Great Lakes Oktoberfest | Great Lakes Brewing Co.

very good
622 Reviews
Great Lakes OktoberfestGreat Lakes Oktoberfest

Brewed by:
Great Lakes Brewing Co.
Ohio, United States

Style: Märzen / Oktoberfest

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.50%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by WVbeergeek on 11-04-2003

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Reviews: 622 | Ratings: 2,220
Photo of Sammy
3.75/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From Premiere Gourmet. Pours peachy colour, and the aroma is fruity peachy. Easy drinking, mild bitterness, and the bitterness is more pronounced than the slight sweetness, a tad smoked. Not outstanding beer that I would seek it, very pleasant though. Bang on the style plus.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.55/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to whitenads for sending me this one.

Enjoy by: 10/15/14.

Pours a hazy dark orange with a foamy beige head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Small streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, toast, earth, caramel, and slight nut aromas. Taste is much the same with malt, toast, nut, and earth flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of earth bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer with lots of malt and earth forward characteristics all around.

Serving type: bottle.

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Photo of metter98
3.85/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The beer is clear orange and amber in color. It poured with a thin white head that died down and left a thin ring of bubbles on the surface around the edge of the glass.
S: There are light to moderate aromas of toasted malts and grassy hops in the nose.
T: The overall taste is very similar to the smell and has flavors of toasted malts with hints of caramel. There is a light amount of bitterness.
M: It feels medium-bodied and relatively smooth on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: The beer is very easy to drink and is a good representation of the style.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.18/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Found on-on tap at (of all places) Cheapside's. The bottle proved to be a world-class brew, so I had high hopes for the tap. The golden-copper-orange brew came out with a very froathy, withstanding head retention thats tough to fight through. The aromas are somewhat light, but are very yeasty, bready, malty, with just a touch of refreshing hops. Tastes very malty without the caramel or toffee sweetness. Malts are so rich that the hops, esters, and alcohol take a really far back seat. This is undoubtedly the most malty-textured Oktoberfest that I have had. Very rich textued, creamy, and soft. Finishes malty and firm. Could this beer be too malty?

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Photo of kojevergas
3.48/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

On-draught at Great Lakes' pub at Cleveland airport:

A: spot-on for the style, with an Off-white frothy head of 2 minute retention. Leaves an even ring of lacing as it recedes.

Body is a clear gold of stellar vibrance...has quite a shine to it. Clean, with no sediment or yeast visible.

Ample bubbles indicate high carbonation. Will it come off biting?

Sm: Lovely, and en pointe given the style. Aromatic Munich malts, hints of Graham cracker and lightly toasted golden malts, complementary floral hop character. To style, hop intensity is quite subdued, letting the malts take the spotlight. Yeast attenuation seems perfect; this isn't too sweet by any means.

Aromatic intensity is average. Suggests a balanced traditional Marzen with pleasant nuance. I can't wait to try it.

T & Mf: Though served entirely too cold (airport bar syndrome, but then Great Lakes does run it...), the Munich malts shine, set off by Subtle Graham crackery malts and downplayed floral (and perhaps grassy) hop character.

Texture-wise, it's less impressive. The buying crisp overcarbonation I feared is rampant, severely reducing drinkability - which is a kiss of death in a style of beer intended to be quaffedin bierkrugs by the litre. That said, otherwise it's about right. Smoothness and wetness keep it refreshing. It's got a but too much body for a September sipper, but it's forgivable, and I find it worth it as it supports and emphasizes the flavours.

Getting back to the taste, it's balanced - sure. Not too sweet, not overhopped like so many American stabs at the style. Effective as it is, depth of flavour could be improved.

O: Captures the Munich malt focus of a Marzen quite well, but there's a bit of trouble in the texture. It's not the insanely drinkable festbier many might hope for, but the competency behind this is obvious, and Great Lakes has rightly erred toward tradition. It's not going to edge out offerings from Ayinger et al for a spot on rotation in your fridge, but it's yet another worthwhile lager from one of the great unsung (undersing?) breweries in the states.

High B- (3.48)

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Photo of emerge077
4.03/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

BBD: 10/18/12

Poured into a tulip glass, it has a bright amber copper color with high clarity. Languid sparse trails of rising bubbles from the center of the glass. A sizable head at first pour becomes a frosted thin layer on the surface, with a perfect delicate crown of lace around the edges. Retention is pretty good.

Mellow shortbread aroma, slight toasted grain.

A light bitter bite is noticeable upfront, segueing into some smooth nutty almond from it's grain and malt character. Bitterness grips lightly, but slips into the malt cocoon effortlessly. Light bodied but with enough complexity to keep one well interested.

2013: Sampling this again against a dozen other Oktoberfests, this one came out in my personal top 3. Very fresh and true to style with it's own unique nutty malt character, and lingering flavors. Highly recommended for an American Oktoberfest that upholds tradition.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
4/5  rDev +0.3%

Bottle: Poured a golden color ale with a nice foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of clean cereal notes is exactly what I would expect from the style. Taste is also dominated by cereal notes with light residual sugar with a clean finish. Body is about average for style with good carbonation. Perfect example of the style.

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Photo of zeff80
3.68/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a clear, orange color with ruby highlights. It had a small, foamy, off-white head that left some sticky lace.

S - It smelled of caramel malt and some mild floral notes. It smelled really quite sweet.

T - It tasted of sweet caramel with touches of honey. It doesn't have the maltiness that I expect in a great octoberfest.

M - It was crisp and sharp with a slightly dry finish. A light to medium bodied brew.

D - This is a nice easy drinking octoberfest. It's not my favorite but its still worth a try from a quality brewery.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.11/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a fairly light amber, bordering on copper. Starts with a two-finger head in my pilsner glass, lading into just a rim as the beer goes down. Hints of lacing. Smells slightly sweet with some caramel. Not too much depth. Taste is similar with a faint hoppiness. Light caramel touch. Mouthfeel is nice. Medium body and good carbonation. Slightly creamy. Drinkability is average. Nothing spectacular here. Not quite malty enough to fit into the German-type Oktoberfest, and doesn't have the hop feel of some of the better American Octoberfests.

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Photo of mothman
3.58/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pilsner like glass.

Pours 1/2 finger of beige head. Head fades down to a thin layer. No lace left. Color is a golden bronze.

Aroma: Sweet caramel malts with bready flavors. Has a toasted flavor to it. No hop aroma.

Taste: Very similar to the nose. Some sweetness with some toasted flavors. However, there seems to be some grassy/noble hops showing. Bready and caramel malts.

Mouthfeel: Dry and crisp. Medium bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. End dry with spice notes.

Overall, a fairly average octoberfest beer. Nothing crazy, but it is what it is supposed to be. I do like the hops that shine through in this beer. Fairly drinkable.

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Photo of superspak
4.2/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle into pint glass, best before 10/6/2012. Pours lightly hazy golden orange color with a nice 2 finger fairly dense off white head with great retention; that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Some decent spotty lacing clings to the glass. Aromas of caramel, pear, biscuit, toast, herbal, floral, and light earthy spiciness. Very nice and well balanced aromas with good strength. Taste of biscuit, toast, caramel, pear, herbal, floral, grass, and earthy spiciness. Lingering notes of caramel, biscuit, pear, herbal, and grass on the finish for a bit. Very nice flavor balance and robustness; fairly clean finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a nice creamy and fairly crisp mouthfeel. Alcohol is very well hidden with pretty much zero warming noticed after the finish. Extremely smooth and easy to drink. Overall this is a highly excellent Oktoberfest. Great flavor balance and very smooth to drink. An easy winner.

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Photo of oberon
4.23/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

One of my new favorite Fest style beers,poured a clear bronze with a delicate looking 1/2 finger slight off white head.Grainy aromas a bit toasted with some caramel doughy sweetness a bit of iron is detected as well as well as some leafy hop,truly American in its larger dose of peppery hop but staying true with its lightly sweet doughy maltiness it has something for everyone and purists I really liked this one glad I have alot more.

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Photo of jlindros
3.73/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Got this one from Garbercury.

A: Fluffy head of 2 fingers rises up and slowly fades. It's about as crystal clear as it can get. It has a toasty amber orange color.

N: Lots of nice malts, a little sweetness, some light toasty malts. Also has some crisp lager aromas.

T: Pretty sweet to start, almost syrupy and like table sugar was added. It has a nice malty flavor, some toastiness, and lots more sweet almost creamy malts. A hint of bitter hops. Then light crisp lager flavors.

M: Light, good carbonation.

F: Finishes a little drier, but still slightly sweet, and has a little more bitterness. Actually, the sweetness just sits on the tongue and doesn't want to go, it's a little annoying. A little syrupy as well. A nice beer, decent Oktoberfest, but a little too sweet.

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Photo of Kegatron
3.88/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a Becker pint glass.

Pours beautiful clear orangish amber with a smallish white head that left little lacing and what did remain behind didn't last very long. Aroma is sweet and a little spicey, with some definite fruit notes and a slight floral smell of hops.

Taste is of sweet caramel with some nuttiness. The sweetness lingers into the finish but is offset very nicely by a lingering hop bitterness. Mouthfull is full and crisp and nicely covers the nearly 7% ABV.

Great Lakes a brewed a nice take on the Marzen here that seems to have a little more going on in the taste department than others I've had. Drinkability is very good and is prefectly geared towards Fall imbibing. Enjoy!

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Photo of dbrauneis
3.92/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: Pours a crystal clear medium orangish amber in color with light amounts of gentle visible carbonation near the edges of the glass and some apricot + copper highlights. The beer has a finger tall creamy foamy light beige head that slowly reduces to a thick film evenly covering the entire surface of the beer and a slightly thicker ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate to significant amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate aromas of toasted malts with a light hint of caramel sweetness followed by light to moderate aromas of grassy hops.

T: Upfront there is a moderate flavor of toasted malts with light amounts of caramel sweetness. That is followed by light flavors of grassy and earthy hops which impart a very light amount of bitterness which fades pretty quickly.

M: Medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Smooth.

O: Easy to drink and enjoyable, a nice example of the style.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.26/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Polished pumpkin orange with candy corn colored highlights. The thickly creamy crown is more pale orange than ecru and possesses the usual Great Lakes magic, both immediately after the pour and as it settles. A thick, circumferential sheet of lace is broken only by a few specks of visible glass. Wow, what a start!

The nose is standard for the style and neither disappoints nor impresses. Actually, given the brewery, it is a disappointment. Earthy malt and musky hops lead the way, but don't make me excited to begin drinking.

I'm sorry I doubted. The flavor profile makes up for the aroma's shortcomings, and then some. Oktoberfest's best feature is its balance, both with respect to complementary flavors and to sweetness and bitterness. Toasted barley, baked nuts and steely caramel are beautifully countered by bitter orange peel, dark honey and herbal-earthy hops.

I feel the same way about Oktoberfest that I feel about Edmund Fitzgerald Porter, in the sense that there's something in this flavor profile (that I can't pinpoint or even describe) that makes it better than all of the other versions that I've tried. It's just... so... damn... delicious. How they do it, what secret ingredient they use, I'll never know.

One thing I didn't doubt, not even for a second, was the mouthfeel. These guys do mouthfeels like Monet does landscapes. Strangely enough, their brewpub beer (a different brewer by the way) doesn't hit me the same. This one is medium-full and is incredibly smooth and polished. In other words, it's a treat for the mouth.

I'll admit, Oktoberfest is not my favorite style. In fact, it isn't among my top-20 favorite styles. Leave it to Great Lakes, a world-class brewery, to show me just what a world-class O-fest should taste like. Highly recommended... but only if you're a fan of outstanding craft beer.

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Photo of billab914
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Sam Adams pint glass. it poured a clear copper color with a modest white head barely covering the top of the beer. The head retreated to the edge of the glass after a minute or so and left a little lacing as i drank it.

The aroma has a sweeter, grainy like quality to it with some toasted malts and caramel coming through. Pretty smooth, clean and appealing aroma for the style. I really started to get more of the toasty flavors to it as it warmed.

The taste is clean and crisp with a sweet grainy and malty flavor throughout it. It starts out pretty sweet with more of the grainy sweetness coming through. The caramel and toasty malts seem to come through more towards the finish. It seems to balance out some in the finish too with the sweetness subsiding and more of a crisp, slightly tart flavor coming through.

The mouthfeel is light with carbonation being moderate. Drinkability was good, it was a flavorful but easy drinking beer. It was a good version of the style as well. Pretty solid beer all around.

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Photo of Slatetank
4.02/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I tried this on tap at Hunger N Thirst, served chilled in a willybecker.

The color is dark side of amber with thick white creamy head with good clarity and retention with nice lace. The smell is good with malt dominant aroma and light earthy toasted scent with slight nutty odor and mild yeast fragrance. The fee is creamy yet semi-sweet in the light toast of malt with nutty texture and moderately high carbonation with mineral and dry yeasty finish.

The taste starts with slight dried fruit not quite raisin with a toast flavor in the malted grain and slight sweet element with yeast mid palate showing lager character with a hint of hops in the background and mineral quality is present with gentle caramel element but it finishes mostly dry. Overall this is a very good Oktoberfest, enjoyable and above average for the style may be the 3rd best I have tried this year well done but could use 'something' -more malt or hops but a little too dry...still I am only being critical

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Photo of Jason
4.75/5  rDev +19%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12oz brown bottle.

The lacing makes a spectacle of it's self, copper clarity is stunning. Clean malty nose of toasted bread with some spicy hop too. Smooth and a bit creamy with a delicate medium body. Malt is quite complex with fresh baked bread, dried hay and a hint of caramel. Spicy hop bitterness is there from start to after taste. Dry finish and the flavor lingers slowly away.

Seriously great beer here. One of the top picks for O-fests.

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Photo of womencantsail
4.1/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Dan for tossing this beer in as an extra in a recent trade.

A: The pour is a clear copper color with a finger or so worth of white foam.

S: Initially I get a lot of lager yeast aromas along with some grassy hops. As the beer warms up a little bit, some sweet malt aromas come through. Fairly creamy with some caramel and toffee notes, and a mild spiced quality.

T: Fairly malt forward with notes of grassy and spicy hops. The malt character is bready with some sweet caramel flavors. A slightly earthy bitterness to this beer as well.

M: The body is medium with a smooth carbonation that is lively and moderately creamy.

D: A solid Oktoberfest from a solid brewery. I really enjoyed this lager.

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Photo of mdfb79
3.78/5  rDev -5.3%

From 08/29/14 notes. Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a somewhat clear bright orange-amber color with one inch of off white head and low carbonation evident. A lot of bready malts, grains, dough, toasted malts, burnt malts, caramel malts, some brown sugar. Some light fruity malts in the taste. Medium body and low to moderate carbonation.

Overall a decently good marzen. Not a ton going on bit easy to drink. Not my favorite but would try it again.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.6/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in a pokal at ChurchKey.

I missed the Nosferatu, but at least I got to try this one. It pours a clear amber copper topped by a veruy short, ecru, bubbly head. The smell is sweeter than expected, comprising brown sugar, maple syrup, caramel, and a semi-tropical fruitness that's hard to pin down (my best guess is pineapple). The maple comes through in the taste, along with toffee, walnut, green apple, and a sort of woody bitterness. Not what I've come to expect from an Oktoberfest necessarily, but not all that bad either. The body is a light medium, with a smoothness that improves over time and a carbonation that's small and short, but pretty active while there.

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Photo of woodychandler
3.61/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A group of local imbibers held the #PumpkinChallenge2016 recently, wrapping up on M, 03 Oktober 2016. I then proposed the #OktoberfestChallenge2016 & while I do not know how many participants there are, I am hitting it full bore. Today will be my New OktoBierFest Sunday (Week TBD) with an opportunity to do a horizontal tasting.

From the bottle: "Prosit! Our take on this classic German style is a celebration of maltiness - packed with rustic, autumnal flavors to put a little more oomph into your oom-pah-pah."

I will be the first to say that as a lifelong (dating from 9 y/o) Pixburgh sports fan with a healthy hatred of all things Klevelend, but between a great visit in late-Summer 2007 and the passing of Great-Aunt Rita & Great-Uncle Max Vozar, I have a small soft spot for the place. I last saw Uncle Max in the Summer of 1989 when I came east on leave from the west coast with the sole purpose of going to baseball games. I asked Max if he wanted to come along to any of the three games against the KC Royals at Municipal Stadium, but he begged off, explaining, "Here, I got my Barcolounger, my cigars & cigarettes, cold beer in the fridge, sammiches at the ready, a 'Mute' button and if it gets outta hand, the 'Off' button. Dahn air, I'm stuck! Nah, you have a good time & tell 'em I'm rooting for 'em, but I'll do it from right here in Parma!" Ha! I am rooting for Th' Inn-dinnz as a result.

I am also rooting for another good Oktoberfest bier, being on a bit of a roll, all of a sudden. As usual, it begins with the Pop! of the cap, followed by a decent pour. Mine produced three-plus fingers of dense, foamy, rocky, tawny head with great (Lakes) retention. Color was Coppery-Brown (SRM = > 17, < 22) with NE-quality clarity. I would really put it closer to 17, though, not to oversell it. I will grant them truth in advertising in that the nose was quite malty, very sweet with caramel and maple syrup notes. Mouthfeel was medium. The taste was much too sweet for my taste, especially following those previous two. This was very much of maple syrup, although not as viscous. I was not getting anything in terms of hops, just a sugary malt bomb that had me concerned about diabetes to go along with my weight and asthma. Woof! No kidding, I had to take a short break as it got my heart racing. That would be about as much sugar as I need in one sitting. Finish was sweet. Unrelentingly sweet. I know that there are those people who really dig this sort of thing, but I am not one of them. This represented at least a headache and possibly a hangover for me. Hey, if this is your bag, then have at it, but I gotta ramp back.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
3.53/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer is orange with a small white head. The aroma offers sweet malts, lager scents - smells appropriate for the style, albeit a bit sweet. The flavor is ok. A bit grainy and sweet, but also flavorful and enjoyable. Notes of gourds, squash. A tad syrupy on the palate with moderately low carbonation. Overall, a pretty good example of the style, although one was plenty.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.51/5  rDev +13%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Served up at Med Mex the Robinson location:

Appearance: Perfect, caramel orange tint nice foamy cream hued head, with rings evenly spread for the lace. Aroma: Rich toasted malts with a sryupy malt backbone bringing out the sweetness with the hops tip toeing onto the scene. Taste: Full malty and hoppier than most awesome Ofest the best spicy finish I have yet to taste from any of the Oktoberfests I've sampled, mildly hopped at 35 IBUs. Mouthfeel: Medium body slightly sticky in texture with smooth carbonation. Drinkabiltiy: All I can say is by the liter.

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Great Lakes Oktoberfest from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
3.99 out of 5 based on 2,220 ratings.
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