How necessary is a stir plate for my starter? - Home Brew Forums
Register Now For Free!

Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Techniques > How necessary is a stir plate for my starter?

Thread Tools
Old 09-29-2008, 05:48 PM   #1
Rush's Avatar
Aug 2008
New Orleans, Louisiana
Posts: 94
Liked 28 Times on 24 Posts

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?

Reply With Quote
Old 09-29-2008, 05:51 PM   #2
BarleyWater's Avatar
Jan 2007
Armpit of Dallas (Irving), TX
Posts: 2,204
Liked 23 Times on 17 Posts

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.

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.

Fermenting: Nada
On Tap:Cran Wit, Dr Pepper Dubbel, Cascadian Pale Ale, Dark Chocolate Stout, Imperial Stout, Brown Mild, Schwarzbier
On Board: IIPA

Reply With Quote
Old 09-29-2008, 06:21 PM   #3
Edcculus's Avatar
Jun 2007
Greenville, SC
Posts: 4,546
Liked 50 Times on 46 Posts

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.

Reply With Quote
Old 09-29-2008, 06:26 PM   #4
WBC's Avatar
Jun 2007
La Puente, CA, California
Posts: 2,164
Liked 8 Times on 8 Posts

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.

Fermentor 1: Bill's House Ale II, Fermentor 2: German Helles, Fermentor 3: Bill's Schworzbier (Black Bier)
Tap 1: Bill's House Ale II, Tap 2: German Hefewizen, Tap 3: Nut Brown Ale
Future Brews: Stone IPA Clone, Blonde Ale, Budvar Clone, Newcastle Clone
New toy: Blichmann 27 gallon fermentor

“If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop digging”

“Good judgment comes from experience, and a lotta that comes from bad judgment”

Reply With Quote
Old 09-30-2008, 02:06 AM   #5
Senior Member
ajf's Avatar
Oct 2005
Long Island
Posts: 4,646
Liked 105 Times on 99 Posts

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.


Reply With Quote
Old 09-30-2008, 02:21 AM   #6
Aug 2008
Posts: 64
Liked 1 Times on 1 Posts

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.

Reply With Quote
Thread Tools

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Starter: how long to keep on stir plate? WhataMack General Techniques 22 10-30-2014 08:03 PM
Stir Plate and Starter Temperature? fastricky General Beer Discussion 1 05-18-2009 03:24 AM
stir plate/ starter question JoshuaWhite5522 General Techniques 7 03-23-2009 03:12 PM
Yeast starter and stir plate sigmund General Techniques 8 11-15-2008 12:13 AM
Stir Plate for Yeast Starter thedude123 General Techniques 22 06-25-2008 06:19 PM

Forum Jump