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Old 01-23-2009, 04:14 PM   #1
UselessBrewing
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Default Stirplate for Carboys?

Occasionally I will make a big beer (Above 1.060) for special occasions, family outings, or just for myself. Recently I made the third rendition of a Scotch Ale which came in at 1.109. My procedures during primary fermentation change a little for bigger beers in that I roust the yeast twice a day to keep them going strong...

So I was thinking I have a Stirplate for my starters, why not for the carboy? I usually turn the stirplate up fairly high in order to get good aeration thereby increasing yeast production. I'm not talking about that kind of speed, just enough to move the beer/yeast around a little and keep the yeast in suspension during primary fermentation. I'm not worried about having too much yeast in suspension because these types of beer usually take 3-4 months to age. And they are usually in the primary for almost a month then in the secondary for a month.

Does Budweiser, Miller, or Coors (BMC) move their beer around during primary fermentation?

What are your thoughts?

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Old 01-23-2009, 04:21 PM   #2
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I've thought about the same thing, but I don't really see much benefit. You should be pitching enough to keep them in suspension anyway, just because of the natural churning produced by the rising co2. I've very rarely ever gotten a stuck fermentation to restart just by stirring, which makes me think that premature flocculation isn't really a problem.

I don't think BMC breweries do this; they actually go out of their way to enhance speedy flocculation with the beechwood chips at budweiser. They're not aging their beers for 3-4 months, and they filter them. But then, maybe I'm wrong, but I don't remember seeing anything about rousing fermentation when they did that "How Stuff Works" on beer a little while back.

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Old 01-23-2009, 04:28 PM   #3
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When growing microbes up in the lab, I almost always move them around somehow - usually shaking or stirring with paddles from an overhead motor. If I am in a 10 L vessel though (which is about 2.5 gallons) I also blow in air (or oxygen for very high cell densities). A stir plate that moves 5 gallons around fast enough to keep it aerated is going to need a powerful motor. The cheapest I found with a very quick peek in my catalogs was over $1,000.

Note: you also do not want to be stirring after the yeasts have finished growing anyway. Oxygen during the fermentation stage will (a) prevent the formation of alcohol and (b) cause off flavours.

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Old 01-23-2009, 04:49 PM   #4
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I am not a yeast expert, but if you had a nice size starter going into it then i do not think there would be too much benefit.

But I say build it and do a side by side comparative. 1 batch with the stir plate, 1 batch that you stir by hand once in awhile, and 1 batch that you did nothing to.

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Old 01-23-2009, 04:55 PM   #5
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You, more than likely, will do nothing more than create off flavors from the presence of Oxygen. Your best bet is just make the biggest starter that you can.

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Old 01-23-2009, 06:09 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BioBeing View Post
When growing microbes up in the lab, I almost always move them around somehow - usually shaking or stirring with paddles from an overhead motor. If I am in a 10 L vessel though (which is about 2.5 gallons) I also blow in air (or oxygen for very high cell densities). A stir plate that moves 5 gallons around fast enough to keep it aerated is going to need a powerful motor. The cheapest I found with a very quick peek in my catalogs was over $1,000.
Note: you also do not want to be stirring after the yeasts have finished growing anyway. Oxygen during the fermentation stage will (a) prevent the formation of alcohol and (b) cause off flavours.
The purpose I envisioned was not to aerate (that will be done in the beginning) but just keep the yeast in suspension. Maybe a 4" stirbar and a motor that travels slow enough to keep the wort moving and keep the yeast from flocculating, and possibly getting that last few points of FG.

The size of the starter has not been an issue in the past, partially because I usually pitch big beers on a yeast cake, or make an adequate starter per Mr.Malty.

Cheers
Preston
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Old 01-23-2009, 11:40 PM   #7
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I'm no expert, but I think if you adequately aerate and pitch a big starter is the best bet. It is my understanding that the main limitation on the FG of a big beer is the yeast strain's tollerance to the build up of CO2 and alcohol.

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Old 01-24-2009, 02:14 PM   #8
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Somewhere on this forum is a pic of carboy with a vortex in it on a massive stirplate.

I also vote for the giant starter.

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Old 04-21-2009, 05:43 PM   #9
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Put your carboy on your stir plate. put in a stir bar and have a go at it
It should mix and not aerate

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Old 04-21-2009, 05:46 PM   #10
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Then consider the shape of the conical. I read some where that its shape was designed to encourage the yeast to travel up the center and back down the out side and act as a natural mixing system.
mmmmmmm....a bit off the track maybe but that's what happens during lunch break

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