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Old 02-25-2011, 03:45 AM   #1
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Default Erlenmeyer Flask on Electric Burner

I am about to begin making my first starter. I have everything ready (the yeast is doing its thing in the smack pack), and am wondering if it is okay to set the flask I am using for my starter on an electric burner.

Thoughts?

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Old 02-25-2011, 04:21 AM   #2
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I am about to begin making my first starter. I have everything ready (the yeast is doing its thing in the smack pack), and am wondering if it is okay to set the flask I am using for my starter on an electric burner.

Thoughts?
No, it will defiantly break if you do this. Cook it up in a separate pot and then pour it into the flask with a funnel.
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Old 02-25-2011, 04:21 AM   #3
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It'll try really hard to boil over. I mean REALLY hard to boil over. I get mine to a boil and turn my stove down to just a notch above simmer, any higher than that and it's a big mess. Watch it like a hawk.

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Old 02-25-2011, 04:24 AM   #4
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It'll try really hard to boil over. I mean REALLY hard to boil over. I get mine to a boil and turn my stove down to just a notch above simmer, any higher than that and it's a big mess. Watch it like a hawk.
you have used the flask on an electric burner without it breaking?
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Old 02-25-2011, 05:24 AM   #5
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I decided to use a pot and funnel into the flask. Thanks!

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Old 02-25-2011, 06:08 AM   #6
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you have used the flask on an electric burner without it breaking?
I have, at least 10 times so far. Idk what flasks homebrewers normally get from homebrew stores, but mine is a really old one from a lab I worked at. The thing is solid as a rock. I might be weakening it, but idk, I'm not too worried... I figure a hot plate isn't much different from a burner if the burner's diameter is slightly bigger than the bottom of the flask.
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Old 02-25-2011, 06:17 AM   #7
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The flask should not break on a burner. Glass is made from an extremely high temperature process, so heat alone will not make it shatter.

You are actually more likely to break the flask pouring the hot liquid into it than using it on a burner.

What causes the glass to break is temperature shock. This is why you don't throw hot water onto ice on your windshield. If the flask is at room temperature and then gradually heated then the crystalline structure has time to shift and relax. Sudden shocks does not give that time for the expansion/contraction, and thus shatters.

I have used a flask on a hot plate many times, both at work in the laboratory as well as making starters for brewing. No shattered glass. What I have seen done to shatter the glass, however, was when someone took a hot flask and set it on a cold surface. NEVER do that. Place the flask on a towel or a burner that is off to let it cool.

The real problem with using a good flask on a burner, however, is that there should be little or no cavitation spots, i.e. places for the water to actually boil. This can cause super heating of the fluid, and cause sudden boil over (from fast boil to volcano) when something is placed in the flask with cavitation points, such as a spoon. I actually have a textured rod I put in my flask whenever I use it on the stove to avoid this.

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Old 02-25-2011, 08:19 AM   #8
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http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f163/first-yeast-starter-pics-227749/
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Old 02-25-2011, 10:04 AM   #9
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I don't know myself. I haven't made a starter with a flask yet, but what about using a double boiler or heating the flask in a pot of water. This should avoid shock, and make temp control easier. Like I said, haven't done it myself, just thinkin'.

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Old 02-25-2011, 11:24 AM   #10
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I don't know myself. I haven't made a starter with a flask yet, but what about using a double boiler or heating the flask in a pot of water. This should avoid shock, and make temp control easier. Like I said, haven't done it myself, just thinkin'.
This.

As burners age on an electric stove, they can lose their ability to evenly heat. A double boiler approach works very well in making sure that there is better heat distribution. My recommendation is that you take a small rack that fits into a pot, fill the pot and flask with water, place the flask on the rack in the pot, and then boil. If you can create any sort of gap between the bottom of the pot and the flask, you are better off.

Temperature change is key, as is even heating. I am burdened with an electric stove, as well, and it is often more trouble than it is worth. The only benefit I have found from it is the ability to help hold temperature on steeping grains from the residual heat of the burner. I can't tell you what the physical difference in temperature is on the burners I have, but I can tell you that I can nicely brown a chicken breast on one side of the pan while scorching one on the other.

Edit:

Should be a little more specific. The "rack" I have is a small round wire rack that came with my rice cooker. Have no idea what it is actually supposed to be used for.
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