Black Raven IPA | Olde Hickory Brewery

very good
71 Reviews
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Black Raven IPABlack Raven IPA

Brewed by:
Olde Hickory Brewery
North Carolina, United States

Style: American Black Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by SaCkErZ9 on 07-23-2010

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Reviews: 71 | Ratings: 207
Photo of AgentZero
2.76/5  rDev -27.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Thanks to jrallen34 for sharing this one.

A - Black beer with a slightly tan head that left a lit of spots. Looks brownish in the light.

S - A lot of roasted malt with unsweetened chocolate and some hops.

T - I don't like this. Tastes like unsweetened chocolate malts, ash, and bitterness. Really not a good combination, and doesn't have a particularly full flavor. Finish is pretty dry too, which isn't good after the bitterness and ash taste.

M - Medium carbonation, dry finish, active carbonation.

O - Wouldn't drink this again, it's not a beer that I really enjoyed. Black IPAs are kind of a bastard style. Definitely would pass on this one.

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Photo of jpmclaug
2.81/5  rDev -26.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Bottle poured into my New Belgium globe

Black body with a nice sized off white head. A light citrusy hop aroma, maybe a hint of roast in there but not much, maybe some smoke as well? dark roasty malts and a floral hop aroma mix to make a kind of disjointed flavor. Pretty bitter overall, I dunno not the best ABA I've had. Mouthfeel is medum body, slightly sticky. Overall I'm not too impressed with this one, a bit more bitter than I'd like and the flavors don't mix the way I think they should. I wouldn't buy this one again.

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Photo of fear025
2.94/5  rDev -23%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Aroma:Mostly malty, although a little grapefruit and roasted malts.

Appearance:Beer is black with very little head and low apparent carbonation.

Taste:Piney hops provide a decent amount of bitterness. The mid to aftertaste has more roasted notes. The aftertaste is a little roasty and a little bitter.

Mouthfeel:Light to medium body. A little creamy.

Drinkability:This beer is enjoyable enough, but there's nothing to really make it stand out from other black IPAs.

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Photo of mdaschaf
2.96/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to derandscott for this one! Drink by May-2011.

A: Pours black with a 1.5 finger foamy, tan colored head. Nice head retention with sheets of lacing down the glass. Actually, one of the best looking ABA's I have ever seen.

S: Initially it was all hops, lots of juicy citrus and pine, but as it warms, most of the citrus actually disappears. Eventually, the aroma consisted of a bit of orange and some roasted malt.

T: Extremely roasty and burnt. A little bit of chocolate and rather chalky flavor. Not much hop presence at all.

M: Medium bodied with medium carbonation. Extremely dry.

O: For a beer that started off strong, it ended up falling flat for me. It looked great and the initial aroma was extremely inviting, but the hops seemed to faded once the bottle was opened. The chalky flavor/mouthfeel was a big turnoff. The first miss for me from OH.

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Photo of OakedCanuck
3.13/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle into pint glass

This beer pours a lighter black with brown edging, clear. Minor light tan head with weak lacing left behind. Nose is mainly pine with some roast coffee. The flavours just seemed off balance to me. It is mainly grassy piney hops with a wallop of dark roast coffee at the back. But the point between the hops and the roast there is a metallic transition and astringency. Mouthfeel was effervescent and medium, a touch thin. Not too hard to drink, just not my favourite example of the style.

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Photo of SFLpunk
3.16/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Thanks to cmrillo and Hodgin for this one! 22oz brown glass pry-top bottle. Best before July 2011.

Pours a thin black with some light tan head. Nose is like a molasses cookie, maybe a little ginger and some coffee-like roastiness.

Palate is bitter right off the bat, with some black patent malt right off the bat, some burnt sugar notes and some hoppy pine notes too.

Notes: A decent Black IPA, but not my favorite. It lacks some of the tradition IPA notes and has a little too much malt character, I think. Label is the best part.

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Photo of Chaney
3.18/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I had a bomber of this in my hotel room in NC after my wife's indoor drumline judging gig.

Served in a Duck Rabbit snifter.

A: Poured a pitch black color (or lack of), with a massive 2 finger head that was fairly light in color.

S: Sort of a grapefruit juice - porter, black and tan.... with the visual cue from the tan. This was fairly potent and very fresh.

T: I got tons of bitter ash on the finish that was bitter in an unpleasant way. There was a sillhouette of citrus, but overall this was just a very hoppy porter. I wish there was more apricot or mango to add more fruity sweetness. This was unbalanced and one-dimensional.

M: Well carbonated, yet dry and bitter. Seriously, this was almost into cigarette butt territory. Ridiculous lacing.

O: I'm not a big black IPA fan to begin with, but when that style is on, it is REALLY on. This one was the former.

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Photo of Bendurgin
3.29/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Crarytonic for sending the guy as an extra in a recent trade. Poured into a tulip. The beer pours black with about afinger of tan head. The head settles down to thin soapy lacing. The nose is light citrus with a slight hay/barnyard aroma. It's weird, the aroma is very conflicting in my mind. The taste is pretty good. Bitter hops and a slight citrus flavor. Bit of a charred malts, but it has a nice bitter citrus hop finish. Decent body, kind of a dry finish and the carbonation is pretty good. Decent beer, but nothing I'll seek out again.

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Photo of yeahnatenelson
3.31/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Generously given by Onenote81 - Thanks, pal!

Appearance -- Pours a dark chestnut hue with a finger of stiff khaki head and wide bands of lace.

Smell -- Milk chocolate, fresh ground coffee, mint, mesclun greens, and mild citrus aroma. Malting smells good, but the 'IPA' element of this beer is not at all hitting me over the head.

Taste -- More classical IPA character in the flavor than the nose with pine resin and bitter citrusy character stepping out of the shadows. Malt base is not as sweet as the aroma suggests: cocoa powder, dark toast, and black coffee. The finish brings a deep bitter vegetal finish. Lingering flavors of pine resin, mesclun greens, and dark roast malt.

Mouthfeel -- Medium-bodied with moderate prickly carbonation. Finishes creamy. Really not bad, though I wish it was more crisp in the finish.

Drinkability -- This is by no means bad, but the hopping just doesn't work for me - the finish is like swallowing a cloud of gnats. However, as the beer warms this characteristic loses its bite. Taking that out of the equation, this beer would be much more enjoyable.

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Photo of beergod1
3.48/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours black with a small light tan head. Aroma of citrus, light roasted malt, cocoa, and resinous hops. Taste is roasted dark malt-cocoa, then the resinous/pine hops with some bite come through and predominately stays, this is more IPA than anything, but the Malt does a nice job balancing out. Not at the top of my list for Black IPA's, but still pretty good.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.48/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a dark brown, near black body with a medium-small, beige head.

Smell: A sharp snap of heady roast of lackluster, burnt coffee, dogged by notes of prune skins, resins, chimney soot.

Taste: An expected opening of roasty tasting roasted malts, but with some accompanying ashy char character. Dovetails into the resiny, soapy, very faintly citrusy floral hops adding its bitterness to the grainy astringency. Dark fruits buried under the roast and hops. A little alcohol showing. Roasty, bitterish finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation.

Overall: A bit crude and rough around the edges. Though I've liked the bulk of Olde Hickory brews I've tried this was not one of them.

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

Thanks to Jason for sharing this one. Sampled side-by-side with Peak Hop Noire. Served in a Russian River tulip.

A - A half-finger of off-white foam settles to some wispy bubbles, thin collar, and leaves behind tiny spots of lace. Dark brown body that is lighter at the fringes.

S - Molasses, chocolate, roasted malts, and some oranges. Not sure of the age on this one, but it's definitely on the roasty and dark side of things. More like a porter with more hops.

T - Again, roasted malts, chocoalte, some char and burnt flavors, and a late-appearing moderate herbal bitterness. Not much in the way of hop flavors beyond the finish.

M - Medium-bodied, chewy, with medium-low carbonation. Minimal alcohol warmth, although I didn't expect any at 7%.

D - A decent but largely unexciting Black IPA. Needs more late-addition and dry hops to go with the bitterness. I also don't understand why every Black IPA has to have a least some char and black patent astringency.

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Photo of lanamj
3.6/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle poured into an old hickory pint glass.

A- Nice black beer with a light brown head that thins out to a minimal lace around the glass

S- Nice bitter hop aroma, balanced by sweet roasted malts. I get some dark fruit as well as citrus. Very nice balance.

T- Lots of bittering hops not much else. I do get some roasted malt and coffee at the end but rather one sided.

M- It has very nice residual hops bitterness that sticks to the palate. Kind of on the watery side.

O- A good black IPA kind of one sided but still good for the style. Also the drinkability is very approachable making it a good beer for anytime.

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Photo of akorsak
3.65/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Another Asheville treat - figured I need to queue up these hoppier ones first.

A: The IPA is black as a raven, a moonless night, an ebon abyss. An offwhite head, eggshelly, ruffles up to half a finger and laces as it recedes.

S: Deep stout aromas, coffee and black malt, immediately register. The hops? Not so much but they are everpresent in the taste. Only gradually do the citrus flavors crawl through, finally matching the intensity that comes through in the taste.

T: Stout again up front, roasted with a mild sweetness running through it. The citrusy hops are right alongside the malts, they just need a little heat to get kickstarted. Once rolling, their grapefruit and pine flavors are a sweet combo, biting against the acrid flavors of the stout. Quite a bit of flavors coming out of this, as it warms the hops become stronger. Hop bitterness, that citrus, returns and dominates the finish, crowding out the stout. Well roasted with a burnt thickness that lingers. The hoppiness, while present, isn't up to the task.

M: Far more stout that IPA. The mouthfeel follows suit.

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Photo of Retsinis
3.65/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Fellow BA (thanks Skuter) got this in a trade and brought it to a tasting.

A: Poured from a 22oz bomber bottle into a Bruery tasting glass. The beer pours a dirty brown, that is near black in color, with dark ruby red highlights. Solid inch of off white head rose, and stuck around, leaving sticky lacing.

S: Piney hops, some fruit notes of peaches, then roasted coffee, and chocolate.

T: Sweet chocolate malt, mixed with citrus bitter hops. Some bread in the middle, with a lingering roasted and bitter finish.

M: Oily, with medium to high carbonation, but a an odd finish, that is both roasty, dry, and bitter.

O: Glad I got to try this, since it's not available in California. Above average, though black IPA's are bit of an odd style, kind of like a quarter porter blended with a IPA. Only had a few Black IPA's, but it does seem to be an emerging style, or at least style that is being re-introduced more now, and this is certainly one of the better ones I've had of the style.

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Photo of BeerAdvocate
3.67/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From BeerAdvocate magazine Issue #58 (November 2011):

LOOK: Opaque, black

SMELL: Dank hops, charred toast, ripe dark fruit, alcohol, perfume, herbal

TASTE: Dry, roasty, coffee, charcoal, hop oil, warming esters, more char, burnt raisin, spice, mildly astringent, bitter

The roastiness certainly comes across, perhaps too much. Hops don't seem to mesh with the rest of the flavor profiles. A good sip, and this is what is so much fun with new styles … beers that may define or defy it. Too drawn to roasted and dry characteristics; a tad more malt backbone would do this one good.

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Photo of DavoleBomb
3.68/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a newly acquired Old Hickory pint glass. Enjoy before September 2011, so this is a fresh one.

4.5 A: Pours black. Two fingers of creamy tan head with very good retention and tons of lacing.

4.0 S: Smells more like a hoppy porter than a black IPA. Anyway, this starts out with a light roasty burntness then the hops kick in and add citrusy and earthy components. Subtle chocolate notes worth well with the citrus giving the impression of orange flavored chocolate. Not bad.

3.5 T: Like every other black IPA I've had, the flavors compete instead of complement. Good bit of roastiness to start again with a light burntness. Subtle chocolate and caramel notes. Hops are strengthy and contribute citrus with emphasis on orange. Slightly more than moderate bitterness. Roasty aftertaste. Alcohol is well hidden.

3.5 M: Lighter medium body. Good moderate carbonation. A bit lighter in body than I'd like. Could also be creamier.

3.5 D: Not bad for the style (which is one I can't get into). I'm not sure if I'll ever love drinking a black IPA, but I'm not going to give up just yet. There has to be some combination out there that will please me.

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Photo of Naugros
3.68/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

"Black" raven? Not really..."Dark Brown" Raven is more like it. And it's not even my usual complaint about a "black" beer being really just extremely dark brown (just check the edges of the beer). In this case, it really is just dark an English porter. But it is one of the darkest "black" IPAs I've ever seen. Still, the pigment misnomer does not take away from the looks of this one. A huge head stands atop, with large bubbles forming a base to support a creamy cap that sticks around for quite a while.

Piny and spicy hops dominate in the nose. With it being as dark as it is I truly expected to get a lot of roasted malts as well, but not that need to search for them.

Serious, head-shaking bitterness. In normal IPAs the malts act as balance to the hops, but in this case they're in cahoots to torch your taste beds with waves of bitterness. Think about the most bitter stout you've ever had and then toss that bitterness into a DIPA and you get the idea. The flavors comes off as pine tar and you'll get a sensation of chocolate in the background.

All that bitterness is hard to clear out of your mouth and I wouldn't attempt drinking another, less aggressive beer after this one. If you're one of those that like this, then look for this'll love it. For me, it's a bit much.

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Photo of babaracas
3.68/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a mostly clear pretty-dark brown, in the glass opaque black with dark brown edges and a one finger thick khaki colored head. A few rings of lace down the glass. Smell: grapefruit, lemon peel, caramelized sugars, and some soft fruity yeast contributions that are out of place. Taste: at first it's juicy citrus and spruce with caramelized sugar and a moderate roasted grain character, then leafy and slightly minty with astringent burnt notes. It's actually pretty tasty but the astringency plus the bitterness gets you to palate fatigue pretty quickly. Medium bodied, lowish but prickly carbonation, drying finish. Best by July 2011.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
3.71/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a bomber into a shaker pint, the beer is a very dark, almost black coloring with chestnut highlights around the edges and a low profile, dense, clingy, cream colored head. Aromas of smoke and roast forward, with a rich backbone of peat and earth, and subtle bitterness overlays. Flavors are very roast forward, with bitter coffee notes and hints of dark chocolate. Hops resin highlights throughout, with very subtle hints of citrus, but the palate is mostly taken over by roast and bitter notes. Smooth and slightly effervesced body due to the carbonation levels, which helps bring levity to the heavy bitter and roast characteristics. The aftertaste is a lot of coffee bitter and roast, as well as some earthy notes. Slick, clean, slightly dry finish. Tasty beer, heavy but drinkable. I like it.

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Photo of StarlightSeraph
3.73/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz bottle into a 22 oz glass.

Appearance: Pours a hazy dark brown, with some reddish hues. Three fingers of off-white head that sits there and lingers for quite some time. Tons of lacing.

Smell: Citrusy and grassy hops right away, but those quickly fade. The dominant smell is quickly replaced by sweet, chocolatey malt, with a hint of citrus in the background.

Taste: A strong, almost generic bitterness, with the malt coming through as well. The malt comes and goes quickly, and the finish is long and bitter, with just a hint of sweetness. Very, very mild citrus note, not nearly as prominent as they were on the initial nose. As the beer warms, the bitterness and sweetness become much more balanced.

Mouthfeel: Thick and creamy, nicely carbonated.

Drinkability: An enjoyable beer from a local brewery. I had this once before, awhile back, and remembered the hop flavors being more prevalent. Still, a beer I'd have again.

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Photo of GrahamWalters
3.76/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into 16oz. tulip.

A: Nice creamy 1' head, retains well but leaves limited lacing. Beer is pitch black, very enticing, belies hop aroma.

S: Strong hop aroma, fruity with a bit of pine and hint of malt sweetness.

T: Very bitter from malt presence, toasted biscuit and black coffee dominate. Hint of hop bitterness present at close. Very dry with almost no detectable sweetness.

M: Fairly thing mouthfeel with oily finish, not great, not terrible.

D: I could drink a couple, but wouldn't go out of my way to find it. Pretty good example of the style.

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Photo of corby112
3.76/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bomber received in a trade with McNuts. Thanks again Keith! Best by 7/11.

Pours pitch black and completely opaque with a 1.5 finger frothy light beige head. Excellent retention, only slowly fading into a lasting cap that coats the glass with soapy lacing.

Roasted malt aroma with lots of earthy hops and subtle citrus notes. Hints of dark chocolate, burnt toast, oatmeal and caramel along with earthy pine and citrus rind. A bit malty for my preference but standard for the style.

Medium bodied with a blast of dry and bitter earthy hops that linger throughout over the deep roasted malt flavor into a long dry finish. The hop presence is much more prominent than the aroma suggest with lots of dry earthy pine flavor and subtle citrus notes. Very dry and bitter with slight sweetness to balance things out. This is balanced by a deep roasted malt profile with hints of dark chocolate, burnt toast, oatmeal, caramel, toffee and coffee/espresso bean. Very complex and well balanced and although it has plenty of roasted malt it is still plenty hoppy and can still be considered an IPA. Complex and easy to drink with a well masked ABV.

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Photo of Metalmonk
3.78/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Funny how this style is so new that even brewers are mislabeling their product. I'm sure someone has picked this up without reading the fine print on the label, just seeing that big "IPA" out front, and being utterly shocked upon pouring. Speaking o' which, let's pour...

Definitely black in color, or insanely dark brown, with a tan ice cream float head that's firm and creamy. Simple and gorgeous.

So okay, despite my little rant, a blind sniff test would definitely bring IPA to mind. Citrusy hops, like Cascade or Amarillo, come to the nose rather strongly. But then there is that hint of deeply toasted grain that leans toward the burnt end of the spectrum. Very much true to style, if favoring the hops quite a bit.

Strong flavors from opposite ends of the ABA sphere: the north pole a lot like nothin'-special black coffee grounds, though not harsh, and the south pole being a green, tangy, citrus fruit sort of brightness. Very much "night and day." Do they meet at the equator? Just barely enough to provide a harmonious enough experience. My only complaint is that a mineral steeliness comes into play in the middle somewhere. Tart and almost puckery in the finish, which finds the hops winning out in the end.

Carbonation is fairly aggressive, although the body itself is of a soft, round, smoother sort, so you get a kind of struggle in the texture...which you also get in the taste.

Not a bad take on the style at all. Black ales like this are tough, you've got what are two rather opposing characteristics (heavily toasted/burnt grains vs. bright fruity hops) trying to not only coexist, but work together in harmony. This isn't the best version of the style (I still think Southern Tier's Iniquity is king) but enjoyable and pleasant enough.

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Photo of SpdKilz
3.8/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Huge thanks to mullenpc for this great extra. Cheers!

Appearance – Pours a dark black with a slight mocha colored head that dissipates slowly leaving some nice coating.

Smell – Lots of roasted malts, slight hops, a hint of citrus, and chocolate.

Taste – Orange peel, bitter and charred malts, slight chocolate, and some earthy herbs.

Mouthfeel – Medium bodied, good carbonation, a hint creamy.

Overall – A decent Black Ale, though a bit too bitter honestly.

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Black Raven IPA from Olde Hickory Brewery
3.82 out of 5 based on 207 ratings.
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