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How long is too long in fermentation?


I need some help. I brewed a 5 gallon batch of Caribou Slobber back in October. I left it in the primary fermenter for 3 weeks and racked it into the secondary. Since then, it has remained in the secondary. I haven’t had time between work and school to bottle it. It has been in the secondary since October, making it a little over 5 months. I was just going to toss it, but there are no signs of infection and it smells good. So, A) should I bottle it? B) Is it safe? C) If I bottle it, will I need to add yeast inorder to carbonate it?
Any feedback would be greatly appreciated. I am of the mind to bottle it and see how it goes, but I am primarily concerned with safety and whether or not I’ll need to add yeast to activate the bottle conditioning.


It would be almost unheard of for it to be not safe. From what I’ve read, no pathogens that are dangerous to humans can thrive in beer or wine, which is why for centuries people in Europe tried to only drink beer or wine - the water was too dangerous.

If it smells good, give it a taste. If it tastes fine, go ahead and bottle it. After 5 months in the carboy, I would add about 1/2 teaspoon dry yeast before bottling. Just rehydrate it in a couple ounces of water for 20 minutes, then add it to the bottling bucket with the (cooled) priming sugar.

I’ve kept beer in a secondary longer than that. I usually keep the bubbler half full with cheap vodka,
don’t let it go dry. I do as cellars has said, rehydrating dry yeast and adding with sugar prime at bottling. If it still tastes good you should be good to go.

Recently found a forgotten bucket with a brown ale from 6 months ago at a friends place. Taste was slightly sour but in a good way. Kegged it and it tastes like a Flanders. Got lucky I guess.

Add fresh yeast and bottle it. It should be just fine.

I appreciate the feedback guys. I’ll bottle it and let you know how it turns out. Maybe I’ll get lucky and it will be better than originally expected. Thanks again!

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