Ninja Vs. Unicorn | Pipeworks Brewing Company

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Ninja Vs. UnicornNinja Vs. Unicorn

Brewed by:
Pipeworks Brewing Company
Illinois, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Ninja vs. Unicorn celebrates the epic battle between two of the biggest hop-heads of lore. Brewed with over five pounds of hops per barrel, this unfiltered double IPA is sure to please the most discerning hop lover. Whether you’re rooting for the mythical horned horse or the deadly assassin of the east, we hope you’ll enjoy Ninja vs. Unicorn.

Added by MasterSki on 01-23-2012

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Reviews: 349 | Ratings: 2,254
Photo of Billolick
4.33/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

16 oz can, with dating on the bottom, Best Before/canning date? Hopefully it the later...

Pours clouded and dull tangarine...lasting fluffy lite khaki cap, leaving ample thicker lace all over the glass.

Pungent citric and tropical fruit nose.

Big and bold. Fresh and flavorful. Crushing and complex. Tropical, citric, heavily hopped, utterly delicious. Glad this high quality brew is now distributed in NY state. The beer scene just gets better and better.

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Photo of MasterSki
4.25/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle purchased at Binny's - Marcy St. Served in a Darkness glass.

A - Two fingers of creamy white foam that settle to a thin cap, thick collar, and splotchy lace. Transparent bronze body.

S - Hefty doses of citrus zest, tropical fruits, pine, and perhaps a touch of sugar cookie malt in the background. Definitely on the more attenuated side of the double IPA scale, which I appreciate.

T - Taste is solid, but not quite as defined as the aroma. More on the ripe orange and tangerine citrus side of things, with less of the exotic tropical flavors. Perhaps a tad more in the way of malt balance - some lightly sugary and bready flavors - but still pretty hop-forward. The last 6oz are pretty palate-bruising - *almost* too much.

M - Carbonation is on the lower side of things, and the body is a tad thin, which combines to make this feel a touch watery. Otherwise it's a nice smooth medium body, with an exceptionally dry finish. Perhaps a touch of alcohol warmth, but not out of line for 8.5%.

D - This is a really good beer. I've never been particularly impressed with Pipeworks' test batches so this is a pleasant surprise, and also bodes well for the future. I hope this becomes a rotating offering as I'd intersperse my Dreadnaught and Maharajah purchases with this beer. Drank the whole bomber on my own with no problem whatsoever.

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.42/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottle sent to me by spinaltapped, thanks dude!

Pours a medium dark amber, clear and beautiful, with a one and half inch head, and lots of sticky lacing all over the place.

Smells like pine resin, pine cones, caramel, and sweet sugar cookie malt. I'm faily sure this is fresh, so it's clearly a maltier IPA than typical.

Despite the gimmicky packaging (which mind you, I still like), which would seem to indicate an unbalanced, hop heavy bomb- this is actually a bit more balanced. There's a formidable malt backbone, caramel and sugar cookie, slightly bready, with a big hop blast peeking over the top- sticky and dank, some pine, a bit of grapefruit, not a lot of the big sweet tropical citrus I tend to look for. It still tastes good, I just think it could have been done a little better. I like an IPA that has some malt, but I like it better when it props up the back of the beer and supports the hop flavors, rather than shares the stage with the hop flavors.

This is medium bodied, with a sticky, and fairly sweet mouthfeel, along with a moderate level of carbonation. It's very drinkable, despite my complaints above.

This was good, but not great. It does seem like an IPA that would appeal to a lot more people than the typical hop assault (that I love).


Tried the new cans, which has really elevated this beer. The hop flavor is way more out in front, with a big citrus and pine assault. This beer got way better- cheers to Pipeworks for continuing to evolve this beer! I will raise the scores accordingly.

Original Scores:

Look- 4
Smell- 4
Taste- 3.75
Feel- 4.5
Overall- 4

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Photo of Wasatch
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

16 oz. Can
Canned On: 2/16/16

Pours a slightly cloudy dark golden yellow color, very nice carbonation, with a very nice thick/creamy one-finger white head, which leaves some pretty nice thick/creamy sticky lacing behind. The nose is hoppy, with some very nice citrus/pine notes. The taste is hoppy, with some very nice citrus/pine notes. Medium body, with a very nice dry/bitter finish. Overall, another very nice brew from Pipeworks, and a few of them are showing up in GJ.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.05/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle to CBS snifter. Thanks to robbiemoy13 for this one. Batch #13: Bottled 5/15/12 (only about 3 weeks old!)

A - Medium hazy orange with a golden glow along the bottom. Half a finger of off-white head formed and reduced to a thin layer.

S - Big grapefruit and tangerine aromas up front accompany a fairly assertive bitterness. A slightly sweet malt backbone adds a touch of balance. A very fresh nose, as expected.

T - A huge bitterness up front with big grapefruit, pine and orange zest flavours. The malt backbone definitely plays a secondary role but is evident, adding some caramel.

M - Medium body with a really big chew. Full of resinous hop oils. Light carbonation.

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Photo of dar482
4.23/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

The beer comes in a hazy deep amber.

The aroma has smacks of kiwi, passionfruit, nectarine nectar, mango.

The beer follows with passionfruit, mango, sweet ruby grapefruit, a candy sweetness, a chewy bready malt, onto a stiff piney bitterness and lingering earthiness. The bitterness hits full on and stays.

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Photo of rudzud
4.2/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Recieved in a trade, many thanks! Batch 13. Poured into a Duvel tulip.

A - Wow, nice DIPA here. Nice slightly hazy golden orange yellowy pour, more on the yellow than orange with a nice big almost three finger head that is is sudsy and leaved big thick clumpy side lacing and a nice thick blanket.

S - Wow, this is pretty freakin solid. Great citrusy tropical hops with oranges, grapefruit, pineapple, mango, and light papaya. Slight sweetness from malts.

T - Wow, this is tasty too. Not quite what I was expecting based off the nose but nice nevertheless. This is a bit more piney and grapefruit peel than tropical, which is unfortunate. Still nice and tasty with just the faintest of tropics on the end. Quite bitter on the finish.

M - Mouthfeel is quite nice, the carbonation keeps this feelin abit lighter but the alcohol is clear and forward. Wish it was hidden a bit more. Nice and bitter.

O - Overall this was a very enjoyable beer. Glad I got to try it and would definitely consider trading for it again. With the tropics came across more on the flavour though.

S -

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Photo of cjgator3
4.2/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

16oz can poured into a snifter. Canned on date 2/17/2016 printed on bottom of can. The taste and aroma features nice citrusy and piney hops with a good amount of sweetness in the tate.

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Photo of corby112
3.14/5  rDev -26.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

Pours a cloudy dark copper color with bright golden orange edges and a one finger, frothy white head that slowly settles into a lasting ring. Very good retention, taking a while to settle and leaving large streaks of soapy lacing on the way down.

Earthy floral hop aroma with fresh cut grass and a strong resinous pine needle character countered by a sweet malt backbone. Hints of spruce tip and earthy soil followed by caramel malt, toast, nut and toffee. Surprisingly one dimensional hop profile. Lacking in sweetness and has too strong of a malt presence in the nose for my preference.

Medium body with a blast of dry, earthy bitterness that lingers over a strong malt backbone into a very dry finish. Very earthy/soil-y with bitter, grassy hops and pine sap countered by sweet caramel malt, toffee, biscuit, toast and a touch of oak. There's some slight boozy sweetness toward the finish but the high ABV is well masked. Overall, this beer was a bit of a disappointment for me. The malt flavors are too prominent and the hop profile is very one dimensional. Not a bad beer, just boring.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
4/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(Served in a tulip glass)
A- This beer pours a clear apricot orange body with a bubbly beige head that sticks on the glass with each sip. There is a slow motion carbonation of tiny bubbles.

S- The green woody hops are full but a bit softer than in the taste.

T- The slightly pungent big woody green hops have some citrus notes to follow with a slight malt sweetness that tends to dry out as it opens in the finish. There is a green spicy hop note that lingers after each sip.

M- The medium mouthfeel has a tight little fizz and no alcohol heat noticed.

O- This is a nice full hop monster with some good depth to the woody and spicy hops supported by a lurking malt note but still drinks pretty fast.

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Photo of Stevedore
4.25/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bomber from batch #91, consumed in a Bell's tulip glass today 3/9/2013. Thanks to powz87!

Aroma: Lots of citrus and grapefruit to the nose with some underlying sweet malt character giving me hints of honey, toffee and sweet bread. And I mean this is a really strong nose- I don't even have to sniff to look for the nose. The nose popped right out at me as soon as I opened the bottle. So in a nutshell, it smells like a DIPA but is more aggressive than most. (4)

Colour: Pours a clear light amber body that is just right where I like my DIPAs. Pours a thick 1cm white head that dissipates within a minute into a bubbly collar. Lacing is nice and sticky. Incredibly attractive beer that screams out for quaffing. (4)

Flavour: The best part, believe it or not. With the amount of hop bite you get at the end, there is an unbelievable amount of malt presence at the beginning of the quaff. It brings out caramel and honey which transitions well to a combined aforementioned malt sweetness and grapefruit/citrus hop bitterness. As I've said in previous reviews, the mark of a good DIPA is not how much barley and hops go into the wort, but rather how these large quantities of ingredients blend in with each other to make a seamless yet complex flavour that as a bonus, hides the ABV. This DIPA has this in spades. (4.5)

Mouthfeel: Thicker side of medium body, very well carbonated. Resinous with a dry finish- coats my tongue with its aftertaste of bitter citrus combined with the sweet caramel resinous flavour. Incredibly quaffable and a dangerous brew for the mere mortal. (4.5)

Overall: This reminds me a bit of Pliny the Elder when it comes to the balance of the hop bitterness and pale malt sweetness. As a homebrewer, I understand how tricky it can be to construct a beer with a big grain and hop bill and yet have it all come together the way PtE does. This beer comes closer than most to achieving the balance that PtE does, though it leans a bit in the favor of the bitter hop components. This is an outstanding DIPA and I salute Pipeworks for their excellent work! (4)

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Photo of Immortale25
4.3/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a Duvel tulip. No freshness date.

A- Pours a medium amber color with a 1/2 inch off-white head that retains well before becoming a thick ring around the edge of the glass and a mostly full sheet of surface foam. Semi-resilient lacing leaves a jagged ring behind.

S- Bright, juicy hop aroma bursting with citrus notes like peach, pineapple and grapefruit. Some booze fume.

T- Actually on the lower end of the bitterness scale, there's just a pronounced citrusy hop flavor without the usual accompanying bite. Alcohol is noticeable but doesn't detract from the smoothness.

M- Tangy and bright with medium carbonation and a body leaning toward the fuller side.

O- I would recommend this to someone who's looking for a high gravity IPA with more hop flavor rather than hop bitterness. Hits on all the right notes without wearing out your palate.

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Photo of barczar
4.15/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Three weeks old, so fairly fresh. As soon as the can is opened, dank, piney, grassy notes emerge. Big citrus notes of grapefruit and tangerine meld with caramel malt sweetness to add candied tropical fruit depth.

Flavor is more resiny throughout, grassy, with a fairly bitter, piney finish. The initial sharp citrus and mango fades to slight caramel sweetness, finishing very dry. There's a touch of vegetal character throughout that's a little offputting.

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Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4.25/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

thanks to kawilliams for bringing this to share! Thanks kent!

Reviewed from notes taken 7/4/12.

poured into duvel tulip.

Appearance: clear yellow bodied beer with huge white head. Drops down to a solid cap that remains while drinking the entire beer.

Small: juicy grapefruits and resinous pine. Some tropical fruits and a bready almost sweet malt.

Taste: On the high end of moderately bitter hop bite. Big grapefruit and pine. Oranges and tropical fruits. Malts taste biscuity just like the nose. Pretty hop forward with the malts offering decent balance, but there isnt much taming that going to tame those aggressive hops!

Mouthfeel: medium bodied beer with moderate carbonation. The beer finishes a little dry with a bitter snap. No booze noted in this one at all!

Overall: Really great DIPA. This is a wonderful local offering from chicago! Powerhouse hop profile for all those hop heads out there!

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Photo of costanzo_mike
4.35/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark golden color sans haze. Thick head that lingers some, decent lacing on the glass as it drinks down. Smells of both dank and tropical hops on the nose, nice combo. Definitely pick up some mosaic in the taste. Another solid double IPA from the Pipeworks folks

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Photo of Dave_Treat
4/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Love pipework's art. Love the can. Prefect harmony. That is just the packaging... The beer is excellent. Nice murky amber color with large head, looked awesome. Starts with a huge citrus, grapefruit and orange. Taste starts with the boss, followed by that same citrus profile. Very smooth. Get you some!

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Photo of egrace84
4.17/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Ninja Vs. Unicorn. Cool artwork on the label. bomber popped and poured into a Duvel snifter. A- good looking DIPA with a nice creamy head. S- Lovi'n the smell of this, dank, citrusy,pineapple. T- Taste follows the nose pretty well, piney/grapefruit w/ some nice lil malty notes and the bitterness settles right in on the back end of the tongue. M- nice carbonation and kind of a slick little mouthfeel. O- was glad to get my hands on this one, its a great DIPA thats definately not to tough to make light work of and take down by yourself... Yummy.

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Photo of maximum12
4.35/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to chickenI3rest for this bottle, which pleases the old DM in me. 22 oz. liquid container, said non-solids split with my wife.

The pour is clear to moderately muddy orange, with the refuse coming from the bottom third of the bottle. Carbonation is not notable, though I've now made a false statement. Nose is a spring field in full bloom - not that we in Minnesota would know what that smelled like - with a ditch full of pine & citrus. This pleases me.

Ninja vs. Unicorn sounds like a brew from the lost notes of Gary Gygax, may he rest in peace. Beer opens with a mythical slash of hop bitterness right in your face. Like, skin close. Pine cuttings fill the senses. Mid-tongue brings citrus, a gentler floral push than the nose, light white pepper. More bitterness. Finish is a touch of caramel which, frankly, seems a little scared. Then some more thick, tongue abrading bitterness. This is a rip-sipping beer, like, sips every 20 or 30 seconds.

Tickled. Bitterness plus tasty equals what you're supposed to do with a IIPA. Put it in a frame & put it next to IIPA on Excellent, & I am going to cherish every drop.

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Photo of HuskyinPDX
4.1/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Bottle opened on 8.27.13

A -Pours a cloudy darker orange with a one inch tan head with great retention.

S - Citrusy, orange, some honey dew melon.

T - Very tropical, oranges, mango, papaya.

D - Good carbonation with a light body. A bit of heat in the finish.

O - Tropical IPA - very solid and drinkable.

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Photo of barnzy78
3.92/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

16oz, canned 073115
A - ivory head tops a mildly hazed golden colored body
S - huge plume of aromatic hops with orange, lemon, pine, grapefruit, and passion fruit
T - hop forward and very bitter with hop notes of grapefruit & lemon zest, pine, passion fruit, mango with some light caramel for malt but it's hardly a backbone compared to the hop bitterness
M - medium body, feels a bit thinner than I'd like, finishes bitter and semi-dry with lingering pine and grapefruit pungency
O - pretty good DIPA, but it falls short of my expectations. I'm still very excited to see Pipeworks start to can their beer. I look forward to trying another one very soon!

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Photo of claspada
4.2/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle from West Lakeview Liquors, most recent release - Batch 25, so it was bottled sometime mid-July.

Pours a semi-translucent dark golden/bronze color with a semi-large fluffy white to off-white head that recedes into a thin cap, thick collar with some splotchy lacing remaining.

Aromas begin with a hefty doses of citrus zest, tropical fruits, pine and a subtle amount of grassy hops as well. As it warms I get a hint of the malty backbone highlighted by a slightly sweet sugar cookie-like doughiness.

The tastes follow the nose with some lightly sugary and bready maltiness but then you are immediately greeted with the ripe orange and tangerine citrus hop flavors. As with most beers the tropical fruits and pineapple aren't as present in he taste with a more pine, resiny hop flavor. with less of the exotic tropical flavors.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with medium carbonation. Previous batches had some low carbonation issues but this one is dialed in. There is a pleasantly slightly assertive dry finish; definitely on the more attenuated side of the double IPA scale, which I appreciate to avoid excess sugary sweetness that plagues some of this style.

Overall this is a super beer; my first from Pipeworks and I can say it won't be my last. It is a super dialed in recipe that has clearly been developed and perfected by the brewer and I can see why even though they have only bottled less than 30 total batches of beer they decided to make this one 6 times already. This is a really good beer. Highly recommended and well worth seeking out if you can get it fresh (like all DIPA).

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Photo of rlee1390
4.24/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A-Clear amber orange, not much carbonation, one finger head that tries to leave some lacing.

S- Grass, earthy, floral notes. Some citrus as well.

T-Same as the nose, grass and earthy. The finish has some pleasant bitterness.

M-Medium bodied, crisp and some hop resins.

O-Not as good as Unicorn Galaxy but still a very enjoyable IPA.

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Photo of cosmicevan
4.64/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

was i n chicago yesterday, picked this up the day before that...enjoyed from pipeworks snifter as fresh as i could.

batch 289 90 91 picked up at clybourn binny's on my way to GI.

a - brew is classic semi-transparent orange yellow with a generous frothy ipa head that left behind big chunks of lacing on the glass.

s - nose is divine. all those people who start threads asking what "dank" is...get this beer fresh and smell it...THAT, my friend, is not only dank, it is the diggity dank. thick rich sweaty syrupy pine cone hoppy. more citric than resinous, but it is so thick that it is definitely resinous. orange, tangerine, happiness.

t - with a nose like that, typically the taste falls off, but not this beer. tastes JUST like it smells. the only thing the nose doesn't advertise is the heat. the booze is evident here...but not in a bad way, you can just tell it is boozy.

m - strong beer and it tastes like it, but the body is great. carb is spot on and the flavor is rich.

o - overall, this is a solid IIPA. seek it out. nuff said.

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Photo of BMMillsy
4.14/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle from trade with Lemonhead. Thanks! Batch 131 (I think that’s what it says). Pours clear light copper with a small white head. Aroma of mango, grapefruit, orange, and definite caramel malt backbone. Big slick mouthfeel with relatively low carbonation (i.e. needs a bit more). Orange peel, mango, pine, big malt profile. Flavor rings a bit flat for me after the huge aromas. Maybe my taste buds are muted from the spicy dinner I just had, but hops seem slightly stale. Solid beer overall, but was expecting more. Very glad I got a chance to taste some Pipeworks though!

Rerating with a new bottle because this one just seems a lot fresher than my last one. Batch 429. Hops are bigger and brighter than last time with some Citra-like qualities coming through. Flavor is bright grassy grapefruit hops, mango, and still a strong malt backbone but not as sweet as the last one. Upgraded a bit from last time.

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Photo of ArrogantB
4/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16oz can ~$3. Orange-yellow in color, huge fluffy head. Aroma is tropical fruits, heavy hops. Flavor is bitter, shoppy, tropical fruits, not too much alcohol, a really solid double IPA but not as good as Mosaic in my opinion. Worth the money.

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Ninja Vs. Unicorn from Pipeworks Brewing Company
4.26 out of 5 based on 2,254 ratings.
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