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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Fermentation & Yeast > Beer still fermenting after nearly four weeks!
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Old 10-04-2012, 09:05 PM   #1
MikeFallopian
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Default Beer still fermenting after nearly four weeks!

Hi all,

I made a 1.091 beer almost four weeks ago, and the thing is still fermenting! After four days or so of pretty vigorous fermentation it slowed down to periodic airlock bubbling, and is now bubbling once every thirty minutes or so. Ambient temperature at the moment is about 18C, probably dropping down to 15-16C in the dead of night. The beer has raisins, vanilla pods, cloves and orange peel in it, all of which were added to the boil for fifteen minutes then transferred to the primary with the beer.

I was slightly concerned about an infection, so I tested the gravity this evening. When I took the lid off, the thing was visibly bubbling away, though all the krausen was gone. The gravity reading was 1.032, and the sample tasted great with no signs of infection, so I don't think it's infected.

Any thoughts? Shall I just leave it ride out for a few more weeks?

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Old 10-04-2012, 09:15 PM   #2
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What yeast are you using? I've made a beer before that had to sit in primary for SIX weeks! (not to brag, just, these things happen) It's one of my favorite beers to date. If it's not tasting infected and the gravity is still dropping....
YR DOIN IT RIGHT

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Old 10-04-2012, 09:27 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lavender_Pepper View Post
What yeast are you using? I've made a beer before that had to sit in primary for SIX weeks! (not to brag, just, these things happen) It's one of my favorite beers to date. If it's not tasting infected and the gravity is still dropping....
YR DOIN IT RIGHT

The yeast was Safbrew T-58 repitched from a previous batch (which also tastes great, by the way - I'm drinking it as I type!). I repitched up with the correct amount of slurry according to Mr Malty's calculator. The fermentation took off easily, so I'm assuming enough cells were present.
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Old 10-04-2012, 09:34 PM   #4
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The fact that it's bubbling really does not mean it is still fermenting, could just be off gassing from a bump or change in pressure or temperature. While I will assume 1.032 is not the desired FG there is the possibility it will continue dropping and it may not. This will depend on your grain bill and mash temperatures. In addition, since you re-used yeast there is also the possibility that it was not the healthiest yeast and may not fully attenuate.

You stated the krausen dropped and this usually does not occur if fermentation is still happening as the yeast have completely dropped. You may want to rouse the yeast a bit and see if you can generate some more activity to lose some additional points as well.

If you provide mash temps and grain bill someone can chime in and let you know if you may possibly have a less fermentable wort than desired. Since you mentioned your sample tasted good and not overly sweet it may possibly be done

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Old 10-04-2012, 09:34 PM   #5
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I should also say that 500g of molasses went into it.

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Old 10-04-2012, 09:38 PM   #6
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I should also say that 500g of molasses went into it.
Molasses is not 100% fermentable so that will attribute some to your higher FG, what about the other questions asked?? Recipe and mash temps would help
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Old 10-04-2012, 09:50 PM   #7
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Just going from 1.091 to 1.032 is almost 8% ABV... seems quite possible the high alcohol has slowed the yeasties down but not halted their progress altogether.

You could probably let it warm up a few degrees and give it a gentle rouse if you want to encourage the yeast to keep working, but, ultimately, you won't know they're done fermenting until your hydrometer readings start coming up the same.

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Old 10-04-2012, 09:50 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by duboman View Post
The fact that it's bubbling really does not mean it is still fermenting, could just be off gassing from a bump or change in pressure or temperature. While I will assume 1.032 is not the desired FG there is the possibility it will continue dropping and it may not. This will depend on your grain bill and mash temperatures. In addition, since you re-used yeast there is also the possibility that it was not the healthiest yeast and may not fully attenuate.

You stated the krausen dropped and this usually does not occur if fermentation is still happening as the yeast have completely dropped. You may want to rouse the yeast a bit and see if you can generate some more activity to lose some additional points as well.

If you provide mash temps and grain bill someone can chime in and let you know if you may possibly have a less fermentable wort than desired. Since you mentioned your sample tasted good and not overly sweet it may possibly be done
The sample tasted good, but was sweet. It's bubbling a lot, so I definitely think it is still fermenting. Here are the recipe details for an 18L batch (I ended up subbing some hops on brew day):


Daddy Adam's Dark XXXmas Phantasy (Specialty Beer)

Original Gravity (OG): 1.091 (°P): 21.8
Final Gravity (FG): 1.015 (°P): 3.8
Alcohol (ABV): 9.91 %
Colour (SRM): 22.5 (EBC): 44.3
Bitterness (IBU): 34.5 (Average)

64% Maris Otter Malt (4kg)
16% Cane Sugar (1kg)
8% Molasses Sugar (500g)
4.8% Crystal 120 (300g)
4% Raisins (250g)
3.2% Special-B (200g)

1.9 g/L Crystal (4.3% Alpha) @ 60 Minutes (Boil)
2.2 g/L Saaz (3.6% Alpha) @ 60 Minutes (Boil)
0.6 g/L Crystal (4.3% Alpha) @ 15 Minutes (Boil)

0.1 g/L Allspice @ 5 Minutes (Boil)
0.3 g/L Cinnamon Stick @ 5 Minutes (Boil)
0.3 g/L Clove @ 5 Minutes (Boil)
0.3 g/L Orange Peel @ 5 Minutes (Boil)
0.3 g/L Vanilla @ 5 Days (Boil and Primary)

Single step Infusion at 66°C for 90 Minutes.
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Old 10-04-2012, 09:57 PM   #9
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Assuming your thermometer is calibrated and accurate your mash temp is good and it looks like a tasty beer. I will point out that the simple sugars may have filled up the yeast before they got to the more complex sugars and caused them to poop out early, especially since you said the beer is already clear. IMO you raise the temp a bit and rouse the yeast back into suspension and hopefully they will finish up for you.

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Old 10-04-2012, 10:01 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by duboman View Post
Assuming your thermometer is calibrated and accurate your mash temp is good and it looks like a tasty beer. I will point out that the simple sugars may have filled up the yeast before they got to the more complex sugars and caused them to poop out early, especially since you said the beer is already clear. IMO you raise the temp a bit and rouse the yeast back into suspension and hopefully they will finish up for you.
The beer isn't clear - it looks pretty yeasty and murky, though it's a dark brown beer, so quite hard to ascertain the level of cloudiness.
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