The Oracle | Bell's Brewery, Inc.

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751 Reviews
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The OracleThe Oracle
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Bell's Brewery, Inc.
Michigan, United States | website

Style: American Double / Imperial IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Summer

Notes / Commercial Description:
Our take on the West Coast-style Double India Pale Ale, The Oracle places hop intensity first and foremost, making only the slightest concession to malt and balance.

The fireworks start with the aromatic punch of dry-hop sessions with hop varieties from the Pacific Northwest. Resinous, citrusy hop flavors mixed with aggressive bitterness from a massive kettle addition deliver on that aromatic promise.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 09-04-2009

BEER STATS
Reviews:
751
Ratings:
2,594
Avg:
4.17
pDev:
19.66%
 
 
Wants:
451
Gots:
396
For Trade:
9
User Reviews
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Reviews: 751 | Ratings: 2,594
Photo of Dan3279
4.12/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I poured the 12oz bottle into my DFH snifter glass to find a fine dark copper body with a small white head that dissipated quickly. The aroma was fantastic, very welcoming and strong. The aroma was exactly what I expected and more. Dominated by citrus hops with a strong malt base with a dose of bitterness.

The flavor was great, I honestly expected a bit more and was a hair disappointed. I guess my only issue with the taste is that I wanted a bit more of malt sweetness in the middle. There is a A LOT going on here flavor wise, obviously the hops dominate the pallet upfront, mainly a combination of pine and citrus. The malts and alcohol are also present but like I said I wanted a little more sweet punch in the middle from the malts.

The beer was medium bodied with a decent amount of carbonation but it is the dry bitterness in the lingering aftertaste that to me was a little too much.

Overall a solid double that I would drink again if I had the chance to but I wouldn't really actively search for it.

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Photo of boralyl
4/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Batch 9901. It pours a small quarter inch of white head that recedes fairly quickly leaving a ring of lace. The beer has a clear, medium golden-orange appearance.

S - There is a pretty strong grapefruit aroma with hints of pine. There is also a pineapple aroma present. Light alcohol can be detected.

M - Medium-full in body with good carbonation. The beer coats the inside of your mouth with sticky sweetness and oily hops.

T - The taste reminds me of Founder's Devil Dancer which is another huge imperial IPA. Piny, bitter hops hit the taste buds first followed by light citrus. A plum like flavor paired with a malty sweetness pick up in the middle and continue into the grapefruit like finish. It finishes fairly bitter with traces of warm alcohol.

While an excellent beer, it almost seems more like a hoppy American Barleywine. It's just a barrage of malts and hops packing a nice alcohol heat. This one is a sipper for sure.

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Photo of hopsbreath
3.41/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Twelve ounce bottle poured into a snifter at 8 o'clock in the morning after working all night at the hospital. Big thanks goes out to Thorpe429 for including one of Larry Bell's hoppiest as an extra!

After a moderately hard pour, about a finger and a half of ivory head formed atop the orange-gold anti-freeze tinged body. The head recedes quickly and no cap is left. Minimal lacing shows up as well.

Very sweet smell contains lychee candy, passion fruit, and pineapple.

Of course the tendency is to compare this to Hopslam, and through the power of suggestion, it is similar. The obvious difference between the two comes out here at the taste. Oracle isn't near as sweet and malty as Hopslam but is way more bitter and dank.

Mouthfeel is semi-thin for how big of a beer this calculates out to. It is however pretty oily due to then reckless use of hops.

How drinkable can a 10% DIPA palate destroying hop bomb be? It comes right down to "do I want another"? The answer is no. I'm glad I got the chance to try it, but won't be seeking it out again. Give this a try if the chance presents itself but don't go out of your way to track it down. Track down Hopslam instead come early next year.

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Photo of Sideswipe
2.8/5  rDev -32.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz bottle, dated 8/12/11, courtesy of Memyselfandi. Thanks Mike!

The Oracle pours a dark amber color with a finger of white head. The foam dissipates leaving sticky lacing and a thick coaster. The nose is citrus hops and caramel malt. Taste mirrors the nose with big orange and grapefruit up front. Hoppy bitterness is followed by a wave of sweet caramel malt. The hops never quite make a comeback and as a result the finish is sweet and boozy. Feel is thick and sticky with a low level of carbonation. Overall I found The Oracle to be a bit too malty, boozy and sweet. Almost in barleywine territory in my opinion. Glad I had the opportunity.

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Photo of stimulus
4.47/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12 ounce bottle into a snifter.

A: Pours a clear deep amber with a light white head.
S: Piney, citrusy, and hoppy.
T: Good balance between piney hops and sweet malt with a good hoppy bitter finish.
M: Light bodied and well carbonated.
D: The 10.0% abv never shows itself, even as it warms. This is a superb IIPA.

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Photo of ZeroSignal
4.23/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle with Bell's batch code; no date

A - Pours a very clear burnt orange/light amber with a one finger off-white head. Very sticky lacing that clings to the glass like glue

S - Sharp, citric aroma - grapefruit rind and tangerine, pine resin. Smells a bit malty as well

T&M - Very acidic feeling hop bitterness; very pungent (not in a bad way). Big smack of grapefruit and pith; a bit piney. Medium to full body with lighter carbonation. Has a bit of malt to balance. Finish is somewhat sour, spicy and dry with a bitterness that seems to carry on without end

D - A very powerful brew; big on flavors, big ABV, but I can't put it down. About as drinkable as such a big beer could be I suppose.

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Photo of oregonskibum
4.1/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass. Batch 9306, 8/28/09

A: Color is a fairly bright orange. Pours with a 3/4 inch off-white head that gradually drops off to a thick film on top of the beer.

S: Tropical hops - pineapple - hit the senses first. Some herbal and piney hops are present as well. There's also a definite sweet caramel aroma balancing out the hops. Biscuity. Smells fairly big. Overall, nice smell though.

T: The piney hop blast up front is relatively short lived as a strong biscuity, sweet caramel malt flavor dominates the taste. Really unfortunate as the smell held a lot of promise for this beer. Not a bad taste, but not what it could have been. There is some warming on the finish. Finish is slightly bitter, although most of the hop flavors have already faded.

M: Medium to big body, a touch on the syrupy side. Definitely coats the tongue. Carbonation is fairly light.

D: The very first smell of this beer held a lot of promise, but subsequent smells and the taste were a little bit of a let down. In part, this is because of the beers age (10 months). I think some of the intense hop flavors have subsided. Still a really good beer, just not a shining DIPA and not quite to the point of a barleywine yet. I had no problem finishing the bottle though.

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Photo of Klym
4.45/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Huge thanks to N2168 for this much wanted DIPA. Poured into a surly darkness snifter (compliments of klikger)

This beer was worth the weight. Big layers of smell and flavor here. Over the top sweet pineapple juice swoons the tastebuds as you get slapped around by hops and surprised with a hint of chocolate and dark fruit. Some DIPAs really straddle the barley wine line, but this one just hints at it perfectly while maintaining a great IPA personality. It's a little too dry in the finish and a tad thin in the body but other than that it's just dandy.

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Photo of levifunk
3.29/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

shared by klikger. reviewed from notes taken a while back.

a - cloudy red/orange. good size off-white head.

s - faint, almost non-existing nose. barely picking up citrus hops.

t - sweet malts. while there is a bitter finish, there is little actual hops flavor. Quite a bit of booze, but at 10% and fresh, its expected.

overall - somewhat of a disappointment. i won't be seeking this out as there are great DIPA for far less money.

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Photo of LAp
4.35/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Big nose from the bottle. Very reminiscent of Unsessionable, or some of the incredible Alpine IPAs - lots of savory hops mixed with pine. A vaguely cloudy honey-orange with a thick half-finger off-white head. Nosing from the glass yields a sharp profile, ripe with pine, hop, a touch of tangerine, The palate straddles an intriguing line between malty, dank-savory, and purely bitter IPA. The opening is caramel malt sweetness, but mixed with a dank double IPA vibe. These give way to an aftertaste that is raw, almost abrasive (in a good way) bittering hop. A unique amalgam of IPA styles. The beer carries a solid body - medium-to-medium-thick.

It's an incredible beer that almost tastes like Hopslam imbued with more West Coast sensibilities. The entire package doesn't come off quite as polished as does the aforementioned titan of Bell's, but it's a formidable figure nonetheless. It's a beer that blurs styles in an almost-unrefined way, and a worthwhile meditation on the versatility of the DIPA.

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Photo of screamking
4.43/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into snifter.

Appearance-pours dark apricot with a 2 finger white head. Great lacing. 4.5

Aroma-nice tropical smell, lots of mango and pineapple. Some orange and grapefruit as it warms a bit. A little bit of bready brown sugar hiding at the edge. Very nice tropical aroma. 4.5

Taste-bitter, bitter pineapple. After the bitterness fades there's a nice burst of mango sweetness. Some dank pine/earthy notes hit about mid palate. Back of the tongue stays With the bitterness and doesnt let up. Apricot and orange round out the tasting notes. 4.5

Feel-great feel for a DIPA, medium to full bodied, doesn't hide the ABV well and I kinda like that fact, its suppose to be a big beer. 4.75

Overall-honestly, this is a double that they need to make more of. It's not so incredibly great that it needs to be as limited as it is. Several brewers make beers that are very similar to this every single day. As big as Bells is I find it strange that this beer would be that expensive or time consuming to make. It's a killer double that needs to be more often. It's the only down side about this beer and for that... 4

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Photo of gunnerman
4.47/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass pours a amber rustic color with a fluffy foamy head that leavs nice thick lace on the glass. Smell is of a hop explosion, pine, and citrus throghout the nose. Taste is spot on, a nice strong balance of alcohol/malt/hops and it leaves a nice bitter aftertaste of straight hops. Bell's knows what they they are doing and put out possibly the greatest IPA's in the world, simply impressive.

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Photo of djhowell
4.5/5  rDev +7.9%

Sweet caramel and bread malts, honey, pine & citrus hops, bitter grapefruit finish. Boozy. It's not unlike Hopslam but I prefer this by a wide margin.

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Photo of HopHunter19
3.77/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

7/2/2015 bottle - this was at one of my favorite local stores and I'm not sure why the distribution took so long with this one, having taken 2 1/2 months to get from Michigan to SW Missouri.

A - nice golden, clear beer, white fluffy head that leaves nice lacing
S - Clean hoppy smell, pine, grapefruit, orange peel
T - Again this beer has a very clean taste, with the hops being mostly piney and grapefruit flavors, with some light fruits in there
M - light-medium, alc covered, aftertaste is piney hops
O - I didn't get as much fruit character as some people who have reviewed this seem to be getting, but at 2 1/2 months out I'd expect that this isn't a completely fair review. I'm not sure why it took 2 1/2 months for a beer like this to make the 12 hour drive from MI to MO, but either way I gotta knock a few points off for the slow distro. I hope it doesn't take 3 months to transport HopSlam to MO this winter!

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Photo of LiquidBread219
5/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A= Poured into my perfect pint glass it poured a very clear copper color and had a decent white head on it with some very nice lacing.

S= There is a very citrus smell like a pineapple very nice.

T= Very Good Flavor to this beer you get the citrus flavor at first and then it flows to a pine flovor kind of bitter at the end.

M= Nicely carbonated, really enjoyable.

D= Really a great beer glad I got to check it out if you have the chance it's worth it very good beer it's a shame it limited.

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Photo of hawks10
4.13/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle - Batch 9901 - Bottled August 23rd, 2010 - Poured into my Bell's tulip...

Pours a hazy golden orange with a touch of light brown. Three fingers of dense off white head forms, sticks around for a while before receding and leaves some nice lacing behind...

Floral hops with a citrus twist dominates the nose. Sweet.

Sweet citrus hops dominate the taste initially, but after a couple seconds there is an overwhelming bitterness that lingers seemingly forever...Loads of citrus before an earthy, floral bitterness sets in. Malt is in hiding...

Medium to heavy bodied. Somewhat thick and sticky, decent carbonation. Drying bitterness lingering well into the aftertaste...

Pretty drinkable for such a one-sided beer. No real balance, but the flavor is still good and drinkability still pretty high, I don't usually feel that way...

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Photo of SaucyA
4/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Last of the 10 that I bought. Figured I'd get a review of it in. Obviously I already think it's pretty good.

A - Poured into my St. Feuillien balloon. I know I know, but I like it. Clear copper body with a nice little jet of bubbles shooting up from the nucleation site in the glass. The head, a 1 finger white cap of foam, sticks around for a little bit, and laces the glass the whole way down.

S - This is actually deteriorating a bit since the last bottle I had. What once was almost pure hoppy pineappley goodness, is now slightly vegetal and wet-grassy. However the more it opens up, the more it smells like it originally did... a fruity melange of hop aromas and an underlying malty sweetness.

T - While the hops have diminished slightly since the release, there is a definite kick in the mouth from the alpha acids. This is basically a hop bomb with the only balance being from a light malt base and a decent amount of residual sweetness. It's quite bitter, but totally works. In terms of an American DIPA, it's spot on, with it's only rivals being other Bell's and Short's brews, and west coast hop monsters.

M - Nice thickness, nice oily mouthfeel on the backend, and great carbonation. Solid beer.

D - I normally don't think of DIPA's as a go to beer, but if this was available, I'd buy it all the time. One of the better DIPA's out of Michigan recently.

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Photo of Lauthaha
4.72/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a beer mug.

Appearance: Beer pours a golden/copper color, with a great deal of visible carbonation. Head is pretty thick and frothy, with an eggshell-white color to it. Moderate lacing as the head recedes, great retention.

Smell: I really wish I didn't have allergies right now...but even with a stuffed up nose, I can sense a great deal of flavor. Grassy at first, then a wallop of citrus and spice, a subtle malty base, and just a hint of ester.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Thick and creamy, it flows like hoppy lava across the tongue. The sharpness of the hops and spice are mellowed by a smoothness in the malt. So creamy. Some wildflower tendencies with a grassy touch, and as the sip comes to an end, a supremely bitter dryness settles onto the palate. Simply beautiful...I'll take a keg, please.

Overall: Nearly perfect. I think the only thing that could make this beer any better would be to put it on tap (preferably a nitro-tap). Supreme!

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Photo of JayAre46
4.18/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - 12 oz bottle pours a deep transparent amber with a sticky rocky head. shows great retention, active carbonation pushing the rockies. great lace.

A - sweet caramel and light citrus, not a big hop presence but it is there, more of a candied caramel. resembles a fresh citrusy barleywine.

T - big sweetness up front, mango, more caramel, very pale crystal malt, for such a huge flavor its not very heavy on the palate. good bitter finish that remains. some heat in the end.

M - kind of on the thin side for such a big flavored dipa, carbonation is moderate although is shows quite an active presence. definitely a cool weather dipa in the heat i could see the drinkability going out the window but complimenting tonight.

O - very pleasant surprise while i haven't had a lot from bells i do not like two hearted much at all, this one was a 180 for me, well done. makes me want hopslam for sure. thank you elephantrider for the extra

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Photo of Franz4
4.41/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Color appears as an alost crystal clear copper with an off white head about a 1/4 inch, as it settled left some slight lacing.

S- surprisingly sweet citrus smell, almost like candy orange slices, what stands out most is what's missing--which is the hoppy, piney scent that accompanies most dipa's. I'm very intrigued by this beer.

T- The hops come through in the taste in a very balanced manner. Still seems to have a bit of the sweet citrus noted previously, but is balanced nicely with the hoppiness. Some other complex flavors that aren't readily lending themselves to my limited vocabulary. A very complex beer.

M- Hits the mouth intensely at first, and then balances out, it's not a beer you'll drink by accident! Leaves something to chew on and ends nicely with the rich, complex tastes lingering in a pleasant aftertaste.

D- Extremely drinkable for its ABV, as I barely noticed the alcohol. I'll definitely seek this one out again, shame its in such limited quantities.

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Photo of K-Dog
4.6/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Perfect golden cooper color with a rich fantastic aroma. Taste is about as good as it gets for an ipa. Hopslam and Oracle are at the game when it comes to dipas. There might be a few better but not many.

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Photo of chaz410
3.17/5  rDev -24%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Got this bottle at Common Market.
Pours a beautiful orange tinted amber body with a half finger width white head.
Smells of grapefruit, pine and grassy hops with a very heavy caramel and toasted malt character.
Taste more like an imperial pale ale than an imperial IPA. It has a very smooth orange and caramel blend character with lots of hints of pine, pineapple, apple, and earthy hops.
Mouthfeel is exceptionally smooth.
It is very easy to drink dispite the ABV and the syle

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Photo of salvo
4.67/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours out crystal clear straw yellow with strong brown and red tones. Off-white head stains and etches the glass and lasts and lingers through the bottle. Nose is pine and grapefruit with other earthy tones and citrus smells in the background. Leather and butterscotch are just barely perceptible.

The taste has a pronounced lean towards lime over any other citrus: a nice, unique surprise. Strong hop character: biting, assertive, tangy, and earthy. The bottle conditioning offers a creamy rich mouthfeel which is a step up from the tap.The beer improves with some age.

In May, I was lucky enough to have Oracle on tap. It's better from the bottle. I paste my tap review for reference:

Oracle double IPA head going strong after 15 minutes. Bitter, earthy hops with citrus and pine. Hopsplosion! Very, very dry and light mouthfeel. Light banana hints, wet hay, and smells a little of burlap. Finish is long, bitter, and pulls at the throat. Drys the mouth, readies for more.

Had this at the Eccentric Cafe and thought it was a pub one-off, but would love the chance to score some bottles.

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Photo of TheDudeRules
2.48/5  rDev -40.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Poured into my Founders snifter.

Bottle date is 08/11/2011.

Pours a fairly dark honey color. One full finger of off white head. Damn good retention. Lacing remains.

Smell. Citrus. Semi sweet. Alcohol. Lots of it. A two trick pony to my nose.

And for my least favorite part. The taste. Slight citrus up front. An incredibly strong malt backbone, that gets rather bitter. Chewy caramel gross garbage malt. Strong grain alcohol. Off putting is the understatement of my life. After that lack luster bitter sting on the finish of the sip the aftertaste sets in. Only way I can describe it is crushed aspirin. And it persists for minutes that seems like days.

What a truly awful beer. With some coaching from my wife I managed to finish my glass. These are going straight to extras. Sorry potential traders. How the hell this beer scored an A- is a modern marvel.

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Photo of bonsreeb85
4.2/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Extra special thanks to pochman for hooking me up with this unexpected present. May the beer gods smile upon you Ed.

The appearance is that of a slightly hazed tawny bod. with a nice looking creamy off white head.

Holy smokes! this aroma is amazing...boatloads of fruit, everything from berries to mangos and pinnapple. I sniff the slightest amount of booze too. to sum up: fruity w/ hops in abundance!

The hop's bitterness grabs hold and stangles the taste buds leaving a dry but fruit like after taste. the alcohol is a bit too much on finish. I expected more balance and sweetness after such a great nose.

The hops oils make this one a bit on the slippery side. big-ol'-body!

Too hot but better as it warms. I want to give this one another try, I was really dissapointed, perhaps my senses were off. I hope to revise this review if I can get my hands on more. Send me more someone!

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The Oracle from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
93 out of 100 based on 751 ratings.
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