Bo & Luke
Against The Grain Brewery & Smokehouse

Bo & LukeBo & Luke
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Stout - Russian Imperial
Ranked #61
Ranked #1,076
4.28 | pDev: 9.35%
Against The Grain Brewery & Smokehouse
Kentucky, United States
Bo & LukeBo & Luke
Notes: Originally an Against the Grain Brewery and Brouwerij De Molen collaboration beer. For the first incarnation, De Molen head brewer Menno Oliver hopped in a muscle car and drove straight through from the Netherlands to Louisville, KY (that's USA folks) to brew this bourbon inspired ale, and we liked it so much, we decided to do it again. We took the ingredients in bourbon whiskey (Barley, Rye, Corn) and then smoked them with cherry wood and brewed a huge imperial stout with them. Then to top it off we aged it in Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon Barrels. The resulting beer is rich, smokey and complex, with a bourbon character of caramel, vanilla and spice.
Reviews: 118 | Ratings: 998 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
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REVZEB from Illinois

4.08/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on tap. Midnight black body with a light brown cap and sporadic lacing. Aromas of smoke, rye, molasses, dark wood, earth, char, dark fruit, and a touch of vanilla. Starts with the smokey and earthy robust tones in the taste, leather, char, rye, and wood, then the bourbon, molasses, prune and fig come into focus from the depths, vanilla, coffee grounds, and cocoa attempt to round out the finish but a boozy char note won't let it. Complex yet highly drinkable overall. Feel is pretty warm though, smoke accentuates this booziness, earthy spiciness lingers. Good but not as great as so many have told me

Nov 17, 2021
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mynie from Maryland

4.71/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Original release, 2012. Cellared all these years. It had feathers attached to it when I got it but they all fell off.

Wax is thick and difficult. Pour is thick and welcoming. Dark, dark black, small head, medium fizz.

Aroma is intense smoke and booze, like a charred barrel. Interesting, but a bit scary.

Flavor is likewise intense and a bit scary, but wonderfully done. Smoke smoke smoke. Meat and cheese. Swiss Colony sample box up front, boozy BA stout in the middle, and then a shockingly sweet and smooth end and finish that refresh your pallet and invite another sip. Not quit like any other beer I've ever had, and while no single part blew me away the balance is absolutely otherwordly.

You probably don't need to age this one as long as I did, but a year or two certainly don't hurt.

Mar 29, 2021
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oberon from North Carolina

4.49/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours into a snifter nearly black except a tinge of garnet with a creamy full one finger beige head that never fully leaves atop.Smoke and bourbon always makes for a great combo and it does here as well,somewhat sweet in the nose but very inviting.Full and creamy in the mouth,very lush.Bourbon/vanilla and smoky char stand out most in the nose,dark fruit is notes as well,not as sweet as I was expecting,even a bit of spiciness seems to come thru as it warms as well.Nice to drink a beer put together like this,a savoring beer to really enjoy,I def did.

Jul 01, 2020
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firesidewithphil from Illinois

4.15/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bo & Luke is smoky but not overpowering like other smoked stouts. I'm happy to see some of the previous comments echo this statement. It has a deep imperial stout profile and is quite bitter. However, the bitterness is balanced by the smoke and maltiness.

IG: @firesidewithhphil

Jun 13, 2020
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bobv from Vermont

4.37/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

750 ml bottle.
No date.
6-8 years old...?
Moderate pour yields a 1/2" tan head over a dark, dark, dark reddish-brown (near black) body with some lacing. Nose of dark chocolate, dark fruit, bourbon, vanilla, caramel, and smoke. Taste is true to the nose and then some! As it warms, aromas and flavors morph slightly with leather, coffee, and spice appearing. Wow! A fine bit of smoke and cherry on the finish. Nice feel and overall, I'm very impressed with this one, folks.

Jun 01, 2020
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kitch from Hong Kong

4.25/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

An orange pinkish waxed 750ml bottle with no clear bottled on or best before date. Poured into a snifter glass.

Appearance: Dark dark brown to black in colour with a thin tanned head that dissipated quickly and left nice spotty lacing.

Aroma: Bourbon, chocolate, black coffee, light roast, oak, smoky, charred wood, caramel, vanilla, dried dark fruit, raisins, and prunes.

Taste: Roasty, sweet, bourbon, charred oak, light smoke, caramel, vanilla, with hints of rye spiciness and dried dark fruit.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, full bodied with soft carbonation.

Overall: A very nice warming Imperial Stout for a cool night. The smoked malts added a nice touch and balanced the bourbon sweetness.

Apr 12, 2020
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MonDak_Joe1953 from Minnesota

4.28/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

750ml bottle. Wax over cap. No dating information found.
Black colored body. Two finger small bubble tan head, which sticks around. Lots of lacing slides back into the body but some small patterns stick to the glass.
Aroma of roasted malts, with cherry wood smoke, oak bourbon barrel and vanilla. The malts express chocolate and coffee. There is a touch of rye spice.
Taste is imbued with the oak bourbon barrel, which brings vanilla to the mix. The dark roasted malts really bring in a lot of chocolate, coffee, toffee, and molasses. The smoke from the cherry wood combines with the rye to brings layers of complexity. A little bit sweet along with the bite of the char/smoke. No real bitterness.
Super creamy and smooth texture, with a fuller mouth feel. Any alcohol burn is well hidden. Very good supportive carbonation.
The smooth and thick body lend itself to savoring the beer in the mouth, and letting the flavors and blends to pop out as the liquid is swallowed. Very easy drinking for its higher ABV%. I like the combination of the rye and the bourbon barrel to bring a tang to the mix.

Jan 24, 2020
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colts9016 from Idaho

4.4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

I am not a fan of smoked beer, thus far I have tried a few and did not care for them all. The beers I tried was heavily smoked and the Maillard in the beer overpowered the delicate flavors. Honestly, these beers are my least favorite to drink. The beer is 52 degrees and served in tulip glass. The pour of the beer produced a one finger light tan head with fair retention. The head is creamy and foamy leaving a minimal amount of lacing on the glass. The beer is brown nearly black. The appearance is good considering a high abv.

The aromas in the beer are smoke, fire, anise, Maillard, fig, dark roasted malts, raisins, vanilla, caramel, toffee, earthy, molasses, and wood. It is difficult to smell much, the smoke is strong, but not super strong.

The flavors in the beer are fig, anise, vanilla, molasses, wood, earthy, toffee, raisins, herbal, fire, smoke, Maillard, dark roasted malts, molasses, bourbon and a touch of solvent.

The mouthfeel of the beer is dry, coating and thick.

The body of the beer, the carbonation in the beer is low, and full finish.

This beer surprised me! This the first beer that had smoke in it where it did not overpower the beer. The balance in the beer is incredible. The harmony is beer is singing an aria. I hate smoked beer, but this one is incredible. The flavors are equally matched with the smoke. I love how the brewer used a deft hand when adding the smoke. Must try for any beer lover!

Jan 10, 2020
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AyatollahGold from Indiana

4.34/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Beautiful beer that is dark with mahogany highlights. Two fingers worth of dense and creamy, peanut butter fudge colored bubbles rest on top with good retention.

The nose is pleasant with notes of roasted malts and lightly smoked wood. A lot of char, more so than smoke. Ton of chocolate as well as coffee, rye and light bourbon notes.

The taste brings touches of char mixing with the dark malts. Cocoa, coffee, rye and very light touches of bourbon.

The mouthfeel is so smooth. So creamy. Not much heat at all for 13% and being barrel aged.

Overall, I’m surprised (don’t ask me why) at the balance this brings. It’s a really nice sipper full of a melange of flavors.

Jan 04, 2020
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Brutaltruth from Ohio

4.37/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

From the growler via DEPS in a snifter. This fine brew pours a blackish brown with
a nice had of tan foam that settles leaving a thick ring, thin clumping pool, and
sports some EXCELLENT lacing. Nose of light smoke, char, bourbon, earthy malts,
coffee, and cocoa. Flavors nail it. Coffee and cocoa vie for dominance in a bourbon
haze of light vanilla and with woodsy smoke and light cherry (cherry wood) note
with char and earthy malts. Mouth feel is very nice; full body, smooth as silk,
rich, complex, warming, light carbonation that is enough to give lift to
leviathan, and a smoke and warming booze laced finish that is nicely balanced.



Dec 14, 2019
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jkblr from Indiana

4.2/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

25.4 oz bottle with orange wax (2019) poured into a Spiegelau stout glass at just above fridge temp 13% ABV. The beer pours dense very dark brown with abundant mocha colored head. The head recedes to a cap and leaves the glass completely laced. The aroma is subtle with bourbon barrel, chocolate, rye and smoke. The taste is roasty malts and dark chocolate up front before the cherry smoke, bourbon barrel, oak and vanilla really hit on the back side. Moderate bitterness. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with below average carbonation and a mostly dry, woody, smokey finish. Overall, excellent. There's a lot going on in this beer and the taste changes with each sip. Not overdone on any one aspect. Certainly enjoyable, but maybe not a great value at $1/1oz.

Dec 06, 2019
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BuxMontBeerLover from Pennsylvania

4.44/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Purchased as The Liquor Barn in Louisville, KY...just miles from the brewery.

Pours a jet black, totally opaque color. No light is showing through this brew.

Oh my, a wonderful aroma of roasted malts and whiskey.

The whiskey barrel aging really is prevalent in the initial sip. It never overpowers the beer but it is the prevalent taste. A wonderful stout that ranks up there as one of the best I've had.

I've been to Against the Grain brewery but have never had the chance to enjoy this beer. Rather costly at $22/24oz but it was certainly worth the cost. A+ brew...a real treat!

Dec 01, 2019
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Franziskaner from Missouri

4.15/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Black in color with no penetration to light. There’s a half inch of densely packed brown on top. The aroma is comprised of smoked cherry wood, robust roasted barley, caramel, and molasses. I’m tasting a burst of smoked cherry wood, dark roasted barley, piney hops, vanilla, bourbon, and caramel. It’s thick, chewy, and dense.

Aug 31, 2019
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Eddieeight from Ohio

4.5/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Took me a while to cut through the thick wax dipped cap on this 25 ouncer. Poured into a tulip glass. Pours dark brown with a minimal creamy head to it. Smells strongly of bourbon and smoke and doesn’t even smell like a beer really. Others have described it as a campfire and I would tend to agree. The beer has kind of a flat taste to it - not really rounded out. I’m getting vanilla and bourbon and maybe some cherry in there too. Very smoky taste. In fact this is my first beer I’ve ever had that is a “smoked” beer. Mouthfeel is heavy and thick almost syrupy but not cloying. Overall I love these kinds of stouts and although it’s not one of my favorites of this variety I can still respect it for what it’s worth. Nicely done.

Jul 04, 2019
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Roguer from Connecticut

4.24/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Brew pours with a tremendous dark brown head, with fantastic retention and slowly leaving behind flat fields of lacing. Body is a dark nutty ebony color. Superb.

Bourbon is perhaps the first noticeable note on the nose, but the smoked malt and roasted barley quickly follow, giving nuance and depth to a classic, ashy RIS profile which includes caramel, brown sugar, and red grapes.

Surprisingly sweet up front, and throughout the first half, as bourbon mash, dark fruit, and brown sugar lead the way. Smoke starts building around mid-sip, and really carries through the finish, while the bourbon notes start to lean away from sweet, and toward hot, boozy, and oaky. Other prominent notes include, at various times: prunes, raisins, bananas, nuts, and dates (primarily up front); chocolate and vanilla (primarily on the back third); tobacco and leather; caramel and toffee.

Big and bold, clearly a potent brew, but carrying very little indication of just how massive it truly is, clocking in at 13% ABV. A touch thinner than I'd prefer for the style, but still coming in full bodied.

Mar 24, 2019
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TreyIsWilson from Michigan

4.31/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - Pours motor oil black with a two finger tan head. Heavy amount of soapy lacing.

S - Aroma is dark chocolate, vanilla and roasted malts.

T - The taste is dark chocolate, vanilla, molasses, raisins tobacco, charred oak and light bourbon.

M - Full body with medium carbonation. Creamy mouthfeel with a crispy dry finish.

O - This is a very tasty BBA RIS. Nice and rich with tons of char.

Mar 24, 2019
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buschbeer from Ohio

4.26/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

25.4 FL OZ bottle
Served in a snifter

This beer pours black and is topped with a couple inches of tan head that leaves nice lacing as it recedes.

I notice the smoke right away. I smell some chocolate. Searching I can smell a little caramel and vanilla.

The smoke is up front. Flavors of chocolate and fig cut the smoke. There is some bitterness.

Full bodied with a smooth mouthfeel

I have had a beer boner for this beer for quite awhile. Hell, it's already smoked, so I don't even need a cigarette after I finish. Great beer. Great change of pace from all these desserty stouts out there. I just wish I had some brisket to enjoy with it.

Feb 23, 2019
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unlikelyspiderperson from California

4.19/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours a nice midnight black with a thin coffee colored head that doesn't hang around long but does leave a slight lacing.
The smell carries a fair bit of a barrel, some char/coffee notes, something between bacon and fresh baked bread, and a molasses sweetness. Very interesting smell, not very common in my experience. It might be rated better by some, worse by others, I'm still sort of on the fence honestly.
Taste is molasses up front, with some raisin and chocolate. The barrel seems totally absent to my tongue and the flavor seeps slowly toward a figgy sweetness. Really wonderful taste, very classically within the style as opposed to the unusual aroma.
Mouthfeel is also excellent, obviously quite syrupy and thick, but it has a lightness to it makes it dangerously drinkable
Overall this is a wonderful big beast of a stout. The barrel is perfectly fit in and this puppy is ready for the drinkin

Dec 12, 2018
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q33jeff from New Jersey

4.05/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4


Bottle to snifter. Share at Borgata with MCD and DS.

Look: thick black, healthy off white head.
Aroma: lots of smoke and tobacco.
Taste: more smoke and tobacco. A little too harsh. Like a cigar. Very tasty, but it drags on you.
Feel: a tad thin. Medium carbonation.

Good beer. Awesome bottle.

Mar 23, 2018
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WoodBrew from Ohio

3.55/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I'm trying this at the brewery. It poured an almost opaque dark amber with off white head that is not leaving any lace. The scent had very subtle smoke and fennel hint. The taste was nicely balanced and easy to drink for a stout. Some chocolate flare. The mouthfeel is lighter in body with good carbonation. Overall it's an ok beer.

Mar 22, 2018
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brentk56 from North Carolina

4.4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Appearance; Pours with the full three fingers, a beige rocky head that tops the espresso colored liquid; spots and squiggles of lace

Smell: Smokey, with Bourbon, chocolate, coconut, vanilla and dark fruit tones

Taste: A lot of threads to follow here; the smoke hits the palate first, creating an ashy tone that builds through the middle; the dark chocolate is an early arriver, too, and that flavor persists into the aftertaste; some prune tones appear, through the middle, along with coconut and vanilla, with the sweeter elements lingering into the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation; warmth in the gullet

Overall: Surprised by the lighter mouthfeel, given the abv, but otherwise there are a lot of interesting elements to this beer

Mar 03, 2018
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curtis6290 from New York

4.31/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2017 Bottle enjoyed on 1/14/18 poured into snifter.

Look: Deep brown in color, appears oily when swirled, oily lacing, mediocre foam head that lingers. Beige foam color.
Smell: Bacon, smoked pork, charcoal fire, bourbon, maple, coffee, chocolate.
Taste: All of above, plus vanilla, nutmeg, caramel, cinnamon, pancakes, waffles, and Maple Syrup. The smoke is the forefront and this reminds me of maple glazed bacon. The bourbon appears toward the end but is forgiving.
Feel: Medium-High carbonation and strong alcohol mouthfeel, but it mellows nicely, and is quite pleasant. Very light unlike RIS, more like a porter.
Overall: This should be called a breakfast porter because it reminds me most of bacon, pancakes and maple syrup. An interesting beer that's worth trying. Don't drink this one all by oneself, this is one to share with a group and drink slowly.

Jan 15, 2018
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Gajo74 from New York

4.45/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

My second taste at Top Hops, NYC’s 6th anniversary party.
Pours a dark brown/black color with a moderate frothy head. Average retention yields a smattering of lace.
Holding it up to the nose reveals aromas of roasted and smoked malts. The barrel aging emits aromas that are oaky, bourbon and vanilla like. There is also a nutty quality similar to almond. Finally, there is a touch of anise of and licorice.
Putting it to my lips, I’m immediately astonished by the intense smoky quality of the malt taste. The smoky malts are accompanied by a creamy sweetness that evokes flavors of dark chocolate, caramel, vanilla, and almonds. Flavors of anise, licorice and mint add a menthol like freshness. Midway, the palate takes an interesting turn through its development of hops, roasted malt and espresso bean flavors that add a bold bitterness and dryness to the finish. The spiciness of the rye and tobacco also begins to come out. Obviously high in alcohol, the flavor suggests a touch of bourbon without the booziness. The alcohol is well masked-more spicy and oaky than boozy- rendering this dangerously drinkable. Full bodied, complex and robust. Dynamic in all its flavors. A wonderful beer!

Jan 15, 2018
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Damian from Massachusetts

3.96/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

Drank from a 25.4 floz 750ml orange wax dipped bottle purchased at Whole Foods Market - Columbus Circle, New York, NY
Served in a tulip

Great label art as always. Against The Grain do it again. Although the orange wax dipped neck looked pretty awesome, the wax was a real pain in the ass to remove. As for the beer itself, it poured a fairly thin, dark caramel brown. The liquid was surprisingly light in both color and body for the style. A frothy, half-inch tall, khaki colored crown rose above the liquid and fell to a thick, bubbly collar. Some streaky lacing stuck along the glass.

Smoky notes came through big time in the aroma. Smoked mesquite or perhaps even a peaty Scotch came to mind. Good dose of brown sugar. Fairly sweet. Bourbon was noticeable but not quite as much as I had hoped. Moderately boozy. Vanilla was also apparent, and it intensified as the beer warmed.

The flavor profile was similar to the aroma but slightly less rounded. Malty and rich up front. Somewhat sweet. Caramel and brown sugar notes were apparent. The smokiness kicked in next. Like in the nose, the smoked malts displayed a peaty Scotch or a campfire-like quality. The beer was nutty and somewhat fruity in the middle. Touch of vanilla. Moderate bourbon presence on the back end. The beer finished with a fairly big whiskey-like kick and some lingering oaky tannins. Perhaps a bit astringent.

Fairly thin mouthfeel. Almost a touch watery for the style. The liquid contained a medium carbonation that turned somewhat frothy and slick on the palate.

An interesting, bourbon barrel-aged smoked strong ale or American brown this may be, but it certainly did not drink like an imperial stout. Looking at past reviews, I wonder if this recent vintage was thinner than past iterations. Bo & Luke is an interesting, enjoyable beer but definitely not worthy of the hype or the steep price tag.

Jan 07, 2018
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chicagocraft from Illinois

4.99/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Opens very dark, looks like mud, but the Pappy barrels make this by far one or the best BBA stouts I've ever had. Dark caramel, chocolate, and Pappy flavor. Against the grain knows their Bourbon. Amazing beer.

Dec 16, 2017
Bo & Luke from Against The Grain Brewery & Smokehouse
Beer rating: 95 out of 100 with 998 ratings