7 Best Stir Plates For Yeast Starters

by Matt Giovanisci | Last Updated: February 7, 2020

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Whether you’re brand-new to homebrewing or an experienced master of the malts, you’re going to deal with yeast in your quest for the perfect beer. You might start out with store-bought yeast, but after you’ve been homebrewing for a while, you might decide to make your own yeast starter using fresh or recovered yeast. And that means it’s time to consider a yeast starter stir plate.

If that’s an adventure you’re ready to tackle, you’ll need a yeast starter stir plate in your homebrewing toolkit. Finding the right one can help you create a healthy, oxygen-rich starter. You’ll improve the quality of your yeast, and in turn, the quality of your beer. Plus, you can experiment with different strains of yeast to create starters for any kind of beer.

Best Stir Plates For Yeast Starters

NOTE: Pictured above is the Maelstrom Stir Plate from Northern Brewer. We’ve used it to make yeast starters for several years now and recommend it to anyone who’s looking for a powerful, precise stir plate.

Benefits of a Yeast Starter Stir Plate

As you might recall from the days of high school chemistry class, a stir plate is a simple, usually magnetic device designed to stir liquids by spinning a small cylinder at varying speeds. They’re ideal for stirring liquids for long periods, without the need for someone to shake it like a Polaroid picture or stand there with a spoon complaining, “How long do I have to stir this darn thing, anyway?”

It doesn’t matter if you’re using fresh yeast or a favorite strain you’ve recovered via yeast washing—your starter can’t succeed if it stagnates. To get the most out of your yeast starter, you’ll need to keep it movin’ and a groovin’ to oxygenate and build up the healthy yeast population inside.

Adding a yeast starter stir plate to your collection of homebrewing equipment is the answer.

How Does a Yeast Starter Stir Plate Work?

The science behind the yeast stir is simple. You place a ceramic-coated bar of magnetic metal, called a stir bar or stirrer, in a container of liquid wort. The stir bar spins in response to the electromagnet in the base of the stir plate, causing a vortex that keeps the yeast in suspension.

This continuous motion, as opposed to an hourly shake or two, improves aeration and pushes more CO2 out of the solution by keeping the yeast in suspension. The yeast have more oxygen to use as fuel, ramping up their reproduction.

Continuous stirring can basically double the number of yeast cells in your yeast starter compared to manually and intermittently stimulating the yeast.

If you’re feeling ambitious, you might want to take a stab at building your own yeast starter stir plate. But if you’re ready to move up from a DIY solution and need a more precise yeast stirring method, buying a stir plate will give you a plug ‘n’ play solution that’ll get you fermenting fast.

The Winner for Best Yeast Starter Stir Plate

Northern Brewer Maelstrom Stir Plate for Homebrewing Price: $139.99 With five distinct speeds, this programmable stir plate can accommodate yeast starters up to 5 gallons. It comes with a scheduling function for up to 48 hours and powerful magnets will never throw a stir bar. Buy Now from Amazon Northern Brewer Maelstrom Stir Plate for Homebrewing We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you. Last Updated: February 15, 2020

In our experience, nothing has beat this magnetic stir plate. We’ve used Northern Brewer’s Maelstrom Stir Plate for years. It’s built-in timer lets you run your stir plate for 48 hours and the powerful magnets ensure that your stir bar doesn’t flail around. Best of all, it accommodates yeast starters of up to 5 gallons.

If you’re looking for more yeast stir plate options, we’ve included a list of our other favorite stir plates below. Just be warned: you tend to get what you pay for. While a cheaper stir plate may still save your hand from manually stirring, you should still invest in something high-quality that will create a continuous, consistent vortex.

Budget Yeast Starter Stir Plates

If you’ve never used a stir plate or are upgrading from a homemade version, these entry-level models will get things started without tanking your homebrewing budget.

1. INTLLAB Magnetic Stir Plate with Stir Bar

INTLLAB Magnetic Stir Plate with Stir Bar – 3000 rpm – 3000 ml Max Stirring Capacity Price: $29.80 Buy Now from Amazon INTLLAB Magnetic Stir Plate with Stir Bar – 3000 rpm – 3000 ml Max Stirring Capacity We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you. Last Updated: February 15, 2020

2. YaeCCC 78-1 Magnetic Stir Plate

YaeCCC 78-1 Magnetism Stir Plate – 110V/50 Hz – 1000 ml Price: $29.85 Buy Now from Amazon YaeCCC 78-1 Magnetism Stir Plate – 110V/50 Hz – 1000 ml We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you. Last Updated: February 15, 2020

Mid-Range Yeast Starter Stir Plates

Striking a balance between features and economy, these stir plates have a little more power and a few extras that make the slightly higher price worthwhile.

3. MoreBeer! Magnetic Stir Plate

MoreBeer! Magnetic Stir Plate Price: $69.99 Buy Now MoreBeer! Magnetic Stir Plate We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

4. Hanna 190M Stir Plate

Hanna Stir Plate Price: $98.99 Buy Now Hanna Stir Plate We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

5. Apera Instruments AI2801 Magnetic Stir Plate

Apera Instruments AI2801 Magnetic Stir Plate – 2300 rpm – 3000 ml Max Stirring Capacity Price: $58.00 Buy Now from Amazon Apera Instruments AI2801 Magnetic Stir Plate – 2300 rpm – 3000 ml Max Stirring Capacity We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you. Last Updated: February 15, 2020

High-End Stir Yeast Starter Plates

Do you have the need—and the budget—for powerful and versatile stir plates that’ll handle whatever you throw at ’em? Then these babies are for you. We think they’re worth the investment for their reliability, consistency and programming options.

6. Argos Technologies S2000 Thin Spin

Argos Technologies S2000 Thinspin Magnetic Stirrer – 1500 RPM – 500 ml Max Stirring Capacity Price: $197.23 Buy Now from Amazon Argos Technologies S2000 Thinspin Magnetic Stirrer – 1500 RPM – 500 ml Max Stirring Capacity We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you. Last Updated: February 15, 2020

7. Northern Brewer Maelstrom Stir Plate

Northern Brewer Maelstrom Stir Plate for Homebrewing Price: $139.99 With five distinct speeds, this programmable stir plate can accommodate yeast starters up to 5 gallons. It comes with a scheduling function for up to 48 hours and powerful magnets will never throw a stir bar. Buy Now from Amazon Northern Brewer Maelstrom Stir Plate for Homebrewing We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you. Last Updated: February 15, 2020

You Got to Be Stirrin’ Somethin’

While you can hand-stir your yeast starter and you can certainly try to build your own, investing in a high-quality stir plate can make your life so much easier. We truly believe that the mastery of all things yeast begins with the right yeast starter stir plate. By adding one to your homebrewing setup, you’ll soon enjoy happier, healthier yeast that ferment more effectively and efficiently. So go get a-stirring!

Happy Brewing!

Matt Giovanisci, the founder of Brew Cabin, started homebrewing in 2005. He has continued to level-up his brewing skills and wanted to share his journey and knowledge with other homebrewers. He launched Brew Cabin in 2017 to make homebrewing more approachable and scalable for everyone looking to craft the perfect pint.

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