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River Guide | Berkshire Brewing Company Inc.

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BA SCORE
88
very good
123 Reviews
River GuideRiver Guide
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Berkshire Brewing Company Inc.
Massachusetts, United States
berkshirebrewingcompany.com

Style: American Dark Wheat Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.00%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
Formerly River Ale

Added by BeerAdvocate on 11-13-2002

BEER STATS
Reviews:
123
Ratings:
232
Avg:
3.93
pDev:
9.67%
 
 
Wants:
56
Gots:
14
For Trade:
0
View: Beers | Events
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Reviews: 123 | Ratings: 232
Photo of Jwale73
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in my BBC pint. Poured the color of unpasteurized apple cider with a one inch dense, off-white cap that eventually dissipates into a consistent skim. Murky clarity with bands of thick lacing that were revealed after each quaff. Nose is caramel and pale malts, as well as some sugar and light fruity esters (perhaps pear). Taste follows nose as well as a bready character. Mouthfeel is light to medium and well-balanced with a nice amount of carbonation to round it all out. Some of the breadiness in the taste lingers at the finish. Easy drinking and flavorful brew. BBC doesn't make a bad beer in my opinion, and this is definitely one of my favorites.

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Photo of cbutova
2.95/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Didn't think this was gonna be a 7% beer, I guess the whole bomber will be fun... proclaims itself as a "Dark American Wheat Ale" on the bottle.

A- Dark brown with a massive, creamy light tan head. Good head retention and a nice coat of lace.

S- Opens with a blast of pure banana. After that calms down I get raisins, dark roast malt and some definite wheat. Bread is big too. Kind of like chocolate banana bread. Nice at first but fades just a bit.

T- Starts out dark with raisins, dark fruit, and slightly roast nutty malt. The finish brings on a huge blast of bread and unfortunately, some alcohol. The rest of the flavor doesn't keep it in check and it throws the balance off taking away from what could have been a great beer.

MF- Moderately thick body that is somewhat creamy. Carbonation is nice, on the lowish side and works well with the strong flavor. Slightly bitter.

DB- Damn this gets alcoholic... probably the "strongest" 7% beer in existence. The aroma led me to think it was going to be very complex and smooth but the alcohol really takes away here.

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Photo of maximum12
3.31/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to AdamDC for sending this along. I've been happily surprised & healthily disappointed at various point by BBC brews, so who knows where this will lead.

Poured into two Darkness snifters for my wife & I. Tons of sludge...not just sludge, but actual chunks, in the bottom. Leave those there! A deeply burnished, spit-shined copper ale sits here with me. You look real purty comin' outta that mouth. Smell is subdued to the point of non-existence. A touch of alcohol, memory of fruits.

River Ale packs a lot of heat for its 7% ABV. The sweetness & alcohol is out front, wearing the number 7 & probably sporting Nikes. After the unexpected blast of alcohol, there is a bouquet of funeral fruits, tied to the caramel malts. Very sweet. No hops to be found, which might have dialed some of the sweetness back into a better area code.

Good enough brew, but too sweet for my taste. Really struck me as a borderline fruit beer more than a strong ale.

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Photo of Darkmagus82
4.44/5  rDev +13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bomber into pint glass

Appearance – Pours a slightly hazy brown color with a two finger off white head. The head had great retention, but eventually faded to give a nice level of lacing.

Smell – The aroma is heaviest of a sweet wheat smell. The wheat is of a bready nature with the sweet being of caramel and some dark fruits. Mixed with these aromas are some lighter notes of a roasted malt and a very light citrus nature. Overall quite nice.

Taste – The taste begins sweet and roasty with a nice wheat flavor mixed within. The sweet at the front is of a caramel nature, but as the taste goes on some brown sugar and a very light citrus hop come to the tongue. As the taste advances further a subtle boozy flavor comes to the tongue. It overall creates a very nice slightly warming sweet bready aftertaste on the tongue.

Mouthfeel- The body of the beer is on the medium to just above medium side with the carbonation level being on the average side. The body is very nice for the sweeter bready flavors and really allows the boozy flavors to warm the mouth.

Overall – A great sweeter brew. Wonderful flavors and a great warming feel. Fantastic!!

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.05/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle poured into a weizen glass.
7% ABV, Best by 07/12/11

[Review from notes taken on 06-13-11]

Thanks Thorpe!

A - Hazed through completely, the chocolaty brown beer has golden highlights and a plump tan head. Good retention but little lace is left adorning the glass.

S - Crisp wheat aroma that's soft but full. Chocolate notes immediately set this beer apart. Nice balance of earthy, mulch-like Willamet hops. Yeasty undertones carry through to a caramel malt finish.

T - Much maltier than I had anticipated, this is loaded with chocolate and caramel tones with overlapping yeast and soft wheat. Little balance comes from the earthy hop notes.

M - Medium-bodied and soft with a clean but estery, sweeter finish. Mild spice notes add depth to the feel.

O - A very nice wheat ale with good malt tones and mild hop balance. The yeast qualities add esters and phenols that work well with the brew as a whole.

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Photo of jaxon53
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served this slightly chilled, in a pint glass, from a twenty-two ounce brown bottle. You really can't go wrong with a brew from Berkshire.

Appearance: River Ale pours out a deep, cloudy, brownish amber color that is quite dark. A somewhat vigorous pour yielded about a finger and a half of thick, creamy looking tan head. Head was made up of multisized bubbles. Head faded somewhat slowly, and left virtually no significant lace behind to speak of.

Smell: A malty monster. Thick toasted malt aromas, with maybe just a touch of hops buried beneath. A bit on the fruity side, most noticeably cherry, raisin, and plum. Notes of caramel and bread.

Taste: Loads of caramel. Plenty of dark fruit flavors. Quite malty. Touches of chocolate deep in the background. Finishes slightly bitter and dry. Pretty smooth overall. Not a real lot of noticeable alcohol.

Mouthfeel: Almost full bodied, creamy mouthfeel. Somewhat thick and coats the palate. Plenty of fizzy carbonation.

Drinkability: Very drinkable and enjoyable thanks to the lower ABV.
Another tasty brew from Berkshire.

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Photo of KTCamm
3.83/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bomber poured into a pint glass. Berkshire beers are always a treat.

Pours dark amber, translucent, good thick creamy foam. Light malty smell, minimal at best. Bready. Taste is nutty (quite) with some underlying dark fruit sweetness. Hints of spices. Strong malt profile. Cinammon notes. Smooth flavor, balanced hop.

Good drinker, really flavorful. Add to the list of wins for BBC.

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Photo of laituegonflable
3.42/5  rDev -13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Big thanks to my Vermontish mate Charlie for sharing this one with me.

Pours a ruby/golden hybrid with pleasant off-white head that sinks quickly, leaving a ring of bubbles and some specks in the middle. Lacing is sticky but not very plentiful. Looks nice, but not great.

Nose is very malty and kind of English in character, lots of toffee notes and some pleasant floral hops. A hint of mint, lavender and rosewater on there, and a hint of some brandy alcohol as well, a little bit phenolic. Pleasant, herbal & fresh, with a good malt backbone.

Tastes quite nutty, with a lot of cashew and marzipan character on the front. Gets malty quickly with more toffee character and a hint of diacetyl buttery goodness raising the sweetness just a bit too much on the mid. Finish is quite spicy with a noticeable alcohol twang, and some slightly chewy notes on the back. A bit overly boozey with not quite enough flavour to cover it. Maybe too attenuated? Or just not hoppy enough...

A decent body to this but a bit of harshness from the booze. A bit drying on the back, but yeah, good texture.

Not a bad drop, but just needs more flavour to keep me interested. Fair punch but not enough flourish.

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Photo of woosterbill
4.32/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bomber into a Duvel tulip. The #1-rated American Dark Wheat Ale - one more best-of-style tick down, far too many to go.

A: Clear dark caramel body under two fingers of dense tan foam. Good retention, decent lace. Very good.

S: Breadiness is the first thing I notice, resembling a well-toasted multi-grain bagel. As my nose dips deeper into the glass, I'm met with some major hop notes - lots of earth and spice. Tangy wheat finally shows up on the back end. Quite complex, thoroughly enjoyable, and definitely to style.

T: Follows the nose quite precisely. Nutty, bready malts are up front, spicy wheat and hops show up a bit later, and it ends with a clean, spicy, mildly bitter finish. Slight chalky minerality on the aftertaste. The sweet/spicy/bitter combination of disparate flavors is really pleasant, but the aftertaste is a bit oppressive. Quite good overall, though.

M: Soft, luxurious, creamy medium body. Perfect.

O: Every other beer of this style I've had has been god awful. This is really tasty - it really is like a Weizenbock done with American ale yeast. Great stuff.

Cheers!

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Photo of FosterJM
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1342nd Review on BA
Bottle to Spiegelau Wheat glass
22oz

Thanks to BA RudZud for this one

App- Has a lot of color in the glass. A mix of browns and yellows and crimsons. A small cascading look to it with the falling colors. A very good two finger head with a small cling.

Smell- A good bit of wheat with a caramel candy note flavor. A bit sweet and malty. Like a smaller roggenbier. Nice small aromatics that blend nicely.

Taste- Flavorful little beer. A good sweetness meets a small wheat and fruit flavor but for 7% hits you on the finish. A nice bit of what seems like a rye/spice note. Seemingly prickly but not like A barrel aged prickly.

Mouth- A nice medium body with a creamy medium carbonation. Residual wheat and spice remain with a touch of malts and candy esque flavors.

Drink- A nice beer. Nice layers, good flavors and a unique style. Better than an average wheat. I wouldn't mind another bottle to sip on.

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Photo of hopdog
3/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22oz bottle acquired in trade with ppoitras (thanks!).

Poured light brown, almost a deeper orange color with an averaged sized off white head. Aromas of caramel, chocolate and nuts. Tastes of caramel, chocoalte, nuts and had a sugary sweetness as well.. Thinner body. Although this had the typical Brown Ale profile, I found the tastes and aromas didn't really mesh together well. It was as if they were each fighting each other and and definitely did not blend.

Notes from 1/16/07

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Photo of BEERMILER12
4.05/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a ruddy mahogany color with a fingers worth of head

S: Starts off with a good deal of wheat, spices, and fruit. The hops provide some light fruit and floral notes. Some nuttiness also comes through, mostly almonds that lend a sweet cherry note as well

T: Starts off with a nice fruitiness that combines with the nuttiness. Lightly spicy. Wheat comes through at the end. The nutty almond/cherry notes are the key point with the fruity hops nearly standing up to them

M: Light-medium bodied with a solid level of carbonation

O: A very solid dark wheat, with a good amount of fruitiness and flavor. Very easy to drink, and solidly refreshing. I can see why this is at the top of the style

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Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I got this beer from tzieser. Thanks Tom!

22oz bottle served in a standard pint glass.

L - clear amber color with a cream colored head that left some thick lacing behind.

S - cocoa powder and roasted malt.

T - roasted malt and chocolate nibs, a little smokey towards the finish which is slightly dry and bittersweet.

F - medium bodied with good carbonation.

O - an all around good beer.

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Photo of sulldaddy
3.84/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Drinking a cold 22 oz bottle poured into a snifter.
the beer pours a chestnut and copper hue with some small flakes of precipitate. the beer is also with a soft fluffy beige head of 2 cm foaming up with some larger bubbles in the center of the foam.
Aroma is sweet malt with some brown sugar and caramel, I also get a bit of spicy character, which was unanticipated, but pleasant. Wheat twanginess comes through on the nose as well.
First sip reveals an average body with fine and very tingly carbonation. texture is smooth and easy drinking making for an enjoyable physical experience.
Flavor is some sweet fruity malt with a little red grape and some caramel mixed with wheat twang again as on the nose. Finish brings back the small amount of cinnamon that was on the nose. It is an enjoyable beer and I dont get any hop character nor any real booziness.
The beer is not overly complex, but is certainly not flawed and makes for an enjoyable evening.

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Photo of tgbljb
4.3/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a hazy deep copper color with massive white foamy head. Good retention and perfect lacing.
Smell is a bit mild with some mild dark fruitiness present.
Taste is superb. There is a strong dark fruit malt presence. At the back end a mild bitterness does a perfect balancing act.
Finish is sweet and very refreshing.
What a surprise when I found out this beer was 7%. So easy to drink it is scary.

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Photo of ummswimmin
3.75/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

My buddy (Naugros on the website) brought a bottle back from his trip and shared it with me to knock this style off my list. After this review I only have two left (happoshu and kvass).

I drank this beer in a wheat glass. It was deep brown with about two fingers of head that retained really well. It left some decent lacing on the glass. You can see a lot of particulates in the lower third of the glass.

In the nose I get sour, some malt, and a venous presence. The flavor is consistent with the smell. I get a little bit more malt than in the nose. I also pick up more of the sour.

This beer is a little heavy for summer. I would recommend it for the cooler months.

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Photo of PittBeerGirl
3.53/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- This is a really good looking beer. Body is a crystal clear dark, rich amber hue. Bubbles can be seen steadily rising to the top. Pours with a 1-2 finger foamy slightly off-white head that eventually fades to a thick collar and has good retention from there. Some lacing sticks all the way down the glass.

S-Nose is good. Rich caramel malt is the main character, molasses is heavy in there as well. A big earthy presence is also there as well as a slightly metallic scent.

T-Taste is mild upfront and offers a mild earthy dirt presence. Some caramel malt and toffee are also there. The finish offers a touch of earthy hops, a touch of roasted malt, toffee, and a big metallic flavor-which is kind of a turn off.

M-Medium to high carbonation and a medium weight body. Slightly oily and pretty smooth.

D- Pretty interesting brew. Looks great, smells great, tastes ok. Decent brew from BBC overall. The only turnoff is that weird metallic presence across the board. The mouthfeel is great and ABV completely hidden. I have a bunch more BBC brews to try around the house and am looking forward to them.

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Photo of flexabull
4.18/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle courtesy of gn0sis, thanks again!

Pours a dark amber/brown color, clear, bright, with a nice off white head and good lacing. Looks good.

Aromas aren't strong, but they are pleasant. Light chocolate, cocoa, and dark baked bread.

Taste is nice, this is a flavorful beer. Lots of cocoa and chocolate notes, roasted malts, toasted bread, and light creamy sweetness. Finish is crisp and dry, with a nice mineral hoppy bite that cuts the malts nicely.

Mouthfeel is good, very full, yet quite smooth.

Drinkability is great. This was a pleasant surprise, very tasty and easy to drink. Nicely done Berkshire, this is a keeper!

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Photo of lackenhauser
3.52/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Muddy, reddish color. Not very carbonated. I noticed a caramel aroma the minute I poured this out. Quite malty smelling. Good solid malty flavor. Somewhat caramel flavor. Minor astringency in the backround knocks it down a peg. Bitterness upfront quickly fades. Decent body. A good enough beer. The astringency tends to overshadow it a bit for me. At 7% I dont think it is from the alcohol but maybe. Worth a try for sure.

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Photo of ClockworkOrange
3.63/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to brothercannon for bring me a bottle of this, and a few other Berkshires, back from VT. Poured from a 22 ounce bomber into my nonic pint glass. The ale appears a clear deep copper color with about a finger of lingering tan colored foam. Nose and flavor are of sweet caramel malts, toffee, brown sugar notes, toasted, bready grains, and some earthy bitter hops. About a notch better than medium bodied with adequate carbonation. Worth a try if you are a fan of a strong ale.

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Photo of OtherShoe2
3.88/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Mahogany brew with nice off-white head. Bunch of rings, and some bubbles in the glass. When you top off, the viscosity shows. Cool.

Rich bruised fruit. Some cherry. Wood, Spice. Booze. Nice complexity.

Nothing over the top. Rich toasted malt with hints of brown sugar and alcohol soaked stone fruit. Light raisin and brown bread elements. The sweetness is offset by some light bitterness that comes and balances the sugar nicely. Some warming alcohol too.

Full bodied, in thee mouth and in the glass. Bubbles wiggle in the pint.

Great beer. Rich and enjoyable without so much alcohol that you notice (but it sneaks up on you too). You could do 2 bombers, but then, well, you'd be bombed. Not extreme, but well balanced. Good fresh beer.,

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Photo of Gambrinus1184
4.15/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22-ounce bomber into a Ro's Restaurant pint glass.

A: Poured a deep, ruby red and amber brown color with a thick, fluffy head of off white foam which lent some nice sticky lace to the glass.

S: Smells fruity and complex, with a slight peppery aroma and a dizzying whiff of dextrose and alcohol.

T: Very sweet and fruit-laden maltiness at first. A big, slick sugary caramel malt flavor is complicated with deep berry and fruit flavors ranging from grape, plum and cherry to strawberries and raspberries. A slight alcoholic burn and herbal hop complex intensify the flavor. It comes together a bit more as the ale warms, but it's a sipper to be sure.

M: Mouthfeel is heavy and sweet with a stinging, slightly cloying feel.

D: Definitely one to share with a buddy. AT 7% and with a character as complex as this ale has, you should sip it in limited quantities. Very interesting and a fruity ale flavor fanatics dream. Quite good.

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Photo of alleykatking
3.62/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 22oz bottle. Review from notes...

A- Pours a golden amber color. 2 finger off white head has good retention but dies down to whisps of foam on the top. Sticky lacing on the sides of the glass but tends to slide down into the beer.

S- Tons of caramel and bready malts in this. Darker fruits come into play with a distinct grassy floral hop nose. There are a couple light spices in this and overall this makes the beer have many complex aromas.

T- Bigger caramel malts right at the front of this. Some light toffee notes come in right after with some light darker fruits. Light piney hops in the this come from the middle onto the ending. Sweet alcohol in the ending of this beer.

M- Medium mouthfeel. Carbonation is good for the style. Light malts on the palate after teach sip with some sweet alcohol flavor in the aftertaste.
Light drying on the palate from the alcohol. Flavors were blending together well for the most part.

D- This beer was good but not all that I thought it was going to be. The flavors were good in it and for that drinking 22oz would be no problem. The sweetness in it though made it a little rough once it started to warm up.

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Photo of garuda
4.08/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Ruby, off white head has nice retention with some lacing.

S - A little light on the nose with fresh baked bread and a touch of floral hops.

T - Depths of malt in this one with baked bread, hints of chocolate, molasses, nuttiness... a little wheat twang. Minimal hop presence, finishes a little sweet with some booze heat. Nice.

M - Medium body, silky smooth carbonation and mouthfeel. Finishes dry with some booze.

O - My first of the style, but I reckon its a pretty good one.

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Photo of GJ40
3.46/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Sampled on cask at Doherty's in Pawtucket, RI.

A - Light brown and hazy with a moderate beige head and good lacing.

S - Some nutty and bready malts but not a lot of aroma.

T - A flat somewhat bland start with a smoky, earthy flavor that develops midway through. There's not much room to hide with a cask presentation. This one doesn't have any off flavors that detract from it but it didn't have much that stood out either.

M - A nice smooth and creamy texture.

D - This was a pleasant, easy to drink beer. At 7%, it's not much of a strong ale but it was enjoyable enough.

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River Guide from Berkshire Brewing Company Inc.
3.93 out of 5 based on 232 ratings.
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