Heresy | Weyerbacher Brewing Co.

very good
2,256 Ratings

Brewed by:
Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
Pennsylvania, United States

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
We take our Old Heathen and age it in oak bourbon barrels. The result is our silky smooth Heresy, 8% ABV. The aroma is filled with vanilla, cocoa and roasted coffee. Notes of oak, whiskey, roasted barley and vanilla dance across your taste buds.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 06-21-2004

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,256 |  Reviews: 1,009
Photo of DBoone
4.42/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into Dogfish Head snifter.
A Straight poured into snifter with nice khaki brown head that recedes quickly, light carbonation, little to no lacing.
S Dark fruits, figs, crusty dark malt smells. Some oak coming through with light bourbon
T More bourbon in taste, with oak, malt and fruits noticeable.
M Pretty light on the mouth, some edges hanging on in cheeks and tongue.
O Excellent beer that I will buy over and over again.

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Photo of Thickfreakness
3.87/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Pours deep dark brown into a tulip glass with a fluffy tan head that dissapates rather quickly. Not much in the way of lacing... just a little bit sticking to the sides of the glass.

S- Lots of vanilla from the oak, sweet milk chocolate, coffee, toffee, charleston chew candy. A little bit of wood, and just a hint of alcohol.

T- Vanilla and oak... sweet malts. Alcohol up front with a bitter bite of charred coffee and roasted nuts. A little bit sweet, but not so much that you couldn't enjoy a couple.

M- A bit thin for a stout, but leaves a ton of flavor behind. Vanilla, chocolate, Roasted nuts, and coffee.

O- I've always enjoyed this brew. I wish I had saved a couple from a few years ago so that I could try them side by side.

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Photo of zeledonia
3.73/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours very dark, basically black, and fairly thick. The two-finger latte-colored head is thick and pillowy, lots of small bubbles, and recedes fairly quickly to leave some good lacing.

Smell is kinda boozy. Something like whiskey, which I think is the un-whiskeyed oak barrels. Some vanilla, some smoky earthiness, and of course the dark roasted malts (though they're not quite as up-front as they often are with imperial stouts).

My first thought on the taste is that it's a bit thin for an impy. The malts are again kinda soft, though they're present. The oaky vanilla that's present in the smell is there in the taste, too, though there's nothing whiskey-ish about it. Has some lingering sweetness that reminds me a lot of a milk stout. But mostly I'm wanting more from it. More oomph, more flavors, more something. Maybe my expectations are too high.

Feel is kinda weird, much more like a milk stout than a RIS. Slippery and coating, with that filmy feel you often get from milk stouts. Surprisingly light in the mouth, and doesn't feel as thick as it looks. Not what I was expecting.

Overall, this drinks more like a sweet milk stout than an imperial. The flavors are decent, though I was left wanting more. A decently drinkable beer, though I'd put it in the mid-range of imperial stouts.

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Photo of DoubleSimcoe
4.22/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Heresy on tap at Shorty's in Hell's Kitchen, NYC.

Appearance: Served in a 16-oz pint and filled to the brim, Heresy comes with barely a line of mocha-colored head crowned with some serious bubbles. Good retention and lacing, head lingers for a while. Color is a super-deep black with mahogany overtones. I like the full pint (a good deal), but a snifter would have been more appropriate.

Smell: Lots of wood, vanilla at the end along with bourbon and booze. Milk chocolate, sugar, dairy.

Taste: More oaky wood, some mild chocolate, lots of vanilla. Dry bitterness at the end. Coconut sweetness. Bourbon, prickly booze. Perhaps thinner than the bottled version, but much more drinkable, smooth and rounded.

Mouthfeel: A bit underwhelming, but good nonetheless. Very smooth and creamy, with wood all over the lips and an oaky finish. Sticky sweet, a lil' bitterness at the end.

Overall: Very drinkable for such a good beer, and a pleasure on tap. I wish this brew were a bit bigger, with the flavors more pronounced and the body a bit more robust, but at 8%, it is unimpeachable. The bottle is probably stronger overall, but the tap is fresh and woodsy and delicious. It grew on me. The first pint was a tad disappointing, with later servings being round and fulfilling.

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Photo of psuimpreza
5/5  rDev +26.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This year's rendition of Hersey is amazing. It pours a beautiful brown head and has a nice lasting burn. The head remains throughout the entire beer. It is better served warm than cold.

It is currently one of my top 5 beers and one of the best oak aged beers around that I have tried.

If you like Russian Imperial Stouts this is a must try if you can find it.

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Photo of Gushue3
4.04/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- pours black with medium/large mocha head with good retention. smells good already. leaves small amount of lacing

S- this ones a stinker. i'm getting chocolate and malt off the bat with a minor dark fruit hanging out in there and subtle alcohol traces laced in there.

T- very nice. im getting lots of roast and and malt with a subtle sweet chocolate. minor bittersweet taste lingers after the sip is gone Well rounded but might be missing something

M- has a medium feel to it with smaller carbonation.

O- nice beer everything works well together

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Photo of veinless
3.12/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Thanks to Jesse13713 for this beer, just one of many awesome brews Jesse sent in our trade.

Pours oily black with a healthy three-finger billowing tan head that dissipates at an average rate without leaving any lace. A thin layer remains as a cap on the beer after dissipation.

The first smell I get is licorice and oak - and lots of it. Some slight bubblegum and dark fruit fill in the spaces where roasted, toasted malt don't. A touch of vanilla adds some sweetness to the picture. This is a bit too much of a departure from good ol' malts for me, but it's still solid.

Roasted malts, bordering on charred, combined with oak and slight fruitiness dominate the beginning. Rich and almost milky, this beer has a very bitter kick from the burnt malt and a funky weird buttery character throughout. It's too sweet in parts and too bitter at others - not the greatest balance. I do enjoy it, but not nearly as much as I thought I would.

Mouthfeel is more carbonated than expected and creamy at the same time. Booze hits at the back as well, which is unwelcome in this as it amplifies the overly rich buttery flavor and feel in the middle. Overall though it's a very decent mouthfeel. Drinkability is tough to gauge - it's a good sipper, and a very bad drinker. I find myself enjoying most when I have a glass of water nearby to clean my palate in between sips. I guess this is a good, but not great beer in my eyes, but I'm more of a chocolate and coffee guy anyways.

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Photo of radioscooter
3.83/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle into a pint glass. Beautiful 1" tan stout head.

The first hits of aroma on this one are chocolate, more chocoalte and malt. Maybe a bit of yeast.

First taste bears this out. very chocolatey, super-subdued barrel flavor, but yeah, it's there. A little semisweet, very little booziness.

This style usually rewards the stronger flavored contenders.

Some people who are put off by stong flavored, robust stouts may like this one. A little bland for me.

Good effort from a great local brewery.

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Photo of soze47
3.83/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pitch black and quite active on the pour, developing a healthy mocha colored head. It left some nice lacing initially, but not after the beer warmed a bit.

Aroma: I get a lot of alcohol right after the pour, but that almost solvent quality diminishes as it warms. Dark fruits, raisins, notes of port complement a nice host of roasted malts that are balanced.

Taste: There are some interesting developments in this beer. There is a malty sweetness that gets balanced out by an almost woody, hoppy dryness on the finish. Notes of roasted malt, dark fruits, and spiciness from the hop/alcohol combinations.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: The finish combined with the surprisingly loose flavorful mouthfeel keep this beer from being too rich or cloying. The flavors of this beer could be oppressive if it was more viscous or heavy.

Overall: Not a bad option to go for, but I'd be hard pressed to put this at the top of my shopping list anytime soon. It has admirable traits and unique aspects that make it a worthy drink, but it loses out against my other favorites in the style.

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Photo of Gambrinus1184
3.95/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served on-tap at MiKro Beer Bar in Hamden, Conn.

A: Black with amber-brown highlights shone through the glass held to the light. A creamy, dense cap of tan foam leaves decent, soapy lacing on the glass .

S: Robust, charred malts and bittersweet, dark chocolate combine with an assertive, herbal and earthy hop aroma. Hints of anise and coal mix in the nose.

T: Burnt black malt and a spicy, herbal malt flavor resonate through a creamy, yet bitter American hop profile. Candied fruits lend flavors of plum and raisin to the bittersweet chocolate and charcoal flavors of the brew before it washes down herbal, bitter and sticky sweet.

M: Full-bodied, robust RIS with a slightly creamy mouthfeel that could stand for a bit more drying balance in the finish.

D: A nice RIS from Weyerbacher with their trademark attention to hops and higher ABV, 8% in the case of Heresy. It's got a lot of potential for doctored spin-offs, like bourbon and oak aged versions. As it stands, not a bad choice if Old Rasputin isn't available.

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Photo of prg1976
4/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Black and viscous pour. Tan head dissipates quickly, with a small ring left behind.

Smell is oaky with some chocolatey malt mixed in. A hint of vanilla in there too.

Taste is sweet, chocolate with some vanilla from the oak.

Mouthfeel is good. Nice and smooth, not over-carbed. Medium bodied.

Overall, pretty tasty. I haven't had too much from Weyerbacher, even though they're a local. I'll be seeking out some more from them in the future.

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

A - Pitch black body, nice medium brown head.

S - Dark roasted grains. Some light smoke. Chocolatey and rich.

T - Very rich, roasted chocolate. Sweet dark chocolate syrup. Some toasted, or possibly smoked dark grains.

M - Silky and syruppy on the tongue. This beer's body isnt thick but the flavor is. Its packed with all the typical Russian Imperial tastes but sweeter and smoother than you would expect from one. Mildly carbonated and smooth.

O - A great choice for anyone who enjoys dark beer. Tons of flavor but not harsh in its body or warmth.

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Photo of rwinzing
3.83/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured my beer into a DFH snifter. Very dark with almost not head at all

A - Midnight Black

S - smells very oaky

T - Strong oak flavor is present and then a sweetness appears finishes with some slight bitterness

M - Feel a little thin

O - I enjoy this beer as a drinker in my rotation. Not the best Imperial oak stout but very solid beer. I buy a four pack once a month. Encourage people to try this one.

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Photo of bucklemyshoe
4.2/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle at 50 degrees into a Duvel tulip.

A: It pours pitch black with a finger and a half of light khaki head that holds and laces very well.

S: Dark chocolate, char, molasses, and some sweet dark fruits.

T: Bittersweet chocolate, sweet and juicy dark fruits, some charred oakiness, and toasted almonds. This blend of flavors creates and very unique and delicious stout.

M: It has medium body thickness with a slick, oily feel and average carbonation.

D: Unlike Insanity, barrel-aging certainly did this one well.

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

Appearance: Minimal head when poured and dissipates to leave a light lacing. Both the head and lacing are tan. The beer pours a dark black color, which reminds me of a dark chocolate black rather than a pitch black coffee color.

Smell: The bourbon is the dominant smell but it doesn't mask the other ingredients. I can detect traces of oak, sweet chocolate and dark malts.

Taste: Wonderful. The bourbon does not detract from the beer at all and complements the other ingredients very well. The other ingredients are somewhat masked by the alcohol but you can still get to them. The chocolate used is either slightly dark or chocolate syrup. All I know is that chocolate is sweet enough to contrast with the bourbon. I get hints of coffee and dark malts in the aftertaste but I would say that the bourbon and chocolate are the ones that people would notice.

Mouthfeel: Delicate carbonation to none. The beer goes down pretty smooth without any problems and feels pretty good on the tongue.

Drinkability: I would say that this a pretty drinkable beer. The bourbon doesn't dominate the beer like some other barrel aged beers. The bourbon itself adds a nice touch to the beer. I just wish I had found this earlier in the winter such as December rather than March. I can't really see myself drinking this in the springtime unfortunately.

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Photo of EgadBananas
3.95/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Big thanks to JM03 for this!

Very dark brown/black. Light tan head. Nice lacing.

Aroma is sweet with nice oak and bourbon, coffee and malts.

Taste is a wonderful oak ands bourbon combo with nice sweetness chocolate and some coffee notes.

Feel is creamy more medium in body than full, slick and nicely carbonated.

Drink is pretty good. Nice oak characters, and overall a nice brew!

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Photo of uustal
4.31/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very dark black with a one-finger brown head that's not long for the world. Nice aroma. Chocolate syrup! Roasted notes, a hint of coffee and the oak barrels. Begins with a crisp mini-hit of dark fruits, quickly fades to the more dominant flavors of this beer. Sweet chocolate syrup, not overpowering, dominates the middle before the barrel aging takes this beer home. Awesome cherry and vanilla flavor at the back end. Again, well done and not too in your face. Bourbon and oak mixed in to a lesser extent. This beer is surprisingly crisp and drinkable for the style. It's subdued, but in a very positive way. One of the better chocolaty beers without being gimmicky.

Only negative- Weyerbacher's terrible labels. Theses are no doubt the worst looking beers on the shelf. They are redesigning their labels and with good cause. Hideous.

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Photo of Jesstyr
3.98/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is definitely a powerful beer, and despite its reasonable ABV, there were many times while drinking that my first thought was "boozy". Enjoyed with a steak in a chalice.

Pours pitch black with a thin brown head that lingers fairly well throughout the drink, despite little lacing. Nose is boozy first and foremost, but with a good deal of malt which comes across as coffee.

I actually get quite a bit of the oak, something that reminds me of whiskey/bourbon, a definite plus for this drink. Otherwise some maltiness with some coffee and chocolate tones. Medium body, a little oily, but tough to take more than one of these, as might be typical of the style.

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Photo of dk83022
3.78/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Jet black stout with creamy brown head

S- Roasted malt, melted caramel with hints of roasted coffee.

T- Rather light for an imperial stout. Lacks some body and flavor fizzles out.

M- Smooth, but has some bite.

D- Great conversational beer. Ideal for room temperature.

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Photo of nhindian
3.24/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle poured into a globe.

A - This pours an almost pitch black color, with slight brown highlights around the edges. The head is a spectacle to behold; a light tan, 2.5-fingered head, formed of tightly-condensed bubbles to resemble a foam barrier between the beer and head. Retention is moderate, lasting a few minutes but it gives way quick. Lacing is great, as it leaves a thin lace film around most of the glass.

S - Surprisingly, the smell in this beer is quite faint, with hard to distinguish notes interspersed throughout. It is slightly fruity, as if Belgian-inspired, as some grapes and raisins come through at first. It's a bit metallic as well. Next comes the bourbon barrel, which provides more oak and vanilla than much bourbon. Besides the fruit and oak, it's hard to get much else out of this beer, unfortunately.

T - Thankfully the taste brings more to the table than the nose. Again, a strong raisin and plum, mixed with some sweetness comes through at the beginning, but it's supplemented by some smooth chocolate. Afterward comes the vanilla and wood from the barrel, but as in the nose, the bourbon is quite subdued, providing just a slight contribution. The finish is moderately short and is mostly sweet vanilla. Alcohol comes through slightly but is mostly hidden well.

M - Mouthfeel is light-bodied with low carbonation. This is much too thin for my liking, almost bordering on watery, which does the flavors in the beer no favors. For a bourbon barrel-aged RIS, I'd like to see this be a bit more big.

D - Drinkability is moderate. I can pretty much sum this up as an inoffensive BA RIS. Great for someone trying to break into the style, but lacking much oomph to keep them coming back from more. The glaring flaw in this is the mouthfeel, and if this could be beefed up a bit, I could see it aiding the other factors more.

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Photo of garbercury
4.3/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into snifter...

A--Nice deep black with beige head, good retention and lacing.

S--Tons of oak in the nose, its really dominant.

T--Not a lot of bourbon, its mostly oak tannins. Chocolate, hints of vanilla, I think this is an exceptional tasting brew.

M--Good feel.

D--I enjoy this brew as much as anything because it is all about the oak aging, not just simply a bourbon bomb. The oak presence makes it unique, a smooth sipper. I highly recommend this brew, it is top notch and this year's version is really tasty.

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Photo of Jimmys
4.25/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: pitch black with a fluffy mocha hued head. carbonation is streaming.

S: vanilla, bourbon. roast and cocoa. smooth and rounded.

T: huge vinous oak flavors. woody. however little bit of bitterness from the roast. little bit of alcohol as it warms up. finishes with a boatload of delicious milk chocolate.

M: started out a little too fizzy, but really smoothed out after it has been in my glass for a while. at first i was worried the fizzyness would mask some of the flavor, but since it subdued this thing is shinin.

D: if you can find this stuff in a store by you, i highly recommend picking some up. im sure putting some away for a little could help, but only being 8%, the little bit of alcohol is extremely tolerable.

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Photo of BB1313
3.06/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz bottle poured into a standard pint glass. Pours black w/ auburn hues, alightly transparent. Nice tan head and sticky lacing up front. Flavors are nice and sweet, I'm picking up hints of chocolate, vanilla, and sweet milk. The flavors are nice, but I feel the oak diminishes the stouts natual flavors somewhat. Bourbon isn't really present. The wood gives it some smoothness, but it finishes kind flat and dry. Mouthfeel is thin as well; medium-bodied. Drinkability isn't bad, the lightness makes this easy drinking. The alcohol is masked.

I guess I was a tad let down. It lacks the X-factor, but it's worthy. Maybe I just expected more being a fan of Weyerbacher.

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Photo of smakawhat
3.02/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Poured from the bottle into a large snifter glass.

Looks a little thing coming out of the bottle and is very carbonated. Makes a lot of noise creating a nice chocolate brown head which disappears quite quickly. Body is a dark walnut brown. It looks thin for a stout.

This really smells like a weak barleywine, with candy and cigarette tobacco. Some beef jerky smells as well which is kind of interesting.

Thin bodied, lacking in depth and really wet. Real unfortunate, this seems like this beer is too young or something, it really needs more body. It's not horrible but for this style this is a very weak beer. There isn't even much taste or sensations you get from the nose and it almost gets into a cola finishing light bodied milk stout territory.

Drinkability is not good enough for me. If this were perhaps an American Stout then I would rate it higher but this is just weak and lacking flavor and depth for this style. I will admit though the abv is hardly noticeable, but that's probably due to how weak in general the brew is. Too bad, was hoping for some good things from this one as an avid whiskey bourbon fan. This thing was in whiskey barrels? Could have fooled me...

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Photo of chilly460
4.1/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a shiny black with a creamed coffee head that keeps climbing out of the glass. This is what I want out of a beer.

S - The barrel flavors come through in the aroma right up front. I get a lot of vanilla and bourbon along with pure oak. Definitely some sweet malts, chocolate, and brown sugar in there as well.

T - Wow, bourbon and vanilla hit hard, followed by chocolatey/coffee roasted malts. Follow that up with a sweet dark fruit profile. This is one interesting beer.

M - Nice medium to heavy body with lower carbonation, this is about perfect. I've had "chewier" beers, but this one makes an easier drinking beer.

D - Great for the style, easily could go back for more. Flavors are mixed and delicious but don't wear on you, mouthfeel and booze are moderate to the style. Finally, a RIS with some complexity without being overpowering, some balance, and not so "huge" as to be a gut buster...and it's relatively inexpensive to boot.

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Heresy from Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
3.94 out of 5 based on 2,256 ratings.
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