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Bootleg Biology: Mad Fermentationist Brett Saison

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Oldsock

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A few months ago I sent Jeff Mello a sample of the House Saison culture I’ve been repitching since 2014. Surprisingly he pulled out a pretty similar set of microbes (in terms of species anyway) to what I started with. Served the test batch I brewed with the second pitch he sent over next to my somewhat similar Dark Saison 8 (fermented with my original culture) at the BYO Sour Beer Boot Camp in Santa Rosa over the weekend. General consensus was that they had pretty similar fermentation character, although the DS8 was brewed a few months earlier.

To answer a few common questions:

1. It started as cultures from four sources, but I honestly have no idea how closely related to their original source the microbes Jeff pulled out are. It ran through my sour gear for two years, easily could have picked up other microbes along the way, or simply drifted.

2. The Lacto is pretty wimpy, it won't make a sour beer with typical saison hopping.

3. I generally reserve some from primary to repitch, and it seems to have hit a nice equilibrium. I did harvest from kicked kegs, likely part of the reason the attenuation is so high.

4. Shipping is US only for now.

Pre-orders are available until March 5th.

If you use it, please post a comment and let me know how it turns out. I'm looking forward to learning more about how the blend does under a variety of conditions!
 

Dcpcooks

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Just ordered a half barrel pitch. I'm considering pitching straight into a 15 gallon barrel, have any thoughts on that?
 
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Just ordered a half barrel pitch. I'm considering pitching straight into a 15 gallon barrel, have any thoughts on that?
I avoid primary fermentation in a barrel if I can, makes a mess if you aren't careful. I generally ferment out the beer first, so I can fill the barrel up and not worry about blow-off and topping-off.

Commonwealth Brewing in Virginia Beach has my original culture in a couple barrels from when we brewed a collaborative sour brown, haven't gotten to taste them yet.
 

505-Brewer

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A few months ago I sent Jeff Mello a sample of the House Saison culture I’ve been repitching since 2014. Surprisingly he pulled out a pretty similar set of microbes (in terms of species anyway) to what I started with. Served the test batch I brewed with the second pitch he sent over next to my somewhat similar Dark Saison 8 (fermented with my original culture) at the BYO Sour Beer Boot Camp in Santa Rosa over the weekend. General consensus was that they had pretty similar fermentation character, although the DS8 was brewed a few months earlier.



To answer a few common questions:



1. It started as cultures from four sources, but I honestly have no idea how closely related to their original source the microbes Jeff pulled out are. It ran through my sour gear for two years, easily could have picked up other microbes along the way, or simply drifted.



2. The Lacto is pretty wimpy, it won't make a sour beer with typical saison hopping.



3. I generally reserve some from primary to repitch, and it seems to have hit a nice equilibrium. I did harvest from kicked kegs, likely part of the reason the attenuation is so high.



4. Shipping is US only for now.



Pre-orders are available until March 5th.



If you use it, please post a comment and let me know how it turns out. I'm looking forward to learning more about how the blend does under a variety of conditions!

So its select (combined) isolates from your blend rather than the actual blend yes?

I'd be curious how many different items he saw versus the known number of items (yeast, brett, bugs) you added. I.e. Did things get picked up along the way? Was the first pitch from you 'Merican Saison (great recipe by the way)

http://www.themadfermentationist.com/2014/07/saison-merican-hoppy-funk.html?m=1

Cheers
 
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Oldsock

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So its select (combined) isolates from your blend rather than the actual blend yes?

I'd be curious how many different items he saw versus the known number of items (yeast, brett, bugs) you added. I.e. Did things get picked up along the way? Was the first pitch from you 'Merican Saison (great recipe by the way)

http://www.themadfermentationist.com/2014/07/saison-merican-hoppy-funk.html?m=1

Cheers
Correct, isolation is the only way to provide a reliable/repeatable product. Seemed like he pulled out a similar blend to what I had pitched along the way, although one of the two saison strains was out-competed. What I can't say though is whether the Brett/bacteria strains selected are descended from what I pitched, or were picked up along the way. It could also be that there were more microbes in the mother blend that didn't get selected or recognized as unique.

Yep, that's where it started, but I added Lactobacillus to a subsequent batch.
 
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Oldsock

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Cool beans. Sounds fun. I hope it makes you gobs of money [emoji3]
Heh. I get a similar cut to the book... not quitting my day job anytime soon!
 
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Oldsock

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Has anyone brewed with this blend yet? Brewing my Saison with Ekuanot hops today.
Let me know how it turns out! I just got 8 oz of Ekuanot and haven't brewed with it before.

My mother culture just went into a Galaxy/Vic Secret heavy wort from a NEIPA along with rosemary honey.
 

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I'll be brewing with this tomorrow and am pretty excited to try it out. Going with a fairly simple saison recipe (though dialing back hops a touch to see if I can coax a touch or so of sourness out) that I've used many times. Really just want the yeast blend to be the star of the show. I've got the starter on the stir plate behind me as I type.

Only downside for me is tomorrow is supposed to be a cold one here so I'm going to have to make sure to keep my fermenter nice and warm to get all those good phenols and hopefully some of the citrus flavors as well. I think I should be able to hold it around a good 76F.

I'm probably going to dry hop it towards the end of fermentation, but I haven't decided on what hop varietals that I might use yet.
 

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I'm planning to brew this weekend. I want to bring out the lacto in this first generation so the recipe will be very low on IBUs recipe.

GRAIN BILL
Pilsner 9 lbs
Rye 0.55 lbs
Spelt Malt 0.55 lbs
Flaked Wheat 0.55 lbs
Acidulated Malt 0.25 lbs

HOPS
Saaz 0.55 oz. [AA 2.9%] 45 min.
Galaxy 1 oz. dry hopped

I made a 1 liter starter last night with an OG of 1.036 just to wake up the yeast blend. Plus I wanted to use my new stir plate.

IMG_3760.jpg
 

Yeroc

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Brewed the recipe I mentioned above on Saturday, 4/8. Pitched yeast at 76. That's the highest pitch temp I've ever started at. Temperature climbed to 80 over the last few days. Krausen started to drop overnight so I wrapped a seed starter mat that I have around the glass carboy. The carboy is in an insulated fermentation bag. I'll raise the temp to mid 80s over the next few days then inch it back down.

So here's a conundrum. What equipment do I use when racking the beer? I have clean equipment, 100% brett equipment and sour equipment. Some of the dregs used in previous sours supposedly has pedio in them. I'm uncertain if that pedio was active or if it contaminated my soft plastic. I really don't want to create a forth set of plastic equipment. I do want to bottle soon rather than leaving it in a carboy for months. I want to do what Michael mentioned in one of his posts somewhere; bottle early and taste how this changes from a fresh beer to an aging beer. So I guess I'll just use the sour equipment and hope there is no pedio transferred. Any thoughts on that?

I also need to figure out how much priming sugar to use so I don't have an over carbonated beer as it ages.
 

Yeroc

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I'm planning to brew this weekend. I want to bring out the lacto in this first generation so the recipe will be very low on IBUs recipe.

GRAIN BILL
Pilsner 9 lbs
Rye 0.55 lbs
Spelt Malt 0.55 lbs
Flaked Wheat 0.55 lbs
Acidulated Malt 0.25 lbs

HOPS
Saaz 0.55 oz. [AA 2.9%] 45 min.
Galaxy 1 oz. dry hopped

I made a 1 liter starter last night with an OG of 1.036 just to wake up the yeast blend. Plus I wanted to use my new stir plate.
4/16/17 (Day 8)
Pulled a sample & dry hopped with 1 ounce of galaxy pellets in a sanitized mesh bag with 4 little glass peddles. Used dental floss tied to the bag so that it wouldn't sink all the way to the bottle. Adjusted specific gravity is 1.006. Still notching the fermenter temp down from its high of 85 several days ago.

Sample notes: Cloudy, color of straw. Aroma is typical saison yeast spiciness along with some orange zest. No actual zest in the recipe. Taste follows nose. Saison yeast flavors and a bit of orange similar to what you get in a wit. Pleasant. Just a touch of soft citrus like sour tang that lingers lightly at the back of the mouth. Taste is somewhat watery in this uncarbonated state. I was expecting a touch more sourness from the lacto. This should make a nice summer beer.
 
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Oldsock

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So here's a conundrum. What equipment do I use when racking the beer?
I think you'd be fine with either the Brett or sour gear. The lacto won't cause issues in most 100% Brett beers because it is hop-sensitive. With the high attenuation I'd also suspect the Pedio wouldn't get going in this beer.

Glad the sample is headed in the right direction! My most recent batch with it (Galaxy and Vic Secret at flame-out, rosemary honey in the fermentor) is going really pineapple.

Best of luck!
 

Yeroc

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I think you'd be fine with either the Brett or sour gear. The lacto won't cause issues in most 100% Brett beers because it is hop-sensitive. With the high attenuation I'd also suspect the Pedio wouldn't get going in this beer.

Glad the sample is headed in the right direction! My most recent batch with it (Galaxy and Vic Secret at flame-out, rosemary honey in the fermentor) is going really pineapple.

Best of luck!
Thanks for the feedback. Good point about the hop sensitivity. I'm thinking about making your Saison Merican for the next batch.
 

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I just racked a 1/2 bbl to a barrel that I'd used for three batches of stouts over the past year.

I brewed a 50% pils, 50% raw wheat grain bill with a turbid mash. I hopped it with galaxy and motueka. After a vigorous primary I racked it to a barrel with 6 lbs of dried sour cherries. Time will tell!
 

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I just racked a 1/2 bbl to a barrel that I'd used for three batches of stouts over the past year.

I brewed a 50% pils, 50% raw wheat grain bill with a turbid mash. I hopped it with galaxy and motueka. After a vigorous primary I racked it to a barrel with 6 lbs of dried sour cherries. Time will tell!
This sounds like a winner. I hope the gods are with you! Cheers!!
 

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@oldsock What kind of temp range are you shooting for? Just pitched a starter of this in 11 gal and have it sitting in my guest bathroom with a space heater. Pitched at 71f, room temp set to 75f for 36 hrs then bumped to 80f. Still chugging away at 72hrs.

Brew Method: BIAB
Style Name: Saison
Boil Time: 60 min
Batch Size: 11 gallons (fermentor volume)
Boil Size: 13 gallons
Boil Gravity: 1.051
Efficiency: 70% (brew house)


STATS:
Original Gravity: 1.060
IBU (tinseth): 1.8
SRM (morey): 4.42

FERMENTABLES:
9.29 lb - German - Pilsner (36.8%)
9.29 lb - American - Wheat (36.8%)
3.71 lb - German - Vienna (14.7%)
1.49 lb - Flaked Rye (5.9%)
1.49 lb - Flaked Wheat (5.9%)

Mash at 152
 
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Oldsock

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@oldsock What kind of temp range are you shooting for? Just pitched a starter of this in 11 gal and have it sitting in my guest bathroom with a space heater. Pitched at 71f, room temp set to 75f for 36 hrs then bumped to 80f. Still chugging away at 72hrs.
Sounds good to me. it isn't a blend that requires really high temperature to finish out.

As a "house" blend I usually just ferment it at whatever temperature my house is. Around 80 in the summer, 70 in the winter.
 

zgja2

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Sounds good to me. it isn't a blend that requires really high temperature to finish out.

As a "house" blend I usually just ferment it at whatever temperature my house is. Around 80 in the summer, 70 in the winter.
Just one of many reasons I love to brew farmhouse ales. No tying up the ferm chamber and variety in flavor brought on by mother nature.
 

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Just wanted to throw up my experience so far with this blend, as well as ask a few questions:

Our homebrew club is participating in a wort rally with a local brewery. Each brewer got 10 gallons (I split with someone, so I got 5) of wort fresh off the mash. This was on May 5th. On June 25th, we're holding a public tasting at the brewery, along with "people's choice award". Anyways, I don't know too much about the grain bill, just that it's what they use for their IPA.

I boiled the wort for 15 minutes, and had two hot side hop additions:
-1oz Centennial @ 5 minutes ~4IBU
-1oz Centennial @ flameout

Ended up with an OG of 1.062, pitched a starter of the blend in.

As of June 5th (two days ago) the gravity had dropped to 1.004! :rockin:
Tasted excellent. Dry, a bit of funk, not a ton of sour, but just enough to be delicious!

I pulled off 1 gallon of it and put it on 2lbs of pureed blueberries. The rest got a 1oz dryhop of Centennial.

Here's my dilemma: As part of the wort rally, we can turn in bottles for to be judged by brewery staff. The winner of that competition has the option of doing the GABF Pro-Am with them. The problem is that I'll be out of town starting Thursday afternoon through the following Thursday. I just racked to onto blueberries yesterday, so I would like to give that one time to re-ferment. Is 10 days enough time for it to bottle condition reliably? It certainly won't be judged that day, but I suspect it will be kept cold after that.

TL;DR: Poor planning on my part has led me to this dilemma, bottle now, after only 1 day on blueberries and just account for the sugar discrepancy as part of the priming sugar, or wait and hope it carbs up in 10 days.
 

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7 weeks in the barrel on dried cherries. 10 weeks since brew day. It's a really nice beer. Light funk slight tartness and a bit of cherry and oak on the finish. Really happy with the yeast and this batch!! Gonna keg five and bottle condition 10 gallons. Gotta figure out what to fill the barrel with before I move it though.View attachment ImageUploadedByHome Brew1497805980.493686.jpg
 

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What threshold of IBUs do I need to keep this under to not inhibit the lacto?
I have a batch going that was 3.5 IBU and got plenty sour. Next one is going to 4.5 to see if it will tone it back a hair.

I think somewhere in the 5-10 range is going to stop the lacto
 

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I have a batch going that was 3.5 IBU and got plenty sour. Next one is going to 4.5 to see if it will tone it back a hair.

I think somewhere in the 5-10 range is going to stop the lacto
Awesome, thanks. I really want as much lacto as I can get. I'll shoot for <5.
 

Dcpcooks

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Michael stated the lacto was "kinda whimpy" so I'd stay under 2-3 ibu's of old hops if you really want lacto to shine
 

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Michael stated the lacto was "kinda whimpy" so I'd stay under 2-3 ibu's of old hops if you really want lacto to shine
I just went back and checked. It was right at 3 IBU and lacto came through nicely. So i agree with DC
 

TravelingLight

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Michael stated the lacto was "kinda whimpy" so I'd stay under 2-3 ibu's of old hops if you really want lacto to shine
I just went back and checked. It was right at 3 IBU and lacto came through nicely. So i agree with DC
Thanks dudes. I'm going to use this with my house saison grist. Probably do a half ounce of saaz at about 20 minutes. Should give me 3 or fewer IBUs.
 

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Let us know how it turns out. My first batch with this primaried for 4 weeks then tasted at transfer. Quite tart, big saison yeast character in the nose, almost no funk, or brett character yet. Giving it another month in secondary then hitting it with dry hops.
 

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So I had a random shower thought this morning...

I'm brewing another NEIPA this weekend. Then I had the idea to basically turn it into a double brew day, with the same grains, to get third runnings or whatever to boil and pitch this yeast. I know plenty of other people have gotten more running than they needed and brewed a second beer. I've never done this. So I don't even know if it's possible with my setup and grain bill.

I've got...
8# 2-Row
4# Golden Promise
3# Flaked Oats
1# White Wheat

Is this even possible? With this grist/NEIPA, I've got an expected OG of 1.063, if that matters at all. Any thoughts on whether or not I could make this work? Or should I just not bother and wait until another weekend when I can do a proper mash for this yeast/beer? Thanks.
 

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So I had a random shower thought this morning...

I'm brewing another NEIPA this weekend. Then I had the idea to basically turn it into a double brew day, with the same grains, to get third runnings or whatever to boil and pitch this yeast. I know plenty of other people have gotten more running than they needed and brewed a second beer. I've never done this. So I don't even know if it's possible with my setup and grain bill.

I've got...
8# 2-Row
4# Golden Promise
3# Flaked Oats
1# White Wheat

Is this even possible? With this grist/NEIPA, I've got an expected OG of 1.063, if that matters at all. Any thoughts on whether or not I could make this work? Or should I just not bother and wait until another weekend when I can do a proper mash for this yeast/beer? Thanks.
That might be on the light side to get a second beer out of...... However, if you throw in 3 pounds of DME to the additional runnings, you could get a a nice light saison out of it I bet. Any time I do a second runnings beer, I always have several 1 pound bags of DME on hand to adjust the gravity.

Also, be careful of PH/Temp/sparge if you are trying to get at those final gravity points in your mash - astringency/tannins could be a problem in that situation.
 

TravelingLight

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That might be on the light side to get a second beer out of...... However, if you throw in 3 pounds of DME to the additional runnings, you could get a a nice light saison out of it I bet. Any time I do a second runnings beer, I always have several 1 pound bags of DME on hand to adjust the gravity.

Also, be careful of PH/Temp/sparge if you are trying to get at those final gravity points in your mash - astringency/tannins could be a problem in that situation.
Good points. Thanks for the heads up on the DME. I think I've decided I'm going to wait until I can do my full saison grist. Especially since this will be my first time using this yeast and I don't want to eff it up just for the sake of knocking out two beers in one day.
 
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Oldsock

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Michael stated the lacto was "kinda whimpy" so I'd stay under 2-3 ibu's of old hops if you really want lacto to shine
I did, but it seems that the Lacto is getting stronger! My most recent batch had loads of high AA% hops in the whirlpool and still got to a nicely tart final pH of 3.75. I've heard from a few people that they got good acidity at 20 IBUs. Jeff is considering doing a single strain release of the Lacto to see what it can do on its own!
 

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how long do you traditionally let beers go with this blend? I just dryhopped one. Will be right at 2 months when kegged. Tasted fantastic. I imagine it will get more brett character with time as there was non at 1 month and just a little at 1.5
 
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Oldsock

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how long do you traditionally let beers go with this blend? I just dryhopped one. Will be right at 2 months when kegged. Tasted fantastic. I imagine it will get more brett character with time as there was non at 1 month and just a little at 1.5
I usually have beers fermented with it in the keg by 3-4 weeks, and then 4-6 weeks of keg conditioning before I tap it.

Honestly the blend never seems to get that funky. I'm writing up the tasting notes for my most recent batch of dark saison (just over a year old) to coincide with the second release of the blend and the Brett really isn't that assertive.
 

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I usually have beers fermented with it in the keg by 3-4 weeks, and then 4-6 weeks of keg conditioning before I tap it.

Honestly the blend never seems to get that funky. I'm writing up the tasting notes for my most recent batch of dark saison (just over a year old) to coincide with the second release of the blend and the Brett really isn't that assertive.
What's your process for keg conditioning these beers? Do you keep the keg cold and just don't tap it for 4-6 weeks? Do you just put enough gas to keep pressure on the seals or do you set it for 12 psi and leave it? Never really done much keg conditioning. Just seeing how you do it. Thanks, Mike.
 

zgja2

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I usually have beers fermented with it in the keg by 3-4 weeks, and then 4-6 weeks of keg conditioning before I tap it.

Honestly the blend never seems to get that funky. I'm writing up the tasting notes for my most recent batch of dark saison (just over a year old) to coincide with the second release of the blend and the Brett really isn't that assertive.
I rather like the subdued brett profile. Lets the sacc profile come through. In fact i like it so much I am about to blend OYL Saisonstein and L. Plantarium and see how that turns out.
 

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I did a 5 gal partial mash and extract with wheat, pilsen, oats and rye with all whirlpool additions of mosaic and galaxy hops. Added 1.5 liters of passion fruit pulp and 2 oz of old French barrel chunk. I bottled it over the weekend and it tasted great pre-carbonation. Will report back when the bottles are ready.
GTG
 
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What's your process for keg conditioning these beers? Do you keep the keg cold and just don't tap it for 4-6 weeks? Do you just put enough gas to keep pressure on the seals or do you set it for 12 psi and leave it? Never really done much keg conditioning. Just seeing how you do it. Thanks, Mike.
I think Brett does some of its best work under pressure so I prime the kegs and naturally condition at room temperature for at least a month in most cases. Then I let it sit in the kegerator for a week or two on gas before I really start drinking.
 

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I think Brett does some of its best work under pressure so I prime the kegs and naturally condition at room temperature for at least a month in most cases. Then I let it sit in the kegerator for a week or two on gas before I really start drinking.
Interesting! I have never done that but this may be the perfect opportunity for me to try. You do it just like you would prime bottles, except you rack on top of it in the keg?

I assume if it's done this way, when you're ready to put it in the kegerator you just put it on normal serving pressure since it's already carbed (or mostly carbed)? Thanks brother.
 
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