Companion Ale | Brooklyn Brewery

very good
76 Reviews
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Companion AleCompanion Ale

Brewed by:
Brooklyn Brewery
New York, United States

Style: Wheatwine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by John_M on 09-24-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 76 | Ratings: 196
Photo of speter
2.91/5  rDev -24.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Pours a clear bronze with a one-and-a-half finger fluffy white head that lasted for the duration of the drink. Little lacing (but I think that may be the bar's fault).

S: Take a banana split and pour high-proof rum on top. Light it ablaze, and that's what this smells like to me.

T: Unfortunately, the taste closely follows the nose. Lots of banana and booze without any real development.

M: The body and carbonation are very nice. The ethanol burn would be welcome on some nights (think heavy snowfall, roaring fire in the fireplace, etc.).

O: I really wanted to like this one going in. However, the taste really was one-dimensional and not overly pleasant. This might prove to be a decent beer if the banana and rum were toned down somewhat.

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Photo of fmccormi
4.7/5  rDev +22.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On tap at the Blue Tusk in Syracuse, NY, poured to a 12oz mug at the bar.

Appearance (4.0): ALMOST clear body, a light orange-amber with essentially no head or lacing to speak of. Head and lacing seem pretty typical for the style, but it’s on the light and clear side for a wheatwine.

Smell (4.0): Light candy-sweetness, with earthy fruit notes—apricot, with hay. Beautiful, bucolic, lightly sweet. Wildflower honey, but drier.

Taste (5.0): Amazing. It’s smooth, with a light, brassy tartness from the wheat malt, with spicy hops that bring in a long, blonde-sweet finish, like light brown sugar was used in finishing . . . not heavy or cumbersome like other –wines. Some booze, but it’s a nice touch. Yeast and malt combo is very, very German in nature. Absolutely beautiful.

Mouthfeel (5.0): Creamy, syrupy and on the heavier side of medium, with an active, velvety carbonation! Again, beautiful beer and amazing mouthfeel for the style.

Overall (5.0): Phenomenal. Drinkable as hell. Just a beautiful, smooth, relatively light and bright, joy-to-consume wheatwine. All other wheatwines should keep this one in mind as a benchmark of sorts . . . if all wheatwines were this enjoyable, they’d be as popular as barleywines. Absolutely wonderful, this was the highlight of the night.

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Photo of angelogarcia3
4.55/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sapsuckers of Huntington has this beer and as most people know I'm partial to Stouts/Porters. However, this beer is excellent and will definitely have a few glasses of this beer. In flavor it reminds me of a Belgian quadrupel. A nice clear amber colored beer with a white head. Sugary notes on the nose with hints of caramel, and maple. It is a slightly syrrupy beer in the mouth with a sweetness that is well-balanced and a slight effervensce that helps clear out the syrrupiness. An excellant beer, highly recommend it!

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Photo of scootny
4.85/5  rDev +26.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Let me start out saying that wheatwine has almost always been a bit of a letdown for me in the past, with the exception if White Oak, ( a Belgian take on the style). Hefe is my favorite style and I love Belgian Wits. Generally any style that includes wheat I tend to gravitate towards except this one. So I go to the opening of On Tap at Whole Foods Columbus Circle to get my book signed by Garret and check out the place. The Companion was the star of my two flights and I wound up buying 128 oz to in three growlers to take home . While I have notes from which I will post my review of this stuff on tap I will go in depth with the growler I scored and get cozy with what is a really fine beer. This is my personal favorite in this style to date.

Appearance is a clear golden amber with a very large slightly off white head, very good retention and nice amount of lacing. Beer stays covered for the entire glass. Smell is full of floor malt and big chunks of yeasty bread. A light undercurrent of sweet alcohol and pepper. Lovely fruitiness has banana notes and white grapes. Taste is big and bready with the malt being the star of this beer. Floor malted wheat gives a level of depth that I have never experienced in this style. There is a bread flavor that recalls toasted light whole wheat with butter and strawberry jam. I mean the flavors are so British tea time. Biscuits and butter. Jam and toast. The sweetness of the malt and alcohol are beautifully balanced and all I want to do is indulge myself in the flavors swirling around my tongue. Yeasty fruit esters and bakery. Peppery edge hides the alcohol so well you have to let the beer warm to find it. Event then it is stealthy. Hops are earthy and dry with a clean quenching signature. Finish leaves dryness and bready malt along with toasted biscuits. Feel is so light and crisp the only tip off to the strength is when you are legless. The carbonation fine and smoothly crisp with a drinkability so far beyond what I have experienced before that it goes down more like a good lager that a strong ale. You start out treating it like a session beer. This is just a great overall beer with a kick like a velvet hammer. Deliciously full flavored with complexity and nuance, it is more than I expected from the style and just what I expect from Garret Oliver. I am pleased to be rating this one highly. It is the best of the style I have had and is a benchmark for me.

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Photo of david18
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Brooklyn has been coming out with some very interesting one-off beers lately and this certainly fits into that. I had a twelve ounce draft of this at my local bar.

Pours a light amber with lots of carbonation that sticks around for a while and leaves some good lacing.

The light wheat can definitely be detected in the aroma as well as a dark fruit and hops.

Flavor was very interesting, also combining the wheat, malt and hops into a perfect tasting, although very strong, beer.

I would recommend this if you can find it. Very good beer.

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Photo of Daniellobo
3.37/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Tamed and generic wheatwine missing, or hiding, quite a bit of character.

Presentation: 12 oz draft pour. Menu offers a promising note describing rich characteristics of the brew. Shows 10% Alc. by Vol. Served in a snifter.

A - Clear amber pour, thin creamy head, with faint retention, minimal surface memory and no lacing.

S - Soft sweetness with a remote spicy touch... Too cold early on, the brew did not actually do much with its aroma as it warmed up.

T - Wheaty range, light boozy dash with a faint fruity range punctuated by very small spicy touches. The caramel holds a bit of a broader emerging personality as it warms but not much really.

M - Medium to medium-light feel at points... Good soft creamy feel over the small carbonation.

O - Subdued and generic, while pleasing this is not much of a notable wheatwine.

Notes: Maybe the goal here is to do an approachable wheatwine for the uninitiated to coincide with the book? If not … I obviously don´t get it. Sure, quality and quaffable but well short of the mark for anything usually called "Brewmasters Reserve" Too soft and generic in any case for the baseline I expect of a wheatwine. The volume remains recommendable though.

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Photo of brian44556
3.73/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a growler picked up from LB Springhurst into a Founder's CBS snifter.

Pours an amber color with a small white head that fades away rather quickly. Sporadic lacing is left on the sides of the glass. Smells of caramel, a hint of wheat, and hint of alcohol. The taste is caramel, a touch of bitterness from the hops, and mild heat from the alcohol. For a 10 %er this one goes down very easy. Has a nice crisp finish and a great texture. Overall a great beer. I think this is only my 2nd wheatwine I have had and would like to seek out more as I really dig the style.

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Photo of Tschnab
4.09/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- a rubyish orange color with a bone white head that fades pretty much right away. no lace.

S- tons of plum and pear, alot of carmel too, which pairs very nicely with the fruit. A lot of cereal grain, and belgian candied sugar.

T- the taste is quite complex, with lots of apple and pear, honey and carmel, almost like a carmel apple. The finish is slightly smokey and slightly belgiany. It tastes very good, it is not the most delicious beer, but it is a rather complex and interesting one.

O- My first wheatwine, I really enjoyed this. Not sure if it's to style, but this is a mutlifaceted brew that is definetly wheatier than any barley wine i've had.

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Photo of JohnnyChicago
4.15/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a growler into a snifter.

A: Pours a crisp, clear, golden/light amber with a sticky off-white head that fades.

S: Smells of freshly sliced orange peels and sharp wheat malts. There are some of the fruity flavours of a heffe and wit, with that caramel sweetness of a barleywine...weird.

T: Tropical fruits and sweet, boozy alcohol. but just the flavour, not the heat. There is a little spice somewhere in there and the hops a citric and present.

D: Alcohol is remarkable well hidden for 10% and the mouthfeel is clingy, sticky, and smooth.

Overall: I like my wheatwines to be a litte more on the wheat side than the "barleywine" side and this did not dissapoint. Very tasty beer and full of flavour. Get it if you see it!

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Photo of zaphodchak
4.07/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

One finger offwhite head, very fine. Clearish amber body with ephemeral lace.

Nose is honey, pear, very sweet and pretty delicious.

Sweet. Almost syrupy. Plenty of honeyed pear, some wheat and a trace of oak, faint toffee? Tasty but not overstated. Skewed towards sweet; not as pungent as I expected.

Kinda mouth-coating, lingering fruit syrup. Otherwise thick, but not too carbonated.

It's neat, but the smell is the real winner here. You wouldn't guess 10% to taste it. Drinks incredibly well. Later, I returned to the same place and tasted again-- the line was cleaner and more of the fruit came through. Darn fine beer.

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Photo of jsanford
3.55/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at the Distillery in Savannah, GA.

Pours a hazy gold with a creamy white head that settles to a slight cap. Aromas of sweet malt, toasted wheat, and sugar dominate the nose. Taste is pretty similar to the nose, a big wheaty, malty beer with baked-bread flavors and a slightly bitter finish that smacks of European hops. Mouthfeel is slightly sticky but smooth, with good carbonation and a slight alcohol burn. Overall a very nice, "English"-style Wheatwine, but nothing too memorable.

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Photo of mltobin
3.33/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served on-tap at The Spring Lounge in NYC.

The appearance is light golden color with a short white head. It has an aroma with banana, toffee and lemon. The notes are more subdued than I expected. Upon sipping the wine glass that the bartender served it in, I taste wheat, booze, candy, some bitterness. Again like the nose, the taste is much more lowkey than some other Wheatwines I recall over the years. Mouthfeel is full, with a warming alcohol quality to it. I was hoping for more from this beer, especially since it shares the name with the recent book release. But, it is solid and worth checking out.

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Photo of clayrock81
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A light auburn tinted gold that is somewhat cloudy with minimal head that take forever to die and leaves lace. For some reason I'm first hit w/ vanilla, peppery spice, then some yeast, then a rush of tart fruits hits me and then I get this caramel/sugary and dry/bready (it's thick) aroma. Some oak comes through as this is a big, chewey beer yet rides real smooth. I like how the sweetness balances with citric flavor notes, clovey spices and some minor tart and tropical (I guess cherry and pears) fruit overtones so nothing is overpowered and then this somewhat heavy beer has a dry, crisp finish (not as much ABV influenced as one might think). A complex beer that is not muddled and a great sipper.

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Photo of corby112
2.99/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Draft at The Blue Monkey in Merchantville, NJ.

Pours a dark golden orange, almost copper color with a one finger foamy white head that slowly settles into a lasting cap.  Rings and streaks of lacing left behind.  

Slightly earthy aroma with some zesty spice and light fruit notes.  Floral and perfume like with hints of pepper and faint hops as well as some apricot and other light fruit.

Medium bodied with a strong spice presence up front that lingers into the finish.  Slight creamy texture mid palate with sweet boozy alcohol and light fruit notes.  Hints of apricot and light berries give a sweetness that somewhat counters the spice but overall they dominate the flavor and you can taste all of the 10%.  Still somewhat drinkable but a bit one dimensional and boozy.  

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Photo of CHickman
3.66/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Beer review from 10/13/11, on tap at Eleven Madison Park in NYC; poured dark hazy amber in color with a 1 finger frothy tan head that faded slowly; the head had a ton of bubbles in it and left very good spotty lacing.

Smells of wheat, cherry, funky yeast, caramel, gummy bears, sweet malt, candied sugar, sour apple and a sweet wine aroma; the nose is very funky, fruity and odd, and it almost smells sour.

Tastes of sweet malt, wheat, cherry, mango, funky yeast, grains, caramel, light syrup, candied sugar, sour apple, herbs, tea leaf, floral hops, white wine, sherry and tart tangerine or pear; this tastes a little like a Shirley Temple, but it's quite complex and tasty with a strong yeast funk and a sweet grainy flavor. Very unusual, and not for an average beer drinker, but enjoyable none the less due to the complex and very odd flavor profile that does make it taste like a wine.

Mouthfeel is creamy and very smooth, with low very carbonation, a light watery feel and a dry sour/bitter finish. The body is medium and there is a hint of alcohol that comes through, but the alcohol is mild and the flavor is sweet and funky overall.

Not sure I'd order it again, as it was different in a way that I can’t decide was good or bad, but it was decent enough and very interesting and this is a new style I need to explore, so I will trust that Brooklyn Brewery did this wheatwine right as they do with most other beers. This scores extra points for hiding the high ABV so well and I will look to revisit this if possible. Definitely worth trying this beer for it’s originality alone.

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

This beer was a pretty copper color. Very tiny white head. Nice carbonation.

Sweet fruit aroma, I think apples. Malt background. Noticeable alcohol.

The fruity aroma turned out, for me, to be mostly lemon. Caramel malt present. I picked up a little vanilla in the taste that wasn't there in the aroma.

Even though I could detect the alcohol, it wasn't a "hot" beer. I found it to be quite enjoyable, and easily drinkable.

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Photo of OutFox
4.17/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Barcade in Jersey City NJ.

A - It was pretty f'ing dark in the bar but the beer appeared a sort of gloden bronze. Reddish hues on the outer ends but that could have been the lighting. Mine didnt have much head but the little that was there stayed for a while.

S - Complex. Smells of apples, oak, some honey maybe? I dunno theres a lot going on here. Some spice in the nose as well with a certain wine quality to it.

T - Basically the same as the nose but with a more lightly malty characteristic. Really f'ing good. I think this beer came out with the book that Garrett just released which is the called The Oxford Companion to Beer. Well if the book is as complex and good as the wheat wine then Ill be in a book shop after I get paid later this week.

M - Light and wine like. It has some carbonation but its not the prevailing mouthfeel characteristic.

O - Great wheat wine. I cant say Ive had too many of the style but I really enjoyed this beer.

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Photo of albertjr21
4.05/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Into a Bklyn Tulip glass on 10-17-11, this pours a dirty golden color. Aroma fills the nose with a sweet, crisp, and mildly tart fruit sided blend of herbal green apple and honey. That's a very smooth 10% abv with a feel that just quietly glides over the palate into a crisp and somewhat mild finish. I can't help but think of the grassy lemon citrus notes of some white wines when it comes to the taste here and how there is clearly a solid malt content present to keep this in the "Beer World"...I also have to mention that this pairs quite well with my Fall spiced roasted chicken. Congrats on another great addition to our library, Garrett, and to this tasty brew...

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Photo of JizackFH
3.58/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - This beer pours a clear golden amber color. It has a nice fluffy 2-finger white head on it. The head has good retention, and it leaves some scattered lace behind on the glass.

S - It smells of caramel, oak, and vanilla up front. There are some nice light fruit notes and a bit of booziness. Also, I'm getting some citrus.

T - The taste pretty much follows the nose. Vanilla, caramel, oak, and cherry are all present. There is a nice mild hop flavor that adds a bit of bitterness and spice. Some booziness is also present. The finish leaves some lingering hop spice, alcohol, and oakiness.

M - This has a medium body and good carbonation. It goes down easy and has a smooth velvety feel to it. There is some mild bitterness and spiciness from the hops. Some boozy warmth is present in the finish.

O - This has good drinkability. Even though it is 10% ABV I could have a few glasses of this in an evening. It goes down smooth and has a nice flavor profile. Overall, I thought it was a nice wheatwine. This isn't a very common style so I'm glad Brooklyn decided to put one out. I recommend checking it out.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.92/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Rich yeast flavor and an over abundance of wheat set the ground work for this robust beverage of strength and flavor. It catches my attention as more of a Belgian-style Pale Ale except for greater strength and bread.

A very dense looking beer of medium gold and heavy haze delivers a thick creme of foam that has difficulty withstanding the weight of the beer and the alcohol. Low on lace, the beer very much looks like a barleywine except with the yeasty haze and hue.

Belgiany aromas of fruit and spice rise along with the rich yeasty brine of wheat and bread for something that straddles Hefeweizens and Belgian Pale Ales. Background notes of white pepper, almonds, heavy cream, and vanilla all round out the varying scents.

Rich and bready to taste as well with the wheat and light bread flavors governing the flavor profile from begining to end. Sweetness of caramel, vanilla, and cream weave in and out of the yeasty and bready notes. Fruity esters of appricot, papaya, mangos, oranges, and pears seem to intensify the sweetness of malt and allow for a zesty and bright session. White pepper, clove, curacao orange peel, and spicy alcohols balance against the strong sweetness and bready taste.

Richly textured, the beer is received by the palate in a way that more resembles a big Belgian Pale Ale than a Wheatwine. While retaining its mouthfeel until deep in finish, a linger of bready sweetness, fruit, and spice lasts well into the next sip.

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Photo of jayhawk73
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On draft at Rustico:

Review from notes:

Pours a nice amber color w/ a one finger head that quickly disappears. Decent carbonation and lacing. Smell is vanilla, oak, orange, alcohol. Taste profile is the same, w/ the fruit and malt really coming out. The taste on this beer was a little on the thin side for me, I'd like a little more complexity and depth to the flavor. Still, it was decent. Feel was a little thin and dry as well, although not horrible. Overall, not the best wheatwine I've had, but a decent brew nonetheless. Worth checking out if you find it. Cheers.

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Photo of madmanjf
4.5/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I won't do a formal review this time around, as I wasn't thinking in terms of this when I was drinking the beer.

I do want to say that this is one of the best Reserves that Brooklyn has put out in recent memory IMO.

Wheatwines aren't very common, and this one is definitely work checking out.

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Photo of bsp77
3.93/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Serving glass: Poured from tap into small glass.

Appearance: Clear light amber with nice white head.

Smell: Caramel, cherry and light spicy hops.

Taste: Caramel, cherry and light spicy hops. Yes, it is similar to the smell, but fruitier. Subtle, but nice. Barleywine light.

Feel: Low carbonation, silky and smooth body. Great feel.

Overall: Subtle but very nice Wheatwine. Can't taste the wheat, but certainly comes through in the feel.

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Photo of wcintula
3.8/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

10 oz in a tulip at Mexi Q, Astoria. Orange-y wheat color with a sticky white head. Very aromatic with dominant oak aroma over light vanilla and fruity esters. Very sweet wood flavor and tropical fruits smooth wheat base makes this a pleasant drinker with a slight booziness to it. Interesting beer, feeds the hunger for a wheatwine.

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Photo of mdfb79
4.1/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From 10/04/11 notes. Had on tap at Churchkey in Washington, DC. Served in a large tulip.

a - Pours a clear reddish amber color with one inch of white head and light carbonation evident.

s - Smells of vanilla, oranges, wood, light fruit, and very light alcohol. A little sweet and pretty nice.

t - Tastes of vanilla, fruit, wheat, oak, bready malts, and oranges again. Again, some nice sweet fruit and vanilla.

m - Medium body and low carbonation. Super smooth and creamy body. A little more carbonation and the mouthfeel could have been amazing, as it's pretty easy to drink for 10% ABV.

o - Overall another really good, interesting beer from Brooklyn. Some sweet vanilla-like qualities in the nsoe and taste which make this super smooth to drink. Something I would certainly order again.

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Companion Ale from Brooklyn Brewery
3.84 out of 5 based on 196 ratings.
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