Defenestration | Russian River Brewing Company

very good
69 Reviews
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Brewed by:
Russian River Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: Belgian Pale Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.80%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by rkuhnel on 09-25-2008

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Reviews: 69 | Ratings: 340
Photo of popery
4.67/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Defenestration is an exceptional beer. It's an interesting and delicious shoehorning of RR's gigantic IPA style into a Belgian. I would love another glass of this beer because there was a lot going on that I didn't catch from my initial time with it. The beer pours a bright gold with a nice head. The smell was more of RR's west coast hoppiness than I was prepare for. It looks like a Belgian but smells strongly of pine, citrus and floral hops. The hops come through in the flavor as well but there are also some earthy notes and a complexity fruitiness that is difficult to describe. There was caramel and bread in the balancing malt. I really should have bought a growler of it. That big West coast hoppiness in a Belgian is a fine treat.

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Photo of bkrueger
4.5/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the brewery 11/15 served into a tulip. Notes written on a coaster.

Appearance - Beautiful hazy golden with very little head.

Smell - Hoppy and yeasty banana with some cloves. It's up on the blackboard as a hoppy belgian blonde. Smells like one!

Taste - Bitter hops melt away to smooth orange peels and lemon citrus zest. Grain and bread also gets mixed in with lots of great hoppy carbonated bubbles. Grapefruit like citrus and sourness as if you have freshly squeezed ruby red and yellow grapefruits in your mouth.

Mouthfeel - Slightly bitter, like a combination of Damnation and a less sour Temptation.

Overall - Delicious. I love when this is on tap here. It's also hard to beat the name.

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Photo of BierJager89
4.45/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A: Hazy dark golden color.

S: Tropical fruit, particularly papaya and passionfruit in the nose.

T: The same tropical fruits, orange and mango.

M: Medium bodied and smoothish.

O: Delicious and well worth a try if you can find it.

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Photo of flayedandskinned
4.4/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A fresh Growler less than a day old.
Poured into a Duvel Tulip glass.

Appearance: (4)
Pours a hazy, straw gold with honey esque, orange highlights. A pure white, 2.5 finger tall head sprouts as soon as the beer hits the glass. Good head retention and the head leaves some spotty lacing down the sides of the tulip.

Aroma: (4.5)
Big, fruity Belgian yeast phenols erupt out of the glass; banana, red apple flesh, and a hint of spicy close. There is a burst of orange blossom and a whisper of lemon, as well as some grassiness from the hops. A strong biscuity malt presence rounds off the very floral, sweet nose. Light tropical notes appear as the beer warms.

Taste: (4.5)
Juicy notes of orange, lemon and light grass hit your palate right away, with a huge yeasty middle in tow; The yeast is very fruit forward and slightly musty(definitely seems to be a Biere De Garde yeast); banana, pear, and apple flesh, much like the nose. Some sweet biscuit malt helps round out the flavor profile before the abrasively dry, bitter finish. Notes of apple, banana, tart apricot and juicy orange from the hops are left dancing on your palate.

Mouthfeel: (4.25) Full Bodied with moderate to high carbonation. Very, very dry. Never had a beer quite like this, it starts drying out your tongue before you even swallow it.

Overall: (4.25) A Belgian IPA, done the Vinnie Cilurzo way. Vinnie seems to have taken the Belgian IPA style and put his own twist on it. He has done away with the super citrus-y, piney and tropical American hops in conjunction with Belgian yeast. Which to me, is a really good call because when the high alpha American hops are used in tandem with the naturally very fruity, estery Belgian yeast, is an absolute train wreck in flavor; The yeast and hops just fight each other too much and the beer tends to get this weird peanut butter flavor as the hops start to oxidize. Defenestration does not suffer from these qualms at all; the yeast esters and floral hops really marry well together and they coalesce beautifully in the incredibly dry finish. Russian River does an incredible job as usual with this beer!

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Photo of biegaman
4.38/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Russian River, in Santa Rosa.

This bubbly, glossy golden beer is far too pretty to be named after such a violent thing (defenestration is the act of throwing someone out of a window, and apparently there have been some pretty gruesome instances of it in history). Although it shines like sunrise against the light, it has an icy complexion (and, indeed, its lace appears frozen to the glass).

Something like this is a fairytale aroma for beer geeks; it's what I romantically fantasize the whole of Belgium to smell like (except for the parts that smell like cheese and chocolate, that is). And given the tremendous presence of flowers and grasses and tree fruits (apple, pear, peach) it's bound to be true of at least one farm or orchard, somewhere in the country.

Not only could I describe the flavour using one word, I could do you one better - I'll describe it using just one letter: M. As in: 'mmm' to an exponent of three. It tastes like rustic country baked bread, with a mellow honey sweetness and toffee crumble, and lots of green hoppy notes that resemble chamomile leaves, grapefruit, and orange marmalade.

This is likely the best 'Belgian yeast meets American hops' fusions I've had simply for the way it simultaneously highlights and balances both of those elements. There's not so much yeast that it clouds the hops, there's not so many hops that they monopolize the flavour and there's certainly no alcohol to get in the way, still plenty of malt to be appreciated and even the phenols are on good behavior! It drinks lighter than most 7.25%/55 IBU beers I know.

It is a fact that Vinni Cilurzo is among the best brewers when it comes to both Belgian-inspired and hopped-up American beers. (Argue with me on that and you're arguing against many thousands of others too.) He's one of the few American brewers who could go to Belgium and explain to the islanders how to cast their nets and he's also responsible for the highest rated hop bombs. Is it any surprise that a combination of the two would be among the best?

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Photo of ngeunit1
4.32/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Served a hazy golden-orange color with a thin finger of frothy white head. The head faded down slowly leaving behind some nice lacing on the sides of the glass.

S - The aroma is a nice mix of citrus hops and orange aromas with a bit of yeast, spices, and grassy hops. There is also a bit of sweet caramel malts.

T - Starts off with a mix of sweet caramel malts and some citrus hops and orange. Through the middle, a bit of hop bitterness comes through with some yeast and banana flavor and just a bit of spices. The finish is a mix of sweet malts with some light spices and some hops and bitterness that linger.

M - Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Very smooth and crisp. Overall, fairly dry with a nice lingering finish from the bitterness and yeast.

D - Very drinkable. The balance of the Belgian and American elements here is really spot on a present a nice hybrid beer.

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Photo of dookiepower
4.3/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had Defenestration at the RR brewpup today after a magnificent CBC Sour Brown.

Appearance- Poured into a tulip glass from the tap with a 1/2 finger head that withered away rather quickly, left a nice amount of lacing, and had a great golden color to it. Not too much carbonation coming from the heart, but a nice looker.

Aroma- Mostly a Belgian yeast, hoppy aroma. It had a little bit of a cedar/pine nose to it, and also had a little bit of a lemon aroma as well. Aroma's weren't pouring out of the glass exactly the way I'd like, but it was a nice balance.

Taste- Defenestration had a great balance between a rather hoppy Belgian style pale ale and a very nice Belgian yeast flavor. It also had a bit of a pine flavor in line with the nose of the beer. Also had a bit of a fruity nuance with a nice lemon/apple pucker very faintly on the front palate. It was a very well put together beer that flowed nicely from start to finish. It had a great long finish that I could taste for 5+ minutes.

Mouthfeel- A nice dose of carbonation, with a medium hoppyness allowed the beer to flow over nicely, and it went down very easily. Would be a great beer for a humid day.

Overall- Defenestration was a really great beer, I liked it all the way through with little to no faults, if anything maybe a little bit more balance between yeasty doughy bread and hoppyness.

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Photo of treyrab
4.3/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Landed in San Francisco International Airport, and immediately rented a convertible to drive up Highway 101 to the Russian River brew pub. After a leisurely drive with clear blue skies, I ordered this:

A: Defenestration pours a nice golden copper with a bellowing white head. This really looks like Damnation. However, Defenestration is a touch hazier and softer looking. The head is nice and creamy white and laces pretty well (most likely due to the additional sticky hops added to this brew).

S: Smells like Damnation on hops. Tons of banana and Belgian yeast esters, coriander, pepper, and dried orange peel. Blended with that comes the citrus and grapefruit elements of the hops. I would guess one, two, or three of the CCC hops. Smells great, and very spicy.

T: Similar to the scent, this has a very spicy Belgian yeast kick to it. Pepper and coriander come to mind. But those blend well with the spiciness of the hops and citrus elements. Orange and mango predominantly.

Overall, this was a nice brew. The spice character really took control in this one (like a nice authentic Belgian Pale Ale), and the hops were second in line, but still very noticeable. Well done.

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Photo of largadeer
4.27/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the Russian River brewpub.

Appearance: Golden in color, clear with a slight haze. Arrives with an inch of pure white froth that leaves thick rings of lace.

Smell: Tons of hop character in the usual Russian River fashion, but with yeasty undertones of banana, ginger and graham cracker. The hop aroma seems to be a mix of noble and Northwestern hops, both floral and citric in character. No noticeable sweetness coming from the malt.

Taste & mouthfeel: Big floral hop notes with a complex backbone of spice, banana and cracker. The malt foundation is simple and dry, light in body, crisp. Drying in the finish, bitter enough to be an American IPA. I'm generally not a fan of this style, but Vinnie shows his talent for hoppy beers once again here. The yeast provides plenty of interesting fruit and spice flavor without overwhelming the hops, while the bone-dry malt base allows the hops to shine through in all their complexity. Beautifully done and incredibly drinkable.

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Photo of BradMacMullin
4.26/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I've read some good and useful reviews of this beer. This won't be one of them. Had at RR Brewing on a very busy Tuesday night. Does anyone work anymore? Any ways, this beer is very traditional Belgium....very yeasty beer. Good, but not a lot of fun. I will go back to Pliny as I don't get here enough. Remember when I said this review wouldn't be helpful....was I right ?

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Photo of Ciocanelu
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Slightly hazy straw color with white head. Aroma has really nice stonefruit yeast esters. Taste starts with grass, a bit of lime, melon, really estery but somehow clean and fresh. Light body with high effervescence but also feels quite soft on the palate. This is a great, easy drinking belgian style ale.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Simple, elegant and pure, the brewers at Russian River throw conventional wisdom out the window and opt for genuine, rustic and spice flavor to achieve a near perfect Belgian pale ale.

Pale gold and carrying the classic yeasty haze of authentic versions, the beer's earthy and spicy perfume is delivers a peppery prickle to the nose with wine, hay, grain and gin nuances. Its taste is supple and sweet, raw grain leading along with notions of fresh baking sourdough and lime centered sangria.

With fast fleeting malt sweetness, the middle palate soon hands the focus of taste over to fruit and spice. Apple, lemon, orange, lime, melon, juniper and pear offer a dry acidity that bounces off of the spicy white pepper, cumin, clove, paradise seed, coriander and vanilla balance particularly well. Trending spicy, the finish favors a brisk hop bite with dry hay, lemon pepper and a spicy array of muddled grasses.

Medium dry and light on the palate, the beer's floral and spicy linger flirts with proportions of soap, but hold back slightly. Sprite with bubbly effervescence, the arid finish favors the spice and hops en route to a highly refreshing, digestible and vinously bitter bite with echoes of honeysuckle and sourdough rolling softly along.

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Photo of patm1986
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Notes. From Monk's Cafe. Stuff-If-Ication dinner 7 June 2011.

This was a personal favorite of the food courses: sweetbread stuffed quail with smokehouse bacon and jus-ation.

poured a light brown, tannish. pretty decent head, about a thumb nail's worth. looked more like a lighter brown ale than an ipa. head kept its body well. really good pour considering it was from a pitcher.

smelled of sweet belgian sugars, grassy hops, and sweet malts, caramel mostly. not too much hop aroma, earthy mostly, but a nice balance, because it wasn't overly yeasty.

it's very mild. very mild, which, with so much richness in this course, was extremely welcoming to mouth. present are flavors of buttered sweet rolls, a bit of grassy bitterness, caramel, some brett funk, and some light brown sugar. there is not much of a single dominant flavor.

really light. i could see this being labeled more a blonde ale. holds a creamy body and carbonation nicely in the mouth. very smooth and rich.

maybe something with a more dominant bitterness or intensity really would've made the dish more palatable, but the essence of the pairing was that the ale wasn't going to cut into the fatty richness but compliment it, so, in that regard, it was very successful and delicious.
sometimes you just gotta throw someone through a window.

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Photo of rkuhnel
4.23/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I put this one up on Beer Advocate as a Belgian IPA because this is what they call it. I brought it home Saturday (the 19th) in a growler and only got around to drinking it over the last couple nights (with some help of course). The color was a rich gold with a moderate white head and sticky lacing. Nose is very yeasty with banana, grapefruit, and there are hints of spices in there as well. Mouthfeel is excellent as are many RR brews, with moderate carbonation. Flavor is slightly sweet and as befits something called an IPA there is quite a bit of hop bitterness in the finish. Overall an interesting brew that was easy to drink, and I am glad I brought home a growler.

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Photo of BevMoPatrick1
4.22/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served from a growler from RRBC, appearance a cloudy, golden hue with nice lacing, smells like Pliny and tastes like it too, delicisous with nice citrus and pine notes with a smooth belgian yeasty finish. Amazing flavor and drinks like Pliny. Enjoy some if you can.

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Photo of impending
4.2/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

At the source. Served a golden bronze with half inch of fluffy white froth, retained nicely, excellent lacing.

Aroma is all about the hops, yeasty hops. Pungent.

Pine dominates the flavor, citrus is present but minor, wrapped in yeasty goodness. Nice complexity with sharp definitions. Aftertaste trails off bitterly, it invades all corners of the mouth and lingers pleasantly. Medium bodied prickly mouthfeel.

Seems there are belgian ipas and ipa belgians
this is an ipa belgian
this is exactly what you expect from RR
very nice

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Photo of oglmcdgl
4.18/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at monks with my boy onix1agr.

A- arrives with a killer two fingers of bright white head that holds nicely and leaves a bit of lace. Brilliant golden yellow in color with great clarity and some bubbles clinging to the glass.

S- belgian yeast right off the bat and some nice fruity esters coming forth. Herbal green hops and a slightly honey sweet pale malt backbone.

T- complex interplay of yeast and grassy hops. Herbal and fresh with the yeast giving a bold powdery dry musty hit that rolls smoothly in the biscuit dry malts. Lightly fruity and just so damn fresh and green. Long grassy finish.

M- just about medium in body and perfectly carbed. Long very dry finish.

O- one of the better of the style and so fresh and so green that you can almost feel the hops in your mouth.

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Photo of sloejams
4.17/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap last week at Magnolia, San Francisco

In my quest to drink as many Belgian IPAs as I can, I was ecstatic to see that Magnolia had one of my favorite brewery's stab at it.

Pour a crisp pale yellow. Thick white finger head. Aroma is as I like - thick Belgian sugars and American hop bouquet. The yeasty sweetness of the Belgian yeast hits the palate first and moves on the hop sweetness to the biting bitter strength end toward the back of the mouth.

I love this style and this is a fine example of it.

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Photo of jwolfie70
4.15/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a growler obtained from the brewery the same day.

Poured a light golden color, with a fairly stiff white head.

Smelled of clean pine like hops.

Taste was fairly unique with nut, and dry-hop flavors coming through. I did not get any spice/ sweetness that I was expecting from a Belgium IPA.

The beer was very drinkable, and went down very easy with a nice crisp hop finish.

Another recommended beer from a great brewery.

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Photo of Korbynlehr
4.15/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very cloudy in appearance, little to no head. The smell has a light hoppy smell, but also citrus. Did not have the hoppy flavor I expected, and almost had a sweetness to it. Good beer, BUT tastes more like a saison to me.

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Photo of flagmantho
4.15/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from corked & caged 375mL bottle into a tulip. Bottled on 9/16/16.

Appearance: light golden hue with a dash of haze and a very strong effervescence. Head is a thick finger of frothy white foam that crackles as it dissipates.

Smell: lightly sweet with a nice Belgian-ey maltiness and a dash of pear character and maybe a hint of funk. Really quite nice.

Taste: much like the aroma; sweet and smooth with a little bit of pear and funk. Hops are grassy and bitterness is somewhat high for the style but still very smooth. I like this beer a lot.

Mouthfeel: light body but with a huge carbonation. Creaminess is kind of ephemeral but is enjoyable nonetheless.

Overall: the bitterness and hoppiness seem to grow over time with this one, and it provides a great contrast to the more traditional orchardy sweetness of the style. Really very good.

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Photo of IronCitySteve
4.15/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the brew pub.

A: Pours a slightly hazy lightly golden color. There is a small white foam head with moderate retention. There is some moderate lacing.

S: Lots of floral hops hit the nose first. There is some mild malt character undertones as well, some biscuit.

T: Starts off with a nice blend of earthy and floral hops with a mild undertone of biscuits. In the middle there is more of the same, but the malt flavor comes out a little more providing a nice balance. The finish is much of the same.

M: A nice light to medium bodied beer. Surprisingly clean yet slick.

O: A nice Belgian offering from RR. Quite balanced as the hops are really held in check by the creamy malt undertones. Would certainly drink this again.

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Photo of ArrogantB
4.15/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On tap at the brewery in Santa Rosa. Yellow color, looked hazy but it was dark in there. Aroma was yeasty and fruity, nice. Flavor was yeasty, fruity, clean, and delicious. I really enjoyed this, shame they don;t send kegs of this to Denver but I guess they have to keep some things to themselves. Great beer.

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Photo of womencantsail
4.13/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Growler shared by Tim.

A: The pour is a very clear golden straw color with a nice big white head and plenty of sticky lacing.

S: Quite the nose on this beer. Fruity and yeasty with plenty of citrus hops, giving a nice grapefruit note. A bit of weed and some regular grass, too. A little bit of unfermented wort smell right at the beginning, too.

T: More bitter than I was expecting, but it's welcomed. Grass, pine, and grapefruit peel seem an appropriate summary of the hop flavors that are present. A mild yeast driven fruitiness and spice. A solid bread base.

M: Medium in body with a surprisingly lively carbonation from the growler.

O: Not usually a big Belgian IPA fan, but this was much more IPA than it was Belgian. A great example of the style.

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Photo of Offa
4.13/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is a good, tasty, somewhat unusual beer. I don't really taste much of a "Belgian" character in it, though, as it seems more like a caramelly, less grapey, maibock mixed with a west coast IPA.

First, the name is rather interesting. From the Latin for "to go from or out of a window," in English it commonly means to be thrown out of a window and specifically for me conjures up various events in history when people were done away with by being defenestrated.

Anyway, this is amber with a small-medium, off-white head that shrinks quite slowly to a thin, lasting top and leaves pretty good lace.

The aroma is the weakest point. It's muted and a bit weak and mostly musty grapes with a bit of citrus.

The taste, though, is quite good. It's nice and bready with hint of toasted cracker, grapes, hints of raisin and buttery caramel, a hint of herbs and pine, plus citrus, mostly lemon and grapefruit. It starts sweetish then gradually morphs to a slightly bitter, mostly citrusy, finish. It's quite nice and holds up well.

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Defenestration from Russian River Brewing Company
3.92 out of 5 based on 340 ratings.
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