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Thomas Jefferson's Tavern Ale | Yards Brewing Co.

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BA SCORE
85
very good
289 Reviews
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Thomas Jefferson's Tavern AleThomas Jefferson's Tavern Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Yards Brewing Co.
Pennsylvania, United States | website

Style: English Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
This powerful and complex golden ale pays homage to Founding Father and fellow brewer, Thomas Jefferson. Yards Brewmaster, Tom Kehoe, worked closely with Philadelphia’s historic City Tavern to recreate this recipe, employing honey, rye, and wheat, just like the beer Jefferson made at Monticello.

Added by NeroFiddled on 08-01-2002

BEER STATS
Reviews:
289
Ratings:
830
Avg:
3.78
pDev:
20.11%
 
 
Wants:
46
Gots:
200
For Trade:
0
User Reviews
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Reviews: 289 | Ratings: 830
Photo of mempath
5/5  rDev +32.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

perfectly balanced for what it is....for what it wants to achieve, present, hits on all cylinders...V666th sense

not sure what's going on with the tastebuds of folks finding 'burnt rubber' and such; i guess sampling burnt rubber (and thus knowing what it tastes like) would could and should distort what remains of taste buds ;)

seriously, though, this is comparable to DFHead's own historical/ancient brews...take away the history and this is still an incredible, rich, unique strong 'indigenous' ale from early (colonized) "america"...

it's a beauty to behold with it's deep golden amber and feisty (inital) head...pour into a pewter tankard only after you've enjoyed it in an appropriate clear vessel...nose is deep tangy buttery floral yeasty molasses and such...it goes on...complex....what really helps deliver this nectary spectrum is the rich thick mouthfeel wil roils about and penetrates under the tastebuds...just amazing how this synergetically gels and flows...highly recommended WORLD CLASS masterpiece from YARDS...a rare perfection

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Photo of mikeyv35
5/5  rDev +32.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Date: 06/13/2010
Type: 12oz. Bottle
Vintage: 2010
Glassware: Portsmouth Tulip

Pours a light red mahoghany in color w/ a small white cream head, leaves minimal lacing on the glass that dissipates rather quickly. Nose was of candied sugar, orange peel, light toffee, light caramel, breadiness, and a touch of booze. Taste pretty much follows the nose, w/ candied sugar, orange peel, and toffee/caramel up front, and a finish of breadiness and very mild hop bite. The mouthfeel is thin and crisp, but the flavors are rich, and the brew is decently creamy due to proper amounts of carbonation. Drinkability? As Lionel Ritchie once said, "All night long!"

For what this is, an English Strong Ale, it is simply perfection in a bottle! It encompasses all the ideal qualities that an English Strong Ale should have. Yard's has done a fabulous job trying to recreate Thomas Jefferson's original recipe for beer!

When I drink this beer, as I do quite regularly, I feel as if I get time-warped back to a dingy, old English pub in the 1800's. I feel like I should always drink this out of a pewter mug or something, might have to seek one out. I would seek this brew out if I were you.

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Photo of Purerockfury
4.88/5  rDev +29.1%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer shocked the hell out of me. I love Yards so I figured this would be pretty fine. Good label. Thomas Jefferson on the label. Good font. Brown bottle. Then I poured it and it was...ugh....yellow. So I got a little scared. How could something so yellow be good? Not even gold for gods' sake! YELLOW! Instead of launching the glass across the room as the color would normally demand, I took a sniff. Hmmmmm. It smells like beer. Hoppy. Malty. Spicy. Maybe a little citrus in there (but thankfully not grapefruit...NO ONE LIKES GRAPEFRUIT!).

I took a sip and something amazing happened! It takes great! Like world changing great. The spicey rye mixed in with the honey and corn sweetness and made a malt profile i had yet to experience. It almost has an IPA hop bitterness as well. A little grass and a little spice and a little lemon (THE GOOD YELLOW FRUIT) and maybe a touch of flowers On top of that was the viscous mouthfeel. Almost like a single malt scotch body and mouthfeel. Heavy in a good way.

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Photo of WissBrauSean
4.76/5  rDev +25.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I poured this beer at about 55 degrees F into a standard pint and it poured a light amber colour with a full one finger ivory head of tiny bubbles that stay as a nice ring and Friar Tuck center cap and sticky balcony-like lacing pattern. Very attractive this beer is!

Right away I notices the darker fruit notes with this beer as well as the pale sweet malts, honey and a bready yeast. The honey aroma is just fantastic! As the beer warms the honey is more pronounced. This beer is approaching room temperature and it is coming alive!

As you sip, your nose takes in the honey and your tongue is greeted with pale malts, honey, green raisin, sweet citrus a bit of tart fruit and not until the very end do you get the earthy hop bitterness with a black peppery numbing feeling on the tongue that I assume is a combination of the carbonation, the alcohol and the hop dryness. This beer is a pleasure to drink and drink her just a tad lower than room temperature. 60 degrees is awesome.

The mouthfeel of this beer is silky smooth, creamy mildly sweet and approaching full bodied. The carbonation is one step above moderate, no where near hot, but she's a lively English tart this lady.

Overall, I am deeming this lovely lady world class. She gets the Cate Blanchett award for being a true beauty! There is absolutely nothing that I don't like about this beer and I feel that it fits Beer Advocates criteria to a T. Although they mention a solvent aroma as part of the class, and I don't get that, OR want that! 5 out of 5 on this baby Yards! I don't think that I have given a score like that yet!

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Photo of Altrurian
4.75/5  rDev +25.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

It arrives at the table with a tight, topographically variegated foamy cap surmounting a perfect amber body with a perpetual upward swirl of tiny bubbles. The enticing aroma is of toffee, or, perhaps, flan. The beer's flavor brings home the aroma's promise of savory, sophisticated sweetness. It's a soft and smooth taste--almost that of a "comfort food"--yet deeply satisfying as beer. The texture is rich. For all of its 8%, it goes down easily. I'm a little reticent about giving a beer this high of a rating, but this is pretty good stuff.

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Photo of JohnCJr
4.74/5  rDev +25.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured into a nonic pint glass. This beer is an dark golden beauty, with a short white head. The smell is divine, with honey and molasses up front. This is one delicious brew, with the same honey and molasses, along with a full maltiness. It's not too sweet, though, and went well with the chicken tikka masala I had for dinner. It had a nice full mouthfeel, especially for a golden ale. I picked this up on a trip to, appropriately, Monticello. I wish I had picked up a case of it. Admittedly, this fits my malty flavor profile. Still, this is one of my top five beers ever.

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Photo of DevilDogBeer
4.73/5  rDev +25.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Yards' Thomas Jefferson Tavern Ale poured a great amber color with a creamy head. Unfortunately the head thinned out shortly after the poor, but it did not go completely away. The smell was clean and light with a hint of sweetness, likely from the honey. There was a slight note of caramel malts and just a hint of hops. The taste was crisp and clean with just a touch of sweetness to set this apart form other tavern or pub ales; the non-bitter character of this ale was a welcome change from many ales in its class. The honey came through in the taste, but certainly not too much, just the right amount. The smooth feel of this ale on the tongue and its light finish make this a great ale to enjoy on many occasions. Cheers!

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Photo of stingo
4.73/5  rDev +25.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The second of the "Ales of the Revolution" I've had the good fortune to have on tap at home. Pours a darkish orange color, with an off-white head. No nose to speak of, but the taste is delightful. Very well balanced sweetness and bitterness, and alcohol? what alcohol? You'd never guess this was an 8% brew. And mouthfeel is JUST right for the flavor - it's thick enough and rich enough, but not so rich as to fill you up (and prevent you from getting another). I will definitely have this beer on tap again. Very highly recommended, and props to Yards for another fine instigation to Revolution.

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Photo of Kubishark
4.65/5  rDev +23%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Had on tap at the brewery in Philly. Wow, this beer surprised me with how fantastic it was. It looks and smells good, but pretty normal. Then you taste it and it hits you. Delicious malts and biscuity flavors flood your mouth and excite your taste buds. Frankly, this is one of my favorite beers I've ever had. Jefferson is my favorite founding father and it just so happens that Yards' beer named after him is my favorite of theirs. I really love this beer.

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Photo of shippos
4.63/5  rDev +22.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

thanks to ppoitras for this most excellent beer, even though i took my sweet ass time getting around to it, definetly worth it though.

poured with a huge rocky pillowy white head on a slighlty hazy orangey honeyish color. fruity hoppy aroma, very citrusy with some sugar/malt sweetness and a bready yeasty character develops as this warms up. very very smooth body and a slick suculant mouthfeel. sweet raw sugar, very well defined hop character with a dry bitter aftertaste. very highly drinkable.

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Photo of TTen
4.53/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Yards Thomas Jefferson's Tavern Ale

L: Beautiful clear copper with a cream colored head. Good head retention. Small carbonation bubbles meander upwards. Fantastic! 4.75
S: Grainy, spicy aroma. There must be rye in this. A little noble earthy, floral hop aroma. This rye in the aroma is really nice. I cannot stop smelling this one. 4.75
T: Again, the grainy, spicy rye hits just right. A little hop bitterness in conjuntion to the spice of the rye to balance the hefty malt bill. It's smooth and flavorful with malt sweetness and rye spicyness. The alcohol isn't much of a factor. The finish is on the sweet side and there are floral and rye notes that linger for a while. Incredibly distinctive flavor. 4.5
F: This is medium bodied with low to moderate carbonation. Not quite chewey but still substantial. 4
O: This is a unique beer that is very well crafted. It's clean, it's well balanced, the aroma is wonderful, it looks as good as any beer I've seen and it is delicious. I have passed on this beer many times and am now kicking myself for doing so. 4.5

Bottled on 3/1/2016

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Photo of Ryanm1
4.5/5  rDev +19%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've had this several different times and just about every one has been from the bottle.

I'm going to post this review through the draught that I had at City Tavern a while ago.

Moderate head, white foam pouring to an Amber colored beer. It is brewed in the English Strong Ale style which registers 8% abv. The taste is on the sweeter side, hints of honey florals, and spices. Full body aromatic and full of various flavors. Most Yards beers have a distinct matl characteristic.

This is a throwback to the turn of the century ales that were brewed back in the day. One of my favorite beers partially cause I am homer.

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Photo of scar
4.48/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Holy [email protected] This is the most drinkable 8% beer I have had in a long time.

Appearance- clear with good lace, like most of Yards' beers.

Smell- Nothing off, but nothing amazing. A little earthy hop, sweet malt,little fruitiness.

Taste- THIS IS THE BEST PART OF THIS BEER. SOOO balanced not sweet, good hop presence. If this is actually Jefferson's recipe its amazing he was able to drafts our countries most important docs. He must have had a proof reader.

Mouthfeel- Much thinner than expected but also a highlight of the beer. Thinner than their IPA, the honey and nonbarley malts most likely thin it out. Makes me want to keep drinking this beer.

Yards just keeps on making great beers, these guys are truely masters. In most of their beers I can really taste the PALE ALE MALT, much like IPSWICH, GEARY's and the UK imports.

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Photo of miaandmae1
4.47/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've had this both on tap and in bottle. The latter is more subdued and hop-forward, while the tap version has a sweetness on the front end which was pleasantly surprising. Either way, this is a well-balanced ale which is imminently drinkable and (for better or worse) never belies its high octane nature.

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Photo of Metalmonk
4.41/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a solid but clear ruby/dark-orange color, with a thin head that doesn't retain well, just a small skim across the top. Bubbles are abundant and active.

Aroma is a bright mixture of lemon, ginger, and vanilla (big on the vanilla) and maybe not watermelon exactly, but damn close to the watermelon bubblegum I remember from childhood. There's a malty presence that carries through like malt does in barley wines: syrupy, molasses-like. This was meant as a unique beer experience, a kind of time travel, and they sure succeeded in offering a fairly exotic and different aroma. I can't think of a beer, American Pale Ale or otherwise, that smells like this. Oh, the taste? Right...

The dessert-y spices and sugars detected in the aroma are all there in the flavor: vanilla and lemon dominant, ginger and straight-up traditional bubblegum flavors too. Thankfully it avoids being oversweet thanks to some grainy and toasty elements. And despite a kind of glowing/warming, the alcohol is extremely mellow. Where's the 8%? I would've believed this was in the 4-5% range.

Mouthfeel is creamy and hefty, not thick, not thin, goes down real well. Slight sticky coating after the swallow.

This is so different, and the 8% alcohol so well-hidden...I wish it was a more readily available beer, for the good of all beerkind. Really really good stuff.

[If you've ever had Smuttynose's Wheat Wine from their Big Beer series, that's comparable to TJ's Tavern Ale.]

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Photo of MikeRa
4.38/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Here is what I can say about this ale:

A: This ale is a mix of a Golden Honey color and a Amber/Copper color.

S: You can smell some of the malts used

T/M: This ale has a subtile taste of citrus fruit in it, which is due to this ale being unfiltered.

D: This is a ale that I will drink again and again.

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Photo of kenito799
4.35/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle bought at brewery, poured into a pilsener glass.

Clear golden amber color, 3/4 inch head foams up and recedes slowly leaving lots of rings of lace.

Fresh, unassuming malty aroma with caramel notes.

Mouthfeel is excellent, creamy and inviting. The taste is extremely well balanced with soft maltiness almost but not quite sweet at first, then nice hop bite that doesnt hit too hard. A strong more English style, with 8% alcohol dangerously well hidden. Enough hops to leave a pleasantly bitter finish, highly drinkable. But too many at this ABV will get you in trouble, and wow you want to polish this stuff off fast it's so good!

Along with the ESA, my favorite of the Yards offerings. Would love to try this from a beer engine.

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Photo of pugbutter
4.35/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Honey. Rye. Those sweetened honey pretzel sticks you can buy in any crummy grocery store...but in a good way. This one hides the alcohol well behind tons and tons of pleasant flavor. At no point is it too cloying; just a great balanced beer.

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Photo of Dantes
4.35/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Package: 12 oz. longneck, crowned brown bottle. No date information. ABV indicated at 8%. Blurb claims this is part of a line of “beer reproductions,” and tagged “Bottle Conditioned” and “Authentic Recipe.” Prominent portrait of Thomas Jefferson centered on the label.

Cost: X77AB-F per 6-pack at Total Wines

Presentation: Poured into a Shaker pint glass at ~45º

Appearance: Presents a classic ESB-like reddish-blond glow, with copious brown flakes coruscating through the body. The yeasty lees produced a sort of reverse-smoke-plume through the center of the glass, staining the moderately loose, quickly resolving white head. Quite a few large-ish bubbles clung to the sides of the glass.

Smell: A nutty, bready, yeasty aroma; with a hoppy top-note. Seemed a very classic, bitter or ESB-like bouquet. Not much of an alcohol presence either, despite its relatively high 8% ABV. A truly classic, panoply of mild ale aromas: grain, moderate hops, toasted bread, and buttered toffee. Nose is restrained but complex, improving as it warms.

Taste: Very much a classic bitter in taste, with a substantial grainy, malty foundation; well-layered with bitter (not citrusy) hops, toast, nuts, and buttery toffee. I can’t identify the hops, but they are very much in the British style, leaning toward bitter, grassy, woody flavors; with little citrus or other astringent notes. The heightened alcohol is barely noticeable, only showing in the lengthened, deep, warming finish and perception of extra-concentrated flavors.

Mouthfeel: Despite some large-gauge bubbles in the glass, the carbonation in this was very good. Robust and persistent, but also pretty smooth and subservient to the beer’s flavors. Body is excellent.

Drinkability: Very easy-drinking, despite its hefty ABV. If I didn’t know its strength, I could easily see downing WAY too many of these in one sitting. As it is, I could feel its effects after two of these and a slightly weaker porter.

Backwash: If this is indeed “authentic,” I can see why the Founding Fathers were, braver, smarter, and more innovative than the statesmen of today. This comes pretty close to the kind of beer I’ve often dreamed of brewing or drinking: a “double” or “extra strong” ESB. In any event, it's definitely more than a pale ale. This sacrifices very little for its higher ABV, maintaining a nice balance between malts and hops and a very nice drinkability. I don’t know exactly why this is quite so expensive, but I have to say that much of the cost shows up in the glass, so I’m much less likely to quibble about it. Maybe it’s because I let this sit for awhile before getting around to drinking them and they improved, but I was genuinely surprised that more people didn’t enjoy this as much as I did.

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Photo of BabySnakes
4.35/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle into pint glass

I find the honey-orange color intriguing and unique. A foreshadow of good things to come. Not too much head in this pint glass.

The smell is very sweet and pine-apple-y. Perhaps a hint of wheat?

The taste is strikingly familiar to the aroma. Sweet and citrusy with pineapples and a candied grapefruit finish. This may well be my first "English Strong Ale" so I'm limited to this one. That being said I find this flavor very unique. It seems strange and familiar all at once. Its not unlike a "beer" at all (like a sour beer would be compared to a "typical" beer) but the exotic (to me) flavors are, well,.... exotic.

The mouthfeel is medium heavy and dances on the tongue.

This is a drinkable beer, as i have drank this beer all night before, but I really wouldnt call it a session beer.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
4.35/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a slightly fogged amber with a crème head. Nose is slight pine-y hops. Full, but not in my face. Flavor is outstanding I say. Nice full hop tones that stay constant. Almost seems to be a fruity edge to it that seems like apples and a touch like cherries. Feel is very smooth with carbonation and has a nice body on the liquid. Overall this is extremely drinkable. Goes down smooth and has a nice full character. Would love to have this on tap.

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Photo of BigMike
4.35/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

"Revolutionary times called for Revolutionary Ales"

Brewed and bottled in the city of brotherly love.

Pours a golden orange with two fingers of creamy head.

Taste is buttery and sweet. Very malty and fruity. Some peach flavors are there and caramel.

I am really impressed by this Ale. Lots of good flavors. A good amount of carbonation. Easily drinkable and an 8%abv that is for the most part hidden well.

Great beer from Yards. I will definitely be searching for this one.

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Photo of oberon
4.33/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poures a deep burnt orange with a huge billowing head that really takes its time settling leaving big globs of lace behind,really pick up some lemon rind in the aroma along with some Belgina like spiciness?Not sure what kinda yeast is used here but man I get like a spicey,yeastiness in the aromas very unexpected.Wow nice mingling of flavors very citrusy and lemony upfront with that underlying spiciness but finishes with a dry toastiness with just a tad bit of alcohol burn as it warms.Very interesting and unique ale here is this what one of our greatest forfathers was brewing at Monticello?The bottle says so, damn I wish I could have shook his hand,just great.

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Photo of JasonR32
4.33/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

I could truely see myself drinking this beer our of a tankard in a tavern. The 8% alcohol content is noticeable, but welcomed as it really brings out the taste in the beer. This is one of the best if not the beat ale I've had and the 3.77 rating is in no way high enough.

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Photo of beerluvr
4.32/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This one pours with a rocky, just off-white head settling (with awesome lacing) over hazy sunset amber liquid. There's apparent fruitiness in the nose, with lightly toasted maltiness sneaking in as well. The taste offers rich mouthfeel with lingering hoppy undercurrents mixed with yeasty fruitiness, malty sugars and a bit of warming alcoholic heft. Finishes toasty fruity and bitter...those Colonial boys sure drank some good ale back in the day.

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Thomas Jefferson's Tavern Ale from Yards Brewing Co.
85 out of 100 based on 289 ratings.
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