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johnwpowell

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I'm planning the switch to electric brewing and started looking into recirculating eBIAB. I like the approach, but came across 2 vessel brewing which I hadn't heard of. What I like about it is there's no need to lift and strain a bag and has higher efficiency.

This video shows a 1BBL setup, but no reason it couldn't be downsized.

Here's an article on it as well:
http://www.alenuts.com/Alenuts/brutus20.html

I could use some advice on setting it up.

My current hot-side equipment:
  • Edelmettal 15 gallon kettle with a tangential whirlpool
  • 2 chugger pumps
  • 2 coolers (1 has false bottom and sparge attachment)
  • Plenty of camlocks/triclamp/silicone hose
  • Blichmann Therminator plate chiller

What I plan to do:
  • Retrofit the kettle with a triclamp stainless heating element, likely 240, but 120 still on the table
  • Add temperature probe to the kettle
  • Initially use the cooler mash tun and replace next year with Blichmann
What I'm not sure about (trying to start with cheapest option that can be grown later)
For the controller, I'm looking 3 choices:
  1. Get a 1V controller like Auber cube 2. During brew day, put the temp probe in the mash tun and it controls the heater in the kettle. Then switch probe to kettle for the boil
  2. Get a 2v controller like EBC 330. Although I'm not sure how it works when not heating the mash tun. In the video, they had both heaters on the kettle
  3. DIY a controller
Opinions appreciated!
 

CodeSection

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I decided on a two vessel system and have been very happy with it. At one time I was looking at the WortHog EBC 130 with two pumps and the WortHog EBC 330, but decided on Auber Instuments to custom build my controller. Also, I wanted the EZBoil DSPR 320.

As can be seen in the pictures, both the BK and MT have temperature probes at the valves. The manual thermometers are there as back up. I have only one heating element which is in the BK. It has been super easy to control my mash temps.
 

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kevin58

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I bought a 3 vessel rig from High Gravity. Unfortunately it arrived in the middle of deer season here in Michigan and except for setting it all up I haven't had a chance to use it yet.

One of the things I liked was the ability to pick and choose components when you order your system. If you have pumps, a chiller and clamps already you can delete those from the base system and save some money. They may even build the kettles with triclamp fittings for you. They are really good at working with you.

I don't know about the two kettle system but there are temp probes on both my HLT and BK so you may not need to add one.
Mine came with the EBC 330 and it has two separate switches for the heating elements and the pumps. You can turn the HLT off when finished mashing.
I would try to sway you to go 240. You'll be waiting all day long (exaggeration) trying to bring your wort up to a boil with 120.
 
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johnwpowell

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I decided on a two vessel system and have been very happy with it. At one time I was looking at the WortHog EBC 130 with two pumps and the WortHog EBC 330, but decided on Auber Instuments to custom build my controller. Also, I wanted the EZBoil DSPR 320.

As can be seen in the pictures, both the BK and MT have temperature probes at the valves. The manual thermometers are there as back up. I have only one heating element which is in the BK. It has been super easy to control my mash temps.
YES!!!! Thank you.

I will PM you on your controller design.
 

Ahks

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One concern about 2 vessel with 1 element is where you control and read your temps. If you're reading your temps far from the element (in the mash), then the temp near the wort can get hotter than your set point.

In my case, I was reading the temp at my recirculation output in mash tub and was observing higher than anticipated FGs in my brews. So while my mash was at 154f, I suspect I was denaturing the enzymatic activity in the wort around the element, in part.
 

CodeSection

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One concern about 2 vessel with 1 element is where you control and read your temps. If you're reading your temps far from the element (in the mash), then the temp near the wort can get hotter than your set point.

In my case, I was reading the temp at my recirculation output in mash tub and was observing higher than anticipated FGs in my brews. So while my mash was at 154f, I suspect I was denaturing the enzymatic activity in the wort around the element, in part.
Actually, in my case, it has been really easy to maintain the temperature. Both probes (one on the BK and one on the MT) agree with the manual thermometers on the BK and MT. You can see in the above pic the two probes temperatures are the same.
 

Beholder

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Actually, in my case, it has been really easy to maintain the temperature. Both probes (one on the BK and one on the MT) agree with the manual thermometers on the BK and MT. You can see in the above pic the two probes temperatures are the same.
Same here - I have controller tied into TC off the BK outlet (that feeds into MT), which keeps temps all within a degree at setpoint. Naturally, there’s offset and lag at ramps, but no overshoots.
 

Ahks

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Actually, in my case, it has been really easy to maintain the temperature. Both probes (one on the BK and one on the MT) agree with the manual thermometers on the BK and MT. You can see in the above pic the two probes temperatures are the same.
Same here - I have controller tied into TC off the BK outlet (that feeds into MT), which keeps temps all within a degree at setpoint. Naturally, there’s offset and lag at ramps, but no overshoots.
And this is what I have done. I just did a first leak test with a new probe measuring wort temp about an inch from my element. This sensor will be the one my ezBoil uses. I'll also monitor my mash temp with a second probe.

My goal in sharing my previous statement is so folks reading in the future would have more knowledge [emoji851]
 
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johnwpowell

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So you saying is that a single RTD on the out of the boil kettle is really all that is needed. Then once the boil starts you don’t care about temperature until whirlpool or chilling and the pump would be running then. So for my scenario an Auber Cube 2 would get the job done.
 

CodeSection

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So you saying is that a single RTD on the out of the boil kettle is really all that is needed. Then once the boil starts you don’t care about temperature until whirlpool or chilling and the pump would be running then. So for my scenario an Auber Cube 2 would get the job done.
It appears @Beholder is using one probe and @Ahks is using two probes like me. One for the BK (with heating element) and one for the MT to monitor the temperature there.

I guess you could use the Auber Cube 2 with the one probe on the BK and use a manual thermometer on the MT. Personally, I like that I have a reading on the MT which will be more accurate than having only one reading from the BK.
 
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johnwpowell

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It appears @Beholder is using one probe and @Ahks is using two probes like me. One for the BK (with heating element) and one for the MT to monitor the temperature there.

I guess you could use the Auber Cube 2 with the one probe on the BK and use a manual thermometer on the MT. Personally, I like that I have a reading on the MT which will be more accurate than having only one reading from the BK.
Im really leaning towards a custom control panel with a switch to go between the probes
 

Bobby_M

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The reason you want the probe to be measuring the liquid in the kettle is that you can easily overheat and runaway if you lose recirculation. It shouldn't be a problem if you're sitting there the whole time, but these kinds of systems lend themselves to being able to walk away for the mash.

If you plan to stick to 5 gallon batches, just put a bag in the 15 gallon pot and put an eyebolt above your brewing area to hold the bag up for draining. You don't even need to recirculate at this batch size. The temp holds pretty rock solid with just the element keeping the underside warm and the bag doesn't get all clogged up. It drains easy and the efficiency is in the mid to high 70s with a squeeze.
 

Noob_Brewer

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I decided on a two vessel system and have been very happy with it. At one time I was looking at the WortHog EBC 130 with two pumps and the WortHog EBC 330, but decided on Auber Instuments to custom build my controller. Also, I wanted the EZBoil DSPR 320.

As can be seen in the pictures, both the BK and MT have temperature probes at the valves. The manual thermometers are there as back up. I have only one heating element which is in the BK. It has been super easy to control my mash temps.
Code, very nice 2 vessel system! Is your system 15 or 20gal vessels? are you doing both 5 and 10 gallon batches? I am intrigued by the 2 vessel approach but have read that it may be difficult for higher ABV batches if no sparge water used. This is because the full volume recirculating mash ends up being saturated leaving sugars behind for higher ABV beers. So do you add any water to the grains at all? Also, what is the typical efficiency on your system? More importantly, how consistent are your efficiencies with this 2 vessel system? As my profile implies, Im a noob and just now planning a system. Thanks!
 

CodeSection

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@Noob_Brewer, I have 20g custom kettles from Spike Brewing that I use for 10 gallon batches. The highest ABV that I have brewed has been 7.1% so I cannot answer regarding higher ABVs such as 10% or say 12%. My BH efficiency consistently runs between 72-74% with my last brew at 74%. I mill at .035 gap. I suspect if I mill a little finer, my BH efficiency percentage will go up. I'm just concerned of milling too fine.

I assembled a 2" boil kettle steam condenser where no overhead ventilation is needed from the parts another member, and inventor of this, listed in this thread (https://www.homebrewtalk.com/forum/...denser-no-overhead-ventilation-needed.636955/). It works perfectly! I had Spike install a 2" TC at the top of my BK where I attach the steam condenser. The 2" TC is installed at 2.5" dead center from the BK top lip. This means I can only add 17.25-17.75 gal of water to the BK. Many of my recipes call for more water.

So, I add water to the BK based upon the recipe and grain. However, I intentionally hold back 2 gallons. When the BK heats to 145F, I drain the hot water into two 1 gallon containers. Then I add the previously withheld non-heated 2 gallons of water into the BK. Once the temperature gets to the desired level, I transfer water from the BK to the MT, set the Blichmann auto sparge arm for water to be 1" above grain bed, recirculate only the MT for about 10 minutes to set the grain bed, then start the recirculating between the BK and MT. I stir the mash every 15 minutes but do not disturb the grain bed.

I generally mash for 75 minutes. After mashing is finished, I transfer the wort into the BK. Once I transfer all the wort over, I batch sparge with the previous 2 gallons withdrawn of hot water into the MT.

I'm sure I could be more efficient and I am open for any suggestions that others may have regarding my process. So, @Noob_Brewer, that is how I do it. Hopefully, that gives you some ideas!
 
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vartymov

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I decided on a two vessel system and have been very happy with it. At one time I was looking at the WortHog EBC 130 with two pumps and the WortHog EBC 330, but decided on Auber Instuments to custom build my controller. Also, I wanted the EZBoil DSPR 320.

As can be seen in the pictures, both the BK and MT have temperature probes at the valves. The manual thermometers are there as back up. I have only one heating element which is in the BK. It has been super easy to control my mash temps.
What size kettles did you get from Spike Brewing, and what size batches do you brew (min/max)?
 

CodeSection

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What size kettles did you get from Spike Brewing, and what size batches do you brew (min/max)?
Both were 20 gallon kettles and I only brew to net 10 gallon batches to bottle. Since my brews are generally higher in ABVs, my grain bill has been as high as 37lbs. Once I brewed a batch that netted 11.5 gallons to bottle which put 12.8 gallons in my CF10. Since the CF10 capacity is only 14 gallons that was too close for comfort with active fermentation. Luckily, I did not have any problems.
 

vartymov

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Very nice setup! I want to only net 5 gallon batches to keg. Even though, my brews are like yours, the higher ABV, would it be better to get the 10g or 15g Spike kettles? Making sure this is enough water in both kettles for the circulation. Also, would you buy the CF5 or CF10 for my future setup?

I forgot one thing, can you use the two vessel system on propane setup?
 

CodeSection

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Very nice setup! I want to only net 5 gallon batches to keg. Even though, my brews are like yours, the higher ABV, would it be better to get the 10g or 15g Spike kettles? Making sure this is enough water in both kettles for the circulation. Also, would you buy the CF5 or CF10 for my future setup?

I forgot one thing, can you use the two vessel system on propane setup?
Last question first. I have read members using propane in a two vessel system but I believe it was harder for them to control the temp when using a propane burner. I was originally going to go that way until I started reading about electric. There are many advantages with electric, perhaps you can see what works for you. In my situation, I use a stainless steel cart in my game room to brew on where there is plenty of nice AC in the summer and heat in the winter!

If you were going to only brew five gallons batches, then a 15 gallon system is really all you need. A 10 gallon system really isn't big enough due to potential hot break boil overs and large grain bills.

The cost difference between a CF5 and CF10 I believe is only $125. If you plan on brewing 10 gallon batches then you need a CF10 along with 20 gallon kettles. Since I brew for family, friends and clients, I wanted to brew larger batches since I was going through all that work.

In your situation, you need to balance your desires with future expectations along with finances available and decide what is best for you. The CF10 and 20 gallon kettles with allow you to brew both five and 10 gallon batches. With the larger system, you have options. With a smaller system, you cannot brew larger batches....
 

vartymov

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I agree with your idea of going with the 20 g setup. Could I still do 5 g batches? Because there is not a huge price difference.

I really want to go with an electric system, but my big dilemma is trying to keep the price down and not spending $6,000 for Spikes (herms) complete electric system. However, maybe their new eBIAB system, but I am unsure about BIAB systems. Thats what brought me to the idea of your setup after some research.
 

CodeSection

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I agree with your idea of going with the 20 g setup. Could I still do 5 g batches? Because there is not a huge price difference.

I really want to go with an electric system, but my big dilemma is trying to keep the price down and not spending $6,000 for Spikes (herms) complete electric system. However, maybe their new eBIAB system, but I am unsure about BIAB systems. Thats what brought me to the idea of your setup after some research.
Yes, you can still brew a five gallon batch with 20 gallon kettles. Your MT grain level would be lower so it you were using something like Blichmann's auto sparge arm, you would need the longer arm. It really comes down to batch size and grain bill when looking at the kettles....

You will spend A LOT less by putting your own two kettle system together....A LOT less. With my custom kettles AND CF10 along with many accessories, my total price paid came to $2,505.
 

vartymov

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Wow!! I would be very happy to pay $2500 w/o electrician to install 240V 30a/50a outlet. I went to Auberins to see how much you paid for your PID, but it could be custom. I also see high gravity/wort hog PID's are relatively inexpensive. I have been talking to Spike, and will tell them to make the custom kettles for a 2V system. I like to research before buying. Always appreciate help and feedback.
 

CodeSection

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Wow!! I would be very happy to pay $2500 w/o electrician to install 240V 30a/50a outlet. I went to Auberins to see how much you paid for your PID, but it could be custom. I also see high gravity/wort hog PID's are relatively inexpensive. I have been talking to Spike, and will tell them to make the custom kettles for a 2V system. I like to research before buying. Always appreciate help and feedback.
I paid Auber Ins $877 for my custom controller with two EZBoils. Add to that amount, $90 paid to Costco for the SS cart, and add to that the $200 for two MK II with SS heads from MoreBeer (I bought two more last December when they went on sale for $70 each for another system I will have in CO someday). You may want to wait since MB will probably be having a sale soon.

Thus, when you add these items and round, there is another $1,200. So, all in was closer to $3,700. You can buy a cheaper controller.

At one time I was looking at the two pump version of the Wort Hog. But as I learned more, I realized it was not for me. At the time, they would not send pictures of the inside of the unit and it did not have the safety items that the Auber controller had. There were construction differences in material used and components used. They were using only one simple EZboil DSPR177? as compared with Auber's EZBoil DSPR310D and and EZBoil DSPR300 that I had Auber install. So, in the end, you get what you pay for.

As you will find, there are a few "dealers" that sell the Wort Hog. Auber Ins sell directly to the public and was really great to work with.

Here is my spec sheet....
 

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vartymov

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Thank you!! I will contact Auber b/c Electric Brew Co. is not the cheapest place. I do like the Wort Hog's Prices, but it's true you get what you pay for. Also, did you end up getting Spikes false, bottom, and accessories?
 

CodeSection

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Thank you!! I will contact Auber b/c Electric Brew Co. is not the cheapest place. I do like the Wort Hog's Prices, but it's true you get what you pay for. Also, did you end up getting Spikes false, bottom, and accessories?
In my experience, Auber will take care of you and their workmanship is top notch.

Yes, the prices I gave earlier included:
- Custom kettles (I have attached the custom specs below. While they were not available when I bought, I highly recommend the TC Fittings kettles)
- False bottom
- Extra SS Ball valve
- (2) Pickup tubes
- 1.5" TC Heating element w/ gasket and clamp
- CF10
- CF10 TC-100 Bundle (cooling only)
- Racking arm
- CIP Ball (NEVER USED...you really don't need it for a CF5 or CF10)
- TC Blowoff cane
- TC Sight glass
- Bracing shelf
- Silicone tubing (Have recently switched to reinforced silicone tubing when MoreBeer had a sale https://www.morebeer.com/products/silicone-tubing-reinforced-12.html)
- Temp coil quick disconnect fittings
- Adjustable thermometers
- Extra lid gasket
- Several extra silicone TC gaskets in different sizes (Recently switched to Glacier Tanks EPDM gaskets in 1.5", 2", 3", 4" and 8" for all my equipment)
- Several Quick Connect Fittings in FQC x Barb; MQC x FNPT; MQC x MNPT
- Extra O Rings
- Several TC clamps in various sizes

I only bottle and would bottle condition. Last November I changed my bottling process and I bought the carb stone bundle and closed pressure transfer kit plus few more disconnects....

Below are the custom kettles designs.....

Good luck!

BK.png


MT.png
 

gmatzdorf_nIc

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I keep my 2 vessel electric setup more simple. I heat my water in my BK, pump to my 10 gallon MT cooler, and then pump back to my BK for the boil. I bought a second temp probe to install in my MT just to keep an eye on temp. I'll just unplug my BK probe and plug in my MT probe for now.
 

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Looking to get some advise here from people successfully using 2 vessels.

I tried doing a 2 vessel setup and it did not go well. I have 2 15 gallon kettles. They are custom made from spike. I have 2 riptide pumps and I have a brew commander.

I tried heating the water in the boil kettle and recirculating with the mash tun. I had a lot of temp issues, one probe, and was getting horrible efficiency. I was getting OGs around 1.035-1.040 that should have been around 1.060.

so I gave up and went back to BIAB. But I am having temp stability issues during mash due to port location so want to revisit 2V.

For those having success could you explain your brew process a bit and setup? Would be appreciated. Thanks.
 

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Looking to get some advise here from people successfully using 2 vessels.

I tried doing a 2 vessel setup and it did not go well. I have 2 15 gallon kettles. They are custom made from spike. I have 2 riptide pumps and I have a brew commander.

I tried heating the water in the boil kettle and recirculating with the mash tun. I had a lot of temp issues, one probe, and was getting horrible efficiency. I was getting OGs around 1.035-1.040 that should have been around 1.060.

so I gave up and went back to BIAB. But I am having temp stability issues during mash due to port location so want to revisit 2V.

For those having success could you explain your brew process a bit and setup? Would be appreciated. Thanks.
I have a 2V K-RIMs setup with controller temp probe at the outlet of the kettle. I also have a probe in both the mash tun and boil kettle (more on that later). My process is to do a full volume mash but targeting a grist ratio of 1.25 qt / lb in the mash tun, which I do by setting the autosparge to the appropriate height. I calculate necessary strike temperature based on that volume and set the controller to heat to that temp. Since there is some temperature loss between the controller measurement and the mash tun, I set the controller a few degrees higher than desired to account for it. After dough in (I also add 1 lb rice hulls for 15 gallon batch) I stop the pumps to let the grain bed settle and set the autosparge height to the new level so it maintains that volume. Once I start to see some drop in mash temp, then I will kick the pumps and temp controller back on to maintain. I set the flowrate low to avoid compacting the grain bed. I typically look for when the sight glass level drops slightly but remains steady, which indicates the fastest throughput without pulling a vacuum

When it’s time for mash out, 10-15 min ahead of time, I kill the pumps and set the boil kettle to ~185, which based on my heat input takes about 15 min to reach. I turn the pumps back on at mash out, which raises the grain bed temp quickly to 168 and hold there for 10 min.

For temp deltas, I typically only see a few degrees difference on the temp probes at steady state, whereas on ramps, they can vary by 10-15 degrees based on heat stored in the volume, flowrates, etc. My one suggestion is to at least get one more temperature reading in your mash tun in addition to the one for your controller so you can avoid significant over/under shoots in mash, which is where I suspect most of your troubles lay with the bad brew day.

Compare your process to above and let me know if there are aspects you do that are missing, and I can fill in the gaps.

EDIT: For reference, I typically get ~75% efficiency (though last weekend, it hit 81%) following above. Additional efficiency gaining measures include raking the top 1/3 of the grain bed periodically and targeting in the 5.2 range for mash pH.
 
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brianccarr

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I do exactly the same as Beholder with the exception being I haven't needed rice hulls (yet). I also, in addition to the false bottom, use a bag in the mash tun to make for easier cleanup.
 

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Same here using a Blichmann BrewEasy K-RIMS, 5gal. Since the Mash tun is on top of the boil kettle only 1 pump is needed. I haven't needed rice hulls yet.
 

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I am 2 vessel, I was going to do K rims, but decided not to after having tried it once. I now have a rims tube, which makes life easier for me.
 

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brianccarr

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I have tried both rims tube and k-rims on mine as well as using a herms running through my plate chiller. I have two 20 gallon Blichman G2 kettles and two riptides. Mostly I’ll use the k-rims because I like to do15 gallon batches. Usually my volumes at mash will exceed 20 gallons and the k-rims allows me to divide up the water between the two kettles. Normally I will leave just enough water in the boil kettle to cover the element. The herms setup is nice on smaller batches because I don’t have to worry about using an auto sparge. I use a bag in the mash tun no matter which process I use.
 

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I never thought of that, I may try that for my next Stout brew, I could do 15 gallons! Thanks!
 
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