I'd been having some issues with efficiency and I was going crazy trying to figure out what I'd been doing wrong...well my biggest mistake was actually the information I was entering into Hopville. You see, Hopville defaults to a 5 gallon batch. I usually make 7 gallons and yield around 6 because when all is said and done, I'll lose at least a half gallon to trub in the primary, and then lose a bit in the secondary. This way I end up with 5 or a tad more going into my keg. Anyway, it dawed on me today that I hadn't been changing the batch size to 6 gallons on Hopville. When I went back and did this, all my efficiencies that I'd been stressing over were all of sudden not bad at all! My worst one was 67%, which is a long story, but not so bad considering how I'd botched the process.
So today I started my mash bright and early, around 830 am is when my grains hit the strike water. I covered my cooler MLT with blankets and went to brunch with my wife and 18mo. old daughter. We were gone about 2.5 hours which is longer than I'd normally mash. Well I did a double batch sparge and went about my boil and such just like I normally would. When I took my OG reading I was floored, 84% efficiency!!! I was beyond happy about this.
This wouldn't have been possible without my brewing bretheren and all of your help and advice! It's a good feeling when all this info starts to really click and you start to see good results.
There are three rules that I live by: never get less than twelve hours sleep; never play cards with a guy who has the same first name as a city; and never get involved with a woman with a tattoo of a dagger on her body. Now you stick to that, and everything else is cream cheese.