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Built my own stir plate, now have a small question

Well this evening I ended up building my own stir pate. turned out pretty nice I think. I will try to figure out how to post pictures etc later (i.e. not at 3:30am in the morning after working on this thing all night).

Here is my question however. I built mine much like the 50 + other do it your self ones on the web - computer fan, hard drive magnets (2), hooked up to power switch and rheostat to control speed. when I did some test runs on just water (1400 mL in a 2000 mL flask) I got a pretty healthy vortex. I read you don’t need a huge tornado going, just enough for a dimple, but even turned all the way down I am getting a good 1-2 inch vortex.

the question - is too much of a votex bad? It is not HUGE per say, but it is more than a small dimple.

Also, once I actually make my starter with the DME and yeast, will this be a bit thicker perhaps and the vortex will not be as much?

BTW -I am just using a 1" bar, with the ridge in the middle.

it isn’t shake the house bad, but I just want to make sure I am not defeating the purpose by too much of a vortex going.

as a side note, I built it in a nice solid wood box I got from Jo Anne Fabrics for like $3.99. stained it quickly, looks nice if I do say so myself. Once I get a chance, again I will post a few pictures. nothing like some of the stuff you guys on here build, but still…

Nope, you’re golden on the vortex you have. Sounds like you have done a nice job. Wort may be a little more viscous, but not enough to change anything. You are just looking to get movement for the O2 and supenion of the yeast. Now get that starter going and get to brewing!!!

Thanks Bender. I was just nervous it might be a bit too much action. Sounds like it still may be more than I technically even need, but not too much it will be an issue. I will keep it turned basically as low as it will go.

Any thoughts on if the liquid will be heavier/more dense with the LME and yeast than just plain water that I tested it with, and may slow down the funnel a bit as well?

Am I just worrying too much :stuck_out_tongue:

Maybe a bit. :wink: As long as you’re not throwing the stir bar, it’s OK.

nope, stir bar is doing great. at least in my test of water.

I will try to post pictures soon. Not that it is anything that special. thought about it tonight but my night of working on it until 3:30am last night is catching up to me.

thanks again for the various comments.

So it took a bit longer than I planned, but finally getting a chance to post my home made stir plate pictures

Stir plate is a cheap (Like $4.00) box from Jo Anne Fabric that I stained. I like it because it has a very thin edge along the top, you can open it to access the guts (basic computer cpu fan with magnet, radio shack power switch and speed knob), and size wise it looks almost custom made for a 2000 mL flask.

seems to be working well.

Very nice. Looks like it’s doing it right!!!

take a look at … st-growth/
interesting read


I will give it a read. I think a side thing I love about this hobby is there is always more to learn. You can make a great beer knowing just the basics, or you can continue to expand your equipment, experiance and again, knowledge.

I think overall it went great once I had a chance to do one this last weekend. As the day went on it got a bit thicker with the malt extract, and looked to have just the perfect vortex (well, at least a good enough one). You can see the one picture above I think and the swirl I was getting.

this stuff is so fun…

take a look at … st-growth/
interesting read

Definitely interesting. I’m not sure where he says a larger flask makes a better vortex. It seems to me that a smaller flask makes a much taller vortex, that is, if you crank the vortex all the down to the stirbar. Generally I’m not loving the scientific method there; he varied amount AND stir speed and added Fermcap to one; too many variables for one experiment. It’s intriguing enough that I want to see more, but not convincing enough to buy his conclusion outright.

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