Primary Fermentation Time -- Still Churning Away

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Hey all,

I'm sure this has already been discussed in the forum, but I do not know the correct vocabulary to find it.

The gist of the situation is that my yeast is still churning away after 6 days of fermentation. What I mean by "churning" is that I can still see convection occurring inside the carboy. I am just wondering, is this normal?

I am brewing a pretty big IPA, about 17.5 lbs of grain for a 5.5 gal batch. I started my Wyeast 1056 two days early, in about 2 liters of water with 1 cup DME (boiled and cooled). At 24 hours, I had 2" of foam, and by 36 hours I had blown the air lock and replaced it with a blow off tube.

After two days, fermentation had definitely slowed down. Now there is only about a 1/2 inch of foam. But like I said, there is still a lot of convection and the blow off tube is bubbling every few seconds.

So... does that sound reasonable, or is it infected?

Thanks.
 

Rambleon

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It's doing exactly what it's supposed to. 1056 attenuated really well and will do its best to gobble up all remaining sugars. I've done some really strong brews with it and had crap flying out of the airlock for days. Let it do its thing and take a hydrometer reading in a week to see where you're at.
 
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Thanks everyone. I have never seen fermentation stay this active for this long, but then again, I am using a new yeast with a much bigger grain bill than I have used before.
 
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You realize you can have off gassing long after fermentation has completed right?
@PhelanKA7, there is a lot about brewing I do not realize.

I'm at day 7 now and the air lock is still bubbling away. Interestingly, the yeast has reversed its direction of rotation.

You say that off gassing can last after fermentation. What about the swirling convection activity? Is that an indicator of active fermentation, or might it just be a product of the off gassing?
 

Rambleon

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The yeast release lots of Co2 during the initial stages of fermentation. The Co2 will actually grab the yeast on its way out and drag it up from the bottom and bounce it around. If you put a raisin in a glass of sprite you can see this happening, too. So all that activity you see is the yeast still releasing the gas because of the sugars they're still enjoying.
 

Revvy

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For one thing, human time is irrevelent to yeast time....they're in charge. It takes as long as it needs to for a beer ferment, and not a moment too soon. Whether it takes 3 days or 3 weeks, then that's how long it takes. If your beer had a 72 hour lagtime which as our sticky shows, then your actual time of fermentation is only 4 days of these 7.

The biggest thing I don't see you mentioning is a gravity reading. If you want to know what's going on then take one. But if your beer's fermenting, it's fermenting. We try to impose time expectations on a natural process out of our hands. The yeast are in charge, not us, and they don't read calendars, they're too busy doing exactly what is in their dna to do, to eat sugar, fart co2 and pee alcohol.
 
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