Tag Archive: Denmark


Mikkeller: Hallo Ich Bin Mikkeller Berliner Weisse – Alkoholfrei (Denmark: Low alcohol Berliner Weisse: 0.1% ABV)

Visual: Yellow to pale lemon body. Small bubbled carbonation and a large mound of sud leaving head.

Nose: Lemon. Very fresh and tart. Nutty. Sour lime. Lightly milky. Tart apples. Slight sour sulphur funk.

Body: Lemon. Strawberry. Acidic apple meets lactose thickness. Lightly acidic in general. Tart grapes. Subtle vanilla toffee.

Finish: Soft vanilla. Apples. Gooseberry. Acidic touch. Mild raspberries. Slight metallic tang. Sprite.

Conclusion: Ok, I don’t know how they did it, but at 0.1% abv Mikkeller has knocked this one right out of the park.

It is a refreshing, lightly acidic and tart beer, and goes down oh so easily. It is slightly thinner in mouthfeel than a full abv sour, but still manages a nice lactose like grip that makes it compare well with much higher abv beers in its grip and ability to deliver the flavour.

The flavour benefits wonderfully from the lightly acidic character, giving an almost illusionary set of light tart notes float across your tongue as the acidity interacts with the other elements of the beer. There is the expected imagery of lemon and grapes, but also it develops into dancing strawberry and raspberry notes that reward you in every sip.

Now, it doesn’t have that much to round out the tart freshness and fruit, so not a beer to contemplate, but as a summer refresher this is amazing. Lightly sweet with it, it is easy pleasing and easy drinking.

Now if you want a real tart, mouth tingling berliner weisse then I will admit this is not it – it is instead a gentle and lovely thing, and so not one to challenge you. However for quality it sits alongside Big Drop’s Pale Ale – the sour equivalent in the awesome low abv beer league.

Highly recommended.

Background: This is another of my dive into low abv beers, and Mikkeller have a very good track record on those so far. This was another one I tried first from Beercraft but didn’t do notes, but added a few bottles into an order I did from BeerHawk so I could revisit it. Like some previous Mikkeller beers, this is a low abv version of a beer that already exists with the same name. Because that isn’t confusing. Berliner Weisse beers are generally not high abv, but this is the first time I had seen one anywhere near this low abv, so was unsure how well it would work. Put on some old school tunes for this – the classic that is The Clash – London Calling!

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To Øl: Sur Tangerine/Mosaic Lemonade Shandy (Denmark: Shandy: 2.8% ABV)

Visual: Pale yellow. Fast small bubbled carbonation. Medium sized loose white head.

Nose: Tangerine. Flour. Wheaty bitterness. Peppery. Fresh white bread. Tart grapes. Sprite.

Body: Fizzy. Lightly chalky. Lightly sour. Lightly acidic. Lemon. Dried mango. Dried tangerine.

Finish: Chalky. Fresh feeling air. White grapes. Gritty bitterness. Traditional lemonade. Mandarin orange. Acidic air. Lemon juice. Light guava. Dried apricot. Charred notes

Conclusion: I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from this, which is kind of appropriate in a way, as I’m drinking it now and I’m not quite sure what I’ve got.

It is kind of generically sour at first, but quite chalky with that which gives a rough rather than a refreshing edge. It has light lemon and grape fresh notes, but shortly after a more identifiable set of orange fruit notes come along – both in a fresh front and more clinging and dry behind.

That mix of elements seems to be the duality that is the issue at the heart of this beer. It has the bright notes from the hops, all orange and tart, which is matched to a drinkably low abv and the lemonade tangerine characteristics, but the chalk note and matching, long lasting, slightly gritty bitterness really work against those positives and make it harder to drink.

It isn’t terrible, which is enough to make me keep thinking that the hops are going to manage to save this beer and smooth out the rough notes. But they don’t. The hop use does bring big flavour from the well used Mosaic hop, which is impressive considering the low abv, but for all that works well when you reach the finish it leads out all dry and charred.

Interesting and even good up front, but gets rougher as it goes on and ends up going against its best elements in the finish. It doesn’t land what it aims to do and I cannot recommend it.

Background: This was a bit of a spur of the moment purchase, it is also the first shandy to have notes done on this site! I saw it as a sour beer at lower abv, with tangerine like flavours and only on closer inspection saw that it was a shandy. So I thought “Fuck it, let’s give it a go, To Øl tend to be solid”. So, it is a mosaic hop sour session IPA mixed with tangerine lemonade. Sure, makes perfect sense. This was grabbed from Independent Spirit and drunk while listening to The Eels: Live and In Person. I’ve seen The Eels live a few times live, and each show had a radically different feel, with old tunes redone in the style of new albums, so I always like their live albums.

Mikkeller: Weird Weather Non-alcoholic (Denmark: Low Alcohol IPA: 0.3% ABV)

Visual: Light hazy lemon to pineapple juice. Very large white bubbled head that leaves suds.

Nose: Isotonic drinks to Pocari Sweat. Pineapple. Tart grapes. Light tannins. Vanilla. Wheat.

Body: Pineapple. Isotonic drinks. Grapes. Glucose tablets. Lime cordial. Lemon.

Finish: Soft lemon. Grapes. Lucozade. Light hop bitterness and very light hop roughness. Light peach. Vanilla.

Conclusion: Why do so many low abv beers have a subtle isotonic drink to lucozade kind of taste? I’m sure there is a scientific explanation, but it just seems an odd element to be so reoccurring.

Anyway, this feels like a mix of isotonic drinks, Mikkeller’s Drink in the Sun, with just a dash of New England IPA style. There is nearly no hop bitterness – not in oiliness or hop feel either, except for the lightest of touches from a rough hop character element in the finish.

Flavour wise there is light tart fruit – pineapple, lemon backed by some sweeter peach notes, but they are very gentle. Then again, I’ve always found the NEIPA kind of overly gentle for me, with a few notable exceptions. It is soothing in flavour, if not especially special – at times the grapes and pineapple can be pretty rewarding, at others a kind of glucose tablets to isotonic drinks mehness comes out.

Mehness is a word.

So, ok, I’d say it is the weaker cousin of Drink In The Sun, but it does have its own elements. Then again I may have been spoiled as I’ve had DITS on tap where it utterly rocked, while I’ve only had this in can and I’m guessing this would benefit similarly from being on tap.

A nice enough beer for the low alcohol range, but the bar has recently been risen by the awesome Big Drop: Pale Ale, so everyone else is playing catch up now.

background: Huh, there is also an alcohol version of this, and a gluten free one, and an IIPA and.. ok, naming is just getting confusing here. Really going to have to be careful ordering this if you are the designated driver of your group. Anyway, I first tried this after seeing it at beercraft but didn’t do notes then, since it was ok I grabbed a few more cans of it from beerhawk while doing an order to grab a few rarities I had spotted there. Anyway it is described as a New England IPA, which is a brave attempt for a beer that racks in at a mere 0.3% abv. Some of you may notice the IPA glasses are back – I can’t say if they actually make the beer smell or taste better but after I broke the original glass I did notice I missed it when doing IPAs – it adds a bit of glitz to the event, so I pulled my thumb out and grabbed a replacement. Drunk while listening to Paradise Lost – Draconian times. Still one of my favourite albums, such great gloomy heavy tunes.

Mikkeller: Brandy Barrel Aged Raspberry Quadrupel (Denmark: Quadrupel: 13% ABV)

Visual: Very dark brown to black with a thin brown head. Had a slightly purple hue on pour as it hit the light.

Nose: Raspberry. Fig rolls. Suet and mince pies. Raisins to fruitcake. Brandy cream hints. Sweet sherry. Marmalade. Crusty bread rolls. Calvados.

Body: Thick. Raspberry. Cream. Cognac. Marmalade. Tart grapes. Sherry and port. Malt chocolate and oatmeal biscuits. Apples. Stewed apricot. Raisins. Toffee. Liqueur.

Finish: Marmalade. Raisins. Oatmeal. Port. Tannins – tea. Calvados. Raspberries.

Conclusion: OK, this has a lot more beer at the base of it than the recently tried Trippelbock did, and the barrel ageing has given it a lot of spirity high points to make it interesting. Which means, unlike the Trippelbock, that as big as the raspberry character is in this thing, they don’t run the show – and the beer is much better for having that range.

I have the feeling that the base quad is slightly dry – it delivers figgy, sweet dark fruit notes, but in a seemingly a slightly dry way. I have to say “I have the feeling” as it is hard to tell with everything else that is squashed into this beer. The barrel ageing mixes with the tart fruit to crate a cavalcade of spirity expressions – from sherry, port, to apple Calvados. The mix creates so many of the high, spirity notes that I mentioned earlier. The most obvious of them is the thick cut marmalade character, a sugary sweet cognac chunk of character squatting in the middle of the beer, which I presume is the Brandy ageing. By comparison the raspberry influence seems fresh, tart and natural, offsetting the artificial feeling, spirity flavours.

So, does it work? As a quad, probably no – the base beer is recognisable, but is surpassed massively by the other elements. The artificial feeling spirity notes colliding with the tart natural raspberry take up the vast majority of the beer.

It is big, brash and … yes, enjoyable – pretty much by shoving everything in at once and hoping it works. It is about as subtle as a sledgehammer shot. It is far from a carefully layered masterpiece -more a dodgem car collision of notes- but it has character and value as that. Make of that what you will.

Background: OK, this I had to grab, a big quadrupel, barrel aged in brandy, and stuffed with raspberries. The barrel ageing is indicated by a discreet BA on the label, and the specific type is only detailed in tiny text on the back. They seem to be almost anti-advertising this. This was grabbed from Independent Spirit and poured into a Westvleteren glass – I decided a huge beer like this deserved the glass. Continuing my attempt to revisit classic albums I put on Iron Maiden – A Matter of Life and Death while drinking this. Easily my favourite of the Iron Maiden albums since their resurgence with Brave New World.

To Øl: Santa Gose F*** It All (Denmark: Gose: 4% ABV)

Visual: Clear dark yellow. Massive sud leaving yellow white head. Small bubbled carbonation in the body.

Nose: Gooseberry. Light wheat. Light white pepper. Dry passion fruit.

Body: Tart. Gooseberry. Salt. Tart grapes. Slight guava. Light chalk. Dry mango. Flour.

Finish: Lime. Tart. Pineapple. Salt. Slight sweat. Wet cardboard. Guava juice. Dry mango. Dry bitterness. Flour. Slight grit. Charring.

Conclusion: So, after trying an authentic German gose earlier this year, and after trying a couple of the varied new wave craft goses that have come out recently, I find myself with this – THE CHRISTMAS GOSE!

I’m not sure what part of this makes it a Christmas beer, but what it does have is that it opens with an appropriately tart gooseberry like base that seems to be moving more towards the new wave craft interpretation of a gose, backed by soft salt, almost sweat like notes. Man the things you write that sound terrible but actually are not. Anyway, initially that salt character is pleasant but by the end the salt does become very drying in the finish.

More on that later – for now we shall look at the mid body, which is where the fruit infusion comes in. It is quite subtly done, with sweet guava and dry mango notes around the edges giving some much needed extra body. It isn’t that the main body is bad, just a little light, but still very fresh and easy to drink.

So, the first half to two thirds of this beer does the job well – tart, fruity, fresh with subtle salt over time. Then, we get that finish…

The finish starts ok, with some pineapple but also a slight cardboard touch which does not work. Then that cardboard touch becomes gritty, then charred and matched with rough, dry salty bitterness. It is harsh and feels like it works against everything the rest of the beer sets up.

Two thirds of this is a good beer, with a third of fuck no. Nearly good but that finish hurts it so bad I can’t recommend it.

Background; The censorship is on the can, not because of me – I would happily have written “Fuck It All”. In fact I just did. A beer for the Christmas period, with appropriate sentiments. I am not a total Grinch, more nonplussed than angry about Christmas – for me it is just a nice time to catch up with friends and family. Anyway, this is a gose – a salted wheat beer style that nearly died out, but has had a recent resurgence. Like a lot of the craft beer interpretations this one is made with fruit – Passion fruit, guava and mango to be exact. Picked up from Independent Spirit. I got into the festive spirit by putting on Testament – Low. Ok they have nothing to do with Christmas, so I was in the right spirit for me.

Mikkeller: Raspberry Trippelbock (Denmark: Fruit Dopplebock: 13% ABV)

Visual: Very dark brown. Thin brown head.

Nose: Boozy raspberry – tart with sweet edges. Raspberry syrup. Dried banana. Creamy, boozy chocolate. Raspberry pips. Gooseberry.

Body: Raisins. Raspberry ice cream syrup. Tart, fresh raspberries. Chewy caramel. Malt chocolate. Hop oils and oily bitterness. Nutty. Dates.

Finish: Strawberry syrup. Red cherries. Tart raspberries. Chocolate bourbon biscuits. Hop oils. Oily bitterness. Slightly nutty. Treacle.

Conclusion: This is another super thick beer – treacle, chewy caramel – lots of boozy sweet characteristics. There is no alcohol burn to it, not even heat, just a syrupy thick weight that tastes alcohol strong. The flavour is just solidly sweet – a hair’s breadth away from being sickly. The beer is utterly reliant on the raspberry to make it a beer that actually works, as without it this would be a sugary disaster.

The raspberry is big and very prominent – there are tart, fresh elements to it, but a lot of the raspberry character has been co-opted by the sweet, thick malt. Thus what you get is an ice cream syrup styled set of raspberry to cherry notes. So, you do get that much needed fresh element, but mostly it doubles down on the the thick, thick sweet notes, just now in a raspberry style.

Now, there is an attempt at contrast – a thick, oily bitterness that comes in like a mix of nut and hop oils. It is an intense oily character, but rather than contrasting it feels like it adds to the thick boozy character.

Now, I wont lie, I’m having fun with this but it is simple as hell and boozy as hell. It is far too thick, too boozy and too sweet. Fun, depending on your tastes, and impressive in how it avoids rough edges despite that alcohol, but not one I can, in general recommend.

Background: Mikkeller! Love the brews from this lot – the so called “Gypsy brewers” who are probably the best known of the large number of brewers that rely on contract brewing to make their recipes. This one, a tripplebock made with raspberries has a pretty good rep all round, and is one I never quite got around to grabbing. So, when independent spirit got both the raspberry trippelbock, and the barrel aged Quadrupel made with raspberries, I grabbed one of each and prepared for some heavy, boozy times. Interesting fact – the quad is also 13% abv, partially because quads are a Belgian style and bocks a German style so they don’t have to line up – partially because the whole double, tripel, etc really never works as an actual multiplier on the alcohol if you ever think about it. Anyway, drunk while listening to New Model Army’s live album – love NMA and I really feel they should be better known in and out of the punk scene.

Amager: Linda – The Axe Grinder (Denmark: American Strong Ale: 9% ABV)

Visual: Very dark black cherry to brown. Large browned bubbled head.

Nose: Hoppy and bitter. Smooth caramel. Malt chocolate and fudge. Spicy rye notes and red cherries. Toasted marshmallows. Slight musty hops and herbal sage note. Light lime and kiwi.

Body: Very smooth. Sage and onion on cooked turkey. Caramel and vanilla toffee. Crushed Blackpool rock. Brandy cream. Glacier cherries. Kiwi. Slightly muggy hops. Spicy rum soaked raisins. Warming Christmas spice.

Finish: Slight charring. Herbal bitterness and slightly muggy hops. Vanilla toffee. Slight cloying cream note. Chocolate liqueur. Bitterness rises over time. Rye crackers. Christmas spice. Riesen chocolate chews.

Conclusion: Ohh this is exactly what I needed. It is big, spicy, warming and soothing all in one. Another beer that feels like a real mash up of styles, and here it happily wears the weight of each one.

Style 1 is close to a Christmas spiced red ale – lots of warming spice, delivered unusually early on as sage and onion, but quickly becoming Christmas spice mixed with rye spice notes. A good start.

Style 2: Bourbon aged barley wine – yeah, still spiced, but here golden syrup sweet, mixed with crushed Blackpool rock. Heavy sweet and powerful with a ton of vanilla and caramel against the spiciness.

Finally, fruity IPA as style 3 – the ageing has made the hop slightly muggy, as you would expect, but it is still reasonably bitter. The hop fruit flavours are green fruit, creamily delivered. This aspect is more subtle due the ageing relaxing and reducing most elements, but it adds another layer and is worth it for the kept hop bitterness that adds an assault punch to this beer.

Together it is wonderfully bitter, wonderfully spicy – soothing, warming and with an almost sickly sweet undertone and huge red fruit. Every element is big, coming together they somehow become soothing – like the world’s biggest, most intense nightcap of a beer. It is liqueur like, a hop assault and manages to use a weight of spicy character without getting lost in just being a spice beer. Great is what I am saying.

Background: Yep, I grabbed this because of the sweet, steampunkesque art. As always I can be kind of easy to sell to. Grabbed from Independent Spirit, this is an Oaked Imperial Red Ale -ratebeer lists it as an Imperial IPA, but that doesn’t really quite fit for me – so I’ve shoved it under the catch all category of American Strong Ale where it seems to fit better for me. It has more dark malt influence than I would give for an IIPA. This beer was brewed in collaboration with Linda of Minneapolis brewing – hence the name. Anyway, drunk while listening to E-rocks take on San’s Undertale music. Just such an epic combination and reminds me of how bloody good that game is.

Mikkeller: Drink’in Berliner Yuzu (Denmark: Berliner Weisse: 2.7% ABV)

Visual: Very pale lemon to grain. Very large white head that laves lace. Clear. Moderate carbonation.

Nose: Musty fruit. Slight fruit syrups. Stewed peach and apricot mixed with tart white grapes. Fresh. Light menthol. Peppermint. Dry lemon juice.

Body: Fresh and lightly tart. White wine and juicy grapes. Stewed peach. Vanilla. Light squeezed lime. Light acid at the back of the throat.

Finish: Light acidic apple to cider. Tiny chalk touch. Lime cordial. Slight dry oak. White wine.

Conclusion: You know, generally I don’t add anything to a berliner weisse beer – if it comes neat, I take it neat. If it comes with fruit, obviously I have it with fruit. The thing is, the level of soft syrup and fruitiness they have used here does such a great job of muting the harsher edges, while adding complexity to the base beer that it makes me rethink that policy. If I can come close to this by adding syrup to a standard berliner weisse then maybe I should start looking into that.

This is a very interesting beer, with a very white wine style at the base – which reminds me of how the Belgian sour beers, the lambics, are often describes as the wines of the beer world. Obviously this beer is after that title. It has a similar dry character matched with sweet grape fruitiness. On the subject of fruit, I have only tried a few Yuzu related drinks, but what it seems to add here is a set of slightly tart grapes, lemon and lime squeezed citrus notes and a soft strewed fruit character. I think. Some of that is probably the base beer.

Anyway, a mix of the expected berliner weisse, white wine and a mix of sweet and tart fruit makes this a surprisingly easy to drink beer. A light level of tartness and acidic that makes it refreshing, but never reaches a level that would be harsh for any but the most sensitive taste-buds.

At under 3% this is a great summer refresher – Drink in the sun series indeed! Not a world beater for complexity, but gives it a good go – and fresh, flavoursome, low abv and satisfying.

A spot on summer beer.

Background: I love Mikkellers “Drink in the” series. A bunch of very low alcohol, high flavour beers. Now, this one is not as low as some of those sub 1% abv beers, but still definitely in the session range, so seemed an easy one to pick up from Independent Spirit. As a beer it seems mix of two odd styles – “Berliner Weisse” – a sour beer from Germany, often mixed with syrup to take away the sour character, and Yuzu a fruit with which I have had but a little experience, but what I have had has been fascinating. Anyway, for such a light beer I went heavy with music – Metallica: The Black Album. Just because. This was drunk after listening to a few Philosophy Bites podcasts, so I was feeling fairly chilled.

Mikkeller: Nuclear Hop Assault (Denmark: IIPA: 8% ABV)

Visual: Apricot skin colour. A lot of carbonation. Hazy body and thin off white head.

Nose: Nettles. Greenery. Lime. Dried apricot. Dry. Slightly rocky bitterness. Heavy hop feel. Closed and musky. Dried passion fruit.

Body: Solid bitterness. Greenery and hop oils. Nettles. High levels of gritty hop character. Dried apricot and vanilla. Dry body. Light brown sugar sweetness. Tart lemon sherbet. Tart orange juice.

Finish: High hop oils. Heavy bitterness. Heavy hop character. Vanilla yogurt. Dried apricot. Dry in general. Slight squeezed lime. Pineapple air. Orange juice.

Conclusion: Ok, this lives up to its name – it feels on a hop level akin to 1000IBU but with a much drier, less malt led body against it, resulting in an overall harsher, hoppier and heavier beer loaded with bitterness.

Initially that is all you get. Hop oils, harsh bitterness and harsh hop character. Lots of it expressed with greenery and prickling nettles. With nothing to intrude into that bitterness it does hit hard. Not a beer for a lot of people then – but for hopheads you have to respect how it delivers raw hop bitterness with nothing in the way, without feeling just rough and undrinkable.

Time does give it another layer – but only just. So, let’s be plain. It is still a brutal hop bomb – but now there are a few other elements struggling to get out there. The first one noticeable is a dried apricot note -which matches the dry character well, and meshes well with the bitterness. The next few are more contrasting – lemon and orange notes, and a pineapple air – all which freshens the beer oh so slightly. It gives nothing near the freshness of, say, a New Zealand hopped IPA, nor the fruit level of the fruit smoothie style IPAs that are so popular these days. It just adds a little extra, a touch to take the edges off.

Without that extra note this would be an interesting, but only try one, assault of a beer. With the extra notes? Well, I think for most people this would still be try once – it is rough edged and unbalanced. However for people, like me, who have become a tad blasé due to over exposure to high hop levels – this is very nice. The dry character gives it some extra punch to surprise without making it utterly one note, or undrinkable.

So – not a super flavour range – but, there is definitely something here for a masochistic hop head. In a lesser brewer this would be undrinkable shit. From Mikkeller, it just about holds together.

Impressive and intense. Not for everyone, but achieves its goal well.

Background: Ok, this is called Nuclear Hop Assault. An IIPA made with Hybrid hops. From Mikkeller who made the awesome 1000 IBU. There was no way I was not going to try this, was there? Another one grabbed from Independent Spirit – This was drunk after catching up on some Progress Wrestling – they have seriously got me back into Wrestling in a big way over the last few years. So in a fine mood for an intense beer. I wanted equally intense music so put on Dan Le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip’s Repent, Replenish, Repeat. Utterly brilliant album with the haunting Terminal being a stand out amongst many great tracks.

To Øl: Sur Sorachi Ace (Denmark: Sour Ale: 6% ABV)

Visual: Pale lemon yellow to apricot. Very large mounded white froth head. Some carbonation.

Nose: Light cheese puffs funk and wheat. Flour. Lemongrass. Brown bread. Pepper. Bready in general.

Body: Sour. Sour dough. Lemon-juice. Lemongrass. Marshmallows. Brown bread. Dill pickles.

Finish: Flour. Cloying bitterness. Sour cream. Lemon-grass. Dill pickle. Slight charring.

Conclusion: Ok, maybe Sorachi Ace doesn’t go with everything. Which is a pity. I still hold that a single hopped Sorachi Ace barley wine would be awesome – but apparently the hop doesn’t suit a sour pale ale. Pity. Anyway, despite how I just opened the notes, this isn’t a bad beer. I just don’t think that Sorachi Ace added to it that well is all I am saying.

The base is still pretty nice – a tart sour character mixed in with a quite bready grounding. As I found with my experience with Sur Mosaic they have the base sour pale down pat – it is bit charred in the finish, which can be a flaw sometimes, but just about fits in here.

The issue then is that the lovely lemongrass, bubblegum and dill pickle flavours of Sorachi Ace kind of get lost in here – it is already quite sour lemon and slight pickle to the base so instead of the hop adding, you just end up with the vegetable kind of notes of the character, and less of the cool stuff. You still get some lemongrass, but generally what shines through here is the (admittedly good) base. The slight greenery just takes away from that. It is far from a bad beer, as To Øl know their shit – but even as a Sorachi Ace fan I have to say it doesn’t fit well here.

So, solid beer in execution of the concept – but the idea, or at least the hop choice, lets it down. Despite that I can still enjoy it for the quality of the base beer and will probably experiment with more of the sur hops range to see which hops work better.

Background: I love sorachi ace. Seriously love this weird hop. I had a very good experience with my last Sur * beer from To Øl – so this was definitely one to try. A soured pale ale, single hopped – what is not to like? Anyway, this was grabbed from Independent Spirit and drunk while putting on some heavy duty Meshuggah for enjoyment. It is worth noting there is no name on the front of this beer, just a bunch of sperm looking lines. The only place you find the name is in the description on the back. Which doesn’t seem to have been done for the rest of the range. Odd.

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