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primary still bubbling after 3 weeks

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Mogref

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3 weeks ago today I brewed a german hefeweizen, OG: 1.058. There was quite a bit of bubbling in the airlock for the first 3-4 days and it continued to be visibly active for the week following then stopped. Sometime during the second week it started bubbling again (is this normal?) and then stopped toward the end of the 3rd week. I opened it on Saturday (19 days in primary) to check the gravity: 1.024. It smelled ok and the stuff floating on the surface just looked like yeast or collapsed krausen to me, but there appeared to be bubbles coming up from the bottom (hard to tell as I ferment in a bucket).

I'm guessing it's still active and fermenting, I'd like my FG to be under .020 but my previous beers never started and stopped like this one is. Some friends that homebrew said that didn't sound normal, like it might be infected, but the surface muck didn't look like any infections I've seen photos of posted here.

I generally get slower fermentation times because we keep the tempture in the house between 60-65 but the outside temperature has been warmer this weekend and brought the house temp up to 70. I'm guessing that the starting and stopping might have something to do with this, I just thought I'd ask here if this is normal for a hefeweizen.

-Brian
 
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Mogref

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Ok, I let it ride another week and just checked the gravity, seems to be around 1.020-1021 so it still had some fermenting to do. When I opened the bucket and took a look there was still a considerable amount of 'muck' on the surface and it was bubbly. The bubbles died down a short time after I popped the lid but it still appeared 'active', like there was still some movement to the surface.

Long story short I'm afraid it's got an infection. I took a picture and tried to post it here but I was having problems getting it to show up correctly in the preview. The bubbles on the surface are a tan color, not the moldy looking white bubbles that I've seen in pictures of beer infections.

I suppose I could sample some and see how it tastes. It smells ok, like a wheat should. I was considering bottling today since it's been 4 weeks but I'm tempted to let it go a little longer if it's still doing its thing. Advice?

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Castawayales

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Looks like yeast. The ferment temperature seems key here. Cool temps can slow or interrupt the happy yeast cells.

The warm up may have excited the yeast which was shivering at the bottom of your primary. If you keep it warm, it should drop a few more points.
 
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Mogref

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I used White Labs WLP300 Hefeweizen Ale yeast. It's probably a bit cold where I ferment, but I understand that cooler temps will give a more spicy clove flavor which I'm cool with :)
 

mahilly

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FWIW - My hefe reached FG in 2 weeks but was still bubbling the air lock when I bottled it at 4 weeks. It never stopped bubbling.
 

RichPGH

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I bottled a hefe after 8 weeks, it had the same issues at 3 and 4 weeks.

I just let it sit. The surface activity fell.

It was delicious.

In fact, last week my friends and I were drinking it, when one of my friends smacked the other in the back of the head with a diaper. He snorted into his glass, tossing beer into his own eyes.

I have named it - Mike's Burning Eye Hefe.
 

LoveWeizen

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I bottled a hefe after 8 weeks, it had the same issues at 3 and 4 weeks.

I just let it sit. The surface activity fell.

It was delicious.

In fact, last week my friends and I were drinking it, when one of my friends smacked the other in the back of the head with a diaper. He snorted into his glass, tossing beer into his own eyes.

I have named it - Mike's Burning Eye Hefe.

Sounds delicious. :drunk:
 
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Mogref

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I bottled it yesterday which would put it a little over a month in the fermenter. I could still see small bubbles rising to the surface while I was racking it to the bottling bucket. I guess hefe yeast never quits :) I got a little too into my process though and forgot to check the final gravity. It tasted good enough though, but a bit on the sweet side for a hefe IMO. Of course I was tasting the beer after I'd added the priming sugar so I'm not sure if that was making it noticeably sweeter. We'll see what happens when I crack open a bottle in a few weeks.
 
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