Ivan The Terrible Imperial Stout - Barrel-Aged | Big Sky Brewing Company

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Ivan The Terrible Imperial Stout - Barrel-AgedIvan The Terrible Imperial Stout - Barrel-Aged
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Big Sky Brewing Company
Montana, United States
bigskybrew.com

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
2006 - 8.75% (draft only)
2007 - 8.75% (500ml flip top bottles ~ very limited)
2008 - 9.5% (750ml - capped - 1152 bottles)
2009 - 10% (750ml cork and cage)
2010 - 10% (750ml - cork and cage)
2011 - not brewed
2012 - 12.2% (750ml cork and cage)
2013 - 13.8%
2014 - 11.5% (750ml cork and cage)

Imperial stout aged 4 months in freshly dumped American oak Buffalo Trace bourbon barrels.

65 IBU

Added by Bitterbill on 11-10-2008

BEER STATS
Reviews:
289
Ratings:
837
Avg:
4.27
pDev:
10.3%
 
 
Wants:
801
Gots:
281
For Trade:
21
User Reviews
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Reviews: 289 | Ratings: 837
Photo of ShanePB
3.8/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

After Matt aka mdaschaf, my girlfriend and I opened up the Menagerie No. 5, we moved onto my bottle of Ivan. 750 ml corked and caged green bottle, poured into tulip glasses.

Vintage 2009.

A: Deep brown edging to a full black body with some amber hues around the top edges in the light. Atop is a light beige head, along with sporadic lacing and a thin retention ring. Not a bad looking beer though I did expect a darker head.

S: Sherry, port wine, very sweet with obvious fruity undertones. Cherry, plum come through midway and end with cocoa powder and slightly charred oak wood. It's not infected, but the sweeter fruity notes definitely threw me off.

T: Oak dominates up front and even more so as this beer warms. Faint dark baker's chocolate, black cherry and some sweet sugary dates are mid-palate. The finish is quite tart that opens up the longer this sits. The fruity, tartness in the finish wasn't necessarily unpleasant but something unexpected.

M: Well carbonated for being a vintage 2009, maybe a bit too much for the style. Fairly smooth, not as creamy as I wanted and a touch dry in the linger.

In comparison to other Russian Imperial Stouts, this is definitely a good one but it doesn't match up to other breweries. The beer itself had a weird combination of roast, wood and fruit that I think perhaps was unintentional but it definitely came through big.

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Photo of Brad007
3.81/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a pitch-black with a thick and frothy brown head into my glass. Lots of foam, which I beleive is unusual for this style.

Lots of oak upfront followed by just a bit of roasted malt and cream. Not really a big fan of oaked beers but this isn't too strong.

Roasted malt, chocolate and cream mingle with oak flavors. Again, oak flavors are strong but not as strong as if this beer were fresher.

Lingering oak and roasted malt at the back of the throat. Not much else. Not as much of a bite here.

It's a decent example of the style. Received it in a trade and it's been sitting in my fridge for months. Not bad.

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Photo of ArrogantB
3.81/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2010 bottle courtesy of Harrymel, thanks man! Ink black with a super foamy head. Smells like wood and booze. The flavor at first like drinking a whiskey or bourbon, very strong but then I got roasted malts and a very odd tartness. Given the tartness and super foam I wonder if this was showing early signs of infection? Overall not bad but a bit of a let down after the olde bluehair was so surprising.

Update 2013 bottle

Aroma is a pretty awesome chocolate and bourbon mash up. Flavor is also a nicely bourbon barrel influenced stout. Much better than the last incarnation I had and for $12.99 this is kind of a deal given the way pricing has gone.

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Photo of Sarlacc83
3.82/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

750mL bottle split 2 ways. 2010 vintage.

A: Rambunctious head, a full inch of fluffy cappuccino foam, after a glugging pour. Nice legs. Absence worthy black.

N: Bourbon, oak, prunes, chocolate. Slight roast and moderate licorice. Some soy sauce. Caramel and fudge - more of the wood and bourbon.

T: Oak, prune, raisin, fudge. Honey and low levels of roastiness. Espresso sweetened with two lumps of sugar in the grind. Very sweet, but it's not cloying as some of its competitors are wont to be. Hints of soy sauce. Hops are here with some earthy bite, but they mostly add balance.

M: Creamy mouthfeel which is on the lighter side of the spectrum. Lots of booze still.

O: A really well balanced and fairly delicate beer. Very enjoyable, and worth recommending.

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Photo of Gfunk720
3.83/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2010 bottle, out of my Lost Abbey stemware. Shared with a couple buddies.

A- Pitch black with a crazy foamy tannish head. There is just sooo much head. Pretty typical stout appearance though.

S- A little muted. Notes of coffee, bourbon, and booze. Also some dark fruits and chcolate malt.

T- A rich chocolatey flavor is the first thing that hits my tongue. I also get hints of coffee, bourbon, and oak. It is very nice and smooth. The bourbon isn't over the top, but a nice addition to the base beer.

M- A little fizzy, and could have use a bit more body. I knew it was going to be fizzy based on the foamy head, but it wasn't as bad as I expected.

O- A very nice sipper, that has plenty of flavor and complexity. The mouthfeel was probably the biggest let down here, but this was also a fairly fresh bottle. Would be curious to see what it would be like with some more age.

-GFunk

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Photo of Sammy
3.9/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours thick dark chocolate. Bittersweet chocolate aroma mostly. Above average mouthfeel of course and its chocolate and coffee. On the sweet side, drinkable to a point. Bourbon in the secondary, not slight rather significant.Good though not th best RIS I have had.

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Photo of mothman
3.9/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter.

Pours 1/4 finger of tan head. Color is near black.

Aroma: Cocoa powder, bourbon, oak, vanilla, chocolate, dates, dried fruits. Warming and rich.

Taste: Big cocoa powder again. Light chocolate. The bourbon is warming, but somewhat subtle. Has molasses flavors. Some other dry fruits as well. It shows some vanilla and caramel.

Mouthfeel: A bit fizzy, creamy, and warming. Medium to full bodied, but a bit higher amount of carbonation is present. Ends a bit dry and boozy.

Overall, a decent beer. It is warming which I like. The barrels are a bit subtle. I dig it, but it could have used less cocoa notes.

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Photo of GuyFawkes
3.91/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle # 789 of 3600. 2014 vintage; drank 3/7/15 @ the Palace.

Black/brown appearance.

Tan head; almost no lace.

Banana, smoke, milk chocolate & booze heat in the nose.

Medium thick mouthfeel.

Cinnamon, milk chocolate & booze heat flavors up front; mild pepper heat on the finish. Oak notes emerged as this warmed. Good but a bit too spicy for me; I won't seek it out but I wouldn't turn it down.

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Photo of robwestcott
3.92/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

cold from the bottle black as night to a plastic cup with a 1/2 finger head at the FFF XV party.

dark fruit, subtle coffee and cocoa.

dark fruit forward. cocoa and roared malts.

medium bodied, big carbonation, smooth and sweet.

overall: way above par.

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Photo of Retsinis
3.92/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A friend got a bottle of this at Blue Palms once, and I didn’t get a chance to review it at that time, though I did enjoy it. This review is from notes from a bottle a fellow BA (thanks Skuter) brought to a tasting at Instant Replay.

A: The beer pours black, with a dark brown hue. A dark tan brown head forms, about a quarter inch, leaving some smooth lace.

S: Mocha espresso, cream, dark chocolate, light roasted malt, oak, vanilla, bourbon.

T: Mirrors the nose nearly exactly. Vanilla, cream, mocha coffee & cream, light oak, and roasted malt. Only slight variation from the aroma’s with some light brown sugar & caramel on the finish after it warmed a bit.

M: medium carbonation, light bitterness.

O: Good beer. I've had it at tastings, as well as by itself, and it holds up fairly well either way even against some stronger RIS.

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Photo of cnbrown313
3.93/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

2012 Cork and cage 750ml bottle poured into a snifter glass

A - Pours almost totally black, but with a nice amount of carbonation and a beautiful chocolate colored head (maybe 1.5 fingers worth)

S - Smells of dark fruit, chocolate, and oak.

T - Initially you get a touch of bitter dark chocolate, but that is well balanced by some sweet, dark fruit flavors. It is surprisingly easy to drink for a big imperial stout. Being a bourbon fan though, I was let down by the fact that there just wasn't a lot of bourbon flavor or bourbon barrel characteristics. There is definitely a strong oaky taste and finish to the beer, but I feel like it's lacking the bourbon.

M - This was actually my favorite part of the beer. The mouth feel was silky and smooth - it glides down easily. And why don't more big RIS's have awesome bubbles like this? They really mastered the fine carbonation on the 2012 batch.

O - If I had to chose between this and say a BCS or a KBS, I would take those every time. But, this was a unique barrel aged imperial stout with a nice mouth feel and nose, so if you're a fan of the style and you see one, I would check it out.

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Photo of jrallen34
3.93/5  rDev -8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Tasting with AgentZero...I drank this from a 750ml bottle into my Rochefort glass...The beer is dark black with some really nice head. At least two fingers of light tan head, decent retention and lacing...The aroma is super sweet on the front, tons of caramel, vanilla and bourbon. Light alcoholic finish...The taste is super sweet, almost to sweet to be very drinkable. Tons of vanilla and bourbon, not enough coffee or body or bitterness...Sweet and easy to crush, but would you want to??

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.95/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2010 bottle poured into a snifter. Thanks to MarcatGSB for this bottle!

Appearance - Not jet black. Dark, but it looks like a light stout. Huge head with lots of carbonation. Good lacing and retention. Lots of sediment, too. Chunks of nastiness floating about.

Smell - Sweet bourbon and some coffee. Really, not a lot of the stout character comes through. It's a lot of coffee and bourbon.

Taste - Bourbon up front. Again, not a lot of stout character until the finish. Some coffee and roasted malts in the background. Hefty grassy bitterness in the finish that reminds you it's an RIS.

Mouthfeel - Not heavy. Very light in body in fact. Bitterness is nice and adds to the stout's feel. The carbonation is quite high and is not really appealing for the style.

Overall - Disappointing, considering the ratings. Tastes good, but not up to the standards of the best stouts. Either other reviewers are tasting other flavors I'm missing or they're tasting the bottle count.

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Photo of Bierguy5
3.95/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750 ml, 8.75% ABV, bottle # 328. Pours a pitch black color with just a bit of sediment. Mocha head trickles down to a thin collar rather quickly.

Roasty notes, with some oak and bourbon mixed in. A whiff of dark chocolate along with some alcohol.

A bit of milk chocolate up front, fading into some very nice oak and bourbon notes. Nice flavors here, but not very complex.

A bit thin, with a lower amount of carbonation. A little warming from alcohol. Pretty nice.

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Photo of ThePorterSorter
3.95/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

2012 bottle
The beer pours a rich (but relatively thin looking) black with a thin tan head that laces. The nose is fruity and boozy, some bourbon vanilla, and relatively little sweetness or chocolate. The same fruitiness is present in the taste, but with a bit more grain, caramel sweetness and tobacco-y bitterness to help round things out. The mouthfeel is fruity, medium bodied, slightly dry, has adequate carbonation and caramelized sugars competing against the potent, burning booziness. This is an interesting beer, great flavors without a thick body, and it really highlights the bourbon stout without making it tough to drink.

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Photo of Khazadum
3.96/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A- Huge creamy head that was easy to produce. Tons of miniature bubbles that never get overwhelmed or distrubed by an active carbonation profile. Inky darkness and a sticky lacing create a picture perfect design on my glassware.

S- Strong oak presence comes forth with vanilla tones in the beginning, background of sweet syrup that the bourbon provides. Little bit of dark fruits laced in bourbon sweetness as well.

T- First impressions are of the vanilla and oak character that fades quickly as the bourbon starts to heat up. Middle is a bit alcoholic, tad astringent, and minor sweetness from the bourbon character.

M- Thin, disappointing, over-carbonated. This is the big let down of this beer. Watery while having a tad creamy nature. The carbonation persists on the opening and through the middle. Lingers barely. Almost a dry finish.

D- Regardless of how off this is from a traditional bourbon barrel aged beer, it isn't a bad beer. It has some issues, it does come forth with a bit of silk on occasions, but overall it is a decent offering. Not as good as I was expecting, though.

Wanted some chocolate, or dark fruits, or roasted grain, or even burnt grain. It is too plain in terms of flavors, but what it does have it does well.

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Photo of PittBeerGirl
3.96/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

bottle 426/1152. Thanks Chris for sharing!

A- Body is a dark brown, nearly black. Pours with a 2 finger creme brulee colored head. Some lacing is left behind in the glass-retention is good at 1/2 finger.

S-Classic RIS nose. Plum, anise, raisin, ripened dark fruit, licorice. Balance leans toward sweet and fruity-but there is a slight alcohol presence as well as mild cocoa and very mild dark chocolate.

T- Taste is completely different than nose. Lots of dark chocolate, raisin, complex-but slightly over ripe. A touch of bourbon and oak come through for the finish as the fruit flavors intensify and the chocolate fades. Dark fruit and a slight alcohol warmth linger.

M-Very well done-thick, creamy, and full body. Soft carbonation but slightly chalky.

D- This is a good RIS overall. Doesn't compare to my favorites of the style thought. Was very happy to have the opportunity to try this!

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Photo of Ricelikesbeer
3.96/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

I've heard great things and was excited to try this one.

A: Pours somewhat thin, with close to no head whatsoever... a few oily bubbles quickly dissipated. I don't think this beer is supposed to be flat. The beer looks somewhat thin and oily. It is black as night and hard to see through.

S: Lots of alcohol up front, and some bourbon and barrel character. There is some malt sweetness, a slight estery fruitiness, and no apparent hops whatsoever. Some char and burnt character is there as well.

T: Bourbon, chocolate, oak, and some sweet maltiness are all there. This has the complexity of a very strong, big stout with bourbon and barrel flavors. The more the beer warms, the more I enjoy it and the complexity really stands out. The roastiness of the stout is really mellowed by the bourbon and vanilla flavors from the oak.

M: Despite being over 13% abv, this beer, the lack of any carbonation makes this beer feel much thinner and watery than it probably should be. I think this was an off batch. However, it still has a slick and sugary mouthfeel, and coats your tongue for a while.

O: I would certainly try this one again, and it is priced very well for being a huge bourbon barrel stout. I would hope the beer is carbonated next time which could really improve my scores on this one.

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Photo of oakbluff
3.97/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Stub & Herbs in beer haven Minneapolis this past weekend. Served in a nifty half pint, beer was a smoky ebony with minimal head, light mocha lacing. Nose was not overpowering, anise, dark chocolate. Taste- not all that thick, medium bodied, relatively dry and well attenuated. Moderate roastiness and overally just easy drinking for a RIS.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.98/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Served in a snifter at Binny's South Loop.

Finally getting to try some Ivan the Terrible, and, surprise to me, it's at South Loop's little in-house bar. Gotta love having days off during the week, right? This stuff pours a deep black-brown topped by a small finger of khaki foam. The nose comprises chocolate powder, roasted malts, a hint of molasses, and a kiss of coffee. Straight impy stout fumes here, people. The taste brings in more of the same, with the chocolate taking more of a syrup character and some very mild bourbon peeking in at times. The body is a straight medium, with a rather light moderate carbonation and a smooth feel. Overall, though a touch thin (we're not talking Eclipse-style thinness, but it definitely ain't chewy), this is a solid impy stout. It's not quite as great as it's been advertised over the years, but I'd glady have more if given the opportunity.

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Photo of strohme2
3.98/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

2010. I don't know why I was saving this, maybe the champagne bottle size was a bit intimidating for me. The beer was properly cellared for just over 4 years then placed in the fridge for the last 6 months or so of it's life. Ever since then, it's been staring at me with every opening of the fridge.

The beer pours a dark chestnut with some dull red highlights. A cappuccino colored head is fairly thick. At first taste, the beer is thin for a imperial stout. I've never had this beer fresh so I can't compare but after almost 5 years it's pretty impressive. Large smell of dark fruits, heavy on the oak, light on bourbon. Some cocoa at first that melts away the more I drink it. There is no heat, everything has blended so well together. Again, I don't know how it was when fresh, but the bourbon is almost nonexistent.

A great beer but I prefer my imperial stouts, especially aged in bourbon barrels, to have a better body and a bit more bourbon. Still very good.

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Photo of Crosling
3.98/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark brown with a solid black body in the glass. Natural carbonation adds to the appearance of the ale, producing a long lasting foamy tan head. Snickers bar aroma with notes of chocolate, caramel, nougat, nuts, bourbon, vanilla, coconut and wood. Flavor is well balanced, sweet, richly flavored. Finish is a touch short though. A nice ale all around.

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Photo of pagriley
3.99/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2014 750ml (~8 months bottle age)

L - Dark brown pour that settles to pitch black in the glass. Lighter than I was expecting, with a thick 3 inch caramel head
S - Soft chocolate and a touch of roast on the nose. Not really any barrel but a thwack of hot booze
T - Alcohol heat masks a lot of the flavor. As it warms chocolate and bitter roast come through
F - Lighter bodied for a big stout, a touch thin. Prickly and a bit over-carbed for my preference, and it took a few minutes of swirling in the glass to knock the excess out.

Overall an interesting barrel stout. Lighter bodied, and quite hot. For the price ($14 for a 750) it is a good deal, and worth trying, but given the limited bottle count, not worth hunting down - several year round shelf beers at a similar price (barrel aged Hoppn Frog BORIS comes to mind) are just as good, and much easier to find.

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Photo of billab914
3.99/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

2008 vintage bottle #636 out of 1152. Poured from a 750ml bottle into a tasting glass. It poured a dark brown, pretty close to black in color with very little signs of carbonation or head.

The aroma has a big dark chocolate presence to it. It's very rich with a chocolate brownie like quality to it. I get some lighter bourbon qualities to it with some very nice vanilla notes to it. Some sweeter dark fruits seemed to come out a little more as it warmed. Great aroma, I loved how rich chocolate and vanilla notes came together.

The taste is very smooth with with some nice notes of dark chocolate, vanilla and bourbon all coming out. I get a little more of a woody oak presence in the finish. The bourbon is a little more reserved at this point but it still adds some very good complimenting flavors to it.

The mouthfeel feels thin with very low carbonation. The low carbonation hurts it and makes it feel a little watery and thin. I'm sure this is attributed at least partially to it's age.

Overall I thought it had some really great flavors to it. The bold chocolate was complimented very well with the bourbon and vanilla. The thin mouthfeel and lower carbonation hurts it some, but overall I thought it was a very smooth and flavorful beer.

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Photo of dirtylou
4/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

on-tap, brouwers

appearance: served in a 12oz nonic, rich dark chocolate body, very light mocha cream

smell: rich dark chocolate, sweet booze soaked dark fruit, bourbon, molasses

taste: Perhaps leftover from back-in-black, or maybe a new arrival - regardless, figured I would go ahead and tick this one off the list. This is a really big stout with a heavy sweetness - molasses, dark fruit, bourbon, oak, coffee, coconut, undertones of orange peel and citrus hops

mouthfeel: heavy, hot and sweet

overall: solid stuff - but not something to shell out high dollar for a 750

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Ivan The Terrible Imperial Stout - Barrel-Aged from Big Sky Brewing Company
4.27 out of 5 based on 837 ratings.
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