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I had a demijohn of beer sitting 'maturing' in the fridge for 5 months, neglected mostly.
Needless to say it was crystal clear, which is little pointless as I ended up bottling it because within 5 months I hadn't sorted out CO2 for the keg (links with this other problem I had due to no co2). So the majority of yeast would have sunk to the bottom and the viability of anything floating around I'll assume is low. It's day 20 and there is a respectable thin and clean looking layer of yeast in the bottles but last week the beer was still quite sweet not fully carbed.

How much longer than usual should I expect for complete priming?

Obviously I've waited 5 months so I can wait a lot longer.

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what was the beer style, yeast strain used and temperature the bottles have been left at? – brewchez Feb 12 '14 at 17:02
Brewferm Grand Cru Kit, currently bottles are under my bed so the temp ranges from 16'C-22'C (59F-72F) Night-Day – Another Compiler Error Feb 12 '14 at 17:37
up vote 3 down vote accepted

The presence of yeasty dust in the bottle and some carbonation leads me to believe you can expect these to carbonate normally. I have lagered beer at controlled temps for at least 5 months and gotten successful bottle conditioning.

Issues holding yours back are likely the temp swings. Move the bottles to someplace closer to 70F and try and hold them there. The swinging up and down during the day does not help the yeast out. As the bottles cool again the yeast try to go dormant.

Put some in an oven with the oven light on only. That will help maintain some temp. Or put an electric heating pad in a box with a few bottles to get them warmer. (Obviously, not to warm)

Once they are warm I'd gently rouse the yeast into suspension by tipping the bottles over and swirling them a bit to get the yeast off the bottom. Only rouse after warming them or the yeast will still think its too cool and settle out again.

If you warm up, rouse and hold steady; two more weeks might get you there.

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Oh I am glad to hear that coz one of the things I did was swirl my bottles upside down, to encourage them to get there act together. – Another Compiler Error Feb 13 '14 at 16:48

After 5 months of cold storage, there would but next to no viable yeast left in the beer. Store it for a couple more weeks, somewhere warm, and you may get lucky. If not, you'll want to remove the caps, add a couple grains of dry yeast to each bottle, and recap. Don't worry too much about oxygen, as the renewed fermentation should consume any oxygen that's inadvertently introduced.

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Ale Yeast or Re-Start Yeast? – Another Compiler Error Feb 12 '14 at 17:38
16'C-22'C (59F-72F) Night-Day suitable enough? – Another Compiler Error Feb 12 '14 at 17:39
Down voted because I suspect there is still enough viable yeast in there. – brewchez Feb 12 '14 at 18:37
@AnotherCompilerError a constant 20 C is what you're looking for. As brewchez points out, temperature swings don't make for happy yeast. – Tobias Patton Feb 12 '14 at 19:56
@TobiasPatton -I thought the same thing, but read the "not fully carbed comment" that maybe it was good yeast. Hopefully, we'll see in a few weeks if it goes anywhere. – brewchez Feb 12 '14 at 19:59

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