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Old 09-29-2008, 05:48 PM   #1
Rush
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Default How necessary is a stir plate for my starter?

I've been making starters for a couple of batches now with a 2L flask and it's been working well. I see a lot of people mentioning stir plates and how they always use them. Do I really need a stir plate ...or should really want one? I mean, we don't have stir plates for 5g batches of beer, but for a liter of beer we need the plate? From what I see, a stir plate for a 2L flask is upwards of $200. That can buy a lot of ingredients if it's not something important. Someone fill me in. What made you buy, or pass on, a stir plate instead of just going without one?

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Old 09-29-2008, 05:51 PM   #2
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It's not necessary at all. But if you like to build things like I do, it's another gadget you can make.

It does help build up the cell count better than just shaking, but if you do your best to keep everything in suspension by periodically shaking your starter, it will be fine.

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From what I see, a stir plate for a 2L flask is upwards of $200
$8 bro. Check out this thread if you are intersted. http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/how-i-built-my-stir-plate-81200/
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Old 09-29-2008, 06:21 PM   #3
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I've gotten by without one. I'll probably build one eventually. Its more like a luxury item as far as starters go. You can get the job done without it, but having one makes the job a lot easier.

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Old 09-29-2008, 06:26 PM   #4
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If you shake it up every time you get a chance like every 2 hours then you will do real good. A stir plate will double the quantity of yeast because oxygen is being drawn into the vortex the whole time it is on the stir plate. I have done real well with starters without a stir plate by agitation every 2 hours but I can do this because I am retired. Set an egg timer or build a computer fan stirplate.

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Old 09-30-2008, 02:06 AM   #5
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If you want to know if a stir plate is really beneficial, check out MB Raines, Ph.D. - Guide to Yeast Culturing for Homebrewers - Maltose Falcons Home Brewing Society (Los Angeles Homebrewing) and have a look at table 5 which estimates the size of a starter needed to achieve the optimum pitching rate using various methods.
I know that my brews have improved a great deal since I started using one, but I don't know that the stir plate was the only reason. I do know that my lag times have been reduced dramatically.

-a.

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Old 09-30-2008, 02:21 AM   #6
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I'm sure that a stir plate will give you more yeast cells, but I've always just use a mason jar with the lid loose to release pressure. I haven't had any problems the few times I used starters. I usually just use 1 -3 packs of dry yeast unless I'm using a specialty yeast for a specific brew.

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