Cantillon Zwanze 2013 | Brasserie Cantillon

27 Reviews
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Brewed by:
Brasserie Cantillon

Style: Tripel

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.20%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
"This Zwanze is not a Lambic. As you know, everyone can produce an abbey beer in Belgium, and my goal was to brew a top fermentation 'abbey style' mixed with a double spontaneous inoculation (natural one coming from the wild yeast present in the brewery and from the 10% Lambic we added after the first fermentation."

"In Brussels dialect, 'zwanzer' is joking—and if we called this beer Abbaye de Cureghem, it's to laugh about the fake legend built around some belgian abbey beers. Cantillon is located in the Cureghem area but the Cureghem Abbey never existed!"

Added by MasterSki on 07-31-2013

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 27 | Ratings: 238
Photo of TX-Badger
4.25/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle at Cantillon. Pours a hazy golden amber color with white head. Funk, tartness, spice and light fruits on the nose; follows onto the palate. Finishes spicy, tart, and dry.

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Photo of snaotheus
3.75/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

750ml bottle split amongst a bunch of wine glasses at the Cantillon brewery.

Pours cloudy amber with a slight head. Smell is musty, sour, yeasty. Something spicy about it.

Taste has a hint of banana and some kind of green plant. Strong bitterness.

Mouthfeel is still great, but a little flat. Overall, interesting, quite good beer.

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Photo of Slatetank
4.4/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

I enjoyed this bottle at Moeder Lambic shared with my wife served in a cantillon goblet.
The color is deep amber almost copper with light haze and thick white head that falls to a ring of fine beads...visibly carbonated. The smell has a soft sour aroma with light citrus and wood with heavy aromatics like a humidor with mild sweet toasted aroma and subtle floral hop accent. The feel is great light bitter entry with moderately low carbonation for the style with subtle woody texture and light sweet with tangy and soft astringent aspect with light fade from fruity and woody into hoppy and dry finish.

The flavor has a clean smooth malt with slight sour entry and mix of tropical flavor like grapefruit and sweet orange rind mixed with a herbal and lightly woody toasted flavor and gentle toasted grain brings more yeast with light lactic notes and mild funk in the background with a subtle caramel tinge with elements of lemon and a bit of quince-like tropical fruit bitter yet pear/lime like fruitiness is there as well. Overall I loved this it was not really what I think of when I think tripel, but that is really not what this beer is about is a spontaneously fermented tripel style with smooth artfully crafted and delicate experience with no one flavor taking the spotlight - the blend showcases the best of a strong yet wild ale.

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Photo of cpetrone84
3.33/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Pour is dark orangish amber with a ruby note. Nose has a light berry fruit to it, some mushroom notes and a bit muddled. Light wood and a touch of vinegar ever so light. Taste is sweet up front, like a cherry but dirty. Mushroom faintly adding funk with an off flavor in the finish. Something chemically and slightly burnt and bitter. Body thins out in the finish slightly, extremely soft and delicate feel with gentle carbonation.

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Photo of MasterSki
3.78/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

On-tap at West Lakeview Liquors. Served in the accompanying Cantillon tulip.

A - Off-white foam settles to a solid cap, thick collar, and minimal lacing. Lightly hazed amber-orange body. Looks like a Belgian tripel alright.

S - Funky, musty, and earthy, with notes of mineral and green apple, layered over top of a candi sugar and stone fruit malt backdrop. Smells like a sweet, malty gueuze; a touch like Staffe Winter actually but not as complex or acidic.

T - The taste is quite similar, with a hefty dose of malt sweetness and some milled grains. Secondary notes of dry, earthy brett and a mildy medicinal finish. Not particularly acidic; more of a funky Abbey ale than a lambic. Alcohol is quite well-hidden.

M - Creamy, smooth, soft texture, with sufficient heft to support the higher ABV. Carbonation is pretty low, and the finish is fairly dry considering the pronounced malt character. Again, there's no alcohol heat.

D - An OK beer, but not one of Cantillon's strongest experiments; I preferred the Iris Grand Cru that was poured later in the day to be honest. That being said, I'm curious how this will develop as I was similarly indifferent to Zwanze 2010 and it is now quite excellent.

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Photo of magictacosinus
3.84/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Had a chance to try this on Zwanze Day back in mid-September at Mikkeller Bar SF, somehow, as it was almost gone by the time they let us non ticket holders into the bar. Poured into a 20cl glass for $12.

Pours an orange-amber color with slight reddish or tanned tones at the rim of the glass. Totally different from pretty much any Cantillon beer I've seen to date, which usually are far more vinous and glimmering in appearance. Contains an off-white head at the top of the glass that slowly dissipates but somehow leaves a ring behind in its wake. Relatively bubbly, but very mild overall. They definitely weren't trying to go for a traditional Lambic here, but this doesn't stand out as anything new or unique in this case.

The aroma is definitely a step up, but definitely different from the entire catalog of Cantillon's beers that I have tried so far. Rather than retain an acidic or tart uniform aroma, this contains, rather, the musty and slightly wild phenols that are consistent to their recipes - damp stone fruit, lemon peel, musty apricots, and tons of stone-y moldiness - the same kind that I've most certainly experienced from entering various old basements or stone caves at the bottom of houses or castles that were a hundred years old in my trips through Europe. There's a strong caramel and light sharp sweetness underneath, but I definitely enjoy the mineral-y, musty flavor that permeates throughout. It's a little too one dimensional but it's fun to see a tripel take on this mutated form of sorts.

The flavor and body are consistent with the aroma, displaying the same amount of stone fruit and mineral musty texture, but most definitely not as over-the-top as I anticipated. After all, this is merely a 10% spontaneously fermented beer, and there's mostly the emphasis to tweak the style as we know it. Notes of overripe peaches, apricots, bruised bananas and apples come with, with light tropical aromas combined with grape must (reminds me a bit of a slightly sweet Gewürztraminer) and more of the funk from the yeast and Cantillon's typical brewing environment. Creamy and thick, and definitely enjoyable to drink, albeit a bit lacking in complexity and diversity overall.

I can see why people have been let down by this, but I can honestly say that as a fan of tripels, and as somehow who's grown tired over the super sweet varieties (as well as those that play off of the "Abbey" legends), this is a pretty nice twist on the style. It could have definitely been more for the price, and it's not super memorable, but a lesser stellar Cantillon beer is definitely better than most funky beers out there. Just a bit pricey and a bit over-hyped.

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Photo of jrenihan
4.01/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

On-tap at Bar Volo during Zwanze Day.

Beer is orange, with almost no head.

Smell contains tart fruit, Brett. Honey, spice. Yeast. Light fruits. A very unusual nose.

Taste is also very unusual and hard to classify or compare. Fairly tart, with light fruits. Quite malty, with bready caramel flavours. Very dry. The finish is quite bitter, which does not fit well and detracts.

Medium bodied, low to moderate carbonation, Puckery, refreshing.

Overall, a very unusual beer and very hard to assign any rating to. Obviously it has been slaughtered by most reviews, but I think it was quite good. It is not up to Cantillon's regular lineup of beers, and it did not live up to the crazy hype for Zwanze, but it has a lot of merit in its own right.

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Photo of Beer-A-Lot
3.93/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I found Zwanze to be smooth, easy drinking. Certain not hugely sour or boozy. Consumed after lots and lots of sours and other beers and because I had another party to go to I had to chug pretty fast. Still it wasn't unappealing at all. Sure it could have used more in the way of complexity and sour flavors but I still enjoyed it.

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Photo of rlee1390
3.99/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A-Cloudy orange, one finger head, nicely carbonated.

S-Funk, grapes, plums, cherries and oak.

T-A let down from the nose. Started with grapes, plums, wheat and oak. A very mild funk. But the finish leaves something to be desired.

M-Medium bodied, flat finish and not that crisp.

O-Not as good as the other Cantillons. Still not awful like some reviews say it is, but given the lofty standards of Cantillon, more was desired.

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Photo of bylerteck
3.51/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Spent 4 hours round-trip on a bus and 2 and a quarter hours in line for this puppy. On tap at the Zwanze Day/DDC XV anniversary party at DDC in Montreal. From notes.

A - Pour was cloudy burnt orange in my light with mild carbonation. Loose half finger of white head fizzled fast leaving no lace and a film of retention. What you'd expect from a Cantillon beer.

S - Sweeter than expected off the bat. Tart grapes, cat piss. Not a ton of complexity.

T - Bretty and funky with a decent amount of tartness. Grape must, lemon, acidic but not overly so. Moldy grapes were the definite odd point with a sweet note leaning to more of a Belgian candi sugar influence.

M - Mild carbonation, light body, tart and dry finish. Would've expected more carbonation and a bigger body.

O/D - Overall, a decent beer. Considering the effort and hype involved, it was disappointing. I definitely didn't feel like getting it again and it seemed like a less tart and sweeter than usual beer for Cantillon. Good, but something that will lessen their reputation in my mind for sure.

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Photo of EgadBananas
3.07/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Pours a hazy orange with yellow hues and a thin whispy cap adorns. The aroma has a little funk, yeast esters, pales fruits, clove, spicy earthiness, touch of fruity sweetness. The taste is less funky, more yeast esters, spicy pale Belgian malts, biscuit, fruitiness. Low carbonation, medium body, bit of creaminess.

Maybe it was the Cuvée St. Gilloise that blew me away before having the Zwanze that made this somewhat disappointing...but it was dissapointing.

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

An enormous thank you goes out to Matt for ensuring I was able to try this. 6 ounce sample into my Cantillon taster.

The beer appears orange and fairly hazy with a thin head. The aroma offers lambic funk, oak, citrus, Belgian yeast character, earth, white wine. An odd flavor, and certainly a departure from the norm for Cantillon. The taste is more of a lambic than an abbey ale. This beer seems trapped in an identity crisis, caught between two styles. While the beer is decent enough and I will happily enjoy the rest of the glass, this is not up to the world class standard that I have come to expect from Cantillon. It's funny that a "disappointing" beer from Cantillon is still delicious.

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Photo of cbutova
3.08/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

A- Dark amber into a stemmed flute of sorts. Small amount of bubbles in the beer and it looks like the carbonation is gonna be quite low. A small white ring around the edges but no lace anywhere. Looks kind of like a cider eventually.

S- Apple cider comes to mind instantly as well as some wet barnyard funk, vinous grapes and oak barrels. Toasted sweet hints and lemon zest tartness. Some red fruit like strawberry.

T- Lemon tartness and Cantillon barnyard horse funk up front but not in the same amounts as other brews by them. The finish seems almost non-existent, I don't know why it lacks an after taste so much. Other things that come to mind are apple cider, vinegar, apple juice, pears, super ripe strawberry and Belgian yeast spice. Some brown malts.

MF- Super low carbonation in a watery light end body. Some tartness but not sour like lambics. Just an overall lack of texture for me.

To me the big problem with this is the lack of carbonation leading to a super watery mouthfeel and somehow it just lacks a back end to the flavor, no lingering aftertaste. Nice funk and tartness but not much else for me.

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Photo of dar482
4.17/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

I had this at Spuyten Duyvil.

The beer comes in this deep glowing orange color.

The aroma is tart, with some funk and lots of vinegar.

The flavor follows with tons of apple cider vinegar flavor with a bit of apple tartness. There's an underlying barnyard funk. The middle has some sweet bready malt, but it's pretty faint. Then it hits with some pear, white grape, and oak note. That with a bit of a herbal and earthy finish.

In the end, this is a wonderful beer, but not at the level of the other Cantillon beers I've had. It's a bit one note and musty for me.

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Photo of emerge077
4.05/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap during Zwanze Day 2013. Quick review from written notes.

Hazy amber orange color, thin layer of off white foam on the surface that parts quickly.

Unusual aroma, wet wood and some malt presence, a little musty.

Lightly malty and somewhat tart with an intricate funk from the lambic addition, firmly bitter and dry aftertaste. Medium bodied, the malt content makes the body a bit more significant. The bitterness and malty notes are reminiscent of Iris somewhat, though it's clearly it's own thing. Not bad, a unique experiment.

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

On tap @ Jester King

Pours a clear orange with a thin white head.

Caramel, spice, floral, pear, apple aroma.

Medium bodied and carbonated with a slight sour edge to it. The lambic comes through and dries this out.

Zwanze in Texas! Who'd a thunk it.

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Photo of Mongrel
3.78/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

On tap at Monk's Café, Zwanze Day 2013. First of all, this is not a tripel. Not at all. Admittedly, I don't know jack about sours, but this seemed much more like a lambic than any of type of abbey style designation (dubbel/tripel/quad). Color was somewhere between straw yellow and lavender.

The two most immediate and pronounced flavors were vinegar and white grapes. There was also a berry-like tartness. Very little carbonation and the mouthfeel was soft and creamy, which was surprising given the beer's tartness. An earlier reviewer noted that the smell was similar to a chardonnay, which I think is spot on. Actually, this beer shares a lot of characteristics with white wine.

Overall, a pleasant, interesting brew, but not outstanding.

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Photo of clayrock81
3.85/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

I can't tell if some of the negative feedback towards this beer is that Cantillon made something they traditionally don't make or that it's not the "greatest triple ever", or even resembling a triple. To me, this is a good beer and at least worth a try and quite frankly doesn't easily fit into a label. Poured a orangish gold with two finger head that died quick and left lace patches. I do get some traditional orange/citrusy aromas and touches of yeast associated with Belgians but also some tart funkiness. Taste is an interesting blend like the aroma as there is some citric and spicy zip on the tongue and then there is a sour base to the beer. Not much in terms of smoothness or fullness from yeast or sweet malt tastes, but still goes down easy and has good taste notes. A new style or a combo (or a mistake if you don't like it), this is a hard beer to pin down but I enjoyed my glass..

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Photo of Luk13
3.83/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

On tap at DDC. Pours a gold-orange with no head. Aroma is earthy, peppery ,wood with some light peach notes. Really an hybrid between a lambic an a tripel in terms of funk. Taste is more malty and yeasty (candied peach) than standard lambic. Slightly tart and bone dry finish. Richer body than most lambic (tripel like) but almost flat. Subpar for Cantillon but still a nice experiment worth trying.

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Photo of pmarlowe
3.69/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

On tap at ChurchKey for 2013 Zwanze Day. Mini-snifter glass.

A: Pours an apple cider-like color, mostly opaque, with a thin white ring of head. Good retention.

S: Some light, dry caramel and fruity esters (green apple). Fall spices, light vanillin and oak which are well integrated. Overall, quite appealing and good complexity on the nose. It really grows on me. Almost like the nose on a Chardonnay.

T: A bit on the watery side, with the focus on earthiness and funk. Not a whole lot of flavor, really. Moderate-high bitterness, mild tartness, finishing bone dry and tannic on a long finish.

M: Medium-light body and soft, light carbonation.

O: The flavors aren't really that great, though the nose is quite appealing. Also a bit on the bitter end for my taste.

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Photo of smakawhat
4.17/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured on tap during Zwanze day 2013 into a snifter.

A perfect glowing tangerine orange. Looks like I am holding that fruit in my hand. Opaque slightly orb glowing with a thin collar whose color I can't quite make out.

Nose follows with the orange theme. Zesty orange oils, citrus and tangerine with a good funk body and acid. No candi sugar, no deep malt, it smells like a regular Cantillon beverage.

Large bitter orange zest and rind on first sip. Light bodied for a tripel with not much malt depth but enough to bring some density. Lots of orange flavor and quick sour, with a quick oily bitterness that really mellows after some time. Slightly juicy and luckily not too wet either but flows through the mouth nicely. Spritzy sour oily aftertaste, and large aromatics on the exhale.

This is nothing like your Belgian standard tripel, but it's a fantastic take on one and I love the huge orange angle on this beer. It's one of the reasons I love this style so much because it can be incredibly diverse. Remember during Christmas time you'd get those Mandarin oranges and you loved them cause they were so sweet? But then you'd get a bitter one and it would be awful? Well this is sort of like that except it doesn't suck, it's really nice.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.8/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

On tap at Redlight Redlight. Served in a taster glass.

Appearance - Hazy orange body. Pushing reddish. Thin collar. Not much of a head.

Smell - Acidic. Very musty. A little wine-like. Malty. Seems like a slight burnt caramel aroma too.

Taste - Bright sourness. Wine flavors persist here. White wine. Oak. Malty again. The burnt flavors are replaced by bitterness. Grassy bitterness in the finish.

Mouthfeel - The bitterness is off-putting, as it is very strong. Not crisp like most Cantillon beers.

Overall - The bar is set so high for Cantillon, so it's tough to objectively judge this. It's good but definitely not up to the standards of a Cantillon fruit lambic.

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Photo of Kirk_Grant
2.81/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

On Tap at Novare Res for Zwanze Day 2013. Served in these small toulip glasses that meh maybe not the best vessel. I have to assume everyone else at bars around the world had the same glass given that they're charging us for the glass this year.

Color: Deep amber with minimal head
Smell: Framboise, cider, and a hint of wet wool
Taste: This reminds me of a cross of too many things I don't enjoy. There's some hopps, a hint of cider, and a bit of a wet-dog taste that lingers on the palate still about an hour after my last sip.
Overall: I'm not a fan of this...but I think it's a very interesting beer. It could be wonderful in the right setting...but this wasn't it. Maybe this is meant to be served in 1-Liter Steins with charred animal...given the historical receipe I think it's well worth trying because of the rarity I'm sure there will be plenty that will stand in long lines to try still can't hold a candle to last year's Zwanze though.

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Photo of Damian
4/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Drank from a cask at Lord Hobo, Cambridge, MA
Served in a stemmed tasting glass

The beer poured a slightly hazed, crimson-amber color. A small, eggshell colored cap topped the liquid. Very solid head retention.

The nose was respectable. Tart and funky with a hefty dose of oak and barrel. Lots of musty, cellar-like qualities. Some mild fruity notes (perhaps raspberries) were also detectible.

The flavor profile seemed odd. Malty and semi-sweet up front. Caramel malts were noticeable. Good dose of oak and funk in the center. An unexpected bitterness appeared as well. The finish was very hoppy. The hops lent a significant amount of dry, earthy bitterness but not much actual flavor.

The mouthfeel was soft and supple. Slightly creamy. The liquid contained a very fine and mild carbonation.

Just reading about the super complex brewing and aging processes behind the creation of this beer made my head spin. I admire Cantillon for experimenting with new and unorthodox techniques, but this beer somewhat missed the mark.

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Photo of tkdchampxi
2.93/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.25

A- A beautiful dark amber color, with a hint of autumn brown-red, poured into a stemmed wine glass. No carbonation or head to speak of, however, and the beer did not stick to the sides of the glass.

S- Some tart notes, but overall, very light and wine/ apple cider-like.

T- Very light, almost watered down taste, with a underwhelming tartness and sour, lemon, apple cider, white wine flavors. There is a touch of Belgian yeast spice, but no beer quality to speak of.

MF- Watery with no carbonation. The lack of carbonation is the killer here.

This beer was expensive and completely underwhelming. I wouldn't drink it again if offered to me over any other standard bar offerings.

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Cantillon Zwanze 2013 from Brasserie Cantillon
3.74 out of 5 based on 238 ratings.
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