Dan Martich's picture

Judge’s Review: 95 Rating - Llama Mama by Darwin Brewing Co.

May, 2021
Judges Rating: 
23 / 24
6 / 6
38 / 40
10 / 10
Overall Impression: 
18 / 20

Llama Mama by Darwin Brewing Co. is being evaluated as a Sweet Stout (Category 16A) from the 2015 BJCP Style guidelines. 

This beer has aromas of roasted malt, creamy lactic milk from the added lactose that gives it its stylistic category. Moderate earthy hops are present in addition to milk chocolate with a very low amount of medium roast coffee.

The appearance exhibited a very dark brown color that was nearly black, with good clarity and absent of turbidity or haziness. Crowned by a tan head that was mousse-like and long-lasting like your perfect cup of espresso. No visible bubbles were detected due to the color.

Bigger and bolder than what you would expect from a sweet stout, there is a pleasant alcoholic note to support the roasted malt and chocolate flavors. Those notes play very well with the residual sweetness that the lactose provides. There isn’t much hop flavor, but for balance the bitterness perceived is mostly from the roasted malts. The finish is long and roasty.

The mouthfeel of this beer is comprised of a medium-full body with a medium-low carbonation accentuating smoothness. Absent of astringency that dark malts can provide, it is creamy due to the lactose added, as well as good restrained use of roasted barley.

Overall a delicious beer that's hard to put down, although it’s a bit bolder than a traditional sweet stout.  I would go out on a limb here and call this an excellent entry-level imperial sweet stout given the bolder flavors, alcoholic notes and mouthfeel. The alcoholic notes along with very low licorice notes on the palate give this beer great drinkability, so don’t hesitate to seek and drink this exceptional beer.