WDAY: The News Leader

Published April 17, 2010, 04:04 PM

Beer lovers take brewing beer to the next level

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - There's a group in Fargo quickly growing. Its hobby is beer. The Prairie Home brewing Companions or P-H-C has about 70 members. Beer brewers of all levels meet once a month.

At those meetings, brewers have their beer judged and others bring samples to taste. Members say they got into brewing because their love of beer, but then the process of making it takes the excitement to a new level.

"Some people are into the science of it others just enjoy creating things others are into it for all the equipment you see some really elaborate systems but it's something you can continue to build throughout your life."

Brewing a beer start to finish takes anywhere from 5 weeks to one year, depending on the type of beer. Every once in a while a few members of the group will team up for a "group brew" to make a larger batch. A couple members, while drinking beer, found out they have the same birthday. They decided it'd be perfect for a fun occasion.

These guys say they're mixing a complex recipe for this batch, and it's exactly what Mike and Eric envisioned for their birthday.

"I guess it's a nice day be a lot of things you could do today, but I'd rather be brewing."

The group has multiple brewing systems set up, and the recipe calls for 11 different types of barley and oats. Compared to only 3 or 4 they'd usually use.

The last step today will be to put all of the beer into 11 of these 5 gallon glass bottles, and then in a couple of weeks they'll transfer it to a 55 gallon Jack Daniels barrel. It'll sit in there for up to a week."

"It's going to impart a lot of the flavors from not only the whiskey that was in there before, but then the barrel characteristics because when American whiskey is done in those barrels, they don't use it a second time so they can get that raw char character out of it again."

"A year is about the longest you'll ever wait for a beer, but you know you taste it and maybe it'll be ready after 6 months and maybe it'll only take 6 months. It just depends on the character you want the barrel to impart on the beer."

If you factor the price of ingredients and the Jack Daniels barrel, it comes out to be the most expensive beer they've ever made.

"You know still at that it's going to come out at about a dollar a beer."

Not a bad price for a strong beer and if it sits for exactly one year, next years birthday party could be a little more rowdy. If you want to learn more, visit