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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

For Trade:
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Reviews: 368 | Ratings: 1,313
Photo of ArrogantB
4.2/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I have been sitting on this bottle for the last three months and decided today is a good day to drink it. It is very dark, brown with ruby edges. The smell is sweet with alcohol tinges. The taste is very sweet malts, delicious but thick and syrupy with an almost cognac-like flavor. There is a slight vanilla flavor which I assume is from the barrels. This beer is definitely an English style barleywine, very malt-forward. The alcohol leaves a burn.

12/21/08 2007 vintage

still very malty sweet, good english barleywine, pricey but will probably age very well, also much stronger than 10%...

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Photo of notchucknorris
4.19/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2013 Vintage. Got 2 bottles of this, so I wanted to try one fresh.

A: Pours a really dark brown color, nearly the color of a stout. A one finger khaki colored head fades quickly, leaving a clear view of the ominous looking beer.

S: At first, this smells like nothing but oak. But the more I let it open up, the more flavors started popping to the surface. Brown sugar, toffee, leather, tobacco and a pretty hearty smack of booze. Hints of banana bread and raisin as well. The oak fades a bit, but it's still pretty prominent.

T: Even as it warms, the oak comes through a lot more than I'd like, holding back the other flavors in here. Brown sugar and caramel come through along with a pretty big hit of booze. Some toffee, a slight hint of bourbon, and some more buttery oak on the finish. Definitely way too oak forward for me right now, but I can't wait to revisit this in a year or so.

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Photo of Kegatron
4.17/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle into a couple of snifters. 2007 vintage. 10% ABV.

Pours a ruddy brown, with a thin sudsy head of light mocha foam. This whips up a rich cascade up onto the sides of the glass, leaving back thick swathes of lacing. The aroma is quite dense and flavorful with notes of cocoa, molasses, oak, vanilla, and then some tea-like qualities that alternate between being tannic and herbal feeling in the nose.

The taste is equally robust, with heavy flavors of brown sugar, chocolate, molasses, green tannins, and then notes of roast and some dark fruit on the back. There is some heavy oxidation going on with this, which combos with the more woody character that is present to leave this VERY dry on the finish. Honestly, one of the driest that I’ve felt on a beer in a long time. The mouthfeel is full bodied and sharp up front which then gives way to more of a chewy creaminess along the back. This is hugely smooth for the size, with the alcohol contributing some added sweetness and spice to the profiles but not any real heat.

This was nice and aged very well, with that oxidation that was present mostly complimenting the other flavors and only got to be mildly distracting in spots. This was very rich and smooth overall though and I was glad that I finally found a proper time to open this guy. Now I just need to find a fresh bottle to compare…

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Photo of grittybrews
4.17/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2010 bottle, opened 10/2011. Poured a ruddy brownish orange with a small eggshell head. Sweet, sticky aroma with caramel, dark fruit, and alcohol.

Moderate carbonation and a thick, syrupy mouthfeel. Huge flavors with sweet caramel malt, molasses, prune and dark fruit, and a hint of tobacco/smoke on the finish. Some muddled, bitter hops are in hiding in there as well.

Big flavors and definitely boozy but I wouldn't have pegged it at 13 percent. Solid barleywine.

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Photo of Crosling
4.17/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark ruby. Wonderfully extracted caramel and chocolate malts in the nose, along with the barrel contribution which brings slight aromatics of cocunut, bourbon and wood. Fairly simple aroma but the flavor makes up for it. Chocolate covered raisin flavor with hints of caramel and oak and a touch of hops of the back of tonque. Full, coating flavor. A very good beer.

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Photo of Pencible
4.17/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2008 vintage. This poured a slightly hazy ruby color with some tan head. It smelled like raisin and honey wheat and brown sugar, with a bit of copper hops and creamy yeast and alcohol. It tasted like toffee and brown sugar and alcohol, with some raisin and honey wheat. It was oily with a bit of carbonation, and had a bitter metallic aftertaste. Overall this was a solid English barleywine, with nice malty scent and taste and good body. It was still pretty potent even after a year of aging, so this is definitely a sipping beer. Whisky and oak flavors weren't very apparent, which was somewhat disappointing. But this is still a great brew and very enjoyable.

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Photo of mykie73
4.15/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

a) Burgandy caramel, burnt amber color with small lacing

s) Complex. red apples, cherries, hint of figs, vanilla, toffee

t) delicious; tastes like it smells but with more toffee. lingering after taste. reminds me of eating a twix bar in away. can not taste the alcohol at all.

f) so smooth, does not coat mouth, great feel.

d) very drinkable. A spendy beer at $15 a pop so something you bring out for a special treat. Very happy that this beer is very available in Oregon. Tremendous Barley Wine.

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Photo of hopdog
4.15/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottled date of November '04.

Poured a dark and cloudy brown color with a small off white head. Aromas of vanilla, dark fruits and wood. Tastes of vanilla, dark fruits, brown sugar, and molasses. Sweet. Light alcohol in the finish. Overall a very tasty Barley Wine.

Notes from 4/15/05

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Photo of rudzud
4.15/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Received in a trade 2011 Vintage.

A - Poured into my Duvel tulip a nice crystal clear deep coppery mahogany hue with a nice one finger off white head that fades to leave a nice thin blanket.

S - Nice sweet (but not too sweet) malts and soft oak with good whiskey notes. Quite faint throughout.

T - Slightly hot, but to be expected. Softer, sweet malts light caramel and toffee, gentle oak and whiskey. Some nice intermingling but again its all rather light with some alcohol in the background.

M - Mouthfeel is spot on. Nicely carbonated here with those prickly bubbles keeping it up off the tongue. As it warms though it gets a bit thin.

O - Overall this was a good barleywine. Not great, just good. Slightly disappointed here, for the trouble it is to get Anchorage brews I had higher expectations for this one. There are readily available barleywines on the market I can get at a fraction.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
4.14/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bottle at City Beer. Poured into a snifter. 2010 bottle.

Appearance - No head. Murky brown with some reddish flecks. Ring of foam around the surface.

Smell - Oak is prominent. Bourbon and vanilla. Low barrel character next to other barreled barley wines, but it's nice. Slightly oxidized, but it's beneficial. Earthy hops join the caramel.

Taste - Even less barrel, but it's still nice. Caramel mostly, but oak and vanilla are close behind. Bourbon and oxidation blend in. Earthy finish. A little bitter.

Mouthfeel - Boozy, but I wouldn't guess 13.4%. Low carbonation. Bitter. Maybe even a bit thin and watery as the flavors drop off.

Overall - Excellent flavors. The oxidation is nice. The only downfall is the mouthfeel. Too thin in the finish.

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Photo of RoyalT
4.12/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance – This one poured a nice, glowing brown in color with an off-white head that frothed up good for a high-octane ABV.

Smell – Man, this is a big ‘un. The huge, roasty malts are thick and boozy. They are drenched in fruity and refined sugars. This nose is almost overpowering. If you like big Barley Wine bouquets, you have to buy this just for the smell.

Taste – The malts from the nose are thick and roasted at the taste as well. The alcohol is sharp but very confident in the flavor profile. The giant table sugars almost make this one feel like an English-style Barley Wine.

Mouthfeel – This one is in between medium and full in the body with a nice, almost stinging alcoholic mouthfeel.

Drinkability – This is not for everyone, but if you like your ABWs big, bold, and boozy (like I do) than this definitely is for you.

Comments – Ms. Skyhand busted out this Barley for her first annual Bring on Da Booze festival, and personally it was the highlight of the evening for me.

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Photo of Franziskaner
4.12/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Murky brown complexion. Like dirty River water. There's a beige fingernail around the rim. I smell a massively sweet malt bomb. The bitterness of the barley cuts the sweetness. It tastes massively sweet with a heavy malt presence. The mouth is sticky, chewy, thick, and dry.

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Photo of Czarkazm
4.12/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2014 Vintage, so about 1 year old. Brown pour but appears dark amber/red up to a light with a very small head consisting of medium sized bubbles. Bouquet includes strong caramel and toffee aromas, with burnt brown sugar, dark fruit, oak, and slight booze. Sticky sweet mouth feel, on the verge of cloying but this is expected in a 13.4% barleywine. More caramel and brown sugar sweetness in the taste, rum soaked raisins, the whiskey comes out more in the flavor along with the oak and vanilla, and a hint of spiciness.

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Photo of TexIndy
4.12/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got from Liquids Solutions last month but this seems to be an older vintage which suits me fine. This is no date on the label but the web address is wildales.com which they no longer use and the 2008 version had a date on the label, also this one says 10% and current version is 13.2% - so guessing 2007 at least if not older. Poured from a 22oz bomber into a Duvel tulip. Was a dark, dark reddish brown color. It had an average sized brown head that settled into a nice collar. Plenty of center carb from the laser etching. Quick sliding lace that doesn't stick.

The aroma was amazing and seems to have aged very nicely. Caramel and toffee dominant with dark fruits, oak and alcohol along for the ride. Very complex combination's that I found myself sniffing over and over. The taste followed the aroma but the alcohol jumped from the front to the back. Wish it was a little more toned down but still good and what you'd expect in a barleywine. Very sweet from start to the finish which ended up being just on the wrong side of cloyingly sweet. The mouthfeel is creamy but feels a little overcarbonated as it stings the tonuge at the end.

Overall, an excellent beer worthy of the praise. It's my first Midnight Sun and won't be the last if they are all this good. Would love to try this on tap. Very highly recommend. Rotation: not avail here and had to get thru mail order so this might be my only try of it for awhile. If here, I'd like a bottle a year.

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Photo of Bierguy5
4.12/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz. bottle, 10% ABV. Cloudy chestnut color. A thin tan head disappears almost immediately.

Dark fruit, caramel, figs, ripe fruits and pine in the aroma. A lot of complexity. Bourbon, and oak linger. Some vanilla and coconut. Very complex nose, quite enjoyable.

Lots of sweetness, caramel and figs galore. Comes close to being cloying. Bourbon and oak, along with vanilla round tings out. A fair amount of bitterness, but this is certainly malt driven. More dark fruits as it warms.

Medium body, with low carbonation. I wouold suspect that this will age wonderfully. Very nice.

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Photo of AgentZero
4.12/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Been looking to knock this one out for a while. Big thanks to spycow for the share. 2007 vintage.

A - Brownish beer with some slight ruby highlights that had a tan head. Dissappeared rather quickly to a small ring.

S - A good bit going on here. Some bourbon, a little wood, touch of vanilla, toasted caramel, dark fruit, slight bit of ether, little booze, burnt sugar.

T - Sweet, taste does follow the nose, although something fell a little flat for me. Someone else said that while this was good, it may have passed it's prime and other vintages have been mind blowing. Some good caramel, oak, burnt sugar, dark fruit, actually a little booze too, kind of surpring given how old it was.

M - Medium bodied, but it felt like it finished just a little bit light somehow. Lower carbonation.

O - Good beer, drank a little bit sweeter than I would have liked, but probably to be expected from an English Barleywine with some age on it. Would love to try some other vintages.

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Photo of karst
4.12/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2004 Nov release - 22 oz bottle from trade with Eagle River, Ak residents Tim and Julie

Standing around a campfire trying to thaw out the garden hose on a 20°F Sunday early afternoon - hardly Artic conditions but here in mid Missouri its time to break out the Barleywine. Brew club members Emit, Randy and I are brewing 10 gallons of a mild ale that will show off their 05 seasons fresh Cascade and centenial hops. As we start the mash with a full cooler of crushed 2-row and crystal and pour in 8 gallons of hot strike water I learn that Emit and Randy flew to Alaska for a 5 day fishing trip and that their accomadations included Alaskan Amber Ale on tap!

The Midnight Sun Artic Devil Barley Wine added to the telling on many fishing stories as we built up a small campfire next to the brewkettle.

By the third pour it was evident that the clear dark chestnut body was without sediment. More tan head than I expected for barleywine - quickly falling (expected for a 10% abv ale). With the naked surface catching mid day sun ruby highlights outline the three pint glasses.

Aroma of dark fruits - plumbs and raisins combine with cherry and sweet caramel with the alcohol rising to a near cognac level never dominating or becomming too prominate. Too good to hide. The tales of artic fishing continue. Silver salmon, chum salmon and pink salmon congregate in slack-water areas off the main river channel and providing fast action on the
fly . . . .

Flavors that would complement the five star meals served by the two chefs attending Emit and Randy at their long days ends back at their lodge. Complex caramel malts oak flavors swimming in alcolic hopped liquid. Randy, a hophead noted that it was still hoppy thinking that it was this years release - and could use a few more month in the cellar. I did not tell him it was already had a year of aging. I found the hop/malt balance very nice with the bitterness and alcohol countering the sweetness.

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Photo of TheEarl
4.12/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 2014 vintage bottle into two snifters. Thanks to Jordan at Chuck’s CD for suggesting this one.

Appearance: Brownish/red, extremely cloudy, little or no head/foam.

Aroma: Alcohol, over-ripe plum, raisin, caramel, fruitcake,, cherry, oak, vanilla.

Taste: Follows aroma--hot, intense malt with oxidized aftertaste, mild hop bitterness, very sweet.

Mouthfeel: Slightly thin, medium viscosity, low carbonation, present alcohol.

Overall: Arctic Devil is a world-class barleywine with the perfect ammount of wood to round it out. The booze can be a bit rough but, with a year or two in the cellar, I expect great things.

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Photo of brentk56
4.12/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2007 bottling

Appearance: With a hard pour the beer raises a minimal head that squatts on the hazy tea-brown liquid; fading quickly to a ringlet, it leaves some leggy lacing behind

Smell: Toffee, figs, mulled cider spicing and discernable alcohol, even after four years

Taste: The toffee and fig flavors jump out from the moment the liquid touches the tongue, with bigger fruit, earthy hop and burning alcohol elements arriving shortly thereafter; in the finish, the sweet and fruity flavors blend with a pipe tobacco character to provide a complex finish

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with low to moderate carbonation; plenty of warmth, still

Overall: A very nice English Barleywine, indeed, though it doesn't jump out at me as being extraordinary; perhaps it has something to do with the age, though this is still quite potent

I cannot remember who sent it to me as I kept this one in the cellar for quite some time; thanks to whomever

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Photo of s1ckboy
4.12/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011 bottle with about a year of age on it.

A - Orange/Red body, 1/2 finger of of white head.

S - Oak, bourbon, dark fruits, sweet.

T - Oak, booze (not necessarily bourbon), figs, red wine.

M - Surprisingly light mouthfeel, smooth carbonation

Vey good, was expecting more given it's reputation.

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Photo of jrallen34
4.12/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I drank this 2008 vintage from a 22oz bottle into my Rochefort chalice.

The beer pours a dark brown with a little tan head, not much head, retention or lacing.

The aroma has tons of malts, very sweet. Vanilla dominates with a little bourbon, and wood. Its very subtle which makes it very easy to smell.

The taste is a little rougher than the aroma, bringing a lot of wood to the front with a little vanilla at the end. It has a pretty smooth finish with lots of wood

The feel is good, drinkability pretty good.

Overall, this is a pretty good bw, one of my favs. Better than most but remotely as good as the perfect storm, and probably not a top 100 beer.

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Photo of alcstradamus
4.1/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Cola brown pour with a nice cascade effect that formed two fingers of head. Settles to a nice collar of bubbles after a couple of minutes.

Holy cow the nose on this one is in-your-face. Huge caramel malts, wood, and complex bourbon aromas. I had to go read up on this beer and see if it ever hit bourbon barrels. Apparently every batch is different in terms of what type of oak barrels it sits in. Interesting.

The taste is good, but not quite on par with the nose. I think this one still needs to age some more even though it is a year old...the oak character is somewhat harsh at this point and it definitely needs to round out a bit more. Still though, what an impressive beer. Not as sweet as most English Barleywines, but definitely as flavorful.

The body is on the full side of medium. There is definitely a big alcohol presence, so if you are drinking this one with a year or less on it I would definitely recommend splitting it with 2 or 3 other people. A very fine sipping beer, but one that I will age for a few years before cracking again.

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Photo of emmasdad
4.1/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Received this bottle in a trade last summer; the bottle is not dated, so I have no idea how old it is. Poured from the bottle into a Duvel tulip. Pours a rich, dark brown, with a nice, fluffy tan head. The head dissapates quickly, leaving scattered bubbles across the surface. Some oxidation up front on the nose, followed by dark fruit (raisins, sour cherries), red wine, oak and sweet malt. Mouthfeel is thick and chewy. On the palate it is very sweet and vinuous, with suggestions of cherry, fig and winey alcohol. Finishes slightly dry and bitter.
Overall very nice, improving nicely as it warms.

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Photo of oline73
4.09/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a tasting snifter. I had this during our BA Barleywine tasting. The bottle is from 2010.

Pours a dark reddish amber. This beer had more of a bitter note to it than many of the other beers opened that night. There is a strong sweet presence to balance things out, but I would have liked the bitterness to be a bit milder. I'm getting some booze, but it's still quite smooth. There is a nice caramel note in the background. The body is thick with smooth carbonation and a dry finish.

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Photo of SitkaSteve
4.09/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was poured into a snifter.
The appearance was a ruddy hazy almost dark brown color with a light slim finger's worth of off-white head. Lacing slid into the beer.
The smell had some light tobacco, vanilla, sweet figs, cocoa, cake and a light amount of wood.
The taste was centered around the sweetness of the previously mentioned flavors. Tobacco comes back to dry and add some balance. There's a light semi-sweet dry aftertaste and a quick dry finish.
The mouthfeel was about medium bodied with a nice sweet sipping quality to it. Carbonation runs light enough to not detract from the tobacco-esque flavor drying out my tongue.
Overall, I used to live in Alaska and remember sipping this by the fire on cold Winter's nights. Super glad I was able to find a bottle recently to reminisce a little.

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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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