A little background on the brew: For my latest batch, I followed this recipe from hopville. I made a few alterations: I used a different strain of wyeast (London Ale III), I also used oak chips instead of an oak spiral. The brew store was out of the yeast the recipe called for, and I didn't want to bother ordering an oak spiral as they're sort of expensive.

I transferred from primary to secondary two weeks ago. I added the oak chips, bourbon and cacao nibs to the carboy and siphoned the beer from my primary into the carboy. I was pretty careful and got little of the yeast cake at the bottom of the primary bucket. When I made the transfer from primary to secondary there was very little yeast floating on top.

Two weeks later there is a healthy looking yeast cake at the bottom of the carboy, but it looks like there is still active fermentation. There is a yeast cake floating at the top of the beer. Thus far all fermentation has been done at a cellar temp of about 62 degrees.

On to the question: Is it safe to bottle yet? Or would the yeast be too active and I'd risk exploding bottles?

2 Answers 2


The only way to be sure that fermentation has stopped is with the help of a hydrometer. The gravity should be close to the expected terminal gravity (the recipe will tell you this), and should be stable over three or four days. Take a gravity reading today. Take another reading three days from now. If the gravity is low and has not changed, bottle the beer. If it continues to drop, you should wait until it's stable.

London's Ale III is a high flocculation strain, while the yeast recommended by the recipe is not. You should expect the final gravity of your beer to be a point or two higher than what's stated in the recipe.


The act of racking will cause your beer to give up some of its dissovled CO2. This is often mis interpreted as activity because the airlock bubbles. Also if the beer warms up at all more dissolved CO2 will come out and be perceived as bubbles.

Your beer is likely done and was done before the transfer. The only way to know for sure is with a hydrometer and see where the gravity is. You should look up the expected attenuation range for the London Ale III yeast and see if you've made it into that range based on your starting gravity.

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