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Old 12-27-2008, 06:24 PM   #71
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The main purpose of a stir plate is not so much to stir the wort, as getting the mix supersaturated with O2. In this sense, having the vortex run to the bottom is ideal, as when it hits the bottom it sends an explosion of bubbles through the wort.
From what I have been reading it's actually the opposite, that at the beginning of fermentation you should already have enough oxygen in the starter, but the yeast quickly falls out of suspension. If you have it continually stirred then the yeast will be kept in suspension and will be better able to multiply.
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Old 12-27-2008, 07:25 PM   #72
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From what I have been reading it's actually the opposite, that at the beginning of fermentation you should already have enough oxygen in the starter, but the yeast quickly falls out of suspension. If you have it continually stirred then the yeast will be kept in suspension and will be better able to multiply.
Check out this article. In essence, yeast need O2 to reproduce and strengthen their cell walls. The more O2 during the first 40ish hours of the culture, the more yeast you'll have -- and they'll also be healthier.

Indeed, you don't really want the yeast fermenting the starter so much as reproducing. Inevitably, the starter will be fermented to one extent or other, but the focus is reproduction and cell counts.
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Old 12-27-2008, 07:43 PM   #73
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Check out this article. In essence, yeast need O2 to reproduce and strengthen their cell walls. The more O2 during the first 40ish hours of the culture, the more yeast you'll have -- and they'll also be healthier.

Indeed, you don't really want the yeast fermenting the starter so much as reproducing. Inevitably, the starter will be fermented to one extent or other, but the focus is reproduction and cell counts.
based upon his article I still stand by my original statement. If oxygen was the main limiting factor then injecting through an aeration system 3-6 times a day would do just as much if not more than a stir plate.

He has some really good information in that article, but he is not properly isolating variables to say that the aeration of stir plated wort is why its better and most of the time he is saying aeration/agitation.
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Old 12-27-2008, 08:00 PM   #74
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The rheostat will allow you to fine tune your fan speed. Hopefully that helps your setup
First, this is a really good tutorial. Thank you for taking the time to make that happen.

Second, is the rheostat the only thing you are using for speed control? No other electronics? I am a typical engineer who tends to overthink and complicate everything! I don't know why I did not think of a simple rheostat on a dc fan...

Great work!

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Old 12-27-2008, 08:41 PM   #75
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based upon his article I still stand by my original statement. If oxygen was the main limiting factor then injecting through an aeration system 3-6 times a day would do just as much if not more than a stir plate.

He has some really good information in that article, but he is not properly isolating variables to say that the aeration of stir plated wort is why its better and most of the time he is saying aeration/agitation.
The O2 thing is fairly common knowledge. Yeast use up O2 so fast that the injections would not work as well. The plate keeps dissolved oxygen levels constant throughout the reproductive phase, thus creating the ideal environment for max cell counts.

Either way, this is just details. We both agree that the plate is the way to go; the why isn't terribly important.
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Old 12-29-2008, 05:00 PM   #76
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First, this is a really good tutorial. Thank you for taking the time to make that happen.

Second, is the rheostat the only thing you are using for speed control? No other electronics? I am a typical engineer who tends to overthink and complicate everything! I don't know why I did not think of a simple rheostat on a dc fan...

Great work!

-Tripod
My Computer Fan StirPlate runs off of a 6V wall adapter, and spins plenty good enough, all the way to vortex action. It worked well for my practice at harvesting some yeast from a Bell's Beer, but I'm going to put it too good use on my next batch, where I will actually USE that yeast from Bells in my own version of Two-Hearted. I don't brew enough to have a comparison between using and not using, but it was simple enough to build from junk parts, so what the heck!
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Old 12-29-2008, 06:03 PM   #77
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Originally Posted by Tripod View Post
First, this is a really good tutorial. Thank you for taking the time to make that happen.

Second, is the rheostat the only thing you are using for speed control? No other electronics? I am a typical engineer who tends to overthink and complicate everything! I don't know why I did not think of a simple rheostat on a dc fan...

Great work!

-Tripod
Thank you!

All I have been using are rheostats. If I find that the fan is spinning TOO fast, I'll throw a resistor inline before the rheostat to fine tune the stir plate.
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Old 01-02-2009, 11:47 PM   #78
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Just wanted to say thanks for the writeup. I put one of these together today with a bunch of parts from the nerd bin and things look pretty good so far. Gonna make my first starter on it in a couple of days.

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Old 01-04-2009, 07:18 PM   #79
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Thanks, Tony, for an excellent instructional. I followed it to the letter up until the magnet part of it. All of my parts were purchased at either Radio Shack or Home Depot. The IT guys at work were able to get me a Dell fan but they broke a number of hard drive magnets before I told them I'd just get some magnets from the hardware store. I've included a picture of them below. I also used #10 bolts by 2 1/2 inches, just like Tony. I think #8 may be a bit flimsy at 2 1/2 inches and in fact, HD did not sell them longer than 2 inches. For my washer, I used a standard 2 inch washer which is fairly thick. It is not stainless. I think it ran 30 odd cents in the bins at Home Depot. It was the only 2 inch washer I could find there. I also used 1 minute epoxy to attach the washer to the fan and the magnets to the washer. In order to create a long enough magnet, I stuck two of the 3/8 by 3/8 by 1 7/8 magnets together end to end. They hold intially on their own to the steel washer but once the speed on the fan ramps up they fly to the side and stick to the bolt heads. After experimenting a bit with the flask and stir bar I figured it would work as is and took a leap of faith and expoxed them down to the washer. Earlier experiments using a single magnet did not work, probably due to length less than my 2" stir bar. Also, the 7/8" wide magnets HD sells are too powerful to spin.

For spacers, I used a combination of 1 inch spacers and 5 washers, as shown in the pics. Total space is 1 1/4", or 1/4" shorter than Tony's, who is using a thinner hard drive magnet.

My power supply is a full 12 volts which recharged one of my first cell phones. My guess is the newer ones don't require 12 volts and I definitely recommend it.

Works like a charm. At about 70-80% power, it can pull the vortex to the bottom in 1400ml of water.



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Old 01-04-2009, 07:21 PM   #80
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The above build in action in 1400 ml of water at about 75% power.

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Conical 1 - Bye-Week Blonde
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Secondaries - Sunday Night Hoppy Pale Ale
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Kegged: American Wheat/Rye, Nut Brown Ale, Munich Helles, Belgian Stout, Resurrection Milk Stout, Bourbon County Stout, BLC
Bottled: Oaked Bourbon Porter
Planned: Baltic Porter
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