Harvest Ale | Southern Tier Brewing Company

very good
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Harvest AleHarvest Ale

Brewed by:
Southern Tier Brewing Company
New York, United States

Style: Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.70%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by John on 10-19-2003

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Reviews: 600 | Ratings: 1,722
Photo of BeerImmediately
4.49/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

What a pleasant surprise! My first experience with Southern Tier is a great one...

Poured a 12 oz bottle into a nonic style glass. Had a slightly hazy, pale yellow color, with a solid two-finger head.

Wow, what a terrific aroma - I'm not that keen on picking up intricate scents in beer, but this one hits you with a wonderfully sweet orange smell, and some cinnamon as well.

The taste then surprised me a little - sweet, juicy grapefruit with just a touch of ripe pineapple, and balanced nicely with a hint of malt.

Mouthfeel was very nice as well, with tight carbonation.

Excellent drinkability - just sharp enough to make this beer refreshing AND fulfilling at the same time. Could easily work through a few of these in a night.

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Photo of Tbone
4.48/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

In short, one of the best Harvest Ales around.

A light and crisp body that goes down easy, but with a very nice citrusy hop character and lingering bitterness.
I don't get all of the lower ratings (B-) for this beer, but then very few beers that are under 6% have above B+ ratings here.

The beer pours a slightly hazy bright yellow with a nice white head that leaves notable hop lacing. It smells mostly of grapefruity hops that make your mouth water. Taste is more of the same, but with an enjoyable lingering bitterness. The English hops in a beer this hoppy make for an less common experience.

I normally prefer a heavier mouthfeel, but this light mouthfeel suits me just fine. Drinkability is as good as it gets. I've had 2 six packs and a few bar pints of this in the past month, which is probably more of any single beer in a month period than any other beer over the past 10 years.

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Photo of sniper061
4.48/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Souther tier brewery has another wonderful beer on tap. Nice grapefruit hoppiness that seems to make for a wonderful fall beer. I actually thought it would be a little more bitter than what it was, maybe just because of the food I was eating with it. It is a great go to beer for the fall.

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Photo of gabrielsyme
4.47/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had a sixer of these in September and didn't realize I still had a bottle left, glad it was still fresh as this is a great beer.

Appearance is pale golden, clear, with persistent white head.

Aroma is all floral hops - yum.

Taste is primarily bitter, with some orange flavor and a fair amount of malt backbone. Mouthfeel is relatively light despite the bitterness due to the moderately high carbonation.

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Photo of Gehrig
4.47/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Clear golden-amber body with two lush fingers of off-white foam; nice lacing from decent duration. Big hopped-up nose, far bigger than I expected--orange peel, grapefruit, and peppery bitterness, with a hearty resiny aroma--beautiful.

Oily, resiny is all over the taste--gritty hop flavor is right up my alley. Matched by ample citrus flavor--grapefruit, orange, and tangerine--this is fabulous! I'm equally impressed with the texture, more IPA than ESB to me, really hearty and heavy.

This really came up on me sideways. I honestly didn't know that this was an ESB beforehand and, to be honest, while sampling thought this was an IPA. Pale Ale lovers should enjoy the heck out of this. Again, I have been commissioned to tout the greatness that is Southern Tier, for they have crafted a fabulous beer that ought to be a staple of the Fall. I am so glad that the brilliant Neil St. Piccadilly had a few that they had failed to sell, for Harvest Ale is simply superb.

Great beer, a must try.

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Photo of NoahSYGG
4.46/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is an excellent beer. It is super citrusy hoppy. It is slightly cloudy. It has a great hop aroma. It has a nice 2 finger head with nice lacing. It is nice and sweet to balance the hoppy overtones. This is a wonderful beer for any hop head. It focuses on my favorite aspect of the hop,flavor and aroma. If you come across this beer, pick it up.

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Photo of MattyG85
4.45/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12 oz. bottle into a Sam Adams perfect pint glass.

Appearance: Bright and clear amber orange with lots of bubbles. Solid three fingers of white foamy head with good retention and lots of lacing.

Smell: Bready caramel malts with a huge presence of citrus orange marmalade and grapefruit. Also has a solid aroma of floral and piney hops that add some spice to the fruit. Kind of smells like orange juice with hops.

Taste: Biscuit caramel malts with a big taste of orange and hints of grapefruit. The sweet oranges are followed by a big hop presence with lots of pine resin and floral hops. Starts fruity and moderately sweet and finishes pretty bitter.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with a moderate carbonation. Very tangy and chewy. Hops prickle the tongue. Finishes bitter and dry.

Overall: A very interesting and tasty brew. Starts like a traditional English Bitter and finishes like an American IPA. It almost is like a Mimosa with a IPA replacing the champagne.

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Photo of caulfield
4.45/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance- golden
Smell-floral hops, a small tiny bit of pine, an earthiness
Taste- A nice blend of hops with malts. There a slight caramel taste.
Mouthfeel- true to style, a nice bite
Overall- A great ESB which will please hopheads, but is balanced an smooth. A well blended beer. I'd pick it up again.

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Photo of HitokiriNate85
4.45/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Somewhere between gold and orange in color. Great clarity with just a few bubbles drifting here and there. Thick, creamy white head that looks to be sticking to the glass immediately. Leaves behind rings of lace so thick it's practically a wall.

S - Orange citrus, earthy/woody notes against a grainy, bready malt background. It's hard to keep my nose out of the glass.

T - It's something you can see coming when the smell is so clean and inviting. It would be difficult for the taste to be any more similar to the aroma. Light grainy notes and some bready sweetness mixed with earthy/spicy and orange hop notes. It's a short description, but this is what it is. Really, really tasty. Moderate bitterness that lingers without overwhelming.

MF - Medium bodied and finishes on the dry side. Leaves a light coating in the mouth.

D - 6.4% isn't all that high, but I wouldn't have guessed it. I would love to have this beer around all the time. Easy drinking and flat out delicious. My favorite beer from Southern Tier. If you can find this while it's in season, don't pass it up.

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Photo of pat61
4.44/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

L: A brilliant amber pour crowned by a 1” sudsy and clingy white foam collar that recedes at a moderate pace. S: Resin, pine and grass. T: A hop forward beer with a firm, bready malt backbone. F: Medium body and carbonation. O: Very clean and smooth bitter with some noticeable bitterness.

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Photo of lovindahops
4.44/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I have never has and STBC harvest before so I am interested on this combo of a fall seasonal/esb

A- halloween orange... literally with not much lacing. Glows with a hearty look

S- ok there is a ton of stuff going on here.... 1) zesty, spicy, and herbal 2) piney hop scents 3) grainy and slight biscuit theme 4) grapefuit citric exit. This may be one of the most inclusive scents I have ever experienced. For that, I'm impressed and will grade pretty high

T- very sweet malt is spiking the immediate taste experience. Caramel pine notes are really the main experience as the brew settles in. Again, a ton of things going on here. Very sweet and earthy

M- good carbonation and thick flavor for and esb

O- this won't pass my favorite esb (beast bitter), however, this is way more unique. Seems like harvest is a "mad scientist" type brew with all the flavors going on. I will come back to this every single fall!

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Photo of ffejherb
4.44/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Al's of Hampden on 9/18/09.

A - Clear golden/amber body with moderate carbonation and one-finger creamy off-white cap that reduced to a quarter inch ring of retention and left some spotty lace around the glass.

S - Fresh wet hops with plenty of citrus notes and a hint of floral characteristics. Malt character suggests sweet caramel and toasted grans. Subtle alcohol notes also enter into the mix as the liquid warmed up a bit. Quite a zesty aroma overall.

T - Melange of fresh, oily hops with a bold citrus character as well as a backing of sappy pine and some floral attributes. This got quite sappy as the liquid reached room temperature.

M - Wet and sticky with a light oily texture and medium body. Carbonation is moderate overall. Subtle alcohol warmth on the palate. Finishes with lingering bitterness on the tongue.

D - This is one flavorful Harvest Ale, especially fresh on tap. It also produced some tasty hop burps. One of the best of its kind for sure.

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Photo of Kraken
4.42/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Beer merchant tossed me this as a freebie, Thanks Brian!

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a 20oz pint glass. Robust pour yields a bright white fluffy head 2 fingers in size. Head has great staying power and leaves a very a nice lace on the glass.

Nose- Wow nose me surprised. I am greeted by a bounty of Grapefruit and citrus hops. Not what I was expecting.

Taste- yum. Very impressive. Mellow carbonation for the size of the head. Bitter almost from the get-go followed by a nice whack of grapefruit and citrus hops, leading into a more pronounced hop astringency. Very minimal malt profile. Long dry finish. Very good.

Mouthfeel- Carbonation adds an initial creaminess to the beer. Slightly oily.

Drinkability- Very high. This packs a ton flavor into a light ridiculously sessionable beer.

Unfortunately this one sample beer I was provided with is the last of it breed at the bottle shop. Seek out, very nice.

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Photo of GreatPondBrewer
4.42/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Southern Tier is doing damn good things so far. Although they have not gone out on a limb they are creating a great line of brews and this is no exception.

Poured a lucious autumn yellow like a slowly changing oak leaf and had a nice thick white head that laced up as the beer slowly moved down the glass. The smell had thick resinous pine cone hoppiness abounding. This was a strong smelling pale ale and for a second thought they may have screwed up my order and poured me a Southern Tier IPA. But upon taste bud inspection I quickly learned this was not the case. The first 1/3 of the glass was still all hops, but as I drank further some serious malts began to show up first in the finish and then throughout a sip. This was great biscuity malts that held their own against the judicious hops, but not overpowering in any way. This was a perfect warming beer for that nip in the air.

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Photo of claminat420
4.42/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- poured a transparent golden color with a solid two finger off white colored head.

S- just notice the citrusy hops. maybe alil earthy spice hop action going on???

T- taste how it smells but with the slightest caramel malt presence.

M- light to medium bodied. good carbonation.

D- knock out a 6 pack no problem

Overall- one of the best harvest's i've ever had. suprised it's not a marzan but for an ESB and specially hopped pretty good. definitely worth a try. if you can get this grab it before it runs out.

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Photo of KarlHungus
4.42/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a clear light golden color. The head is one inch in height, and recedes quickly into a small cap of lacing. The aroma is of pine resin, and fresh grapefruit. It is so fresh smelling it makes me feel as though I am actually in a forest of pine and grapefruit trees. The taste is similar in character, but not as strong as the aroma. There is also a hint of orange in the finish. Bitterness is well integrated. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Overall, this is a fine beer that I would surely drink again.

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Photo of bnes09
4.42/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Transparent, light orange color which appears yellow when held to light. Exceptional clarity. No floating yeast to be found. Head is a little weak but laces nicely.

Fresh, raw and pungent piney hop aroma. Also some citrus fruits and sweet nectar.

Hops are intense from the start with a pine cone and grapefruit bitterness. Malt is well asserted with a sturdy rye bread character. Italian herbs come in mid-drink. Wow, this beer is spicy! Hint of honey sweetness mellows it out. Finish is dry with lots of lingering hop flavors.

Medium body and smooth feel with a crisp, dry finish. Sharp carbonation helps bring out the fresh flavors.

Real good stuff here. Even better on tap with a juicy, nectar-like quality. Exceptional flavor, complexity and depth. I think this fits better in the IPA category.

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Photo of JoEBoBpr
4.42/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass.

A - Pours a nice straight foreword copper color with a white .5 inch head that recedes quick and leaves some lacing and a nice film.

S - Aroma is delicious of some grassy hops and roses. Slight spices as well as some bready and grainy malt. Aroma is very pleasant and inviting. The nose has some slight grapefruit and pineapple. Love the cascade hops.

T - Taste starts off with a dry hoped grassy flavor. Nice slight citrus notes. Then is quickly mellowed out by a very nice malty flavor with great toasty and fresh baked bread flavors. I would say this is more of an American IPA takes on an ESB because the hops tend to be more prominent but they don't overwhelm or kick you in the teeth like some IPAs do (BTW I love this). This beer is still very solid with some slight caramel that is well off-set by the hops but good enough balance that could be used as a gateway beer. Definitely wish this wasn't a seasonal.

M & D - Nice and light-medium body with a good tasty and spicy mouthfeel that is very appropriate for the season yet not bad for warmer hours of the day. Drinkability is very high. Delicious.

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Photo of kimbo33
4.42/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

One of my favorite southern tier offerings. Whenever this is on tap somewhere that I am, I am getting it. Perfect malty flavor you would expect in a harvest beer. Nice bitterness for the style, comes across very nicely and not overpowering. The malt flavor is what keeps me coming back...nice and roasty, but not smokey.

Highly recommended.

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Photo of CowsCanBark
4.42/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into standard pint glass from 12 oz. bottle.

Appearance: Pours a transparent, dark gold with a two finger tan-white head. The head is actually retaining quite well, leaving sticky, soppy residue on my glass. A very quality looking beer, for sure.

Smell: The first smell that whiffs into my nostrils is a strong scent of slightly spicy hops, followed by an almost equally strong malt backing. It is also very sweet smelling, almost like caramel, with a mild alcohol emittance. Overall, it's just very malty and hoppy.

Taste: Ah, the smell did not disappoint! Upon my first sip, I am greeted with a fairly strong and bitter hop kick, followed by that oh-so-recognizable malt that I was smelling. The hops are definitely very piney and just a little flowery, with notes of alcohol much stronger than it smelled. I may detect some citrus and cinnamon/nutmeg, but I'm not entirely certain. Regardless, it's delicious!

Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel goes along very well with the taste. It is a medium-light bodied beer, with a moderate amount of carbonation. It is not overly thick or heavy, it's pretty great when compared to the taste profile.

Overall: This is just a great beer overall, a beer that would have no problem with both hops lovers and malt lovers. The almost perfect blend of flowery and spicy hops paired with the sweet, caramel-like malt is just awesome. Highly recommended for ANY fan of craft beer!

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Photo of RonfromJersey
4.42/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pale yellow gold body, good clarity, fine carbonation, topped by a level three finger thick slab of off-white micro bubbles. Good lacing.

Assertive but not overpowering aroma of pine and citrus.

Nice solid malt foundation lays across the tongue. Agressive hops quickly converge and seize control. Heavy on pine, juicy citrus there but taking a backseat. Finishes relatively clean for the agressiveness of the hop attack.

Somewhat smooth, somewhat prickly, overall a good mouthfeel. Excellent drinkability.

Bitter yes, though I'm not sure I'd call this an ESB. IPA aspects as well. Possibly akin to Troegs Hopback Amber ? Whatever, ST Harvest Ale made a solid everyday beer for me between the Octoberfests of Sept. and Oct. and Thanksgiving (when SNCA took over).

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.42/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Hazy harvest gold with small and medium-sized particulates (yeast? hop flecks?). The beer is crowned with a beautiful, richly creamy, cream-colored head that displays a moonscape surface, stays humped in the center as it slowly descends and leaves a nice amount of soapy lace behind.

The sweet citrus peel nose is fabulous and is more Cascade (dry-hopped with) than Styrian Goldings (brewed with). If enough of those two varieties of hop are used to make an APA/IPA, I'm gonna like it. It smells like a combination of grapefruit, orange and pineapple. Great nose, it's as simple as that.

The flavor is exceptional as well. Are all Southern Tier beers this good? I've had two now and have been impressed by both. There's plenty of malt, as evidenced by the substantial mouthfeel, but there isn't an abundance of malt-derived flavor. A little light caramel perhaps, but it's overpowered by the hops. The amount of hoppiness, and the body for that matter, don't tread into IPA territory, but they're generous for the style.

The Styrian Goldings have freer rein on the palate than they did in the nose, but that tangy, grapefruit pithy, Cascade bite is still present and accounted for. Well-supported hops just can't be beat and this beer shows off its hop profile with pride. Each mouthful starts out sweet and with a nod toward balance, but quickly becomes hoppy-bitter with an explosion of flavor and a long, lingering, lightly coating finish.

Harvest Ale is another winner from Southern Tier. Given the name and the autumnal color scheme on the label, I thought I was popping open an Oktoberfest. What a great surprise; hops are always welcome. This is an excellent APA and is yet another beer that I'd love to have access to. A big Thank You to HappyHourHero for the bottle.

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Photo of nomad
4.42/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

In a true pint glass, this beer stands a dead clear yellow-gold, with an amazing glow to its straight clarity. Small bubbly head but sticks around better than I though it would, sliding around with some lace but no stain.

My nose is smacked immediately of mango, melon rind, grapefruit, and a leafy hop sense. Yet, these have a fluffy sense from the deep biscuity pale malt behind the heady fruit aromas. Thin but verdant, if that could make sense.

Taste is similar to the smell but more bitter, with a strong lemon zing following the leafy dryness and hints of mango and pineapple. The amazing sign is how well you can pick up on the great pale malt behind the obvious punish of hops. Opens to a slightly dough-bread body with the juicy, almost sticky, flavors of fresh hop juice washing over to the sharp dry finish. Thin mouthfeel.

Not as punishing as it sounds, though it is quite bitter, this beer settles in surprisingly well after the first pint. The worst part of this beer was knowing I had to go home to a world without it. I'd love to sniff and chew this prim rose again. A bountiful harvest of hops balanced by a deft show of malt. Well-done!

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Photo of pmcadamis
4.41/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Editing this one (1-17-2013... no date on the bottle): Trying it again tonight after several years.... saw I gave it a fairly low rating and was shocked. I'm really enjoying this one the second time around.

A - Still not much of a head, but there is a bit of nice lace on the glass. The color is almost identical to the color of the label on the bottle. Cloudy and yeasty.

S - Sharp hop notes jump out of the glass, followed by a spritz of citrus and a crisp cracker or crusty bread note. Round "Belgian-esque" yeast aromas. Musky.

T - Yeasty, bready, and quite hoppy. This one hides its ABV extremely well. I would never have guessed that this was above 6%. Big time biscuity with floral British style hops (although thoroughly American in the level of hoppage. Tasty.

M - Medium-full. Extremely balanced with a big hoppy finish that is not overly bitter, but leaves just enough malt in the mix to balance this brew perfectly.

I had to go back and change everything about this review. I don't know why I didn't like this one the first time around. Bad bottle? Bad timing? Bad food pairing? Who knows. I LOVED this beer tonight, and I really enjoy ESB's in general as a food/session beer. This is a winner for sure.

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Photo of bwyker
4.41/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Poured into a brandy snifter.

Appearance: Transparent golden blonde, with a significant amount of carbonation that forms a moderate amount of off-white foam. The head settles quickly, but leaves a bit of foam in the center of the glass and along the side of the glass. Faint lacing is noticed as the glass is tilted.

Smell: Grassy hops immediately and completely.

Taste: Citrus and apple upfront with a stinging bitterness that is felt after it settles in your gut. Earthy aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: The bitterness tingles, but, overall, a light body with a smooth finish.

Drinkability: Enjoyable, modest ABV and very hoppy -- great beer!

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Harvest Ale from Southern Tier Brewing Company
3.9 out of 5 based on 1,722 ratings.
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