Old Man Winter Warmer | Lake Superior Brewing Company

very good
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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 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 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 gford217
4.17/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle courtesy of Buebie poured into a snifter.

Pours a dark, dark copper with a small creamy off-white head that recedes fairly quickly to a ring and a swirl of bubbles in the middle. There was spotty lacing.

The aroma had lots of caramel malt sweetness with lots of dark fruits as well - figs, plums, raisins. There was also a noticeable citrus hop kick with oranges and grapefruit mainly.

The taste was similar to the aroma with the abundant caramel malts and dark fruits. The citrus is present up front but not as prevalent as the aroma. The finish had some alcohol burn that lasted quite a while.

The mouthfeel is slightly slick but definitely not as sugary sweet as a barleywine. Good carbonation with a slight bitterness from the hops.

This a very good winter warmer that borders on a barleywine but doesn't quite get there. Either way, a complex beer that might actually taste better in a few months.

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Photo of Buebie
4.35/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz brown bottle with no freshness date. New lable design, so I knoe its fresh.

Dark, almost black in color, with a ruby red glow when held to light.
2 finger tan fluffy head. Receeding to a thin cap of retention and thin spotty lace.

Aroma of red grapes, dark fruit, alcahol fumieness, plums and spices with wisps of grassy hops. Some doughy bready aroma, sweet burnt caramel, and some chocolate grain aroma.

Taste up front is mildly sweet and soo soo smooth, very little carbonation. Not at all flat, just enough carbonation, with an inky creamieness to the mouthfeel.
More dark fruits, fermented grapes, cherries, chocolate malts and hints of coffee, burnt caramel, cinnemon?
Cloves, just flat out a malt bomb, god this is good. No alcahol warming on the pallet. Finish is with grassy hops and hints of pine in a dry type of mellow flavor.

This is one modest WW, borderline barleywine! I highly recommend giving this a whirl if you have any chance to do so. Its well balanced and flat out delicious.

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Photo of optiontwo
3.9/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

12 oz. Poured into generic pint glass

Appearance: Very dark reddish brown with minimal tan/white head.

Smell: Roasted malts, lots of dark chocolate notes with a subtle coffee smell in the background. Hints of vanilla and bourbon in there too, smells delicious.

Taste: Mmmmm, for perfect a cold night. The roasted malt smell present in the aroma comes through in the forefront of the flavor which is really quite interesting. I'm used to barley wines being sweet right away but this has a nice bitter roasted coffee type flavor to it. After that the chocolate, vanilla, and bourbon come through and compliment everything very nicely. Since my bitter detecting taste buds are satisfied by the initial flavor the hops definitely play background characters but are still there.

Mouthfeel: On the lighter side for a barley wine. This beer is almost like if you mixed a porter and a barley wine together. It's dark in color like a porter, light(er) in body, and has coffee and chocolate notes but at the same time has the sweetness and bitter after taste that most of the barley wines I've tried offer. Anyway, the carbonation feels right and the mouthfeel isn't too thick.

Drinkability: High ABV takes away from the drinkability but this is definitely way more drinkable than other barley wines that weigh in at the same ABV, like Old Ruffian or Hog Heaven for example (both of which I love).

Overall: I suppose most of this should be taken with a grain of salt seeing as BA says this is a winter warmer but I reviewed it as a barley wine, but that's because it clearly states that's what it is on the bottle. In all I really enjoyed it and I'm glad I have five more in the fridge especially since Thanksgiving is in just a few days. This is a great holiday brew that I will pick up again if I'm lucky enough.

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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 JoeyBeerBelly
4.03/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I got this brew in a trade with josephhaugen, Thanks Joe!

12oz bottle served in a tulip glass.

L - dark brown color with a small tan head that fell to a ring, carbonation bubbles rose continuosly.

S - sweet date/fig and a touch of alcohol in the aroma.

T - sweet date taste upfront with a slight bitterness and alcohol warming on the finish.

F - medium bodied with mild carbonation.

D - a nice sipper or nightcap on a cold day/night.

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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 Maerzen
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A very good beer. For 10% abv the alcohol has taken a back seat which was a nice surprise. Very nice dark brown with good foam throughout. The aroma was bursting with fruit. So much so that it was difficult for me to pick out individual fruit. All this mixed with plenty of malts and molasses. Perfect for what its name implies - a "winter warmer." Makes me wish for the cold weather to stay.

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Photo of MMAJYK
4.12/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Deep, dark brown; almost black in color with ruby hues when held to the light. The head is one finger of tan head after a semi conservative pour. You cannot see through it because it is so dark.

S- Darkness. Over ripe fruits, such as plums, raisins, and grapes. There are some citrusy notes and florals there too. The malts are very sweet and burnt-like caramel. The alcohol burns the nose a little on the end of the whiff. VERY complex smell.

T- Served just under room temperature, the fruits are BUSTING out at the seams. Where do I begin....Dark red cherries, raisins, dark fruits, plums, same as smells. The malts are super sweet and syrupy with some caramel and chocolate like tastes. There is a lemon like zing there too. The alcohol taste is hidden pretty well, but it warms the chest like crazy on the way down. I honestly had to take my shirt off while I write this. WOW! This is a very complex beer.

M- Carbonation is about mid-way up the scale. Mouthfeel is thick to medium and leaves a sticky lacing or film on the tongue and hangs around there for a long time, even without taking another drink.

D- Style in mind here, it is very drinkable. Hmm...let's just say it is very sippable, that would be more accurate. It would be perfect for sitting by the fire on a cold night.

Overall- Unreal. No joke, I was NOT expecting all of these complexities from the nose, to the tongue, to the feel, to the aftertaste/burn. Absoultely amazing for what it is. It warmed me right up and was totally enjoyable. I loved it. GREAT JOB to the guys who made this.

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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 morimech
3.92/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brown with some red highlights. A small head forms but quickly departs to leave a ring. Leaves some nice lacing as the glass is drained.

I get sweet malt, dark fruit, and alcohol in the aroma. A bit of hay is also detected. A very inviting smell for winter consumption.

This is definately a beer that needs to be sampled at a higher temp. Maybe just cooler than room temp. or else you get a big blast of alcohol and all the flavors are lost. Once it warms the dark fruit and sweet malt comes through. The alcohol is still there for a hearty warming affect. Feels full-bodied and lively as it is consumed. I am not into big alcohol beers so it will limit my drinking of this beer except maybe once every couple of weeks. This barleywine is very good and unexpected. Now it just needs to be moved to its proper location on BA.

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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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Photo of umustdrink
4.25/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Deep brownish black color, a bright red dot visible when held up close to light. Light brown head is fluffy and pillowy, fades to an eighth inch. Lots of lacing right around the head, little dots further up.

S - Strong smell of sweet dark fruits, alcohol, roasty grainy cereal malt, faint chocolate and coffee.

T - Taste starts out with a bittery, oily and sweet fruity flavor, then some bready toasted malts with a cinnamony spice. Rich bitter coffee and toasty chocolate malts give a long lasting finishing flavor. Alcohol doesn't really hide but it's not bad.

M - Thick and chewy with light carbonation.

D - I always look forward to this stuff coming out each year. A great sipping beer, this will be putting me to bed tonight!

After having a few, I've found that it's definitely best served just under room temp.

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Photo of objectivemonkey
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Into a pint glass, pours a dark brown to black, some faint ruby hues around the edges, hardly any head, or lacing for that matter. The aroma is warm and inviting, fruits and yeasty a bit, sweet, deep, pretty darn good. Its much the same in taste, lots of yummy malts, tons of different fruits, warming alcohol (is this really 10 ABV?), a smooth, delicious brew.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.27/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from one of only two kegs in the Twin Cities this year, and this is the first year I've even heard of it being available here...I may be wrong, though, ...

Utterly opaque chestnut brown, a toasty warm hue, with a slim cap of foam holding tight on top.

Aroma hits all the notes I dig in a barleywine (which this is. Despite the punning name, it's not a "winter warmer"...even says "barleywine" on the label.) Burnished cherry, cognac, leather, deep plums and ripe raisins. Sweet to be sure, but complex, even cavernous.

Taste: a gritty, grippy malty affair, lots of play on the tongue, lots of treats for the palate to toss about. Here comes the fruit, some cherry, berry, grape, and then the dark side trickles over, it gets wicked and more deeply delicious. Very wine-like in parts, somewhat close to a port, and then like a beefy burgundy.

Full-bodied, with a long, sweet, rich fruity finish. Alcohol isn't as huge as you'd think, but it creeps in and does the trick. This is an excellent "winter warming" barleywine...I can certainly appreciate it in the depth of winter, and welcome the comfort it brings.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Old Man Winter Warmer. 2006. Black, green, gold and blue pressure sensitive label with white and gold lettering.

The Old Man pours a clear, deep-mahogany body with ruby, crimson, and deep orange highlights. The frothy tan head steadily drops to just a thin, big bubbled surface covering. An initial ring of thin, wide lace is left behind, but only a few spots and splashes beyond that.

Piney hops and yeasty fruitiness float atop a deeply caramelized maltiness in the nose. It's not bold, but clearly present; and welcoming.

The flavor delivers what the nose suggests, but with more maltiness at first drop. The hops appear almost immediately though, jumping in right up front. They're gently spruce-like, and well-infused within the rich malt base, appearing from start to finish. Along the way the malt delivers notes of deeply caramelized, almost scorched sugar that suggests roastiness, There are some softer notes of brown sugar, toffee, and nuts as well; and the soft yeasty fruitiness lends notes of apples, berries, and dark-skinned fruits. The fruitiness rounds the whole thing out and combines with the underlying alcohol to give it a subtle vinous character similar to rich, fortified wine. It's supported by a rock-solid bitterness, and piney hops return in the finish, bringing it, without question, back into the realm of beer!

Served at cellar temperature, this interesting and enjoyable strong ale really opens up it's malty, pine-strewn blanket of flavor. Well-balanced and delicately complex. Quite enjoyable!

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Photo of sponberg
4.22/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle of the 05/06 vintage (I presume). Pours cloudy and turbid, not much of a head at all - more of a faint lace. Aroma of a dark fruity malt (figs? prunes?) along with some coffee and cocoa, faint rumminess.

Somewhere between a barleywine and an old ale - dark fruits again, with some serious depth of malt - almost EKU-28 like in its syrupy maltiness. Faint distant citrusy hops, but they're an echo in the valley. A port like quality is in here - toffee, raisiny - before finishing with a smooth cocoa-and-raisin slide down. Big n' chewy - great beer for a cold evening. Could have two, then fall down and go boom.

Thanks to BA JeffKrenner for the bottle!

This pint hoisted in memory of David C. T. Shang, who passed on December 15th.

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Photo of bucko
4.42/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2-3 year old sample from a private collection. The beer pours a dark ruby brown color with a thick, creamy head. Nice lacing. Aroma is complex... sweet malt, dark fruit (raisin, plum), perhaps some brown sugar and a mellow hop presence. The taste is heavy and malty, balanced with hops, more dark fruit, slight roastiness, fruit... oh, so good. Lots of good stuff in this package. Definitely complex and very enjoyable. Despite the alcohol content, this beer is extremely smooth and far too drinkable. I suspect that I could get into a lot of trouble with this one. A definite gem! I may just have to purchase a six-pack and cellar it for a few years.

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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 Westsidethreat
4.27/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a cola looking concoction, yet much murkier. Head is very minimal, even at the initial contact with the glass. A small ring and light wisps of oatmeal colored head waver across the top of the brew.

S: Quite a bit of dried cocoa, cafe au lait, marshmallow cream, raisin and a touch of banana.

T: Begins with vinous prunes, vanilla and butterscotch. This beer probably had some pronounced bitterness at one point, but now it faintly chirps in the background. Brandy highs blend nicely with creamy milk chocolate and roasted toffee. Finishes with lingering chalky chocolate and dry barley.

M: Full bodied and fairly creamy

D: I liked this beer quite a bit. I think some age did this beer some good, as it's atleast a year old.

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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 KarlHungus
4.67/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This brew pours an opaque dark brown color with dark red hues around the edges. There is no head, and very sparce lacing. The aroma is huge. It screams of a barley wine or an old ale, rather than a winter warmer. Hops and malt fight for control of the aroma, and the winner is the person drinking the brew. The taste is rather balanced for a barleywine. The sip is a bit sweeter than it is bitter, while the aftertaste expresses some solid bitterness, and warming alcohol. The mouthfeel is full bodied with fairly low carbonation, and relative smoothness. I believe the smoothness of this brews mouthfeel with increase with some aging. Overall, this is a mighty fine barely wine.

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Photo of beergeek279
4.27/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in the 12 oz. bottle into the trusty 'ol DFH snifter. The color is a dark amber brown, with quickly dissipating head. The smell is a spicy alcohol mixed with a bit of a crystal maltiness. The taste features a good bit of chocolate and crystal maltiness with a tangy hoppiness and a surprisingly low alcohol...in fact, I was quite surprised to see that this was over 10% alcohol...mellowed quite nicely. Mouthfeel was about where it should be. As for drinkability, this is surprising and definitely could sneak up on you!

Thanks to the Monk for this brew. After a bit of cellaring, it's reached such a nice bouquet of flavors, with a nice maltiness mixed so nicely with a citrus hop, binded together by the warming and non-interfering alcohol. A nice beer, and one I wish was in the area!!!

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