Insanity (Ale Aged in Oak Barrels) | Weyerbacher Brewing Co.

939 Reviews
Insanity (Ale Aged in Oak Barrels)Insanity (Ale Aged in Oak Barrels)

Brewed by:
Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
Pennsylvania, United States

Style: English Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.10%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Bourbon barrel-aged "Blithering Idiot"

Added by BeerAdvocate on 06-21-2004

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Reviews: 939 | Ratings: 2,458
Photo of brentk56
4.25/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a hazy chestnut color with a decent head that drops to a foamy surface covering with some splashes of lace

Smell: Whoa Nellie, is this a bourbon or a beer; loads of vanilla and oak; lots of fusel alcohol

Taste: Immediately hits the palate with an oaky vanilla bourbon aspect that starts to warm the mouth; significant dried fruit (dates) in there as well; after the swallow, the tannins dry out the mouth and leave a bitterness on the sides of the tongue; long, hot finish, with some hints of chocolate and cherry

Mouthfeel: Full bodied and syrupy with moderate carbonation; extreme warmth

Drinkability: A must for a Bourbon lover

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Photo of phisig137
3.4/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bomber with no freshness date pours into my Samichlaus tulip a deep amber, copper color, with a one finger head. Very little retention leave traces of lace, and a thin blanket over top the glass.

Aroma is massively woody, vanilla-ey, oak-ey, and alcoholic. All I really smell is the barrel this was aged in.

Flavor is malty sweet, with some raw grain flavors, backed by caramel, brown sugar, maple syrup, and of course, alcohol. Vanilla makes itself very well known here as well, along with raw woody flavors. I can almost feel the splinters in my toungue.... no, wait, that's the alcohol burn. Relatively dry finish, considering the sweetness up front, ends with an alcoholic burn. Mouthfeel is smooth and hot. Drinkability is low... this is a sipper.

I love Weyerbacher, but I feel that they fall into the same trap as a lot of other brewers, and over extract the oak while aging. This is a decent beer, but needs a lot of time to mellow out. Usually I'm all for oak aging, experimentation, etc, but this is a bit much. Any beer that begins to taste like a mixed drink made with Vanilla Stoli, has spent too much time with the wood. I prefer regular blithering idiot over this, just as I think Old Heathen is way better than Heresy. I applaud Weyerbacher for doing what they do, but this one just needs a bit of help. Some time in the cellar will help, but when fresh, the vanilla and alcohol are just too much in my opinion. I'll have to pick up a six pack of bombers for the cellar, because this does have great potential after a few more years.

Either way, Weyerbacher is one of my favorite breweries, so keep doing what you do so well!

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Photo of Hibernator
4.8/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Weyerbacher Insanity
22 oz brown bottle
Served in an Allagash tulip glass

* Superbowl Sunday - XLI *

Pours a murky brown with a mountainous head. Fluffy trails of sticky lace decorate the glassware. Magnificent trails of puffy lace provide a roadmap.

Whiffs of bittersweet bourbon flair, wooden oak, sweet sugars and coconut.

Juicy malt backbone that yields to a heavy brown sugar punch. A distinctive flavor of oak, vanilla, sugar and shredded coconut. There is no mistaking the oak barrel taste, but what I really like is how mellow and complex the flavors are. Major malt presence with a caramel and toffee pleasure.

A high octane, super smooth barleywine with a depth of complexity. Awesome.


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Photo of Budlum
4.37/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pouring this beer produces one half inch of foamy, tan head that does not stay long. The body is a cloudy orange, amber and red color that seems to glow.

This beer is a pleasure to smell. A rich, malty rush of brown sugar sweetness presents strong toffee aromas. A touch of alcohol tingles the nose before blending in to a light smokiness. A hint of raisins add additional closing sweetness.

A rich spice flavor starts the beer and gains strength in a hurry. A huge malt rush soon follows with a rich, candied yam flavor. Strong, yet balanced, smoke flavors add delicious complexity holding the sugary flavors in check. Seemingly forever after taking a sip, a light alcohol burn hits the tongue followed by a rich caramel taste that closes in from unsuspected. Unlike many barrel aged brews, this one does a wonderful job of imparting all the right flavors.

The mouthfeel is lightly spiced, barely carbonated but a bit on the syrupy side. Fortunately, it is not out of bounds for the style. The overall finish is quite dry.

Drinkability is very good. This is delightful to sip and dangerously drinkable at the same time.

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Photo of jhicks12
4.32/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Nice rudy brown with a thin white head.

Smell: Picked up a lot of different smells, Sweet malt and oak aroma, also some fruity and citrus notes as well.

Taste: Vey explosive taste with oak and warming alcohol coming out. again a sweet malt followed up by a oily citrus finish.

Mouthfeel: Nice full mouth feel with again the oak playing a huge role in this beer.

Drinkability: Very solid barley wine, Nice with the oak age. brings a nice flavor to their Blithering idiot aging in the Oak. Nice sipping warming Beer. Keep up the good work Weyerbacher

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Photo of theformula
4.28/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

That's a pretty ale...Rich copper, Irish Red-like body and a fluffy tan head of about 2 fingers. About 865,024 microscopic bubbles, not too much retention though (as to be expected).

Much more sedated and subtle then I imagined. A smoky malt presence right off, and a little spice and vanilla w/ some wood/oak. Dark, ripe fruits as well.

Wow. Damn velvety, thick and smooth. Just enough carbonation to balance it out.

The smell/schent is very deceiving. There's so much goin on here and the complexity is very high. Let's see, super rich malts and an ester-full prune, dark ripe fruit flavor dominates with a great kick of oak and spice. It has an alcahol burn like a peppery bourbon in the back of the throat. A vinuous, fresh hop layer rounds the heavy gravity brew out nicely. Luscious vanilla and port? notes from the aging. A little yeast/buttery layer as well.

Near awesome. A heavy, barley-wine type o thing that's a great experimental treat. Very warming as I felt it kick hard at the end of the bottle. Full bodied, spicy and rich, w/ a pleasing woody, semi-bitter aftertaste that is long. Job well done. I'd like more noticeable oak presence IMO.

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Photo of TheBungyo
4.52/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thank you Nlmartin for providing this.

Imagine marmalade on fire and that's the hue of this beer's body. Thick creamy head sits atop this like snow upon a mountain. The oak is huge, with tones of vanilla that leap from the glass kangaroo style. I can also smell sweet malt, some peach, oranges, and tangerine.

Taste is caramel fighting for dominance with vanilla ... the vanilla is agressive but docile enough to give the drinker a taste of what you expect out of a good barleywine. Lots of sticky juicy orange, and tangerine playing as backup singers to the two mainstays, caramel and vanilla. Very nice.

MMmmmm this is nice and thick, a little syrupy. I definitely would buy this if it were around my area. Kudos to Weyerbacher for using barrel again correctly. Too often the barrel dominates and overshadows the beer. Here it plays it's part as co-star pretty damn perfectly. I drank this while playing Bully for PS2 and can't imagine a more perfect sunday afternoon.

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Photo of Metalmonk
3.81/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a yummy-looking burnt orange/amber color, slightly hazy, with a thin head. Bubbles slowwwwly work their way from bottom to top.

Aroma is good, but without depth. I think of one particular thing when smelling it: stewed apples cooking in bourbon. Alcohol is quite strong in the nose. There's a sharpness that hints at spices, but it's basically that first impression my senses go back to.

Flavor brings more of that heavy-ass stewed-apples-in-bourbon thing. Shades of caramel, vanilla, oak, anise and cinnamon come through. Flavors become more pronounced and well-meshed as the beer warms (especially the oak), which seems to be key, as I got a lot more from the flavors near the end of the bottle (which took over an hour to finish).

Buttery-smooth in the mouth, slight sourness in the finish. The more I sip on it, the more the mouthfeel impresses. Feel the velvet, baby.

Despite the high-alcohol and the fact it's not that well-hidden, this is an very good slow-sipper. Not the best barleywine ever, but potent, complex and tasty enough to satisfy fans of the style.

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Photo of nriech
4.64/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Hazy bronze. Little bit of head fading down to decent lacing.

Smell: Tons of vanilla and bourbon. Alcohol is easily detected in the smell also.

Taste: Wonderful! Vanilla, rasin, toffee and bourbon. All flavors are complimented very well by each other. Alcohol becomes evident after a few sips and warming occurs. A little bit of mellow hops seemed to come through later after the maltyness subsides.

Drinkability: Great sipping beer! Would impress anyone who has tastebuds for bourbon. Very easy to drink.

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Photo of ggaughan
4.32/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured a cloudy iced tea like body with a slight to no head retention. The aroma had definite notes of bourbon and the very high abv, right in your nose. Very pleasing I may say. The taste was malty sweet on the front end which rounded out to an abv/bourbon kick on the tongue. This beer has a tremendous mouthfeel as you are left with an alcohol burn in the mouth and running down into the stomach. Very enjoyable.

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Photo of Dubbercody
3.59/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Bottle handmarked with a silver ink pen 01/05, from a trade with...I've forgotten who now....

Aroma is over the top, wow, really intense and full of so many flavors. Malt, alcohol, vim and vigor.

Flavor packs one heck of a ABV punch, easy to drink till it hits the rear of the mouth and wham, there's the heavy burn. Until then it's quite nice in the mouth.

It's a bit too big for me to really enjoy, Too hot. I can imagine this will sit for a few more years and calm down on the alcohol side. Impressive beer, just but not my style.

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Photo of Fugazme
4.65/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Truly a beautiful beer... Deep, rich ruby... lovely white head with some great lacing... great.

Aroma is all over the map... in an outstanding way. Fruity, vanilla, maple, chocolate, whiskey, grain, allspice, lavander, wood, caramel, strawberry... amazing.

Creamy, creamy mouthfeel... sweet all over the palate... sticky maybe? Definitely silky. Burns the throat and warms the tummy.

A tremendous flavor... pretty sweet all the way through with a blast of hop bitter that subsides for a second and remerges to linger after the swallow. Hints of honey, maple, malt and whiskey.

Love this beer.

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Photo of tgbljb
3.28/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured a deep reddish amber color with modest off-white head.
Smell is loaded with whiskey notes, as would be expected, but after letting breathe for a while, some malt is also detected.
Taste is also more of the whiskey, which to me drowns out any other taste except the alcohol.
Finishes with a strong burn in the throat.
Just not my style of beer. Two ounces was enough.

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Photo of timtheenchanta
4.75/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Muddied blood red brew topped by a two finger beige head composed of about six hundred million tiny bubbles of carbonation. After receding, the head leaves a ring around the glass on top of the liquid. It looks quite fantastic really.

Huge nose of oak, bourbon and booze. There are some hints of vanilla and dates.

Dry woody flavor upfront on top of a huge malty swig of Blithering Idiot. Quite a bit of warming alcohol in this big 11% brew. Sweet bourbon lingers on the tongue after swallowing. Mmm I'd like a good bourbon drink now. Back to the beer. Delicious brew with tons of mouthfeel. Very dry and sweet in the finish as noted with less woody flavors being left over than expected.

Excellent brew that I'd love to have side by side with Blithering Idiot. I definitely enjoyed this more than the original though. I hope this doesn't mean I'm buying into the wood-aging craze. Many thanks go out to Zorro for the chance to try this great beer.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.62/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a bright, though murky dark-hued ruby body with a cream tan-colored head. The game is afoot!

Smell: Okay, here's the skinny. The bourbon tones are quite intense, with notes of oak, vanilla, and sugar. A captivating smell, to say the least.

Taste: Let's of things going on here. Strong toffee maltiness and a soft touch of candy sugar evolves into an immense bourbon flavor. The sweet vanilla notes mingle with a certain fruitiness to create a cream of coconut flavor. Smooth, warming bourbon finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body, with a thick, luscious mouthfeel and almost nil carbonation.

Drinkability: Delicious! Anyone who tells you otherwise is trying to deceive and delude you. Its hard not to express a deep love for this beer with the addictive furvor of a crackhouse reject.

Thanks for another fun-filled beer experience from... Weyerbacher Brewing Co.!

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Photo of scott
4.69/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Sexy brown pour of an excitedly carbonated body with a head that dissipates rather quickly, but the aroma is exotic and enticing. The enchancting aromas (bourbon/vanilla) dictate the the sipper mentality inasfar that it is delightful, without becoming frightful. No posturing. Mellow, and obviously the real-deal. Delicate, but assertive.
Nicely done.
I want to drink this again. Tomorrow.
And the day after that.

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Photo of IPA4me
3.97/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

The label on this beer is pretty intense as is the name. This beer definitely lived up to my expectations.

poured into a large wine glass (burgundy type glass to be exact)

I would recommend serving this beer in a large goblet type galss to fully experience the huge nose that beer has to offer.

A: Pours a medium copper with a small head that quickly dissappears. Little carbonation and no lacing.

Smell: This beer attacks your senses! Big vanilla odor followed by brown sugar, over ripe fruit, hints of wood and molasses and a tinge of alcohol.

Mouthfeel: Thick mouthfeel with almost no carbonation. You can feel the alcohol numb your tongue a bit.

Taste: INTENSE! The smell is a good indication of what you are about to experience. There is a big vanilla flavor the overpowers the rest of the beer. This is probably from oak aging but it feels a little contrived. Brown sugar/molasses type flavors also dominate, followed by that over ripe fruit taste (think bruised bannana). There is a slight hop bite but this beer is a malt beast. Alcohol is subdued for a big beer like this, but it is definitely there. Once this beer fully warmed to room temperature it reminded me a bit of whiskey or scotch. Overall very complex brew.

The drinkability of this beer is limited because of it's ABV, but it is quite a flavor experience. Not for the faint of heart!

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Photo of AndoBrew
4.02/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

*I liked this beer might buy it again to age*

app:nice deep ruby red wonderfull crean tan head sturdy and happy looking. looks a touch dull.

smell: vanilla caramel booze, crisp clean. touch of dark fruits, justa touch.

taste: rich caramel vanilla, mild sweet fruits, small booze bite, nutty malts, wonderful thick warm nutty finish with clean clear booze A+.

2nd gulp. a lil more sweets, lots of vanilla, almost seems like flavoring of vanilla was added.. if anything this paticular aspect may be out of ballance. I wish there was more nuts and dark fruits in here to balance it out a bit.. almost starts to get closer to one dimensional as you drink it.. I am gunna let it sit for a min. and see if this changes. my mouth is COATED with this warm vanilla type flavor. kinda nice, kinda outta line.

yes, it kinda stays that way.. if you wait 1/2 an hour between sips it balances out .. but if you drink the D thing, it stays outta ballance.

its good though.

mf: its ok, wish it was more alive

drinkable?: tough call with this one.. it is, but its so much better if you sip on it twice per hour.. so I can not rate it hi on drinkable.. sorry.

great beer, great brewery. I love what weyerbacher is up, to as a brewery really a fan.

I will say I am at odds with this beer. I would highly highly recomend this beer.. I like it, I think it has some minor balance problems.. but it brings up an issue I personaly have with reviewing all together. Wich is, the more I like a beer, the more critical I am toward it.. I always want more. So it kinda seems beers that are ok get away with higher scores from me, while beers I love end up with lower scores than would have on the same scale.. I dunno.
all that said I just bumped the taste score up from 4 to 4.5 then back to a 4

thats it good beer, Highly vanilla flavored bw that is smooth and yummy with a lil bit of balance trouble. BUY IT! DRINK IT!

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Photo of hustlemuscle
3.71/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Gorgeous cascading bubbles rise like champagne bubbles afteing pouring a pints-worth. They erupt from the bottom forming a thick head that eventually receeds into a thin, yet solid, covering. Cloudy and chunky, with huge suspendies in the pleasant apricot colored body. High marks for the performance aspect of the pour.

Strong sugery nose, fruity candy sweet.

Cloying sugery fruitiness, mowed down by a high-speed truck's worth of alchohol. Hot, hot, hot. Would age help? The high alchohol flavor really punishes the overall quality of the beer. The review started cool, but as it warmed there would be sudden glimpses of greatness, sips of almost perfection, followed by another brutal blast of alchohol.

Too hot to be an easy sipper, it punishes the toungue and the liver with this high abv. Just plain too hot. Again, this one might be a good candidate for the cellar for a year, or two.

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Photo of canucklehead
4.57/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

thanks to Malto for this beer. The main feel of this beer is a heady oaky mouthfeel that turns time into a matrix like tasting experience.. The complexity and nuances are apparent after a few sips. I tasted old fruit, tobacco and caramel. A beer for the cellar, this is a sipper for cold evenings.

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Photo of nitemarebrewer
3.35/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance was a cloudy amber. moderate head, dissipates down to a little lace.
Aroma was woody, bourbon, vanilla.
Taste: vanilla, woody, alcoholic, and sweet.
Mouthfeel was thick.
This beer wasnt good for me given the vanilla and bourbon taste overpowered all else. Weyerbacher's other barley wine, Blithering Idiot! is a much better beer in my opinion.

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Photo of KroMagnon
4.26/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer was rather cloudy which detracts, but in terms of flavor it was tops. The aroma was strong, fruity, malty and also had some nice complex aromas that reminded me of oak and black walnuts. The flavor was very big tending toward the sweet side but balanced fine for the style. The body was good and there was an alcoholic warmth that was perfect. Excellent.

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Photo of Vancer
4.37/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

What a boozy glass of bourbon – but hey, a great sipping frosty! The pour was a clue – a high octane looking amber with just a thin ivory head. The flat brew just reeks with a sour malt bourbon whisky sour aroma. Close to drinking a glass of sherry, with a touch of vanilla undertones.

For a glass of bourbon, er beer, this one had a fairly strong malt backbone. Actually, for a BW, somewhat oily and slick. I really enjoyed this one, would luv to have a few more down the road sometime.

The label didn’t note the 11% abv, but even though it was strong and noticeable, it did not distract from the overall great quality of this one.

I appreciate beerbeing for sending this one to me.

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Photo of dirtylou
4.57/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

12oz single, not sure who sent this to me but if you read this and it was you let me know...opened in honor of ND pulling one out against GT, a game that can only be summarized with one word, "insanity"

appearance: one of the more spooky labels I have come across, not sure what to think about that...pours into a snifter. body is a dark hazy amber, nice creamy beige head with great retention/lacing

smell: great aromas! The most noticeable things here are the vanilla, bourbon, and oak that separate this beer from the norm. big and boozy malt backbone, dark fruit, fig, dates. Great!

taste: This is an awesome barleywine. Big alcohol presence that is very similar to a nice bourbon, strong vanilla, definite oak effects, booze covered plum and cherry, fig, dates, a touch nutty...big malt body, green hops try to sneak through but ultimately play a background role. This beer is very impressive, bravo weyerbacher

mouthfeel: uber-creamy, alcohol is hot but it doesnt even matter in this beer, medium-full body

drinkability: good

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Photo of Dewey0603
3.88/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This pours a clear red color with a large frothy tan head. Nice looking,but the color is lighter than other b/ws. The smell is bourban oak,dark fruit, and vanilla. Not too strong,but aromatic. The taste has a very large flavor of vanilla. The alcohol is very much present,but it's creamy almost like a cream soda. Vanilla and bourban are the kings of this beer. The m/f is medium with the flavors mixing well. This is a good b/w,but it's different from others. Worth trying again.

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Insanity (Ale Aged in Oak Barrels) from Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
4.14 out of 5 based on 2,458 ratings.
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