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It won't stop fermenting....help!

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GlassblowersBrew

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Hey All,

My 5th batch of beer sat in the Primary for one week, and now has been in the secondary for 3 weeks going on the fourth in a few days. It is still producing bubbles at one every 20 seconds day and night. When should I bottle, considering all of this fermentation going on? It is an amber ale extract brew with one pound of grain, 7.5 lbs of LME and one pound of blond belgium candy sugar. It started on the cold side 58-68 degrees for two weeks, then I put a heater in the room to keep it above 64 degrees. The fermentation started of with a nice thick krausen and bubbled madly. The gravity reading is 1.02. It seems like it should be done. What should I do?
 
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GlassblowersBrew

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Could it be stalled if it has been bubbling between once every 10 to 20 seconds for the whole 4 week fermentation? The bubbling definitely hasn't seemed slow or "stalled" at all. Could it be stalled? Would stirring the yeast cake at the bottom put enough yeast in the brew to revive the fermentation or is repitching the only answer?
 
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GlassblowersBrew

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Gravity was 1.015 at transfer to secondary. The krausen had totally fallen down when I transferred. Thanks for the help guys. I'm sitting here just really wanting to crack a beer and bottle this batch. I'm running out of my last batch and gettin impatient. ;)
 

DeathBrewer

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basically, you shouldn't transfer from the primary until your fermentation is FINISHED. secondary is only for clearing...you left alot of yeast behind. it is still fermenting, but doesn't have as much yeast to do the job.

rousing it may help to finish those last few points. that's probably what i would do, before repitching.

anyway, it's nothing to really worry about...it's just going to take longer, probably. rouse it (give it a good swirl, no splashing) and give it another week, then see where it's at.
 

DeathBrewer

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the gravity should never go up! your beer starts at say 1.050, then as the yeasties eat the sugars. 1.040 to 1.030 to 1.020, etc.

it shouldn't be at 1.015 then jump back up to 1.020

sounds like you should take another reading to be sure. 1.015 is much closer to your intended final gravity.

EDIT: also, don't trust your airlock. co2 can be making that thing pop long after fermentation is finished. the only thing you should really rely on is your good ole hydrometer.
 
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GlassblowersBrew

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I see what your saying. I think that my gravity reading at transfer must have been off. The gravity thing is still sorta a mystery to me. Took a sample the two days ago and it definitely said 1.02. I'm gonna check it again right now. DeathBrewer, thanks so much for your help.

When you take your gravity reading do you pull a sample out of the carboy and into a tall tube or drop the hydrometer into the carboy and read it that way. I find the bubbles at the top of the beer surface sometimes make it hard to read the gravity in the carboy. Those little bubbles tend to stick to the hydrometer.
 

DeathBrewer

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the best way is to pull a sample out using a turkey baster, wine thief or sample taker:

Sample taker

i use both the wine thief and a sample taker, depending on situation/mood/availability

you want to put it into a receptacle (graduated cylinder) like this:



spin it and those bubbles will go away a little bit and it will settle where it needs to be.

you also should be adjusting for temperature. it's calibrated for 60F, so you're probably going to need to add a point or two for temp.

more info here: Wiki: Hydrometer
 

DeathBrewer

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ok, based on your ingredients, your OG was 1.062

at 1.016, that is about 74% attenuation.

it sounds like you are probably good to go. check it in a day or two. if it remains the same, you're good to bottle.

you can sample some, but i'd leave them in the bottles for at least 3 weeks before cracking them open...they'll be best at 6 weeks ;)

glad i could help :mug:
 
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GlassblowersBrew

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So I read about attenuation in the wiki and I think I will need a few days to understand this. What do you think the attenuation should be like on this brew? The yeast I used was the White Labs California Style Ale (?). What do you think, bottom line, keep fermenting or bottle it up.
 

DeathBrewer

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73% attenuation is pretty good for most beers, especially with extract.

you can also view the guidelines for your yeast at: http://whitelabs.com/beer/homebrew_strains.html

WLP001 California Ale Yeast
This yeast is famous for its clean flavors, balance and ability to be used in almost any style ale. It accentuates the hop flavors and is extremely versatile.
Attenuation: 73-80%
Flocculation: Medium
Optimum Fermentation Temperature: 68-73°F
Alcohol Tolerance: High
with extract, you normally get lower attenuation than you would with all-grain (well, you have less CONTROL then all-grain and you will get low attenuation)

you can calculate attenuation with the following:

Attenuation = 100 % * (starting gravity - current gravity) / (starting gravity - 1)

so...

100 * (1.062 - 1.017) / (1.062 - 1)

100 * (0.045) / (0.062)

100 * (0.726)

72.6%

bottom line: let it sit for two more days. if the gravity is still the same, bottle that sucker.

to tell you the absolute truth, i think you're fine bottling now no matter what ;)

:mug:
 
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GlassblowersBrew

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DeathBrewer,
Thank you so much for your help. Seriously, I can't believe the info being shared on this forum. Can't wait to have one of these beers. Amber Ales are one of my favorites. I think I will wait the two more days.

Three or four more weeks. I wish I could pour one for you. Peace
 

DeathBrewer

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no problem, bro. i hope it's a grand brew. let me know if you ever have any questions. HBT has given me so much, i'm always here to help out any way i can.

i'm gonna finish my stone 11th anniv. ale now and hit the hay

:mug:
 

DeathBrewer

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{yawn} :) before i pass out, i will let you know that i am not a big fan of stone...but this Dark IPA (aka American Strong Ale) is amazing...i can't stop buying it.

it's dark and bitter. i think i'm going to brew something similar on president's day. I'll call it "Assassination Ale"

;)
 

kenche

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GlassblowersBrew said:
You should send a case to the White House. :)
Homeland Security Alert: Terrorist [email protected] has increased amongst a domestic home brew cell. Operation hop shortage has been ineffective in shutting down this organization. It is recommended to proceed with operation brett bomb.
 

shafferpilot

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kenche said:
Homeland Security Alert: Terrorist [email protected] has increased amongst a domestic home brew cell. Operation hop shortage has been ineffective in shutting down this organization. It is recommended to proceed with operation brett bomb.
HA. wouldn't shock me in the slightest.
 
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