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Arctic Devil Barley Wine | Midnight Sun Brewing Co.

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Arctic Devil Barley WineArctic Devil Barley Wine

Brewed by:
Midnight Sun Brewing Co.
Alaska, United States

Style: English Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 13.20%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
Arctic Devil Barley Wine, aptly named after the ferocious wolverine of the north, is an English-style (meaning malt-inclined) barley wine. Though the recipe and process for Arctic Devil have evolved over the years, it is brewed once a year then aged in oak barrels for several months before the entire batch is blended, bottled and released.

In its youth, Arctic Devil gnarls and snarls its way across the palate. Containing this beast of a beer for long periods in oak barrels--some having previously aged port, wine or whiskey--tames the unleashed malt and fierce hop flavors, melding and mellowing this powerful liquid into an incredible elixir worthy of a brewer's table.

Each annual batch of Arctic Devil Barley Wine represents the brewers' resolve to create an intriguing and sought-after barley wine by precisely brewing to well-designed specifications, carefully selecting the type and combination of barrels to use for aging, and meticulously checking the beer as it ages. Distinct nuance and complexity are contributed by the wood's previous tenants, resulting in unique flavor profiles in each batch that continue to change over time. We invite you to savor Arctic Devil Barley Wine upon its release then cellar some for future enjoyment.

20 IBU

Added by Todd on 03-24-2005

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Reviews: 368 | Ratings: 1,313
Photo of paco1029384756
4.27/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a ruby brown color with a small off white head.

Scent of grass, earth, molasses, caramel, tobacco, and fruit. balanced and complex, alcohol is masked very well.

Taste of maple, sugars, tea, tobacco, and a hint of mint. Strong and tasty Barleywine.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and rich with some carbonation.

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Photo of jimmy82063
4.26/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Finally the beer ship came in! Poured in to a snifter glass. This beer pours a jet black with a very minimal head. The nose gives deep caramel and toffee. Taste is caramel & toffee with some chocolate, coffee and vanilla. There is a lot going on with this. Some slight tobacco notes are on the finish. Very smooth with some slight bourbon notes! Well done!

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Photo of Phyl21ca
4.26/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottle: Poured a deep dark cloudy brown color ale with a small dark brown foamy head with light retention and some minimal lacing. Aroma of toffee, residual brown sugar and caramelized malt is pretty awesome. Taste is also dominated by toffee with some brown sugar notes and caramelized malt. All rough edges have been rounded by the bourbon notes with light vanilla notes also noticeable. Body is full with limited filtration and a good amount of carbonation. This beer has so many layers of complexity while retaining such a good amount of drinkability. Really amazing beer that I wish I could try on a regular basis.

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Photo of Davepoolesque
4.26/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

American BA Barleywine. Definitely has some traditional English Barleywine flavors but less sweet. Toffee, brown sugar, figs, vanilla and white oak. Bitter, dry, long finish. Medium light mouthfeel. Solid brew.

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Photo of orcasteve
4.26/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured into my duvel tulip glass, poured a rich thick borwn that cant be seen through, a rich creamy five finger head rises to the top and stays awhile, the smell is rich grain and alchoal with a sweet fig overtone, the flavor is figs, hazelnuts, molasses, honney, sweet malt, a hint of folaral hops then malt for days. this hides the alochal well and is a beer that i would love to get more of

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Photo of kaseydad
4.26/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

2011 Vintage

Pours a pretty clear dark amber/brown colored ale with a small cream colored foamy head. Ring around the glass during the session and no lacing.

The aroma is great. Brown sugar, wood, vanilla, raisin, caramel, cinnamon, and booze. Almost singe the noise hair aroma. Candied fruits. Really impressed with the aroma. Wasn't sure what the age would do but it seems to have blended nicely.

The taste is very oaky. Big oak and wood taste with some brown sugar, butterscotch, butter, hops and booze burn finish. Tingling of the lips and gums after each sip. The 13.4% abv doesn't lie. Getting some caramel as well, but the flavor almost goes away as soon as it shows itself. Odd. Left with a dry oak aftertaste.

Smooth mouthfeel though it's a little thin.

Overall I think this is a really good barleywine. Great? I dunno. I will definitely try this fresh and see the difference it makes. For me, the beer was a little bland which could have been from the age. The aroma is the best thing about it, though the taste left me a little let down given the love for this brew.

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Photo of GOBLIN
4.25/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

An exceptional ba barleywine. Aromas of oak, vanilla, bourbon dominate the nose along with worn leather, raisins, figs, plums and other dark fruits trailing close behind. Spices and another cast of flavor characters playing parts as well. Taste is spot on and similar to the aromas and nothing comes through as harsh . . . as a matter of opinion Arctic Devil's time in the barrel is dialed in perfectly. Aged for about a year and ready for consumption on this rainy, dreary early summer afternoon. Wish I would have drank this this past winter or even had been a just a tad more patient until this next winter. It would have been perfect as a warming beverage to be sipped slowly. As is though, it's drinking fantastic ! I can honestly say this will not just be another "tick" or "notch" but definitely a must seek out again beer.

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Photo of ONovoMexicano
4.25/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bomber poured into a snifter. Been sitting on this for nearly a year.

Pours a cloudy brown/dark caramel color. Think a tootsie roll. Thin frothy pale oatmeal head that develops into a ring of foam and lace on the interior of the glass. 4.25

Delicious aroma. Oatmeal raisin cookie with some bourbon. Sticky fig and vanilla are in the fray as well. 4.25

Got a raisin wine flavor with some spiciness, caramel, grape sucker, and that oatmeal-cookie flavor I find in so many bourbon-barrel aged beers. Vanilla lingers as does some booze taste. 4.25

It's got a sticky mouthfeel that's wet and mildly boozy and kind of reminds me of drinking Frangelico. It's in that vein of a smooth, full-mouthed liquor that still has that solvent bite that reminds you that you're drinking booze and not a child's drink. To be sure though, the booze tastes as if it has receded greatly. 4.25

Another great bourbon barrel-aged barleywine.

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Photo of WeisGuy
4.25/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2008 vintage

a - pours a deep deep brown with a garnet hue, modest cream colored head, retention around the edges, not much by way of lacing, quite cloudy

s - rum-soaked raisins and plums with a healthy dose of caramel, unexpected dose of bitter, piney hop aroma on the nose as well

t - big sweet caramel malt flavors up front, rum-soaked raisin and plum on the midpalate with more caramel, some light piney hop bitterness balances out the sweetness a little on the finish, alcohol fumes present on the finish as well with the lingering dark fruit component

m - full-bodied, moderate carbonation, well balanced on the finish, strong alcohol warming effect

d - definitely a sipper of a barleywine, but par for the style, alcohol and sweetness aren't as overwhelming as I expected

Overall, a very good English Barleywine. This isn't my favorite style - I lean more toward hoppier American Barleywines - but I found this quite enjoyable. I imagine this would age quite well, but it's drinking quite nicely right now.

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Photo of Bosoxfan20
4.25/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Straight up delicious. Bomber pours a murky brown with next to no head. Aroma is inviting with bourbon, figs, and toffee. The toffee once again comes through in a strong, enticing way and is coupled with caramel, sweet bread and fruity notes. Silky smooth the whole way down. Bourbon present, but next to no heat.

Overall, this is right there with the best of the BA barleywines I have had. Certainly English style in nature as there is only a very subtle hop presence. Very well done

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Photo of brotherloco
4.25/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bomber. 2011 Vintage. 13.4% ABV.

Pours a deep translucent mahogany. A very small beige head quickly dissipates to a small ring.

Aroma brings on strong dry-bread malt with hints of vanilla and sherry. A touch of sulphur. Noticeable alcohol.

Flavor of the malt is much more toffee-like than the aroma. A lot of oak and vanilla from the barrel aging. Still getting a little of that sulphur. Tobacco notes. Sweet through the middle and then finishes with a dry alcohol note. The heat comes on after a few sips but flavor wise the alcohol is extremely well blended.

Medium-full bodied with a nice moderate amount of carbonation. Slick and very drinkable given the strength.

A great beer at this age and one that you can tell will get even better with age.

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Photo of illidurit
4.25/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

05 bottle sampled at the RBSG 08 Grand Tasting. Big thanks to whoever brought it. Pours golden brown with a tan head that leaves wet spotty lacing. Deep caramel aroma with some leafiness. Tobacco? Hops? Flavor is toffee based, with notes of prune, molasses, berries, and wood. Finish is earthy with some vanilla. Full bodied with a very smooth mouthfeel.

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Photo of mnapier
4.25/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Service Temperature, 55 degrees. Service Glassware, 12 ounce Tulip.

A dark pool with little or no light escaping that pours a mild khaki head that leaves no lace behind.
The nose is a strong alcohol nose that wafts along with some brown sugar, raisins, and a slight bit of cherry.
The mouth is mostly brown sugar with some raisins, figs, and a slight berry zest. Mouthfeel is medium to strong but not overwhelming.

I like this beer but will have to wait till the winter period to fully appreciate it.


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Photo of khiasmus
4.25/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Well it's been a long day and a long night. A good bit of work earlier, then to the job itself... and it is what it is, of course, the grind, though much more enjoyable than your average computer repair shop or landscaping company. Funny, though, how regardless of the work it's either a bad boss or bad work or stupid customers or moron employees... we never can seem to find work that we love every facet of. Oh sure, we love the accomplishments, maybe the competition, the power, the control, the subject matter.. but do we wake up longing to go to work?
Aside. So we get home, and there's nothing for it but to open a delicious beverage. So here we are, a world class beer in hand, and all we've to do is dissect it, ravage any intangible life and glorious beauty it possesses by creating from it a cold, lifeless, scientific stamp upon a sheet of paper, an accomplishment, a statement of plain attributes, nothing with soul. I differ.

How I love you, my darling! How beautiful your eyes, your lips in the pale moonlight! Your hair a dark brown, a smile upon your lips as you cast a lilting grin towards me with the Deepest mahogany of glances! Just a couple of soap-bubbles left there, on your shoulders, as your face turns to a cascade of hot liquid crashing down from above you... and some wisps of cloud steam up through the clear air as you relish the warmth and are beautiful...
Your fragrance haunts the waking dreams of even kings in their courtyards... The plums, raisins, molasses, caramelized sugars, vanilla, Sweet toasted black bread, butterscotch, and port... these are things in whose presence mortals often feel their undeserving eyes cast down, their lips afraid to savour..
Ah, but they may. They do savour, I savour thy many delights! Thy oaky and wooden flavours of burnt sugar and toasted grains, the warmth and absolute enjoyability of your delights on this night...
A slight syrup tinge, though surprisingly dry, as we carouse in our delectable fantasy now made real, and I wish that every moment we could be even as we are, in a seductive tumble of flesh, a delectable monstrosity of flavours and colours that overwhelm our senses and recall to our minds through our flesh from our hearts once again... "I love you. It's true."

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Photo of angrybabboon
4.24/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Cheers to Goblinmunkey7 for sharing this

Consumed 1/15/14

Appearance: Dark, dark dark brown - nearly black - pours with a medium-sized, light tan head - almost keeps a solid cap, and leaves some nice spots of lacing

Smell: In a word, burly - this smells huge, even for a barleywine - huge caramel, cooked malts, toffee, molasses, chocolate, burnt sugar, caramelized everything - liquified donuts - some spice, some sugar, and a a ton of sugar - some ripe, dark fruits - booze, so much booze... this kind of smells like a dessert wine - with some oak

Taste: Thick, rich, borderline demonic - huge malts, huge booze - caramel malts, caramelized grains, caramel syrup, molasses, toffee, sugar, with more sugar - some chocolate, with a touch of roast, coffee, and espresso - tons of dark fruits, as well as some lighter fruits, like cherry skins - somewhat earthy, with a lot of oak, and general barrel - I can't quite discern the barrel, but whatever it was, it was boozy - so much booze here, this more or less demands to be sipped

Mouthfeel: Big, full, thick - not sludge, but somewhat syrupy, oily - adequate carbonation, finishes with booze

Overall: You're not the devil. You're practice.

This is kind of like a night in a bottle. The only reasonable way to drink this is to sip it. It's monstrous, but it's worth it. Maybe this would be a lot better in like 5 years.

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Photo of tobelerone
4.24/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2011 vintage.

Pours a coppery brown, with a cap of lighter brown foam and patchy lacing here and there. Complex aroma; toffee and brown sugar; a hint of maple; whiskey and wood; lots of dark fruit like plums, raisins, and figs.

The flavor is equally complex. The most surprising and memorable note was that of maple; there also a good deal of brown sugar/toffee flavor and caramel, more fruit, and plenty of bourbon boozines. Alcohol present but not overly aggressive in the flavor; more noticed as a pleasant warmth in the belly after the swallow.

Medium bodied, perhaps a little thinner than anticipated. Would benefit from a bit more heft, in my estimation. Medium carbonation, quite smooth and silky.

A very nice barrel-aged barleywine that falls perhaps a hair short of the best in class. Wish I had been able to try past vintages; also wish I had more than the single bottle to so I could sock a few away for aging.

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Photo of Dope
4.24/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 vintage.

A: Dark reddish-brown pour with a small tan head that fades pretty quickly. Tiny bits of lacing.

S: Big sweet malty aroma with bourbon heat. Tons of dark fruit. I get cherries, figs, plums and raisins - maybe even grapes. Backed up with loads of almost sickly sweet caramel, brown sugar and a touch of vanilla. Fairly boozy as you might expect. Big, rich and complex. Wonderful.

T: Up front, loads of sweet toffee, caramel, molasses and brown sugar. A little bit of bourbon burn in the middle along with hints of dark fruit throughout. Dries out a little bit with some leather, earthiness and charred oak towards the end - maybe even a bit of cocoa sometimes. Honestly not as bourbon-heavy or boozy as I expected, just a touch of burn for a split second.

M: Big and heavy. Coats the mouth. Surprisingly a little drying on the back end.

O: A huge and complex barleywine for sure. I taste and smell something different every time. The only thing that really detracts is that the bourbon tastes kinda cheap and the appearance is weak (not that that counts for much).

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Photo of kegger22
4.24/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured a reddish brown with an modest head that faded to a collar. The aroma was maple syrupy sweet. I loved the smell. The taste was molasses, alcohol and dark fruit (prunes mostly). Feel was heavy bodied, thick, chewy and oily smooth. Drinkability was only above average due to the high ABV and extreme sweetness. I liked A Devil a lot, but 3F Behemoth still my favorite barley wine.

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Photo of Duff27
4.23/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Inch tall off white head on a dark but translucent "mohageny" colored body. Very nice head retention for the style. Some lacing.

Sweet boozy bourbon goodness, not overdone though.

Caramel maltiness, low to nil hop presence duhhh. Alcohol burn going down...I know it says 13+%abv and that's about what it translates too.

Medium to medium-thick mouthfeel. Lower carbonation.

Overall well balanced English barleywine and barrel notes. I don't know if I was looking forward to this more than I should have but it's a small let down even as its at the bottom of the top tier of its style. What?

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Photo of KevSal
4.22/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

wanted something to celebrate my new job, 2011 version poured into 4 wine glassess

a-dark deep ruby red with a thin skin layer of head. i like it a lot

s- huge caramal apple upfront. layers of aroma on this one. wine scents, vanilla and bourbon. candy apple. the flavor is real good but slightly harsh on the palate.

t- caramel and vanilla right upfront and foward. different flavors from the multiple barrels comes through nice. nice hint of wine and port behind the big vanillla, bourbon and young green apple. the alcohol is hidden but the flavors are slightly harsh on the planet

m- much thinner than i was expecting especially for something so big. medium bodied with good carbonation.

o- this is a great ba barleywine. it taste unique, much different than the typical ba barleywine. its still a bit harsh on the tongue but with age i can see this mellow into something spectacular. wish it was a bit smoother

i am a bit bothered that its more expensive than last year, what the heck? price tag is pushing

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Photo of DaveHS
4.22/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2010 version poured into a 4oz snifter.

A-Pours a dark amber with 1/3 inch of thin, bubbly head that disappears almost instantly, leaving no lacing.

S-Caramel, bourbon, vanilla, cashews. Smells delicious.

T/M-Rich flavors of vanilla and toffee. Very complex. Some doughy, bready notes mid-palate, leading into a slightly hot finish. The longer I drink this, the sweeter it tastes. Still, surprisingly drinkable for a young 13.42% barley wine. Low carbonation, full bodied.

D-Hard to get ahold of, but worth the trouble. Wish I had another bottle to cellar. It wasn't quite ready.

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Photo of bret27
4.22/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

bottle courtesy of my pocketbook...
2008 Between 1-2 yrs old.

S: Coconut and vanilla, sunscreen, oak, tannins. I've never smelled such a strong coconut smell from a bw before. Outstanding imo.

A: Normal, yellowish/orange. Normal to low carb.

T: Pretty much same as smell, but the coconut is more of a backseat and booze is present, but in just the right warming amount

M/D: Medium thick body, just about right. Pretty boozey to be too drinkable, but fairly good for style.

Overall: Overall it would probably be in my top 5 for the style anyway.

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Photo of jethrodium
4.22/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

650 ml bottle. 2011 vintage. Pours a golden copper with a small tan head that settles to a ring and leaves a decent amount of lacing on the glass. The aroma is big coconut, some brandy and red wine, bourbon, vanilla, and caramel. The initial taste is sweet with coconut and caramel. There is also brandy, oak, bourbon, and toffee. The finish has some light alcohol. Full bodied but not syrupy. Low carbonation. Great beer. Lots of flavors going on and everything comes together quite nicely.

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Photo of koopa
4.22/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bought this one from Liquid Solutions back in late 2007 / early 2008. I believe its a 2007 vintage and it says 10% abv on the label. I had bought about 15 of these bombers back at that time and traded / gave away as extras 14 of them. This is the one and only bottle I saved for myself.

Appearance: Pours a slightly murky deep caramel to auburn with a minimal beige crown that displays little retention or lace.

Smell: Quite a nice mixture of caramel malt, raisins, a touch of oxidation, brown sugar, and hints of alcohol.

Taste: Same as the nose but a bit more oxidation then I enjoy. Should have cracked this one opened a year ago :( Then again I didn't have it at cellar temperatures the entire past 4 years, so one in cellar temperatures for 4 years might be perfect right now. Still a great barley wine and I'd give this bottle a 4.2 if I could so I'm rounding down a bit.

Mouthfeel: Thick body with minimal carbonation. Rib sticking and nice for this freak cold spell we are currently experiencing.

Overall: Probably an excellent barleywine that is merely very very good right now.

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Photo of johnnnniee
4.21/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Review from notes 2007 Bottle Shared by MrBarleywine.
Pours a deep copper color with a decent sized off white head that shows moderate retention. Aromas of dark caramelized sugar, dark pitted fruits, bits of wood, hints of rum and bourbon, light alcohol, no hop aromas. The flavor is sweet with dark sugars, light oak, light fruits, a solid hit of warming alcohol and a touch of earth. Medium to thick body with a moderate to light level of carbonation and a sweet almost sticky mouthfeel. One of my favorite barley wines, I only wish it were a little easier to obtain.

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Arctic Devil Barley Wine from Midnight Sun Brewing Co.
4.35 out of 5 based on 1,313 ratings.
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