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Old Heathen Imperial Stout | Weyerbacher Brewing Co.

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BA SCORE
88
very good
830 Reviews
Old Heathen Imperial StoutOld Heathen Imperial Stout
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
Pennsylvania, United States
weyerbacher.com

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Rich, velvety and deliciously complex, Old Heathen (8% ABV) is a truly distinctive stout. We use seven types of malt and two varieties of hops to bring forth this big brew. Quite robust and roasty on the palate, Old Heathen Imperial Stout has a wonderfully fruity nose and a moderately dry finish. The taste is highly complex. Perhaps you’ll even discern notes of espresso or chocolate.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 08-19-2001

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

BEER STATS
Reviews:
830
Ratings:
1,649
Avg:
3.91
pDev:
11.51%
 
 
Wants:
72
Gots:
198
For Trade:
2
User Reviews
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Reviews: 830 | Ratings: 1,649
Photo of zeff80
4.1/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured out an opaque, jet black color with a thick, firm, long-lasting head of tan foam. It left some nice rings of lace.

S - It smelled very roasty with subtle coffee (expresso) notes. There were chocolate smelled and some mild floral notes.

T - Great dark chocolate and roasted caramel malt flavors. It had a bitter hop bite to match to sweet chocolate and caramel taste.

M - It was smooth and crisp with a somewhat dry finish. A medium bodied ale with just a touch of alcohol warmth.

D - This is a very good RIS that is fairly easy drinking with an ABV that isn't over-the-top like many other imperial stouts.

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Photo of nickfl
3.97/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - One finger of medium brown head on an opaque black body. The head settles pretty quickly and leaves little lace.

S - Dark and malty; caramel, figs and toffee. Some light milk chocolate and a hint of spicy hops as well.

T - Milk chocolate and smooth coffee. Caramel and toffee in the middle with some minor fruit notes. The character darkens in the finish with some more robust coffee notes and more bitter chocolate. Some slightly smoky, charred notes linger on the palate.

M - Medium-thick body, low carbonation, and an only slightly sweet finish.

D - This is a bit light for the style and unusually smooth. Neither hop character nor roasted malt is overly powerful and while, when combined with the smooth alcohol, this makes for easy drinkability, it also limits complexity. In some ways, this is almost more like an Imperial Porter. A good beer overall, nothing to complain about, but nothing special and not as interesting as I would hope for something in this price range to be.

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Photo of oberon
3.9/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a pitch black with no head to speak of,aroma is softly sweet and I also got a light peppermint aroma (Iam glad Iam not the only one who got that).Taste is lightly chocolaty with an alcolic sweetness to it kinda hard to explain,the alcohol is very prevelant there is a nice earthiness in the finish as well.A real nice complex Imperial Stout here a nice one to savor.The big beers from Weyerbacher are very good I have to say.

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Photo of mothman
3.97/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into bruery snifter.

Pours 1/2 finger of tan head that fades down to a thick ring. Some slight splattered lace. Color is a dark carmel when held to the light, but black otherwise. Not very dark for an ris.

Aroma: Lots of dark dried fruits. Raisin, cherries, molasses, and licorice. Some dark roasted malts with chocolate. A little lighter aroma, but not bad.

Taste: Some roasted malts with tons of dried fruits again. Dark cherries, licorice, and raisins. Some chocolate with very light coffee notes. Decent, but nothing to special for a RIS.

Mouthfeel: Roasted, creamy, and crisp. A decent amount of carbonation in the mouth, but doesn't show in the glass. Medium to full bodied beer. Ends very roasted and dry.

Overall, a decent RIS for the price, but nothing to crazy good. I would drink it again, but nothing I would seek out. Decent drinkability.

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Photo of superspak
3.88/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle into snifter, bottled 12/07/2010; so over a year old now. Pours thick opaque black color with a nice 1 finger dense tan head with decent retention that reduces to a thin cap. Nice bits of lacing clinging to the glass as well. Aromas of dark chocolate, roasted malt, caramel, coffee, light dark fruits, and a bit of spiciness. Some pretty nice aromas with good strength. Taste of caramel, chocolate, roasted malt, nuttiness, light coffee, dark fruit, and spiciness. Hardly any bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of chocolate, caramel, roasted malt, and light spiciness on the finish for a bit. Some pretty nice balance of flavors here as well. Medium carbonation and body; with a nice creamy and smooth mouthfeel that goes down nicely. Alcohol is pretty well hidden with only a warming on the finish. Overall a very nice and enjoyable imperial stout. Nothing that will blow you away though.

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Photo of chinchill
4.28/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

undated 12 oz bottle served in a snifter.

Pours a very dark and reddish mahogany with a creamy tan hea. The head has excellent retention and thoroughly coats the glass when tipped.

A robust stout with a solid dark malt base. Hints of coffee and plums and cherries in the surprisingly fruity aroma. Light spicy hops come out more in the taste; one reason the flavor is less fruity than the aroma. Excellent level of mild bitterness, which lingers a good while in the dark malt aftertaste. Other than a hint of sherry in the taste and, more so, the aroma, the 8% alcohol is well hidden.

M: is remarkably smooth and creamy. Not sure I've had had a beer more creamy other than nitros. Full bodied. Slightly dry finish.

O: Excellent RIS. Richly flavored and very well balanced. No burnt notes and just a hint of smoke despite the ample, dark roasted malts.

{rating tweaked with further samples in Feb. 2014 & Nov. 2015}

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.35/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The body is an opaque black and reveals only a thin glint of mahogany at the base of the glass. The thin lid of creamy dark tan foam drops quickly to a razor thin surface covering and it leaves little more than spotty lace. The nose offers toasted chocolate; a berry-like yeasty fruitiness; and some alcohol. The body is medium-full, and it's silky smooth in the mouth with a low-level, very fine and natural carbonation from bottle conditioning that gently caresses the tongue. The flavor delivers a dark malt with a bittersweet chocolate character and a soft, roasted edge backed by a bold bitterness and some drying alcohol in the finish. Some floral and grassy hops rest under the surface don't don't really show themselves unless you seek them out.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.6/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into an imperial pint glass.

A: The beer pours a deep dark blackish brown, with a short brown head that fades quickly and doesn’t leave much lacing.

S: The aroma is of dark chocolate, roasted coffee, caramelized malt, a little bit of hops and a hint of dark fruits.

T: Heavy chocolate and espresso flavor dominates, there is some hops character there that comes through and a touch of fruity sweetness. I found it to be very well-balanced.

M: Very smooth and it’s more crisp than other Russian Imperial Stouts that I’ve had. It has a medium-to-full body and medium carbonation and leaves a little bit of stickiness in the finish.

D: This beer is extremely easy to drink. There’s not hint of the 8.00% ABV and it’s not as filling as other RIS’s. It was one of those beers that I had a hard time keeping in the glass long enough to review. Overall, I think this is an excellent beer. I usually like a bigger kick with this style of beer, but I think any more strength would throw off the balance, so I consider it addition by subtraction.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.18/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Note: as of writing this, the bottle was purchased nearly one year ago.

Appearance: Pours a black body with a small brown head.

Smell: Aroma of dark chocolate with notes of vanilla and caramel and only a faint, faint bit of fruitiness and pine lurking beneath the maltiness.

Taste: A tasty, sweet mixture of high-percentage cocoa dark cocolate and crème de menthe, like a liquefied Andes mint. The finish is sweet and roasty, with a nice anise flavor lingering into the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Soft carbonation. Smooth mouthfeel.

Drinkability: A delightful stout fresh and even moreso a year later.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.12/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Black as pitch with ruby and amber accents at the margins. The explosive golden beige cap very nearly got away from me. It started out as a rich, reverse cascader and is now a soft, puffy, rocky glass filler that I'll need to go through to get to the beer beneath. Lace isn't abundant because the cap isn't sticky enough.

The nose is incredibly black malty and is redolent of equal parts melted dark chocolate and heavily roasted coffee beans. I also pick up a whiff of hoppiness, but it's secondary to the dark malt monsters. This is a tremendous RIS nose that makes up for a slight lack of depth with sheer power.

The flavor profile is also a little short on depth and lacks that seamlessness that I look for in beer of this style. It's still good, but my standards for very good haven't quite been reached. On the palate, it's considerably more espresso-like than it is chocolate-like... and blackstrap molasses and tobacco have now entered the fray. There's also a mild char, but it isn't overdone and works well with rest of the flavors.

Thankfully, the citrusy hoppiness hasn't been drowned by the flood of coffee, chocolate and molasses. It's tiring, though, and is looking for a life preserver. Old Heathen is more bitter than sweet, which is as it should be. Big beer ought to have a big mouthfeel. This one is more than satisfactory, but big it ain't. It's smooth and silky without quite making it to chewy or viscous.

Old Heathen is a good take on the style from the good folks at Weyerbacher. Although it can't compete with the best of this style, it's definitely enjoyable beer. A bottle of the oak-aged version (Heresy) is lurking in my cellar right now and will be finding its way to my pint glass very soon. Thanks once again to blitheringidiot.

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Photo of Rifugium
3.73/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

First had: on tap at ?

Not a distinctively overwhelming stout, but still pretty good. Poured a dark brown-black with a cap of chocolate-colored head. Malty aroma, dark chocolate, aged vanilla, and hints of dark fruits. Taste was roasty up front, cocoa, dark malts, raisins, a bit of a pithy sourness detectable...not sure if it was an off flavor or intentional, but it didn't really detract too much from the beer overall. Pretty smooth, but a little on the thin side for the style, being about medium-bodied, with the alcohol slightly noticeable. Decently drinkable.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.17/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

dark as night inky black pour with a nice little tan head of about two inches that fades down into a nice layer of about an inch or so that hangs around for the remainder of the session.

nice aroma, rich cooca and coffee dominate with a nice touch of bitter and roasted malts that take over the profile very nicely. smooth, effortless flavor then wraps itself over the palate. light hints of vanilla mix in with the dark chocolate and rich roasted malts. small touch of alcohol but this fades quickly as it warms and leaves you with a nice touch of sweet vanilla and brown sugar that really compliments the cocoa and lightly hopped finish quite nicely

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Photo of dcmchew
4.23/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours pitch black with a small dark beige head, quickly reduced to a nice lacing.
Smells of dark roasted malts, with caramel, raisin, coffee, chocolate, molasses, cherries.
Huge dark fruit - sweet coffee combo in the first sip. Lots of roasted malts (almost burnt) serve as a blanket for raisin, juicy plums (especially), figs, ripe red grapes (red wine-ish) and a touch of sour cherries, also for big coffee bean notes, very dark chocolate and slight toffee. A mild citrus feel throughout. Caramel. Lots of dark spices and some vanilla and licorice. Some American hops trying to "conquer" the finish, and add a green feel to the midly bitter finish.
It's not as heavy as one would expect, but somewhat crisp. A tiny bit too carbonated, but still in the sipping category. Aftertaste of charcoal and dark fruit.
It's not gonna be my favourite RIS, but definitely one of the good ones.

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Photo of dbrauneis
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours jet black with a two finger high tall mocha head. The beer exhibited good amounts of head retention and moderate amounts of lacing.

S: Aromas of toasted malts, chocolate, and licorice with hints of dark fruit. This is a very bold smelling beer.

T: Flavors of dark roasted malts, bittersweet chocolate, and caramel. There was a pleasant amount of sweetness in the taste of this beer and a decent amount of complexity.

M: Medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Creamy with a slight dryness in the finish.

O: A very solid beer for the style, enjoyable for drinking in the cold of winter, and enjoyed by most of my Super Bowl attendees. Not too sessionable but I could a couple of these in an evening.

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Photo of Slatetank
4.32/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this at my cousins house in Lancaster on 8/7 enjoyed from a pint glass chilled.

The stout is deep black and opaque in clarity with a quick dropping sandstone cap w/ fine bead.The head falls to a a ring and spots of lace collect. The smell is deep with cocoa and the nose has light caramel notes with slight sweet vanilla cream and gentle grain aroma with light fruit from the yeast which has some prune and dark concentrated sugar with toasted nose and gentle spice accents.The feel is very good with decent smooth body, creamy malt with light bitterness and balance stays firmly in the malt camp with slight soft alcohol tinge and subtle roasted texture with some moderate spice and carbonation.

The flavor is great when sipped or taken in larger gulps, either way the malt expresses well with fantastic chocolate malt taste that lacks a lot of dark malt astringency. There is a moderately high level of caramel malt flavor but the hop spice stays in the background as a supporting roll. The toasted almost toffee like essence provides a nice complexity while some stone fruit from the yeast is evident. Overall a extremely drinkable stout --possibly my favorite offering from Weyerbacher, smooth drinkability which is coupled with relatively low alcohol in the taste for the style which I like- Kudos Weyerbacher!

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Photo of russpowell
3.81/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this bottle back in late July, based on notes:

Poured mahogany with 2 fingers of mocha head. Good head retention & lacing

S: Some roasted malt

T: Chocolate & chewy malt up front. A little iron as this warms. Finishes dry with more chocolate

MF: Medium bodied with low carbonation

Drank easy for the abv, a decent not great IMP Stout

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Photo of Jason
4.22/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Used engine oil black with a nice frothy tan head and cascading effect. Ripe plum and the tartness of nectarine in the fruity nose, roasted grain develops a bit more in the aroma also. Silky smooth with undertones of espresso that bring a range of roasted flavours, hops are a tag-a-long as well as a dark ripe fruitiness. Alcohol is slightly deceiving, all in all a great Imp Stout.

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Photo of smcolw
3.62/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pour black without light being able to penetrate the glass. Nice beige head, although it has a short life. Good lace

Classic stout aromas--black patent malt, slight alcohol, low hop.

High alcohol warmth. Dark malt flavors upfront. Not overly complex. Relatively thin body but I think this comes from the higher alcohol content. Reasonable body and carbonation.

This is a potent brew, although it seems more alcoholic than the abv would suggest. That leads me to believe that this beer is underflavored. It's good but, IMHO, not as good as some of the other reviews suggest.

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Photo of TMoney2591
4.1/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a Walter Payton shaker pint glass.

Thanks to YaKnowBrady for this bottle!

One of the few pleasant memories I have left from my year in NoVa is of drinking some o' these bad boys. I hope it's still as good to me... It pours a decidedly dark and bleak black-brown (almost black) topped by a short finger of sienna foam. The nose comprises roasted malts, cocoa powder, light molasses, and a light kiss of char. Yup, it certainly smells dark. The taste brings in more of the same, with the roast coming off as darker, the molasses darker still, and some coffee coming in to make things as dark as we can. I've had darker, but not many. It's almost too dark... The body is a hefty medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a chewy feel. Overall, a damn fine impy stout, one of the best that's available year-round.

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Photo of orangesol
3.82/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served on cask at Al's of Hampden into a nonic pint.

A - Pours dark as night with a nice pillow of one finger tall tan head leaving spotty rings of lacing down the glass.

S - Plenty of dark roasted malts, bittersweet chocolate, and some dry graham crackers combine to form a thick, rich, nose. Nothing flashy here, just as solid nose.

T - Tons of dark roast mix well with some chocolaty sweetness, dry graham crackers, and a bit of dark roasted coffee. Some nice smokiness comes out in the finish but it doesn't linger very long. Decent balance but this one really isn't anything special.

M - Heavy body and flavor with moderate carbonation. Not as thick as you might think in the feel, a touch too watery even. Plenty of lingering roast in the finish.

D - Not too bad, nowhere near the best but still some pretty good stuff. The ABV. does get to you over time bringing this one down a notch or two. Still glad I tried it tho.

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Photo of billab914
3.7/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Stone IRS glass. It poured close to black in color with a thin tan head scattered across the top of the beer and clinging to the edges of the glass.

The aroma mixes some sweeter, malty, brown sugar, caramelized flavors with some darker chocolate, moderately roasty, bitter flavors. It leans a little more towards the malty, sweeter flavors, but it's pretty smooth and flavorful overall.

The taste shows a lot of chocolate to it throughout. Up front I get more of a sweeter, malty flavor while in the finish I get some smoke mixing in with the roasty, bitter, slightly burnt flavors.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with carbonation being below average. Overall it was a pretty solid beer of the style. I really liked the bit of smoke I got in the finish, but a little more roasted character throughout the beer would have been nice. It was a pretty easy drinking and smooth beer of the style overall though.

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Photo of mdfb79
4.07/5  rDev +4.1%

From 10/01/14 notes. 12 oz bottle left over from Winter 2013, poured into a snifter.

Pours a dark brown, almost black color, with less than an inch of dark tan head and low to moderate carbonation evident. Roasted malts, sweet chocolate , dark fruits, dark chocolate, and toasted malts. Taste has some vanilla and cream, and more dark than sweet milk chocolate. Full body and low carbonation, super smooth. Great mouthfeel

Overall a very good stout. Wish the taste had more sweet than bitter chocolate but otherwise very good. Bet it would be great barrel aged. Would like to have it again.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
3.11/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The beer is dark brown with a spotty beige head. The aroma brings peanut butter, roast. Wow, I am oddly taken aback a bit by the roasted peanut scent. The flavor is roasted circus peanuts. Mediocre. Call it a peanut beer if that's what you were aiming for. Medium bodied. Eh...no thank you.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.07/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance is completely opaque with a very thin tan moccha head. One monster of darkness this beer looks great and very appetizing. Aroma is slighlty smokey with layers of plum, raisins, and mild hints of deep toasted malts, very nice imperial going on here. Creamy smooth milky goodness, what an amazing beer the flavor brings those hints of plum and other fruits and they coexist very nicely with the mild toasted malt profile. Everything is done right here in the flavor category. Fuller bodied creamy texture, awesome fullness to it. Is actually a great easy drinking beer for the style that masks the high abv quite nicely.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.65/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. poured into a goblet. Served at 52 degrees.

Appearance - Black, perhaps dark brown. Does not look viscous. Even a bit transparent (or at least more than I would expect from an RIS). Tan head that vanishes quickly to leave only a trace of carbonation.

Smell - Roasty. Very roasty. Chocolate flavors, maybe coffee, but mostly roasted malt.

Taste - Bitter start from the hops. The hops mask a lot of the stout flavor. Finishes with, surprise, a roasty malt flavor. Some chocolate, some coffee. Mostly the same as the smell. All in all, the flavor isn't very intense.

Mouthfeel - Thin for a big stout (not all that big, really). It finishes a bit dry. It could use a bit more body. Not much alcohol, but it's only 8%, so I probably wouldn't even notice it if it were prevalent. It gets a bit more syrupy as it warms, but not enough.

Overall - Not impressed. Not offensive by any means, just uninteresting. Needs more body and more malty complexity. It's just roasty and malt in both taste and aroma.

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Old Heathen Imperial Stout from Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
3.91 out of 5 based on 1,649 ratings.
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