Category Archives: DIY


DIY Stir Plate for Homebrew Yeast Starters

Up until now I have only used dry yeast for my homebrew creations. This limits me in what types of brews I can create as the various strains of liquid yeast far outnumber the dry strains. As an example, I am planning to brew a Kolsch soon, and there is no available dry yeast strain for that.

The purpose of a yeast starter is to build up the number of viable yeast cells from the amount that comes in a vial of yeast from the store. A vial of California Ale Yeast (WLP001) will have roughly 96 billion yeast cells. For a 5.5 gallon beer with a 1.050 original gravity, you will want to use about 192 billion. A starter is a mini fermentation that builds up the yeast as they feed on the sugars in the mash you’ve made.

A magnetic stir plate escalates the growth in the yeast starter by spinning a magnetic stir bar at the bottom of the flask containing the starter. I can grow that 96 billion to 192 billion with a .75 liter starter on the stir plate, opposed to 131 billion without. These numbers we calculated from the beersmith app.

Here is a video of a stir plate in action from Beer Geek Nation:

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Brew Kettle Ball Valve Installation Project

I just installed a ball valve onto my Bayou Classic 44 Quart brew kettle so I can drain my chilled wort directly to the fermenter. I typically use an auto-siphon for racking from kettle to fermenter but felt the ball valve would give me a faster transfer, one less thing to clean and sanitize and look better. It should also give me a more consistent water volume left behind.


* The ball valve kit I got is configured like so: Standard bulkhead, stainless 2 piece valve, 90 degree elbow inside, 1/2″ hose barb for valve.

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Tasty Brewdog Treats™

IMG_3384For dog owning home brewers: after I finish the mash I scoop a few cups of spent grain into a bowl for making dog treats. I let it cool, cover and put them in the fridge. I make sure to use them within a few days or it’ll go bad.

If you do any mash hopping, DO NOT USE the resulting grain. Dogs are very allergic to hops.

Here is the recipe that I use:

  • 2 cups of spent grain
  • 1 cup of flour
  • 1/2 cup of peanut butter
  • 1 egg

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