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Old 01-27-2014, 11:25 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by NervousDad View Post
I personally think yeast in the most important so I'd look at a stir plate

I built this stir plate for < $25 using a USB fan and hard drive magnet and it works better that my pre built stir plate. Then maybe stash some money for a chiller.

Attachment 175271
Very nice and inexpensive

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Old 01-27-2014, 11:28 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by MikeHNF View Post
Just my opinion but I would say wort chiller. You could continue to use dry yeast for awhile eliminating the need for a stir plate. You have to cool every batch of wort however.
This was my exact thought. Stick to beer styles that lend themselves to using proven great dry yeast varieties. S-05 I have discovered is a magical yeast - perfect for west coast style IPA's and I also just used it to great success in a Blue Moon Clone if you can believe that.

Get a chiller and work on improving the rest of your process before tackling yeast starters...
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Old 01-27-2014, 11:32 PM   #13
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Default Make them

both can be made for less then $30. immersion chiller is the easiest and takes about 15 mins. Plans are online.

But if you had to choose one, I would go with the chiller. you need a quick cold break and the it will help prevent infection.

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Old 01-27-2014, 11:36 PM   #14
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If you have an old junk computer that you can scavenge a fan and a hard drive magnet out of and an old cell phone charger, you can build everything you need for a stir plate except for a rheostat, a stir bar, and a flask. The only thing I had to buy for mine was the stir bar for $7.

An IC is nice and can seriously shorten a brewday.

Given a choice of the two, I'd buy/build an IC. It is a really easy build project. Buy a glass gallon bottle of juice or growler and use it for making no-stir starters until you can build the stir plate.

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Old 01-27-2014, 11:43 PM   #15
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Chiller, absolutely. I've brewed nearly 100 batches over 8 years, never used a stirplate. I bought a chiller about 3 batches in, have been using it ever since.

In fact....

I'd buy a grain mill before I'd get a stirplate.
I'd buy a refractometer before I'd get a stirplate.
I'd get a full-size ported kettle before a stirplate.
I'd buy, and then sell, a Cool Brewing bag before I'd get a stirplate.
I'd get a temp controlled fridge before I'd get a stirplate.
I'd build a mash tun before I'd get a stirplate.
I'd build a SECOND mash tun before I'd get a stirplate.
I'd upgrade my mash tun before I'd get a stirplate.
I'd buy an outdoor propane burner before I'd get a stirplate.
I'd build a 6-tap keezer before I'd get a stirplate.

In fact, I've done all those things, and I've brewed award-winning beer.

Really, you don't NEED a stirplate for anything. You can just use a bigger starter and manually agitate it. All the stirplate does is help you grow up more yeast with less wort.

And if you REALLY want a stirplate but you're short on cash, you can build one for approximately $0 if you scavenge the parts. See here for an example: http://www.wortomatic.com/articles/Building-a-Basic-Stirplate-for-Yeast-Suspension
I've actually already scavenged just about all the parts I need, but laziness has won out. I actually make starters pretty rarely, and instead brew half batches of low-gravity beers and then use the yeast slurry.

I also agree with the posters above, US-05 is a fantastic yeast. I use it a lot. I'm also a cheap bastard and reuse my US-05 slurry a lot.

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Old 01-27-2014, 11:57 PM   #16
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Wort chiller for sure. But do both, smash an old hard drive and get the Neodymium Iron Boron magnets out, find a plastic box for cheap or free and a 12V muffin fan for cheap or free and a 12v supply, look at old phone chargers, you need 12vdc out, amps not important, fan draws .2 amps maybe, cheap or free and make the stir plate. Find a guy that repairs and upgrades computers, he probably has most of the stuff in the junk box. Add a switch a few nuts and bolts, you have a stir plate. There are several youtube vids, showing how to make one.
If you know high voltage electrical, a 110vac fan will work great also.

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Old 01-28-2014, 12:07 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by QuercusMax View Post
Chiller, absolutely. I've brewed nearly 100 batches over 8 years, never used a stirplate. I bought a chiller about 3 batches in, have been using it ever since.

In fact....

I'd buy a grain mill before I'd get a stirplate.
I'd buy a refractometer before I'd get a stirplate.
I'd get a full-size ported kettle before a stirplate.
I'd buy, and then sell, a Cool Brewing bag before I'd get a stirplate.
I'd get a temp controlled fridge before I'd get a stirplate.
I'd build a mash tun before I'd get a stirplate.
I'd build a SECOND mash tun before I'd get a stirplate.
I'd upgrade my mash tun before I'd get a stirplate.
I'd buy an outdoor propane burner before I'd get a stirplate.
I'd build a 6-tap keezer before I'd get a stirplate.

In fact, I've done all those things, and I've brewed award-winning beer.

Really, you don't NEED a stirplate for anything. You can just use a bigger starter and manually agitate it. All the stirplate does is help you grow up more yeast with less wort.

And if you REALLY want a stirplate but you're short on cash, you can build one for approximately $0 if you scavenge the parts. See here for an example: http://www.wortomatic.com/articles/Building-a-Basic-Stirplate-for-Yeast-Suspension
I've actually already scavenged just about all the parts I need, but laziness has won out. I actually make starters pretty rarely, and instead brew half batches of low-gravity beers and then use the yeast slurry.

I also agree with the posters above, US-05 is a fantastic yeast. I use it a lot. I'm also a cheap bastard and reuse my US-05 slurry a lot.
Awesome response! Made me laugh, but sounds like solid advice.

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Old 01-28-2014, 12:11 AM   #18
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I would vote chiller.

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Old 01-28-2014, 12:21 AM   #19
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Chiller. People get by and make incredible beers without starters and you can make a starter just stirring it now and then. Chilling wort; however, is so much easier with a chiller.

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Old 01-28-2014, 12:31 AM   #20
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Buy chiller and make a stir plate.

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