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AleSmith Wee Heavy | AleSmith Brewing Company

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BA SCORE
93
outstanding
468 Reviews
AleSmith Wee HeavyAleSmith Wee Heavy
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
AleSmith Brewing Company
California, United States
alesmith.com

Style: Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
A classic Scotch Ale. Scotch ales are typically sweet and malty, with a very subdued dose of hops– just enough to provide balance. AleSmith Wee Heavy is a wonderful interpretation of this traditional Scotch style.

Added by Jason on 04-19-2002

BEER STATS
Reviews:
468
Ratings:
1,201
Avg:
4.19
pDev:
14.56%
 
 
Wants:
205
Gots:
250
For Trade:
15
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 468 | Ratings: 1,201
Photo of BucannonXC5
3.98/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Type: 8-oz. draft
Glass: Clear snifter glass
From: AleSmith Brewing Tap Room in San Diego, Calif.
Price: $4.25
Purchased: Jan. 9, 2016
Consumed: Jan. 9, 2016
Misc.: N/A

Poured a dark mahogany color with two fingers of khaki tan, fizzy head when I got it. Good spotty lacing on the sides of the glass. Good retention on the top all the way down. (Sight - 4.25)

Smelled boozy scotch caramel, toffee, dark fruits, plum and roasty nuts. (Smell - 3.75)

Tasted roasty malts, caramel, toffee, scotch notes, but not as pronounced as the nose, dark fruits and some dates. (Taste - 4.00)

Medium-to-full body. Creamy texture. Average carbonation. Long, smooth finish. (Feel - 4.25)

This was a very good beer for the style. Would have it again for sure. (Overall - 4.00)

3.98 | 89 | B+

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Photo of mdagnew
3.97/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle bought online from Beermerchants.com..

Poured a deep dark russet brown colour... creamy mocha head poured small and quite fizzy then faded fairly quickly to patchy wispy covering with thicker edging... some light strands of lacing...

Aroma - Lots of rich treacle sweetness mixed with dark fruits (dates, prunes, fig and raisins), toated bready (mainly fruit loaf) malts, vanilla, nutmeg spiciness, sweet toasted nuttiness, dark chocolate and liquorice, faint trace of smoke, some of the 10% alcohol just noticeable..

Taste... Molasses, alcohol soaked fruits (figs, prunes, date, some raisins also), some light smokiness comes through after the sweetness, fresh vanilla, toasted bready malts, malt loaf, marsala notes, quite a lot of spiciness - pepper and nutmeg, some light medicinal notes, faint anise...

Feel - Too much carbonation which makes it quite sharp on the tongue - this fades a touch as the beer warms up... medium / full bodied... Drinkability is pretty decent even for a beer of 10%..

Overall - A decent enough brew but could probably do with some aging to mellow things out... certainly recommended though...

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Photo of Franziskaner
3.96/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep brown with a red tint that is revealed when held up to light. A fingernail of beige head covers the rim and perhaps a third of the top. Aroma is of toffee and caramel. The flavor is toffee and caramelized malt. I get that subtle smokey note as it warms. I could occasionally taste the alcohol. The mouth is chewy,sticky, and viscous.

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Photo of ricke
3.95/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Dark ruby-colored with a small off-white head that leaves lacings that stays around to the end which is quite impressive for a beer of this size.

S: Sweet malts, lots of caramel, fruity notes and a gentle touch of alcohol.

T: Delicious malts all around. Very complex malt profile. Some bready notes, but most of all lots of caramel. With a complementary fruitiness, that has a very gentle tart character (perhaps caused by cellaring), I get a sensation similar to hard fruit candy. The finish as mildly bitter with more notes of malts, a gentle roasted note and some alcohol. The alcohol is nicely hidden and well integrated.

M: Medium body with a slick texture.

D: A well crafted beer. Very impressive malty profile and surprisingly easy to drink.

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Photo of smakawhat
3.95/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a good wee heavy glass, and also a tulip suggested by the brewery.

A real interesting small pour produces little head off the tulip, aggression brings a caramel light fluffy head while drinking. Falls very fast with a lot of snapping sounding carbonation, and leave a pencil thin collar. While consuming the ring of glass gets coated in lots of spider like lacing all the way down. Body color is a deep dark brownish red, with some honey brown chestnut hues along the edges..

Nose is subtle, toffee like malts which are tiny, but a big sense of sweet concord grape juice. Hints of cherries and nutmeg. Pretty unique and interesting, but no strong alcohol, and clean and airy.

Palate hits at first with a tight fizz and a hint of carbon dioxide. Mid palate opens with a light caramel, but this feels and tastes more like a Belgian quad character. Hints of Flanders like cherries, and a very faint charing on the finish. Some small chocolate hiding in the background and cherry coke like sensibility.

Overall this is real interesting, but it seems like the toffee sense on this is downplayed. I normally like a good sense of that, and this reminds me more of a quad which doesn't always grab me when I want a Wee Heavy. It's got a great flavor profile, but it's not what I look for in this style, and they all seem like they are trying to play nice together but have a hard time fitting well with each other nicely. Regardless, it's a very well crafted beer.

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Photo of jwinship83
3.95/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

thanks to brokenleadedcask for this one at DLD. 750ml bottle with 10% abv on it.

A- this one pours a very deep, dark, murky brown with a small cream colored head. the head lasts for a while, and then becomes a crown of large foamy bubbles. small rings of lacing left on the sides of my snifter.

S- very subtle and earthy. lots of peat and a slight smokiness to this one. caramel and toffee malts with a moderate sugary sweetness. a slight bit of alcohol comes through in the end.

T- much the way it smells, but alot stronger. the smokiness is bumped up, and the peat comes through strongly. caramel and toffee like malts, brown sugar, and some dark fruits come out as it warms. plums and figs.

M- light bodied and smooth. a nice low level of carbonation, and a moderate warming sensation from the alcohol.

D- one of the better wee heavys ive had in recent memory. one bottle is too much for me, but would love to split one again some time soon. glad i got to try this one from such a far away brewery

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Photo of Ego
3.95/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

eyes...
it may not count in my rating but alesmith has a great look to their line of brews and the simplicity of their logo.
anyhoo, small sizzle with soapy craggy foam, the cap is off white and after the sizzle session it fades pretty quick but does not disappear completely, there is a nice meniscus but not much in the lacing department, legs are apparent from the ABV... but not long legs, about as deep ruby as deep ruby can get, when held up to the light a torrent of bubbles is revealed, a good
looking brew

nose...
sharp grapes mixed with malty sweetness, almost vinegar bite, spicy like bits of cinnamon floating on a gentle breeze, slight waft of the booze, pretty standard for the style

taste etc...
smooth like silk on the mouth feel side of things, really subtle carbonation that just is perfect, the use of hops here is great, it adds just enough bitterness to make this very american-ized but not so much so (ie over-hopped), the malts are real nice, they have an almost maple syrup
like quality to them except with that wee heavy bite, the ABV is well in place and not a distraction at all (dangerously so I might add), the malt flavor really pops - I think it has to do with the hops that really play well off each other, great use of the right hops here.

verdict?
addictive, at first I was not blown away but damn this grows on you like VD, except good VD. Really consistent flavor, fantastic mouth feel and a kicked up ABV - what's not to love?

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Photo of chinchill
3.93/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A portion of the large bottle served in a Belgian snifter.

Pours with a dark, hazy, red-brown body. A bit of sediment in the bottle was added in the pour and soon settled to the bottom of the glass.

Excellent sweet aroma and flavor. Faint dark fruits and compatible alcohol esters. Smooth body with low carbonation.

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Photo of russpowell
3.93/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a ruby tinged brown with 3+ fingers of tan colored head. some lacing & no head retention what so ever

S: Oakyness, vanilla & other bourbon notes, plus some leafy hops as this warms

T: Smokey caramel, vanilla, dryness, leafy hops & dark fruit up front. Brown sugar, more leafy hops, some baker's chocolate, some whispers of alcohol & more vanilla as this warms. Finishes dry with dark fruit & toffee

MF: Somewhat chewy with low carbonation, syruppy, very warming

Drinks very easy for the ABV & style, a little too much hops profile for the style & dryness kind of slows you down too. A good beer, just a bit off style, I do expect more out of Alesmith though. I expected more caramel, peat & less hops

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Photo of DarkerTheBetter
3.93/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Looks great in my pint glass as its a cola color with plumb highlights. The frothy tan film of a head stuck around for a while.

Smells of sweet, dry caramel, celery and strawberries with a dry woody, birch bark edge to it.

Tastes of thick and chewy caramel and sticky barley with a touch of dry leaves and a nip of coffee to round things off.

Feels down-right huge and sluggish with a faint breeze of carbonation.

A tasty sipper, without question, but the bottle for me-self may have been a bad idea.

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Photo of sprucetip
3.93/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

bottle into tulip.

Deep amber with reddish highlights. Clear with thick off whilte head. Good retention then leaves a ring around the edge. Short lived, spotty lacing. Very attractive.

Booze is most prominent, malt, cararmel, slightly peaty and a bit of malty sweetness. Nicely blended with exception of prominent booze.

Boozy, caramel, malty sweetness and a wee bit smoky. Largely balanced, but the booze is most notable. Clean, slightly dry finish.

Perfectly restrained carbonation, thick, full, pleasant texture. Dry, but not overly so, finish. Strong alc warming.

Full bodied, assertive and bold. A savoring, sharing sipper. Really tasty, but no attempt to hide the booze. Would be interested to see what happened to it after a couple of years in the cellar. My brother found the booze overwhelming and left me the chore of draining the majority of the bottle. I enjoyed it, was up to the task, but it took a while.

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Photo of GJ40
3.93/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Sampled from a 750ml bottle in a tulip glass.

A deep, deep brown but not black. It's got a thick, rich head that combined with the beer's color, gives a great appearance. It's got a very sweet, molasses smell. The tastes follows much the same. It's very sweet with a strong roasted malt flavor. The high level of alcohol (10%) is well masked but it does come through over the course of the glass. This is a thick, chewy beer.

I really enjoyed it but it's very sweet and not one I could drink a lot of.

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Photo of andrewinski1
3.93/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip. A giant light tan head that looks thick and creamy rests atop a deep mahogany body. The lacing is quite sticky.

The aroma is a balanced mix of dried fruit and caramel.

The taste malty with a slightly buttery undertone. There is a bit of a fruity plum-like finish. This isn't super complex, but it's very solid and delicious.

The texture here works amazingly well with the thickness of this beer. This feels slightly soft and silky. The body is deceptively light for the strength.

This is a tasty Wee Heavy from the always reliable Alesmith.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.92/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of Black95tt: Poured a clear burgundy color ale with a small slightly off-white dirty head with average retention. Aroma of sweat malt with subtle hints at dry fruits. Aroma is mix between some roasted malt with some dry fruits sweetness. Body is a bit thin for my own liking and alcohol shows a little bit. I would have liked a bit more of a smoky/peat aroma to make this truly wonderful but this is a very good beer nonetheless.

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Photo of d4114
3.92/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Light barley come through a deep red body with a nice tan head.

S- Smoke, roasted notes, caramel, slight alcohol and a unique mintiness, all blend together really well.

T- Big smoky flavor, was expecting it to be sweeter. Smoke and malt notes with a dry finish. Not as complex as the smell but still a nice straight forward flavor. Also the alcohol is masked super well.

M- Medium to medium-heavy; creamy smooth feel but it's thick or viscus. Very drinkable.

O- Awesome nose, pretty straight forward flavor and highly drinkable, very solid over all.

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Photo of NCSUdo
3.92/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 mL bottle

A: Deep, dark brown under a good looking off white head. Some lace and decent retention.

S: Smells at first of dark fruit and some chocolate and coffee tones. A little nutty. Slightest hint of smoke and a little tangy and vinous.

T: Sweet up front with a definite bitterness and booziness in the finish. Hints of chocolate and coffee, some toasted malt and again a slight hint of smoke. A lot going on here and could be more balanced.

M/D: Full bodied, medium carbonation, a bit drying. I was hoping for a bit more velvety texture. Decent drinkability for such a big beer. A sipper and it could use some balancing in the taste, which probably come from extended cellaring (this bottle is maybe 6-8 months, so maybe 12-18 months would be best).

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Photo of Leesure
3.91/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from a 25oz bottle into a tulip glass.

Look: rich caramel color with a thin creamy head.

Smell: malty and yeasty with hints of vanilla.

Mouthfeel: a little thin for a Wee Heavy, but pleasant with just the right amount of carbonation.

Taste: spot on for the genre. Loads of mulch and caramel and vanilla. I did not get any of the smoke that is mentioned on the label, but that was just fine by me.

Overall: a very pleasant poor. I would definitely drink it again. I know they make a barrel-aged version and I would love to try it. Perhaps that could compare to my favorite wee heavy, the backwoods bastard.

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Photo of puck1225
3.91/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A wee bit on the heavy side, I think. A beautiful beer, with a dark, rich mahogany color. Poured into a pint to give a nice dark beige head but little lacing. Rich sweet smell. The taste is strong and boozy, dark cherries, caramel, toffee. The bomber is best shared!

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Photo of ballewblake
3.91/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this out in Cali at Red Carpet Wines. Poured from bottle into a Brunehaut chalice.

Dark brown, maybe black, with a one finger off white head on a normal pour. Reasons to stick with my Duvel glass, smell. I always seem to get way better smells off that glass even though I have a huge glassware connection. Anyway, barely getting some slightly sweet smells, nothing huge, kinda disappointed there, but I'm really thinking its the glassware, will try in another glass when I finish the bottle. Taste is really sweet upfront and then as it washes over my tongue it gets really wet and sweeter at the back as it goes over the bitter areas, weird. Getting some ethanol now, both in the throat and lips, slightly noticeable, but I think as its warming up its really starting to come out. Some really mild bittering hops in the aftertaste. A great balance on this one with malts and hops. Deeper down, getting way better smells, great solid lacing down the glass and head retention is there. Getting the alcohol in the nose, picking up the sweet malts,

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Photo of GbVDave
3.9/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 750ml bottle into two tulip glasses. Thanks to HeatherAnn for the assist and the hook up!

A: Pours a deep dark brown with a slight reddish tint when held to the light. Tiny 1/4 finger head.

S: Aromas of chocolate and spicy peat smoke.

T: Spicy, smoke kissed plums and figs. Burnt brown sugar or molassas. Light alcohol burn rears its' head as it warms.

M: Starts smooth and finishes quite prickly.

D: Very good, although the alcohol heat becomes slightly intrusive as we made our way through the bottle.

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Photo of CuriousMonk
3.9/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 750ml bottle into tulip glass. Pours a deep mahogany color along with a thick medium head that lasts throughout. Deep caramelly malty flavor with just a hint of smoke in the finish. The aroma is sweet and voluptuous, reflecting the flavor with malt familiar with the Scottish style, hop and yeast characteristics. Mouthfeel Lush, full, rounded, almost chewy mouthfeel. A good wee heavy style that I rarely drink.

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Photo of bifrostguard
3.9/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Burgundy with a small off white head and minimal lacing

S - Sweet malts, caramel and toffee with a bit of alcohol stinging the nostrils.

T - Somewhat more bitter than expected (a good thing), but still had a residual sweetness. Caramel and roasted malts are present in a healthy dose and a complimentary alcohol burn follows that is appreciated.

M - Medium bodied with a building residue on the palate.

D - I enjoyed this very much for the first few sips. Even on a small pour I thought that a little was enough.

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Photo of SilentSabre
3.89/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Part of a recent trade from nflmvp. Many thanks, Steve! This poured approximately the same shade of brown as a chocolate bar and was a bit cloudier than I was expecting. This may be due to the fact that my DBF is down stairs and I roughly grabbed up the bottle and ran it upstairs. Perhaps I disturbed some sediment. I see others who have reviewed this say it's clear. Very thin khaki colour head vanished within seconds, leaving a sand coloured webbing of frost over the surface of the liquid; a notch, at best, better than your average wee heavy.
Smell was quite lovely. Plenty of roasted grains, caramelised sugar, stewed dark fruits, and some smokey, earthy notes such as rich, dark soil and mushrooms. (Very imaginative, aren't I?) Plenty going on here in the smell, to be sure.
Taste wasn't quite as complex as the smell, I felt, though I still enjoyed it. Huge sweetness immediately noticeable. It wasn't offensive, but I certainly couldn't handle much of this with great frequency. One of these a month would be fine. Once you get past the sweetness, the second thing you notice is its weight; very solid, and very full bodied. The taste itself is comprised almost exclusively of sweetmalts with a very faintly noticeable alcohol presence which vanishes as quickly as it became noticeable, and an even more subtle smokey peat, which you'll overlook if you don't know to search for it.
Mouthfeel, as I stated earlier, is very full and heavy. We'll see how I feel after consuming this 750mL. It is quite smooth and very light on the CO2, though.
Overall, I rather enjoyed this. In fact, I think it's better than a handful of real Scottish Wee Heavies I've had. It was still very sweet though, and a 750mL would perhaps be best split between two friends rather than consumed by one person. I am extremely glad that I was able to have such a rare beer for the East Coast. Thanks again nflmvp!

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Photo of kojevergas
3.88/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1 pint 9.4 fl oz (750ml) brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap and silver neck wrap poured into a generic hefeweissbier glass in low altitude Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. This is me first Alesmith beer; I'm really excited!

A: Pours a one finger slight tan colour head of great cream and thickness, and impressive retention for the relatively high ABV. Colour is a solid black. It's very inviting and appealing. I can't wait to try it!

Sm: Heavy on vanilla and caramel, with a touch of smoke (a bit rauchbier-esque in this regard). Light nuts are a pleasant addition. The aroma is mild to moderate in strength, and quite nice.

T: A vanilla and light caramel body is complemented very nicely by a creamy light chocolate undertone. There's even a very subtle dark fruit ester hop note buried underneath. A lot of lacing is going on here; it's really rather intricate. I get a touch of smoke on the finish, but it's momentary and restrained, keeping the beer in balance. There's maybe some toasted malt in the foundation, but it's all very subtle. This is a brilliantly built beer that's really rather tasty. I suppose some of the alcohol does come through, but the ABV is so high this is forgivable. Very complex. All around, a tasty brew.

Mf: A wonderful creamy lacing underlies the entire beer, giving it a rich texture like fine chocolate. It's smooth and wet in a general sense, but also silky. It's not too thick like many high ABV dark beers. Exquisite. It matches the flavours quite nicely.

Dr: Very drinkable even for its high ABV. This is good sipper if you like to drink whilst reading a book. I imagine it ages well. I'd love to try this on draught (or even nitro-draught if it exists). This is maybe the best wee heavy I've had. I look forward to trying more beers from Alesmith. Why is everyone in San Diego so focused on Stone when beers like this are available from Alesmith? Give this one a try - you won't be disappointed.

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Photo of StArnoldFan
3.88/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Super heavy bourbon on the nose. Almost overwhelming, but a bit muted on the taste which makes it more drinkable. Glad I have someone to share the bottle with and not something I'd come back to regularly, however it's enjoyable at the moment.

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AleSmith Wee Heavy from AleSmith Brewing Company
4.19 out of 5 based on 1,201 ratings.
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