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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Fermentation & Yeast > Do you really need a stir plate?
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Old 06-23-2012, 11:26 PM   #1
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Default Do you really need a stir plate?

Do you really need a stir plate to make a starter?

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Old 06-23-2012, 11:28 PM   #2
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No, of course not. But, it dramatically improves the growth rate.

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Old 06-23-2012, 11:32 PM   #3
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No, of course not. But, it dramatically improves the growth rate.
plus one

That pretty much will answers the question, I have done it both ways, ALOT better with the plate. Keeps the lazy yeast off the bottom and makes then eat.
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Old 06-23-2012, 11:48 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by MalFet View Post
No, of course not. But, it dramatically improves the growth rate.
Yep.

Not required. You can just shake the container every time you walk by, but a stir plate is just set it an forget it. You can get a stirstarter stir plate for abou $40. One of the best things I have purchased for brewing.
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Old 06-23-2012, 11:51 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by MalFet View Post
No, of course not. But, it dramatically improves the growth rate.
+1 there...

Which means you will be able to use a smaller starter for the same batch with a stirplate compared with without. Plus, the starter on the stirplate will be finished faster/sooner. Typically in under 24 hours. Sometimes in just 12-18 hours.

I've made starters both ways too. There's no way I'll willingly go back to not using a stirplate now.
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Old 06-24-2012, 12:07 AM   #6
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It's your call. I use a homemade one, but a friend of mine has been making great beers for 10+ years without one.

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Old 06-24-2012, 12:18 AM   #7
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Considering how cheaply one can be made I can't imagine not using one. Even if the increase on yeast growth were relatively small the expense us so negligible that it's more than worth it. I made mine out of parts I had lying around for free, just had to pay a couple of bucks for a stir bar.

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Old 06-24-2012, 02:53 AM   #8
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One of the best things is using DME instead of extra liquid yeast when brewing bigger beers or volumes. I'd rather pay for DME and run my stir plate than pay for more yeast.

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Old 06-24-2012, 03:12 AM   #9
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One of the best things is using DME instead of extra liquid yeast when brewing bigger beers or volumes. I'd rather pay for DME and run my stir plate than pay for more yeast.
I did a two step starter for my last batch. First was 1L, the second was 1.2L. That's ~220g worth of DME. Purchased from Rebel Brewer (about $3/#) it was FAR cheaper than buying two more packets of yeast (needed about 290 billion yeast cells for the batch). Would have taken a 6L starter if I used just a single step. I would have needed an almost 15L starter with no aeration. 11.5L with O2 injection. Just over 9L with intermittent shaking. 8L with continuous aeration (pump and stone).

Point is, it's great making a starter with a stirplate, compared with the methods not using one. But it's also good to recognize when you can simply do a stepped starter and get your target colony size with far smaller starters (than the total would have been as a single starter). Use yeastcalc.com to help figure out what size starter you need if using a single, two step, or three step starters.

I have a batch planned that will be a HIGH OG brew. Even with extremely fresh yeast (fully viable, 100 billion cells ready to go) I'll need a 10.5L single step starter (on stirplate). Using a two step starter that goes down to 2L for the first, and 2.75L for the second. Easy to do with a 3L flask. I just need to plan for two extra days for the second starter step (I cold crash between, then decant before adding fresh starter wort on top of the yeast cake).
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Old 06-24-2012, 03:37 AM   #10
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Thanks for all the replies. I will look into building one, not too familiar with electronics or wiring, but I think I could manage.

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