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Benefits Of Stir Plates & Magnetic Stir Bars In Brewing Beer

Any seasoned home brewer will tell you the value of a good yeast starter. Making a yeast starter sounds so easy, but the reality is that it requires a lot of labour as you need to constantly stir it to produce a higher cell count for better and efficient fermentation. This is the reason why experienced home brewers opt to get stir plates and magnetic stir bars instead of manually stirring the yeast suspension.

But how does a stir plate increase the number of yeast cells within the suspension? The constant stirring motion achieved by stir plate and the magnetic stir bar helps release the excess Carbon dioxide from the starter solution thus keeping it aerated. If you don't stir the starter culture constantly, the Carbon dioxide will get trapped within the suspension and kill the yeast cells before they can multiply.

A good yeast starter contains about 182 billion yeast cells with a pitching rate of 0.7 million cells per millilitre. With stir plates and bars, you can increase the cell growth with a small amount of wort by as much as 100%. But how do you achieve this? (more info below)
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There are many different approaches to making a yeast starter, ask your fellow brewers or read some of the brewing forums to see how others do it. After a bit of trial and error, you will become a master at making yeast starters. If you find that your yeast is getting close to, or beyond the best before date, making a yeast starter should bring it back to life.

Another good reason to have a stir plate and accessories handy is that you can re-use your yeast and make more viable yeast for your next batch of beer. Many fermenters have a dump valve and container that you can collect your old yeast in and then store it until you are ready to make your starter. This is especially handy for liquid yeasts that may be seasonal.

It is always a good idea to order a couple of magnetic stir bars when you place your order, you just never know when the one you are using may get pitched in your slurry or gets lost. Another reason to have an extra bar on hand is that over time and due to improper storage and cleaning they can lose some of their magnetic qualities. Stir bars should be cleaned with a solution such as Star San as continual boiling could harm the magnetic, plus they should be stored away from the stir plate.

So... if you want to make your own yeast starter culture without constantly shaking the mixture yourself for hours on end, it is imperative that you get stir plates and magnetic stir bars. Here at Ontario Beer Kegs, we have a wide selection of stir plates and bars that you can choose from so that you can start making viable and healthy yeast cells for better-tasting beer.