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St. Bernardus Abt 12 | Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

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2,744 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: 2,744 | Ratings: 9,296
Photo of oelergud
4.5/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark maple syrup body with lots of carbonation. Fairly big clumps of material floating around. Undulating creamy light tan head. Good retention and lace.
Pleasantly sweet honey scent mixed with raisens and a little hint at the alcohol.
Taste is an incredibly intense rush of sweet in all it's forms; molasses, brown sugar, caramel etc. The alcohol is detectable but it does not reveal the potency of this brew. Aftertaste is a mild malt base with some faint spiced hops.
Full dense body, creamy and smooth. Burning sweet sensation and some coating.
Highly drinkable brew as a sipper.


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Photo of twelvinlucifer
4.34/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

standard brown color.

nice carbonation. nice thick head settles into a nice aroma capturing thin cap.

smell is exceptional! carmal malt and fig jump out! a slight bit of citrus high note.

mouthfeel is pure carbonation. bubbles jumping around like crazy. a little over the top for me.

taste is awesome but IMHO way too young this probably needs to sit a couple of years to really fully develop. only thing that jumps out in the taste right now is carmel, dates, and alcohol.

I want to review this again after i've let one sit for at least a year! I'm not sure it's fair to review such a young ale that needs alot more time to mature!

I could drink this all night if not for the high potency!!!

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Photo of IntriqKen
4.65/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured a deep amber tea color with a half finger head that melted to thin lacing which never ended.
Aroma Alcohol, dried fruits, raisins, plums, grapes, brandy.
Taste is sweet dried fruits,gentle spices and again, brandy.
Aftertaste is warm, sweet, slightly cloying.
Mouthfeel is incredible.
This is a very difficult beer to describe when one word says it all....

Worst part is, you never, ever notice the alcohol.
I'm afraid this one could definitely get the better of me...it is too easy to drink and too desirable.

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Photo of kgotcher
4.5/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz bottle stored and served at 60 degrees.

Pours a rich opaque brown color with a nice foamy cream colored head that slowly drops to leave a thin layer of bubbles. Aroma is complexity of dark fruit, spices, pepper, clove with some maltyness include some dark roasted malt. First taste goes down very smooth with good touch of warming. Medium body with a fair amount of carbonation. Sweet malt up front but most of the flavor kicks in toward the middle and end with strong notes of pepper, malt, and clove.

Concidering the deep complexity of this beer it is amazing how smooth it actually is. Also concidering it costs about half of a Westy or Rochefort it seems like a great deal.

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Photo of NatureSon
4.88/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The only reason this beer didn't get a perfect 5 on all fronts is because I got a little weak in the knees after smelling it.
Probably the best beer I've ever had the priviledge of tasting. I got to drink this serious beverage out of its 750 ml bottle, and enjoyed every small sip of it. From the three-finger head to the last breath of quality, few beers can compare to the quality and flavor that the Abt. 12 brings to the table.
It is so hard to describe something so beautiful; so I feel almost at a loss to even try.
In all reality...epic is the only word that exists in the same realm as this ale; so I will leave it at that.

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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 instrumentality
4.55/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a dark, rich, translucent brown with mild carbonation and a fluffy, creamy head that refused to subside significantly. I watched a bit of sediment settle to the bottom--was I supposed to leave that in the bottle? Oh well.

Smelled like chocolate malt mixed with champagne. Very appealing.

Tasting this beer for the first time was a memorable experience. The odors translated well to the palate, the malty chocolate flavor with the bittersweetness of champagne, along with the tartness of cherries and a dash of caramel. The champagne and malt prevailed in the aftertaste.

I tend to be heavily critical on mouthfeel - if it burns my tongue, is too heavily carbonated, or leaves a skunky aftertaste, I lay into it. But this one is very easy on the palate. Although I can definitely feel it, I can barely taste the alcohol. It doesn't burn, it doesn't fizz, and the aftertaste is a gentle malty caramel, almost like a classy version of Milk Duds.

I'm still fairly new to the Belgian beer scene, but based on what I've tried, this one reminds me of a Tripel in its champagne-like bittersweetness (I base this interpretation mainly on Westmalle's Tripel) with the added layers of malt and chocolate.

This is an unusual beer, and not one I'd drink on a daily basis, but it is definitely enjoyable and I deeply respect its balance and complexity. It's unusual for a beer with this many flavors to go down so smoothly with no one layer dominating the others.

I picked this bottle up for $4.49 for an 11.2 oz bottle, and I'd consider that a steal. I already had several of these shipped directly from Belgium without ever having tried them, and although I'm kicking myself for not realizing it was available for sale just 5 miles from my apartment, I am definitely looking forward to trying several more.

This is one of the most pleasing beers I've ever had. I'd like to face this one off against the Trappistes Rochefort 10 and see which one I truly prefer. Both are fantastic.

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Photo of DaggerEyes
4.61/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz bottle poured into a chalice

Poured absolutly picture perfect. looked pretty much exactly as the one in the hand of the monk drawn on the label does

a rich dark garnet, mahogany with hintgs of gold, pretty damn rich and opaque looking and topped off with a pillow creamy cloud of a head, which at first exceeded the rim of the glass, at a roughly 2 finger height but settled nicely to a thick one finger head.

Scents of dark fruit, perhaps cherry, bready malts, some nutty hints. Wine like alchohol is present in the nose

Nutty brown sugary malt flavors mix with those of cooked fruit bombard your mouth first. Finishes with some complex grain flavors and an almond aftertaste.

Starts off very bubbly then get some what chewy and doughy finishes with a small burst of cabonation very clean and dry finish

The only thing that keeps this from being a 5.0 on the drinkability scale is it's deceptivly high ABV

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Photo of Beaver13
3.38/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

11.2 oz bottle, best before 7/23/10. Pours a reddish brown with a big fizzy head that quickly dissipates.

The aroma is sweet dark fruits, fusel alcohol and some bitterness. It becomes a bit more pleasant as it warms.

The flavor is some sweet and sugary dark fruit with a lot of belly-warming strong alcohol. As it warms, more fruitiness and a slightly bitter, bready yeastiness comes out to balance the alcohol. The mouthfeel is medium with some harsh carbonation.

Overall, a bit of a disappointment. I let this sit for about 15-20 minutes before starting, but it was still a bit harsh at the beginning. As it warmed, it became much better. You can definitely tell all of this breweries' beers are related. Decent stuff, but not all that in my book.

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Photo of GolgiIPAratus
4.2/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled: 3.23.06

Appearance is a cloudy dark brown under a half inch head that fades to a lace in under a minute.

Smell is licorice, wood and raisins. I pick out tangy cider in the mostly malt ridden aroma as a whole. Complex, but mingling nicely.

The flavor is malted barley up front, deeper inspection finds dark fruits and more cider from the nose. A delicious beer. Slight alcohol adds spice to the mix, but never overpowers. The brew is of medium carbonation and sits in the mouth well.

This beer is made to savor, with its ABV and its price-to-quantity ratio considered, but can be drunken at a steady pace if you really wanted to. My advice is enjoy it slowly.

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Photo of haz77
4.18/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours dark brown with a light-tan head which leaves plenty of lacing behind as it drops to a finger thick. A thin layer of head retains well throughout the drink.

S - Chocolate, juicy dark fruits, spicy alcohol, caramel.

T - The dark fruits and chocolate are upfront with some caramel and brown sugar in the middle. Spicy alcohol is ever present but really comes forward towards the end and into the aftertaste, but is never over the top.

M - Initially sharp before becoming creamy and then dry into the aftertaste. Low to medium carbonation.

D - Given the ABV this is very drinkable. An excellent beer.

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Photo of cjgator3
4.75/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured out of the corked and caged 750ml bottle into a tulip. Poured a dark brown with a nice thick head. Wonderful head retention and lacing throughout the duration of the beer. The smell is more complex than my brain can process. I pick up many fruits (plum, cherries, banana and even apples) along with a nice malt and yeast aroma. The high ABV sneaks into the nose as well but is not overpowering. Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy with just the right amount of carbonation. Taste is extremely complex. Some sips I will get a delicate combination of fruit while others I will get a darker malt/chocolate taste. These tastes are followed up by a large alcohol kick. This brew gets better and better as it warms up and even more of the flavors come out. Overall, this is hands down one of the finest brews in the world.

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Photo of sponberg
4.97/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Note: Originally listed as Westy 12 on tap. Uhh, no. Call me a drunken dope. Now under its rightful brew...

I used to be an agnostic.

Pours a dark cloudy brown, with a thinnish cream colored head that has good staying power. The aroma is dark fruitiness, sweet maly, chocolate, and alcohol - huge.

One of those beers that, after you take a sip, you put it down, take a step back, and stare at the glass. Starts off with dark fruity maltiness (sugar plums, apricots and figs) with caramel, toffee, and toast joining in, followed by a bitter-chocolatey sweetness/bitterness in perfect balance. Then the alcohol joins in. This may be the best tasting beer I've ever tried. Simply stunning. The finish is merely a continuance of the taste. The mouthfeel is like liquid velvet. You'd never guess the strength from drinking it until you've had two and realize that walking is now a bit more problematic.

I had this in bottle many years ago,and enjoyed it. On tap it is near perfection. My guess is that the monks don't care about being celibate after a few of these.

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Photo of sinistrsam
4.82/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had this brew in my cellar for a few months, and after some good news I couldn't resist any longer and decided to treat myself. This was a good beer to celebrate with.
It poured into my Duvel snifter a lovely opaque medium brown with sediment on the bottom, a huge off-white, almost tan head, which had remarkable retention and left some of the most exquisite lacing I've ever seen. It was there until the end of the tasting.
The aroma was fantastic. Dark fruits, sweet fruits, malts, bread dough, yeasts, alcohol, vanilla and spice, clove, mild citrus even. It was heavenly.
The taste was just as complex as the nose. Brown sugar, bread doughs and yeasts, vanilla, clove, sweet malts, caramel, dark fruits, over-ripe sweet fruits, alcohol, rasins.
The feel was a little astringent up front with the carbonation and alcohol, but it immediately smoothes out, leaving a sweet and creamy taste lingering, finally finishing with a buttery feeling on your tongue, almost like eating a buttery vanilla caramel. I've never tasted anything like it.
This was as cose ot perfectly balanced as I've experienced. It was complex, full of subtlety and flavor. I could easily sip this all night long and then ask for another just to start the olfactory and taste jouurney all over agian; because thats what it is. It truly evolves as it warms and as you get accustomed to its nuances.
This is one of the very few that livedd up to the hype. It is excellently crafted and should be tried by any kind of beer lover.

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Photo of shbobdb
2/5  rDev -54.8%
look: 5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

I had high expectations for this beer, I mean, it is one of the most lauded Quads.

What a worthless beer! Let's break down the stats on this guys:

It looks awesome! A deep garnet with a dishwater head that just won't quite! No matter how long you let it sit, the head just won't go away. No matter how much my moustache releases oils that cause lesser heads to fail. Too bad it's all downhill from there.

It smells like curacao oranges. Why in the world would I want beer to smell like oranges?

And the taste? Nasty yeast gets into a terrible trainwreck with curacao oranges, toffee, and chocolate. Terrible.

The mouthfeel is easily the worst part of this beer. The excessive use of sugar leads to a paper thin body -- so what do they do to compensate? Equally excessive use of crystal malts. Sticky sugars mingling with thinner-than-water body. Terrible.

Drinkability? I could barely finish choking down my 8 ounces of it. I'm just glad that my girlfriend was able to take care of the rest of the 750.


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Photo of Westsidethreat
4.06/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Good head retention thats lasting the entire beer. Tight bubbles. Smell is somewhat nutty with lots of yeast. Caramel. Taste is yeastier than other 12's. Malty flavor with hints of raisins and caramel. Alcoholic aftertaste with a brown sugar finish. Nice silky mouthfeel. Nice beer

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Photo of BigDaddyWil
4.08/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 11.2oz. bottle into a St. Bernardus chalice.
Best before 13 10 10 on back label.

Fine looking brew, dark brown, auburn in color. Three quarter inch thick clumpy off white head forms. Excellent head retention, and tons of delicate sticky lacing. Mostly smells of malt, ripe fruits, like apples and pears, spices and just a touch of alcohol. Lots of rum soaked fruit flavors, semi sweet and tart, with a slight sourness. I guess a little of everything. Finishes a little dry, leaving a spice and alcohol twangyness on the tongue. I don't know if twangyness is a word, but thats how it feels. A very smooth sipping beer, very easy too drink. A suttle warm feeling fills the belly from the 10% abv. Overall a very enjoyable anad comes highly recommended.

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Photo of Luigi
4.5/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a rich reddish brown color lightly tanned lacy head. Retention is good and seems to stick around glass till the end. The aroma is sharp with cloves and ripe fruits. Crisp yet silky body. Sugary malts and slighty ripe fruits dominate the flavor. The alcohol helps sweeting the fruit flavors a bit. Very warming at 10%. Finishes off sweet and semi dry. Awsome Abbey ale!

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Photo of EPICAC
4.92/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Pours a hazy dark brown with a thick beige head that persists as a thin quarter inch layer that reemerges on swirling. Moderate lacing.

Smell: Raisins and other dark fruit, rich malts, caramel, spicy alcohol and a bit of Belgian yeast.

Taste: Like the aroma, the flavors are dominated by dark fruit and rich malts. Flavors of raisins and caramel are obvious. The finish is lightly bitter, with noticeable, but not overpowering alcoholic spice.

Mouthfeel: Tingly carbonation, smooth and medium-bodied.

Drinkability: Very tasty, the alcohol is noticeable, but not overpowering. Delicious and dangerous.

Overall: A really fantastic beer. Easily one of the best I've had.

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Photo of orfeu
4.6/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

33 cL crowned bottle, "Best Before End 15 09 09" -- relatively young, I imagine. Poured into an oversized wine goblet. Densely clouded blood red with a thinning and finely attenuated light tan layer of foam. Nose is predominantly port-like, with notes of alcohol heat, maraschino cherries, and yeasted sugar candies. The highly noticeable booziness of the aroma is stunningly masked in the flavor; all I get are dark rum-soaked plums, bing cherries, and a slightly soured date sugar sweetness at the finish. Hearty yeast-flavored aftertaste. The alcohol is slightly noticeable immediately before the finish in the form of a langorous warming at the back of the throat. Mouth feel is chewy and expansive, airy and fluffy with a rapid yet subtle carbonated effect. Without a doubt, ridiculously drinkable for 10% abv. As expected, pure class in a bottle.

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Photo of brushpig
3.75/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

As soon as you pour this baby into your glass you can tell its going to be a interesting beer with it's rich dark chocolate brown coloring and it full thick head.
Cherry, yeasty, alcohol, Cloves, and Coco fill the nose.
Nice moderate carbination with a rich and creamy feel. The alcohol
does take a little bite. So I took small sips.
Taste of carmel, dryed fruits,and alittle strong in the alcohol, but it still tasted dessert like. It is a nice beer to end the evening with.
Recommended for sure.

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Photo of UncleFlip
4.23/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had it a few times before....just now getting around to the review....

Looks great in the glass... Nice explosive tan head...medium bubbles....fills the glass nicely, but falls at a decent rate (should have used a wet glass, maybe...). Liquid under is clear red-copper when held to light...looks more aubunr to reddish-brown on the table.

The smell is bready-yeasty, reminds me a bit ofthe crusty brown bread my father used to bake...however, it's a bit spicier, and has some almond and grapefruit notes. Just a slight hint of banana back there somewhere, as well.

Pretty much what I expect form a well-done quad. Nice and spicy up front, slightly sour, with a deep molasses-like sweetness,then a spiciness that returns on the end. Not the most assertive flavour, but very good. There'a a nice chest-warming alcohol as it goes down.

A little oily on the tongue, and the liquid is not thick or hearty at all. Carbonation hits a second or two in, but does not get overbearing.

Were this one just a BIT more assertive, I might give it a 5 on drinkability. As it its, there are other belgians that command my attention a bit more. However, it's not bad, and I'd not turn it down.

Be well

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Photo of mattcrill
3.91/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aroma: Belgian yeast, cloves, wet grains, a touch estery. Not all that impressed by the aroma.

Appearance: Murky brown ice tea color pour. Fades to ruby edging. A pillowy tan cap develops and the retention is simply breathtaking. Most impressive.

Flavor: Peppery, rum soaked raisins, hints of smokiness, cabarnet grapes, and a firm alcohol punch. A touch hot but seems to blend together better as it warms.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with lively carbonation. Slightly creamy at points.

Overall impression: Certainly a good beer and enjoyable enough but not sure that I would put it in the "outstanding" category. I enjoyed the Abt 8 much more. This seems a touch unbalanced with the alcohol taking too much presence. The bottle suggests aging and I'd be inclined to agree with them. Put this back a few years and I could see this as outstanding. Recommended.

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Photo of Absumaster
3.68/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a red brown colour an d a crude head with a lot of carbonation.
Smell was not very impressive, slightly acidic and almost like red wine. Some tannine and molasses or soy sauce? Off course the usual dark fruit like cherries and grapes, mhh... this sounds an awfull lot like red wine, I am not a fan of red wine, because of the grapes and dry mouthfeel, so does that make me prejudiced?

Taste was dry, but full, slightly acidic again the wine-like acidity and dryness. Mild and very little maltiness and hop bitterness. The alcohol really warms me up and quickly goes up to my brain, numbing it. Almost forgot to mention the most upfront tastes which are caramel and dark fruit.

I can't really say that this beer lives up too the reputation. For me it is too acidic and too strong to really enjoy the beer.

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Photo of IceAce
4.8/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

11.2 Oz. bottle marked with a 'Best Before' date of July 28, 2010. I fear this may not have had enough time to mature.

Pours chestnut brown with two fingers of tiny-bubbled foam leaving copious amounts of lace on my St. Bernardus chalice. Aroma reminds me of a concentrated version of the Pater 6...many promises of rum-soaked fruits, dates, figs, scattered alcohol esters, and that beautiful house yeast which resides at the Abbey.

Entry is perfect, with slightly addled carbonation tickling the sides of the tongue and inside of the cheeks. Midtaste features layer upon layer of rich bready malt, ripe figs, and spicy-rum soaked cherries. The finish is a wonderful mixture of St. B's yeasties, biscuity malt, and wonderful alcohol warming on the back of the throat.

Quads have never been a style to make me cross the street...but I'd crawl naked over two miles of broken glass just to get my hands on another bottle of this.

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St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
4.42 out of 5 based on 9,296 ratings.
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