Stir Plate With Silicone Hot Pad

Stir plate with silicone padStir plate with silicone pad.

When making my starters, I noticed that the stir plates were getting pretty hot and were most likely transferring the heat to the starter.  I also had a problem on one stir plate that  would vibrate making the flask move around, sometimes getting close to the edge.  I'm sure not all stir plates have this problem, but I bought a heavy duty laboratory stir plate that really put out some RPM's.   The solution I came up with was to use one of my silicone hot pads on top of the stir plate. They are heat resistant to 675°F (357°C), provide a great skid resistant surface to keep the starter in place, and the raised dots allow air to flow under the flask to keep it from overheating. The silicone hot pad doesn't interfere at all with the magnetic action of the stir plate, and can be cut to any size. All in all a pretty simple solution to my problem and is a good DIY brewing gadget.

These multi-purpose silicone drying mats/pot holders are a very high quality product. They worked great for picking up hot pots of sauce, moving hot grates, etc.  You can purchase these at most stores like Walmart, Kmart, Target and Amazon.  I keep several around for trivets and hot pads in the kitchen.

Here are some pics of mine in operation:

Silicone Hot Pad on Stir Plate on PhotoPeach

To be honest, a stir plate is one of the most important pieces of homebrewing equipment you can invest in, along with a 5000 ml borosilicate flask.  The erlenmeyer flask doesn't have to be that big, but when you start making high gravity beers, such as barleywines, wheat wines, etc., you really need a huge yeast starter so the yeast won't get stressed out trying to ferment so much sugar to such a high alcohol content.  A lot of people sell them, and there are many cool ones online.  I purchased three or four on ebay until I found one that actually worked like I wanted.  But they are very simple to make.  The only skill you really need is to be able to solder.  I found a pretty good video on youtube which will give you the confidence you need to build your own stir plate.

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