So first fermentation went smoothly, solid bubbling from the airlock for about 5 days total racked into second fermenter and dry hopped on the seventh day. First day nothing. Second day it started right up, third day slowed down but held steady. So I then traveled out of town for five days thinking it would be nice and perfect to bottle when i got home, that was over two weeks ago. We didn't leave the A/C on in the house and it got quite warm in out house, the temp. on the outside of the carboy read 78 degrees, and it was bubbling every three seconds. Its been two weeks since then and has just now only started to bubble once a minute. So my question is, will my Summer Ale still be drinkable? Or was that way too much temp. change for my poor neglected beer? Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
After beer is done fermenting there is still some residual co2 remaining in solution. The amount left over depends on the temperature you fermented at but if you raise the temperature of the beer the co2 will be released from solution. This is what is causing the activity in your airlock. Chances are that the beer was done fermenting after 5-7 days and all activity had stopped.
The beer should be fine but the changes in temperatures may have sped up the staling process and may not be as fresh as you expect.
11/12/2014 - My IPA is doing the exact thing right now. Temperature never got above 75. I took another SG test to make sure its done fermenting and to my surprise it was not. I'm guessing the extra finishing hops kicked off the yeast again. I'm a little afraid to bottle it as it's still giving off co2 and my break bottles.
With that said the ale still looks clean in the glass carboy and I'll consider extra time in the carboy "aging time".
I let you know the answer in a couple of weeks as to the freshness of it.