Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale | Alltech's Lexington Brewing and Distilling Co.

BA SCORE
82
good
635 Reviews
Kentucky Bourbon Barrel AleKentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Alltech's Lexington Brewing and Distilling Co.
Kentucky, United States
kentuckyale.com

Style: English Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.19%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Award winning Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale is a unique sipping beer with the distinctive nose of a well-crafted bourbon. Our Kentucky Ale is aged for up to 6 weeks in freshly decanted bourbon barrels from some of Kentucky’s finest distilleries. Subtle yet familiar flavors of vanilla and oak are imparted to this special ale as it rests in the charred barrels. Pleasantly smooth and robust, Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale may also be served as an aperitif or after dinner drink.

Added by SheepNutz on 07-13-2004

BEER STATS
Reviews:
635
Ratings:
2,913
Avg:
3.63
pDev:
18.18%
 
 
Wants:
157
Gots:
963
For Trade:
8
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Reviews: 635 | Ratings: 2,913
Photo of jera1350
3.91/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours into a tulip a dark gold color with a creamy clean white cap of foam on top.

The aroma lends notes of sour whiskey, cherry and vanilla. After some hard digging, I can pick out some coconut faintly. The nose a little light overall though.

Whiskey notes up front, followed by rather strong vanilla and toasted coconut. A very long and pleasant finish full of the aforementioned flavors. I wish the malt bill was a little bigger on this one, with some added sweetness. Right now, it tastes like a light version of Backwoods Bastard, which is still a fine quality to have.

Very smooth, but the body could use a bit of heft to round it out. Very dry feeling as well.

Rather enjoyed this one. Lives up to all of the bourbon barrel in its name. I just wish it had some more malt to add sweetness and body. It would then be an "A" or higher in my book. Still, this is one tasty beer. Actually kind of nice to have a barrel aged beer under ten percent alcohol for once. I would certainly pick this one up again.

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
3.25/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle split and poured into a Duvel tulip. 8.19% ABV, no date.

Thanks to Wisconsinality for breaking this out for his Kentucky tasting!

A - Pours out a clear golden light bronze color with a thin ring of bone foam. The color is great but the lack of any head is disappointing.

S - Pure oak bourbon aroma. Nothing else is really going on. The malts and hops are absent in aroma. A bit of cold refrigerator that's reminiscent of Sam's Club (no kidding) appears on the back end. Good oak and bourbon that's not too boozy/alcohol rich in aroma but definitely needs more malts in the back.

T - Oaky wood and straight bourbon flavor. No malts, no hops, just straight bourbon flavor. Interesting thing is it's not boozy alcohol at all. The bourbon barrel level is great...if there would be more complimentary flavors going on.

M - Thin and light-medium-bodied with a smooth and fairly crisp texture. Decent finish on it with out any hot alcohol.

D - The thin feeling texture and flavor give it easy drinkability but the bourbon becomes a little much towards the end with out any malts. Serious work is needed on this one.

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Photo of Pencible
2.66/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

This poured a clear dark gold with some off-white head. It smelled strange, like light sulfur and sweet bourbon, with some fresh oak and peaches and sour apple. It tasted much like it smelled, with sulfur and light bourbon and oak, along with some cabbage and vanilla and peach and bready yeast. It was slightly thick with a bit of carbonation, and had a sour aftertaste. Overall I'm not sure if this was how this beer is supposed to taste, or if it was skunked. But if this was actually a "good" bottle, then I am really not a fan.

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Photo of cpetrone84
3.06/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Pour is clear orange with reddish hues and a creamy bubbly off white head. Nose is interesting, heavy bourbon with strong vanilla notes and wood undertones. Off chocolate malt notes and some charred barrel in back. Taste is heavy wooded bourbon and chocolate malt. Fair amount of vanilla behind the flavors but finish is a bit empty. Thinned out body in back with strong carbonation making an odd combo. Fair amount of running alcohol in the finish but somehow not hot. Very different beer.

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Photo of Cyberkedi
3.73/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a beautiful clear coppery amber with a thick and rather persistent fluffy ivory head. Malty aroma has a strong, oaky overtone of bourbon barrel and a hint of caramel. Bourbon and oak dominate the flavor, but not too much, letting through malty and subtle fruity notes plus a caramel hint. Firm texture has OK fizz and leaves a nice bourbon-barrel finish. I hope that this is a year-round beer and not a one-and-done special.

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Photo of KarlHungus
3.5/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a clear ruby color. The head is half an inch in height, and recedes quickly into thin lacing. The aroma is of oak and bourbon, but not much else. It is a very pleasant aroma, but to lacking in any sort of malt or hops to make it interesting. The taste is still full of oak and bourbon, but there is some malt. It still isn't very interesting though. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with nice carbonation. Overall, this is an alright beer, but rather boring. I could drink it again, but it won't be something I search out.

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Photo of Durge
3.57/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A clear orange tea color with a modest white cover that clings to the sides and leaves very little lace on the snifter glass served at Max & Erma's at Cincinnati Airport, terminal B. The aroma is a decent carmel malt which I guess is basically a product of the proported bourbon with a hint of citrus hop. The bourbon is a bit more clear in the taste, almost candied It's crisp and clean with good, fine carbonation. There is a mild bitterness that gathers at the back of my mouth, bread and biscuit with some malt, a touch of flowery sweetness and some alcohol. I don't think I would want to drink a lot of these, that bourbon and bitter theme wears a little thin on the taste buds, but it is a fair experience, worth the try. I had it with an excellent turkey club sandwich which seemed to only accentuate the bourbon flavor. It also seemed to have a little kick, the ale not the sandwich.

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Photo of tectactoe
2.8/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.5

Pours a mild amber color with a very slight amount of haze, slightly off white head fades quickly; very faint amounts of lacing are left along the walls of the glass. The aroma is big heavy bourbon - no faintness, no notes, hints, or nuances - straight up bourbon, through and through. Woody, oak aromas reside somewhat along the outer edges along with a touch of creamy and subtle vanilla. Much like the nose, the mouth senses heavy bourbon upon the first sip as well. If you were to tell me it was a malted-up ale and someone dropped in a shot of Evan Williams, I'd believe it. Very malt forward; lots of sweetness from the malt, toasted, slight caramel flavors, grainy. Hops aren't very noticeable, at least in flavor. A slight harsh, dry bitterness grabs the palate halfway through, but it's hard to detect any hop flavors at all. Slick body, thin, with adequate carbonation.

This is a bourbon beer, through and through. Literally tastes like someone dropped a shot of bourbon or whiskey into a malty ale. If bourbon is your thing, you'll love this. I guess it's okay if you're looking to drink bourbon. But if that's the case... just drink bourbon.

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Photo of Brenden
3.48/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

It comes off the tap a clear shining gold color. It sports a billowing head that foams up and drops down to a bit of a lighter whitish cap. With time, it recedes to the edges while leaving a wispy island. Some pretty good spotting with light legging does cling to the glass.
Wood is the inital note, not particularly dry, and something lighter that gives the imprssion of beech or balsam (but obviously isn't). Nice vanilla and toffee notes are present too. Oddly, I get something like plum, but a softer, pale flesh sort, and only a few flashes here and there. It's got a bit of booziness, but it's fairly tame.
A touch of the vanilla and toffee sweetness come out on the tongue with the wood up front, all under a note of grains that follows through to the end.
While smooth, it is a bit too lightly carbonated, and thins out slightly toward the end.

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Photo of morimech
3.58/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Sept 15 2011 stamped on the bottle neck. Pours a clear, dark amber with two fingers of rocky white head. The head settles to a thick cap. Moderate amount of lacing is left on the glass.

At first it had a raw whisky aroma but after it breaths a few moments, it mellows into a rich bourbon aroma. The bourbon dominates the aroma and does not let anything else come out.

The bourbon dominates the flavor as well. But some sweet malt tries to give some balance to the beer. Has a sweet finish rather than a hot, boozy flavor.

For a beer that does not pack a lot of malt flavor, it has a surprisingly robust body. Nice carbonation.

Just not enough beer qualities come through. It does feature bourbon in one of the purest ways in a beer.

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Photo of mrfrancis
4.04/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a light gold with a thin, creamy white mousse that dissipates quickly.

S: This ale really captures the essence of bourbon. Strong scents of vanilla bean, caramel, toffee, woody spices, toasted coconut, and honeysuckle are framed against a backdrop of grassy, earthy hops and biscuits.

T: Extremely robust notes of charred oak, woody spices, toasted coconut, heavy cream, vanilla bean, biscuits, grassy hops, minerals, caramel, butterscotch, toffee, and honeysuckle wash across the palate. The finish is rich and smooth with notes of vanilla, grassy hops, spice, caramel, butterscotch, and toasted coconut underscored by mellow alcohol.

M: Full-bodied and very dry. Alcohol presence is understated. Carbonation is very active. Very heavy in the mouth. Definitely a sipper.

O: This is a very enjoyable strong ale. I particularly like the fact that it actually smells and tastes like bourbon-something most barrel aged ales fail at by the way. I can see this becoming a go-to evening sipper.

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Photo of MattyG85
3.95/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a Surly Darkness chalice.

Appearance: Pours a deep copper orange with a moderate amount of bubbles. About one finger of off white head which fades into a thin patchy layer. Leaves a decent amount of lace.

Smell: A very whiskey forward and fairly sweet malty aroma. Big barrel presence with hints of bourbon whiskey, wood, oak chips, and vanilla. Toasted malts with hints of sweet caramel, toffee, yeast, grains, and biscuit. Also some sweet hints of molasses and brown sugar. Hop presence is very light. A little scent of booze. Aroma is pretty much bourbon and caramel malt. Decent.

Taste: Like it smells, very barrel forward with with sweet notes of caramel malt. Barrel notes of bourbon whiskey, oak chips, wood, and vanilla upfront. Toasty malts with sweet notes of caramel, toffee, grain, yeast, and biscuit. Some molasses and brown sugar add to the sweetness. Very little in the way of hops. Sweet but smooth and not syrupy. Decent bourbon taste.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. Creamy, smooth, and slightly slick. Alcohol presence is pretty smooth for a barrel aged beer.

Overall: A decent barrel aged brew. Good smooth whiskey taste. The base beer could of had some more substance but it went well with the barrel.

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Photo of Dogbrick
2.78/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Bottle from Party Source. The beer is a clear amber-orange color with a medium off-white head that dissipates steadily. Thin ting of lacing with spots under it. The aroma is pretty much all bourbon, with maybe a hint of malt buried under it. Medium-bodied with a bourbon overkill character of which the smell warned. Touches of woody malt and hops but again the bourbon overwhelms. The finish is oak and bourbon with a lingering whiskey aftertaste. Not for me.

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Photo of DoubleSimcoe
4.22/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale on tap at Mellow Mushroom in Columbus, Ohio.

Appearance: Light amber, almost no lacing. Barely any head. Not very impressive.

Smell: Beautiful! Oak, vanilla. Some bourbon. Light nose overall but very enticing.

Taste: Bourbon and vanilla in a nice balance. Woodsy.

Mouthfeel: Medium to light body, smooth and low carbonation.

Drinkability: High, unless you tire of bourbon. I love KBB and feel it is an underrated beer.

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Photo of OWSLEY069
4.22/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clean orange-ish/ amber color with a white head. In the aroma, big oak and bourbon. In the taste, bourbon, oaky, hints of vanilla and a nice maltiness. A small bite and medium to big mouthfeel, with a clean small oak in the aftertaste. Big bourbon flavor and quite smooth, very nice being an ale.

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Photo of AgentZero
2.92/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Clear golden color, nothing real special going on here, small white head that dissipated rather quickly leaving no lacing.

S - Well, definately can smell the bourbon. Strong bourbon kick wrapped around carmel malts.

T - Not my think, the bourbon is very strong, but doesn't meld with the rest of the beer at all. Tastes like I'm drinking whisky and water, albeit not quite to that extent. No complexity to speak of, really lose the beer taste here. Sweet brown sugary taste, but outside of the bourbon, that's really about it.

M - The strength of the bourbon makes this beer seem a lot more watery than it really is, but don't really care much for the feel of this, I keep checking expecting to see ice in here.

D - It's not hard to drink, other than it tastes bad, so that one made me end this relatively quickly. Would not drink again.

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Photo of Dope
3.68/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle approximately a year old.

A: Pours a mostly clear medium amber with some floaties. Good sized fizzy white head. Fades at a reasonable pace and leaves almost no lacing.

S: Smells like bourbon, unsurprisingly. Harsh bourbon. Toffee, caramel, raisins and oak.

T: Initially toffee and caramel and oak. Then lots of vanilla. And I mean a lot. Sweet.

M: Medium bodied and smooth. Pretty standard.

O: An interesting but otherwise uneventful beer. I had this fresh and I remember it being much harsher and pretty much just pure cheap bourbon. Now it's just a flash of bourbon and tons of vanilla. It's honestly not bad but pretty simple and straightforward.

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Photo of buschbeer
3.9/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I poured into a pint glass to a finger of off white head. It is amber colored and clear. The aroma is bourbon and vanilla. I can also get whiffs of caramel malt. The taste is dominated by the bourbon. I get the oak/vanilla taste as well. This beer is a great example of what bourbon barrel aging can do to a beer. I am not a big whiskey drinker but I could see this as an alternative.

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Photo of DavoleBomb
2.9/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Poured into a snifter.

2.5 A: Clear dark orange/light amber color. About one finger of frothy off-white head that falls almost instantly and leaves no lacing.

3.0 S: Nose is primarily the barrel. A lot of leather, apple, vanilla, oak, toastiness. Caramel and toffee which could be coming from the barrel or the base beer. Hints of grass with a fresh mountain spring water component. It's not bad, but it smells more like watered down bourbon than beer.

2.75 T: Like the nose, this beer is just a bourbon delivery vehicle. Tastes like it smells with leather, apple, vanilla, oak, and toastiness being most prominent. On the drier side, but does have a sweet caramel toffee flavor.

3.25 M: Medium body. Good moderate carbonation. This would benefit from a little more body, but it does have some creaminess to it.

3.0 D: It's okay for what it is, but it's not that great of a beer.

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Photo of jsh420
3.1/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

best by march 08 2012

pours clear gold with a 1 finger white head that faded fast and left some spotted lacing

smell - the first thing i thought of was a candy my friend makes called tutti fruiti - sweet candy malt vanilla some oak

taste is nice - a little sweet and cloying - no real bourbon flavor - all malt vanilla and oak

mouthfeel - medium body with good carbonation - a bit sticky

overall - for the price this beer is a fail and for being aged in bourbon barrels this beer not only falls short but lost yards - however the flavor was pleasant - i will enjoy the rest of the 4 pack but would never buy this again

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Photo of BeerAdvocate
3.7/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Review from BeerAdvocate Magazine Issue #51 (April 2011):

The pale amber color and sufficient lacing does not tell much of a story, even though it’s a great-looking beer. At first sniff, the nose is filled with barrel juice from the freshly used bourbon barrels—fusel with sweet vanilla and oak. Has the body of a well-attenuated ale, though there’s warmth from the aggressive alcohol. Hopping is modest at best; the dryness and high level of alcohol seem to balance this beer out. Boozy with fresh bourbon flavors from start to finish. Any sweetness seems to come from the feigned direction of the bourbon as it throws down that vanilla flavor. Some graininess within to remind us that this is a beer. Drinking this one slow. Definitely sets itself apart from all other bourbon barrel aged beers, which makes it a must-try.

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Photo of Reagan1984
3.9/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

So I saw this sitting on the shelves at Marty's and figured it was worth a shot. Last night we were hanging around with a buddy and both of our wives. We were trying some beers and this one finally hit the table. The women absolutely loved it. My buddy's wife calls it her "Coconut beer"

She is correct that the beer smells a even taste quite a bit like coconut. Reminded her of sun tan lotion which she meant as a compliment.

A light amber/copper color that is very bright. A decent light beige head shows some retention. Not much in the way of lacing.

In addition to the description above the aroma also had a lot of vanilla and straight bourbon notes. The oak was very present.

I really wasn't expecting much and I'm not sure why, but this was pretty damn good. The flavors were lead by bourbon and the entire gang from the aroma came for the ride. Coconut, vanilla, oak... Really nice flavor. All the bourbon with none of the booziness. I have to admit they fooled me on the abv. After drinking for a bit I was asked what the abv was and I said I didn't know, but it didn't seem high and I guesses 5ish... At 8.1 this hides the abv extremely well. Frankly scary well.

The body is the one area where I think this has room for improvement. It seemed just a hair too thin for all the other components. Just a touch more body and this could get very interesting.

I was shocked we all like this so much and the ladies want to know when I can get more.

Looks like this will be in my beer fridge again. Definitely worth picking up.

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Photo of Treyliff
4.08/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this brew on tap at the fish market in Newport Kentucky.

A- pours a clear dark copper in appearance with a sticky white lacing that sticks to the side.

S- subtle scent of bourbon and oak with a touch of sweet malt, barely a trace of spicy hops. Was looking for a bit more oaky bourbon smell.

T- sweet vanilla and oak presence up front, followed with a splash of bourbon. Finishes slightly sweet and malty with light oak lingering on the palate. Great balance and the linger on the palate is very refreshing.

M- medium carbonation, light and refreshing

O- this ale does a great job of showcasing the oak and bourbon flavors while still staying light enough for an ale. The linger on the palate was most impressive, almost similar to the linger of a good cabernet, but with a touch of bourbon. This complemented rare yellowfin tuna quite well and even saved some for a dessert afterward.

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Photo of notchucknorris
4.04/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Got this bottle from a friend in Cincinnati. Enjoyed with some Skyline Chili. Tasty combination!

A: Clear dark golden color with barely any head. Light pale tan foam lingers for a bit.

S: A nice blast of bourbon on the nose. Some nice vanilla and hints of brandy soaked apricot and oak.

T: The base beer does just enough here to not take away from all the great bourbon flavor but to also not let this beer become a bourbon bomb. Some lightly bready malts peek from behind the bourbon and go well with the subtle vanilla and charred oak bourbon flavor. Very drinkable for all the bourbon present.

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Photo of Tucquan
3.77/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Had this on 2013-01-20 in Columbia, PA

A - Clear amber with a 1.5 finger white head that fades quickly leaving little lacing.

S - Moderate bourbon, oak and vanilla. Nowhere near as powerful a bourbon smell as some imperial stouts I've had.

T - Decidedly different. A pleasant blending of the bourbon and malt. Not so much bourbon that it tastes like having a whiskey and water. The sweet malt reminds me of a wee heavy but with a dollop of butterscotch and oak . The alcohol is present, adding to the sweetness and the drying on the aftertaste, which also hints at some bitterness.

M - Medium body and light carbonation. Smooth and a tad oily.

O - After just having had their Kentucky Ale and Bourbon Barrel Stout, I am quite pleasantly surprised at how much better this is. Nice combination of aroma, flavor and feel. Easy to sip but not too heavy on the ABV. I'll have this again.

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Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale from Alltech's Lexington Brewing and Distilling Co.
3.63 out of 5 based on 2,913 ratings.
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