Old Man Winter Warmer | Lake Superior Brewing Company

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Old Man Winter WarmerOld Man Winter Warmer

Brewed by:
Lake Superior Brewing Company
Minnesota, United States

Style: English Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.30%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
"Brewed in late spring and aged in our refrigerator until mid Fall, this barley wine style ale brings a whopping 10.3% ABV to the task. Deep brown and sweet with spices, Old Man Winter Warmer does what its name promises for your nose and your belly. O.G. 1.101."

Added by Gusler on 12-12-2001

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Reviews: 72 | Ratings: 110
Photo of corby112
2.43/5  rDev -37.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours a very dark chestnut brown color with amber edges when held to a light source and a very thin off-white head that immediately disappears, leaving not trace of lacing.

Earthy leathery malt aroma with hints of chocolate, dirt(earth), alcohol and dark fruits, namely prune and raisin.

Slightly watered down with some earthy malt flavor, subtle alcohol and earthy hops. Similar to an English style barleywine, but not a good one. Leathery malts, dark fruits, again mostly prune and raisin. Sweet alcohol with some soft carbonation up front making it pretty drinkable for the ABV. Dry finish with bitter hop notes. I wasn't a fan of this one at all.

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Photo of ntillemans
2.65/5  rDev -32.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

A - This one is a dark, clear red with a little head.

S - A nice caramel smell

T - There's a strong hop flavor here. Otherwise, it's missing a lot of the complexity I was hoping for. It's an over-hopped American beer with a high ABV.

M - There's some bitterness but mostly an alcohol burn.

D - I couldn't drink much of this because of the high ABV and bitterness.

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Photo of mikesgroove
2.73/5  rDev -30.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Another extra  I had received recently. I had never actually heard to his one before, so I really was flying blind into it. Served at cellar temp and poured into a snifter, this one was consumed on 05/19/2009.
The pour was decent, nothing earth shattering here, with a ruddy copper color, light reddish tint to it, but again nothing really standing out much for me. Light crown of white was on top initially but that also faded quite quickly leaving the top essentially bare. Aroma was a bit hot, lots of caramel and bready malts, hints of what may have at one time been a piney hop bite had faded into a mellow, and messy malt monster. Again the flavor misses the mark for me, too hot and not enough balance for me to be honest. Almost a medicinal quality to the taste as it warms, light candied sugar tries to save it but really does not come across well. Light carbonation, almost old ale like, but again, not very interesting.
Overall not bad per se, but nothing to write home about either. I just think it tried to be too strong and that really drown out any hope it had for a mellow and balance feel. A bit of a mess.

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Photo of kojevergas
2.8/5  rDev -28.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

12 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into a shitty highball glass in a hotel room in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Reviewed live. Expectations are above average merely from the style. Acquired as part of a mixed sixer at the Four Firkins.

Served straight from the refrigerator. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: Pours a half finger beige-khaki colour head. Nice cream and thickness. Underwhelming retention, but excusable given the ABV. Colour is a very dark dull nontransparent brown. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show.

Sm: Toffee, amber malts, heavy biscuit malt, old ale-esque notes, dark fruit (plum), and raisin. Toffee and plum are dominant. A pleasant aroma of moderate strength. No alcohol is detectable.

T: Sticky plum and toffee, with sugary sweet biscuit malts throughout. Not as hoppy as I'd expect from an English barleywine; any hopping is minimal at best and blandly floral. Raisiney. Dark fruits. The stickiness is a bit of a turn-off. Sort of messy, but not as boozy as you might expect. Not real balanced or complex. I'm not particularly impressed. No yeast or alcohol comes through - quite an achievement at this high an ABV. Overly sweet.

Mf: Smooth, wet, and above all sticky. Not at all creamy. Good thickness, but too heavy on the palate for the lack of diverse flavour. Certainly full bodied. Carbonation is off; I can't tell in which direction. Somewhat chewy. Too sugary.

Dr: Drinkable for the high ABV. I wouldn't have it again, but it's not bad. Well priced. A decent barleywine, but not one worth seeking out.


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Photo of DrJay
3.08/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Received from JeffKrenner as part of my BC2 package. Thanks!
There was a loud hiss when I popped the cap. It poured with a gigantic dark beige head, some chunky lacing, good retention. The beer was dark brown, nearly opaque, a little hazy around the edges. Warm malt aroma with herbal hop notes, some caramel. Bitterness was solid, but not overly strong. Hefty malt backbone that didn't have cloying sweetness. Herbal hops throughout with a bit of peppery spice in the finish (plus a little warmth). Hints of chocolate were present once it warmed. The carbonation was way too high and very distracting - to the point that it was difficult to tell what flavours were present. It seemed like a decent beer, but the carbonation level was a serious problem. I really don't expect this type of texture from a "barley wine style ale".

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Photo of joedon
3.35/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pretty dark brown-garnet color with a big tan head.

Aroma of bread, fruit, toffee; not much hop smell.

Flavor has an almost scorched sugar taste. Very strong caramel, malt, fruity tastes of blackberry. Also a bit of licorice. Hop bitterness adds a decent balance.

A lot of the dark malt, scorched nature in the aftertaste. The dark malts seem to dominate so much that this should be categorized more like an imperial porter than a barley wine.

Not that drinkable; a little too harsh for me.

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Photo of Viggo
3.38/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle, thanks to grub for sharing.

Pours a nicely clear dark red, some light brown and orange hues, thin off white head forms, forms a thin ring around the glass, some lace spots stick around, looks nice. Smell is strong, lots of alcohol jumps out, brown sugar, raisin, lots of fruit, strawberries, cherries, fusels, very sweet, sherry, pretty interesting. Taste is similar, very sweet and fruity, shery, caramel, raisins, brown sugar, alcohol, nutty, watery and slightly bland, a bit of a bitter and spicy astringency in the finish. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with low to medium carbonation, goes down easy but is a little weird and not very exciting. Thanks Russ!

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Photo of jeffboo
3.48/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This beer pours dark ruby in color with a slight tan head. Aromas of brown sugar and maybe a little earthy hop note. This beer has a nice full texture but the flavor is pretty much one dimensional. Concentrated sweet malt flavor dominates with not much hop bitterness to balance for my taste. It does have a nice toasted malt finish but I'd like to see a bit of bitterness in there somewhere. If you like 'em sweeter this might be for you - its not really cloying but
doesn't have much complexity.

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Photo of ClockworkOrange
3.52/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A 12 ounce bottle poured into my nonic Imperial pint glass. Appears a clear chestnut / crimson color with about two fingers of quickly fading light ecru foam. Nose and flavor are of brown sugar, raisins, cherries, plums, a touch of cocoa and rich roasted grains. About medium bodied with adequate carbonation. Glad I was able to try something from this brewery, a first for me.

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Photo of shadow1961
3.53/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Lake Superior Old Man Winter Warmer is a beer I've been hearing about for years so I was eager to finally get a sample of it. A hard pour get a finger of creamy foam which collapses pretty quickly. Carbonation doesn't seem to really be part of the equation, though it would be hard to gauge anyway due to the deeply opaque black brew. Nose is bitter chocolate and notes of butterscotch, molasses, and alcohol. The flavor is smokey dark malt, baker's chocolate, molasses, and some sharp grassy/herbal hops off the back. Mouthfeel is smooth and semidry, but there's a bit of alcohol bite which actually accentuates as the brew warms. Very likely the biggest bottled beer made in Minnesota, approach this one with caution- ABV is not listed on the label, but it's probably high-ish. But do give 'er a try...

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Photo of maximum12
3.54/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

10.3%. Good warm up for the main event tonight.

We used to drink a fair amount of Lake Superior, years ago when it was one of the few "micros" at the bottle shop just down the street from our old house; Kayak Kolsch was once one of the wife's favorite brews. This is one I haven't seen before this winter.

Smell is downright excellent, lots of dark sweet fruit flowing out of the pint glass. Taste doesn't quite follow suit. Both the sweetness & the fruits are present, but muted, with the alcohol rushing in a bit unpleasantly to disrupt their little tango. It's distracting. I couldn't drink more than one of these.

Interesting to see what a year or two would do to this beer. Right now it's got a fine nose on it, & I suspect if the booze were toned down a bit, this would be a winner. As is, it's pretty good, but not as good as the smell advertises.

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Photo of jpalarchio
3.55/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Twist off cap, kind of odd. Bottle says barley wine, BA says winter warmer. Confusing start here...

Pours a deep, really deep, reddish-brown color (nearly black) with a decent head. Smell is very malty, with nearly a bit of bourbon like hint. Taste is a bit harsh and the alcohol is very evident. As it warms, the taste seems to mellow or perhaps it's just the alcohol kicking in.

One bottle in a sitting on this one, can't see putting down too many more than that.

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Photo of jera1350
3.55/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours into a snifter a ruby hued brown color. The head is thin and tan in color. Reduces to a ring around the glass. A little lacing.

Not a real strong nose, but does present notes of apple, brown sugar and hops.

Quite metallic up front, dark fruit juice, solid earthy and spicy hop presence, malty and boozy on the back end. Seems like a little age would help this one open up and meld a bit. Definitely gets better as it warms up to room temp.

Feels a little thin, especially at this abv. Soft carbonation with a dry finish.

Not sure why it's listed as a winter warmer when it says on the bottle it is a barleywine. However, this drinks pretty well despite the high abv. It seems to need some age to really be a good beer. Worth a try, but probably better to cellar at this point.

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Photo of zeledonia
3.56/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

Tasted 6 February 2013, reviewed from notes.

Pours deep and clear, an enigmatic color - an interesting blend of dark amber, brown, and red. Intriguing. Thin layer of yellowish head, gone quickly, leaving only a little lacing. Nice color, not much foaminess.

Smell is woody and loaded with dark fruit. Plums, brown sugar, a touch of smoke. Nice.

Taste is similar to the smell, but it drifts off into a messy realm where an odd bitterness (alcohol?) dominates, leaving those pleasant fruity and smoked wood flavors in the dust. Not bad, not great. I want more sweetness, more depth, more oomph.

Feel is fine. Medium-heavy body, slightly sticky, with a lasting finish. Carbonation is right on the low edge of what I'd consider acceptable.

Every piece of this beer is fine or better, but as whole, it's meh. Overly bitter in the flavor, and given the ABV, I want a lot more flavor and complexity than I'm getting. Woody, smoky, and the smell's promise of fruit wasn't backed up by the taste.

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Photo of MinnesotaRIS
3.58/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Purchased just outside of Duluth; bottle serving in a glass. Pour with a heavy body, foamy head that dissipates to a layer of creamy foam. Very dark amber, coffe-ish, purple edges and clear.

Malt is profound. Faintly of alcohol. Coffee, toffee, dark caramel malts. Winter spices are evident.

Tastes boozy; caramel and bitter is not balancing very well. Could have been hopped a bit more with nobles. Some grassy in there.

Mouthfeel is actually pleasant; cleans up well and leaves an aftertaste that is not overwhelming at all. This is definitely a winter warmer. I could not drink a bunch of it in one sitting; probably two at the most. It is a rich beer that is a good craft warmer.

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Photo of ppoitras
3.62/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12ozer bottle from Garymuchow as part of BIF10. Thanks for the opportunity.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1/8" light tan head above the reddish mahogany brew, which is filled with suspended particles, even after a careful pour. What head there was recedes to a layer of small bubbles covering the surface, and lacing is okay, both somewhat as expected for the style. Dark fruits, sweet malts, and alcohol combine to form the aroma. Certainly smells warming. Taste is dominated by the sweetness of malts, which gives way to the dark fruits, and finally the alcohol. warming all that it touches, as promised. Could be balanced a bit more. Mouthfeel and drinkability are okay, but even for the style the assertiveness of the sweet character nears cloying, and that kind of limits the enjoyment for me. If sweet barleywines are your thing, this is one for you.

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Photo of Chaz
3.7/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a brilliantly-clear deep brown/amber in color, topped with a frothy khaki/light tan head. Plenty of lace is left on the sides of the glass as the head slowly recedes, and a good amount of froth is left on top.

The nose is softer than I recall, with dark fruit and no hop presence or trace of bitterness. Plums, prunes and raisins, a hint of phenolic character, but otherwise fairly subdued. The alcohol character is also notably missing*.

Sweet and earthy** on the first sip, with lighter notes of black pepper and pear in the aromatic aspect of the drink. The dark fruits from the nose are all over the place, here, and you'll either appreciate this or you won't. It's not that it's a one-dimensional beer at all, but with all of the other hopped-up American barleywines out there this one would likely seem to fall flat in the eyes (and palate) of some. Some excellent blackberry and cherry notes are left on the back of the palate after the first couple of sips, and there's a touch of lingering bitterness to offset the big up front juiciness and mouthfeel. For some reason this has always reminded me a bit of the dreaded Samuel Adams Triple Bock -- is there maple syrup or sugar in here? Cane or turbinado sugar? It's not a bad thing in my mind, in fact it complements the beer rather well.

Very drinkable for such a big beer, and with nowhere near the heat that I recall it as having back in the hoary old Early Naughts : ) I'm a little surprised that I haven't reviewed this one yet, but on the other hand eight years ago was a blur, and I wasn't "officially" reviewing at the time, and since then Lake Superior has been a little bit difficult to find in the Twin Cities market. Still, this is an old favorite and I'm very glad to revisit it -- worth picking up a couple of sixers at least, as I know for a fact that it ages well!

Served at room temperature, in a tulip.

* I haven't enjoyed OMWW since spring of 2003, but I went through several cases of '02 that year (oh my head . . . : )

** Back when I worked retail, a couple of younger guys returned a sixer of 'Mesabi Red', claiming that it "tasted like dirt". Well, truth be told there -is- an earthy character to Lake Superior's brews (a house ale yeast character, perhaps?) and I liken it to the aromatic aspect of fresh, black dirt. It doesn't bother me in the least, but it's not for everyone.

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Photo of jjanega08
3.73/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Vintage 2008

A= Pours a dark brown burnt caramel color. The head rises to a small skin on top of the glass that falls to a ring and leaves a little lacing but not too much. A pretty basic barleywine color. The head is a bit surprising due to the age on it. Three years old and it still holds some carbonation with a screw cap.

S= The smell still contains a bit of alcohol right up front. First thing other than alcohol I noticed is a sort of toffee sugary aroma. Toasted malt and a touch of dark fruit. Mostly a sticky sweet toffee aroma however.

T= The taste is much smoother than the aroma leads it to be. The alcohol is well hidden and the malt comes off a little less sweet and a little more roasted. The flavors are a bit mild however for such a large beer. Leaves me wanting a little more.

M= Still holding a bit of carbonation which is nice and the mouth isn't super sticky.

O= A quality beverage for sure. The flavors are melding nicely but the flavor isn't as powerful as I expected it to be. Light on flavor. I'll have to buy some fresh to see if the flavor diminished with time or if this is just how it is.

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Photo of ADR
3.77/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep translucent cherry/amber color, latte-like head of 1/8 of an inch. Sweet aroma, some smells of blueberries. heavy body, tamed carbonation, and a strong sense of plums spiced by cloves. A very abrupt bitter finish, partly suggestive of alcohol, but also of a good effort at hopping to achieve balance. Could have been a better transition there. Actually, I liked this beer and think its one of Lake Superior's better ones.

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Photo of ckeegan04
3.8/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Dark mahogany with bright, deep ruby highlights when held up to light. Thin, foamy light brown head quickly fades to a thin cap on top of the beer. Spotty lacing left behind.

S - Rather boozy nose with a strong dark malt sweetness as well. Hints of dark sugar and just a bit of toffee.

T - Sweet and malty up front with a bit of nuttiness and some dark brown sugar. Sweetness lingers throughout and the alcohol is well masked in the taste. There is a pleasant warming.

M/D - Medium to bull bodied and silky smooth. Just enough carbonation to move the flavors through.

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Photo of pentathlete
3.82/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Cloudy cola, translucent edges, and no head with a minimal ring. Alcohol-drenched cherry bon bon dominates the nose. Taste starts with a spicy alcohol hit, black pepper and malts. A slightly thin mouthfeel undermines the dark fruit flavors. The bitterness is drenched in a root beer rock candy flavor. The drinkability is good, but suffers from the high alcohol content and the lack of a smoother blend of flavors.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.84/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep amber color that is quite clear but quite dark, almost approaching a deep night color. The head is creamy and a light brown color. The aroma is quite strong, with notes of alcohol, sherry, and a thick chewy maltiness. The taste is lightly sweet, and oh-so-smooth up front. It quickly moves to notes of sherry that is typical of an aged beer. This beer is pretty tasty, though there is a bit of harshness in the finish that seems to be contributed from some higher alcohols.

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Photo of CharlesDarwin
3.88/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Originally reviewed on November 20, 2005. 12 Oz Bottle. This beer pours a wonderful opalescent ruddy brown, with orange and irovy fringes. Almost no head. From a distance, I’m getting strong wafts of banana. Closer up, the aroma morphs into a raisin and brandy concoction, with sherry, strong vinous notes, and more banana. Unfortunately, the aroma is a little reserved. Flavor is a strong cream, cherries and brandy, with an almost pithy dry fruit soapy bitterness, that lingers from the hops which almost come out of nowhere at the backend of the profile. Mostly a profusion of fruit, that is sustained, balanced by dry and grassy hop notes in the background. The malt character and profile seems to seep into the shadows. An interesting panacea of ills, with a strong fruit presence, that remains somewhat muddled. The palate is smooth, creamy and yet bright; the hop dryness not making an appearance until the smack and finish. I do appreciate the way that hops play a role in this beer. Alcohol doesn’t hurt nor help this beer. Missing a little depth and complexity.

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Photo of grub
3.88/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

WankerWeasel hooked me up with this as a bonus in a recent trade. thanks ben!

12oz bottle. sampled feb 7/09.

pours deep red-brown, crystal clear and showing lovely garnet hues when held to the light. a thin wisp of light tan head appears and disappears almost instantly, leaving only a few spots of lace to mark its passage.

aroma is nice. alcohol. caramel and toffee. bit of butterscotch. multi-grain bread and biscuit. has a bit of a doppelbock feel to it. bit of dark fruit. slightly earthy.

taste is good. dark fruit - raisin, date, fig. caramel, toffee, and butterscotch. lightly toasted whole wheat bread. cracker. earthy. medium-low bitterness level.

mouthfeel is good. just over medium body. medium carbonation level.

drinkability is pretty good. there's definitely a nice warming alcohol, but this is a winter warmer after all. there's a solid malty base and a little bitterness to keep things somewhat in check. i liked this one.

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Photo of Mdog
3.9/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Dark ruby-brown, densely packed but small head.

Smell: Very sweet smelling, sugary, a little grassy note.

Taste: Brown sugar, caramel, molasses combine for a sweet beer that isn't overpowering or too rich, but just right. I didn't get any alcohol notes though it is a strong beer.

Mouthfeel: Very syrupy but good.

Drinkability: Hidden alcohol but tasty can be a dangerous combination.

Saw this at a trip to Blue Max and decided to give it a shot. I was pleasantly surprised. A barleywine on the sweet side but still very tasty. Recommended!

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Old Man Winter Warmer from Lake Superior Brewing Company
3.91 out of 5 based on 110 ratings.
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