Ground Break | Ithaca Beer Company

very good
232 Reviews
Ground BreakGround Break

Brewed by:
Ithaca Beer Company
New York, United States

Style: Saison / Farmhouse Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.20%

Availability: Spring

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by WesWes on 02-02-2010

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Reviews: 232 | Ratings: 543
Photo of PaulU
4.27/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Great early spring seasonal. Personally my favorite beer to get directly from the brewery, although I must say that when I've had it out of the bottle I wasn't as pleased. Much better on tap.

Groundbreak has a dark unfiltered color but still has the blondish hue that is expected from a Saison. It holds a decent head and has a nice range of flavors, the hops making them selves known without overpowering, while also trailing off with sweeter tones.

Great overall brew, give it a try if you can find it outside of NY

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Photo of ChrisPratz
4.23/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Second ever Saison, and i'm a fan of Ithaca brews so i'm excited to crack this one open.

A: Nice yellow/orange haze color. Finger and a half of a thick, rich, lacey head it almost looks like a cloud on the top of the beer. This sticks around for quite awhile and leaves nice lacing all the way down on the sides of the glass. Constant stream of bubbles making its way to the top as well, looks really really nice against a bright light.

S: Alot going on here as soon as I started to pour. Getting some nice belgian yeast scents right from the get go along with some spicyness. Coriander, some ginger. Also some citrus bitters. As it warmed I could pick up some other sweetness, almost tropical, like bananas.

T: Lots of floral hops flavors coming thru. Some maltyness at the get go with some lemon/citrus zest and bitters. Bitterness from the hops is sharp and to the point but I can also sense some ginger and pepper notes mixing in there as well. After taste consists fo some of that coriander/pepper spice and also some earthy/grassy/grainy flavors.

M: Lots of carbonation works well with the bitterness of the hops and the other spices. Its also helps keep that nice thick and lacey head around all the way thru the beer. Left with a creamyness in the mouth that didn't turn to a dry feel at all despite the 6% ABV.

O: Very nice and complex brew. Everything here worked well together and I found it very enjoyable all the way thru from the pour to the last sip.

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Photo of jmerloni
4.45/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Hazy orange-yellow coloration with sexy white head that laces really nicely on the sides of the glass. It also has this awesome tornado-shaped, hanging, unfiltered sediment.

S - Fresh smelling, ginger, earthy, grass, Belgian yeast, citrus, floral tones, a lot of spice. Some light honey malts.

T - Awesome flavor. Wow. Ginger galore! Citrus rind, Belgian yeast, sage, coriander, cloves, black pepper. Tart flavor. A real explosion of earthy awesomeness. A little too much at once. Makes it a bit confused, like everything is shouting over each other.

M - Good balance, good carbonation, pretty dry. Medium-bodied and somewhat airy.

D - This beer tastes like fairy puree. One of the best beers I've ever had. Will be getting this again so many times. This beer conquers my favorite style of beer.

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Photo of facundoCNB
4.05/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

poured into my boulevard snifter.
a hazy yellowish orange in color with half inch of bubbly white head. great lacing.
smells of belgian yeast, honey, pepper, orange peel, coriander.
tastes very earthy. floral sweetness, with a spicy after taste. a hint of peach fruit sweetness.
medium bodied with high carbonation. refreshing, crisp, dry finish.

this is a great beer for the spring! what can i say, i'm loving saison season this year since i got into beer trading. luckily for me, this is a local, so i can pick it up as i please!

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Photo of stakem
3.68/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Draft offering served in a snifter. The brew appears a clear golden color with a finger of white froth. Some patchy lace sticks in thick patterns about the glass. A constant stream of bubbles maintains the froth atop throughout the entire duration. A light swirl effortlessly revives the cap.

The smell is yeasty and herbal with a zesty hop component. It is herbal and Greg smelling with earthy notes reminiscent of sulfur towards the back. It is a bit peppery overall and not bad.

The taste is yeasty with a bit of green herbal character. Some unexpected bitterness initially gives way to a flavor of clove, grass and a zesty spicy aspect. The more I focus on the bitterness, the more the earthy notes of this brew come out.

This is a medium bodied brew with a modest level of carbonation. It is crisp and enjoyable. Nicely done and worth checking out but overall there is no significant appeal to it, just an everyday easy drinking saison without much flaw.

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Photo of NardiByNature
4.03/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Light golden honey. So, cloudy but bright enough to see some bubbles. The head is pearly white and leaves some decent lacing.

S: Fruity—apple, pear, and fig Newtons and even some more tropical fruits pop when the beer warms a little. Also a little yeasty with some spice.

T: I dig the hops; they’re more prominent in the taste than the nose but not overbearing. Bitterness is well balanced against some of the raw, slightly tart fruit flavor up front.

M: Crisp and slightly dry with a bitter-ish finish. A little heat. Nice level of carbonation.

O: Great stuff. My nearest sixer shop seemed lacking after the weekend so when nothing caught my eye I went for this saison from a new (to me) brewery and I’m glad I did. Nicely done American/Belgian fusion, this Belgian-style seems to lend itself better to American ingenuity than the BIPA.

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Photo of Edwaka01
3.73/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz into tulip.

A - Hazy gold. 1 finger head with decent retention.

S - Floral hops, freshness, citrus.

T - Citrus, honey, fresh floral hops, ginger?

M - Full yet still light and refreshing.

O - Nice representation of the style, not world class.

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Photo of kc44
3.8/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

Pours a beautiful deep gold color that couldn't be more inviting, keeps a big, chunky white head, but doesn't feature the effervescence I hoped for out of a saison. Smells strongly of lemon peels and citrusy american hops, an intriguing combination. Not a lot of spice; could certainly do with more. Nonetheless, the flavor experience is a fun ride beginning with the citrus fruit followed by hop bitterness, left turn at malt sweetness with a hint of alcohol before finally drying out at the end. My main complaint remains with the carbonation level - a beer like this is better showcased dancing across your palate than sliding over it. The bottle could be an anomaly; I'd happily order this beer if I ever saw it on tap.
Overall, this is a quality beer worth having in my opinion. I appreciate the balance in an American take on a Belgian style, and it really is the interplay of the fruity esters and the hops that make this one enjoyable. There are a lot of totally decent saisons out there these days, but groundbreak has enough individuality to recommend itself. Would love to see this brewed with more rye as a way to up the spice factor, or perhaps dosed with brett and thrown in some barrel to introduce a sour character, which is completely missing from this beer as it stands.

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Photo of IronLover
4.55/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Best by May 2012. Deep golden yellow in color with an orange hue and a deep haze. Poured with a frothy, bright white foam that slowly dissipated to a wispy cap that left huge sheets of lacing on the glass. Complex array of sweet sugar, tropical citrus, Belgian yeast, bread and spicy aromas. Aggressive but oily smooth carbonation up front with lighter than expected feel. Buttery smooth thru the middle and finish. Bready and yeasty flavors up front that give way to tangy grapefruit and orange hop flavors through the middle. Banana and Belgian spices thru the middle and to the finish. Very complex aromas and flavors with a fabulous feel. The Belgian yeast and hop character of this beer was reminiscent of Piraat Belgian IPA, which is also exceptional. A new late winter classic for me.

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Photo of CrazyP
4.62/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Light orange color with plenty of small bubbles. About a 1/4" white head that stays around.

S - Really pleasant smells. Fruity with raspberry, strawberry, and banana scents, yeast, a little funkiness. A touch of clove and spice.

T - This beer has a nice dry bitterness that goes nicely with the malt. Grassy hops along with fruitiness and spice.

M - A very quaffable, easy drinking beer. Quite dry as a saison should be. Mouthfeel is smooth with a touch of bite from the carbonation. My only complaint is it goes down too quick!

I see how the Bros. gave it a world class rating. You can tell this beer was crafted for drinkability and uniqueness with every flavor having a purpose.

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Photo of SpaldingSmails
4.2/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into tulip glass. Pours a lovely golden color, one finger white head. Appears not as clear as most non-homebrewed beers, but still not as murky typical of the style. Fruitiness, Belgium style is quite pronounced in the nose. Excellent flavor for the style plus a bit more pronounced hop character. Excellent carbonation levels and overall balance. Finish is very pleasant.

This is probably my favorite Ithaca brew yet (and I've had most). I'm fairly new to the style but I feel like I could a few of these in a row.

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Photo of CloudStrife
3.88/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a tulip. Best before May notched on bottle.

A: Pours a hazy straw yellow with a puffy white 2 finger head. Nice haze in the light and really small bubbles are visible floating to the top. Lacing from the head before I drink. Settles to a film with a lump in the middle. Lots of lacing on the sides.

S: Initial smell of belgian yeast followed by orange and hints of spice. Citrusy, smells of lemon not sure if this is from the hops or yeast.

T: Light flavor with mostly belgian yeast. Certainly some hops in there to bitter it out. Those add notes of grass and citrus to the mix. Can pick up some spicing from the rye malt.

M: Light bodied with good carbonation and a crisp finish. Belgian yeast provides a nice bite and the hops add some stickiness.

Overall an excellent saison that is certainly worth trying. Seems a little more like a witbier. Could use some sour aspects, more fruits and sweetness.

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Photo of rmcnealy
3.75/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2nd Ithaca offering I'm trying. Received this along with some Flower Power from an awesome east coast BA'er.

Poured medium amber gold that was nearly non-translucent and appeared to be totally filtered. Produced a small, dense, froathy head that subsided to a mere layer of fog guarding the beer below. Has that Belgium smell with a freshness to it along with yeast and corn aromas. The tastes have a slight bitterness which is much appreciated. The tastes fade slow which is a great quality. I haven't had a Saison in awhile so my tastes are getting reunited. This is a very good brew. Very fresh, very robust.


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Photo of BeerLover99
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: golden yellow/mild orange body, 1 finger white head,
solid lacing

S: big Belgian yeast, floral, citrus, malt

T: mild lemon, big yeast/malt middle, mild floral
sour/bitter finish

M: med body, smooth mouth

O: Very nice, great to see an American
made Saison, done well. Would get
again and recommend.


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Photo of silentjay
4.12/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

not overly hazy, but definitely murky golden straw with a huge pure-white head that recedes kinda quickly but leaves chunks of lacing.

lots of herbs and citrus with a definite barnyard essence bringing in hay, a bit of funk and must. lemongrass.

peppercorns make their presence in the flavor with the citrus and funk falling behind, unfortunately. hay and grass still there, with an abundance of hops for the style. definitely an American take on the style. almost reminds me of Flying Dog's Raging Bitch, which is a good thing.

medium bodied with fluffy carbonation and a slight peppery flavor that lingers.

hmmm.. it's definitely tasty. not my favorite Saison, but its a pretty decent hoppy Belgian ale.

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Photo of bigflatsbeerman
4.29/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Apperance: Light color that is not clear, an unfiltered cloudy look which I like. There are mostly tight bubbles with less larger bubbles on a pretty impressive 2 finger head.
Smell: I'm a little stuffed up, but I don't get a real pronounced smell, maybe a little grassy.
Taste: I like saison's and I like this beer. Compared to my benchmark beer (Ommegang Hennepin) it is more restrained, but still a nice taste. Hennepin is bottle conditioned, I don't think IGB is.
Mouthfeel: Nice.
Overall: A solid saison that I enjoy drinking. I can drink this for 3 nights in a row for a little bit more that one night of Hennepin.

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Photo of modernartblues
4.13/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Tulip
Purchased from brewery, 01.16.12

A: Orange-ish body, hazy, 1 and 1/2 inch white head, lots of lacing, pretty good retention

N: floral notes, light fruit, clove, classic belgian yeast makes itself well known

T: follows the nose, perhaps less intense than expected, but the fruit (guava, pineapple) is much appreciated, very pleasant

M: light, good carbonation

O: I like this one. Kind of wish I had went with a sixer rather than just a single. Good spring seasonal.

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Photo of avalon07
3.38/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had an orange color and a cloudy consistency. There was an inch of foamy, long-lasting head. Good lacing.

S: A sweet aroma of citrus, malt, and spices.

T: Tasted of citrus (orange, lemon), malt, and an unwelcome grassy quality in the finish. If not for this last component, the flavor would have fared better.

M: A high amount of carbonation with a crisp, smooth finish. Medium-bodied.

O: This is another wildly uneven beer, one with some good qualities and some that are lagging.

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Photo of Cavery
3.96/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz courtesy of LesleyH (fantastic trader), this bottle was completely off my radar, but I'm more than happy to have it. Cracked and poured into a Lost Abbey Tulip.

A: Pineapple flesh body with light yellows on some white lace foam. Some really nice retention on this beer, the head just simply refuses to go away. A large bubble crater has formed in the middle of my tulip, with sea-foam formations within. Some slight yellow/orange apricot color tints the rim bubbles.

S: Some really nice juicy funk in here. Smells like some orange juice spilled on a barnyard saddle. Really bright spritz of citrus zest with an unusual flavor of tangerine and lemon. Fresh marmalade jam character that I really like. It's hard to express how thick the fruit flavor is in the yeast, it's very pulpy. A very full bread with orange rind slivers candied in small amounts of sugars. A light cinnamon finds its way on the bread.

T: Whoa, surprisingly Hoppy. The fruit really seems emptied of its juices in the taste, and only older rinds are left. The hoppy character fuses really well with latent lemon notes for a nice marinade for the grassy hops. A light salad with some spicy arugula, water chestnuts, pickled cabbage, and a general dark-colored veggie character. Light garden carrots in the middle end that I really like, hops linger on yellow grasses. mildly apparent alcohol in the finish.

M: This is very full for the style, a slight bit of bit of alcohol leaves a wetter mouth. This isn't drying at all, which is actually pretty pleasant. The wetness does not come off alcohol dominated at all, it is instead just a lightly refreshing finish. The hops feel heavy in the mouth, it's not a strong bitterness, but the sensation creates a bed for the rest of the flavors. Strangely thick and filling in the mouth, like a whole wheat saison mouth.

O: This has a pretty distinct flavor character. Lots of lemon, some multi-colored grasses, light sweet breadiness, and a very full mouth. One of the more chewy saisons that I can recall, and unusual in the way that it lacks dryness. The beer is so soft in the mouth with microfiber bubbles that never seem to burst even as you swallow. Silt like sensations in the mouth as you swallow the juice. While this beer does have some tricks up its sleeve, it does get a bit monotonous. The complexity is not mind blowing, it's just sort-of a different saison. By the end of the glass you feel like this thing is a bit of a two-three trick pony. Not bad at all, in fact quite good, but not of that upper tier of saisons. Nonetheless, this is worth throwing at your friend who says he just doesn't like saisons. Hoppy, but still a farmhouse ale.

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Photo of mocktm
4.05/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Brown bottle with best before April etching on the side. Is that so hard, why can't more breweries do that? I'm looking at you FFF and Ballast Point...

Any who, pours a hazy orange with mounds of unrelenting snow white head and intricate lacing to match. Not a whole lot of carbonation, but still very appealing.

Doesn't smell quite as complex or pungent as Belgian Saisons, however that doesn't mean it doesn't posses its own intriguing aspects: candied sugar, grass, slight yeasty mustiness, citrus rind, some nut flavor from the malt and moderate spice. Doesn't have that punch you in the face barnyard funkiness, but sometimes that is a welcomed change.

When I bought this in a six pack, I didn't really know what to expect, as most beers in this style come in bombers or 750's, but this doesn't disappoint. As with the nose, sugar sweetness from start to finish with some fruit tartness, mainly lemon and apple. Mild earthy qualities with some minor funk from the Brett, which also produces some phenolic characteristics and a soothing bitterness.

Drinks rather smooth, providing a medium body and a semi-dry finish. Well balanced and a great summer time beer.

Overall, consider me a fan. While this didn't blow me out of the water like other Saisons have, this is still thoroughly enjoyable, especially at $10 a sixer, which is less than what I pay for one bottle of higher quality Belgian imports. No complaints here, Cheers!

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Photo of angusdegraosta
4.3/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Excellent. This is an enjoyable ale in every aspect. It may not look like an impressive head or a mind-bendingly bright color, but it has all the combination of sweetness, tang, and hops that marks the greatness of Hennepin. This is my first Ithaca beer; I'm looking forward to trying more. With all the spice and fruit essence that comes from the aroma and the tasting of the Ground Break, it is at heart just a really drinkable beer. If you'd like to try a saison, here is a great place to start.

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Photo of jondeelee
4.2/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ground Break, an American-style Saison Ale, begins with a sugary, fruity nose full of pink grapefruit, cherry, orange, banana, and hints of pineapple, spiced up with brown sugar, pepper, and hints of clove. A good layer of toasted grains lies just beneath.

On the tongue, the first flavors are the fruits, with all of the grapefruit, cherry, orange, banana, and pineapple noted in the nose, joined by, yes, pepper and light hints of clove. The spice is quite potent--it has to be, to keep up with the massive fruit flavors--and nips at the tastebuds, joined by touches of hoppy pine. A layer of Grape Nuts cereal-like malts helps smooth out the spicy fruits. The sugars, unlike many beers, don't seem to die off near the end of the mouthful, so the aftertaste has many of the same flavors as the regular mouthful, though perhaps a bit spicier. Mouthfeel is medium-light, and carbonation is medium.

Overall, this is great fare, and would be an excellent ice-cold thirst quencher at the beach, while still being sophisticated enough to pair with fine foods.

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Photo of Arenbeer
3.83/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a tumbler glass

Had this fresh at the brewery and wasn't disappointed so I bought a bottle to review.

A- Pours a hazy neon yellow with a huge fluffy 2 finger head that sticks around. Surprisingly not to much carbonation streaming up, in fact none at all. Leaves some sticky lacing though.

S- Typical saison. Strong fruity notes like banana or bubble gum coming from the yeast on top of clove and spice.

T- Just like the aroma. Tons of clove and banana but the what makes this beer unique is the finish. An almost hop bitterness that's followed by strong citrus fruits.

M- Medium to light body with moderate carbonation and a nice bitter finish.


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Photo of tdm168
3.58/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a golden yellow with one finger of head that fades to thin lace. In the nose I pick up clove but little else. Taste is clove and mild malt. Light bodied and well carbonated.

I like this. I bought a six-pack and have every intention of enjoying them all.

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Photo of beerthulhu
3.55/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: A dense haze of burnt tangerine orange is filled with a light and lazy rise of misty micro-bubbles. The head is flat, fizzy and dirty white in color, failing to hold and lace.

S: Nice touch of subtle yeastiness and wet bread along with citrus first appears. Tangerines, wheat quickly come, but loses it strength in the long run.

T: The flavor delivered a solid twang of sour citrus, fresh grapefruit and some tangerine. Wheat seems to be the base product here or at least comes through as such. It is the high rate of citrusy hops that chime is that makes this drink sparkle a bit, maybe not particular to style, but works in its own way.

M: Nice fullness, some traces of carbonation are evident, but is the twang of grapefruit that lines the tongue on the hold that defines this drink. Sharp lemony citrus tones makes for a strong finish.

O: Overall if I wasn’t aware I would of mistaken this more for a pale wheat rather a saision, which would of worked out better. Country time sour citrus twang is the highlight of the show, as a beer its very good, as a saison it steps outside the box a bit much and loses its identity, not much pungent sour fruitiness nor musky yeast nature. Still worthy of a six pack recommendation for hop heads and for people who just enjoy good beer without being defined.

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Ground Break from Ithaca Beer Company
3.92 out of 5 based on 543 ratings.
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