How to classify India Pale Lagers?

Discussion in 'BeerAdvocate Talk' started by stevepat, Jul 7, 2019.

  1. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Savant (996) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    I always feel my answer is better. :wink:

    I'm also a fan of this compromise, agree completely.

    If you can tell the difference between a Baltic Porter and a regular Porter in a blind tasting, you're a better man than me.

    If I put an IPL, West Coast IPA, and a New England IPA in a blind tasting (opaque cups too obviously), I would bet the New England IPA would be the style most people guessed correctly.

    There also weren't rating websites back then.
     
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  2. Prince_Casual

    Prince_Casual Disciple (319) Nov 3, 2012 District of Columbia
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    I classify them as good if they're really fresh and have been kept cold

    but quite gross once they fall off which is ~4 weeks if not sooner.

    The 2015 Beer Camp Hoppy Lager 12pks that were like $13 at Harris Teeter, I must have bought 4 or 5 times before it felt too old. I'd love to se that one come back, in 12pks cans.
     
  3. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,211) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    :thinking_face: You mean aside from that extra alcohol bump?
     
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  4. PapaGoose03

    PapaGoose03 Poo-Bah (2,429) May 30, 2005 Michigan
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    I don't want to re-read this thread for an answer, but has anyone asked the rhetorical question of: What style name will we put on a pale lager that is brewed in India (whether hoppy or not)? :wink:

    EDIT: I just looked at the BA list of breweries in India and selected this one https://www.beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/43845/ because it has the most beers in its list, and guess what....they brew a pale ale. And it's listed in the American Pale Ale style category!
     
    #84 PapaGoose03, Jul 12, 2019 at 9:47 PM
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2019 at 9:58 PM
  5. stevepat

    stevepat Defender (647) Mar 12, 2013 California
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    gujarati gold
     
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  6. PapaGoose03

    PapaGoose03 Poo-Bah (2,429) May 30, 2005 Michigan
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    Is that a style name of a beer name? Or you made that up.:wink:
     
  7. stevepat

    stevepat Defender (647) Mar 12, 2013 California
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    Haha I made it up, would be a good beer name though.
    In honest answer to your question I would say they would be INDIAN pale lagers as opposed to INDIA pale lagers. And then off course we'll have the inevitable Indian India pale lager
     
  8. PapaGoose03

    PapaGoose03 Poo-Bah (2,429) May 30, 2005 Michigan
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    For the record, y'all probably knew that I meant pale lager instead of ale at both iterations in my earlier post.
     
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  9. officerbill

    officerbill Aspirant (266) Feb 9, 2019 New York
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    So, a Double IPL?
     
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  10. stevepat

    stevepat Defender (647) Mar 12, 2013 California
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    I(n)IPL?
     
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  11. zid

    zid Meyvn (1,294) Feb 15, 2010 New York
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    In the UK, "brown stout" was the original name for "stout" and was used in the 18th and 19th century. People used the term interchangeably with "strong porter." Such beers were also made with what was known as "brown malt." At one point, you could have "brown stout" or "pale stout" before the term was linked to just strong porters.
     
  12. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (1,782) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Society

    Yup, that's the evolution of the term outside the US (I guess I just assumed that was common knowledge:wink: but should have noted it), just pointing out that in the US it seems to have lasted longer, right into the post-Repeal era when brewers like Ballantine and Feigenspan in Newark and Esslinger's in Phila., all of which also brewed porters, labeled their beers "Brown Stout" even as the Federal definition from the FAA Act (1934) made the "Brown" kinda redundant:
    I see that some retailers' ads at the time in the US still called Guinness "Brown Stout" even though the label on the US imported version did not.
     
  13. cavedave

    cavedave Poo-Bah (2,572) Mar 12, 2009 New York
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    Hmmm, gonna Sikh that style out, and hopefully Singh its praises.
     
  14. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Savant (996) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    Don't forget Imperial Indian India pale lager!!!

    And of course, if it's in the US, you'll have the inevitable limited release in 4 packs of 16 oz. cans of Double Dry Hopped Imperial Indian India Pale Lager.

    ISO: DDHIIIPL

    FT: A head ache
     
  15. Crusader

    Crusader Aspirant (274) Feb 4, 2011 Sweden

    For curiosity's sake I thought I would mention that when going through a Swedish brewing logbook I noticed that the brewery started using a top fermenting yeast on the 22nd of November 1917 for their pilsner brews and they upped the pitching temp from 11.25 C to 12.5 C (pre-war it had been 10.62 C so there had been some creep whilst still using a bottom fermenting yeast). The original gravity was down to 6.5% Balling at that point after successive cuts (it would see further cuts in the coming year). They kept using the same top fermenting yeast until 4th of September 1919 when they started using a bottom fermenting yeast again. The cellar temperature crept up from 1.25 C to first 3.12 C on the 31st of October 1917, then up to 6.25 C 22nd of May 1918, and up to 7.5 C on 1st of October 1918. It went back down to pre-war temperatures by March 1920 by successive reductions in temperature. The hopping rate shifted a bit, mostly downward compared with the pre-war level but at one point in October-November 1918 it exceeded the pre-war level for a few brews (the hops were from the previous year or older).

    These shifts were obviously brought about due to problems caused by WW1 and rationing but I thought it was interesting nonetheless to see how brewing was impacted and altered as a result of the war, even with Sweden being a neutral country. One thing I notice about the shift over to top fermentation is that the primary fermentation period is cut down from around 6 days at the same original gravity when using a bottom fermenting yeast, to 3 days with the top fermenting yeast. The specific gravity when transfering the beer to the cellar was on the other hand increased from around 2.8% Balling to around 5-5.4% Balling. This leaves us with room to speculate about whether the change was driven primarily by concern for the health of the yeast when solely fermenting lower gravity worts, which is what I'm thinking, or something else or a combination of factors. With a drastic move like that (which must have had a pronounced impact on the flavor and aroma properties of the beer) I would have to imagine that the decision came down to something as fundamental of a problem as that. But I don't have the answer of course.
     
  16. zid

    zid Meyvn (1,294) Feb 15, 2010 New York
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    If a brewer calls a beer an IPL, then I call it that too. If I was entering one on this site, I would classify it as an "American lager" because that's essentially the convention here... BUT, to go against the main thinking in this thread, I think classifying it as an IPA is sort of the better fit in an imperfect world.

    When a brewer uses a so-called "ale yeast" to make a beer labeled pilsner, the collective here puts it in the pilsner category. A strong ale made with lager yeast is put in a strong ale category. A lower ABV beer labeled "ale" but made with lager yeast is put in a pale ale category, and so on, and so on. There's far more fluidity in use than people realize. Essentially, the brewer calls the beer the result they were aiming for regardless of what was used to make it. In other words, the yeast doesn't always define the beer... the character of the beer defines the beer. I understand why people don't like this but that doesn't change that it's sometimes done that way.

    When a brewer makes an IPL, they are going for an IPA except they are using an unconventional yeast for the job. The only difference between IPLs and the other examples above is that the brewer wants to publicly announce that it's a "lager." IPLs have as much to do with India as the IPAs on the shelf. The general differences between an IPA and an IPL are certainly no greater than the possible differences between different IPAs.
     
  17. officerbill

    officerbill Aspirant (266) Feb 9, 2019 New York
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    Huh, I'll be damned (well, maybe just darned). You were right about numbers.
    Between wegman's and the beer store I only counted 6 IPL's from 5 breweries. I would have sworn there were more.
    However; I still believe high hopped lagers merit their own style listing since I also only saw 4 Brut IPA's.
     
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  18. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Savant (996) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    Yeah I'm still confused why Brut IPA is already a style.

    And of course I was right.

    I've only been wrong twice. When Trump got in, and the Patriots lost in 2007.
     
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  19. officerbill

    officerbill Aspirant (266) Feb 9, 2019 New York
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    [​IMG]

     
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  20. jcarraher

    jcarraher Initiate (27) Jun 13, 2019 Tennessee

    I've read through the forum, and there are many valid points and some just traditional nomenclature. The bottom line seems to be, are we classifying beers by yeast type, fermentation temperatures or by flavor. Right now, it looks like we do both. I don't see a simple answer. If the brewer wants to call it an IPL, it's an IPL. If the brewer wants to call it Hoppy Lager, such as Sierra Nevada, it's a hoppy lager. It's just semantics. The whole hoppy higher alcohol style was created based on history of exportation to India for preservation of the beer. So, should every higher hopped ale, or lager, have the name India associated with it? I say, roll it out. Put whatever name you want on it. The drinkers will decide if it has merit. Try and go with trends if you want, but, with the sophisticated market now, the best tasting beers, no matter what the name and classification, will win. On a personal note, I think beers should be classified by flavor profiles, and not type of yeast or fermentation. This may change what you think of my post, but, so posted.
     
  21. jcarraher

    jcarraher Initiate (27) Jun 13, 2019 Tennessee

    Just as a follow up, based on historical information, IPA would be the traditional category for all beers that met this traditional flavor profile, regardless of how it was achieved. I know the name ale and India could be wrong according to how it was prepared. But, everyone knows what to expect from an IPA flavor profile.
     
  22. stevepat

    stevepat Defender (647) Mar 12, 2013 California
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    Ya a dry ale with a bitter/earthy taste...
    No! a big piney palate scraper...
    What?! everyone knows it's a bright citrusy refreshing beach beer...
    Who let in the dinosaurs? It's a super tropical juicy hazebomb with a pillowy texture...
    Guys, let's be clear, the only good ipas are made with alder syrup and fruity pebbles and lactose, they look like blue powerade and you have to drink them with a spoon...
     
  23. jcarraher

    jcarraher Initiate (27) Jun 13, 2019 Tennessee

    Let's try not to be sarcastic. I'm talking about major differences in what to expect from a beer in basic categories. Not differences within a category. For example, a stout vs. a pilsner. If these resemble each other, you are in another category. The whole reason for this thread is that all beer does not taste the same. If you disagree that a stout and pilsner are different, then maybe alcoholic kool aid fortified with either oatmeal or grape juice is for you.
     
  24. stevepat

    stevepat Defender (647) Mar 12, 2013 California
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    All I'm saying is that IPA isn't a functional catch all category. There are lots of flavors within the IPA realm and the reason for this thread is actually to figure out where to put beers labeled as IPLs. Highly hopped lagers that certainly aren't IPAs by the definitions we're all used to, but will share flavors with some IPAs. However if we're calling IPLs IPAs then we have all kinds of rearranging to do in the beer category game
     
  25. jcarraher

    jcarraher Initiate (27) Jun 13, 2019 Tennessee

    Agreed. There is a lot of work to do depending how we want beers classified.
     
  26. officerbill

    officerbill Aspirant (266) Feb 9, 2019 New York
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    Which SN beer are you referring to? 'cause none of their lagers are particularly high hopped.

    "India Pale" is no longer tethered to the original definition. IP has come mean hop forward ales. There may be complimentary flavors, but hops are the stars vs carry the loads. Just as "Imperial" is coming to mean stronger flavors with higher alcohol, and "American" translates as more hops than the European version.

    Right up front, I'm not partial to IPA's. German Pilsners or SN PA are about as hoppy as I normally go. So, for me, what a brewery calls their beer matters (see my review of Ommegang's Prost Cologne "kolsch"). When I look at the label on a can or bottle I like to have a general idea what that beer will taste like.
    Many Winter Lagers have a flavor profile similar to Belgian Dark Ales, should they be lumped together? Do Dunkel Weißen taste enough like Dunkel that they should be classed together; even though they are very different beers?

    Let's just look at these IPA offerings from SN
    1) an intense rush of hop flavor and the lush aromas of mango, papaya, and passionfruit with every sip.
    2) aggressive yet balanced beer featuring the complex citrus, pine, and herbal character of whole-cone hops

    Decadent makes these two IPA's:
    1) double dry hopped IPA. Notes of grapefruit, orange and pear and white grape dance on the palate while undertones of caramel compliment the citrus aroma.
    2) the velvety soft goodness of Japanese cherry blossom mochi using pressed cherry blossom leaves, Madagascar vanilla bean, and home made marshmallow.

    Maybe after the IPL question is settled we can talk about a separate Fruit/Tropical/Flavored IPA style? 'cause "discussing" beer styles is almost as much fun as sampling them . :rofl::beers:
     
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  27. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Savant (996) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    Probably this beer...

    [​IMG]

    Most people would not confuse the flavor profile or even the appearance of a Dunkel Weizen and a Munich Dunkel.

    People could easily confuse an IPA and an IPL.
     
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  28. zid

    zid Meyvn (1,294) Feb 15, 2010 New York
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    Commenting on the part I bolded - We'd be in better shape if we just recalibrated the faulty way we approach the lager/ale divide. As I mentioned in my post above, there already are beers made with "top fermenting" yeast that we've put in lager categories and vice versa - so it's already a "thing." First off, it's problematic that we think that everything in the beer world is either a lager or an ale. Secondly, and more directly related to the topic, it's problematic that we subscribe to the idea of an "ale or lager yeast" and that such a yeast makes that respective kind of beer. The issue is that the architecture is build on a faulty foundation.
     
  29. officerbill

    officerbill Aspirant (266) Feb 9, 2019 New York
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    Something new every day. I've never seen that beer, looks like it's been retired for a couple of years. At least there is truth in advertising with the name "it's a hoppy lager, we're not going to make up a style for it". :grin:

    You're right, that was a poor example. My battery was dying and that was the first comparison that popped into my head.
    If you're making categories based solely on flavor profile, as has been suggested, the BJCP guidelines for Vienna Lager
    and Blonde Ale
    are, arguably, close enough to be in the same category.
    Then again, how much of a flavor difference is needed before there's a new category?

    BA's system of gradually narrowing categories and styles works well for both rating and describing. The groups are broad enough to accommodate variations and sub-styles can be added when popular profiles diverge too much from the parent. Such as with tropical/fruit IPA and IPA mimicking lagers

    The problem isn't with the system, it's with the fact that it has gone too long without maintenance. To redefine, prune, and add styles then ensure that all of the reviewed beers are moved into the appropriate category would be a herculean task.

    Take, for instance,
    with 767 beers dating back to at least 2009 (looks like BA already has a category for IPL :wink:). That's a minor category with, relatively, few beers; I'd hate to take on IPA or American Lager.
     
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  30. stevepat

    stevepat Defender (647) Mar 12, 2013 California
    Trader

    I don't know enough about the intricacies of brewing to comment intelligently on the lager/ale divide, all I can add is that the divide is the foundational differentiator that I was taught when classifying a beer. I am certainly open to hearing from yourself and other more informed folks about what a more useful form of classification would look like. I can definitely see some room for improvement, although the current system seems to work well for lots of styles.
     
  31. jcarraher

    jcarraher Initiate (27) Jun 13, 2019 Tennessee

    The problem is that you can make a Kolsch with an ale yeast, and depending on ingredients and fermentation, it may taste like a traditional pilsner or light lager. And, as the thread has stated multiple times, you can take a beer fermented with lager yeast, and hop it up (IPL) to taste like a traditional IPA. Maybe, just name by the style no matter how it was created. For instance, India Pale style beer, Porter style, Stout style, Pilsner style. Obviously sub-categories of each style would be included too. Then, to know more about how it was created, you have to do your own research, or maybe some of the information is listed on the label. I'm just throwing this out there for feedback. It may not be a solvable problem without a government entity, or beer governing body coming in and throwing like a metric system at it, lol.
     
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  32. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Savant (996) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    They've done it before. I think it was years before they called Celebration Ale an IPA. And "Hazy Little Thing" isn't called a New England IPA, it's just called a "Hazy IPA".

    Personally I don't think those two are close at all. I see what you're getting at, and you're right. This idea CAN work for some styles, but not these two, despite there being some similarities.

    First, and someone can correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think you're EVER going to get fruity esters from a proper Vienna Lager. And that "toasty" character is a major component to a great Vienna, because the brewery likely used Vienna malts.

    Also, "Blonde Ale" is kind of a catch all category like Saison in my opinion. I don't think there's really a bench mark for the style, whereas with a Vienna, it's a very specific style.

    I feel like half the time "Blonde Ale" is just used for brewer's that are attempting something like a Kolsch, but are just making a hoppy (and probably poor) American version. It's really just a somewhat hoppy easy drinking ale.

    Regarding the "European Dark Lager" category, I think that works because there's much less examples in this database.

    If this were "Czech Beer Advocate" you'd never lump an adjunct dark lager with a proper Czech dark lager.

    You do make some good suggestions in your post in my opinion.

    But I think someone who's had some experience drinking proper fresh examples of a German Pilsner and Kolsch (bonus points if they're from the source) could easily pick out the differences in a Kolsch and German Pils.

    You'll get some fruity characteristics and a subtle white wine/grape flavor from a Kolsch. You should never pick that up in a German Pilsner and it will most likely be hoppier than a Kolsch, especially a Northern German Pils.

    While an IPL should be cleaner and crisper than an IPA, beers this hoppy can cover up certain characteristics. A Kolsch (typically) won't be hoppy enough to cover up the differences between it and a German Pils.
     
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  33. jcarraher

    jcarraher Initiate (27) Jun 13, 2019 Tennessee

    I agree with you, but... I made a Kolsch, ok, I was trying to make a German Pilsner, and had no ability to ferment in the low '50's. So, I made a recipe as close to that as I could find and used White Labs California 001 yeast and fermented at 65 degrees and I called it a Kolsch. Anyway, it came relatively close. I made the same using Wyeast Bohemian Lager 2124 fermented at 65 degrees and came close. Of course, it was lager yeast fermented at low ale temps.
     
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  34. officerbill

    officerbill Aspirant (266) Feb 9, 2019 New York
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    :dizzy_face::scream::astonished::-1: not just NO, but HELL NO!

    The Beer Judge Certification Program already has a comprehensive style guide at http://dev.bjcp.org/style/2015/
    (link to easier to use pdf https://www.bjcp.org/docs/2015_Guidelines_Beer.pdf).

    The Brewer's Association also has their style guide (https://www.brewersassociation.org/educational-publications/beer-styles/ - pdf at https://www.brewersassociation.org/resources/brewers-association-beer-style-guidelines/)

    These are comprehensive style guides, yet neither one has a listing for what brewers call Brut IPA or NE IPA. Craft brewing styles and tastes change too quickly for any government agency or private organization to maintain and enforce strict guidelines.
     
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  35. officerbill

    officerbill Aspirant (266) Feb 9, 2019 New York
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    But you get what I'm saying. I'm familiar with Viennas, but off the top of my head I can't remember having any blonde ales. I was going solely by the written descriptions and trying to show the flaw in taste only groupings; that two beers may share a similar flavor profile on paper, but still be different brews.

    That was simply to show how difficult it would be to throughly clean up BA's listings. What was meant to be a temporary catchall has never been cleaned up (this is where BA says you're supposed to put an IPL).

    :+1:
     
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  36. jcarraher

    jcarraher Initiate (27) Jun 13, 2019 Tennessee

    I understand. I am entering beers in next years Homebrewcon and these are the guidelines.What I want to submit doesn't neatly fit in a category. Anything outside the box, at least for IPA, goes into a few categories and then Specialty IPA which covers everything else. I can't neatly put everything into one guideline. I think that this problem really can't be solved due to the diversity of beer. Thanks be to the Beer Gods for this problem. Enjoy whichever style problem is yours.
     
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  37. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Savant (996) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    Assuming you used Pils malt for both, that is a prominent flavor in each style. I can definitely see the two being similar.

    Depending on the hop profile they could be more or less similar.

    They effectively have New England IPA covered with their "Juicy/Hazy" pale ale/IPA categories.

    I do get what you're saying, and I agree.

    I just wouldn't have used those two styles either. I think of a Vienna like a "lighter" amber Oktoberfest (maybe slightly hoppier too).

    I would NEVER consider a Blonde Ale a "lighter" amber Oktoberfest. And if someone made an amber style Oktoberfest that tastes like a strong Blonde Ale, I'd slap them in the face.
     
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  38. zid

    zid Meyvn (1,294) Feb 15, 2010 New York
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  39. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Savant (996) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    Well sure, we can debate about what it should be, just like with Pilsner. And also they've both changed throughout history, as all styles have.

    But at the heart of each style, I personally feel the brewer should at least use the malts for which the style is named after.

    And if I go to Vienna, I sure as shit am not going to be drinking a Blonde Ale labeled "Vienna".
     
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