Odell Extra Special Red Ale | Odell Brewing Company

very good
71 Ratings
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Odell Extra Special Red AleOdell Extra Special Red Ale

Brewed by:
Odell Brewing Company
Colorado, United States

Style: American Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Beaver13 on 11-01-2006

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

For Trade:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 71 |  Reviews: 61
Photo of sevopie
4.48/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance - Brilliant mahogany with a rocky, creamy tan/light-brown head. Laces incredibly well.

Smell - A nice blend of citrusy hops and Caramel malts shine through. There's some spices and a bit of nuttiness in there as well.

Taste - This really tastes like a mild barleywine to me, rather than any hint of a red ale. The hops nicely accent the abundance of malts which are roasty and nutty in addition to caramelly. The spices are also somewhat noticable throughout, and there's also a flavor I can only describe as that of iced tea.

Mouthfeel - Creamy goodness with just the right amount of carbonation.

Drinkability - I had always been reluctant to try this due to the fact that I rarely if ever find a red/amber that I like. I was stupid to have waited so long. Odell's delivers yet again, this one has quickly become one of my favorites.

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Photo of Onenote81
3.77/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Special thanks to breity for this extra beer in a recent trade.

First off, this is one cool looking bottle. I love the 3-D etching on the bottle side as well as the label. Well done.

This beer pours a deep ruby with brownish tints. Decent finger width white head on top. Retention lacks a bit, but still leaves some alright lacing globs. Smells of oranges, pineapple, bread, caramel, and alcohol.

First sip yields a weird metallic bite that is unpleasant. As I continue to drink though this gives way to the true flavors. Nice burnt caramel flavor, some cherry in there as well. Slight booziness to it, but it finishes nice and fruity. Hops are there alright. Not biting or harsh, but adding just enough bitterness to keep me sipping. I like this beer. Strong Ales are becoming more and more one of my favorite styles.

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Photo of pmcadamis
4.38/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I opened this as I was getting ready for bed, expecting to find a 4-5%ABV amber ale or lager... instead I'm pleased to discover that my nightcap is in fact a 8% strong ale. Well, I'm gonna sleep well tonight!

A - The label is exotic and Persian, and reminds me of a pack of those "fancy" Camel premium up-market smokes. The beer is a remarkable dirty-red-russet hue that at times appears purple or brown. It's slightly murky, and topped with a very thick and dense two finger chunk of tan cream. Solid sheets of lace slide into the brew and leave lots of sticky lace behind. This is a beautiful brew! Oh, did I mention that head retention is stellar?

S - Earthy "wet" notes, like a campsite (smoldering fire, soaking tents, wet firewood and kindling) after a summer shower. Brown leaf hops add to the woodsy aroma. I'm getting pictures of autumn walks in the woods, old log cabins, decomposing logs covered in wild fungi, and some really nice hops. There are also some caramelized sugar and maybe brown sugar notes there too. Outstanding. Could use a little more oomph though.

T - This is a perfectly balanced combination of malty molasses, brown sugar, and woody/nutty notes combined with the most glorious "brown autumn leaf" hop characteristics. Tangy hops, leafy notes, and a ton of really nice woody flavors make this a damn fine beer.

M - Creamy and rich, carbonation on this one is actually quite forceful, but that keeps it lively and out of the "syrupy" category of heavy hitting brews. The finish is hoppy, gritty, and dusty-dry... and that also really helps keep this from showing it's true girth. It's like a fat chick in a corset. The corset keeps everything in place, and has you admiring her figure, but you know that there is some nasty flab underneath. But you don't care because that corseted busty figure is really doing it for you at the moment.

D - Despite the high ABV and the heavy mouthfeel, I would gladly drink another if I had one left. The booze isn't really all that noticeable, and the super-bubbly carbonation and dry mouthfeel help keep this one from getting cloying or rich. Damn fine beer.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
4.03/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Odell is another good brewery I wish we could see in nyc. Thanks to russpowell for the west side love.

Pours a fairly darker, yet clear, ruby hue. Thick frothy creme head. Nose is that fruity/woody/hoppy thing you'd expect from a red ale. Flavor is a good mix of hops and malts with a firm leafy and woody fruits as well. Bitter sweet tones. The only flavor detractor I'd have to say is that it borders on getting almost hot. Feel is smooth on liquid and the typical carbonation. This is a good robust red ale. I'm sure this would be pretty nice on cask.

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Photo of jjazz
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a coppery orange-brown with a nice tan IPA looking head.

Aroma has grapefruit and toast. Grass-like Hoppy notes dominate, but don't quite do it for me in the same way that Odell's IPA does.

Surprisingly full mouthfeel. Nice balance between bitterness and the other components. Maltiness makes a nice apperance.

This one was actually more bitter than I was expecting...in a good way. Decently complex.

Finish is all hops, with bitter grapefruit leading the way.

Overall, quite nice, but nothing any more special than Odell's normal line. I actually much prefer the IPA, although it is quite different in style.

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Photo of Kemmerlin
4.47/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Deep copper red with a thick white foamy head and extremely sticky lacing.

S: Yep this one has sweet whole flower hops all over it. It took an hour or so until the smell left my nose. I really didn't get much else though.

T: Again the hops overwhelm everything else but it was sweet and citrusy like roasted red bell peppers. The malts showed up later on in the aftertaste as the hops mellowed out and let you taste other flavors.

M/D: Crisp and refreshing at fist but then really dries out the mouth so it is good for sipping but should probably be limited to one beer per session.

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Photo of joe1510
3.91/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz Bottle

This Extra Special Red is yet another brew sent to me from the man himself, BitterBill. Thanks Bill! I can smell pink grapefruit as I pour this one. Smells like a big hoppy red. The body would be crystal clear amber but I got a little careless and dumped some yeast in the glass. The tiny yeasties suspend throughout the body. A head of bone white grew to two fingers on an easy pour and settled to a thick cap after a few minutes. Some great looking sheet lacing gets left behind as the head settles and the ruby highlighted body grows.

The pink grapefruit doesn't quite jump out at me like it did when I was pouring and part of the reason is the big, balancing caramel malty backbone. The hopping brings as much orange as grapefruit. There's a slight toasted maltiness and a surprising and unique, although faint, gingerbread character. That little bit of spice in the back is very different. I like the smell of this brew but overall it's a little on the weak side.

Now on to the important part, the drinking. Caramel and toasty malt laid it down right off the bat. The grapefruit stands out nicely on the tongue and shows up mid-palate while the orange seems to fall to the back. The hoppiness lingers on this brew and every now and then I even seem to pick up a squeeze or two of lemon juice and even some pineapple here and there. This is a solidly hopped big red and I'm really digging the flavors.

The lively carbonation fits this beer nicely and makes it an easy drinker. The body is medium and a slight stickiness on the back of the tongue shows up as it sits in the glass. Bitterness flashes through quickly on the end.

This hoppy red is highly drinkable for the 8% abv. Zero alcohol is noticeable and the, somewhat, balanced body keep this glass tipped.

I'm a fan of big hoppy reds and I don't think there are enough of them out there at the moment. This is a quality brew just like the rest of the lineup from Odell's. Thanks for the treat Bill!

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Photo of rye726
3.71/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Not sure i would call this a strong ale, definately closer to a red. The color is a dark amber with silky tan head. The nose is fairly light with mellow malts and subtle hops. Taste is more on teh malty side. Not much of a hop presence. Medium body drinks well.

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Photo of Domingo
4.08/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'm pretty skeptical of most of the "double red ales" that are starting to show up everywhere. Most are just IPA's with a different coloration.
This however, is a big exception.
Pours a copper color that's nearing bronze territory, but with red highlights. For an 8% brew, it still has a good amount of carbonation to it and a slightly off-white head forms immediately.
Smells hoppy like an IPA, but with a little sweetness mixed in. I'd guess it's using similar hops to 5 Barrel and 90 Shilling as you can certainly pick it out as an Odell brew.
The beer starts off sweet and malty...almost like less sweet barleywine, but then the hops kick in. Tropical and citrus hops come up big in the middle. The finish is gingerbread-like and biscuity. It truly is like a kicked up amber ale, but obviously with a larger dosage of hops to boot.
The mouthfeel is the perfect thickness for a sipping beer, but it's also one you could have another of without getting sick of it or overwhelmed.
Think of this like a "Double 90 Shilling" if you need a reference point.
This is a winner in a category that's usually a bland one. It's one of the few double reds I've had that isn't just an IPA or barleywine with an odd pigment. The malt is there, and it's unique.

Hopefully Odell will keep this around in one form or another.

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Photo of MashMouth
4.36/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Wow I did not expect that slap in the face. I purchaces this beer not knowing what I was buying. This has become one of my favorites. The smell is rich with sweet malt and citrisy nutty hops. This still does not prepare you for the tast. The color and clarity are brilliant and although the head quickly resides, the laceyness stays till the end. The flavors are intence at first and will catch you off guard. You will quickly come around to notice the great ballance between the malts, hop bitterness and alchol. This beer had good drikability that seems more drinkable the more you drink. (but then again what beer insn't ha ha).

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Photo of GilGarp
4.35/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is certainly one of my favorite Odell offerings.

Pours from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass with an inch of head. It's truly red and an exceptional looking beer. Good clarity too. The head is gone soon after the first sip but the lacing is very good.

Aroma is very hoppy, fresh and piney.

Flavor is excellent as well. It's very well bittered but with plenty of malt to balance it out. Citrus notes in the flavor but not too sweet like some American strong ales can be. In fact, I would probably be more likely to classify this as a double IPA that just happens to be red.

Mouthfeel is good and although it's high in alcohol, it hides it well. Drinkability is only hindered by strong hop bitterness and ABV.

I have been looking forward to this one since it disappeared last winter and I'm happy to say it was worth the wait. True to it's name: Extra Special.

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Photo of vurt
3.83/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle poured into a nonic pint glass. Bottle date is 2007, but what the heck, let's see how this has held up.

The head is eggnog-colored and composed of very tiny bubbles. It does not last very long, but it slides up on the glass like heavy cream and leaves behind some lavish lacing which recedes back into the beer slowly. The body is a deep reddish orange with amber highlights. Great color.

Sweet battles hoppy, and there's no clear winner, though "sweet" throws the first punch. Caramel, toffee, fresh glazed donuts. Then a solid burst of piney hops with a citric finish like orange oil. Plenty of fruity aromas emerge- boysenberries, plums, a touch of pear, and a meaty, cantaloupe-like funk. A whiff of alcohol cuts through the mix. Age has given this beer a touch of oxidation, but it is neither predominant nor unpleasant.

This is an extremely sweet beer. It starts out with flavors of brown sugar, malt, and molasses. Underneath lies a citrus/bitter mixture like a good marmalade. (The whole effect is rather like liquid limpa bread.) More fruits come through in the middle: oranges again, plum, cherry, and honeydew melon. Herbal bitterness and a light licorice note creep in at the finish, along with a booziness like rum and vanilla extract.

Medium-bodied, silky textured, and a little sticky. The body is a bit lighter than I was expecting, actually, though the sweetness does a good job of coating the mouth. Carbonation is soft and provides an excellent, fine texture.

Here's where the beer takes a hit. It has an interesting aroma, some good flavors, and an appealing mouthfeel, but the sweetness is just too overwhelming. If it were drier, or spicier, or had a bit more earthy bitterness, it would be a much more drinkable beer. Maybe the hops do a better job of balancing this beer when it's fresh. I'd like to find out.

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Photo of Oxymoron
4.13/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Redheads have it all. Pours a mostly red color with a off amber hue. Great clarity overall with a soft white head with good retention but doesn't last through the tasting.

The nose is a nice blend between hops and malt. To start there is a sweetness with some nice toffee and toasted aromas. Some very feint stringency with a slight roasty note. The hops are mostly citrus with a more lemon zest smell. Very clean yeast wise but some noticeable esters and alcohol.

The taste is more pronounced than the nose indicated. The malt comes out more but still somewhat balanced. The sweetness is there with more prominent toffee and toasty flavors. There is some astringency but more of a slight coffee flavor. Some fusel alcohols but nothing over the top. The hops do have a more grassy, earthy flavor but some lemongrass like flavors come out. Mostly finishing hops, there isn't much on the bittering.

The body is in between moderate and full. Light carbonation but works and enhances the body. Some alcohol bite but nothing over the top. Overall a very good beer, but I would suggest to try it fresh as it doesn't stand up to aging well.

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4.42/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Two fingers of light tan head that slowly fades leaving some webed lace as it fades. Body is a deep brownish red with ruby tones at the edges. Nose is big with woodsy hops and mineral based malts. With first sip I am suddenly shocked that I have never heard of this beer. Big bold hops that are rich and woodsy. Malt character is ther to nicely balance. As you continue to drink a thick slightly soured bitter feel comes about on the mouthfeel. At 8% alchol it is very well hidden. I would rank this one with Nugget Nectar and Big Hoppy Monster. Wonderfully drinkable.

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Photo of SkeeterHawk
3.35/5  rDev -16%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a cloudy dark red color with a 1/4" thick head made up of small tan bubbles. The bubbles could be seen rising in the liquid, but they were doing so slowly, indicating that this is a pretty full bodied beer. Within a minute the head had faded into the beer to leave a small ring around the glass.

Aroma: My initial impression was of dry, almost chalky hops. Maybe this beer has some age on it. After this impression, I get some strong malt with a very toasty and fruity nose. The toastiness has some of the almost buttery British beer qualities, while still hinting of the melanoidins of Munich malt. As it warms up some the fruitiness comes out as a dark cherry and slight plum. There is some spiciness coming into the equation really quickly as the alcohol starts to volatize.

Taste: The thickness of the mouthfeel was the first thing I noticed as I practically had to pull the beer between my teeth. There is some malt to give you a sweet impression right as the hoppiness kicks in and makes the balance bitter all the way into the finish...and then some. There is a very evident alcoholic warming setting on the back of the throat that fights with the hops a bit for control...but loses.

Opinion: This is a decent beer, but not what one would expect from an Irish Red. It says on the bottle that this is a "hopped up" version of an Egyptian recipe. It is definitely "up". Alcohol and hops won't disappoint even the numbest of palates. It is an alright beer, but a bit too bold for my taste in a number of ways. I would drink it again because it sure isn't dull, but I wouldn't seek it out.

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Photo of objectivemonkey
4.13/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a solid dark red, good starter head and some lovely lacing. The aroma is pretty solid, heavily toasted malts, lots of citric hopping, not too complex but still quite good. The taste is similar, but has a stronger malt backbone, nice toasted malts and caramels, with a delicious citric hop in tones of orange, tangerine, and grapefruit. The mouth is solid, good carbonation, really its a pretty solid beer.

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Photo of donaldchapman
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - beautiful red-amber with great clarity, and a substantial head.

S - Citrus hops accompanied by toasty malt aromas.

T - malty sweetness of toffee, caramel, toast balanced by a citrus hop flavor.

M - Medium full bodied, with a good carbonation and some alcohol warmth.

This beer has prominent hops and malt that balance nicely with the alcohol in the beer. Very tasty brew

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Photo of jjayjaye
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks going out to grumpy for throwing this extra in as part of a great trade.

Pours a deep red hued amber color with a shallow foamy head that fades fairly quickly, leaving spotty patterns of Belgian lacing behind. The smell is rich caramel malt and a hint of hops. Adequately carbonated, the mouth feel is full bodied, creamy and smooth. Full flavored, the caramel malt taste is laced with a respectable measure of hops. Both of those wonderful aspects of the flavor linger significantly in the after taste. While the 8% ABV is integrated well, it's enjoyable in the mouth texture and provides warmth on the way down. A really good beverage, too bad they don't build more like this one!

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Photo of SpecialK088
4.03/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a snifter.

A-very deep red color with a low head and goos lace throughout.
S-malty/hoppy with hints of alcohol and something sweet.
T-very smooth hops are not overpouring as the scent might lead you to belive, very good flavor for a red little malty and bitter.
M-good not overly carbonated and goes down nice and smooth.
D-im not a huge red guy but i get a 6 of this everytime i have the chance when it shows up again.

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

Poured from a bottle into a delirium snifter
A: Cloudy red very appealing for a red
S: very hoppy smell, hints of alcohol
T: very distinctive Red, slightly more of a hop bitterness than a normal red. does well to hide the alcohol. very earthy flavor, but not dirty.
M: good carbonation helps with the hop bitterness
D: this is very enjoyable but due to an 8% ABV I would take it easy.

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Photo of Wasatch
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks goes out to Bitterbill for this brew.

Pours a nice deep reddish color, nice carbonation, nice small creamy slightly tannish head, which leaves some nice sticky lacing. The nose is malty, very slight raspberry, some hops, and a good dose of caramel. The taste is slightly sweet, malty, slight hoppyness, some fruit thing going on, and some caramel. This is a very nice tasting brew. Medium body. Very Drinkable, a unique brew to say the least, highly recommended.

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Photo of mentor
4.02/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pouor a one finger tan head over a hazy ruby-orange liquid. Smells minty hops, limes, citrus, and piney.

Tastes fair malt sweet with strong hop flavor and minimal clean hop bitter. Hop flavor so strong its almost piercing. Citrus lime/piney creaminess that I like. Hops are quite strong and realy make this beer. Smooth mouthfeel, md body, and modest carbonation.

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Photo of TYE
4.41/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a deep reddish brown producing a wonderful creamy thick off white foam head that retains its form like few others I've seen, holding it's head at a thick covering all the way to the end with lots of smearing. Wow!
S - Sweet fruit scent of peaches and watermelon mixed is the overwhelming scent, almost smells like Sweet Tarts. A light layer of malt hides underneath. Maybe a little too sweet of aroma. Masks the others a bit, but overall very good.
T - Hoppy, sweet fruit, with maybe a hint of brown sugar or caramel? Great lasting flavor that lingers for just long enough, then fades clean to nothing, making you want to take another drink. Wow!
M - Medium carbonation, medium to full body, creamy, hoppy bite, sweet nip at tip of tongue and a little sour jabs on the sides. Finishes clean. Wow!
D - Very, very good beer! I'm not a huge fan of reds, although I like them, but this one is my favorite. Awesome balance of flavors and great mouthfeel. I wish the aroma wasn't so overwhelmed by the sweet fruit, otherwise it's fantastic!!

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Photo of SaltyLime
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - nice clear ruby red with a light tan head, not my favorite colors, but pretty to look at
Smell - citrus, piny, floral hops
Taste - I liked this one, it fit my palate like a comfortable pair of old shoes, nice balance of malts/hops
Mouthfeel - nice, just a little sticky reminded me of a barleywine
Drinkability - drinks easily for the 8.0 ABV, would like to try more of this brew

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

Poured from a bottle a gorgeous, clear red-amber color with a light frothy off-white head.

Aroma of caramel, butterscotch and malts with some citrusy hops thrown in.

The taste is very similar to the aroma along with some palate-warming booziness mixed in. Some slight bitterness is found in the finish.

Medium mouthfeel, warming to the palate, and lightly carbonated.

I'm a sucker for anything from Odell, and this does not disappoint. A bit boozy but oh, so flavorable.

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Odell Extra Special Red Ale from Odell Brewing Company
3.99 out of 5 based on 71 ratings.
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