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Old 02-20-2013, 08:38 PM   #21
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Jugs and beakers work, but they have two drawbacks.

Jugs are difficult to clean, especially inside near the handle. Most aren't flat bottomed. I have five cider jugs with huge humps in the bottom that I can make work on my stir plates, but its a real pain to get the stir bar up the hump, even with 1/2" rare earth class 50 magnets. Hard in clear water, even harder when full of murky wort.

The only disadvantages I can think of with beakers is that foam stoppers obviously are out (so use foil), but mainly that they're straight walled. When decanting, straight walls don't help hold the yeast cake inside.

My first starter jugs were $2 round plastic pitchers with straight walls. Shake, shake, boom! Yeasty explosion. They're now my DME and Dextrose containers.

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Old 02-20-2013, 08:42 PM   #22
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Very interesting. Thanks for the insights.

Alright, I think your combined efforts may have persuaded me. I'm off to rob Sigma Aldrich. Just kidding, I'm off to rob a biology student.

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Old 02-20-2013, 08:52 PM   #23
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I'm on my second Pyrex 2L erlenmeyer and try not to test its thermal shock resistance if I can help it.

The first one lasted about 15 boils on my small camping stove. It cracked during early heating of a batch. I assume the burner was running a smidge too high. It had been well cared for. No bumps or bruises. I start with warm water and dme. Only about 5 ice baths, as I usually allow a few minutes cooling and then place it on a towel in the fridge for slow cool down.

So, even Pyrex can suffer from thermal shock failure. I heat and cool my new one VERY slowly.

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Old 02-20-2013, 08:54 PM   #24
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I don't think this was mentioned before, but the shape of the flask allows you to swirl it without the contents splashing out. I don't have a stir bar, so when I make a starter in a glass jug, I just shake/swirl the hell out of the thing every once in a while

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Old 02-20-2013, 11:32 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raouliii View Post
So, even Pyrex can suffer from thermal shock failure. I heat and cool my new one VERY slowly.
When I was a schoolboy, we would diffuse the heat from a bunsen burner with a good old... asbestos mat.
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Old 02-21-2013, 01:14 AM   #26
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Quote:
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When I was a schoolboy, we would diffuse the heat from a bunsen burner with a good old... asbestos mat.
A diffuser is a great idea. Something like this might be just the ticket. The burner on my coleman stove tends to direct the flame towards the 1/3 of the bottom nearest the edge of the flask, which I believe contributed to the breakage.
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Old 02-21-2013, 09:30 AM   #27
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Actually I am going senile, the asbestos mat went under the burner and the diffuser was a metal gauze. But the idea was the same, to protect the glassware.

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Old 02-22-2013, 05:22 PM   #28
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Funny, I was just learning about making starters last night and came here to find out more about which erlenmeyer to buy.

I have a couple extra stoppers around, #6 and #7 I believe. Any recommendation as to which erlen will work with either? I'm thinking 2L at the largest.

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Old 02-22-2013, 05:50 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raouliii View Post
A diffuser is a great idea. Something like this might be just the ticket. The burner on my coleman stove tends to direct the flame towards the 1/3 of the bottom nearest the edge of the flask, which I believe contributed to the breakage.
I use one of these - distributes the heat quite well.

Watch out for so-called "student grade" lab glassware. Those are "scratch & dent" items culled out by the mfr's quality control and sold at lower prices to schools, individuals, etc. You'll find plenty of them on Amazon. I bought one (2000ml Erlenmeyer), had lots of little scratches in the glass. Those scratches quickly turn to cracks. Mine did.
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Old 02-22-2013, 06:37 PM   #30
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I brew 10 gal batches and I use a 5000 ML Pyrex erlenmeyer. The larger size works great for 2500 ML starters. Keeps eruptions to a minimum except with WPL 001. I boil in a sauce pan then transfer to the flask and add yeast. Been using the same flask for 5 years. Flat bottom works great with a stir bar as well.

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