View Full Version : Stir Plates and Starters

12-16-2005, 04:44 AM
Okay, I have to update everyone on my brewing for the past couple months, as I havent been around much. I posted a couple of my creations in the Recipe Repository, and both are in kegs and on tap right now at my house. Also, ANOTHER Hop Rod Rye is in the primary, and I have a Helles and a huge IPA up next. Also, Im planning on turning the Hop Rod Rye into a stout. Im finalizing the recipe slowly to make it just right the first time. Just imagine a well hopped rye stout....mmmmm.

But I wanted to see who was making starters and if anyone was using stir plates here. For the longest time, I was just using WYeast slap packs exclusively, and pitching after they expanded. The ferments were okay, and took usually 12 or more hours to start. Plus fermentation seemed to take forever, and I came to realize that this meant more time on the trub, which can lead to off flavors. Plus it lengthens the time overall.

So, I did my homework, and I upgraded. I watched eBay, and picked up a used Thermix magnetic stir plate for 16 bucks. Cool deal. Then grabbed a 2000ml flask, a few packs of yeast nutrient, a couple magnetic stir bars and dove into making 1600ml starters. I switched over to using mostly White Labs, as its easier to use being in tubes, and no waiting for swelling. I still use WYeast on occasion, but still slap them and allow them to expand before using.

Anyway, White Labs states to allow up to 2 days on their yeast when making starters, and boy do you get a good starter. Put it this way, activity starts in less than 4 hours, and its violent in 6 hours. Within 5-7 days max, you get a very active and COMPLETE ferment. I found that this is the biggest key to making GREAT beer. After all, secondaries are for clearing your beer mostly anyway. All my beers have been so explosive in the primary now, that I use my blow off set up ever single time

For anyone not familiar with a stir plate, its a device used in laboratories to continuously stir a mixture for long periods of time. Basically it is a small metal box which houses a small motor (sometimes a fan) that has a magnet attached to it, that can be rotated at slow to fast speeds. You place your mixture in a glass flask, and add a teflon coated magnet called a stir bar. When you start the motor on the stir plate, it causes the stir bar in you flask to spin, creating a nice little vortex.

For anyone not making starters, here is my method for use with a stir plate:

1600ml Starter

1.5 cups Light Dry Malt Extract
1 Tablepoon Yeast Nutrient
Tin Foil
2000ml Pyrex Flask
Plastic Bowl
Plastic Airlock
#13 Stopper

1, Add DME into the 2000ml flask.
2, Add enough water to bring the level up to 1700ml.
3, Add 1 Tablespoon yeast nutrient.
4, Mix thoroughly, add magnetic stir bar and cover the opening and neck with tin foil.
5, Place flask directly on heat source (gas is best) and bring to a slow boil.
6, Boil slowly for 20 minutes. Watch for boil overs, as they are fast to happen and messy!
7, Remove from heat after 20 minutes and place in a large plastic bowl filled with ice and water.
8, Cool down to 75 degrees.
9, Sterilize yeast container with sanitizer, and pitch yeast into cooled wort in flask and replace tin foil and shake well.
10, Once mixed, replace tin foil with an airlock.
11, Place on stir plate and allow to stir for 2 days.

Thats it, and buy using the stir plate, you can leave it alone and not have to worry about it. Excellent beginning for any brew.

12-16-2005, 04:59 AM
Heh, that's all well and good but what I really want to know is... need any help sampling it? :D

12-16-2005, 06:05 AM
Well, the only part of brewing in my area is not having cool people to share it with!