Weekend Homebrew DIY Project: Stir Plate
Dropping a single vial, smack pack, or dry packet of yeast into your wort may seem to work well enough but you are probably under-pitching your yeast. One of the easiest and most rewarding DIY projects I’ve done is a simple stir plate for building yeast starters. Yeast starters go a long way in ensuring an adequate, clean fermentation.
Pitching the proper amount of yeast may seem difficult to figure out, but great sites like YeastCalc.com make it easy. It tells you how to convert your unit of store bought yeast into a properly sized starter. It is as easy as boiling some water and Dry Malt Extract (essentially making a low gravity wort) and then pitching your yeast into it. The yeast goes to town on your wort and in the process generates more yeast who have just feasted on lots of sugar. The stir plate’s function is to ensure there is lots of oxygen to keep the yeast happy and healthy. Once the yeast is done working you can pitch it into your real beer or put it in the fridge for a nap.
I’ve tapped the wisdom of my buddy at BeerMumbo.com to provide step by step photo and video instructions on how to build a stir plate. Take it away Mumbo…
- A cigar box or project box
- PC cooling fan (these are everywhere)
- Universal AC/DC power adapter
- Rare earth magnet (sourced from an old hard drive or buy some)
- Super glue
- Electrician tape or Solder
- Rubber rings
- On/Off switch
- LED power light
- Stir Bar
- 1000ml or 2000ml Erlenmeyer Flask or A mason jar works as well
- Craft beer to drink
Here is a lame video that I made (after drinking three cans of Resin) showing the different parts and the wiring in my homemade stir plate. I am NOT an electrician and there is probably a better way to do the wiring. There are also way better stir plates out there you can buy or even make. Well, my plate works and it works damn good. That is all that matters.