Brewer's Invert Sugar (Part II)

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peebee

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@Erik The Anglophile: For No.3 (I've just been working on it today) I've homed in on 15% Billington's Dark Muscovado, rest Golden Castor. The Billington's has the right flavour and colour at that, but it is surprising that the Billington's provides the more "lush", even slightly sweeter, overall sensation. Not that I think it will be noticeable in the beer. 10% solutions. "Work-in-progress":
20220504_141028_WEB.jpg

Emulation left, Ragus #3 on right. The slight change in tone (dulling) of the etched lines on the emulation is odd, happens every time - I suspect it's something to do with refraction (the Ragus is "inverted" and contains fructose, the emulation isn't and is all sucrose). It's not the measuring cylinders, they are identical.
 

Erik The Anglophile

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@peebee I'm not sure the Golden Castor sugar is readily aviable here. I can get Billingtons light and dark muscovado and demerara.
Is it similair to light muscovado? In that case i figure I can go with light musco and 10% of the total amount of sugar (in weight) as dark musco?
 

peebee

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@peebee I'm not sure the Golden Castor sugar is readily aviable here. I can get Billingtons light and dark muscovado and demerara.
Is it similair to light muscovado? In that case i figure I can go with light musco and 10% of the total amount of sugar (in weight) as dark musco?
"Golden Granulated/Caster/Icing" is just short of ordinary white granulated, it's just my chosen "base" sugar. I could say just use white, it is the Light Dark Muscovado that carries any flavour and colour. Light Muscovado and Demerara carries a lot of flavour and might alter the intention?

Saying "use white" will probably get me "flamed"! But your yeast won't care.

[EDIT: Light ... or dark? Well, I've corrected one error above, it's quite horrible how we can allow such radical errors to slip by!]
 
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chthon

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Based upon the these sugars, in order of darkening:
  • Light Muscovado
  • Dark Muscovado
  • Demerara (you get redirected to brown sugar on Wikipedia)
It seems that it should be possible to emulate them (although in liquid form) with an addition of molasses up to 6.5% for Demerara, and less for the Muscovados, to simple refined white sugar.

Which points at least me somewhere in the same direction where I once started: on Barclay-Perkins there is somewhere an article about emulating invert #1, #2 and #3 only based upon invert sugar and molasses alone. But with this thread, it seems we might even say that it is enough to take white crystal sugar and the same amounts of molasses to emulate them. Or start with the lightest cane sugar, and add molasses in the wanted concentration.

My opinion has been in the past that up to a certain concentration, molasses is mellowed by the unfermentable sugars in the beer, Above that concentration, it could start to provide the sharp taste of pure molasses (one beer I brewed, a ST.-Bernardus 12 clone, was made with molasses, a bit too much, but it was palatable, also after 6 months the molasses taste did mellow).

And caramel is only used for colouring, not for taste. Pure, it actually tastes pretty foul. I suppose that one better uses caramel malts, roast malts or high dried malts for colouring.
 

peebee

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@chthon: I think you have to be fairly careful with "Demerara", it seems to be one of those "Internationally variable" ones. You seem to consider it darker than "Dark Muscovado", I think it's lighter than "Light Muscovado". But it is very strongly flavoured, so perhaps it's me who should be careful? These are from the comparative tests I'm currently doing:

20220501_165530_WEB.jpg


The right is 10% solution of Ragus No.1 Invert, the left a 0.5% solution of Billington's "Demerara" plus 9.5 % Billington's "Golden". The "Golden" is just being used as a filler. I had to compromise on colour of the emulation to get the flavour (due to Demerara) down.

The one at the back is 10% Lyle's Golden Syrup. Not only is it darker but, even at this dilution, strongly "caramelly" in flavour. Quite inappropriate.

Notice the "dulling" of the granulation marks of the "emulation" cylinder. Just like the more coloured samples in the earlier post. I'm pretty sure this is due to refraction and inverted or not inverted samples.

I think by "molasses" you mean the dark syrupy stuff you can buy in shop? I'm trying (or will be) to get people thinking of "molasses" as a "generic" term that can be fairly pale: The colourants from a waste product of sugar refining, not a specific "thing". But yes, the shop bought dark stuff can (does!) have a dire effect on beer: Beers containing it all taste the same! Very lush flavour though, it's difficult to believe it's the "molasses" that's trashing the beer. Dark treacle (which is manufactured from dark molasses) is just the same. Took me decades to figure that out, don't anyone make the same mistake!


@Erik The Anglophile: This is why I'm telling you "granulated white sugar" is fine as a "filler" instead of "golden caster/granulated sugar". Imagine the flavour of that lefthand watery looking sample. The (lack of) colour should be obvious from the picture.




The pictures are from "work-in-progress". Resist any urge to ask in depth questions about it; I'm not ready for it yet!
 

Erik The Anglophile

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I'm just pondering the use of light musco and/or demera(ats a substitute for invert#2 and with 1 or 2 tenths of dark musco added in the mixto sub invert #3.
I read the pdf from Ragus, that and what I can remember from pat's excerpts from 19th and early 20th century documents about brewing sugar, the more colored inverts (#2 and #3) are described as both rather colorfull (~60 and ~130 ebc) and rather flavourfull.
My worries would be that white refined cane sugar would be too dull and tasteless.
And I remember you saying that raw cane sugars are already inverted, even if not, would not the heat and slightly acidic conditions of the wort ( at least partially) invert it given you add it early boil?
 

chthon

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I think by "molasses" you mean the dark syrupy stuff you can buy in shop? I'm trying (or will be) to get people thinking of "molasses" as a "generic" term that can be fairly pale: The colourants from a waste product of sugar refining, not a specific "thing". But yes, the shop bought dark stuff can (does!) have a dire effect on beer: Beers containing it all taste the same! Very lush flavour though, it's difficult to believe it's the "molasses" that's trashing the beer. Dark treacle (which is manufactured from dark molasses) is just the same. Took me decades to figure that out, don't anyone make the same mistake!
Yes, blackstrap molasses or dark treacle.

But my experience is that not much is needed, and I hypothesise that in combination with sugar/unfermentable sugars/other things in beer, and in low concentrations, it can give a nice taste. Just don't ferment with a diastaticus yeast, because then you don't have any balance any more between the little amount of molasses that is in there and the rest of the beer.

Suppose the process starts from unrefined cane sugar. From this, refined white sugar is extracted and a darker extract remains. This extract contains the impurities that were in the unrefined cane sugar. In a second and third processing, more refined sugar is extracted, and in every run the rest containing the impurities get darker. So what if a small bit of this molasses is added to refined sugar, so that it gets the same color of the original? Would you still get the sharp molasses taste?

The beer with molasses brewed (St.-B Abt 12 clone) contained 50 g of molasses but also 650 g D90 (on 8l of beer). I knew I overdid it more or less, but that was an experiment. That 50g of molasses seems to be the equivalent of 750g of brown sugar. I once used brown sugar in an abbey beer I fermented with MJ M27/M29 yeast, and it had a bit of that molasses taste. But I think that with amounts less than that (say less than 6g/l of beer), one would get better flavors.
 

peebee

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I'm just pondering the use of light musco and/or demera(ats a substitute for invert#2 and with 1 or 2 tenths of dark musco added in the mixto sub invert #3.
I read the pdf from Ragus, that and what I can remember from pat's excerpts from 19th and early 20th century documents about brewing sugar, the more colored inverts (#2 and #3) are described as both rather colorfull (~60 and ~130 ebc) and rather flavourfull.
My worries would be that white refined cane sugar would be too dull and tasteless. ...
I'm changing tack (over next day or two) to drop "Demerara" 'cos it's causing too much trouble (variations too different, presentation so different - big crystals, flavour and colour not nicely "consistent" with other types, etc.). So, I'll concentrate on Muscovado sugars (light and dark) for No.1-3, and perhaps "Molasses Sugar" (not widely available though) for No.4, together with a fairly neutral "filler" ("Golden" or white granulated).

Each "emulation" just one "flavour"/colour addition, and one neutral filler addition. I'll avoid anything more complicated than that or people will just get turned off and perpetuate the "inversion" and "caramelised sugar" silliness (which won't help those put off by boiling sugar syrups for hours). And there is no need to be more complicated than the "two sugars per emulation" plan. Because one sugar in my emulation plan is a "neutral filler", and I'm more than happy for it to be, as you describe, "white refined cane sugar", and "dull and tasteless", 'cos it's only half of the emulation (the other half carries the tasty bits!). Apart from the "tasty bits", the sugar is just food for the yeast and gets converted to tasteless CO2 and water anyway.

... And I remember you saying that raw cane sugars are already inverted, even if not, would not the heat and slightly acidic conditions of the wort ( at least partially) invert it given you add it early boil?
Not me. But might have been in one of the Graham Wheeler posts I linked? As I have said before though, I'm not too concerned about "inverting" 'cos the yeast is perfectly capable of doing that for itself (I think all the bumph about it "saving the yeast the trouble" is gross exaggeration).
 

peebee

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... Suppose the process starts from unrefined cane sugar. From this, refined white sugar is extracted and a darker extract remains. This extract contains the impurities that were in the unrefined cane sugar. In a second and third processing, more refined sugar is extracted, and in every run the rest containing the impurities get darker. So what if a small bit of this molasses is added to refined sugar, so that it gets the same color of the original? Would you still get the sharp molasses taste ...
I think you're referring to the "massecuite" refining bit you introduced me to a while back? Thanks athumb.. , I've incorporated all that into my "designs". Which is also why I'm trying to incorporate more refined "unrefined" sugar into my lower number "Invert" emulations to represent the more mellow molasses present in those emulations rather than just use the one (dark, and possibly rank, or "sharp") molasses added as just a colour addition. I'm relying on these "unrefined" sugar additions to introduce the possible caramelised and "Maillard reaction" elements into the emulations, as might be expected from the processes being "emulated".

For others reading this: The higher temperatures used in the older refining "evaporation" processes would generate caramelised elements (and "Maillard reaction" elements, although Victorians hadn't "discovered" such things then)*. This all happened before the inversion processes which never got the temperature high enough for caramelising. All reasons why I consider the currently published methods of creating "invert sugars" for homebrew such complete and utter bol...

* How do I know that? Well, have you seen juice squeezed out of "grass stems" that hints of black like in jars of molasses bought in the health-food shop? SUGAR CANE CRUSHER ( Heavy Duty ) - Bing video
 

peebee

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... The Billington's has the right flavour and colour at that, but it is surprising that the Billington's provides the more "lush", even slightly sweeter, overall sensation. ...
Not so surprising really:

"Invert" consists of glucose and fructose. Fructose is much sweeter than sucrose, glucose is less sweet, but by a lower magnitude so Invert Sugar is sweeter than sucrose.

But ...

Ragus add 20% glucose to "seed" the Invert Syrup into a solid block. Therefore, Ragus Invert Sugar will be less sweet the sucrose.
 

peebee

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Based upon the these sugars, in order of darkening:
  • Light Muscovado
  • Dark Muscovado
  • Demerara (you get redirected to brown sugar on Wikipedia)
...
Here go ...
20220508_162929_WEB.jpg

Also, an introduction to my new sample jars! (Sugar solution samples that is, what else were you thinking?). I was running out of measuring cylinders to complete the trials but displaying that I have three identical glass measuring cylinders was saying all the wrong things about me!

The "Ragus No.1 Invert" is a 10% w/v solution as a reference. 10% is about the colour it contributes to a mid-strength (4.5% ABV) beer with Invert at 10% of ingredients (lucky coincidence!) and is also the sample size (100ml of 10% w/v solution) used for EBC assessment (also a lucky coincidence). The two samples of 10% sugar solution both contain 15% "raw" Billington's sugar in Billington's "Golden" sugar (the "base", or filler, sugar, although as I've said, the base sugar could be ordinary white granulated).

The Light Muscovado sugar solution is a tiny shade darker than the reference 'cos I'm now using "proportions" to make up the emulations, not direct comparisons with the Ragus reference sample. This should iron out any discrepancies I was experiencing in last week's work.

The Demerara sample is significantly lighter in colour, but at three times the concentration I judged correct last week so it tastes way too strong compared to the Ragus reference.

So, our demerara is much lighter than our Light Muscovado! Yet tastes more than three times stronger! So, the obvious conclusion is ... I'll drop Demerara sugar from the trials. The Light Muscovado sugar might not be a perfect match (very close though) but holds the emulations together much better. And at these miniscule colours and flavours (No.1 Invert), who could notice a difference even if one did exist?

Note I'm using the centuries-old Beer-Lambert Law for linear colour of liquids (that's "Beer" a person, "not" beer like we're making). 'Cos a sugar solution isn't beer! So, I don't have to tangle with the crazed, three decade old, non-linear, "Morey's fallacy" for beer colour just yet (used in about every PC homebrew formulation program)! You can read what Graham Wheeler thought of that fallacy >here< (Warning: Off-site link).
 

peebee

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This thread has been a fantastic journey for me: From "towing-the-line" and caramelising invert sugar to get No.1-4 "Invert Sugars" to realising that idea was utter bol*****, and ranting incessantly about it, all the space of less than two months. I've just been reviewing the thread so sorry about that opening!

I'm sure I'd asked about the EBC colours of various sugars, so was looking for that. I did find the information I'd read. Buy we're not allowed to post links to that forum from here for historical reasons. So I'll just post an image of the relevant post:

Capture3.JPG

The old Ragus information is at Brewing Sugars – Used to be on ragus.co.uk (wordpress.com) but I can post that info here too but must attach it as a PDF (below) or this forum software decides to massacre it!
 

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peebee

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This is where I'm up to ("Stage 1" done - the "formulations" of different sugars). The next "stage" will be comparing beer made with the Ragus stuff with my emulations, and that'll take at least a month. And depending on the outcome, test the real worth of "inverting" the sugar (don't want to do it if no need). For those that can't wait ...

1652273484236.jpeg


This spreadsheet is a record of what I've been doing. Each formulation provides 10g of sugar to be made up to 100ml with water for the comparisons. Multiple by ten to get percentage (i.e. No.1 is 88% "filler" - Billington's Golden Caster Sugar or White Granulated as you prefer - PLUS 12% Billington's Light Muscovado - I used Billington's sugars for all my trials). I envisaged using #1, #2, #3b and #4b for the four Invert Sugars.

The initial trials ("Take 1") are hidden for simplicity. There was a bit of shuffling about on #1, #2 and #3 to fit the "proportions", but that also means #1 in the photo posted a couple back (Post number #51) are much more closely matched colour-wise.

#1, #2 and #3 weren't compared for flavour with Ragus samples because very little had changed from the earlier comparisons. And there was no #4 Ragus sample! #4a had #3b's colour sugar multiplied by five and used as a reference for #4: The result was way too dark to compare, so all #4 sugar quantities were slashed in two (not the quantities given in the graph) so giving 5% solutions. The flavour differences between #4a and #4b were virtually indistinguishable but #4b also had less flavour contributed (about 2/3 the coloured sugar), so ... take your pick! #4c was radically different: Murky, blackstrap molasses is obviously mucky stuff, and flavours could be described as more "floral". I can't advise yet on using blackstrap for #4 ... take your pick (again)!

Here's the #4 samples I've been playing with (5% dilutions). Meridian's Blackstrap, Billington's Dark Muscovado (reference sample) and Billington's Molasses Sugar:
20220510_171653_WEB.jpg

[EDIT: I was mixing up my 3s, 4s, As and Bs. You've got to watch me like a hawk! Or just accept the garbage I can put out. Anyway, I've been corrected by my severest critic (me!) so all should be right now.]




Proportional quantities (which should fit the "Beer-Lambeth Law") work very well for Invert Sugars. Which is what I can expect as "Morey's formular" and all its controversy was never designed to predict colours generated away from the mash tun. For example, I can design a fantasy brew in "Beersmith", playing only with the coloured sugars in the boiler and the finished beer colour changes linearly, not in a non-linear fashion like from "Morey's formular" used elsewhere in the program. See; (tap, tap, tap) and ... err ... 🤬
 
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Erik The Anglophile

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Cooked up some invert earlier this week, 1.5kg sugar in total for 500ml water in each batch, #2 was all Demerara and #3 a mix of 85/15% light/dark muscovado.
Acidified with lactic acid, quite a bit, but I get no lactic acid flavour at all in the finished product.
But to be sure I will next time add only 0.5 ml to the water before heating to reduce alkalinity, then 1tsp of citric when sugar is dissolved and has reached 70c and inversion starts before adding the rest of the sugar, might try heating it until it just about starts simmering to produce a slightly less watery syrup.
The #2 is not as dark as it seems in the pic, more of a deep red, dark amber, kinda Brown porter like.
Both taste marvelous and I really look forward to trying them out in some ales.
 

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peebee

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I'm quite sure they "taste marvelous", and why shouldn't they? But referring to them as #2 and #3 might be distracting to others following this thread and what I'm trying to achieve (emulation of commercial invert sugars - i.e. the Ragus range - for trying to clone historical beers amongst other things). So, in defence of my thread, steel yourself for some (tame) criticism! 😈

Demerara colours are all over the place, looking at @chthon's post what he gets in Belgium is darker than "Dark Muscovado" whereas here in UK it's lighter than "Light Muscovado" But using 100% Demerara must make it too dark for #2 "Invert Sugar" ("deep red" you say, whereas the Ragus stuff is mid-amber, though they don't refer to it as "No.2" any more and say "M" suggesting "mid"?). I found the flavour too strong to create matches so stopped using demerara all together. I'd probably also find your #3 a bit too dark and strongly flavoured; you use about the same "colour/flavour" sugar as me (Dark Muscovado) but pad it out with Light Muscovado while I'd use something more neutral like golden or white sugar.



But, criticism aside, I am looking at methods of "inverting" even though I proclaim it un-necessary (I might find the full-scale tests prove me wrong - or someone convinces me not inverting will be wrong). The method used commercially is to mix the sugar (sucrose) into a slurry with warm water first and start inversion with that. This will not result in "watery syrup" that may need potentially disastrous boiling down (commercially they don't get the temperature above 70-80°C, but they also use stronger acids than we may care. or be allowed, to use). You certainly get to see whether inversion is successful because the sugar dissolves and doesn't recrystallise as it cools (invert sugar will tolerate 95% solutions, un-inverted sucrose alone will crystalise at about 66%). Will need some care getting the starting combination of sugar and water right because inverting will use some water (one of the "dirtier" reasons for inverting; you appear to end up with more sugar than you started with!). I haven't found any suggested slurry compositions just yet. Some temperature control of the pan might be necessary to avoid burning the slurry at the start and avoid heating above 110°C which will caramelise the fructose as it forms.
 

Erik The Anglophile

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I read a pdf from Ragus describing #2 as 60-70 ebc.
Your description is pretty much exactly how I did it, it never got above 85c, the syrup is about 78%, but not very thick, definitely thicker than water though...
The boiling part would just be an attempt to concentrat it a little more, I never meant I intend to boil it any prolonged period of time, just let reach a simmer and then immediatly take it off the heat and neutralise.
Will likely continue using the same sugars, as it is what I can somewhat easily get here, to create what I at least consider "close enough" emulations of traditional brewing inverted sugar, even maybe not exact replications of the ones manufactured by Ragus.
Considering there used to be a bunch of manufacturers of them, it is not that unthinkable that at least one of them did create products closer to what I cooked up.
Not meant to deride your efforts in any way, just saying that there used to be more makers of invert than Ragus, and likely quite some difference between their products.
I have found your thread very helpful in steering me away from the caramellisation foolishness, and try to make something att least a bit closer to the real deal.
 
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peebee

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... Not meant to deride your efforts in any way, just saying that there used to be more makers of invert than Ragus, and likely quite some difference between their products.
I have found your thread very helpful in steering me away from the caramellisation foolishness, and try to make something att least a bit closer to the real deal.
Sorry!

I have a nasty habit of "biting the hands that feed me", especially when I start drawing conclusions from all the input. If I keep it up soon no-one will answer my "requests for information" threads and the conclusions I reach will be much devalued. Your assistance is very much appreciated, thanks.


Next up: A couple of brews on to try these sugar combinations. Ron Pattinson is having a bit of a run on late 19th Century "Hancock" beers. They liked their sugar down there (Somerset, England). I can't do one of their extreme ones (40% No.3 Invert Sugar!) 'cos I don't have enough Ragus No.3 to do a comparison brew. I'll try Shut up about Barclay Perkins: Let's Brew Wednesday - 1898 Hancock XX.
 

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I have a Brown Stout I am tinkering on, inspired by the late 1800's/early 1900's recipes in Ron's Porter!
MO as base, 10% each of Crisp's Brown and Amber malt, 5% Black Malt and 10% #3.
1.055 OG and about 30 IBU, with a moderate late boil addition of EKG.
Unfortunately the small jar of #3 has begun recrystallising.
I have to be more vigilant with the Demerara as it is a bit of a pain to get it completely dissolved, especially the second addition after the initial inversion, probably due to the large and rather hard granules the sugar is composed of.
I do look forward to more experiments from you.
 

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I have a Brown Stout I am tinkering on, inspired by the late 1800's/early 1900's recipes in Ron's Porter!
MO as base, 10% each of Crisp's Brown and Amber malt, 5% Black Malt and 10% #3.
1.055 OG and about 30 IBU, with a moderate late boil addition of EKG. ...
Cor! If you think my larking about with "invert sugar" is ... err ... interesting? Have you come across all my larking about emulating (not making from scratch) historical brown and amber malts? I have a bit (correction: "a lot"!) of work to do to get the 19th Century stuff right (it underwent a lot of changes in that time); by 1920s or so it was nearly all the cylinder kilned uniform "modern" stuff like we have today. My last "Porter" was a "Barclay Perkin's 1804 TT" dug up by RP (who else), also pale, amber, and brown malts (no black in that period) but I'm still basing my emulations about "diastatic" coloured malt and by that time they weren't (all done for flavour only from small quantities). The result was a very refined strong dark beer (a bit like some Scottish, say Traquair House, beers) ... quite unlike what might be expected as an everyday London quaffing pint (quart?).

Anyway: Yeast is preparing for my "Invert sugar" trials. The 1898 Hancock XX brews. The yeast is Wyeast #1099 'cos I'm a bit dubious about RP's choice (a "diastaticus" strain). Yeast is two months past it "best by" so it's on a multi-step starter regime; but hope to be brewing on Friday. "Ragus" Invert first and emulated "Invert" next week (I can only do back-to-back comparisons with the kit I have). Emulated "Invert" is 17% "Dark Muscovado" in "Golden Caster" (all Billington's).
 
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