Mama Juana Beer - Where to start?

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Schlenkerla

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Just for you fools out there, mama juana is NOT a euphemism for pot.

I was in the Dominican Republic last week. I drank a good bit of mama juana.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mama_Juana

It's basically spiced rum. According to Wikipedia, "Mama Juana (or mamajuana) is a drink from the Dominican Republic that is concocted by allowing rum, red wine, and honey to soak in a bottle with tree bark and herbs. The taste is similar to port wine and the color is a deep red."

I bought two pounds of root/stem cuttings one for the real thing and the other to make a beer.

I plan to make a base beer, then secondary on the mama juana root. I'm thinking an amber or a low hoped red ale. Whatever it is needs some malt character.

A Mama Juana shot has spice somewhat like cinnamin but NOT like fireball. Think of a sweet port wine with a subtle cinnamin, raisen, fruit taste. It's more than that, but that the cinnamin is only spice I recognize.

I'm looking for your thoughts, especially if you have tasted mama juana and thought it was ok.

What beer would you use?

I suppose a big stout, porter or barleywine would work too. The alcohol would extract the wood flavors.

Let me know what you think. Thanks.
 

dustinboyd

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Sorry I have nothing useful to contribute but my wife and I also just got back from the Dominican and every corner we turned, someone is asking if we wanted a shot of Mama Juana. It was pretty good though. Although, I'm not sure how it would taste As a beer.
 

Bosh

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Raisin makes me think dark crystal...

So I'd agree with you on the amber ale.
 

Trillium

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I was recently in the Dominican and got some of the mamajuana. The bark is flavourless, but with weeks of soaking in the honey, rum, red wine mixture, it does leave some astringency. It also contains cinnamon leaves.
 
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Schlenkerla

Schlenkerla

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Sorry I have nothing useful to contribute but my wife and I also just got back from the Dominican and every corner we turned, someone is asking if we wanted a shot of Mama Juana. It was pretty good though. Although, I'm not sure how it would taste As a beer.
Yeah I'm thinking how one might use wood chips to simulate a cask conditioned ale. Whatever it is it needs to be a bit malty.

It would not be a Dominican style. It's a basturdization of wood aged beer. More or less an unknown conditioning gimmick. Dominican Republic was a Spanish colony...no Spanish style to apply to such a beer....

Mama Juana is a strangely odd flavor, in a good way if you age a malty beer. Most beer geeks would never guess the way it was done.
 

brew_darrymore

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I love mamajuana. I also brought some dry mamajuana mix from DR, roots, bark, etc, who knows what's really in there.

I followed the recipe the locals gave me, mixing Dominican rum, wine and honey. After a couple of weeks I had a shot. It was so bitter it was impossible to drink!

I remembered at that point that the instructions were to throw out the first batch. With every other batch the wood chips conditioned and were less bitter.

Let us know how the beer tastes, if you decide to go ahead with that experiment.
 

MonkeyFunk

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I also have some mamajuana that my girlfriend has aspirations to brew with. I already filled one rum bottle and put rum and honey on it, and just as mentioned it was extremely tannic and astringent after the first steeping (took a few weeks until it turned brown, indicating proper infusion).

Based on the flavor profile of my mamajuana mix, I agree that it should be a malty wood ale. Mind you that not all mixes are made equal... as it's a blend of several different plants and different aerial and underground parts. My blend is all wood, presumably roots, bark and stems, and doesn't have any leaves. It tastes a lot like cinnamon. And I can say first hand that it definitely lends the aphrodisiacal effect that the Dominicans love so much about Mamajuana.

We were thinking a scotch ale as the base style potentially, to layer the wood character with a bit of peat smoked malt, crystal malt, a touch of roast, and the citrusy esters from scotch ale yeast.

Given how bitter it is at first infusion, I would infuse in bourbon or neutral rum once, dump/drink the first infusion, then add the wood in secondary for a few weeks until the desired level of aphrodesia is reached :)
 
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Schlenkerla

Schlenkerla

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Good idea, one infusion, dump/drink. Then use it for a secondary.

Scotch Ale sounds good.
 
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