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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Beer Discussion > Irish Red Ale still fermenting after a month?
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Old 12-10-2012, 06:45 PM   #1
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Default Irish Red Ale still fermenting after a month?

On Nov. 11, I brewed an Irish Red Ale (Donovan's Irish Sunset). The yeast was a washed Wyeast Irish Ale that had been used just once before, in a Dry Irish Stout. The yeast had spent barely a day in storage (in the fridge) before being pitched into the Irish Red Ale.

I fermented in a 6.5 gallon carboy, sitting in a plastic rope tub filled with water, replacing 2-3 frozen Gatorade bottles twice per day (morning & night). The carboy was covered with a wet t-shirt.

After a week (Nov. 18), I moved the carboy out of the swamp cooler and up onto a shelf, where it's been sitting ever since. The temperature strip on the carboy indicates 66-68 F.

I took a gravity reading 2 weeks ago, and it came in at 1.010, so I think it's done. But here's the weird part - the airlock is still bubbling.

I know, I know, "the airlock is not a sign of fermentation, lots of things can cause it to bubble." But the thing is, I can't imagine what else it would be. The carboy has not been touched or disturbed, so it can't be gas being knocked out of solution. The temperature hasn't changed, so it can't be expansion/contraction of air in the carboy. And there are several small "islands" of clusters of bubbles on the surface of the beer. When I watch the airlock, it's not like it's frequently bubbling, but there are bubbles in the StarSan in the airlock, indicating that there has been activity. And the beer is pretty cloudy, suggesting there is still convective activity inside preventing sediment from settling out.

I was hoping to cold-crash, gelatin, and keg this thing over the next week. And the gravity suggests it's done. But these other signs are making me apprehensive. Has anyone else ever experienced anything like this? Any suggestions as to what might be going on? Is it the washed and reused yeast that maybe just doesn't want to quit?

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Old 12-10-2012, 06:57 PM   #2
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You never mentioned what the temp was while sitting in the swamp cooler. If it were a little too cool, it could have got off to a slow start and really got going good only after sitting in the warmer 66-68 for a while...... Still may be ready, but might give it another couple days before checking to make sure.

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Old 12-10-2012, 07:09 PM   #3
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It probably just off gassed some C02 as it warmed up. That would be my thinking anyway.

Primary - Big Pale Citra Ale (AG)(1.063)
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Old 12-10-2012, 07:19 PM   #4
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Really, a million things could cause it- changes in barometric pressure are definitely one of them. I wouldn't worry about it.
I can't be arsed to keep up this list of what's in the fermenters, but hey, check out the cool brewery I own! .. ..
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Old 12-10-2012, 08:54 PM   #5
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Easy way to tell. Take another gravity reading. Consistent reading for three days (or same reading taken twice 72 hours apart) tells you fermentation is done.

An aside: the bubbles are almost certainly just off gassing.
Check out the priming sugar calculator, yeast starter calculator, and the beer calorie calculator.
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Old 12-27-2012, 06:29 PM   #6
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Wow! I have the exact same thing... I Brewed an Irish Red on November 24th. I also used a washed Wyeast Irish Ale. Fermentation at 66 seemed fairly normal but a little slow. Racked to secondary two weeks later. Today (Dec 27) I'm still getting a bubble every couple of minutes. I'm pretty sure I'm at terminal gravity (consecutive readings of 1.014). Is this yeast known as a slow fermenting yeast? Did you bottle or wait for a while?

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