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Old 04-07-2009, 03:02 AM   #1
dugward
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Default Neverending fermentation

I am working on an Old Ale and racked to my secondary after primary fermentation had died down. I (not very brightly?) decided, while putting it into the secondary, to rack it onto a syrup of brown sugar to play with the flavor.

This, of course, set off another round of fermentation that has been slowly but surely keeping up for the past three weeks.

I've got a pretty good secondary cake now, and I'm wondering if it's alright to leave the ale sitting on top of it for this long. I'm fermenting at about 70 degrees (I know this is a bit warm, but it's the best I can do). Would you rack it again? Just leave it and hope autolysis isn't much of a factor?

Thanks for your help!

Doug

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Old 04-07-2009, 03:03 AM   #2
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Have you taken gravity readings?

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Old 04-07-2009, 03:11 AM   #3
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My OG was 1.062, and when putting it into the secondary, my FG was a little higher than I wanted, about 1.025. But when I stupidly added the sugar, I would have ruined that reading. I'll take a reading tonight, but am not sure if that will help.

I should have also mentioned that the airlock's only bubbling about once every two or three minutes now.

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Old 04-07-2009, 03:12 AM   #4
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I'd leave it for a while. You're better off erring on the side of leaving it on the yeast cake too long than racking it too soon. It may take quite some time for the fermentation to end, and autolysis should take months to become a problem. personally, I've had been sit on the yeast cake for up to 3 months with no problem.

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Old 04-07-2009, 03:25 AM   #5
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I've had suspected 'fermentation' continue for a long time only to discover that it was probably only CO2 release from a compacting cake. If you only have 1 bubble every 2-3 minutes, you're almost definitely done. For what it's worth, I also had an English Nut Brown that I THOUGHT had finished a little high. Mixed in the priming sugar and bottled - now if I pop a bottle open it's an almost instant volcano. The priming sugar must have jump-started the yeast to finish off the other remaining sugars as well. And as Hercules said, that beer can sit in the secondary for a long time with minimal risk. Take a gravity and if it's where you expect it, wait a week and recheck. If it's the same, you're done.

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Old 04-07-2009, 03:27 AM   #6
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It's down to 1.018. Tastes ok at the moment. Maybe a hint of soapyness? I'm probably being paranoid.

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Old 04-07-2009, 03:27 AM   #7
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I'm with Hercules Rockefeller on this one, leave it a few weeks longer. Better to let that beer do it's thing for a while and finish up completely. I have also left brews for 3 months and the beer came out great.

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Old 04-07-2009, 03:37 AM   #8
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You're around 70% attenuation. Give it a little more time and recheck. Time heals all things...except my irish red that tastes like cough syrup...

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Old 04-07-2009, 05:40 AM   #9
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thanks, guys!

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