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Cantillon Lambic | Brasserie Cantillon

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55 Reviews
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Brewed by:
Brasserie Cantillon

Style: Lambic - Unblended

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by TheLongBeachBum on 12-30-2002

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Reviews: 55 | Ratings: 244
Photo of Radome
4.39/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Tasted at the brewery after taking the self-guided tour. The beer was introduced as the unblended base lambic, meant to demonstrate the building block that will be blended and fruit-infused to create other beers.

A - Golden with some orange highlights; fairly clear. No head at all, just a handful of thin bubbles around the edge of the glass.

S - Aroma is unexpectedly delicate. I get some dry malt graininess, and slight cheese-like funk; however, the biggest element is a gentle, sweet citrus. Others have called it lemony or lemongrass, but I get sweet oranges--mandarin oranges are the closest reference I've got.

T - Flavors are not assertive. There is a low, somewhat sharp blue-cheese note, low bready malt, and again the sweet orange note. No hops flavor, as expected.

M - Light body, no hops bitterness noticeable. No carbonation--totally flat. No alcohol sensation.

O - This is a very enjoyable, easy-drinking beer. I am not a huge fan of lambics, but this one is very impressive for a "work in progress" that is meant for blending and not intended to be sold on its own.

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Photo of woosterbill
4.38/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Cask at Moeder Lambic Fontainas, served in a Cantillon tulip.

A: Hazy deep gold body under a finger of surprisingly persistent off-white froth. Spotty lace, even. Great.

S: Delicate yet dirty, with hay, barnyard, lemon, apple, and straight acidity. Solid.

T: Very funky, with some cheese joining the barnyard and hay from the nose. Some fruity lends sweetness and tartness to the back half, with green apple being prominent. Fairly dry, tart finish. Great stuff.

M: Soft, light-to-medium body with delicate carbonation. Terrific.

O: This is probably the best unblended one-year-old Lambic I've had. It can't match the depth of a well-aged Bruocsella, or De Cam Oude Lambik, but it's still great stuff.


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Photo of ggaughan
4.37/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Monk's in the back bar. The beer poured a hazy golden color with no carbonation into a tall flute glass.The aroma gives you citrus and a bit of farmy funk that you would expect from Cantillon beers. The taste is a very citrusy, barnyard mix that is enjoyable to the mouth and tastebuds. This is enjoyable for a sour beer as I found myself looking for another and another as it is drinkable.

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Photo of patre_tim
4.34/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Really couldy but fine particles floating within, slightly milky, no carbonation, no head.

S: The sour, grainy, mash and the same oak aged scent that pervades the brewery all come through in this beer. Dry and Fruity.

T: No carbonation, grain mash and oak, dry, almost an apricot quality, sour.

M: No carbonation, very dry.

O: Drank at Cantillon Brewery, awesome experience. This one came with the brewery tour.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
4.33/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

New review. The bottle I had before was suspect. This time, I tried the beer at Moeder Lambic Fontainas. The next day I had this again at Cantillon.

The beer is hazy and copper hued with a thick head. The aroma is funky and fabulous, and of course, embodies that classic Cantillon scent I have come to love. The flavor is fabulous. Earthy, fresh, funky, musty, damp basement, rain, straw, hay, farm. Complex and yet so easy to drink. Light in body but not thin. A wonderful lambic.

***Original review 07 July 2012***

Bottle shared by ygtbsm94. Thanks Brad.

1998 vintage

The beer is transparent and copper to amber in color. No head whatsoever. The aroma brings basement, rain water, funk. The taste is much sweeter than anticipated. A bit of Cantillon funk in the finish, but not to the usual level. Notes of ripe fruit. Overall, this was just ok. I look forward to trying this from the source and comparing to this vintage bottle version.

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Photo of dirtylou
4.32/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

on-cask at the brewery, consumed while waiting out some rain

reviewed from brief notes

appearance: served in cantillon wine glass, hazy straw body, light beige ring, low carbonation

smell: really raw, funky, oak, white wine

taste: one of the funkier cantillons on our visit - a completely raw unblended lambic on cask for 2 euros - give me a break. this lambic has a nice must to it with lots of barnyard funk, hay, sour lemon, and grassy characteristics.

mouthfeel: no carbonation as expected, nice tartness

drinkability: good

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Photo of MasterSki
4.32/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Firstly, I'm not even sure what to call the serving type - Dave Schuster and I were at the Cantillon brewery and were getting our samples at the end of the tour. I politely asked if they had an Faro or unblended Lambic and was told that there wasn't any around. Then an older man put on an apron, grabbed a hammer, bucket, and pitcher, went off somewhere and came back with a pitcher full of the unblended Lambic. Much appreciated - lovely people at Cantillon. Served in a flute glass - this was 2 years old.

A - Well, as per the style it was totally uncarbonated - there was maybe a touch of wispy foam if one swished it around and the faintest ring around the edge of the glass. The brew was a hazed golden apricot color with some visible sediment. I'm not sure how to objectively review this - the color was nice, but as beer it was not what one generally seeks out. I guess it was good for what it was?

S - Super funk with some sourness, some white wine, oak, apple cider vinegar, horse blanket, and mustiness. The funkiness is quite potent and the other smells are mostly peripheral. Still it's not aggressive like some of the gueuze I've had, and it's quite nice.

T - The taste is much milder and more mellow - a lot of graham cracker and marmalade sweetness that ends with a sour and funky finish. It actually reminded me of Zwanze '08, which isn't surprising as the lambic portion is about the same age and is the "base beer" for Zwanze.

M - Very similar to white wine - soft, some residual dry sourness, light side of medium bodied. Not a ton to describe here, but it was nice.

D - I'd heard so much about unblended lambic being aggressive and harsh, but this wasn't any of those things. The cask-style texture, low ABV, and lovely taste make this extremely session-worthy. Indeed this used to be the most popular Cantillon product 100 years ago.

Highly recommended if you happen to be in Brussels.

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Photo of lacqueredmouse
4.3/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had from cask at Moeder Lambic, not far from the Cantillon Brewery itself.

Pours with a frothy head, but definitely uncarbonated. A bright and hazed golden colour forms the body. It's misty, tantalising and very refined. Head froths itself out after a while; it's just a product of the disturbance from the pour. Looks good though.

Nose is sharp and brusque, with a green crisp acidity, and a hint of rubber. Green apple skin with a touch of moldy undergrowth. Not as pungent as the most rip-roaring gueuzes, for example. For some reason I expected an unblended lambic to be sharper and stronger.

Taste is good. So good. Crisp and biting, and almost bitter-sour. Complex green apple skin mixes with melon and grapefruit tartness with a raw green bite on the back that gives an almost tannic character. Smooth and fruity, but missing some complexity that the gueuze blending gives. Feel is slick, light and flat from cask.

Very drinkable, and very enjoyable. A really good experience. This is definitely worth trying when you get the chance. And the temptation is surely great enough that every beer geek will get the chance at some point.

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Photo of smakawhat
4.28/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured on tap into a tumbler at Churchkey as part of Zwanze day 2012. From notes, 2 year unblended.

Ok I am sure I am going to get some hatred on this one, but I have to be honest with myself here from all the Cantillon fanboys (and ladies). I know of course lambics can come out without any head, that's fine. That's not my issue with appearance on this. My issue is this looks in the glass like a urine sample. Golden urine yellow, the odd tiny bubble creeps up or sticks to the glass, and clear. I am sorry gang this doesn't look appetizing appearance wise, that's just me. Let's get to the more enjoyable parts of this now shall we.

Bouquet has a real nice brine salt character, and mixture of classic funk notes. Lemon tang punches in nicely also.

Palate hits with a real big almost thick vinegar body. Somewhere between white wine and rice vinegar acid, chewy and dense. Finish hits with a real hint of strangely faint sweetness slightly masking over the sourness. Heavily earthy and lots of soil dirt in the mid palate, also bringing much of the classic lemon sensing nose to taste.

Overall it's a solid lambic, even if it doesn't look like something I would want to drink.

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Photo of WillCarrera
4.22/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Churchkey for Zwanze 2012, aged 2 years. Poured into a pint glass.

A- Pours a clear golden orange color with a thin white head that quickly fades.

S- Very funky, some barnyard character but also lots of musty cheese, lemony citrus and some wood.

T- Similar to the nose, lots of funk with hay and cheese, decent amount of lemony tartness and lactic acidity, the finish is super dry and astringent with some wood flavor.

M- Light-bodied, bone dry with light acidity.

O- A very interesting beer, not my favorite from Cantillon but it's still a great beer and cool to compare to Bruocsella.

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Photo of bylerteck
4.22/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Moeder Lambic in Brussels. From notes.

A - Poured with a great fluffy white head at two fingers. Slight haze on a blonde body. Great retention but not lacing. Retention made up for it as it stayed solid.

S - Hay with a little cobweb. Very grapey as well.

T - Really sour. Horse blankety and pissy. Not sure how to describe alot of the characteristics, but I enjoyed it quite a bit.

M - Light body with medium carbonation. Like every Cantillon beer, this really attacks every corner of your mouth nicely.

O/D - I'm so jealous that people in Brussels can session this so easily. Quite a nice little sour beer. Lot's of flavour and an ABV considered low these days. It's worth marvelling at.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.17/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On cask at the Cantillon Brewery and Museum during last week's Belgium trip. Reviewed from notes.

Served in a Cantillon big-bowl wine glass.

Pours a clear bright orange color with just a few bubbles on top. No head or lacing at all. Pretty color though.

The nose brings forward a light funky cheese along with a touch of lemon peel. The flavor goes more toward the cheese with a bit of a blue-cheese character and light acidity. A slight lingering bitterness is present as well.

Light body with no carbonation. Super thin. Light acidity. Very nice sipper.

This was our first beer after getting off the plane and it did not disappoint. Great way to start the trip.

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Photo of stakem
4.17/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Draft offering of a 2 year year old unblended lambic. The brew appears a clear golden orange through body and more yellowish around the edges. A few larger sized bubbles hang around the perimeter of the glass.

The nose has notes of cheese, oak and vinegar with a slight edge of something fruity like pear and citrus zest. Very clean smelling with a nice complexity and overall enjoyable set of balanced aromatics.

The flavor is a bit like coder at first and surprisingly more focuse on alcohol esters than I would have guessed. Some notes of pear mix with a woody earth inclusion and an herbal bitterness brings in the finish.

This is a medium bodied brew with a lower level of carbonation. A kiss of alcohol keeps things interesting. This was tart but not puckeringly so. I found myself crushing my glass quicker than I wanted to was left wanting to drink more. I dont know how often a treat like this comes around but if you get a chance, you need to try this.

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Photo of rowingbrewer
4.17/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is an excellent lambic by cantillon, enjoyed on tap at armsby abbey on zwanze day.

this beer pours a nice yellow straw color and completely transparent, with no head.

the smell is quite funky with some definite barkyard and musty cellar notes. there is a hint of tart green apple in the smell.

the taste is pretty similar to the nose, lightly tart very funky and extremely drinkable.

mouthfeel is almost completely still, maybe due to being force served from the keg a small amount of CO2 dissolved into the beer.

overall this beer is great, but i do prefer 1900 grand cru

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Photo of StJamesGate
4.15/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On cask at the GBBF.
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours murky orange with no head. Sweet vinegar nose. Lemon with a musty edge, hay and a cider bite. Light, clean, dry.

My first unblended lambic, so not sure what this is supposed to taste like. Not unpleasant; I finished a half pint without struggling.

2nd tasting:
From the barrel at the brewery, Brussels.
Hazy dark gold with no head. 4
Soft yellow apple, oak, flowers, cider vinegar, and a touch of acetone on the nose. 4
More yellow apple, the gentlest sourness, white grapefruit zest, some Band-Aids, and a slightly earthy linger. 4.25
Crisp, soft, round. 4

Appley, but a bit rough, too. Supremely mellow either way. Second day’s tasting revealed a bit whack of acetone, though, so there may be some variation in what they serve up to the tourists. 4.25

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Photo of FalconCount
4.13/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured at the brewery after the tour. Fantastic experience, and tasting it where it is created certainly adds to the overall experience. A must do if in the area.

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Photo of Beerenauslese
4.12/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Body is an orange gold with no head or carbonation.

Smells of wet hay, citrus, old wood, and leather.

Taste follows the nose. Light malt, wet hay, horse blanket, lemon rind and grapefruit rind. Characteristic Cantillon funkiness. Starts a little sweet, ends dry and bitter.

Mouthfeel is flat, as lambics typically are, so it is more about the taste sensation. This is delightfully sour with a dry finish.

Overall, a very refreshing beer and infinitely drinkable. This is the foundation of many Cantillon beers.

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Photo of Arbitrator
4.12/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a glass poured out of a pitcher at the Cantillon brewery -- same story as MasterSki below, so I'm going with the "cask" designation. I was informed that this was an unblended January 2008 lambic.

A: No carbonation, but that's expected for something that was served out of the casks or whatever they're stored in. It generated some bubbles when swirled in the tulip, but that's about it. The body was a apricot/gold color with swirling sediment that gave it a glowing, murky appearance.

S: Very funky, with horse blanket and musty aromas. A lighter sourness was also present, with definite apple and white wine character to it. Tannins, as well.

T: Starts off tasting like orange and grapes, but it gets sour shortly, and extremely funky shortly after that. The final flavor is a lightly dry assortment of horse blanket and barnyard flavors, with the white wine and apple that I picked up in the nose.

M: Light-medium bodied, no carbonation except the mildest touch of bubbles, and a slightly dry finish with lingering funk.

D: I found this to be a relatively mild beer after having my palate conditioned by a taste of the Rose de Gambrinus. It was funky, but not in nearly as aggressive a manner as, say, DF Hommage. Nor was it sharply dry. Overall, it was very pleasant to drink.

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Photo of biegaman
4.08/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On cask at Moeder Lambic, in Brussels.

Cantillon Lambic has a honey hue and is topped with a pillow - no, strike that, a mattress - of white head. Its complexion is clear but the tone is significantly dulled by haze. There's nothing really in the appearance to indicate what an unusual and unique style of beer this is.

To modern mainstream drinkers, Lambic will smell as if quality control has not been invented yet. It is overtly sour and funky, with a vinegar-like tang and an earthy mustiness like that you'd find in a barnyard. Cantillon's personifies all these "unique" qualities unapologetically.

The tartness of the flavour, however, is somewhat dialed down on the palate by a crisp straw-like and lightly honeyed maltiness as well as minor hints of marmalade. It can be difficult to get a good grasp on the flavour, not only because it's so distinct from other beers but also because the mouth dries up almost instantly.

Despite the unyielding persistence of foam atop, the beer is entirely flat. This is no surprise since it's served from cask (and hence the only carbonation mustered comes from gravity). This sample is also rather on the warm side (again, no surprise given it's July). Combined, these factors allow the acidic tartness to invade and conquer the aftertaste unencumbered.

Unblended lambics have no smooth edges. They can typically be summed up in three words: funk, funk, and funk. Both literally and figuratively they lack the 'pop' of Gueuzes and instead really narrow in on those aspects of the style that most resemble, as Martyn Cornell has put it, "a rugby team changing-room after a tough match on a hot day". Sound appealing? Strangely, it is!

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Photo of orangesol
4.07/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served on-tap at Churchkey on Zwanze day 2012.

A - Pours slightly hazy straw yellow with a small half finger tall bubbly white head, dissipating down to nothing at all, leaving no lace at all down the glass.

S - Smell is pretty muted until it fully warms up. Hints of funky cheese, damp oak, basement must, some lemon zest and a dash of vinegar.

T - Starts off with a big sour kick that fades as quickly as it hit you leaving behind hints of lemon zest, musty funk, dry oak and a dash of booze burn. Finish is funky with a moderate amount of dryness, doesn't stick around too long tho.

M - Light with very light carbonation. Its has a tart feel but it does't linger for very long, allowing it to be consumed quite easily.

O - I feel like this is exactly what an unblended two year old lambic should taste. Sure its a little rough around the edges, but thats why its perfect for blending and fruit additions. I am glad I got to try this, I look forward to having it again one day, hopefully a little closer to the source.

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Photo of LeeryLeprechaun
4.06/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer is a murky pale yellow/golden color. No head on the beer and no carbonation, still.

The beer is sour in aroma like vinegar. Notes of lemon grass, a lot of funk, some goat, and you can smell the acidity.

The beer bites your tongue, very sour and acidic with some lactic acid.

Mouthfeel is medium and a little hard to make our with the sourness.

The beer is very sharp in the finish, not a rounded sourness.

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of Slatetank
4.06/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this 1 yr old lambic side by side with the bottled Geuuze at Cantillion, served slightly chilled in a taster.

The color is golden with light haze and no head with some small bubbles -but it has a 'cask look' meaning lightly carbonation appearance and no lace.
The smell is great with sour aroma of wild yeast with light funk and wood with mild malt and lemon rind with tangy tropical scent. The feel is dry and tangy with light body and very sour effect with woody tannin and dry vinous and sour finish with practically no carbonation -(cellar temp/flat)

The flavor is good with a raw yet not extreme sour flavor of lambic with mild funk -still refined in its unblended young form fresh with lemony and woody elements yet the nice tropical tangy juicy flavor is not as intense with light acidity. Overall very good and was interesting to try side by side with a more finished tasting fresh bottle of Gueuze which lets you understand the progression of the flavor and feel better.

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Photo of Seanniek91
4.05/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Notes from Cantilon Brewery. Served from a ceramic jug into a sherry glass. Room temp.

A-Cloufy golden/orange with no head or lacing.

S-Some lemon and orange with that Cantillon funk. Some hay and earthy aromas.

T-Lemon and grass. Earthy citrus with a bitter lemon peel finish.

M-Smooth, dry, flat. Room temp is perfect. I think I'd dislike it if it was cold.

O-Nice treat to be able to try it at the brewery. Good, but not the best of their offerings by any means.

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Photo of cps98
4.05/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A – Cloudy, deep yellow light orange color. No head was seen but light lacing was present for the better part.

S – Really sweet aroma, lots of Brett funk present also some hints of citrus.

T – I got a lot of citrus notes like lemon, and grapefruit. Lots of lactic acid.

M – light bodied, really dry. Little to no carbonation.

O – This was a really nice 2 year lambic on tap. Clean crisp flavors, some layers of funk and acid. I really liked this since the Brett didn’t get too funky.

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Photo of cpetrone84
4/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on tap at Moeder Lambic. Pour is a peachy yellow, mostly transparent with a thin off white head. The nose has a touch of lemon with a nice dusty funk to it, cob webbs and light leather, more lemon with some golden fruits faintly weaved in at the end. The taste is extremely dusty and funky, very old bookshelf. There is some tart lemon that comes in as peaches, golden fruits and some floral bitter hops present themselves behind in order. The body is light, very gentle, soft carbonation and rather dry in the finish. Funky is the focus, age may add some fruit as this is probably a newer oude lambic.

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Cantillon Lambic from Brasserie Cantillon
4.11 out of 5 based on 244 ratings.
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