Cheap DIY Stir-plate

Stir-plate in action

I was inspired by a post on Homebrewtalk about a $12 Do It Yourself stir plate.  A couple of things.

Generally, one has to shell out a few $ to buy a pre-made stir plate and ones home made are typically good enough for home use.  It’s never been terribly difficult using the various methods posted on the internet, but most required ‘wiring’ of some sort.  Some easier than others.

I have a background in electrical work, so that didn’t bother me.  What did bother me was gathering up the myriad parts and components.  Also, I ‘thought’ I was doing good enough with no starter, or more recently, just shaking and swirling a ‘starter’ occasionally.  Nope.

I’ve come to realize that lately I’ve had fermentation’s ‘stick’, end without quite finishing up the beer.  They haven’t been overly sweet, but they haven’t been completely clean either.  I can attribute it to one or two things.  Not enough O2 for the yeast, and/or not enough yeast.

I shake the sh*t out of my wort when I pitch, so I’m getting close to 8ppm O2, which can be too low in some cases.  But on further review using mrmalty.com and JZ’s yeast book, I’ve come to realize I have really been under pitching.  Well, the pitching issue is easy to fix, and now that I’ve dug a little bit, cheap to fix as well.
I give you CS223 answer at homebrewtalk to a cheap and super easy stir plate.


Picture

Parts for Stir Plate
The key to this build, and the genius of it, is the USB powered computer cooling fan with variable speed control.  The USB powered & already built in rheostat for speed control makes this one of the easiest projects for the home brewery.
The only thing you need besides this is a plug to go from USB to outlet and some magnet / magnets (plus something to put it in- optional)I purchased the USB/outlet on Amazon for $3, and the magnets from Harbor Freight for $2.99 (for 10 total).

This took all of 30 minutes to put together, the reason for so much time is realizing I needed to stack 2 magnets on top of each other (for a total of 4).

Now?  Can’t wait for my next brew (in about 1 week) & eye balling the O2 system at Williams Brewing – I’m going to pull the trigger, just not sure when.

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