Short's The Woodmaster | Short's Brewing Company

very good
134 Reviews
Short's The WoodmasterShort's The Woodmaster

Brewed by:
Short's Brewing Company
Michigan, United States

Style: English Brown Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Double Brown Ale fermented with Northern Michigan maple syrup and toasted pecans

Added by BelgianAleSlut on 06-29-2007

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Reviews: 134 | Ratings: 349
Photo of UCLABrewN84
1.38/5  rDev -63.5%
look: 4 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

Thanks to GrandCruDrew for sending me this one!

Pours a murky dark brown with a 2 inch beige head that fades to a small cap. Nice rings of lace on the drink down. Smell is of hearty bread, roasted nuts, and maple. There is also a funky gym socks smell that ruins everything. I think this bottle may be infected. Taste confirms the infection. This is a sour beer on first sip, but I can taste the malty bread flavor, roasted nuts, and slight maple syrup. The infection issue is awful when combined with these flavors. Carbonation level is average. Overall, I bet this is a really good beer when it's normal but this was definitely infected.

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Photo of TheDudeRules
1.58/5  rDev -58.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Reviewed from notes taken on 4-3-11.

Pours a light brown with an off white head. Nothing too fancy here. I'm picking up some sour on the nose. In fact it's controlling the scent.

Pretty light mouthfeel. A slight carbonation. The taste? Well that is downright horrific. Best way to describe it is toasted crushed up aspirin. A drain pour for sure.

Not sure what went wrong here. Bottle was maybe old? The beer flat out sucks? I'd like to say I would try it again, but if it never crosses my lips I'm fine with that outcome too. For sure an avoid at all costs.

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Photo of womencantsail
2.05/5  rDev -45.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Thanks to Iain for sending me this one.

A: The pour is brown in color with a tall off-white/khaki colored head.

S: Sour. What. The. Hell. Some nail polish remover, vinegar, and toasted bread. Just an awful combination. A bit of cherry cough syrup on the finish, too.

T: The flavor is a bit better as it lacks much of the nail polish remover and cough syrup. But, it's still vinegary and sour. A bit of toasted malts and bread and a little nuttiness.

M: Medium in body with a medium to high carbonation.

O: Dear Shorts, learn how to bottle a fucking brown ale without it going sour

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Photo of CuriousMonk
2.36/5  rDev -37.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Thanks to hurfer for the extra. Poured from 12oz bottle (no date) into snifter glass. Pours a dark cola brown with hints of amber around the edges and a small off-white head that doesn't linger long and leaves only a swirl along the top with no lacing. The maple syrup is abundantly evident in the aroma, which is very sweet overall, with caramel and toffee coming through as well. There are hints of both the nuts and some booze which stings the nose slightly. I think I would describe the taste as a slightly more abrasive version of the nose. It's got the maple syrup which sticks to the palate along with the alcohol which makes its presence felt in the finish especially. The overall character is slightly toasty with the pecans showing up in the background. The mouthfeel is, no surprisingly, syrupy, and get almost cloying with the big maple syrup presence. The body is pretty heavy because of that and the carbonation is pretty light. This is not one of my favorites in the imperial series and the sweetness is enough to limit the drinkability. As I respect the originality of this style, it just isn't my style.

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Photo of kscaldef
2.38/5  rDev -37%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A: Murky brown topped by a 1-finger dark tan head

S: Roasty with some chocolate, dark fruit, and banana notes. Sort of bizarrely reminiscent of a peanut butter and banana sandwich.

T: Hits with more of that banana on the front of the tongue, then big roasty flavors that fade to a mild sourness like overripe fruit.

M: moderate carbonation & body, fairly long linger

O: Seems a bit odd and disjointed in the end. Interesting, but not what I would call pleasant. I have to wonder what's intentional here and what's not.

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Photo of otto251068
2.43/5  rDev -35.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a Chimay chalice. No freshness date.

Appearance: Pours a deep brown with hints of a dark red color. Very cloudy with some bubbles sticking to the glass. A fingers worth of dense khaki colored head takes its time, finally rises, then fades to some nice swirling cloudy wisps.

Smell: The first and most potent aroma is the malts, very nice. Some caramel and definite sweetness there too. After the pour the alcohol really comes out, and the sweetness reminds me of some dark fruit, mostly raisins. A touch of red apple.

Taste: The dark fruits hit me initially, with just a touch of sweetness to it, also a bit of the maple syrup and toasted malts. Whew, the alcohol is definitely there (dominates the beer really), and has some bourbon qualities. Lots of sweetness at the very end, but this beer is dominated by the alcohol which pushes all the other subtle flavors aside.

Mouthfeel: Large body and light carbonation. Nice carbonation level for this beer. The beer drinks very smooth, and the light but prickly carbonation is nice. Towards the end of the beer the carbonation is all but gone.

Overall: I just can't get by the overwhelming bourbon and alcohol flavors. They are really overwhelming and overpower all the other flavors. Every bit of the 9.4 ABV is present.

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Photo of Sliqjonz
2.45/5  rDev -35.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Nice deep brown color. Wow, a lot boozier than I was expecting. Falls pretty flat once you get past the booziness. The pecans & syrup are there, but very subtle. Honestly, if it didn't day they were in there, I probably wouldn't have picked them out. I'd like to pick up another & cellar for a bit & then revisit it.

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Photo of Lunch
2.53/5  rDev -33.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

12oz. bottle poured into a 16oz. Old Rasputin nonic pint glass.

As soon as I open this motherfucker I was greeted with what I thought was a hint of infection. Smelled sweet and sour as it poured a chestnut brown into the glass with a sizable head. Goddamnit, Short's get your act together. Infection is not as prominent in the taste which is dominated by a sweet maple. Overly carbonated and fizzy.

Beware of any of Short's beers in a bottle.

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Photo of RuckusDu
2.66/5  rDev -29.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A - Maybe a third of a finger of large bubble off yellow head. Falls to nothing. Body is slightly cloudy caramel color.

S - I think it is a typical Short's scent, but not one that is very pleasant to me and I don't know if that is true. Sour milk with some wood and biscuit.

T - That sour milk is still there, but not as strong. Good malt flavor that goes with that biscuit-ness.

M - Good carbonation with moderate body.

O - Not that great as the sourness dominates. The malty backbone helps, but not enough to make it great.

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Photo of Urbancaver
2.68/5  rDev -29.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours a pretty maroonish brown. A bit of head and highly carbonated... it really looks pretty darn good. Smells malty and sweet. There is a hint of something bitter on the nose that is a bit off but overall smells like a decent brown ale. Taste, however, is a different store... something is seriously off here. I can't tell if its intensional or not. sharp bitterness on the tongue. Some serious maltiness that would be good if not for the off flavours. The beer is thick and creamy almost and tastes pretty good but its seriously got osmething funky going on that isn't very good. I think shorts missed on this one

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Photo of sennin
2.78/5  rDev -26.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Bottled on January 2, 2012.
Poured into a pint glass on August 30, 2012

A: It's nothing special really. It is essentially what you would expect from a Brown Ale. But there is very little lacing and head retention, but I suppose that is a common trend with most of Short's brews. Even still, it is not a particularly "sticky" beer either, so the lacing doesn't really stay on the glass...a bit disappointing.

S: Not very good. I almost didn't drink this beer because of the smell alone! Sour milk is prominent scent up front with some dark chocolate, syrup, coffee, and burnt sugar like scent wavering around it. I know the beer has aged a bit, but honestly- it has hardly aged at all! Very odd smelling beer. But it isn't horribly off-putting I guess (I mean, I did still drink it).

T: This is a completely different story since the taste is actually quite alright. First taste is oddly of cherries to me with something of a coke like taste coming in a bit after. There is a subtle "nuttiness" in the background which I am sure is from the pecans. It later evolves into something of a coffee like taste. Syrup shows up much later in the tasting session but isn't prominent enough considering that it is a major ingredient in the beer. Regardless, it's a truly odd tasting beer, almost resembling a brown ale/cider fusion. Strange, but not necessarily bad.

M: Wet and silky on first taste, but quickly dries out, creating a kind of powdery feel on tongue. Bitterness is present and caresses the sides and back of the tongue. The dryness the brew leaves is a bit unpleasant though.

Overall, this beer was below average to me by Short's standards. I don't see myself buying it again anytime soon. But it may be worth trying for the odd experience it embodies alone.

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Photo of HeightsEats
2.98/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance is dark brown, pretty much exactly what one would hope for a maple beer. Aroma is burnt caramel and maple, promising a flavorful, satisfying beer. Unfortunately, that promise ends up broken after a drink or two. The alcohol (9.5%) is not well-hidden at all, and a booze flavor predominates with just a little roasted malt and pecans in the aftertaste. I couldn't get through a bottle of this on its own, but having a meal to counterbalance the alcohol made it a little better.

Considering the high bar set by most Short's beers, this was a disappointment. A few months (or more) of ageing, though, might smooth out the flavors and improve it.

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Photo of BearsOnAcid
3.02/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Thanks to jale for this extra.

Mahogany body with a khaki to mocha colored head. No lacing. Not much head retention. The beer fell sort of flat with an off white collar resting on top.

This smells like a cake that would be called "Death by Chocolate" or "Triple Chocolate Deathmatch." Something over the top. I'm even getting a bit of espresso and pralines. This whole thing sort of reminds me of Tiramisu with pecans sprinkled on top. Just an awesome aroma.

Taste gets weird. Almost nothing like the smell. A yeasty flavor kicks in and then a huge wave of bitter espresso takes over the palate. The finish threw my tongue on a roller coaster ride of bitter burnt pecans. Man this is bitter. It's like i just dragged my taste buds across the floor of a tannin factory. Incredibly astringent finish that just keeps lingering until the next sip. As my tongue numbs I can start to pick up on the maple syrup and pecans better but the alcohol stands out more.

Mouthfeel almost is pretty viscous. Nice for a beer like this. I just wish this beast tasted as good as it smelled.

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Photo of davey101
3.03/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

No idea what vintage this is. 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

A - Dark brown body that lets light through. 2 finger high light khaki head settles into some edging. Weak retention, but tight bubbling.

S - Roasty and sweet. Maple syrup isn't present, but it is nutty with some burnt brown sugar and caramel malts. Warming and sort of out of balance.

T - Each sip has this one dimensional flavor that lasts through the entire time. Brown sugar, caramel, and toasted nuts. Its bizarre how the flavor doesn't change or break down. Finish is warming with a lingering nuttiness. High carbonation and a medium mouth feel.

O - I did not like this beer all that much. It seems to be a bit too sweet and nutty with a massive amount of carbonation.

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Photo of dfillius
3.08/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Aggressive pour yields 1/4 finger of tan head with poor retention. Cloudy reddish brown liquid. Big dose of sediment came out at end of pour. I'd like more head.

S: Toffee, caramel, alcohol/booze, brandy.

T: Alcohol at first, closing with nuty pecan. A lot more balanced than I expected. After a while though, the intro becomes very hot - way too much. If it stayed like the first sips, I'd like more. This one could use some age maybe.

M: Not as hot as I expected at first, then way too hot later on! Nuttiness adds some complexity and roundness.

D: Too hot for me to have another, or even want to finish 12 oz. I won't buy again.

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Photo of oline73
3.13/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle into a standard pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a murky reddish brown with a finger of off white head and good retention.

Smell: Very sweet, mildly tart malt with a ton of dark fruit notes. There is also a molasses note with some wood and spices.

Taste: Not quite as sweet as the smell, but the sweet malt and dark fruit notes are still there. There is a lot of alcohol and a mildly tart flavor to this beer as well. There seems to be a woodiness to this beer as well. Finish is bitter with a lot of hot alcohol.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with smooth carbonation and a dry finish.

Overall: Way too much alcohol. I would have liked the more complex flavors to have room to shine. Oh well.

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Photo of AleWatcher
3.28/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle into pint glass.

A rust colored body sits below a brown sugar colored head. Two fingers of thick impenetrable head looked great at first, but dissipated into a foamy cap pretty quickly. Some noodley appendages of lace cling and reach for the top of my pint.

Smells sweet. Really sweet. Plenty of malts and a sugary maple syrup bite. No hops. There is a toasted nuttiness here too but it is much more mild in the taste.
The flavor is certainly sweet-- caramel malts and hints of chocolate too, then maple syrup. The beer has the toasty nuttiness hitting towards the finish, and it makes an effort to dry the beer out a bit, but the overly-sweet brew will not allow the residual sugars to go down without a fight.

Pretty fulll body with decent carbonation... Leaves a syrupy feel coating my mouth and teeth.

Overall, this beer is like crystal meth: might be fun to try once, but certainly bot something I will be looking for in the future.

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Photo of younger35
3.32/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Received this brew in a trade with hoppymeal. I've really been excited to try this one, almost the most of all the Imperial series. Drank from my Ithaca Excelsior tulip.

High Gravity Brown Ale
Date Brewed: 3/20/07
Batch No: 289
Date Bottled: 5/9/07
Non Traditional Ingredients: Earthwork Maple Syrup, Pecans
Imperial Beer 7 of 13
Bottle Number 340 of 936

Appearance- Pours a fairly weird looking dark reddish brown with a small light tan head that recedes quickly. No cap is left but a fairly small collar that leaves very little lacing.
Smell- Fairly sweet smelling with a light toasty nuttiness. If it didn't tell me pecans were used on the bottle I wouldn't specifically guess pecans but they do let there presence be known. Some brown sugar and plenty of dark fruits including prunes, raisins and plums. The maple syrup doesn't really stand out much, just sorta smells like molasses.
Taste- Starts very fruity with a metallic raisin like kick before giving away to a light alcoholic sweetness. The alcohol isn't necessarily prevalent; it's just spicy and nicely acclimated to the beer. Some caramel and brown sugar are fairly prevalent and the nuttiness really shows as the beer warms. It's rather sweet and can get pretty cloying at times but I can get past it. Finishes with a rather toasty nuttiness.
Mouthfeel- Pretty thick and hefty with almost syrupy feel and very light carbonation.
Drinkability- Overall this brew isn't bad it just has two things about it that I don't necessarily appreciate in a beer. The metallic grape thing and the cloying aspect. Big turn offs for this guy. I do appreciate what Joe was going for in this beer though and I wonder if more of the nuttiness would have showed fresh. Either way thanks for the opportunity Derek!

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Photo of BeerTruth
3.33/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks again to hoppymeal for this Short's brew.

1 pint 9.6 fl oz. poured into my SanTan glass. Bottle #288 of 936.

Pours a rich mahogany with a fluffy two finger tan colored head that slowly dies down. Lots of bubbles racing to the top of the glass. A nice wall of lacing is left on the sides. Very interesting aroma of sausage, young maple syrup, and toasted pecans. Caramel malt and cane sugars dominate the nose as well. Smokey wood scents here and there too. Taste is much like the smell but has an interesting spice-like sting to it along with brown sugar and molasses. Aftertaste has a toasted nut flavor with a weak pancake sweetness that dries the mouth. Just not digging the flavor to be honest, probably because it's nothing like I've ever had before. Mouthfeel is warm and medium bodied with a constant carbonation. Drinkability suffers because of the over the top sweetness. Bottle should definitely be shared. I could see people that really enjoy this beer and really dislike this beer, as for me, I'm just about in the middle. Congratulations to Short's for being pioneers in the extreme beer movement. Thanks again Derek for giving me the opportunity to try this truly unqiue beer.

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Photo of badboyrsl84
3.35/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark brown in the tulip glass with an off white 1 inch head.

Smell - a strong fig smell. With further investigation I get a pecan/nutty smell and sweet malt, no hint of syrup like the bottle states.

Taste - it tastes very similar to the other shorts brew with fermented with peanuts. One again the figs stands out the most in the taste followed by the pecan nuttyness. It finishes with more fig/sweet malt.

Overall - ehhh its ok

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Photo of Arbitrator
3.35/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Chilled 750mL bottle, shared by ipa247 at his recent sour tasting. Thanks, Jeff.

A: Pours a port-like maroon body with moderately-retaining off-white head.

S: Maple, nuts (though I'd be hard-pressed to identify them as pecans after reading the bottle), toffee, caramel, toast.

T: About the same as the nose. It tips a little to the sweet side with toffee, caramel, toast, and maple. The nuts are.... bitter, almost like year-old walnuts (I know this because I have some in my cupboard).

M: It gets a bit cloying and syrupy after a number of sips, which is weird because it's fairly dry. I blame the carbonation, which seems a lit low. A bit boozy in the finish. A strange, uneven bitterness from the nuts, as I mentioned.

D: It wasn't awful, but I didn't care much for it. One of the weaker Short's beers I have had, though I love and commend their experimental side.

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Photo of sleuthdog
3.35/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Thanks out to rpbuckeye for this one

Poured into my new Short's pint courtesy of rpbuckeye also

Pour: A nice rusty brown with reddish hues when held up to the light. Maybe a half finger of dirty white head that decided not to hold on. No lacing even when trying to produce some.

Smell: Sweet with a nutty like touch on the nose. I do pick up on the maple aspect of this with some brown sugar and dark fruits. There is some roasty notes within everything else.

Taste: Sweet for sure with toasted malts and the pecans in the back and aftertaste. It is somewhat a big beer in that it is very sweet and maybe too much so. There is the sweetness that I guess is from the maple syrup but it also has a burn sugar like quality. I am not getting much alcohol if at all.

Mouthfeel: I would describe this as medium maybe because of the sticky feel that seems to cover the palate but yet it is thin at the same time. Hard to describe for me. It is smooth and creamy with a let down on the thinness of this beer. Carbonation seems medium.

Overall: First offering from Short's and I guess I would say it is just ok. It is pretty easy to drink despite it's fairly high ABV but just too sweet and a bit off balance. I like the uniqueness of the nut flavor with the sweetness.

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Photo of BeRanger
3.38/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

A - Pours Amberish color with about two fingers of off-white head. After the head subsides, there is a little bit of lacing.

S - Smells tart, the maple syrup is bold, dark fruits, molasses, pecans and kind of a wood/spice smell as well.

T - Tastes better than the smell, something about the tart maple syrup smell turned me off at first however the taste is pretty good. Typical brown ale taste with a hint of maple syrup and sugary/candied pecans. The alcohol taste is pretty well masked.

M - Light body, mild carbonation - finishes a little bitter.

O - While I wasn't a huge fan of the smell, it's a pretty interesting brown ale. It's sweetness and ABV certainly doesnt make it a session beer for me but I don't mind it.

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Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.38/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Reviewed on 6/29/2010. On tap at Shorts. Pours a dark amber brown with barely any head. Aroma of sweet nutty malt. Flavor of maple (but not so much maple sugar), nutty pecan, also a strange saltiness (mushrooms?). Not overly sugary or malty as I was expecting. Still, it didn't quite sit right with me. An interesting beer to try, but I'd suggest a small sample!

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Photo of LuthersLager
3.39/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Short's beers are always worth a try. Sometimes I find a unique and amazing beer, sometime not so much. Woodmaster was one I opened with great anticipation. I'm a huge fan of Michigan flavors; cherries, blueberries & maple syrup and this beer boasts maple syrup in the description. I've had a lot of maple syrup beers that frankly should have left the maple syrup out of their name. Short's typically can nail the flavors they boast in their beer. But like many other maple syrup beers Woodmaster fell short. Its a good brown ale, but nothing exceptional. Tastes like many other craft brew brown ales that use dark brown sugar or molasses, but lacks distinct maple syrup flavor.

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Short's The Woodmaster from Short's Brewing Company
3.78 out of 5 based on 349 ratings.
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