Pumking | Southern Tier Brewing Company

1,949 Reviews
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Brewed by:
Southern Tier Brewing Company
New York, United States

Style: Pumpkin Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.60%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
19 Degrees Plato
8.8 Degrees L
2-row Pale Malt
Caramel Malt
Pureed Pumpkin

Kettle Hops: Magnum
Aroma Hops: Sterling

Added by BeerBeing on 08-26-2007

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Reviews: 1,949 | Ratings: 7,485
Photo of Ek0nomik
4.28/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured In: Tulip Glass
Purchased At: Cannery Wine & Spirits (Sun Prairie, WI)

Finally! I've been meaning to drink this for a few weeks now.

Appearance: Pours a golden copper color with a finger of head sitting at the top. The head disappears rather quickly and I'm left with a thin layer of oily bubbles. Not much lacing on my glass, but that's fine. I'm just looking forward to diving into this one.

Smell: The nose reveals sweet caramel malt, pumpkin, nutmeg and all-spice. Ooh, and there's a little bit of cream in there too.

Taste: The palate first reveals some sweet caramel malt. Following the sweet malt comes the wave of spice. A blend of pumpkin, nutmeg, all-spice and a dash of clove. This is fantastic. Following the wave of spice comes a little bit of hop bitterness, but not too strong.

Mouthfeel: A light to medium bodied beer. Not too chewy, not too carbonated. It goes down quite easily.

Drinkability: This is a well put together beer. The higher ABV is well hidden, but on a weeknight it's a bit limiting. I don't think I can handle more than one of these before having to hit the hay.

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Photo of nick76
4.22/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The aroma is like alcoholic pumpkin pie. The pumpkin and spices come right through the caramel malt and alcohol. The appearance is orange gold with a foamy head that dwindles to nothing pretty fast. The flavor is like the aroma with a tad bit too much bitterness but still very good. The palate is smooth but not as thick as I had wanted it to be. Overall this is a great beer.

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Photo of Brenden
4.3/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

This brew is a deep amber, nearly orange. The slightly off-white head sits dense and rocky at a finger or two for a good while and leaves plenty of sticky patches of lacing.
The aroma is first (just slightly) buttery crust, then nutmeg and cinnamon, then pure pumpkin flesh, and, underneath, just the right amount of hops.
This is exactly what I expect an outstanding pumpkin beer to be;spices perfectly blended but not overdone, this one is like I'm drinking a pumpkin pie, but without the overbearing sweetness some brewers may be tempted to overcompensate with. Hops are there for balance and leave this beer to be exactly what it must be.
This one's quite rich in a medium to full body. Carbonation is light. There's a nice blend of crispness and smoothness.
I could never tell this one's has such a high ABV, which hinders the otherwise great drinkability. I like punkin, and I have issue with some other pumpkin beers I've tried in my search for "the one." This is it.

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Photo of Docer
4.29/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Grabbed me a bottle of this at By The Bottle in Vancouver, WA as it is not distributed in OR where I live.

- Nice pumpkin orange color... clear as a summer night with some white bubbly head quickly down to nothing much but a centered light cloud of lace avoiding the edge of the glass.

- The smell is like a cheesecake crust... roasted graham cracker, pumpkin spice.... roasted buttery seed... the smell is certainly living up to its name.

- Caramel malt ale meets pumpkin cheesecake. Lovely sugary sweet graham cracker grain, oats... roasty baked goods... and a clean crisp malt, with a slight bittering... hop, or light herbs? Don't know... but a big hopping might ruin this number.... to be had this year for sure.

- Savory and delightful. Not dry, not chewy, and not oily.. just bubbly goodness... that is light bodies really.

- Overall I am impressed from this, and can see why many claim this is the best pumpkin beer around. It doesn't only envelope the pumpkin, squash, and spice... but also the buttery baked goodness in a warm pie. Not overdone like the Choklat. My first winner from S. Tier.

One thing that bothers me, is that there are many pumpkin brews from the mid-west to the east coast... but not on the west coast, where I know a good many pumpkins and squash grow. It throws me off to say the least, and I can only imagine a Sauvie Island pumpkin seed pale or something of the sort here... in OR.

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Photo of Nezzy
4.46/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Went to a Pumpkin Fest and finally had this beer. Absolutely loved it.

Appearance - Very orange like a copper with slight hints of amber and little to no lacing

Smell - Exactly like a pumpkin pie. Vanilla is coming through the strongest second to the pumpkin.

Taste - Well what can I say. At first you get a very very sweet taste of sugar coming through but that quickly fades and it tastes exactly like a pumpkin pie. Jokingly me and my friends said you can taste the crust but soon we realized that was true. You can taste not only all the spices but the pumpkin is really shining through.

Mouthfeel - It has a slight carbonation but finishes very smooth

Drinkability - While I feel this is one of the best pumpkin ales I've tasted, I'm not sure how much of it I could take. Hands down its what I had been looking for in taste and quality but after a while the novelty will wear off. However, the beer is exceptional and really a great pumpkin beer.

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Photo of welcherHB
4.64/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bear with me. This is my first review!

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.
Smells a lot like a pumpkin pie.
Light orange color with not much of a head.
Some lacing, but again not much.
Tastes EXACTLY like it smells. LOVE IT!!
Lots of great flavor in this ale. Perfect for a crisp fall day while watching some football.
Good carbonation. At 9% ABV I expected to taste some alcohol, but didn't.
Wouldn't plan on drinking a lot of this in one sitting, but will definately have it again.

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Photo of capn
4.13/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Well, Fall is closing fast so I figured I would venture into the new seasonal brews, starting with a pumpkin ale. This is a rather uniquely American style descended from out forefathers. Early Americans used to make various types of beers brewed with different things that were available to them. Several craft breweries continue to make their own versions today but the trick is to find one where the pumpkin and / or spice doesn't overwhelm the beer.

The one that I'm starting with is Southern Tier Brewing Company's - Imperial Pumking Pumpkin Ale. It is brewed with 2-row pale malt, caramel malt, pureed pumpkin, magnum kettle hops and sterling aroma hops. They recommend you enjoy it chilled to 40 degrees F and served in a goblet.

It poured with a beautiful golden-copper color with a minimal but creamy head which laid down quickly. It had a very pleasant pumpkin pie aroma, which while obvious, was not overpowering or sickly-sweet. It had a nice, spicy (not pumpkin) flavor and gave a pleasant tingle on the tongue with a borderline tingly-creamy mouth-feel on the cheeks. The flavor was good throughout and the strength was such that it gave me more than a mild euphoric feeling which was closer to a pleasant buzz.

I definitely enjoyed this beer. It is certainly worth trying if you are one of those people who are interested in trying something different, but cringe a little when you hear pumpkin and beer in the same sentence. Its not what you might think, but don't wait too long, its a seasonal.

I wish you Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.
The Cap'n

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Photo of Vancer
1.98/5  rDev -50.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Here we go with a clear pumpkin orange pour in the ol' Corsendonk tulip. Minimal white head, no lacing to write home about.

Aroma? Strange one. Typical cinnamon pumpkin, but with a sweet medicine orange mixed within this brew. But the taste is where this one goes downhill in a hurry. Bitter, astringent, dead and decaying pumpkin rinds. Good grief, this is crap pumpkin.

Southern Tier is usually top notch, but this is bottom shelf rail booze.

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Photo of oceanman
3.49/5  rDev -13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Lighter color orange than expected for a big brew.
Smells of butterscotch, caramel, pumpkin. Outstanding complexity.
Tastes like various coffee creamers (amaretto, Irish cream) poured over pumpkin pie.
Feels very buttery in the mouth, and the sweetness becomes difficult to handle.
Halfway through my half a bomber I looked forward to not having to drink this anymore.

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Photo of BB1313
4.76/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

This might be the most unique beer ever. It does have a buttery popcorn smell which could be scary, but it tastes amazing. You have to pour pretty hard to get a nice head on it, otherwise not much going on in that deparment. It's very light in color. As intense as the pumpkin is, it's far from a spice overload. Cinnamon goes unnoticed for the most part, although there are some spices. This is so bold and robust. It's such a treat to have each fall. This is not just the best pumpkin beer, but just an amazing beer period.

It loses some points for its drinkability, but gains em back with originality. The aromas and flavors are unique and incredible. Get some!

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Photo of ScreamForMe
3.44/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I had a bomber of this from last year's batch and wasn't impressed. I saw it on tap recently and decided to give it another go.

I like pumpkin brews but I didn't care for this one. Too much of everything in the glass. Overly sweet the main issue I had with it. Not horrible by any means but not something I would drink again, either.


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Photo of mltobin
3.82/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a bomber of Pumking at Elmer`s in Norwalk, CT.

The appearance is a orange color with a 1 finger head.
Smell contains sugar, pie crust, pumpkin, banana, a lot here.
Taste has more of that pie crust and bread flavor coming through. It is a sweet beer, however a nice balance for this style. Drinkability is slightly above average for what is an ideal dessert beer modeled around the taste of an autumn dessert. Drinkability is better than expected, the abv is fairly hidden in this pumpkin ale that Southern Tier which had been sitting in my cellar for a few weeks. I am glad that I finally cracked it open, might buy another before the time passes on by.

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Photo of r0nyn
4.37/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22 oz bomber into a mug.

Pours a pretty apricot, or more appropriately, pumpkin color that's quite transparent, very clean looking. Medium-sized head, nothing too crazy, dissipates in to a thin film atop the brew. Not too much lacing at all, just a few strands that cling to the side of the glass. Smell is almost all pumpkin pie, very enticing scent with nuances of vanilla sweetness as well. Can just barely smell the malts after a few concentrated sniffs. A great smelling beer by anyone's definition.

There's an initial blast of hoppy bitterness off the bat, dissolving any illusions that this is a sugary concoction. The bitterness gives way to that big pumpkin pie flavoring that this beer is becoming reknowned for. Just lots of mildly sweet pumpkin with little else to complicate the taste, which definitely works for a brew of this type. There's some spiciness and marshmallow nuance accompanied by the flavor of pastry crust. Not sure how they managed to put that into a beer, but it damn well tastes nice. The finish has a slight alcoholic twinge to it, just enough to let you know that it carries a 9% ABV. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, with a good bit of carbonation to keep things interesting. Creamy and nice.

Definitely the best pumpkin ale I've had to date. Something that actually tastes like pumpkin seems to be a difficult concept to grasp for some breweries, but Southern Tier manages to get it right with this flavorful brew. Something I'll very likely continue to have going into the fall months.

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Photo of quinnsi
3.45/5  rDev -14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: orangey amber color w/ a 1/8" of foam.

S: Intense gingerbread nose. I'm not getting anything else, but may be ok, cause it's quite unique. Looking forward to tasting this.

T: Taste follows the nose. Intense gingerbread, with actual pumkin coming through slightly on the back end. Completely out of balance, but tasty nonetheless.

M: Nice full mouthfeel.

D: One with desert (pumpkin pie with whipped cream) would be amazing. After that, I couldn't have much more.

Kind of an odd beer, in that it's so over the top, that it barely resembles beer anymore. Tastes good, but not balanced.

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Photo of Wetpaperbag
3.32/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This beer finally made its way to the PNW, so now I can see what all the hype is about. After I'm done drinking this I'm going to compare it to a great tasting PNW beer Elysian's Night Owl.

A- A medium amber color. The head is very light and doesn't stay for too long, also lots of carbination activity in the beer itself.

S- This has a great smell. Lots of spice, vanilla, banana with some pie crust smells. The more I smell this the more banana comes through.

T- The banana smell comes though in the taste, along with a creamy buttery taste. The spices that are associated with pumpkin pie are there as well. As for a pumpkin taste, it isn't really there for me, there is something bitter lingering in the aftertaste.

M- The more of this I drink the bitter taste stays and lingers.

D- It isn't bad, but the strange bitterness is sort of off putting.

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Photo of MaxBrews
3.17/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Bomber poured in my Chimay chalice as directed on the bottle.

Appearance: Barely any head or lacing which is the surprising for a chalice. The color of this beer is pumpkin orange and one the orangest beers you've ever seen. Its a copper color but completely clear.

Smell: Pumking has an unusually crusty pumpkin pie aroma. I could describe the spices in it but you've smelled pumpkin pie before.

Taste: Exactly like pumpkin pie with a buttery dactyl. Almost too buttery.

Mouthfeel: Lightly carbonated and creamy.

Drinkability: This is the most extreme pumpkin beer period. Love the idea but for me this almost vomit inducing. I couldn't fail this in a right mind because it could be appealing to some people and it accomplished its purpose but its impossible for me to drink.

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Photo of alpinebryant
4.3/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured a marigold orange and less of a brown ale color as many pumpkin ales appear.

S: Roasted pumpkin, burnt brown sugar and butter.

T: Most pumpkin like beer I have drank and I believe I have tried just about every pumpkin ale out there. Tasted like an oven roasted pumpkin with bitterness to boot. Buttered Graham Cracker essence with spiciness and a nice smooth finish.

M: Medium mouthfeel. Not as thick as some brown ales, but not watered down like some of the Shipyard variety pumpkin ales.

D: As I think most pumpkin ales should be, this is a nice sipper. I wouldnt drink three of them but that is how I believe pumpkin ales should be. Especially at a 9.0% abv.
Great job by ST

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Photo of LordAdmNelson
4.42/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a true pumpkin ale, definitely the best one I've had. It's also a damn fine beer. It's got a copper orange color with smallish head... the aroma is amazing. It smells like pumpkin cookies--cinnamon, nutmeg, and some bready sweetness underneath. The taste follows--cinnamon, nutmeg, a real pumpkin flavor (like pumpkin pulp), and a decent amount of leafy hops on the finish. Delicious beer, one of the most interesting I've had. Mouthfeel is a little thin, but this ups the drinkability. Just a fantastic fall beer. Nice work ST.

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Photo of ToddT
4.14/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Golden orange topped with a small off white head. Head falls quickly to a ring and leaves a little bit of lace on the glass.

S- Nice blend of spices allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, pumpkins, and graham crackers. If it wasn't for the cold glass in my hand I could swear someone just handed me a slice of pumpkin pie.

T- Follows right along with the nose. The pumpkin flavor is forward at first followed by the mix of spice. Some alcohol heat comes in at the finish. Finish has an unusual, but not unpleasant, taste of graham crackers and whipped cream.

M- Medium in body and low in carbonation. Any more carbonation might have broken the pumpkin pie illusion.

D- The heat of the alcohol gives away the 9.0% ABV. This is so well balanced and tasty it is a shame the alcohol cuts down on the drinkability.

One of the best and most balanced of the pumpkin beers I've ever had. A little less alcohol would have been so much more is taste though.

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Photo of scottg
3.64/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

22oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

Pours a crystal clear dark gold/orange color with a 1/2 finger creamy head that dissipates quickly. The smell is the highlight of this beer- nutmeg, pumpkin, vanilla, cinnamon and a gram cracker crust smell that emerges as it warms up. Tastes like pumpkin pie spices with a hop kick up front with a delicious carmelized sugar like on top of the pie in the middle, delicious. Unfortunately, the finish and aftertaste is so dominant of nutmeg that all other flavors are lost. There is a nice creamy mouthcoating feel. Drinkability up front is exceptional but the negative finish makes it average.
If they could balance out that nutmeg finish, this would be the best pumpkin beer I've had.

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Photo of ffejherb
4.74/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Brass Rail Deli on 10/12/09.

A - Clear pumpkin/orange-colored body with moderate carbonation and a fluffy off-white head that settled into a quarter inch of retention and a splattering of lace around the glass.

S - The aroma of Pumking is about as perfect as you can get for a pumpkin beer. Spiciness is subtle with hints of clove, nutmeg and cinnamon. However, the pumpkin meat and graham cracker crust take center stage here, creating the illusion of an actual pumpkin pie. Beautiful!

T - Mmmmm... this really tastes like liquid pumpkin pie. Pumking isn't overly spiced like many of its peers. Instead, its more about the meaty, fleshy pumpkin meat and sweet graham cracker crust. Spiciness is subtle with hints of cinnamon, clove and nutmeg. A hint of floral hops also emerges in the backend.

M - Medium bodied with a syrupy texture and subtle carbonation, resulting in a pretty sticky mouthfeel. Hint of bitterness in the finish with some residual spiciness and sweetness on the palate.

D - Pumking is easily the best pumpkin beer on the market. I can honestly say that nothing even comes close to this masterpiece (with perhaps the exception of Selin's Grove's pumpkin ale... but how many people have had that?).

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Photo of Halcyondays
4.44/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From a 22 oz. bomber, great label,

A: Pours amber/orange with a nice white head, good look.

S: Pumpkin pie crust, almonds, fall spice, just great.

T: The crust is there in the background of the actual flavour which also adds great pumpkin flesh notes that are balanced very well with the spice. Quite tasty.

M: Medium/full-bodied, spicy.

D: One of my favourite pumpkin beers ever, Southern Tier is making some great stuff, wish I could get this around here.

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Photo of womencantsail
4.07/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to mikesgroove for sending one of these my way.

A: Pumking pours an opaque amber color with plenty of copper and orange highlights. A fluffy white head sits atop the beer.

S: It smells like pumpkin pie in a glass. A great sweetness and all of the usual pumpkin pie spices such as cinnaomon, nutmeg, and all spice. A bit of a graham cracker and marshmallow aroma are present as well.

T: Much like the nose would let on. A soft pumpkin flavor and a lot of the sweet and spicy characteristics of pumpkin pie. The marshmallow that was present in the nose is much more pronounced on the palate. There's a bit of a "pie crust" taste on this too.

M: The carbonation is fairly light and this is to the benefit of the beer, I feel. It is very smooth on the tongue and quite full bodied.

D: A great flavor and aroma, but like actual pumpkin pie, I'm not sure how much of this I could actually drink.

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Photo of bsp77
4.12/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Serving glass: Poured from bomber into Goblet.

Appearance: Somewhat clear burnt orange with thin off-white head that doesn't leave much behind.

Smell: Pumpkin galore - sweet pumpkin pie with lots of spice, such as cinnamon, nutmeg and clove, with a dollop of creme. Do not smell much beer in there, but that is fine; it smells delicious.

Taste: Very spicy and pumpkin-like. Surprisingly, a lot of the spiciness seems to come from the hops. Somewhat sweet pumpkin pie is evident and it does taste as if there is whipped cream. The alcohol is a little too noticeable.

Feel: Moderate carbonation, creamy body, pretty dry despite the sweet pumpkin taste.

Drinkability: Easily the best pumpkin beer I have had. Doesn't really seem like a beer, more like liquid pumpkin pie. However, between the alcohol and very un-beerlike taste, it is hard to drink too much.

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Photo of pzrhsau
4.29/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: A nice clear orange color with great carbonation and a nice thin head.
Smell: The malt and yeasts combine to give it an initial scent almost like pie crust. It finishes with a great blend of spices ranging from cinnamon to nutmeg and all spice.
Taste: It has a really nice spicy flavor that is accentuated by the hops. I liked the deep pumpkin flavor and it has a very clean taste on the whole.
Mouthfeel and Drinkability: Very clean and clear. It isnt too heavy and really masks the alcohol well.

I applaud the creativity of this beer and the style in general. Very cool name.

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Pumking from Southern Tier Brewing Company
4.01 out of 5 based on 7,485 ratings.
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