Chateau Jiahu | Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

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Chateau JiahuChateau Jiahu
Very Good
1,441 Ratings
Chateau JiahuChateau Jiahu

Brewed by:
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Delaware, United States

Style: Herbed / Spiced Beer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Let's travel back in time again for another Dogfish Head Ancient Ale (Midas Touch was our first foray and Theobroma our most recent). Our destination is 9,000 years ago, in Northern China! Preserved pottery jars found in the Neolithic villiage of Jiahu, in Henan province, have revealed that a mixed fermented beverage of rice, honey and fruit was being produced that long ago, right around the same time that barley beer and grape wine were beginning to be made in the Middle East!

Fast forward to 2005. Molecular archaeologist Dr. Patrick McGovern of the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology calls on Dogfish Head to re-create another ancient beverage, and Chateau Jiahu is born.

In keeping with historic evidence, Dogfish brewers use brown rice syrup, orange blossom honey, muscat grape, barley malt and hawthorn berry. The wort is fermented for about a month with sake yeast until the beer is ready for packaging.

10 IBU

Added by marburg on 06-15-2005

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 1,441 |  Reviews: 569
3.72/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

750 mL bottle poured into pint glass. "Bottled in 2009" indicated on label. We all know the story behind this brew and it certainly adds to the allure. Awesome artwork on the label.

A: Large, foamy white head erupted from the pour, (the bubbles swarmed like angry bees or a school of fish), hung out for a little, then left for good. A few swirls of the glass didn't ruffle any feathers. The body was perfectly clear and left virtually no lacing behind. Pretty unique.

S & T: A 1-2 punch. What it smells like is what it tastes like. And what it is is P-R-O-N-O-U-N-C-E-D. Malts are light and sweet. If there are any hops, they are herbal. No detectable yeast. Alcohol is lurking and provides some warmth (becoming heat as the beer warms). Big grape and honey aromas/flavors. This brew is comparable to a white dessert wine or ice wine, with little to no effervescence. Very sweet.

M: Medium body, thin, syruppy texture.

D: Loses no points in the "personality" department. But what makes the Chateau Jiahu so unique and interesting is also what keeps the drinkability rating average. Halfway through the bottle the sweetness became bothersome and somewhat cloying. A bottle this big needs to be shared several ways. Cheers to DFH for a successful experiment and for the re-interpretation/re-creation of a 9000 year old brew.

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Photo of baos
4.22/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Interesting story behind this one. Had it at my friends barn.

A: Orange golden with a bit of head dwindling down pretty quickly.

S: GRAPES. Herbs.

T: Very sweet grape-and-honey with a strong herbal presence.

M: Nice medium feel on this one.

D: A pretty strong brew. I shared it with my friends and since I was in recovery from a pretty loathsome illness it hit me pretty hard. But I'd like to have another now that I'm on my feet.

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Photo of snaotheus
3.33/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

750ml bottle split into pint glasses. Bought it at Binny's in Orland Park.

Pours golden with fast fading beige head, no noticeable lacing. Smell is strong and sweet with some lager.

Taste is predominantly sweet with grapes and apples, some strange kind of herbs, lager aftertaste, some riesling character to it.

Mouthfeel is dry but light. Taste is too sweet for high drinkability.

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Photo of ImusBeer
3.49/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Home Bottle 22oz:

Appearance was a dirty yellow, very little head, some carbonation initially but it died quickly.

The nose started with citrus, and a sweet honey smell was very heavy. The initial taste was very sour citrus, then the sweetness of the honey slammed into your tongue.

The mouth was really light with low carbonation, no bitterness but the sourness really does it's work. It's a lot like a lambic, too sour for my taste but good overall, very interesting.

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Photo of John_M
3.4/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The beer pours a bright gold color with OK head retention and lacing. The nose is fairly light, with cinnamon, grape juice and light brown sugar. Flavors replicate the nose, but this beer is bit sweeter then I'd like or was expecting, with lots of sweet grape juice. There is some slight honey and citrus in the finish, but not enough to counter the grapy sweetness. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, and while I appreciate the amount of flavor in this beer, the excessive sweetness and noticeable booziness make this beer a bit difficult to take. Just not my cup of tea...

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Photo of BretSikkink
3.71/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Lightly colored but mostly white head, served atop a mostly clear, orange-ish body. Not much retention or lacing. The nose is vinous, floral, and sweet. Funky and spicy, in a slightly "off" way.

The flavor is much more pleasing, if not terribly different, from the nose. Lots of white grape notes, sweetness of honey, some strong floral notes presumably from the chrysanthemum. The mouthfeel could use a boost in carbonation, but otherwise it's a fairly well-done effort. Interesting and worth seeking out on its own merits.

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Photo of steeltown71
4.12/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an impressive golden-orange with good carbonation. Considerable presence of fragrant spice, malt, and floral notes in the nose. Taste reminds me a lot of Midas Touch, which is one of my favorite DFH offerings. I'd have to taste side-by-side to pick up more subtle differences, but the grapes and honey are front-and-center in both. Jiahu has a more pronounced spice presence.

Some of DFH's bombers can be hit-or-miss but this is one of their best. Along with Midas, there are flavors here that you just don't find in 99% of beers, and for that reason alone it's worth a try.

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Photo of cleeze
3.42/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a dirty brownish IPA color. decent head with some lacing.

Lots of floral on the nose. Smells a little like wine with the grapes.

I picked up on the honey first off with the taste. Overwheling sweetness. Malty background. Funky aftertaste

Not my favorite offering from DFH

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Photo of craftaholic
4.05/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance: Had this one on tap and was quite surprised to see it. Poured into a pint it had a beautiful opaque golden tangerine hue. Basically no lace from what was a quite thick head.

Smell: I love the aroma here its quite different yet welcomed from the general handful of scents you find in beers besides nuances. The muscat grapes make a nice appearance and mesh well with the honey. The floral chrysanthemum is delicate and there's even a touch of banana in there. Hawthorne may or may not be in there but my nose has never come across it before so i'm kind of sniffing blind (stuffed up?).

Taste: This one is quite sweet but not cloyingly so. The grape and the honey aide in making it have that delectable taste but are rounded out by some fruity pineapple and banana-esq and subtle lavender floral notes.

Mouthfeel: Quite good, and fairly carbonated and rests on the palate at times.

Drinkability: Extremely complex and needs to be sipped to be thoroughly enjoyed.

Overall: Distinct and experimental, I enjoyed it but others may not due to the sweetness even though its not overpowering.

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Photo of Gambrinus1184
3.83/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750mL bottle into a SA tasting glass.

A: Pours a slightly hazy and golden yellow color with lemon highlights and bits of yeast floating among the sparse jets of carbonation. The brew pours with a big sudsy head at first, but quickly reduces to a thin ring of white lace.

S: Smells of white grapeskins, clove honey and a squeeze of lemon.

T: Herbal and dry tasting at first, with a big wallop of grape anf honey near mid-palate. Faint flavors of toasted grains and rice make the brew slightly dry and spicy towards the finish, which is fairly minty, creamy and sweet.

M: Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a slightly creamy feel and spicy notes.

D: Definitely an interesting recipe and one to be shared with friends. AT 8% ABV, it's like a mildly fortified, malty wine. It paired quite nicely with cracked pepper and olive oil crackers topped with cheddar. Sips pretty well on its own too.

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

appearance - Orange-ish amber. Almost no head.
smell - Very nice. The DFH site reads, "In keeping with historic evidence, Dogfish brewers used pre-gelatinized rice flakes, Wildflower honey, Muscat grapes, barley malt, hawthorn fruit, and Chrysanthemum flowers." There's an obvious sweet, fruity nose. There's something there that makes me think 'creamy'.
taste - as good as the nose advertises.
Likewise, the mouthfeel is great...medium creamy. And so drinkable.
This is some great stuff.

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Photo of Jwale73
3.58/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to edbeer for sharing. 750ml bottle served in my Allagash tulip. Poured a golden-orange with a thin white head that dissipates into a skim. Clarity is hazy - just shy of translucent. Nose is grapes and bubblegum. Taste consistent with nose, maybe the addition of some orange in the mix. Mouthfeel is light-medium, with a consistent and mild background effervescence. An interesting and flavorful beer, but a little too sweet. However, probably my favorite of DFH's historical brews.

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Photo of damndirtyape
4.2/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Single bottle bought and shared with a few others who normally drink only wine. Mark on bottle indicated that it had been bottled in 2009. Due to some of the reviews I read, I decided to just use wine glasses and it worked pretty well.

Poured a nice honey-amber yellow with a mild foam that dissipated pretty quickly. Not a lot of lacing. Lots of comments on the bottle art, which a Chinese native commented on as the character for "wine" was tattooed on the woman on the label.

Smell you get honey and grapes with something fruity in there. Not what you expect in a beer, but again keeping in mind the historical character of this brew (and the wine character) you're getting something like a carbonated beer here.

Taste - Really very interesting. I got grapes and fruits up front with honey and sweetness in the middle and a warming finish. It's not like any beer I've had before - not overpoweringly sweet like the 120 IPA I've had from Dogfish, but sweet with nicely balanced fruit and honey flavors; maybe a hint of malt.

Mouthfeel - just the right balance of carbonation and thickness. I'm going to say it felt like honey mixed into tea with mild carbonation which is the closest I can really describe it.

Drinkability - It was definitely a unique experience, but I can't see myself running out and drinking this all the time. Neat experience worth trying and for sharing with others, but I doubt I could finish a whole bottle myself over an evening.

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Photo of KrisPaulk77
3.7/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle picked up in Chicago and shared with a friend at my annual October Barbecue.

This beer falls in with Theobroma, in the fact that the concept of using ingredients from back in the day, and the idea of drinking an interpretation of history, is just really neat. I admire Sam and the crew at DFH for their efforts at presenting the unusual and unique.
The beer was shared and the pours were moderate. The beer poured a very pretty light amber, with a minimal white head. Minimal lacing.
The aroma was spicy like a Belgian, and similar to Theobroma, which we had earlier in the evening. I'm accounting this to the yeast used. There were notes grape and fruit, and a fresh, floral quality. No hop aroma was noticed. The spicy Belgian aroma was very pronounced, as was the fermented honey.
Tasteing Jiahu, the grapes come to the front. Their is a sublte Belgian-like spicyness to the whole affair. The fermented honey makes itself known near the middle. It's almost as if the malt is just there as back up. The feel of the beer was at times wine-like, and then like that of a tripel. There was a moderate level of carbonation and the alcohol was fairly well hidden.
Overall, Jiahu is not a bad beer. I was glad to be able to share this bottle. Between the two DFH ancient ales that I've tried, Jiahu is favored over Theobroma. I would buy this from time to time, just for something a little different.

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Photo of Daniellobo
4.07/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Very notable historic and experimental brew. Sweet and dry leaning on a range of characteristics close to cava-champagne but remaining a true drinkable and enticing beer.

Presentation: 750 ml bottle. Design and illustration mixing an oriental tone with a cliche on female champagne sexiness and sophistication (I don´t like it, but it sure has a ring to it with part of the brew and the type of stuff that is commonly associated with it. Pity that DFH is not choosing to walk away from stereotypes in the design here.) Enumeration of main ingredients as a way of describing it on the front with a side paragraph noting the historic background of the brew. Shows date of bottling (2009), neither shows IBUs or °Plato, nor Alc. by Vol.

A - Pale amber crisp color with a quick half inch head that fades rapidly, and leaves minimal lacing and a foam ring with surface hints.

S - Sweet dry aromas: some grapes and a range of honey fruitiness with some subtle spice.

T - In sync with the smell it has a dry sweet range where a memory of grapes predominates over the malty base, with a honey coating and some gentle spices to accompany the experience.

M - Medium leaning to light body with great carbonation in a dry smooth feel.

D - Very pleasant to be had. Offers quite a few subtleties but feels rather approachable. And it is a great brew to provoke certain palates.

Notes: Leans on the expensive side for the DFH specialty bottles and that may be a bit of a deterrent. The experiment works and its historical investigation is enticing enough. Part of a foundation is shared with other DFH brews such as Midas Touch or Theobroma, not a bad thing but not a great one either in terms of the experience (if you are familiar with some of those it may have a repetitive echo to it.) It remains a great brew in any case. It´s not one that I will be having on my own or highlighting often but I sure plan to have on my table at group meeting and in particular to provoke bubbly drinkers.

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Photo of grayburn
3.5/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A very interesting beer, my only problem is that it just doesn't stand apart from Midas Touch or Theobroma, the flavors that I am looking for are only hiding in the background. The creative current behind the beer is quite interesting, the alcohol is well hidden, it is quite drinkable. The body is very light as can be expected from the rice, a lingering sour-sweetness hides behind medium-heavy carbonation. I had this on tap at the Dogfish Head rest. and pub in Falls Church Va, and I must say I was expecting the beer to be poured slightly warmer. At close to 32 degrees, it took a while for this to warm up enough to be flavorful, and even then it was a bit light for me. Regardless of the outcome, I love the ideas but forth by Sam and the team at Dogfish, way to pave some new (old) roads.

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Photo of Spineypanda
4.27/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This bottle captured my eye, so I had to buy it.

Once again, I enjoy the idea of trying something ancient even if it was just from a clay pot painting.

The aroma given off by this beer is something along the lines of floral and sweet. The honey is apparent and the rice fermentation is a nice addition. The Muscat grapes used are notable to, but the honey and flora is really what stands out the most to me.

A great example of something new and exciting.

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Photo of CampusCrew
3.45/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

appearance: no head retention... golden orange glow

smell: sweet.... and white wine aroma

taste: loads of honey in a big grape mess. akward. this is not their best tasting alternative beer.

mouthfeel: medium bodied amd kinda of a thicky syrupy consistency. weakest part of the beer.

drinkability: overall glad to have tried it but not the best DFH

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Photo of drabmuh
3.36/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This was served on draught at Dogfish head pub in Gaithersburg, MD. Beer is clear, light yellow / orange, no head to speak of and minimal lacing, low carbonation. Aroma is fruity sweet, smell of grapes. This beer tastes like chardonnay. Seriously, white wine with grain. I'm not digging this beer. All and all its a fine beer but definitely not my favorite from DFH. Worth a look, hard to drink though.

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Photo of Haybeerman
3.62/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Deep, clear amber color. Poured a 2 finger white head that dissipated. Thin lacing washed down the glass. Decanted lightly.

S: Sweet grapes and light-colored fruit. Light dry rice and honey in the foiundation.

T: Consistent with smell; sweet light-colored fruits with grapes prominent. Lingering honey flavor to a dry finish.

M: Medium body. Ample carbonation. Dry and slightly hot.

D: Interesting diversion. This would not be a regular beer.

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Photo of nickd717
3.56/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle via trade thanks to GeoffFromSJ. Also saw this beer at City Beverage in Winston-Salem, NC.

A - Brilliant clear golden-orange with a lasting white head. Really looks great.

S - Sweet with rice, honey, white grapes and other light fruits.

T - Honey and white grapes - reminiscent of DFH Midas Touch in a way - also other light fruits (hawthorn fruit?), ricey grains, spices, and bready pale malt.

M - Smooth with high carbonation and medium-full body, a tiny bit syrupy.

D - Average.

Pretty good overall and a very interesting idea for a beer.

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Photo of thespaceman
4.42/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750ml bottle into my DFH signature glass:

Appearance: Pour shows a beautiful light bronze in color, nice thick head that slowly dissapates leaving wisps of lacing on the glass. Head retention is also very good here. Bubbles from the carbonation seem to streamline nicely to the top of this beer.

Smell: Spicy upon first whiff, I definetley get alot of grapes here in the nose, bits of honey and a light coriander sense. A pepper like alcohol stance is evident briefly as well but the grapes are really the signature of this one. Darker fruit esters are also apparent here.

Taste: A blast of light fruit is really nice upon first sip, those grapes from the nose stick around to give this a very flavorful wine like kick. I also get some honey, small amounts of ginger, some allspice and a little bit of licorice. A light toastiness sets in from the small amount of malt backbone but is quickly shunned away. This has a very nice spiciness to it that isn't too over the top. The grapes in Chateau taste similar to the Muscrats found in Midas Touch which gives this a very appealing taste to those wine drinkers out there. The finish consists of some buttery like grain/oats with a kick of some alcohol that pairs beautifully with the spiciness of the overall beer. Outstanding!

Mouthfeel: Light on the tongue, with a decent amount of carbonation. Chateau Jiahu is medium bodied with very little bitterness and stands firm on the tongue, with a slightly slick mouthfeel.

Drinkability: What an amazingly different beer to say the least. One of the epitome of spiced beers that really sets the tone for Dogfish Head's ever expanding line-up of ancient recipe beers. I love how the grapes in this beer really show characteristics of wine as this could be served to a wine drinking only person and actually be liked. The amount of spiciness is just enough to keep me involved and interested with the kick of alcohol doing the rest of the work in the finish. As far as drinkability goes, this is a very drinkable beer with the %8 ABV well hidden behind all of these beautiful spiced properties and fruit florals. Overall, another excellent beer from Sam and the Dogfish Head crew that deserves it's ranks as one of the best spiced beers in the world.

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

Ordered at The Brass Tap in Tampa. I definately owe the guys for this one.

Pours a golden color with a nice head that disappears quickly. Little lacing.

Spells like pears, some flowery notes. The grapes are there. Very sweet smelling and rather nice.

The taste is great. Although sweet it is well-balanced and refreshing. Still a small hint of pears, but the muscat grapes and a slight floral taste are there.

It feels crisp and sweet. The carbonation is more apparent in the mouth than in the glass. Very refreshing.

I would definately order this beer again. I'm a huge fan of these old brews Dogfish seems to find. It was a great beer to end the warm Florida night.

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Photo of cupcakequeenie
4.22/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- The beer poured a deep golden color with a pale head that faded fast.
S- Immediately hit with the honey scent which is fine by me. The non-sweet obsessed person might find it a little overpowering.
T- Again, I tasted the honey with a bit of the grape undertone. There is a slight tartness that I assume applies to the hawthorne berry. It was crisp and fresh.
M- Medium feel, not light but definitely not syrupy. Light carbonation.
D- I could easily drink this, I didn't feel that the alcohol was overpowering and the honey made it easy for me. I would think that some people would think it was too sweet to have too much of.

Overall, I am really glad I grabbed the bottle of this and will buy it again.

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Photo of Sean9689
3.52/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Split with friends at Three Floyds from 750ml bottle.

A - Pours clear golden color with very little head, slightly fizzy. After a bit, a very small ring of head remains around the glass.

S - A big nose on this one! Super sweet. Apples, honey, some floral notes. It really hits you in the face, pretty big sweetness.

T - Apple juice? Hmm. Not nearly as sweet as the nose suggests. Honey, slight bitterness, some spices (can't really ID them though).

M - Light. Semi-syrupy. Feels like apple juice. Little carbonation, not much.

D - One, maybe two glasses, please. Another wierd one from DFH.

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Chateau Jiahu from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Beer rating: 3.78 out of 5 with 1,441 ratings
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