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Grand Cru Winter Reserve | Flying Fish Brewing Company

229 Reviews
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Grand Cru Winter ReserveGrand Cru Winter Reserve

Brewed by:
Flying Fish Brewing Company
New Jersey, United States | website

Style: Belgian Strong Pale Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.20%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by pezoids on 09-14-2002

For Trade:
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Reviews: 229 | Ratings: 555
Photo of tjd112
4.88/5  rDev +33%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into my Chimay glass. Appearance is a translucent amber-gold colour with a fast dissipating white head and little lacing. A smell of honey and booziness comes out strong, but the taste is doughy with a hint of vanilla. Mouthfeel is medium to heavy with a somewhat dry finish. This is a beer that must be sipped to truly enjoy.

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Photo of BeerLover48Fan
4.88/5  rDev +33%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Buy this every year and it is easily one of my favorite all time beers . Smell is wonderful and the after taste has a hint of cinnamon or nutmeg to it but I'm sure that comes from the hops . Easily one of the best beers from one of the finest breweries on the east coast. Pours nice a tad cloudy but that didnt bother me . Nice lacy head and a great mouthfeel, all in all a great beer I would certainly buy yearly

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Photo of marcpal
4.59/5  rDev +25.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

First enjoyed this beer at the tasting at the cherry hill brewery and had on tap last night in New Brunswick. I think this is FF's finest offering to date.

A: Light, pale appearance. Appearance of a yeasty wheat beer. Moderate bright white head.

S: Very Belgian aromas- coriander and spices. Malt presence and hops are clearly evident. Honey and fruit- a great smelling beer.

T: Didnt find it all that sweet based on the aroma but the fruity flavors were spicey and biting. Best word to summarize would be earthy in both the taste and the texture. The malt/hops were well done.

M: Very light carbonation with some stickiness to the mouth coating.

D: Extremely high, the alcohol level is perfect for the flavors and it goes down uncommonly smooth. I am eager to pick up some more of these while the season lends itself.

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Photo of CampusCrew
4.5/5  rDev +22.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

appearance: golden and huge

smell: lots of fruit and spice aromas

taste: wow. probably one of their best offerings, great belgian pale with lots of spice

mouthfeel: medium bodied

drinkability: this woul dbe a good thanksgiving beer with light body and tons of fruit and spice

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Photo of bigeyedfish
4.5/5  rDev +22.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle with no freshness date, but possessing the information 'bottled conditioned belgian style ale' on the bottle poured into a Mad Elf-less Mad Elf tulip.

Dark golden body serves as the base for a near-luminescent white head that vanishes for the most part around the glass, but leaves a little ring along with some bubbles at parts around the outer rim. A couple swirls of the glass produce a renewed head but not much lacing; a splotch here, a splotch there. Nothing earth shattering.

Belgian ethers are the predominant aroma, although there is a sneaky and underlying hint of burnt bread on the nose. I want something else to be present in the nose, I need something else to be present in the nose. There is nothing else present in the nose. Ethers, Belgian Ale yeast, and a slight burnt bread, if the bread were one to two day old baguette heated in the oven.

There is absolutely some underlying sweetness with the tastes of this beer. Some sweet vanilla/orange creamsickle which is absolutely intoxicating. For some unexplained reason there are aromas of grass and mint in the mid palate which is odd, but for some reason interesting and fun. Probably more grass on the front, more mint on the mid with the vanilla/orange creamsickle on the finish, along with alcohol being present throughout. Even some White Zinfindale-like elements present on the tip of the tongue, which is really nice. I've had this beer earlier this year, but this is the first time I really sat down and explored the studio space with it. I'm happy I did. Even some orange juice with extra pulp present between the mid-palate and the finish which is a near-perfect transitory flavor, at least for this beer. Also, some Lipton Iced Tea-esq elements. Let me say this again; I'm glad I finally sat down with this beer. A real pleasant surprise.

The mouthfeel is good; but it's not fantastic. The body is thin somewhat, and at parts it's a pretty big, palate grip. It gets a lot of the back of your mouth, really getting up into the area where the wisdom teeth are/used to be. Really hits that area hard, with a numbing carbonation/mint cooling. The sides of the mouth are for the most part unaffected, and the palate is pretty unaffected; the flavor for the most part handles the tongue area. But it's a pretty fun beer to drink.

A really tasty Belgian-style brewed in New Jersey?! Believe me, typing it is just as weird as reading it. But it's true. A really nice beer that takes a great Belgian interpretation, and then gives it a nice subtle twist. So nice to see an American brewer not go completely Belgian and produce something everybody's had before. This is a no-nonsense, honest, Belgian-inspired, new world Strong Pale Ale. Everything on this beer works, to borrow a phrase from Klemens von Metternich, in concert. Color, primary, secondary and tertiary flavors, mouthfeel, drinkability. All in all, a great effort from an overlooked, local brewery. Gives Hop Wallop and Mad Elf a run for their money.

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Photo of Immortale25
4.45/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Dogfish signature snifter. No readable freshness date.

A- Pours a medium gold color with a 1/2 inch head that falls to an 1/8 inch thick ring around the edge of the glass with some billowy foam bumps across the surface.

S- Has a potent, almost funky brightness to it obviously brought on by the yeast strain. Sweet, fumy, excellent. Some citrus shines through as well.

T- Full, rich yeast in the start that swirls with semi-bitter hop oils and a sweet, biscuity malt finish. It's not as hop forward as a Belgian IPA, but they're definitely around. The spice, yeast and hop combination creates some tasty esters that dance on the palate.

M- Vibrant and prickly on the tongue, with medium-high carbonation that keeps it interesting to drink and provides a full body.

O- A brilliant Belgian-style ale. But I would expect nothing less from FF.

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Photo of tgbljb
4.4/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a slightly hazy golden color with massive white puffy head.
Smell is a nice combination of fruit and spices.
Taste also has a firm sweet maltiness with some nice spiciness mixed in.
Finishes full and creamy in the mouth.
An excellent beer. Good example of the style. Enough alcohol to be noticed, but not so high that you can only enjoy one.

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Photo of frank4sail
4.37/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pungent citrus (lemon) sweet malt, yeast nose. Yellow slightly hazy look with a sticky white head. Mellow floral hopped taste with soft texture. Very rounded malt base due to the strong hop/yeast notes. Medicinal alcohol finish. This should improve also with age as it it is bottle conditioned. This is the best Flying Fish product I've ever had. Complex and bold yet rounded and soft on the mouth. Layers of mellow and malty flavors followed by srong spice and hops. A treat. 2002-2003 edition.

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Photo of ElGuapo
4.3/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A hazy yellow golden pour with a big white head that lasts for a long time and leaves lace all over the glass. Sweet fruity and citrus aroma blended with hops.

Flavor starts off with a sweet orange and apricot followed by some grassy hops. Then it dries into lightly toasted white bread with apricot preserves. Mouthfeel is nice and crisp. It is pretty light and extremely drinkable. Refreshing characteristics make it even more enjoyable. I was very happy with this brew.

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Photo of TheFightfan1
4.29/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter. Poured a slightly hazy gold color with bright yellow highlight's.Decent heading stays around for just a bit. No lacing.

Smell is a touch of toasted malt,a touch of lemon zest, as well as spice and clove.

Taste is very much the same as the nose. Cloves,spice and toasted bread taste, along with a slight candy taste. Very well suited tastes.

Mouth is super smooth in texture aand finely carbonated when you swoosh it around a bit. Medium bodied and finshes with a lingering spiciness.

All and all a surprisingly good beer from flying fish. One of my new favorites from this brewery.

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Photo of thagr81us
4.27/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served from bottle into a Bell's stemmed tulip. Poured a light yellow-orange with a three finger slightly off-white head that subsided to one finger slowly. Maintained excellent lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, banana, clove, and coriander. The flavor was of sweet malt, banana, fruit, and very slight alcohol. It had a light feel on the palate with medium-high carbonation. Overall I really like this brew. The aroma coming off of this one was QUITE excellent to say the least for the style. Very good flavor, but it just seemed to lack in complexity for me. With that said, this was still very nice and a really good winter brew from Flying Fish.

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Photo of is11amtooearly
4.27/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've been working my way through a 6 pack, trading off between Raison d'Etre from Dogfish. Currently drinking out of a tall pilsner glass, this beer is easy to drink. With your eyes closed, it smells like Delerium Tremens and has a similar taste (with less of the boozy smack in the face). Nice carbonation, almost no head. Looking forward to working through more Flying Fish.

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Photo of UnionMade
4.27/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Jim and Allie for the bottle! A very fresh one, at that.
Pours a beautifully clear golden orange, solitary little carbonation bubbles floating up happily. Amazing clarity for a bottle conditioned belgian ale. My experience is that belgian yeast stirs itself up if you look at the bottle too long. A straight pour produces a full white head, dropping into a collared pool of mist. Patchy lace. Retention could be better, the head completely disappearing about halfway through. A rough swirl of the glass stirs up at least a collar. Rather spicy aroma, with that signature belgian yeast character. Strong phenols, very clovey and peppery. Creamed corn. A lick of alcohol. Fruity and malty, with a floral hop background. Styrian goldings? Maybe a bit of Saaz soapiness? I like belgian pales like this. Plenty of character, with loads of fruit flavor. Toasty caramel malt. I don't know if it's unusual, but it definitely feels like it's got a bit of wheat malt in here, with that soft feel and a touch of sourness. Vibrant carbonation, fizzing away like mad as the beer enters your mouth. Very tingly, almost tongue numbing. Medium bodied, with a soft, slick mouthfeel that holds things together. Heavy clove and plastic phenols in the finish, with tons of yeast spiciness and a hint of floral hops. Malty, but well balanced with the yeasty pepperiness and phenols. A lick of alcohol in the end belies the beer's potency. I'd guess about 8%-ish. I really like this beer. Sweet, a bit sour and very spicy. I've never been terribly crazy about Flying Fish's beers, but this one should make any brewery proud. I'd buy a case of this without looking at the price, easy. The only way I could imagine it to be better would be to have it off a gravity poured oak cask..

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Photo of Girouxsalem
4.26/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A subtle, easy drinking, sweet brew that can be picked up for cheap. Really helps hit my "Belgian" quota without breaking the bank.

Look: finger or so of head, clear, but not crystal clear. Medium carbonation, Medium lacing.

Smell: candy. Lots of sugary sweets, a little bit yeasts.

Taste. Candied Phenols. Yeasts. Sweet and light on the tongue, very inviting for someone who's unfamiliar with Belgian brews.

Feel. goes down medium-smooth.

Overall: Simple, sweet, one of the two best bangs for your buck from Flying Fish. Worth buying again.

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Photo of Halcyondays
4.25/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle,

A: Pours a translucent to opaque dark goldenrod-orange with a small white head. Nice retention, the remnants last a long time, no real lace.

S: Anise initally, a good amount of pear, estery.

T: Good malt flavour matches with a really interesting pineapple play with yellow apple, pear and white pepper. Nice mix of flavours, well made.

M: Medium-bodied, frothy carbonation, there's just an ease in the body, it's a big beer but never feels like it.

O: This is fantastic American made Belgian style beer. Good complexity and great mouthfeel like the best from Belgium have. I'll be buying this every Christmas as long as it's available.

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Photo of Bighuge
4.24/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer is a hazy golden. It has only but a thin film for a head. Aroma is yeasty, doughy, spicy (corriander, orange curraco, nutmeg), malty and sweet. I love this smell. The flavor has some cookie dough character to it. It is also yeasty, a bit spicy/peppery and malty. Alcohol taste is absent and in its place is a nice subdued bready character. A pils like malt presence takes a background seat, but is there nonetheless. Body is closer to full than medium. A very subdued and drinkable brew. I like this brewery from the 3 samples that I have tried.

Thank you Davo for yet another Flying Fish brew to sample.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.23/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Acquired via trade from NeroFiddled, so a big “Thank you” goes out to him.
Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a murky deep gold color with a thin dense white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of apples and citrus, light malts, spice, some hops and a touch of Belgian yeast.

T: The taste is fruity, malty and still light. There’s a mild Belgian yeast profile but it doesn’t over-power you like it can in most other beers in the style. There’s a mild and complimentary hops presence, which provides a good balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and very smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, very clean finish.

D: Very tasty, goes down quite easily, not very filling, good kick, good representation of style without overdoing it. This is the beer to drink if you want a Belgian style, but on a much lower level. There’s a lot of talk about gateway beers, well I think this beer is a good gateway to the Belgian styles.

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Photo of Lilbeck23
4.23/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Smell is a little absent. It has warm winter spice taste. A hop kind of bubble kick with it. Overall a delightful drink to have while chilling (no pun intended) by the fire!!

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Photo of weizenbob
4.22/5  rDev +15%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Received as an extra in a trade with cbriggz. Thanks Chris! 12 ounce bottle poured to a pint glass. This bottle claims a 6.9% ABV (in contrast to the 7.2% listed by Beer Advocate). An aggressive pour yields just a trace of head that quickly disappears. Some lacing is present. The brew is a dark golden shade with some translucence. There is a small amount of visible carbonation.

The nose is greeted by the scents of citrus, spice and wheat. The aroma is reminding me of a more pungent Hoegaarden. 'Nuff said.

The first sip is loaded with coriander which is clinging to a syrupy alcohol that is very pleasantly noticeable without appearing boozy. It's a wonderfully refined texture that is velvety smooth and doesn't burn at all. Yes, there is a faint notion of orange peel and a wheaty body, but not nearly what I expected from the aroma. The sum of the parts creates a perfectly sweet backbone and the flavors all compliment each other very well. Primarily though, I will remember this as a wonderful and flavorful balance of spice and alcohol.

The mouthfeel is really nice. There is a small amount of carbonation that keeps the brew crisp, which is an astounding feat given the alcoholic texture that is present. It's full and light at the same time. Great balance!

For 6.9% ABV, this is dangerously drinkable. That's not crazy-high on the alcohol scale, but as tasty as this is, and as easy as it drinks I know that I'm drinking this way too fast while I'm reviewing it. I could see myself putting a couple of these away after a long day and passing out in front of the fire. Awesome. Thanks again Chris!

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Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.22/5  rDev +15%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: A 12 fluid ounce amber-brown glass bottle. The front label is generic in design. For the Grand Cru Winter Reserve, the neck label has a large ‘G’ inside the brewery decal. The main label has a black background and is a rather colorful affair which has a twin-engine aircraft formed from a fish skeleton on a black colored background with the breweries name around the edge in a red circle. No freshness or strength indicated. I do note that the Breweries website lists this at 6.8%, as opposed to the 6.1% listed.

Appearance: A very thin head covering that comprises a uni-molecular central covering that increases at the edges of the glass to a ring white collar. A hazy golden body that looks quite deadly as well as hinting and reflecting at this beer’s Belgian influences

Nose: Spicy, hops, malts and a fruity aspect.

Taste: Starts with a strong mix of malts and hops that has a definitive stratum of spices throughout the drink. Smooth alcohols are powerful but restrained and balanced in the mix of malts and hops very nicely. The fruity aura of the beer intertwined with the mildly warming alcohol finish, lends a very Belgian nature to the beer. Excellent!

Mouthfeel: The alcohol helps the mouthfeel here for sure, lending an established feel about this beer, like an elder statesman, it demands respect and gets it.

Drinkability: The 6.8% is defined and not hidden, but it does not need to be. For the excellent balance of this beer allows the higher malt grain alcohol to exist in perfect harmony with the spicy hops, grainy malts and the fruity finish. This could be easily mistaken for a Belgian beer by many I believe.

Overall: I disagree that ‘Grand Cru’ is a style, for me it’s more of a statement that states that the Grand Cru is the best of any style that a Brewery has to offer. To sum up, I would say that this beer so reminded me of a weaker version of a Kasteelbier Blond. A very nice, soothing beer, with a light kick. A great beer to finish the night with. Thanks to NeroFiddled for the ability to materialize one of these in my Apartment.

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Photo of AnalogReigns
4.22/5  rDev +15%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A great tasting beer, particularly for the sale price ($3.95 for a sixer at Total! in 2016, no less!) Really quite an authentic, mature tasting Belgian. Lacks enough head, imho, though, that's not essential for this style. Faint aroma, nice light, clear yellow color. Medium hopped, without much aroma, with a fruity spicy delicious taste. Good, medium mouth feel, not too thick or thin, great for this style. Lacing is lacking on the glass--but that just means they need a little more wheat to help with a jolly head, I think.

Definitely well worth much more than the price I paid. Even at $8 or 10 a 6er, this would be worth it. Wonderful to see beers as elegant as this, brewed with pride in the USA. Compares well to Duvel or Allegash.

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Photo of bierman2000
4.2/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Straw colored, nice body very hoppy in the nose but smooth beer that hits on all cylinders. The aroma sweetens as the ale warms and the taste is full of fruit and sweet malt. This is one of the better Grand Cru's on the market and the alcohol finishes nicely for this ale.

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Photo of GeoffFromSJ
4.2/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a great spicy beer. I was most impressed. The spiciness and higher alcohol content make it most appropriate as a winter seasonal. It's very well-balanced and finishes well, and you definitely notice the flavor in the finish. It has a pleasing aftertaste, which is stronger than the initial flavor. All in all, the beer is very "warming." The brewers tell me this is the big brother of their summer ale and it shows. I'm trying this on a warm fall day, but will save the other bottles for when it hits 40 degrees.

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Photo of Foxman
4.17/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

It came to be a distinctly clear light amber. A finger of tight white head sank soon to a patchy network of frothy swirls. Droopy lacing dawdled on the glass.

The aroma was fruity sweet and ambitiously spicy, with tinges of lightly toasted malt, pears, dried apricots, mellow citrus, coriander, and a distant general hoppiness.

The first taste brought a push of sugary, honey sweetness, boasting notes of apples and pears, and flanked by coriander and a peppery sassiness. it all slid into a state of slightly more present botanical hoppiness and a rounded, vanilla-esque creaminess. A very fleeting peep of alcohol paired with a clove-based spice bitterness toward the close, and the finish lingered a few moments with a gentle sweet/bitter duet. Overall, a pleasant involvement of the taste buds.

Medium bodied, it's a slippery slider, coating the palate with a zesty spice legacy.

I've had it before, but this time I really paid attention, and I was happily surprised by all this had to offer. It's got a fresh, energeting feel to the aroma and flavor, and it all comes together to result in a experience that's just unique enough to be memorable, in and of itself, and to make the next one gladly anticipated. The ABV has just enough backbone to become a red-flag, but a couple warm nicely. Brewed in my backyard, and it feels nice to be proud of that fact.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
4.17/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours golden with a light head and some scattered lacing. Nice Belgian yeasty smell, but light. Notes of clove, apple, and some herbal hops. The taste is similar, but with some nice lingering bitterness, almost tannic. Very dry, with more apple notes, and yeasty. A delightful beer, and priced well.

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Grand Cru Winter Reserve from Flying Fish Brewing Company
83 out of 100 based on 229 ratings.
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