a clingy 2” moussey tan tinted white foam cap.
S: Prune, dried fig, raisin, fruit cake, and anise
T: Prune then a hint of cocoa and caramel, a very moist dark molasses bown sugar spice cake type flavor with most of the sweetness fermented out. Long lingering spice and dark sugar tastes. Some alcohol warming and pepper on the finish
F: Creamy fine soft carbonation, medium body.
O: a true classic.

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Photo of Blackwolf
5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from a bottle into an oversized wine glass.


A- Beautiful, beautiful and I mean BEAUTIFUL beer, and nothing short of that. It poured a very deep mahogany color into the glass, light can barely pass through it. A creamy chocolate to then a semi-light khaki frothy head sits on top of this wonderful quad. The retention is beautiful also, it just won't give up. A decent lacing stares back at you from the side of your glass. Just perfect.

S- Smell and taste are pretty hand and hand with my tastings, but smell is usually the first factor to entice me into a deep ale. The second my nose hit this monumental beer I was hit with a notes of pear, a deep spice and a yeasty/breadiness. It sucked me in almost immediately! Very strong!

T- Yum, and more yum! Fruity, hints of fig... apply pear-ish notes and again the breadiness. There is a a little kick of alcohol in this ale, but a well balanced taste. It finishes with a banana drive and leaves you wanting much more.

MF- Just thick enough but creamy/chewy. An intense mouth feel but a good intense for lack of better words. This quad sits around your palate just long enough to leave you wating for more.

O- 5.0! Just amazing!!! I was hesitant towards grabbing this beer, I don't know why... But this wonderful concoction of smell, taste, look and feel just blew me away! I would recommend this to many, if you see it.... BUY IT! It is just an astounding, well crafted beer that can not disappoint anyone. St. Bernardus is easily making their way into my favorite breweries. LOVE IT! <3

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Photo of Jeffreysan
5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

12 oz bottle, poured into a goblet

Appearance: Pours a beautiful, completely opaque, deep, dark, mahogany color, with two full fingers of white-colored head that slowly dissolved away into a lacing of foam that completely covered the top of the beer.

Aroma: Very aromatic, with lots of complex, rich, earthy, aromas of bready, toasted malt, which imparts aromas of freshly baked French baguettes. There are also notes of candied sugar, toffee, dark molasses, lots of dried stone fruit, such as raisins, prunes and dates. I also get notes of funky, spicy, Belgian yeast, which imparts notes of saddle leather, clove, and interestingly, a touch of dark chocolate. Smells awesome!

Taste: Wow! Just…wow! Delicious! Earthy, rich, amazing. Lots of bready, toasted malt up front, followed by some nuttiness and candied sugar, toffee and dark molasses-like sweetness. There are lots of deep, fruity flavors of dried stone fruit, such as raisins, prunes and dates. I also get notes of funky, spicy, Belgian yeast, which imparts notes of clove, and as stated earlier, a touch of dark chocolate.

Mouthfeel: Slightly chewy and smooth as there is very little carbonation. With an ABV of 10%, there is practically no alcohol on the palate. It’s amazing how well masked the alcohol is. This beer could be…no, check that, it is a dangerous beer in that its incredibly easy to drink, like three or four of them, and not taste or feel the alcohol…that is until you try to stand up and fall on your ass!

Overall: This is an outstanding beer! Malty, fruity, spicy, earthy, rich, complex and utterly amazing. As with all of the other beers from St. Bernardus, this is very, highly recommended!

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Photo of nefelim
5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I don't typically write full reviews as I find that I have trouble describing exactly the different characteristics and nuances of the beers that I drink. I just like them or I don't. So what has prompted me to write this review you may ask? In my many years of trying different brews in many different places, I have never had a better beer than st bernardus abt 12. It is simply the best beer that I have had in the world.

On a recent trip to Philly, the wife and I popped in to Monks as I heard they had Pliny the Elder on tap and I was very eager to try one of the highest rated IPAs on this site. I ordered the Pliny while my wife got the St Bernardus. The Pliny was unbelievable but the St Bernardus was just on a different level. I tasted burnt banana, caramel, delicious Belgian yeast, cloves, figs - basically everything you want in a quad.

Before our trip was over, I had bought thirteen 750ml bottles from the local liquor store to take home. This beer is without equal.

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Photo of Stingray5
5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours stunning auburn with a thick long lasting foamy white head. Intoxicating fruity aromas, with some banana and clove, multiple spices. I find I'm inhaling the aromas until there is no room left in my lungs. Getting lightheaded and not even a sip yet!
Mouthful is incredible - high carbonation leads to a thick, luscious, creamy, slickness like no other. I can't stop drinking it. 2 sips and all my troubles are forgotten. Nothing else matters now. Why oh why St. Bernardus are there only 11.2 ounces of this sweet elixer in your bottle? Taste is smooth and creamy. Complimenting the wide array of dried fruit and spices is a nice toasted maltiness. A slight sweetness arrives in the finish - just the right amount. Alcohol warmth is here as well.

To hell with hops. I could live on this stuff. Superb.

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Photo of Troyone
5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I did not think this was a trappist beer; it says "St. Bernardus - Belgium Trappistenwig, 23" on the bottom of the label. Difficult to find this beer, found a 4 pk at Whole Foods.
Pours a dark rich chocolate black and is not translucent with a three inch head that dissipated with lacing around the inside of the glass.
Very evident rich smell of a cookie roasted molasses malt with a perfume resin, slightly lemon, hop aroma.
The taste pronounces the smell with a moderate, slightly cookie, lightly bready, roasted molasses malt; moderate, slightly grapefruity, herb resin hops; a light horseblanket doughy yeast; and hints of the following: tawny port, slight toffee, brown sugar, licorice, and cola into the smooth finish.
Mouthfeel is one of the smoothess medium to full bodied beer I've ever had, the texture has a creamy dry feel, the carbonation is lively and soft, and the hops has a metallic piercing into the finish.
Drinkability is perfect for this type of style, look out for the ten percent.

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Photo of DougT
5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured slowly into a St. Bernardus Watou snifter. Bottle dated 23 05 17.

Color a dark, root beer brown. Gentle pour resulted in 1 finger tan head with lots of lace. Settled into a light layer of foam that last the whole drinking time. Even a gentle pour I still got some yeast in suspension but it's so dark you really have to look hard to see it.

Smells of yeast and dark fruits. Dark bread, raisins, figs, dates and a little bit of spices. But not an overwhelming smell, very pleasant and constrained. Makes my mouth water and stomach grumble.

Tastes is very complex. Starts with a malty sweet flavor like beer made with raisins or prunes, then moves to notes of spices and figs or dates. Hops are hardly present, but there are some bitter notes in the finish to let you know it's there. Alcohol is hardly noticeable in the taste, even at 10%, but the kick is there even after a few sips. Gets even better as it warms. The flavors start to merry together and become a flavor that defines Belgian Abbey Quad Ale.

Mouthfeel is amazing. This beer involves every sense in your entire head all at the same time. Effervescence tingles the lips and tongue helping hide the alcohol. Flavors dance across the whole tongue. Even the cheeks get involved as they react to what they perceive as food. Smell up front is enhanced by smells that enter from the throat and develop the complexities of the aftertaste. After 1/2 a glass the sensatin is like you are sitting in a vat at the old Abbey. Wholly engaged.

The cheesy Happy Monk label does not do justice to the sophistication of this brew. This beer elevates the art to levels seldom achieved. This stuff is wonderful. Very easily my favorite beer. Worth every penny.

I would love to save some to see what it's like after a few years, but I'll never make it. It's too good to leave on the self! Maybe if I gave some to my son he could hide it at his house for a couple years...

I had 3/4 the glass writing this. I now have a warm glow and a huge smile. I love this stuff!

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Photo of kahjdfh
5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I had this on tap at fine local drinking establishment, The Liberty Street Tavern.

This was a glorious beer. It was served in a goblet. It was at the right temperature. The color was a nice deep brown. There was a pleasant sweetness with a hint of bitterness. This is one of the best beers I have tasted.

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Photo of wyattgene
5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I was turned on to this beer just a couple of weeks ago at my next door neighbor's X-mas party. I am an Ale drinker but this was my first taste of a Quadruple Ale. This was absolutely hands down the best tasting beer I have experienced. I have tried 3 or 4 quadruples since and I enjoyed all of them. Today my special order arrived and I am just finishing my first bottle. This will be my reference Beer until I try something better. This has it all. I am not yet qualified to get all fancy with my descriptions but this beer poors great, smells great, is awesome on the front end and even better on the back end. This beer fired me up enough to seek it out and buy about a two month supply and join the beer advocate! I have to start somewhere don't I?

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Photo of Boilermaker88
5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I was given this beer as part of a St. Bernardus gift set back around Thanksgiving. I finally got around to drinking the Abt 12 after having the other "little brothers"last month. Was I right to save this for the last? Absolutely, as the others - good in their own right - pale in comparison.
Poured from its 11.2oz bottle, the Abt 12 had a murky brick-red and brown hue and a light carbonation-fueled compact light tan head that left nice fine lace on the walls of my St. Bernardus chalice.
The smell was so enticing; a bready malt aroma with scents of candy sugar, dark fruit, molasses, and clove all vying for attention. Some banana and spice notes as well as easily detectable alcohol vapors wafted to the nose.
The taste was shocking in its complexity and in how well all the flavors complimented each other. Sweetness derived of raisins and plums covered in candy sugar layered over a soft yeasty malt flavor in front before a nutty banana and clove flavor made an appearance. A touch of tropical fruit and citrus briefly played across the palate and each sip finished with a alcohol presence that in no way detracts from the flavor profile. The feel was full, rich, and creamy.
An incredibly satisfying beer. The flavors all meld so well; no one flavor washes out any other. Almost indescribable in its drinkability. A masterpiece of a beer and the only one to date that I've given straight 5's.

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Photo of B-J-B
5/5  rDev +13.1%

Hard to imagine a better example of the style. Malty without being cloying, absolutely outstanding phenols from the yeast, and just the right amount of roast in the malt. Not much more to say - just can't believe that one of the very best gustatory experiences available costs less than a mediocre bottle of wine.

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Photo of bbluemzbeer
5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is a world class beer! It is not cheap but for a treated myself for my birthday. You can get this pretty easy in my area too.

Appearance: It was a dark brown look to it,. The haed was 1 1/2 inch with thick lacing.

Smells" It is sweet spiced fruits, apple, some banana (with cloves), An aswesome smell to it

Taste. Tremendous ! It has some tartness but not overbearing. I get sweet fruit at first. It has a very comlex taste for a beer. I never taste nothing like it in the world. Roasted malts come through with a great after taste.

Mouthfeel: It is great with good carbonation. Excellent balance. It is full, and yet so slick on my tongue.

Overall,:jThe best beer in the world. If you have never tried you are mssing out on one of the greatest beer in the world!

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Photo of goz
5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a dark brown, with some ruby tinges in it. Head is large, big-bubbled tan, slowly diminishes to some decent lacing. Body has lots of carbonation, and lots of yeasty bits swirling around in it. Aroma is huge, yeasty, vinous, fruity, grapes, raisin, some doughiness, and hints of honey. Flavor is equally huge and complex, lots of fruitiness and sweetness, and changes over time as the brew comes up to room temp. Very full bodied, massively complex flavors and aromas. Very similar to the Westy 12, but seemed to have more lively and lasting carbonation.

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Photo of Gusler
5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

St. Bernardus has been a long time favorite beer and brewery, and is one of only 8 beers from my nearly 6000 sampled life time to get a 5.0 from me. It is a beer that I have a case or two of at all times, and trust me it only improves with age. The beer emerges from the 12 ounce bottle a slightly bemused brown color with a majestic crown of tan to top off the body, the texture is semi creamy, and the lace forms a satin skirt to surround the glass. Nose is sumptuous, nutty sweet, bubble gummy, raisin like, fresh and pleasing to the senses, a most "Sniffable" beer. Front is ambrosial with a nice malt presence, the top is light to medium in its feel to the palate, with the finish congenially dry, magisterially hopped, notably acidic with a pleasant tummy warming sensation to top it all off, a treasure not to be missed if your into "Belgian Ales", and or just like a great beer.

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Photo of HellsBELLS24
5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

One of the best.

Malt flavor and dark color. Beautiful aroma. The best belgian quad that I have ever had. tastes a little better in the 750ml cork bottle over the 11.2oz bottle. A nice winter warmer. I prefer Abt 12 over Rochfort 10 any day. I like to pair this brew with some strongly aged abby cheese. Can drink this at any time of year also.

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Photo of DamageCase76
5/5  rDev +13.1%

From a 330ml bottle into a Gulden Draak tulip glass, pours a deep mahogany with a fluffy head, solid head retention with nice lacing.

Incredibly complex with aromas of raisin, fig, banana, baked red apple, leather, cigar box, seared brown sugar, molasses and an array of sweet baking spices (clove, nutmeg, cinnamon).

Rich and full bodied sweetness is balanced by an earthy bitterness at the back palate and alcohol, although noticeable feels well incorporated and not out of place. A complex array of flavours compliment the aroma and persist on the finish.

Overall an incredibly well crafted, complex, balanced and most of all... delicious beer!!! This is world class stuff! The changing complexity from the first smell to the last sip, with layers upon layers of flavour.

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Photo of derekmorris7
5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A > Great beer..I really mean a great one. Dark mahogany but a little light can get through. Not as deep dark as Guiness but so rich looking. Mahogany on the dark side would best describe.

S > Nice notes of malt and caramel very sutle alcohol sent too

T > Taste wins it all in my mind. This 12 is a winner all the way. Too good to describe and its not hard to drink at all despite the high ABV

M > Smooth finish and great cling

O > I have to say this and the Rochefort's 10 and 8 are my Kings of the Suds!!!

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Photo of SlapPalsPodcast
5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I can't think of a better beer. Intense, powerful, rich, creamy, and it imparts a profound sense of superiority. This one separates the boys from the men.

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Photo of GbVDave
5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 25.4oz bottle into two St. Bernardus goblets. Thanks to HeatherAnn for the assist!

A: Pours a luxurious looking deep cola brown with mahogany highlights. Sitting on top is a light tan head of an incredible creamy consistency.

S: Unbelievable aromas of caramel, figs, rum soaked raisins, cola nut, plums, and lightly roasted malt. So incredibly complex!

T: Sweet caramel malt, cola, coconut, and the aforementioned dark fruits.

M: Smooth, creamy, like drinking velvet wrapped in silk.

D: Truly, the benchmark for the style. This beer is an absolute joy to drink! One of the few beers out there that's deserving of "all 5's".

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Photo of JackIndica
5/5  rDev +13.1%

Quite possibly the best beer I have ever tasted in my life along with, Tripel Karmeleit... A truly beautiful waterfall of flavours: fruity notes, wine like crisp, hoppy notes, chocolate malt, cinnamon, so much going on every taste unlocking new dimensions and flavours :3

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Photo of neonbrown82
5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I've had a craving for this beer for quite some time. As I drank this beer I consulted my review, and as it was one of the first beers I reviewed for this site, my palate lacked the sophistication necessary to explain the pure bliss of this beverage. The first time I reviewed this beer I gave it a 4.9, but I believe now that is well deserving of the extra tenth.

The beer poured into my St. Bernardus chalice to a very dark nutty brown color with a massive dimpled foam cap that sticks around throughout the entire glass. This beer necessitates an extra category: sound. Sounds like a bowl of rice krispees, but the carbonation does not produce a harsh mouthfeel.

The smell is very sweet due to a quadruple dose of caramelized malts and fermentable sugars (belgian dark candi sugar, caramel, molasses, honey?). The high alcohol content is also noticable through the smell.

The beer provides an initial taste of all kinds of specialty sugars and spices, and as the liquid is passed from the tip to the mid-section of your tongue, the caramelized malts begin to grab hold of your senses. Finally, the finish shows a tiny bite of low AA noble hops, but just enough to balance out the sweetness.

Seems to be slightly astringent. Some aging would probably do her well, but as I said, I have had a craving for this beer for far too long to wait for a cellared product. The astringency is not overbearing though, nor is the alcohol or the sweetness. The mouthfeel is full and a bit creamy, and the foam is a bit metallic tasting (maybe from the minerals in the well water?)

Very heavenly. I may be a heathen bastard, but I believe that there must be some divine force responsible for this fine beverage. When I drink this beer, I seem to transcend beyond the normal state of drunkenness or sobriety. I only wish I could drink nothing but beers of this quality or higher (I'll have to be the judge of whether Westy is better than this or not, but I really don't see how it can get any better) without taking a huge hit on my pocket book just to drink a beer or two from day to day. It goes without saying that this is very highly drinkable, even though the ABV is quite high. If you haven't ingested this holy nectar, you are a sinner and likely going to hell, regardless if you (like me) don't believe in any religion.

In tradition of the holy bible, I hereby damn John's Grocery in Iowa City for tempting me with this forbidden fruit. Anything as good as a fine Belgian beer has got to be a sin.

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Photo of ledemie
5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: Dark garnet with a white head and good head retention.

S: I smell some pepper, hint of fig,a little alcohol well balanced.

T: a taste fig, date,fresh ripe plum, the malty,toffee, then it finished with some alcohol warmth, grest balance overall.

M: Creamy and warming, nice body.

D: this beer is great, the revues I read said that this is the closest you can come to westwelderen ABT 12, goosh I can wait to get me a bottle of Westwelderen ABT 12, anyway I am going t stock on this one for now and make sure I age them 3 years or so this is by far the best and well balanced beer I tasted, I love the warmth of alcohol a the body the creaminess, and the plum fig and all... for all of you out there this is perfection ( for my taste of course )

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Photo of crob3888
5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Look: Pours a deep cloudy cordovan/umber color, with a beautiful head that leaves tons of lacing.
Smell: Tons of fruit and sugar
Taste: Plums, figs, cherries, dates, and other dark fruits dominate, with a lovely dark caramel sweetness. Really great level of alcohol heat to warm you up on those cold winter nights.
Feel: Lots of carbonation for this one, medium-heavy mouthfeel.
Overall: Just a stellar beer. Worth the pricetag.

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Photo of Yvaithe
5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Went to my distributor a few days before Christmas hoping to land a few bottles of Chimay Blue. Just so happened that someone snagged the last of them. The owner suggested this heavenly nectar. Pours a wonderful deep brown, the smell is amazing. I found myself taking a sniff before every sip. The taste just knocked me out. I had never tasted anything like this and I wanted more. Suffice to say, I have 3 packs in my fridge now. An amazing ale that needs to be tried by any Beer lover!!

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Photo of PostRockandCats
5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a beautiful, cloudy dark amber with a fuffy, tan head. The lacing is spotty, but thick. There is a fair bit of carbonation still visible even after being poured for a while.

Smells almost bourbony up front with toffee malts, dried fruits all over and dry hops at the very end. Very balanced in the nose and not too boozy smelling despite the ABV.

Tastes surprisingly grapy at the start, with banana esters and spices. Brown bread and brown sugar at the end with a slight dryness punctuating the experience. Tastes like it should be boozy, but it doesn't taste as such.

Mouthfeel is unctuous and smooth; your mouth is coated. We are not in Pilsner country, here!

Overall, it's earned every word of it's reputation as one of the best Quads out there. It's balanced, smooth and drinkable while still allowing for complexity and depth. I think part of it's charm is the heavier carbonation; it lightens everything up. It's, without a doubt, one of the best beers I've had.

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St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
4.42 out of 5 based on 9,453 ratings.
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