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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…

What do you need?

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.

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You will need a rare earth magnet. These can be removed from an old hard drive. Just look for this piece and remove the magnet attached to it. Be careful, these will break and need to be removed using something flat with a large base. Pry them off.

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Glue the rare earth magnet to the top of the fan with the center that spins. Make sure it is centered very good. Test it out before applying the super glue.
Some people hang the fan from the inside of the box with screws. I attach rubber feet to absorb some of the vibration and it allows the magnet to be close to the stir bar.
Glue this to the bottom of your box lid.

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Close up of rubber ring.

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On/Off switch and LED power light. You will want to solder these connections or use connectors.

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On/Off Switch and LED power light

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Run the positive from the AC/DC adapter to the On/Off switch and then to the middle of the Rheostat. You will also want to connect the positive wire of your LED to the On/Off switch too.
Hook up the negative of the AC/DC adapter, the LED light, and the Fan together and seal the connection. You are done with the negative wires.

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Hook up the positive wire of your fan to one of the outside connections of the Rheostat and solder. Wiring is done.

Mike Stuart

Craft beer enthusiast and hombrew dabbler. Part-time writer, sometimes funny.

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