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Orval Trappist Ale | Brasserie d'Orval S.A.

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
93
outstanding
2,274 Reviews
Orval Trappist AleOrval Trappist Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
Belgium | website

Style: Belgian Pale Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.20%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
This beer is 6.2% when released in Europe, US labels say 6.9% due to labeling laws.

Many agree that the somewhat unpractical addition of this sometimes undesired yeast strain is what grants Orval its age worthiness, not to mention unique aroma, making it a one of the few beers worth cellaring.

Added by Bierman9 on 09-18-2001

BEER STATS
Reviews:
2,274
Ratings:
5,198
Avg:
4.18
pDev:
12.44%
 
 
Wants:
334
Gots:
819
For Trade:
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User Reviews
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Reviews: 2,274 | Ratings: 5,198
Photo of evantwomey
3.95/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a goblet. Big, foamy head which lingers for a while. Little lacing. Color is reddish-amber, good clarity. Aroma is fruity and funky. The brett comes through very nicely and really sets this beer apart from the other trappist ales. Taste is not quite as good as the aroma. Faint malt taste with a dry and surprisingly bitter finish. Very vinous. Mouthfeel is 'explosive' - when I swish it in my mouth, it instantly turns to foam. This stuff is seriously carbonated. I think the massive carbonation might mute some of the flavors.

Overall this is a fantastic beer and the weirdest of the trappist beers I've had so far. The brettanomyces sets it apart, and it is easily the best Belgian pale ale I've had.

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Photo of SamuraiJack
4.55/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is a near unique beer in my experience - and a fabulous treat for someone who appreciates Belgian ales.

First pour shows a light amber beer with strong gold and orange highlights. The hazing is quite light and there is only a small amount of yeast sediment. The head is, well, incredible. And magnificent. A stunning, fluffy mass of everlasting rocky white dense foam.

The aromas are equally amazing. There is that intense burst of funky yeast that sets this beer apart from the other Trappists. In some ways the horse blanket aroma here reminds be of the aromas from the Fantome Saison. Strong floral aromas with a nice grapefruit/lemon spice touch. Smelling this beer is perhaps better even than drinking it.

In taste it is immensely smooth with a crisp bite in the middle and a citric/grapefruit finish. The body is rather light for a Trappist and there is a huge amount of effervesence. Noticable hop flavours and some phenol notes in the middle. As the grapefruit fades the dryness takes over. Now this is a dry finishing beer!!

The only downside to this beer is that it is so complex that I honestly don't think I could drink more than a couple without my palette being overwhelmed.

A fabulous, original beer and a true piece of history.

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Photo of sprackops
4.68/5  rDev +12%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Presentation: 11.2oz brown bottle with a best before date of 20.01.2009, a full five years after its bottled on date. Poured into a proper Orval chalice, leaving the majority of the yeast in the bottle.

Appearance: Slightly hazy amber with a wide column of bubbles feeding a dense off-white head. Beautiful.

Smell: Lemon, orange, pine, and funky barnyard yeast are just a few of the scents that come to mind. Quite a complex nose.

Taste: Very citric and drying at the start, like a dry white. Beyond this the taste expands to a particularly full balance of sweet malts and candy sugar to high alpha acid hops bitterness. Lurking in the periphery is the funky wild yeast character detected in the nose, bringing along with it an impressive gamut of earthy, rustic flavors similar to those found in complex cheeses that while not immediately appealing, are in my opinion integral to the uniquely satisfying nature of Orval. The experience is rounded out with a pleasant, mildly bitter finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with very lively carbonation. This perfectly accompanies and accentuates the flavor.

Drinkability: As I consider this the most subjective category for obvious reasons, I would normally state that I see no reason why anyone who appreciates this beer couldn't knock back a few more than other representatives of similar styles. However, considering the price that comes along with the Trappist name, it seems proper to deduct a point here.

Comments: This has been my favorite Belgian for nearly as long as I've been aware of the country's beers -- I've delayed reviewing it for so long out of fear of not doing it justice. I'd just like to add that I would love to taste more hoppy beers which utilise wild yeast strains. Oh Brettanomyces, what can't you do?

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Photo of amneziak
4.34/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Right off the bat I have to say this beauty pours with about 14 fingers of massive pale white soapy looking head. Jeez Louise that's a massive stretch of foam! Additionally, it has a nice clear warm amber color. There is minimal cloudiness, and the immense amount of bubbles proves that this is a very vibrant beer.

Smell: I absolutely love the smell of Orval. There is a ton of banana bread and clove components right up front that are met up later by some funky lemon undertones. This beer really smells old world and the spices, for the most part, are very hard to pick apart. I also get a bit of alcohol presence in the nose which is odd since it only sits around 6.9% ABV.

Taste: Tastes almost identical to the smell. There is lots of banana bread in the mouth with a hint of lemon funk to back it up. Throughout the beer, several strange (yet enjoyable) floral components begin to come out. This is potentially due to the temperature change as you work through it. The lemon and funk essence that lies underneath is very reminiscent of a gueuze. In the end, you are left with a very nice deep banana taste on the tongue.

Mouthfeel: In terms of mouthfeel, this is more along the lines of how an IPA hits the palate than a Belgian style ale. It has lots of flavor and a well-rounded bitterness. There is also (as the pouring would insinuate) loads of effervescence that immediately slams into your tongue. In terms of body, this is not quite a medium-bodied beer, but close.

Overall: Of all the Trappist beers I've had so far, this is easily one of my favorite. I'm a huge fan of the whole banana bread and clove element of it. I will say it's maybe a touch too "bubbly" for my taste, but I can't really find a whole lot more to complain about. I'll definitely be picking up some more of these down the road.

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Photo of mfkr
2.95/5  rDev -29.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A - Hazy orange copper, loads of foam that takes long time before it disappears and leaves some thin lacing.

L - Fruity especially citrus fruits, some grass, acid feeling, some yeast.

T - Apples, lemon, orange, the acid from the smell is there, some yeast and hops. The taste doesn't feel balanced.

M - Very sharp from the carbonation, it's a bit too thin.

Would have been really nice if the taste would have been more balanced.

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Photo of Errto
4.77/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle purchased at Amity Wine. Bottled 5/08/2009 which puts it right in the 6-12 month sweet spot (unless that means it was brewed in August???)

Pours a rather pale gold color, long lasting head, good carbonation, slightly cloudy.

Usually I don't detect much in the smell of beers at all, which is part of why I don't review much. But this has an incredible flowery, sweet smell that is hard to resist.

The taste is unlike any beer I've had (yet). Hop bitterness is definitely there, more so than in other Belgians I've had, and it's got that rich sweet thing going on, but it's also a touch sour towards the end, enough to notice but not enough to be squirm-inducing.

Mouthfeel is surprisingly light considering the taste, kind of nice. Plenty of carbonation to keep the senses tingled.

Drinkability: well, as a pale ale at less than 7%, yeah, it's pretty damn drinkable. I'd drink another right now if I had one.

Overall, I'm extremely glad I finally got to try this. I get the impression from here on BA that there really aren't other beers like Orval, which is a shame because I'd seek them out.

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Photo of ivanwatling
3.5/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance:  Clear orange hue, several inches of froffy head, moderate retention

Smell: A rather unpleasnt aroma akina to stale urine.  I asked for a  second opinion from my wife, she said it smelled of beer and was slightly sweet.

Taste: Citrusy, lively, initially very bitter. But then the bitterness blends in with other flavours to produce a well balanced experience.

My wife said the initial taste was sweet, then some sourness came in.  Intruiging how we can be so different.

Mouthfeel: Above average carbonation that seems to work for this beer.  Aftertaste is mellow and pleasant.  

Drinkability: A very pleasant experience.

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Photo of e11iott
2.5/5  rDev -40.2%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A: 11.2 oz bottle. This beer poured an uncontrolable amount of head, almost thinking I got a bad bottle. Another interesting tid-bit on the bottle was it had a made date of 05/08/2009, best before 05/08/2014. That seams like a long time to collect dust on the bottle and for a beer to settle.

S: Slight fruit, very yeast like, overpowerful yeast.

T/M: Interesting, very dry hop aftertaste and bite. Very high carbination.

D: Paid to much and was let down by this one, I might have to revisit it. Hoping my bottle was bad. Other option is this just isn't my style.

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Photo of stof0048
4.33/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured this into a Watou chalice. Pours a golden brown with a thin head that slowly disappears. Little lacing. Smell is light and a bit fruity with a copper tone and hops. Taste is mildly hoppy, not much of a malt taste, slightly fruity (citrus), a little wheaty, slight hint of alcohol but well balanced. Mouthfeel is good on this beer, very smooth over the palate. Drinkability is wonderful... goes down very easy, very tasty suds, could drink this all night and day.

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Photo of godfathermg57
4.1/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a chalice.

A: A fizzy copper. Well carbonated with a large head.

S: Funk and yeast. It smells like the far off land of Belgium.

T: Dry and refreshing. It's tart with a slight piney and hoppy taste. It's got a fairly subtle taste to it, nothing overpowering in any one direction.

M: Quite a fizzy mouthfeel, like a saison.

D: Quite drinkable and refreshing. A very fine beer, though its taste is not overpowering.

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Photo of seabass87
4.03/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 11.2 FL OZ. bottle into Chimay chalice.

A- Pours a very attractive glowing copper brown. A healthy but short-lived head that quickly dissipates into a creamy cap that retains throughout consumption. Leaves brilliant lacing.

S- Complex scent - picking up sweet lemon, rich orange, barnyard funk, grass, floral hops, and some spices.

T- Citrus fruit and yeast up front in a bitter bite, followed by a smooth hoppy aftertaste with some funky grass hanging around. A zesty beer with nice bitterness.

M- Medium body with slight carbonation - this beer is built well. Very smooth.

O- All in all, this beer was still impressive. It's not my favorite Belgian pale, or favorite Trappist ale, but you can tell this is a quality beer that has been made forever.

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Photo of dsprainman
4.23/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

First review here, so bear with me.
Bottled 29/3/11
Poured into a Chardonnay glass
A- 1-2 fingers off-white head with an amazing opaque amber body. The body truly catches the light of the room and shows a lighter amber and darker orange hue.
S- Scents of pears and light hoppyness give this beer a rather refreshing nose.
T- Flavors of light pears and mild hops give this beer a refreshing taste. Taste follows the nose very well.
M- This is what truly sets this beer apart from many other Belgian offerings. An almost Champagne like effervescence takes the delicate taste to the next level.
O- A great, refreshing summer sipper, with petite nuances that Trappist's are known for. Also, at 6.2% ABV, this one can be enjoyed without quite as much caution as some of the other Belgian heavy hitters. Defiantly a good choice, that I would buy again.

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Photo of Raebies
3.43/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I really wish I had poured this into my chimay goblet, it pours a super fluffy head which settles back into a tightly compact layer.
Light coloured, peachy orange. Smells faintly of an acetone-like sweetness. There's a funky yeasty smell that reminds me of home made cider. It stings the nostrils a little, like smelling a solvent and it tastes... strange. Very dry and only slightly bitter. There are earthy flavours that remind me of hay or straw, it doesn't taste very malty at all.

Until I got to the end of the bottle, I thought this beer was fairly average. Then I poured in the last of the beer along with the yeast sediment on the bottom.. A nice, complex blue-cheese like flavour came through taking this beer to another level.

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Photo of Prince_Casual
4.58/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Bottled 7.18.12, so a bit less than a year old. Poured into a "softball sized" snifter.

Really a pretty pour with a head that sits for a moment, then recedes gradually as if to indicate it's ready to be sampled. Not nearly as milky or hazy as some other BPAs (or more specifically other trappist ales).

The smell on this one can take over an otherwise neutral smelling room. The initial rush has a lot but definitely ripe banana, some spice, lemon (rind)... I am always a sucker for the super dry french/normandy cidres, and this beer has a similar bit of yeast that predicates where the taste will go.

A supremely dry beer. There is hardly a trace of fruit on the tongue, and no alcohol at all. It's just an acidic grain-y sensation that is a unique counter to the huge ripe fruits on the nose.

The first couple times I had this beer I didn't "get" what was all about. Now I see it as a different and valuable part of the belgian/trappist interpretation of Pale Ale. This beer really bridges two of the major Belgian styles: dry and refreshing enough to hang with the classic Saisons, and enough spice and ripeness to rival the finest tripels.

While Rochefort 12 or St Barnardus 12 are on my "must try" list for people just getting started, Orval is the one who can bring the "AH HA!" back to the most jaded Advocate.

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Photo of JamesBerry
2.26/5  rDev -45.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

This came out with a blast of foamover and gunsmoke. It has a somewhat light aroma, and a muddy brown appearance completed by a thick, overwhelmingly soapy head. This has a weak, salty taste with a slightly slick mouthfeel to it, as if someone mixed beer with alkaseltzer. A little disappointing all in all. I'd expected more from this, it being a trappist ale and all.

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

Pours a very cloudy, slightly dark orange with a nice 1.5 inch head that lasts for a little bit before it fades out. Nice lacing.

This isn't a particularly strong smelling beer, but there's definitely a bit of fruitiness in the nose, most noticeably oranges, apricots, and maybe just a touch of bananas.

A very interesting tasting brew with some a nice bit of sweetness and a lot of fruitiness. Apricots are the main fruit taste for me, and a little bit of malted sweetness.

Medium-bodied with some nice carbonation, but I thought it made this a little hard to drink too quickly (which may not be a bad thing, but it's something I have to nurse for a bit).

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Photo of joesmithrealname
5/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Seven trillion Monks can't be wrong.

The humongous spongy foamy head, sprinkled ever-so-slightly with some extra yeasts...

The aroma of two hundred years ago.

The looks from people drinking an overly hopped battering ram in a glass, wondering what POSSibly was going on behind my Cheshire Cat grin.

Expensive but worth it, if you value your life, and the moments that remain.

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Photo of take_it_sleazy
4.34/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into 16 oz. good nature snifter. Holy hell, was this one active.

A: luxiourious 3 finger head. Slight off white colored head with plenty of carbonation consistently rising up the glass. Brownish red color. Beautiful beer, but could only manage to get about 12 oz in the glass on the initial pour.

S: funky brett coming through instantly, with a mild balence of malt and hops in the background. A sweet, almost straw like smell coming through as well.

T: a real mild flavor of malt and hops. A slight sharpness that is as crisp as it is refreshing. Tartness, but nothing overpowering. This is my first Trappist beer, and so far I'm impressed.

M: a medium bodied beer with high amount of carbonation. Extremely refreshing bite as previously mentioned.

O: I'm guessing this is a good introductory Trappist beer, but I enjoyed this one very much. It was a greatly balenced bled of hops and malt, and the wild yeast works very well with the medium body. Great brew for sure.

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Photo of northernbrews
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Purchased 12 oz bottle from Merchant's in Dearborn. Bottled 1/24/06....best by 1/24/11.

Appearance: Nice brown body with hints of orange around the edges. Off-white three finger head that slowly fades to a fluffy mass on top of this beauty. Very nice lacing on my DFH snifter. I bet this looks even better in the Orval chalice.

Smell: Brett, slight funk, and nice hops followed by oranges and more hops. Even a touch of tropical fruits. Man, I forgot how good the aroma was on this.

Taste: Nice balanced taste of hops and malt. Rustic brett like flavors come through paving the way to slight tropical fruit and orange notes in the finish. Quite smooth.

Mouthfeel: Slight hops hit the tongue from the start. Brett and slight tartness covered the roof of my mouth for a bit.

Drinkability: This is a very drinkable beer. If this were cheaper, this would be one of my normal session beers.

Haven't had this in a few years. It won't be another few years before I have another one. This is a nice transition beer for newer "beer" drinkers either to IPA's, wild ales, or other belgians. I recommend trying this to anyone. Haven't had too many beers quite like this. To me, it's like a toned down JP Oro de Calabaza....which is a good thing.

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Photo of sirpsycho
3.58/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle. Bottled on 24/01/2006, best before 24/01/2011. Pours an orange/amber, small white head, no real lacing to speak of. Aroma is flowery and spices, citrusy. Taste was rather mild, nothing really stood out to describe, I was surprised by how mild it was . Finish was slightly spicey and dry.

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Photo of korndog
4.85/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

For the life of me, I cannot understand the low rating by some top reviewers. Great amber appearance into a Chalice, with gorgeous white head. Floral smell with some spice and sour. I think the way this beer transforms in our mouth from start to finish is unreal. There is a subtle Brett sour theme throughout the taste, but the other facets seem to change. Jason said it best; fresh cut hay, citrus, hops. Truly like walking from the barn to the orchard. The dryness of the finish makes you want another sip right away, making this a very expensive habit. Complex and Sensational.

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Photo of stageseven
3.16/5  rDev -24.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - Poured into a Chimay Goblet. The beer poured a light brown color, with a 1 finger off white head. The head stuck around and left good lacing on the glass. It was on the cloudy side, but we poured the sediment from the bottle into the glass to allow the yeast to dissipate through.

The aroma was also a bit unexpected. It was grassy, with an underlying spice scent. Sweetness and a scent of banana came through as well

The taste was fairly mild. There was a muted citrus fruit flavor that was slightly tangy, along with a light bitterness. The aftertaste had a slightly metallic tinge to it. Some banana flavor comes through as well.

The mouthfeel was thick and smooth, with a light carbonation. It was however a bit on the dry side.

This was a very easy beer to drink. Because the flavor was so mild, and there was no trace of alcohol in the taste, it was not at all difficult to throw back. I wouldn't say it was the best tasting beer ever, but certainly worth trying.

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Photo of jjazz
3.99/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Crazy cavernous head with great lacing. Pale orangey color.

Aromatic intensity is low/medium, with malty sweetness, and a bit of lemony hops. Urine is also present, but not in an offensive way.

Taste is all over the map, with hop notes accompanied by sour cherries, mild unripe banana, tobacco, and more. Snappy tartness in the finish. Highly complex with fairly low volume. Unique and impressive in its complexity, but not as appealing as what many Belgians have to offer.

Very light body with ample carbonation. A bit more body would be appreciated, and it wouldn't hurt the drinkability at all.

I don't quite know what to think. Unique and drinkable, but not down right delicious like my favorite Belgians/trappists. I would like to try it again, but it'll be tough to convince myself to spend the $5 when I could get so many other great Belgians that I already know I love.

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Photo of boMD
4.43/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a Chimay glass. Appeared brilliant, a hazy copper with a frothy head that lasted through the whole time in the glass. Bubbles kept rising from the bottom to the head. Aroma was pleasant with faint hops that mesh with clove and tart citrus. Palate was wonderful, just enough thickness and carbonation for the realization of it being a beer, but smooth enough to go down easily. Most notable were the citrusy hop flavors that lent towards peppery spices, malt, and herbs. Some alcohol presence towards the finish.

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Photo of stearns16
4.3/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Amber orange with massive white head that declines rather quick. This beer seemed like it could not wait to get out of the brown bowling pin-like bottle

S - Lemon and flowers ... very clean scent

T - Goes down smooth and easy. Taste lemon and even hint of tart apple, which makes me think of cider. Dry finish.

D - A throughly enjoy Belgian ale

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Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
93 out of 100 based on 2,274 ratings.
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