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Highland Cold Mountain Winter Ale | Highland Brewing

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89
very good
317 Reviews
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Highland Cold Mountain Winter AleHighland Cold Mountain Winter Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Highland Brewing
North Carolina, United States
highlandbrewing.com

Style: Winter Warmer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.80%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by RBorsato on 11-25-2002

BEER STATS
Reviews:
317
Ratings:
759
Avg:
4
pDev:
20%
 
 
Wants:
87
Gots:
155
For Trade:
7
User Reviews
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Reviews: 317 | Ratings: 759
Photo of Thorpe429
3.5/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Paul for sharing this at a recent tasting. Currently the #1 Winter Warmer. Served in a snifter.

Pours a nice caramel color with a really light head. Doesn't really stick around too long and only leaves a spot or two of lacing. The nose is loaded with vanilla, though it smells somewhat like extract. There's also a bit of caramel and malty sweetness. The taste is more vanilla plus some caramel. Not much else, though it's fairly nice. Beer has a medium body and finishes quite dry. Not terribly complex and not all the winter warmery, but pretty good.

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Photo of mdfb79
3.8/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From 01/22/11 notes. Shared by Lunch at a recent tasting. Thanks Paul.

a - Pours a dark amber color with one inch of white head and light carbonation evident.

s - Smells of butterscotch and vanilla. Also a little spice and bready malts. Pretty good.

t - Tastes of watered down vanilla and butterscotch, spices, bready malts, and toasted malts. Good, but as I said, tasted watered down.

m - Thin to medium body and low carbonation.

d - A nice winter warmer. Taste was a little lacking, but still enjoyable. Would have again.

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Photo of drabmuh
3.95/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by Paul after my incessant whining. Currently the #1 Winter Warmer, although the more winter warmers I drink, I'm slowly realizing that this style has no style and you can call anything a winter warmer, I've had spicy ones, dark ones, light ones, hoppy ones, malty ones, the only commonality is that they were all released in winter and called warmers. Oh well. Poured into a Russian River wine glass.

Beer is light brown / orange with a thin off white head of small bubbles, low but steady carbonation, and the head leaves some lacing on the glass.

Aroma is vanilla and some malt...this was quite a shock to me.

Beer is sweet and undercarbonated on the palate. Huhzubendah said in his review that it tasted like cream soda...and it totally does. The vanilla wins on all front here. It opens with some sugary sweetness that is accented by the vanilla on the late front and midpalate. There is no real bitterness to this beer...just vanilla. It probably sounds like I'm putting it down and I'm not, I really am not. It does what it does well. Beer as cream soda. I like that.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
3.85/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle shared by Lunch. Thanks Paul!

A: This brew appears clear and rusty orange / brown in color. The head is thin and wispy, but manages to generate a fair amount of lacing upon the glass.

S: Scents include vanilla, malt, alcohol.

T: This beer is quite different than I would have expected from a winter warmer. The flavor is remarkably similar to how I would imagine an alcoholic cream soda tastes. I happen to enjoy cream soda, so I'm totally cool with this unusual take on the style. Vanilla is the most forward flavor, followed by some sweet malt and light spice.

M: Thin bodied, with a fairly low level of carbonation.

D: A fun and interesting brew, but not something of which I would want too much.

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Photo of Beertracker
3.95/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Highland Cold Mountain Winter Ale pours up nicely with a moderate carbonation that creates a compact tannish creamy head that nicely tops the slightly hazy chestnut brown body. The sweet, layered caramel malt aroma is filled with a nice intermingling of fruitiness (candied yams, caramel apples, sugared plums) and spiciness (cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, mace, vanilla bean) followed by a hint of alcoholic warmth and some underlying winyness (oxidized) character. The flavor starts off with some brown sugar, caramel & nougat maltinesss which is underscored by a light, earthy bitterness that brings about a moderately spicy, warming finish. Hints of sweet vanilla wafers & ginger snaps linger afterwards. The mouthfeel is quite creamy, but lighter than expected with some distracting astringency that's possibly from the spice additions. Highland Cold Mountain Winter Ale adds a bit of color to your cheeks and does a fine job at keeping Old Man Winter at bay. Here's to a nice, long... cold Winter!

CHEERS! Beertracker

Trader's Note: Many thanks to super-trader CrellMoset for this fine elixir!

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Photo of Jwale73
3.85/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Bucketboy for the opportunity to try this one. 22oz. bottle served in a standard pint. Pours a translucent amber with a quarter inch, loose, off-white head that quickly disperses into a thin band around the shoulders. Some strands of lacing appear during the tasting, but exhibit poor retention. Nose is somewhat muted - light to medium malt with a suggestion of spice. Taste consistent with nose with the addition of some caramel/toffee notes. The spice seems to be be nutmeg. Mouthfeel is light-medium with a lively carbonation which contributes to a semi-dry finish. All and all a pretty drinkable beer for the style. Not at all cloying with enough flavor to make this quite quaffable.

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Photo of bucklemyshoe
3.92/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Notes from 01/02/2011:

22 oz. bottle at 45 degrees in a snifter.

A: This pours a completely transluscent dark brown color with red hues - much like sweet tea -and a finger and a half of slightly off-white head that does not last, nor does it lace very well.

S: Strong milk chocolate, lots of nuttiness, caramel, and bread malt. It smells like a tasty dessert.

T: Roasted nuttiness, vanilla, caramel, and an oddly perfumey aftertaste that is not entirely unpleasant.

M: It has a medium-thick body with some creaminess and long, lingering flavors.

D: I wish it would either have bolder flavors and become a sipper or have a thinner body and become quaffable. The thick body and weaker flavors combination is odd.

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Photo of Onenote81
4.12/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was the third installment of City Bev's Freakin' Firkin Friday. Had a pint at the store yesterday. Pours a hazy brown-tinted copper. A small off-white head caps it off. Faint lace sticks around. The nose is potent with strong notes of vanilla, nutmeg, toffee, toasted pecans. Fantastic nose.

Extremely smooth, creamy mouthfeel, as was expected with the cask. Carbonation level is minimal. Perfect sipper. Flavor profile mirrors the nose somewhat with vanilla, cinnamon, sweet malts. The spices are more muted in this version of the beer, but this is still a splendid winter dessert brew. Perfect to sip on a crisp, cold evening.

*Note: This is the first beer that I have tried from bottle, tap, and cask.

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Photo of prototypic
4.39/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Many thanks to my dood, kkipple, for this one. You rock, Dan!

Cold Mountain Winter Ale pours a crimson stained copper color. It's very clear, and has a strong garnet ting when held to light. Really nice color. The head is very modest. It's cream colored and doesn't even rise to a finger in depth. It dissipates very quickly, and leaves light lacing behind. Not bad. The color carries it.

The nose is extremely impressive. It's chock full of caramel and cocoa-esque chocolate malts. It's a little on the sweet side, but not by much. There are definitely some spices in the mix. I'm getting a little cinnamon, vanilla, and ginger. But, the spices are complementary and never take center stage. The thunderous malt base captures the spotlight. Hops are noticeable. They smell mostly floral. Alcohol is never much of a factor. Excellent.

I didn't expect the flavor to live up to the nose, but it does. The strong malty flavors strike first and never relent. Cocoa-esque chocolate blends perfectly with the mild caramel/toffee notes. Spice flavors of ginger, light nutmeg, and cinnamon are subtle, but flavorful. Vanilla is stronger in flavor and works like a charm. Hops are vibrant and add just enough bitterness to really take it up a notch. The hop flavor is mostly floral. Alcohol is light and not all that noticeable. Finishes malty, a little bitter, and dry.

Cold Mountain Winter Ale has a medium body that's nice and smooth. Carbonation is light and doesn't hurt the feel at all. Drinkability is very high. This is a surprisingly unique and tasty holiday seasonal. It doesn't seem too strong. Each sip invites another. Too bad I've only got the single bomber.

I'm really impressed with Highland Brewing. This is the second beer I've tried from them, and each has been really good. I can't say that this is necessarily better than their Black Mocha Stout, but they're very comparable in terms of quality. I can't offer much constructive criticism here. This is good stuff that perhaps shouldn't be tinkered with much. Maybe the look would benefit from a nicer head. Yeah, that's about it. Excellent stuff. Thanks a ton, Dan!

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Photo of DefenCorps
4.13/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Woohoo! First tick for 2011. I picked this up over Thanksgiving in Asheville after being very impressed with a pint I had on tap (2010 Winter edition).

A beautiful, clear mahogany with a dense, off-white head with excellent retention, there isn't much to show for lacing apart from some patchy foam. Clarity is exceptional, this is a particularly attractive beer. The nose is great too, like I remember it being. A touch of spice is present with cinnamon and mace, I also get some brown sugar and a prominent vanilla note. The combination is dessert-like, but this still smells light. Hops are mild, there's some earthy, mildly leafy and mineral-like hop aroma present. Solid.

The palate opens with a blend of light brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon. A light but simple sweetness, a blend of brown sugar and burnt sugar is present. Notes of vanilla and maple appear in the mid-palate. Drying on the finish with the hops asserting their presence, there's a blend of earthy, leafy bitterness and lingering vanilla. Light in body with medium-high carbonation, this is an enjoyable beer. I preferred this on tap, where it was a lot creamier, but even out of a bottle, it's still the best Winter Warmer out there.

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Photo of Wolfpack2005
2.64/5  rDev -34%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A-Pours a deep clear amber color. A Brisk pour reveals a fairly impressive off white head that leaves a good amount of lacing

S-Aroma is unimpressive, dont detect too much except for a mild vanilla scent.

T-Very mild bittering hops up front. Picking up small notes of vanilla, raisin, and caramel, but the backbone of this beer seems to be some sort of a nut extract (maybe hazelnut). Not picking up any of the traditional spice that are typically in a winter warmer which is not necessarily a bad thing. Im guessing this beer is about 6-6.5% by the lack of alcohol taste that I like out of my winter WARMERS.

M-Very light with minimal carbonation.

O-IMO a sub-par beer. I cannot get past the hazelnut extract flavor that dominates the beer. I do like the fact that Highland stepped outside the bound of your traditional winter warmer. With some tweaking however i think this could be a good beer. Needs more burn.

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Photo of Mosstrooper
4.32/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 1L bottle into 16oz Samuel Adams Perfect Pint glass.

Appearance: Pours dark amber in color with a medium-sized tan-ish head that dissipates slowly and leaves behind spotty lace.

Smell: Sweet caramel malt and some dark fruits alongside mild spices.

Taste: Begins slightly spicy, rounding to fruity flavors and finishing with a lot of caramel malt sweetness.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with lively carbonation and a sticky, warming finish.

Drinkability: A tasty, sweet and malty brew that is good for a winter day or could go well with a holiday feast. A beer I am glad to have tried, and would have again if it were available in my area.

Thanks to msnow34 for trading with me for this, and sorry about the delay with getting my end of the trade off to you!!

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Photo of planetscott
4.02/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I love the appearance of this beer. Clear ruby and garnet color. Not much aroma. Taste is different for a winter warmer and a nice change of pace. Fruity, but not in a Belgian sense. I taste pears and very faint vanilla. Mouth feel is not thick like most winter warmers....Again a nice change. Good drink ability. Not great as it is somewhat sweet.

A decent, yet different winter warmer.

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Photo of bosox941827
3.73/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had to try this at recommendation of a buddy...
A - Mostly brown but with prominent a garnet/violet tinge to it; almost no head and with no haze whatsoever; very clear.
S - A hint of winter spices off the nose (cinnamon/nutmeg) along with some malty sweetness
T - A very unique beer that's for sure; so the nose is confirmed by the taste - a glycerin-type of cinnamon/nutmeg/cocoa flavor at the front that is not really sweet, but is subtle and not over-powering; flavor also has hints of a children's chewable aspirin(!). That is all VERY quickly wiped away - literally - by the hop finish. The hops are similarly not over-powering, but they clean up the palate and lend a dry finish, something which you wouldn't expect given the flavors at the front. An interesting beer....
M - Average carbonation and fairly smooth. Hops lend a dry finish.
D - Could probably do two of these and that's about it, but that may just be me.
Glad I tried this one; very unique beer that I would definitely try again and would recommend.

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Photo of TheHoppiest
3.53/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22 oz bottle into a pint glass. Pours a clear copper, with an ivory head that quickly reduces.

Has a grassy, grainy smell, with mild hops.

Has a mildly malty taste, with spicy mild hops. Mild caramel notes, overlaid with the spicy hop finish warming the belly.

Medium mouthfeel, leaving a dry feeling tongue.

Fairly drinkable, decent enough for a winter ale, but a little timid for what it seems to want to be.

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Photo of cdizinno
4.68/5  rDev +17%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Reddish-copper color. Clear with a decent white head and moderate lacing all the way down.

S: NOt too much there. Mild spices, malts and undertones of hoppiness.

T&M: Great taste. Fruity, spicy and smooth. Full-bodied with a nicely balanced hop/malt taste.

Great beer. Highly drinkable just for the holidays.

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Photo of MTNboy
3.65/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

It pours brown/amber wit a slightly reddish hue. There is both a nice head and lace formations to this beer. The smell is almost that of a bourbon ale with some spiciness. The taste is definitely interesting but I'll be honest about saying I have mixed feelings on the taste. It is very sweet with tones of Christmas cookie spices. There are tones of nutmeg, cinnamon and coriander. It also seems like anise and vanilla are present. I think I like it but find it a little overpowering at the same point. It has a hardy mouthfeel and goes down pretty smooth.

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Photo of javincik
2.79/5  rDev -30.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle poured into a nonic pint

A-Pours a deep crimson amber with a nice 1 inch off white foam head. Nice lacing and head retention. Good clarity.

S-Baked bread and caramel with underlying spices. Very little contribution from any hops. A hint of brown and candied sugar also. Nose is surprisingly muted. I expected more from this.

T-Basically follows the nose. Quite sweet initially with the spices coming through before a kiss of hops at the end to balance everything out. It is very sweet, but not cloying. No hint of any alcohol. Average is all I can say.

M-Thin. It is just detracting. When I sip a winter warmer, I want something substantial. This is not it. Not sure what the ABV is on this, but it really isn't warming. No hint of any alcohol whatsoever. Normally, I would say this is a good thing, but when I want a winter warmer, I want something big.

D-It goes down easily: too easily actually. This one is just disappointing. The taste is about average, the mouthfeel is quite weak, and it doesn't really warm you. I shall not be seeking this one out again.

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Photo of Ryan011235
3.22/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a snifter on 12/14/10

11/23/10 etched on the bottle

Much appreciation to CruisaC for hooking me up with this Highland beer that has eluded me for years

Pours an amber brown color that has a rusty hue in the glass. One finger head holds briefly before receding to a patch of bubbles covering 75% of the surface. A little bit of lace sticks to the glass.

Malty with spices aplenty, the nose is reminiscent of sweet cinnamon bread. Notes of earthy hops waft about amid hints of nutmeg. Enough spice & bitterness to grab the nostrils without going overboard. Slight spot of honey & gingerbread as it warms. Smells good.

Ah, the taste doesn't back up the strength of the aroma. With each sip comes a clustered cavalcade of cinnamon & other spices leading into a dry bitterness that is much like tea leaves. Toasty bread notes toward the back half (a faint notion of yeast is had on the first few sips). The flavors seem disconnected; uninterested in mingling.

The feel is surprisingly thin & watery. It doesn't help that the carbonation is prickly for but a moment up front, losing momentum mid-swallow. A minimal grittiness toward the end. Finishes dry with toasted bread & an artificial spiciness. Not much alcohol heat.

Drinkability is ok; I'll have no problem finishing it. That the flavors don't gel & the feel is loose makes for a scattered sort of beer. Possibly a tad better as it warms, it isn't enough to save this one for me. It the taste were blended as well as the nose & the feel were more robust, this would be a winner for sure.

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Photo of cindyjeffsmith
3.63/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

appearance: Brown mocha. Robust tan head.
smell: Malt, subdued hops. Pleasant.
taste: Very mellow and subdued Winter Warmer.
drinkability. This growler did disappear quickly. Not sure of the ABV....maybe 6%, 7%? Not a beer I'll be hunting in the future to be honest. Avery's Old Jubilation much preferred, but a nice brew on a fairly cold Ga. winter night.

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Photo of scottyshades
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a barely transparent mahogany color with a small off-white head

S: Awesome caramel malts, nuts, toffee, light spices (no clove), a little bread, lactose, and powdered milk chocolate

T: Finally a winter warmer with a great flavor profile that's not overdone. The spices blend very well with the malts. Also lactose, toffee, and a really delicious chocolate/cocoa note that compliments the nuttiness

MF/D: Smooth velvety feel, lower carbonation, lighter in body than the others, and a finish of lactose, cocoa, and hazelnut

Notes: not the biggest or boldest, but perfectly balanced and not too spiced up

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Photo of TheKingofWichita
4.15/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep brown mahogany color with a small tan head and a really heavy amount of lacing. Smells yeasty with a little hint of the malts coming through. Tastes of some bitterness from the hops, plenty of cinnamon and nutmeg, possibly some all spice. A little marshmallow in the background. Like sitting around a campfire. Mouthfeel is nice and thick with a little hiding carbonation. Drinkability is really good.

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Photo of PDXHops
2.36/5  rDev -41%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

2010 vintage on tap in a shaker pint. One day after a disappointing cellared '09, let's see how the fresh batch measures up.

See-thru amber with a very modest creamy head, but a fair dose of sticky lacing. Nose is rather uninteresting (perhaps partially at the fault of the crappy glassware)- gentle maltiness with a vanillaish spicy presence. Tastes similarly frustrating; it's like they left the 'warming' out of the 'winter warmer'. Aching for a dose of robustness. Plenty of leafy bitterness, a bit of toasted malt, mild vanilla and cinammon and not much else. Vaguely nutty. A bit of lingering coating chocolate milk in the finish (lactose?).

Overall impression: Disappointing offering from a generally solid brewery.

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Photo of nickthegun12
4.08/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

the appearance is a light brown, reddish color....with little to no head....

smells bready....like beer...lol....i get the slightest bit of spice in the nose...

taste great...the best part of this beer...some of the bittering hops taste great in this beer....some sort of spice shines through well....

feels great on the mouth...not too dry but on the dry side....

very nice drinkability....not sure of the abv...but doesn't seem too high

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Photo of thagr81us
4.03/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2010 Vintage. Served from a 1-liter swing-top bottle into a Stone nonic. Poured a deep copper with a one finger off-white head that subsided to a minimal amount slowly. Maintained nice lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, cloves, coriander, and caramel. The flavor was of sweet malt, cloves, chocolate, and caramel. It had a light feel on the palate with mild carbonation. Overall this one had some pretty nice spice mixtures going on here. It was very well balanced up-front and then came through with the typical warmer spices on the tailend. This one is a must try if you are a fan of winter warmers.

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Highland Cold Mountain Winter Ale from Highland Brewing
4 out of 5 based on 759 ratings.
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