Struis | Brouwerij 't IJ

very good
126 Ratings

Brewed by:
Brouwerij 't IJ

Style: English Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
A barley wine brewed in the English style. Struis is a full-bodied beer with a deep, dark colour and a soft, long-lasting head. The aroma is dark and sweet, with clear tones of chocolate and dried fruit. The aftertaste is dry and long-lasting, and leaves you yearning for more. A delicious accompaniment to food and ideal with skeapsrond cheese. Struis is only available as a bottled beer.

Added by Bierman9 on 12-26-2001

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 126 |  Reviews: 79
Photo of mdagnew
3.17/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

330ml bottle bought online from The Cracked Kettle, Amsterdam...

Poured a murky deep coppery red colour with a few yeasty chunks. Creamy head poured thick and fluffy and faded slowly to good thick covering... thickish lacing lines...

Aroma reminded me a lot of Orval... sour brett notes, earthy, freshly cut wood, tart fruits (sour apples, pears, light grapefruit), rubbery hints, some saltiness, floral - lavender and some lily, talcum powder, floral gum sweets, the faintest hint of caramel maltiness...

Taste is disappointing after the decent aroma.. all a bit washed out. Sour fruits (apples pears, light lemons), floral, grainy, quite bready, sour funkiness, some light toasted malts, anise, soapy notes, dishwater, light raisin notes, alcohol coming through...

M&D - Fairly sharp and dry... light bodied... Too many off notes to have me going back for more...

Overall - Hopefully this was a dodgy bottle as it's not something i could really recommend... disappointing

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Photo of tempest
4.15/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From a bottle flown back from Amsterdam. Poured a murky red and brown with an off-white head and a big of lacing. And like my bottle of Columbus, this is a sour, juicy Belgian. I don't knowifthis is supposed to be sour, but it kind of works. The aroma is strong with what you might call horseblanket, that rich, pungent, tangy hay and barn aroma, some of us (myself included) manage to enjoy. There's also a hint of cherry and apple juice that become stronger in the flavor. There's a bit of peppery spice and black licorice and the beer finishes with a lemony bitterness. This beer reminds me of De Proef's primitive ales as it blend both lambic and more tradition dark Belgian flavor. I'd definitely give this a try if you like funky beer.

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Photo of cadenwhitaker
4.2/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

01/2005 bottle (aged almost 4 years)

A - Brown, Caramel colors, murky, cream head

S - Syrup, plums/figs/dates (?), sugary, sweet

T - Sweet, spicy, malty, sugary. No hops,

D - I haven't had many Strong Dark Ales so I feel almost unsure about the rating, with that said, I find this beer fantastic and will be experimenting more with this genre.

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Photo of HopDerek
4.47/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to jophish17 for the hookup.

Pours a murky red/brown color with 1/2 a pinky of tan head into a chalice. Nice retention and lacing. Smells of raisins, plums, grapes, caramel, cocoa, and bread. Taste starts off with fresh fruits like plums, dates, and grapes, then some candy and spices like cinnamon along with caramel, toffee, and vanilla. Feels airy and more cake-like than bready with a good body, nice carbonation, and a decent alcohol warmth. A sipping beer good to relax with.

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Photo of rtepiak
3.76/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

upon opening i was somewhat confused as to consider anything but a dubbel. it has an overwhelming scent of malt sugar cane. but its darker. a red tint of dark brown with little light coming through. the smell is not like any other from this brewery. not that sour lambic scent with complex undertones. sort of more typical. the smell is of s dense sugar cane, brown sugar, light molasses. light scent of grape and black pepper. the taste resonates the smell but with a light flavor of orangepeel in the hops. a nice herbaliness, light. prodominantly rosemary. hops are almost non existent. denisty is quickly lost with the head. sugar and herb sits on the palete with a light molasses bitterness. very similar to dubbel but at a failed complexity. very good but not great. expected more of the funk the rest of the beers have. their most accessible i suppose. probably why its so easy to admire. i like there other beers. i wouldn't drink them regualarly but they are fantastic. this is more traditional, if thats the word to use.

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Photo of DoubleJ
3.18/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Found a single bottle at the Wine Exchange. The label is in Dutch and the numbers "1" and "2005" are punched on the side of it. In other words, I have a 3½ year old bottle. On to the beer:

The head fades away fast on top this murky caramel brownish brew with red hues. The aroma is extremely malty, almost like a doppelbock. Very sweet with raisins, graps, dark bread, dough. Has a similar flavor too, but the lack of zip in the mouthfeel hides the potential. There's a spicy alcohol note breaking through the flavor, and the aftertaste lasts long with an almost overwhelming maltiness.

I love a malty beer, but the balance in this brew could have been improved upon. The beer could have been passed its peak based on the age of the bottle. I would like to re-try this fresh.

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Photo of ATPete
3.4/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Served at Brouwerij 't IJ in April 2008

*A bartender at the Brouwerij 't IJ descibed this to me as a barley wine.

A- Orange/Brown color with a small off white head.

S- Some malts, herbs, sugar syrup, and alcohol

T- Fairly sweet, very malty, very spiced, some caramel, and a touch of licorice on the finish, decently complex.

M- Full mouth feel but not very weighty

D- Eh, this one wasn't for me

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Photo of dsa7783
4.12/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2 oz single bottle copped from Buy Rite on Oak Tree in South Plainfield for $5.99...
An aggressive pour yielded a caramel, ruby-colored barleywine-like hue with an incredible amount of sediment visible at the bottom of the glass, floating aimlessly around with a huge frothy head and visible lacing...
Smell was replete with strong caramel and Belgian candy nuances...
Taste was equally thick and powerful, with a powerful nuance of vanilla, caramel, candies, sugars, esters, and slight alcohol...
Thick, rich, creamy mouthfeel with a slight evidence of alcohol thrown in the mix thanks to the rather hefty 9% ABV...
Decent drinkability for a beer of this complexity and strength...
Not bad... Worth a try...

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Photo of Onslow
3.78/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

outta the bottle at the t'IJ..last beer before we moved on so i had to work kwik, kicked the panter...I was looking forward to this. Pours a light dark brown but not really see through. nice aroma. great smooth first sip. a mellow alcohlic brew that goes down very easily; and complex too...

..a good brew that says goodnight...

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Photo of emerge077
4.03/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served at cool cellar temperature, around 50º.
Bottle has a distinct clear red tint when held to the light.

Once opened, the bottle foams a little, so have a glass ready. It pours a deep brown with a red glint. Foam is an offwhite eggnog color. Some small amounts of lacing result.

After 5 minutes of sitting, the aroma has a sweetness of spiced cake with a little caramel. There's a bit of mustiness at first, but it seems to fade into the background.

Bready flavors with sweet oatmeal raisin cookie overlaying a musty herbal aftertaste. Some cola, licorice, or sassafras character. Grape and some subtle red wine woodiness. Sweet but with a slightly drying finish. Drinks pretty easy, but one is enough in a sitting.

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Photo of joepais
4.2/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

11.2 oz bottle poured into a Duvel tulip produced a good one finger white head on top of a deep reddish brown liquid with the tiniest of little partials floating around the nose on this one is hard to describe musty, fruit, earthy, and yes something I can’t describe. Medium slick mouth feel with an oily finish .Flavors on this beer is incredibly complex as well, dark fruits, spices and some funk? Truly a unique beer enough so I have to try another one to nail the description down

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Photo of RblWthACoz
4.35/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a cloudy ruby with some off white head. Nose is musty in a way that reminds me of a traditional lambic. If I hadn't opened it myself, I'd swear this had come from a bottle with a cork. Flavor is extremely unusual and unique. Man. Very faint sweet tone. I can say right away that it ends with a noticeable perfume characteristic. Caramel is there too. Alcohol is noticeable a bit too. This is one extremely complex BSDA. And add that it is Dutch too. Who would've thought. Feel is good. Smooth with a nice bubble edge to it. Drinkable? Hell yes; but more for the experience. More of a sipper, but the unique qualities should keep a lover of the style coming back for another. You would never be able to tell what this might be from seeing it on the shelves. I mean a diamond label with an ostrich on it? Come on. Regardless. If you see it, buy it.

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Photo of BarryNL
4.25/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: A deep red-brown, cloudy with particulate matter but some might say that's the sign of a good, bottle conditioned beer. A nice, small white head with good retention.

S: Something here I really can't put my finger on - very distinctive. Almost like the orange and coriander scents you'd expect in a tripel. Could be a strong aromatic or amber malt smell.

T: Rich, sweet, fresh dates, prunes, spices. A big, complex taste. One flavour follows the other with every mouthful.

M: Holds a high carbonation - quite gassy when swirled in the mouth, but not unpleasantly so. Makes it a chewy beer with good body.

D: Very quaffable for a beer of this strength. Quite fresh tasting and not cloying as some of this style can be. The high amount of gas the beer holds has the predictable effects after a while - but that's beer for you.

Overall, this is a beer that shows that this small upstart brewery on the IJ can certainly hold its own against the big boys of Belgium.

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Photo of rallison
4.03/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Notched as good until at least 04/2004 - this is now 3 1/2 years past that point...

Pours a very cloudy dark amber/brown with a 1 finger off-white head that leaves some lacing and a good bit of a layer on top of the beer.

Smells interesting - some slightly muddy dark fruits and port. Something else I can't quite put my finger on.

Taste is slightly oxidized, but acceptable for the age. Dark fruits - plums and the like. Some sweetness - maybe a touch of toffee. Touch of port. Overall, nice - slightly muddy in the flavors, but still enjoyable. I'll also give it a bit more leniency with regard to the muddiness because of the age.

Mouthfeel is rich, with low-ish carbonation. This has become somewhat of a sipping beer.

Drinkability is decent.

Overall, recommended. A tasty aged Beglian style beer.

Edit: Just a note - Sam at Stuffed Sandwich described this simply as "interesting." I'd have to agree.

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Photo of jdhilt
4.03/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a four finger light tan head that fades slowly leaving some lace. Cloudy amber color. Medium carbonation and medium-heavy bodied. Slight malty nose. Flavor is sweet almost candy like but enough tartness keeps it balanced. Sweet piney finish. High ABV is not noticeable. Pricey at $6.20 for a 330ml bottle from Tully's Beer and Wine Wells, ME.

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Photo of Manosbeeroffate
3.88/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another recommend from Buckspin. Pours a heavy hazy very foamy orange brown color. Smells very sweet almost like a fruitcake. Tastes more pleasing, dried fruit, sweet oranges, a hint of bitterness that lingers a bit, hides the high alcohol level very well. Good mouthfeel. Overall really good, especially for me who has lately been obsessing for very hoppy beers. A definite thumbs up!!

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Photo of BuckSpin
4.03/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 11oz bottle (Batch #20) in a tulip glass

Opened with a nice hiss, poured with some vitality, energy, crackle. Strong deep fruited nose, full of fig, raisin, prune. Burnt caramel adds a bittersweet aspect, damp with wood and cardboard, slightly Saisoned (Saisoned?) with sourness, alcohol lurking in the background. With some air the fruits rise stronger & thicker.

A fat 3 fingers of semi-loose antique ivory foam softly snapped and slowly settled to a finger's worth of the same, but some gentle agitation & swirling restores it with decent retention that laces in curtains. The sediment & yeast create a opaque color that actually looks like real deep, rich caramel! It looks like you could slice this! A nice piece of eye candy.

Whoa...if you have ever been on one of those amusement park vertical rides that WHOOSHES! you right straight up (or down) immediately from a dead stop....that is what the 1st taste of this is like. Initially that Saison like yeast induced sour aspect is there along with all the figs, raisins, prunes, all adding a very unusual sweet quality. Caramels are deep but not burnt, but also not significantly sweet. All that said, it's smooth in a crushed velour (not silken or satiny) way.

The yeast rise up on the palate, continuing that quasi-sour taste but overall it gets a little sweeter, lighter. Faint fruits hide in the background as the alcohol, which was slowly building, continues to grow warmer, fuzzier until a soft glow pervades the whole of the mouth.

It finishes warm, alive, crisper than it starts, leaving a surprisingly clean aftertaste along with some tingling teeth.

Wow....this is like a marriage of a good Saison and a good Belgian Dark Ale. Very enjoyable, tasty, surprisingly sour n' unsugary sweet on top of the warmth. This is screaming for some good cheese, and could likely pair well with any decent fromage. I could see some spicy simple fare (aged sausages, artisan bread) also working well. A most unusual example of the style and a very nice beer experience. Fans of either Belgian style mentioned previously should seek this out, if you like both this may become your go to. Definitely recommended to anyone looking for something good & different.

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Photo of taez555
4.09/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured a mildly hazy dark brownish body with an off-white head.

Nose is one of the most unique belgian styles I've ever smelled. Strong sugary figs, almost like a fig jam smell, very earthy with a strong musk smell, touches of apples, raisins, alcohol and a very sugary caramel. It smells like it's already been aged a while as some wine-like softened notes really peak through.

Taste is medium to full bodied leaning heavily towards full bodied. Starts with a strong sugary fig taste and the end shifts into the finish with a strong apple peel and fig newton sort of doughy and sugary taste. Touches of dark caramel, a huge flavor of brown bread, dark burnt molasses, children's grape juice, touches of pineapple, some mild bubble gum and hints of plums. There's a slight metallic taste and even some earthy brick flavors. Bitterness and hops are kept to a minimum but there's a mild bitter background that gives a nice backbone.

I'd had this one time before in Amsterdam and barely remember it(I was in Amsterdam after all), but this is seriously one of the more unique beers out there. Figs, Figs and more figs served with brown bread. Could be an amazing beer to pair with a desert in place of the fruit flavors. Unique and quite good.

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Photo of johnnybravo
4.25/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is a wonderful beer although I must admit that the brewery isn't always reliable. But most of the time you get what you were looking for. Very complex beer and I wouldn't be able to classify it. It's like a clone of Rochefort 10 mixed with a Flemish Sour ale. Lots of flavors, fruit, spices and herbs. And a mix of sweet, soft bitterness and lactic sourness. Absolutely fabulous.

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Photo of GClarkage
4.03/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

04/26/07- Purchased at Plumpjack's in San Francisco, CA.

Presentation- 11.2oz bottle with a smudged freshness date or code on the top of the bottle cap. Poured into my Anderson Valley tulip.

Appearance- Murky deep caramel brown in color. Caramel covered apple color to be exact. Full one inch plus large bubbled foamy head. Reduces down to a nice 1/4 inch creamy film. Leaves behind very sticky and chunky looking lace. The only drawback is it's large murky yeast looking atribute.

Smell- Sweet and fruity with hints of fuesel alcohol. Dates, plums and rasins plus a concord grape scent as well. Maybe some sweet fresh baked cookie scent also.

Taste- The first few sips had some noticeable metallic tinges to them. This levels out once you get into the meat of the brew. Had this at room temp to start. Definite cookie dough sweetness with some fig newton like flavors followed with some rasins and of course the grapes I noticed in the nose.

Mouthfeel- Gets more and more creamy as you get into the beer. Smooth and silky with a medium carbonation level.

Drinkability- Good all around strong dark. I can sort of see why it's listed as a barleywine from the website. Has a few characteristics that fit. Without the metallic taste in the beginning, this beer would be really good.

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Photo of henrysunset
4.23/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A gift from kat & Justin's trip to Amsterdam...

cloudy dark brown with giant head of tan foam with lacy foam really nice

smell is all malts... sweet and very nice. flavor delivers, much maltiness, much sweetness. toastiness is really pleasent balanced and mellow.

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Photo of Ego
4.08/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

random pick, no reason other than "haven't had this one ever"

big soapy head, 2 full fingers on a careful pour, lots of scmutz floating around in suspension, brown hue with hints of amber, retention is excellent, lacing is tremendous.

apples, sourness with borderline funk, yeasty and a touch dry, plums, damn, every time I seem to get something a little different, the fruit element is the dominant element.

taste etc...
smooth and velvety, oddly the flavor is pretty subdued. The fruit aspect is there but subdued and then the aftertaste is sugary sweet (but not overly so), no hint of the alcohol in the flavor, the carbonation is really nice in the mouth, this is way too easy to drink. The sweetness is a little distracting but I am a bit hypersensitive to that stuff generally speaking.

I suspect if you like sugary belgian trips you would enjoy this beverage. An interesting, understated brew and way too drinkable for the ABV. Paired well with MAME emulation of Mr. Do.

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Photo of GooberMcNutly
4.07/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A strong Belgian style ale made in Holland sounds funky, but they pull it off quite well. Strong coppery color and big fluffy head bring a strong sour aroma and a slight alcoholic odor to the nose. The flavor is a little too malty for me as a Belgian Ale, which gives it a barleywine aspect. 9% alcohol is not at all evident in the taste though, just the nose.

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Photo of Absumaster
2.68/5  rDev -31.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

OK, again I ask myself why we are always stuck with the infected beers and the good ones are send out to the US!

This is already my third 't IJ beer and again I can smell the lactic acid hitting my nose. There is also something like melon and pine-apple in the smell. Appearance is good, a brown, murky beer with a 1 inch white head.

Taste is mild acidic and fruity with the melon and pine-apple taste, a combination of yeast flavors and lactic acid I think. A good bitterness complements the beer and aftertaste is slightly sticky and bitter, which also activates my salive glands.

I know that underneath the acidity, there is a good beer and I know that they can make good beers, but for some reason they always have infections in their beers and this is happening for years already. What a waste of reputation!

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.07/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Murky orange caramel that just barely allows bright sunlight to pass through to the other side of the glass. A slight blush of coral red adds a beautiful sunset glow and bright orange edges provide a nice contrast. I don't even mind that the golden beige cap is relatively small and doesn't provide much lace. This is one nice looking Dutch ale.

Brouwerij 't IJ calls Struis a barleywine rather than a BSDA. I'm not so sure about that. The nose is much more akin to a Belgian strong dark ale due to its musty, fruity, spicy nature. It's amazingly complex and carries a spice load that almost puts it into the (Fantome-like) saison category. Whatever one calls it, this is an aromatic, exotic, wonderful smelling beer.

I had no idea what to expect from Struis before cracking the crown today. As in the nose, a complex, musty, earthy, spicy fruitiness dominates. Bruised apples, fig paste, grapes and dark rum-soaked golden raisins melt into the taste buds with each mouthful. Caramel malt does its best to hold down the opposite side of the scales. Actually, an aggressive Belgian yeastiness overpowers even the fruit and might put more than a few people off.

It's too bad the flavor profile doesn't have more of a spark. I'm drinking a nicely aged bottle, but I can't help thinking that some amount of youthful brashness would have served Struis well. One benefit of several years in the bottle is that alcohol is nowhere to found on the palate. It is delivering a gentle, spreading warmth however.

Simply put, the mouthfeel isn't big enough. A beer that tastes like this one does deserves some amount of sticky chewiness. It reminds me of some of the so-called 'big' beer from the U.K. in that it's much less viscous than most American big beer and is less mouth pleasing as a result. I guess it all comes down to what one is used to.

Struis is an authentic BSDA brewed in Holland. I liked it better during ounces one, two and three than during ounces ten, eleven and twelve. Having said that, it's still a well-brewed, interesting, enjoyable sipper that I might consider buying again if it wasn't for the $4.99 price tag. Proost!

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Struis from Brouwerij 't IJ
3.9 out of 5 based on 126 ratings.
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