Allagash Grand Cru | Allagash Brewing Company

458 Reviews
Allagash Grand CruAllagash Grand Cru

Brewed by:
Allagash Brewing Company
Maine, United States

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.20%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
Grand Cru is brewed with a touch of peated malt and spiced with coriander, sweet orange peel and a hint of anise. It is deep golden in color, full bodied and has hints of smoke and licorice in the taste and aroma. The malty, warming finish is perfect for colder weather.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 04-23-2001

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Reviews: 458 | Ratings: 647
Photo of Sammy
4.32/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Spiced Belgian style, very similiar to Unibroue. Excellent aroma, nice white creamy foam and carbation. Cloudy orange brown color. Yeast with noticeable pieces. Moderate malt and citrus orange peel, pear, hint bannana very pleasant fruit and herbs. Coriander (which may reduce fertility). Bonus for complexity. Good competition for wine.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.92/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle I brought to share at AndrewK’s tasting.

Batch # 15.

Pours a murky honey orange with a foamy beige head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Foamy streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, brown sugar, spices, and yeast. Taste is much the same with a slight honey flavor as well. There is a mild spice bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer that has aged well in my opinion and is still quite tasty.

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Photo of metter98
3.94/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

On-tap at Thirsty Monk, Asheville, NC

A: The beer is slightly hazy yellowish amber in color. It poured with a finger high frothy white head that died down, leaving a thin head covering the surface and lots of lacing down the sides of the glass.
S: Moderately strong aromas of Belgian yeast are present in the nose.
T: The taste is similar to the smell but also has some hints of oranges and spices.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer doesn't really taste like a Belgian Strong Dark Ale as it lacks the flavors of dark fruits and dark malts but it is a nice Belgian Ale.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.45/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Seriously complex with fruit, spice, and champagne-like effervescence, the beer washes the palate delivering new and exciting impressions of taste with each and every sip.

Allagash's Grand Cru pours with a rusty garnet color that receeds to honey-gold coloration toward the edge of the glass. A yeasty haze build and allows a soft glow outside, but a faint dullness toward the center. Capped by a rocky, sand-colored head, the foam is sprinkled with yeast and spices from the bottle. Superb retention and lacing patterns on the glass reinforce the quality that's inherently in any beer worthy of the Grand Cru moniker.

Richly aromatic with spiced and candied fruits that range from apples, dates, figs, and raisins to dried orange peel, cinnamon, nutmeg, coriander, and an herbal/flowery note. All this seems wrapped in a delicate caramel and honey scent from aromatic malts and candy sugar. Slight tartness of wine rounds out the scent with a very inviting cork-like wood earthiness.

Deliciously flavored as all of the taste of the beer attaches to the taste buds first delivering the sweet flavor of candied malt that's reminescent of light caramel, honey, and powdered sugar. The malts develop seamlessly into the sweet fruitiness of estery pears, apples, figs, dates, raisins, tropical, and citrus fruit. Balance comes from light winy acidity and an onslaught of spices either from yeast or brew kettle additions that give impressions of cinnamon, nutmeg, dried oranges, celery seed, peppercorn, and grape skin.

Full bodied throughout despite the authentic bubbly carbonation doing a good job of lifting the beer off the tongue and allowing the impression of prickly carbonation and lightness. Still, a sticky candyish feel is left on the tongue in a semi-sweet cola-like fashion. Aided with mild acidity and alcohol warmth, the finish is savory and long lasting making the beer a fine dessert-like session.

Where most Belgian versions are more subtle in their displayal of malt, fruit, and spice; there's no such finesse here. This beer is bold, vivid, and rich from sip to finish.

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Photo of brentk56
3.73/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a hazy rust-imbued amber color with a frothy, but delicate head that leaves swathes of foam around the sides of the chalice

Smell: A melange of sweet and herbal aromatics - honey, cream, orange peel, cardamom, green banana, pear and grape

Taste: Opens like a fruit salad, with all of the flavors detected in the aroma dancing around on my tongue, the flavors become progressively sweeter after the swallow and they move in a sweet grape direction

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Despite the complexity of this beer, the flavors just don't cut it for me; after a glass I was ready to move on

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Photo of largadeer
3.7/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Dark, almost opaque amber with a lot of haze. Right in between a dubbel and a tripel in appearance. The frothy off-white head retains for the entire bottle.

Smell - Spicy and sweet. Cinnamon and clove come to mind. Very yeasty, almost dough-like.

Taste - Sweet, earthy, estery and extremely spicy. A bit overly spicy and estery for me - while enjoyable, the spices really dominate the flavor. Esters and spices really linger in the finish, making this a slow drinker.

Mouthfeel - Highly carbonated but gentle. Medium-bodied. Slightly cloying.

Notes - A solid brew, but not my favorite from Allagash.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.61/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a slightly cloudy copper brown color ale with a huge off-white foamy head with perfect retention. Aroma is quite the spice mix with some Belgian yeast and caramel malt. Taste is also very interesting at first with some spices and caramel crating a huge full body beer (which seems to be more then 7.5%) with a slight bitter finish with some great medium funky yeast. I found the aftertaste was a bit thin and watery which would be my only complaint. Great Belgian…

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Photo of superspak
4.1/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle into chalice, batch 19(probably a few years old). Pours a hazy reddish orange color with a nice foamy 1 finger off white head with great retention that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Some spotty lacing on the glass, with nice carbonation streaming up. Aromas of big prune, golden raisin, pepper, coriander, clove, caramel, candi sugar, and spicy yeast. Nice and well balanced aromas with good strength. Taste of big caramel, prune, raisin, apple, pepper, molasses, biscuit, clove, roasted nut, candi sugar, and yeast spices. Lingering notes of caramel, dark fruit, molasses, biscuit, and yeast spices on the finish for a bit. Great balance of flavors with the spiciness. Medium-high carbonation and medium bodied; with a slightly creamy and slick mouthfeel. Drinks really smoothly despite the slightly prickly carbonation. Alcohol is nicely hidden with only a slight warming after the finish. Overall this is an excellent Quadrupel style offering from Allagash. Great balance of flavors with a high amount of complexity; and is super smooth to drink as well given the 7.2%.

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Photo of nickfl
3.88/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Hazy Orange, Caramel color. Fluffy white head that settles down pretty quickly and leaves behind a nice lace and a film of foam on the beer.

S - Yeasty aroma, notes of oranges, prunes, coriander, and other clovey phenolic smells.

T - Spicy, yeast, fruity. Some chocolate, hops in the finish.

M - Moderatly high carbonation, creamy and mouth coating, some astringency in the finish from the hops.

D - Reasonable drinkability, probobally better with food. Reminds me of a Saison or some kind of Witbier/ Witwine.

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Photo of oberon
4.2/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Really nice beer,pours a deep murky burnt orange with alight head,aroma irony and clovey with light orange essence.Flavor is of 10x sugar and some nuttiness with a real nice orange liquore flavor.A nice late night sipping beer as good as some of the Belgians in my opinion.

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Photo of jlindros
4.03/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tap at Armsby Abbey

Big fluffy head fades semi slowly with sticky lacing, hazy golden pale orange.

Nose nice Belgian malts, light fruits, light citrus, orange peel, light saison like spices, light sweet candi sugar.

Taste is semi sweet, lots of Belgian malts, fluffy, semi bitter orange peel, zest, citrus, light candi sugar, very light booze, light spices light spices coriander, etc. finishes a bit drier, somewhat bitter, light slices and Belgian fruity yeast.

Mouth is med to lightly heavier bodied with good carb.

Overall great, I think the bottles were better years ago but those are long gone, but a great beer

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.5/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle; corked and caged. Batch # 5. Even a careful pour delivers a slightly hazy, copper colored body with bronze and gold highlights. It's full and foamy head of off-white froth wants to leap out of the glass initially, but eventually settles to a creamy 1/2" lid that holds throughout the goblet and leaves excellent lace. The nose is floral with some light citrus; a yeasty spiciness; a touch of mustiness from the cork; and a candyish, honey-like and gently caramelish malt. It's medium bodied, but light and crisp in the mouth due to its very fine, natural, and lightly effervescent carbonation. The flavor is richer than the aroma indicates with a sweet, softly caramelish malt that's accented by yeasty clove and subtle, dried fruit. Notes of white pepper and spice appear mid-palate, (the small bottles are much spicier) probably due to its alchol. The hop bitterness is restrained, allowing the spiciness to balance it; and it finishes with a note of sweet, candyish malt that displays a slight touch of caramelization. This is a really enjoyable, softly malty and not overly-sweet beer that can be sipped slowly or enjoyed with a meal; but the smaller bottles tend to be a bit more abrasive with increased pepperiness and alcohol to them. Regardless, it's a very nice beer in either form.

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Photo of chinchill
3.33/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

on tap at Duckworths (NC)

Pour is a bit light for the style. The clear amber body is covered by a bone head that has great retention

Mouthfeel: near medium body with appropriate, medium carbonation.

Taste and Aroma: Plenty of alcohol esters and Belgian yeast. Also rather sweet. Wild yeast in the flavor that is not apparent in the nose.

O: unusual for style, this Belgian ale was disappointing but should appeal more to folks who like wild yeast in their beers more than I do.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.97/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep orange color, with a thin off-white head that fades quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma has a lot going on; Belgian yeast, caramelized malts, spices, citrus, apples and some hops.

T: The taste is bready and spicy with flavors of Belgian yeast, caramel, nutmeg, clove and some fruit. There's a pretty hearty malt character and there's a decent hops presence that provides some balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is clean.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, good kick, nice representation of style, due to its complexity, this is a nice beer to drink for a while. I'm not sure I could pound it for a whole evening, but I could certainly enjoy a 750ml if I'm in the right mood.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.95/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

In the past, I've been fortunate enough to taste some aged samples of the Allagash Grand Cru. Yesterday, I eagerly purchased a 4-pack at Green's in Atlanta and am quite Crurious about the fresh bottle experience.

Appearance: Pours a hazy, orangey-amber body with a small, foamy white head. No amount of snifter swirling can seem to kill the gooey lacing.

Smell: Flowery, doughy aroma that's simply full of lush fruit notes, including bananas, oranges, and melons. Lots of spice character, too, with coriander and ginger.

Taste: Bready, caramel maltiness with a perky Belgian dark candi sweetness followed by a pleasant cinnamon spiciness and a hint of herbs. All of the fruit juiciness blends well in the flavor and imparts a bit of sourness which, along with the spice, helps to balance the initial sweetness. Further spice notes appear on the drying finish leading into a peppery aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Moderate carbonation. Relatively smooth mouthfeel.

Drinkability: A very lovely Belgian Strong, and one that I know ages fairly well. Grand Cruriosity: sated!

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.47/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Lightly gauzy, coppery pumpkin orange with electric amber highlights. The head is French vanilla in color, displays a cobbled surface and is sticky enough to deposit thin, soapy sheets and arching ribbons of lace as it ever so slowly recedes.

The nose is wonderfully aromatic and is reminiscent of oranges, peaches and apricots in heavy syrup with sprinklings of clove, ginger and tamed white pepper. It's a near perfect recreation of a world class Belgian pale ale without the funky yeastiness. I've grown to love the aroma of Belgian yeast, but this beer is plenty complex and nuanced without it.

Grand Cru is a fantastic version of the style. For starters, it isn't as viscous or as sweet as anticipated. It's more light in the mouth with an understated sweetness that, frankly, improves drinkability. The level of spiciness is just about perfect, merging with the ripe orchard fruitiness like hand in glove. The carbonation is nearly unnoticed and the alcohol is... what alcohol?

Given the seamless interplay of sweet-bitter, sweet-dry, fruity-spicy and the velvety (yet angelically light) mouthfeel, this is one well-crafted beer and is my favorite Allagash offering to date. If Grand Cru is less a specific style than an appellation to be bestowed upon a brewery's proudest achievement, then this beer is aptly named.

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Photo of russpowell
4.32/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle/batch 8

Pours a slightly hazy caramel/red with 2 fingers of sand colred head. Very good head retention& a little lacing, expected more

S: Apricot & caramel with hints of brown sugar& earthy notes

T: Apricot & dates follow, along with earthy notes & some currants & cherry hints, Some hints of vanilla & praline follow with oaky dryness. Breadyness & a slight alcohol warming are coming through as it warms. Finishes dry, warming & with cherry, oak & some musty yeat notes that detract from the taste

MF: Low carbonation & medium bodied & very dry

Drinks pretty easy despite the complexity. I think this ot really a Belgian Pale, but as it says a Grand Cru or brown to me, except for the yrast profile (way to clean tasting) , any way you look at it, yummy & fairly complex. Easily my favorite from this brewery (so far)

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.88/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a tulip glass

A - Poured a nice hazy pale yellow. Lots of carbonation apparent with the big white pillow like head. Good retention left behind lots of side glass lace.

S - Aroma was highly spiced with hints of cinnamon, nutmeg, and a touch of yeast. Some pears or apples sneaking in there as well.

T - Flavor was nice, nothing explosive for me, but still good. Lots of apple and pear flavors mixed in with a good amount of spice. A slightly dry finish and something bitter that wanted to come through but never actually made it.

M - Very smooth, medium bodied and well carbonated. Never slick and had a very nice finish.

D - Not bad, a little bit more then a sipper this could catch up to you. You could easily finish a 70 without trouble and it is deceptively smooth.

Overall not bad. Not my favorite from them, but in no way was this a bad brew. I would recommend giving it a shot it is a pretty good seasonal offering.

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Photo of smcolw
3.67/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Cloudy orange-amber color. Long lasting but mild head. Very good ring lace.

I cannot detect the spices in the smell of this brew. Instead, I find the classic Belgian smells--stale hay, strong dry malt, a generous amount of lace. Some darker malt aromas.

Creamy body with a high carbonation. The alcohol is really noticeable in this beer. Mostly malty with some prickly hop bitterness in the background.

This is a full flavored ale that comes very close to the traditional Belgians.

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Photo of Jason
4.5/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: Brown 750 ml magnum with “Batch #1” on the label. A blurb about the beer, pairing suggestions as directions on how to pour the beer on the side.

Appearance: Mildly hazed sunset amber with a big and fast frothing light tan head, rocky and dense the head sticks in large clumps.

Smell: Clovey allspice, anise, orange peel, herbal medicinal phenolic, slight alcoholic esters, candied fruit and a powdery yeast make up the aroma.

Taste: Aggressive carbonation, crisp and flowing with a well textured mouth feel. Dry toasted biscuity malt character, goes a touch husk in the finish. Spicy palate with lots of clovey allspice, orange peel, mild medicinal phenols and a peppery end. Hops are nearly negligible though would be in the way if they were too noticeable. Fruity with a candied fruit flavour, deceivingly mild alcoholic esters and a powdery almost musty yeast lingers in the after taste.

Notes: This one gets quite dry the longer it ages and the alcohol seems to mellow out a bit also which makes for a perfect summer time brew even though this is a winter seasonal. Next time it comes around or if you see it on the shelf buy a few and cellar them for a few or several months.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.82/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Allagash Grand Cru batch no. 7, Appearance: Cloudy orange amber brown tone with a nice sized tan caramel colored head leaves behind belgian style lacing in specks spread randomly. Aroma: Christmas is in the air piney hops rich but soft malts coat the senses this is one great smelling beer almost like a pine air freshener but in a good way, just too good. Taste: A wave of piney spiced flavor bringing the pale malts out in the sweetness excellent candy like tasting brew puts an instant smile on your face. Mouthfeel: Medium bodied fluffy carbonatin very nice feeling . Drinkability: Very nice easy as all hell to put down simply amazing Christmas ale I have had this on tap but this is by far one of the best beers I have tasted this holiday season.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
4.2/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy orange brown with basically no head. Nose is a yeasty citrus thing with a minor spiced tone. Flavor is a bit tangy with a nice spiced kick to it. Feel is just slightly thin on the liquid and the carbonation is lower, but a bit biting it seems. A nice spicy BSPA. I bet this would be good to pair with food.

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Photo of jwc215
4.03/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a glass chalice:

Pours hazy orange-amber with a head that immediately descends to a patch, but leaves some lacing.

The smell is of ginger, a touch of cinnamon, some tea-leaf.

The taste is of light gingerbread, caramel/grainy, towards orange liqueur. Malty, but nor overly sweet.

Softly carbonated and very smooth, it has a velvety texture.

Wonderfully drinkable - Alcohol well-covered. I could drink this any time of the year and be happy!

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Photo of Billolick
4.35/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice puffy head, and calms down to a 1/8 inch foam. Nice orangy dark brown in color. Lovely and smooth mouthfeel. Cloves and nut meg nose. lots of fruit and spice in malty center.Belgian yeast esters and a bit of bubblegum in the finish. Plain and simple this is a well crafted and tasty Belgiain style concoction from Maine.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.65/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A solid, bright crimson, color, an enormous, full, fluffy, lacey head, loaded with bubbles..looks good so far...
Aroma: oooo, very nice! Light, airy, loaded with citrus, yeast and uplifting thing in the nose, very lively and enticing. You just want to keep it up to your nose, knowing this happy occasion should not be interurrupted...feels darker, fruitier later on, and that's very nice as well. Mmmm, a constant happiness abides in this aroma, and it never wanes.
Taste: hops grab the palate at first, then fade, and the palate is washed with a complex, incredible melange of flavors. A lush fruit factor is at the heart, incredibly integrated, a magnificent cocktail, with a tasty spicy kick riding on top. Somehow this is mellow, and terrifically full-flavored all at the same time. Full-bodied, but not a tiny bit thick, with a long, luxurious finish that resides softly on the plate, but never ends the delivery of joy.
As I close in on draining this bottle, I'm still reaching for proper words to encapture it's utter sublimity. And, still, more thoughts arise, as more flavors jut out, for I swear I'm tasting a touch of chocolate now. Is this a tripel mixed with a wit, and doused in a touch of tripel? Whatever it is, it's fan-diddly-tastic!

This is a re-review, a year and a couple days after my first scribblings, which I now refute. And perhaps the aging of this sample, from Batch #5, did something to enhance it's overpowering appeal.

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Allagash Grand Cru from Allagash Brewing Company
4.09 out of 5 based on 647 ratings.
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