Arcadia Imperial Stout | Arcadia Brewing Company

very good
280 Reviews
Arcadia Imperial StoutArcadia Imperial Stout

Brewed by:
Arcadia Brewing Company
Michigan, United States

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
Our extraordinary Imperial Stout is black as midnight with a rich, palate-warming mouth feel. It offers an alluring aroma of dark roasted malts and blackstrap molasses with a hint of smoke. The flavor features notes of coffee, bittersweet cocoa, black licorice and hints of prune. A generous addition of hops contributes to the complexity and balance, and gives the liquid a pleasantly astringent finish. With proper aging our Imperial Stout matures for up to four years. It is the winner of a prestigious Gold Medal for Bottle Conditioned Ale at the 2002 Real Ale Festival.

OG 1090; 59 IBU

Added by BeerAdvocate on 01-09-2003

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Reviews: 280 | Ratings: 465
Photo of linnymtu
4.37/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A very solid imperial stout. It has a normal deep brown/black color with thin tan head. You can smell malt and coffee. The taste was dominated by coffee but some chocolate and malt. This wasn't too malty like some imperials are. The carbonation was about average and felt just right. Overall a quality brew.

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Photo of Brewster40
3.13/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2010 vintage served into a Horney Devil snifter

A - Dark, with a thin light brown layer of foam. Translucent at the edges.

S - Smell is sweet, molasses, dark chocolate, licorice(?)...

T - Not nearly as sweet as the smell. Still, molasses, bitter chocolate, some coffee. Aftertaste lingers and is bitter on the back and sides of the tongue.

M - Medium bodied. Not sure if I have a coating on the tongue or if the aftertaste is overwhelming the feel.

O - Frankly, not my favorite. The bitter aftertaste is distracting, not pleasant. I had high hopes for this one. Unfortunately, it is just not working for me.

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Photo of sweemzander
3.74/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz. bottle poured into a snifter. 2010 vintage.

(A)- Pours a fairly thick pitch black color. Some tan froth formed.

(S)- A deep aroma of roasted nuts, coffee grounds, and cocoa. Dense and rich but dynamic.

(T)- Similar to the smell in alot of ways. It has a very dense roasted coffee and a rich cocoa/molasses background. Finishes quite citrus-like with bitterness.

(M)- A smooth carbonation level. This gets quite bitter as it warms. Still rich and dense. Very surprised with two years of age on this how up front the bitter hops still are.

(O)- This could easily go for several more years to help smooth out some of its rough edges. Nonetheless, it is still a solid example of the style, it just is not quite what I like to see in my stouts. This must have been massively hoppy when fresh.

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Photo of DrDemento456
3.9/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Paid the price to try this one $3.50 for a single. Looks like it was bottled January 2012

A - Immensely dark with no light to escape. Head is minimal with only a slight ring of tan colored lace. Looks sticky.

S - Mild ashy roast, bittersweet chocolates, sugary yeasts, and some molasses.

T - Kind of reminds me of an imperial porter. You got your sweet chocolate, then your roast kicks in, but the finish is a touch chalky and bitter. It's easy enough to drink with no notable ABV but again it taste like a porter.

M - Medium to heavy in body. Not as thick as the typical style but easy enough to put away.

Overall it's quite strange but the imperial porter (which I love) taste more stout like and this imperial stout taste more like a porter. Boy do these guys make for some confusing beers!

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Photo of bnes09
3.95/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pure black and opaque. Small, tan colored head forms with some descent lacing for the style.

Burnt molasses and maple prominent in the aroma. Also some licorice and cocoa. Dark aroma overall.

Sturdy malt backbone with burnt toast, coffee, baker's chocolate, charcoal, licorice and grits. Certainly a lot to take in at one time. Hops are there but somewhat subdued, herbs and pine needles. Flavor is sweet overall with a molasses and maple character.

Full bodied but not syrupy. Weak carbonation fails to impress. Good malt texture throughout.

A solid example of a Russian imperial. This is a 2007 bottle so its nice to see that this beer ages very well. I am interested to try a fresh bottle to see what the bitterness and especially the hop flavors have to offer before the beer ages.

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Photo of MrBluto
4.17/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I liked this stout. It pours black, and has a creamy mouthfeel with light carbonation. The aroma is malty with smells of cocoa, chocolate, and as one reviewer stated, soy. It starts somewhat sweet and finishes light with a touch of bitterness. However, it lays flat on the tongue afterwards, and it has virtually no head (though what head is there is a very nice medium brown). No lacing.

I would like to try this on tap, particularly at the brewery. I have a feeling it is much nicer when fresh and at the proper temperature (my fridge is a bit tto cold for stouts).

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Photo of srv33
3.2/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Review is for a 2007 bottle reviewed in 2012.

Near black pour, strong herbal scent, with a hint of chocolate and soy. Little to no head. Quite strong and bitter kick on the palate, though it fades quickly. Almost no carbonation, as expected for a bottle of this vintage. Tastes much the same as the smell, rich herbal taste with a bit of licorice and soy.

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Photo of gustogasmic
3.36/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

2009 vintage from the cooler at a wine bar/ bottle shop.

Black with red-caramel edges and a 1/2" caramel-latte head that disappears quickly. Great sticky lacing.

Smells... hoppy. What in the heck? Big sweet malt backbone with roast in the background.

The taste is wild; not at all following the nose. An intriguing oily hop/ licorice nose that pulls into a big malty, milk-chocolatey body. Unfortunately, the bitterness of the initial drink sticks on the roof of the mouth as an almost acidic awkward and distracting after-taste. I wonder if that element is there in fresh bottles.

The mouthfeel is relatively thin for the style, but the sharp roastiness has a complex linger.

Gotta try a fresh one- or maybe this one was messed up in storage.

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Photo of n2185
3.75/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2009 vintage I found at a store in Toledo--no idea how it was stored.

A: Pours black with two fingers of dark tan head that recedes into a thin layer with little lacing.

S: Roasted malts with molasses, sweet floral notes, and dark chocolate dominating. There are some slight oxidized notes in the nose.

T: Similar to the aroma, molasses and dark chocolate dominate with some bitter char notes as well. There are slight oxidization notes here as well, but not too much.

M: Thick body with lowish carbonation, this beer is pretty smooth and creamy.

O: A pretty decent stout, overall. I've not had it fresh, but this bottle seems to have held up pretty well.

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Photo of ksimons
3.47/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A-pours an oily black with almost no head to speak of, just a tiny ring around the top of the glass

S-roasted malt, coffee, molasses, some bittersweet chocolate, and a touch of smoke.

T-similar to the smell. Roasted malt, light burnt coffee, molasses, and a bit of sourness that makes it seem a bit thin.

M-medium body, light to medium carbonation, wish the carbonation level was a bit higher. Slight dry finish.

Overall not the best RIS I have had. Seems to be lacking in body and roastedness.

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Photo of rterry13
3.5/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bought to sample as part of a pick 6. Pours a dark motor oily look with little to no head. What there was had a caramelly mocha color. Strong roasted cherry aromas and I picked up a bit of a boozy/whisky like smells as well. A lot going on in this Imperial. I got some bitterness on the sides of the tongue that paired up with the heavy duty roasted coffee like flavors. Feel is thinner than it would appear however, but still a pretty big beer overall. Better than a lot of Imperials I have had, but not the best. I would get this one again as it would go well with some good cheese on a cold night.

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Photo of StoutHunter
3.58/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I picked up a bottle of Arcadia's Imperial Stout last week for $3.69 at The Lager Mill. I missed out on this beer for the last two years, so I made sure to get a bottle of this years release and not make the same mistake, so lets see what I have been missing out on. 2010 Vintage. Poured from a brown 12oz bottle into a snifter.

A- The label is like some of their other seasonal's and is pretty plain, I like the old label much more. It poured a pretty black motor oil color that didn't let any light come through and it had a finger and a half worth of mocha colored head that died down to a thin layer that stayed till the end and it left some nice rings of lacing. This is a proper looking RIS.

S- This RIS has a unique aroma. It starts off with those typical dark roasted malts that impart a nice roasty, chocolate aroma with a pretty fruity aroma mixed in that smells like some sweet cherries. That gives this beer an aroma similar to a chocolate covered cherry but the cherry's smell a little artificial. The aroma isn't true to style but it isn't bad, just much different from what I was expecting.

T- The taste seems to be somewhat similar to the aroma. it starts off with a mixture of roasty malts that impart some nice roasty chocolate flavors that are mixed in with some tart cherry juice, the cherry juice doesn't stick out as much as it did in the aroma but it is still pretty noticeable, the roast is the most prominent. After that I pick up a little more chocolate and a slight amount of coffee with a low amount of bitterness and those same flavors showing up in the aftertaste along with a weird anise flavor. I could hardly pick up any alcohol. The taste wasn't true to style but I still enjoyed it.

M- Smooth, slightly creamy, medium bodied, with a good amount of medium carbonation. The body could be a little thicker since it felt slightly watery, but everything else was spot on.

Overall I thought that this was good beer, it was just an Ok RIS since the fruit aspect made it not true to style, but nonetheless I still enjoyed drinking it and it was a nice change of pace of from the traditional RIS's. This beer had pretty good drinkability, the alcohol barley showed up and the flavors held my interest, I could see drinking another one of these. What I liked most about this beer was the appearance and the drinkability they were both pretty nice. What I liked least about this was lighter body, it would have had a pretty perfect mouthfeel if it was a little thicker. I would buy this beer again when it is released next year, it's a nice change of pace from the typical RIS, and if that is what you are looking for then I recommend trying this beer. I am glad I finally got a chance to give this beer a try, it wasn't an awesome RIS like I hoping so it won't be in my top RIS's but it was still good and pretty unique. Arcadia is a pretty solid brewery and this beer was also pretty solid and now there is only one or two bottled beers from them that I have yet to try, keep making solid beers and I will keep drinking them.
Edit, I just finished my review when I noticed that this was made in 2010 and not 2012, so it has some age on it, reviewing this I thought it was fresh but appearntly that is not that case, I guess I found out that this beer can hold some age, I just don't get how this new arrival at the store is two years old already, I need to track down a fresh bottle and compare, maybe the cherry juice aspect came with age, who knows?

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Photo of AngryNucleus
3.09/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

2010 vintage poured into a pint glass. States 9% ABV.

A - Brownish red hue, kind of surprised by the color of this beer. I was expecting darker. Produces a thin layer of light brown head that dissipates rapidly. This definitely appears to be different from normal imperial stouts.

S - Faint and almost sour chocolate smell. Strong malty aromas. Maybe a faint hint of alcohol.

T - Initial taste is pretty aggressive. Carbonated pretty highly given the style. A caramel and almost reddish malt aftertaste. It has a roasty aftertaste that hangs around for a while and fades out with a bitter-sweetness. This beer tastes very light for an imperial stout. Flavors are not as bold as I would like. Alcohol somewhat present in the back end.

M - Carbonated a little to much for the style in my opinion. Thin and coarse mouthfeel. Leaves a lot to be desired.

O - I was expecting a lot more for this beer. Looking at the last inch that remains in the glass it would be difficult to call this a stout (much less imperial) without seeing the bottle it came from. On the whole I feel that this beer is not a good representation of the style. Can't recommend this one.

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Photo of azdback
3.85/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Great Divide pint glass. Black color with dark brown highlights. Head is a small one finger. Dark coco color and creamy in appearance. Lace is minimal and doesn't seem to want to stick around.

Smell is dark roasted malts and cherries. The tart, red fruit smell is very prominent. Not getting much more from the nose but maybe just a hint of alcohol.

Taste is pretty much like the smell. The dark roast and cherries are there but the roastiness is much more prevalent and the cherries take a much needed back seat. After the tart fruit passes there is just a bit of coffee beans and some cocoa. Rounds out nice.

Mouth is velvety and the carbonation is light and creamy. Body is balanced and full with a long wet finish.

Overall this is a pretty good example of a RIS. Not the best but not a bad one. The ABV is low enough to not limit yourself to just one but high enough to achieve great character and depth. Thanks to McNuts for this extra.

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Photo of CA2670
4.36/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

For starters this is an imperial Stout of 9% not the listed 8.4%.
When poured into glass (traditional pint), poured slow and even. Jet black and a nice caramel-tan head about .5 inches.
The nose when opened was mellow roasty with malty back. few slight hints of licorice but very subtle.
Taste of this stout is sinfully delicious. malty roasty and strong. The 9%abv is however very well covered up.
mouth feel is smooth and silky with a nice light carbonation.
Overall this is a very enjoyable beer and a solid example of RIS. Would buy more and enjoy.

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Photo of zeff80
4.17/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2008 Vintage at Sycamore in Columbia, MO.

A - Poured out an opaque, jet-black color with a small, tan head of foam. It left sudsy trails of lace on the glass.

S - Very nice roasty aroma with notes of dark chocolate, toffee and malt.

T - It tasted of dark chocolate and burnt molasses with some toffee flavors. Very tasty.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium bodied ale with a dry, clean finish.

O - This is a really nice beer. Curious to try a fresher one.

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Photo of VncentLIFE
3.75/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

09 Vintage poured into a tulip.

Pours pitch black with a nice quarter inch head.

Smells of dry grains and bourbon. Hints of booze come in intermittently.

Maybe age has made it more boozy, but I was given this vintage as a gift from dakkon 54. I cannot speak of the changes with age. The dry grains are there, with smooth vanilla and bourbon notes (with an emphasis on the woody oak flavors). In my uneducated guess, the age has added accentuated the bourbon here.

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Photo of tobelerone
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2007 vintage, found at Whole Foods for 4 bucks. Gotta try a 4 year old RIS for 4 bucks!

Pours jet black and totally opaque. Visibly syrupy. A very small brown head dissipates rapidly; smallish lace; looks almost like a glass of cola.

Big rich nose, with roasted malt, booze, chocolate, molasses, raisins.

Taste is big, sweet, and syrupy. Molasses and chocolate out front, raisins and prunes present, pleasant booziness underneath; heavy malt character. Slight smokiness.

Thick, viscous body with just a little carbonation to cut the stickiness. Definitely nice for fans of the chewier stouts. Big and impressive and tasty, sweet and sticky, great bang for the buck.

This is a good one, might not be the most complex as it fails to develop significantly in the glass. Worth a shot for sure.

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Photo of Bonis
3.53/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Review from notes: 10/15/2011

2009 Vintage

A - Black with a thin mocha head. It sticks around the whole time, but with only a little lacing.

S - Roasted barley, caramel and other sweet malts, some bitter chocolate, a hefty amount of booze.

T - A fairly complex mixture of chocolate, roasted barley, and sweet alcohol. This seems too boozy to be aged two years. Wonder if it's better fresh? Some of the hops have stuck around, which is nice enough to slightly balance the sweet roastiness and booze with a little bitter finish. Pretty nice overall, but still a bit of alcohol harshness for being a 2009.

M - Full body with lower carbonation. A slight alcohol burn.

O - A decent imperial stout, but not one I plan on going out of my way to purchase. I would recommend this to fans of big and boozy imperial stouts.

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Photo of dgugliuzza
4.12/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2007 vintage...poured from 12 oz bottle into a snifter

Black in appearance with a bubbly layer of brown head. Large soapy like bubbles are much more prominent than the head.

Smells of a roasted malt and dark fruit concoction with a sweet vanilla rum cake finish. Great balance between roasty and sweet. Hints of leather and molasses. Alcohol makes itself known.

Roasty and sweet up front followed by dark fruits and leather. Fantastic bittersweet finish. Age has treated this beer with grace. The leathery dark fruit flavor nicely compliments the roasted and bittersweet malts.

Soft medium mouthfeel. Not too much creaminess, but that's a tough bone to pick with a four year old beer. Surprisingly easy to drink. The alcohol is felt, but is well subdued.

This was a treat to drink. Aged to perfection with added leather and dark fruit flavors. I look forward to comparing this one with more recent vintages. Well worth seeking out fresh or aged.

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Photo of Duff27
3.37/5  rDev -12%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2008 Vintage

A- Short lived thin dark mocha head. Dark brown/black stout. Not a very "lively" looking beer. Little chunky sediment towards the bottom of the bottle/glass.

S- Roastiness, coffee notes.

T- Slightly oxidized but not so much that it takes away from the beer. More roasted malts but not a lot of coffee notes as present in the nose. Perhaps some dark fruits in there. No hop presence. Tastes bigger than 8.4%abv.

M- Medium mouthfeel. Medium to medium-low carbonation.

D/O- Middle of the road impy stout here. Although it was cool that it had a few years on it, this one is probably past it's "peak". May or may not be interested in this one if the opportunity presented itself again.

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Photo of SDDanC
3.95/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2007 vintage poured into tulip from bottle. Aggressive pour propagated a very thin, chocolate head which dissipated quickly. During this excursion I was left without any lacing. Elixir poured very dark brown mahogany, near black. Nose is full of booze (bourbon), bitter dark chocolate, very subtle hints of candied cherries, coffee and malt. On the tongue it is chocolate, a decent amount of the bourbon (though not over-bearing), and roasted coffee beans. Mouthfeel comes a little thin, would expect more body with the strength of the aroma. Overall, quite pleased with this brew, would like to drink again.

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Photo of wvsabbath
4.3/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Serving Type - Bottle

Appearance - Dark oil black, nice creamy 2 nich head, decnt lacing.

Smell - Roasted malts, coffee, hops, vanilla, brown sugars.

Taste - Fairly smooth malt and vanilla kick at first. Hops come in and add some bitterness. Molasses and brown sugar add some sweetness. There is a sort of oaked rum, citrus fruit flavor in the end. Chocolate and maybe a little dark fruit kick in the finish.

Mouthfeel - For a thick, big beer, pretty easy to drink. The malts are strong and coat whole mouth. Tounge gets sweetness, bitterness, and chocolate. Palette is worked out big time. Finish is fairly bitter and malty.

Overall - Really nice for a imperial stout. Easy to drink and has a nice hop kick to it. Really dont get much alcohol out of it. Stout fans should check this one out.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

jet black, completely opaque, and black as night, thick looking liquid into my glass, exactly the way it should have. A nice two inch high head of chocolate colored foam rose up out of the depths to come over the top of it.

burnt malt smells. Hints of some light smokiness came over me first and were not at all unwelcome. I let it sit to let the flavor come out and some nice dark fruits then began to emerge. Lots of sweet aromas in here too, with hints of molasses and sugar all over it, Rich molasses soaked burnt coffee coming into the picture, offering just the slightest touch of bitterness to it as it starts to finish up. Nice sweet creamy finish to it now with a good touches of smokiness to it as well.

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Photo of FickleBeast
3.32/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

2007 vintage. E2 notched on label.

Is this beer really 4 years old? I just picked it up last week.

Poured into a pint glass. A vigorous pour yields no head whatsoever. Pitch black. Aroma is boozy, some vanilla, maybe some rum aromas as well.

I feel this beer has a strong licorice / anise flavor to it. Feels thin bodied at first but finishes pretty chewy... just not sweet. The booziness come through, as well as some schwartzbier-like maltiness... dark, but not particularly roasty.

There is actually a pretty decent hop bitterness in the aftertaste. Honestly, I'd prefer it a little sweeter. Boozy bitter aftertaste.

I'm not a huge fan of this beer. I'd take a Storm King any day over this.

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Arcadia Imperial Stout from Arcadia Brewing Company
3.83 out of 5 based on 465 ratings.
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