12 days and I still have airlock activity!?!?

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Schnitzengiggle

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This is my third batch, partial boil sweet stout recipe. Everything went well while brewing, as usual. I made a 1L starter and pitched it about 2:00pm on St. Patty's Day (March 17th :) ). I had about a 3 hour lag time, which was very impressive to me. My second batch (Belgian Wit) with a starter took about 5-6 hours, so I was very happy to see the stout take off so quickly. Well, to my question, the SG was 1.060 and it has been exactly 12 days and I still have airlock activity (about 1-2 bubbles every 1-2 minutes). Is this normal??? My fermenting temps started out around 68 degrees and have fallen since the fermentation has slowed to about 64 degrees this is WL Irish Ale Yeast, and I think their website says 65-68 degrees for best attenuation. I have my fermenter sitting in a water bath in an ice chest to help keep temps stable. I was plannig on leaving this brew in the primary for at least three weeks, and then secondary for at least two before bottling. I wouldn't normally take a gravity reading until I have no airlock activity for a couple days, so I have not checked it yet. Again this is only my third batch, but I have yet to have a fermentation that has taken this long, so is this normal? Could there be any problems?
 

Clonefarmer

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No problems, some yeast are slower or it may just be CO2 escaping. Only way to know for sure is hydro reading. Leaving it sit till it stops bubbling won't hurt it at all :).
 

Nurmey

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It doesn't sound like anything is wrong and I'm happy you are doing the sensible thing and planning on using your hydrometer.

I've had a couple brews in my years of brewing that took about 3 weeks to get to FG. For whatever reason some yeast is slower. Those few brews are the reason I always tell folks that yeast can't read calendars and to depend on your hydrometer rather than time in primary.
 
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Schnitzengiggle

Schnitzengiggle

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I think my airlock finally stopped moving last night. 13 days of fermentation. I will leave in the primary for 1 more week and then secondary for another 2 weeks and bottle for 3 weeks. I think this will be my best brew yet, this coming Sunday my Belgian Wit will be in the bottles for about three weeks. I will try one Saturday. It had a hot-dog aftertaste after 1 week I'm hoping it is just "green". I will know this weekend for sure, however, I have a good feeling about the stout :) Taking my first gravity reading tonight or first thing tomorrow morning, I will be certain to post it, I will taste the sample as well.
 

mkade

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also remember that the airlock is a gas release valve, and not an indicator for fermentation. an active airlock on its own doesn't tell you too much about your fermentation. when in doubt, use your hydrometer.
 

HotbreakHotel

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I have one on 12 days fermentation, my Rye IPA. It just won't finish! I even told it that it's running out of time! Sometimes my beers just wont follow my schedule.
 

Beerdrop

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Well, to my question, the SG was 1.060 and it has been exactly 12 days and I still have airlock activity (about 1-2 bubbles every 1-2 minutes). Is this normal???
Note that your starting gravity for this recipe is on the higher side so I'm not surprised you may have activity this late.
 
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Schnitzengiggle

Schnitzengiggle

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It has been over 13 days, tomorrow will be 14 days. I just took a gravity reading tonight and it is at 1.020. I know it may just be coincidence and that maybe that is where the gravity is today, but is it possible that I have a stuck fermentation??? I have seen alot of reteric about most fermentations sticking around 20. I was having about 1-2 bubbles every 2 minutes or so. According to the formula: OG x 0.25 = Estimated OG, 60 x 0.25 = 15 or 1.015. Fermentation temperature dropped to about 63.5 degrees last night and tonight I took my primary out of its water bath to allow it to warm a bit and see if that will help fermentation finish. This is WL Irish ALe Yeast and WL website recommends between 65-68 degrees for best attenuation, I pitched a 1L starter and had a vigorous fermentaion start in about 3 hours, could this be problematic?. My temps have been about 64.5 degrees for the last few days, just a little lower this morning. I know only time will tell, but I had a great start to this batch and now I feel less optomistic than I started out. If it turns out that fermentation is stuck what actions would I take next???

BTW it tastes pretty good and is not hazy at all (first time I used Irish moss).
 

Homercidal

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Just walk away. Let it go! Your beer is fine. Sometimes it takes a while. There are many factors to consider, but if it's still going, then you're good!
 

flyangler18

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Can we get an idea of your recipe and process? Extract, AG, PM?

The temps seem perfectly in line - and it's very unlikely that you are experiencing a stuck fermentation. Extract especially tends to be less fermentable.

40 (the number of points dropped)/60 (your OG) = 66% attenuation. Sounds like you might have a couple more points to drop for that yeast, which is listed at 69% - 74% attentuation.
 
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Schnitzengiggle

Schnitzengiggle

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This was a Extract recipe:
Sweet Stout


Type: Extract
Batch Size: 5.25 gal
Boil Size: 3.80
Boil Time: 60 min Equipment: Brew Pot (5 Gallon)

Ingredients

Amount Item Type % or IBU
4.75 lb Amber Dry Extract (12.5 SRM) Dry Extract 58.06 %
1.00 lb Wheat Dry Extract (8.0 SRM) Dry Extract 12.90 %
1.00 lb Chocolate Malt (450.0 SRM) Grain 12.90 %
0.75 lb Caramel/Crystal Malt - 60L (60.0 SRM) Grain 9.68 %
0.50 lb Barley, Roasted (300.0 SRM) Grain 6.45 %
1.50 oz Fuggles [4.50 %] (60 min) Hops 19.5 IBU
0.50 oz Goldings, East Kent [5.00 %] (15 min) Hops 3.6 IBU
1 Pkgs Irish Ale (White Labs #WLP004) [Starter 1000 ml] Yeast-Ale



Beer Profile

Measured Original Gravity: 1.060 SG
Est Final Gravity: 1.015
Estimated Alcohol by Vol:6.00 %
Bitterness: 23.1 IBU Calories: 269 cal/pint
Est Color: 38.0 SRM Color: Color

Steep grains as desired (30-60 minutes) 155 degrees

So that where I am at, I have no more airlock activity today, stared at it like a hawk for about 5 minutes and nothing. I know that it may still be fermenting and I did remove the airlock to take my gravity sample last night, so there may not be enough co2 yet for bubbles in the lock. I will wait until next Tuesday and take another gravity reading, if I'm still at 1.020 should I just rack to sesondary and then bottle or should I try something else?
 

flyangler18

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With that recipe, I'd say you're nearly finished.

For one, extract is generally less fermentable than AG. And your amber DME is mashed with a base malt + carapils + a proportion of crystal malts (to get the color). The crystal is adding body and sweetness, so I suspect you aren't going to get much further than 1.020, maybe a point or two. Regardless, let it ride for at least another week, check with your hydrometer and evaluate from there.

In general, I always find it best to start with the palest extract possible and adjust your color with steeping grains.

Jason
 
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Schnitzengiggle

Schnitzengiggle

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Okay, its almost 3 in the afternoon, I have airlock activity again, maybe it was just a coincidence it was 1.020 when I checked the gravity. I have been redeemed. The primary now rests at about 65 degrees and has a little more activity, so I I'll try to keep the temps stable.

For an extract recipe,what would you have changed?

Just a lighter colored DME with more grains for color? I'm always interested in constructive criticism, tips, advice,and others' experiences that will help in my learning and brewing better homebrew.

thanks
 
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