The stir plate redefined.
About this project
At Schuwert LLC we believe brewing beer should be a relaxing and enjoyable experience. Unfortunately, this is something that could never be said about making a yeast starter. Too many nights were spent trying to get the stir plate in the right position and at the perfect speed so it wouldn’t throw the stir bar. Even with these precautions it was almost unavoidable that we would have to start the process over in the morning. From this frustration came the Stir Devil.
The Stir Devil offers much more than anything currently on the market today. Instead of a few magnets hot glued to a computer fan (yes this is out there) you get a smart and extremely powerful package. The Stir Devil combines powerful rare earth magnets with a microcontroller and integrated sensors to ensure that you never wake up to a thrown stir bar again. Even starting the stir plate is as easy as tossing in a stir bar and turning a knob.
At Schuwert we have worked many long nights coming up with what we call Stir Bar Retrieval Technology. The microcontroller constantly monitors the status of the stir bar and if for some reason the stir bar is thrown from the magnets, the retrieval mode is activated. The stir plate will automatically slow down and bring the stir bar back to its intended position. Instead of your starter sitting idle the rest of the night it is back in action within seconds.
We recommend the use of a 1.75″ stir bar and a 2,000 ml flask, but certainly anything smaller will work. The use of larger stir bars is certainly an option but we found that a 1.75″ stir bar is optimal. Larger flasks have been tested without any problems, but a thrown stir bar may not be retrieved if the flask overhangs the case of the Stir Devil.
The power of the Stir Devil is above and beyond anything you have seen in the homebrew market today. With the combination of a high torque motor and rare earth magnets this thing really rocks! Extensive testing has been performed which show that anything up to a 2,000 ml starter at 1.100 OG is no problem.
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What is the benefit of using a Stir Plate?
There are really only a few basic ingredients in most beers; fermentable sugars, hops, yeast and water. From our experience most brewers tend to align their priorities in that order as well. The brewer will spend countless hours formulating a grain bill down to a half an ounce of one grain or the other. Hops are measured the same way and then a strict boil time is assigned to each addition. The majority of the brew day is dedicated to mashing in at the correct temperature, hitting mash temps and times, nailing the boil time and hop additions, and then cooling the wort. Little effort is given to the water, usually tap water is used. Some may use an inline filter possibly with an addition of 5.2 or other water treatments. Finally at the end of the brew day when the wort is finally cooled down to pitching temperature the brewer will tear open the yeast packet and toss it in…done.
What many homebrewers do not realize is the amount of work the yeast have to do and the influence it has on the finished beer. Yeast impart a huge amount of flavor in our beers (think of all the different yeast styles out there) but we rarely give it a second thought. Most brewers make an effort in maintaining fermentation temperatures but that is only half the battle. In order to give the yeast a proper head start multiple packs of yeast or a yeast starter should be used. Most research has shown that the ideal pitching rate is roughly 180 billion yeast cells for your average 5 gallon batch. This equates to roughly two packs or tubes of yeast, which can get expensive. Making a simple starter can save money in the long run by allowing the brewer to build up their yeast count without having to pay for the second pack of yeast. A healthy pitching rate speeds up fermentation and can eliminate off flavors produced by stressed yeast. Creating a yeast starter is a simple process that any brewer can handle. You will need five, optionally six items; DME, flask, yeast, aluminum foil, stir plate and water. The OG for a starter depends on the gravity of the beer you’re brewing. Normally our starter OG is between 1.035 – 1.045. A good starting point would be 200 grams of DME for a 2L starter (DME + Water = 2L total). Once you have your DME and water in the flask gently boil for 10 – 15 minutes and then let it cool to 75°F. Pitch your yeast into the flask, cover with foil and wait a minimum of 18 hours. If a stir plate is utilized the grow rate will be roughly twice that of a non-stirred starter so they are highly recommended. If you want to pitch the liquid and all, the ideal time to do so is roughly 18 hours after the starter has been created. If you would rather have just the yeast, allow fermentation to complete and then place the flask in the fridge overnight. Once the liquid has cleared up and the yeast has settled to the bottom, decant the liquid off the top and the remaining yeast is ready to be pitched.
We honestly believe that we have the most advanced and hassle free stir plate available. Not only can we revolutionize yeast starters, we believe this product can be used in other scientific and medical fields as well. Initially we are offering this technology up to homebrewers, mainly because this is what we know, but we see a much bigger future. With that said we need support from everyone out there in order to bring this idea to market. To get the Stir Devil into production we need high volumes for bulk discounts, custom made PCB’s and injection mold tooling. Production costs are expensive and we need your support to help cover them.
We have been in contact with multiple vendors and manufacturing facilities to ensure that we get both a reasonable price and favorable timeline. With that said we also believe in under promising and over achieving so we are offering what we believe to be an achievable timeline. We have been on the receiving end of Kickstarter projects that have blown their timeline and we know first hand how frustrating that can be.
Our project is based out of the United States but open to anyone in the world. Backers outside of the United States should be aware that there are certain countries which charge customs fees, VAT or JCT type fees. Please know that we do not include any of these charges in the backing price. Check with your local customs office or government body to get a feel for any taxes or fees you may be stuck with once the product ships.
Risks and challenges
Risks are always a concern when forming a new company or bringing a new product to market. Fortunately we have been able to create several working prototypes to torture test and hone our design. The videos above were all shot using our finalized model and parts list, we know for a fact that this thing is the top of the line when it comes to stir plates.
We have been in contact with multiple companies to collect quotes for mass producing our product and get a feel for a reasonable timeline. The risks we foresee involve motivating our suppliers to stay on time and ensuring every unit gets fully tested before it leaves our hands.
The timeline we have self imposed may look longer than many projects on Kickstarter but we believe in under promising and over delivering. We would much rather take a little more time and ship out a great product than try to rush through the job and deliver a product that gives Schuwert a poor name. You can trust us to give regular updates to backers whichever way the timeline starts to shift and be certain that any unforeseen delays will be dealt with in a timely and aggressive manner.