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Finally got a stir plate for yeast starters

So any tips for a stir plate newbie? I have been doing starters for years but finally broke down and bought me a stir plate.

Any guidance or pitfalls that I need to be aware of?

Make sure you have some kind of “keeper” magnet handy, so that you don’t accidentally pitch the stir bar.

Don’t worry about spinning it quickly - you may risk throwing the bar. A gentle, continuous stirring is all you need.

+1 to a10t2’s advice, also if you’re anything like me get yourself a backup stir bar because inevitably I end up pitching my stir bar along with the yeast every few batches.

+2 If you cold crash in a fridge with a metal rack, don’t leave your keeper magnet on the bottom. You’ll realize why a backup is good when the magnet is stuck to the fridge and the bar is in the fermenter.

I did a trial run with just some water in it the other night. I was amazed at how much the little stir bar that came with it can move the liquid around. The stir bar that came with the unit is only about an inch long but once it got up to top speed it was making a mini-tornado in my flask.

Going to use it for real tonight with my first stir plate starter. :slight_smile:

Congrats! I firmly believe in starters and a stir plate is the way to go IMO. Suggestions I would give, don’t be afraid to pitch an entire starter if it’s not to big. For ‘most’ starters 1000-1200ml or so I pitch the whole thing. Anything bigger than that I’ll cold crash for at least 24hrs or more then decant and pitch just the yeast and a little wort. I haven’t had an issue yet using this method. Also, don’t feel like the stir plate has to be on high and you have to have a giant tornado inside the flask. Sure it looks cool, but isn’t necessary. Just having it the movement and spinning is enough to keep the yeast in suspension which is really all you’re trying to do.

Oh yeah… weigh stuff! Someone gave me this advice early on and it’s good practice.
10g per 100ml of water (100g per 1L of water)

First starter on the stir plate did very well. I am going to step it up tonight so that tomorrow morning I will have an actively fermenting starter ready to go when my beer is ready to pitch. Figured it wouldn’t hurt to have the extra yeast also as I am brewing a Jester King Black Metal Stout clone. This is my second attempt at this beer. The first came out very nice but a little sweet and undercarbonated…both my fault. I under-primed when I bottled and totally flubbed the carbonation level and we used WLP002 the first time around because that is what we had on hand. This time I am brewing it with WLP007 which I hope will dry it out a little bit more since it ferments a little dryer than 002.

Brewed up an imperial stout on Saturday. Had the starter stepped up twice on the new stir plate. Pitched a 1000mL starter at 64 degrees on Saturday at 3pm and had an airlock bubbling away before 8pm. Really happy with the activity in my starters with the new stir plate. Now I just need to get a 2000 mL flask.

On a side note…I broke my hydrometer before I had a chance to take any gravity readings. I have been reading this board for a couple of years and always chuckled a little at the threads where guys were talking about breaking hydrometers all the time. I had mine for over 10 years without an issue…until Saturday. :cry:

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