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Old 05-08-2008, 01:30 PM   #1
HomerT
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Default Never ending fermentation...

Quick sanity check on one of my current brews. I brewed an Belgian Strong Golden ale (NB extract kit) on the 2nd of April. Brew itself went fine, pitched a healthy/active 1/2 gallon starter into an SG of ~1.080. It got a nice 1" healthy krausen overnight and fermented quite nicely for about twelve days while I was in Germany. I came home and the krausen had fallen and the hydro showed 1.016, so I racked it to secondary along with my honey-amber that was started a few days before the Belgian.

Now its the 8th of May and the Amber is still and clear as can be, ready to bottle. The Belgian is still cloudy, and bubblin at 5~6 per minute with a tiny ring of CO2 in the neck of the carboy. I checked gravity and its 1.014 (and tasting delicious) but still tiny bubbles rising to the top. I have picked up the carboy and swirled it around a few times to no avail....still bubbles. Is this thing ever gonna stop bubbling and finish? I am in no hurry to bottle, I planned on a fe wmonths of bulk aging in the carboy anyway. I am just wondering if this is normal, or I have some sort of freak Belgian going on.


-Todd



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Old 05-08-2008, 01:35 PM   #2
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Did you have the heat turned off while you were away? It's possible that the ferment stalled/stopped while you were away if room temps were on the low side.

BTW swirling the yeast about in the fermentor oxygenates the yeast and causes it to resuspend itself in the beer. This is a method for reviving stuck ferments but if used too vigorously can cause over oxygenation of the beer. Be careful - you're walking a fine line.



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Old 05-08-2008, 01:48 PM   #3
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Nope, my wife was home and the fermometer on the side read a consistent 68F she said. Nor fluctuation more than 1~2F.

Good to know on the swirling. I only did it once or twice, but I will let it be now.

-Todd

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Old 05-08-2008, 02:10 PM   #4
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Yup freak Belgian.

Seriously, what yeast did you use and did you use yeast nutrient? If you started at 1.080 and you're at 1.014 it should almost be done. Most yeasts would be done by now.

Give it another week and check the gravity again. It's in glass so I wouldn't worry too much. Just keep on checking until the gravity is stable. If too dry at the end you may want to add some lactose at the end (say 2-3 oz) to sweeten it up a bit.

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Old 05-08-2008, 02:16 PM   #5
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Wyeast 1388 Strong Belgian Ale. Its a low floculator, so I know it won't be crytal clear. Gravity has been pretty stable for the last week or so. I just don't know where the CO2 is coming from.

-Todd

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Old 05-08-2008, 02:38 PM   #6
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If you're saying that tiny bubbles are rising to the top of the beer in the carboy then you may be seeing dissolved co2 or o2 being released after being absorbed in the liquid through the increased surface area of the fluid during the swirling.

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Old 05-08-2008, 05:10 PM   #7
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I brewed a Tripel on 4/27 and it took seven days to drop from 1.080 to 1.030. It has been fermenting away for the past 12 days and has finally showed signs of slowing down. I pitched WLP 550 on it with a little extra trub in the primary at 64f. Seems this yeast really likes the trub. I'm gonna probably rack it to secondary in the next day or so. Hoping for it to finish around 1.010-1.012

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Old 05-08-2008, 07:02 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cugel View Post
BTW swirling the yeast about in the fermentor oxygenates the yeast and causes it to resuspend itself in the beer. This is a method for reviving stuck ferments but if used too vigorously can cause over oxygenation of the beer. Be careful - you're walking a fine line.
If the beer has dropped in gravity that far, there will not be oxygen left in your wort (besides trace amounts) so you do not need to worry about oxidation (IMHO) as long as you leave the air-lock in place. If you remove the air-lock and shake, that is a different story, but that would be a very odd thing to do.

If it is still bubbling just let it sit, a big Belgian like that will not mature for a LONG time anyway, I guarantee the last one you drink will make you weep for drinking the rest early. The first big Belgian I did, I started drinking after 3 months bulk aging and bottling. Saves 3 1L swing tops just for fun. The ones I drank early were O.K. beers; the 3 I saved were knock down good after a year of aging in the bottle, massive difference. Wait it out as long as you can stand it in the secondary carboy, You'll be glad you did!
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Old 05-08-2008, 07:44 PM   #9
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I asked the same question (sort of) a couple months ago. An IPA that i was doing fermented for over 5 weeks. I thought an infection or wild yeast was the cause. Now I am enjoying one of the best beers that I have made to date. Patience, I believe, is the key.



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