Well, I am not sure what I want to get out of this post because I know what went wrong, but any comments are welcome.
After getting my fermentation fridge set up, I decided to make the Vienna Lager recipe from Brewing Classic Styles as my first lager. I made a 2 liter starter stepped up twice for about 450-500 ml of yeast. I noticed that if you calculated Jamil's AG grain bill, you wouldn't end up with the target OG. The culpret seemed to be the 3.4 lb of vienna malt, so I assumed the vienna figure was transposed so I adjusted vienna to be 4.3 lb and the OG was spot on in my calculations.
On brew day, I mashed in just right with 2ML of lactic acid and a tsp of calcium chloride (RO water), using a new and more accurate thermometer I confirmed that I hit my target temp of 152, then I checked PH with a new PH meter and it hit 5.3, which is good enough for me (just had a birthday, lots of good brewing presents). Let this sit 60 minutes, checked temp, I only lost two degrees, the top of the bed was at 150.
Vorlof, collect first runnings, sparge at 170, stir stir, vorlof, collect second runnings. At this point, my kettle had about 8.5 gallons of wort. I needed to boil for 90 minutes, so I thought this would boil off down to 6 gallons. Prepoil Gravity, 1.044... about .003 high, but we'll see what happens I thought.
Boil goes on, I get to where I need to add the 60 minute hop addition and think, gee, that wort level is still really high, better let that boil down a little bit, so I hold off on the hops. I let it go another 30 minutes, so this has boiled for an hour before I add the 60 minute addition. Add the hops, let it go for 45 minutes, come back, add the irish moss and yeast nutrient, wort level is looking more normal in the kettle for 6 gallons. Add the 10 minute addition of hops, finish this out. Chilled down to 56 degrees in about 30 minutes (the last 4 degrees took about 20 minutes so I gave up trying to get it down to 50 with 48 degree tap water.) Took a sample for my hydrometer reading later, left it to sit while I cleaned up. Stuck the fermenter in my chest freezer at 35 degrees for two hours, aerated with an aquarium pump for about 15 minutes (foam was too much to handle so I stopped before it made a huge mess) pitched at 48 degrees (forgot the keeper magnet, and the damn stirbar went into the fermenter... oh well, its sanitized).
I get to checking the FG and its 1.063 (holy crap!) so its .012 over my target FG. The next morning I check and its happily fermenting away - stinks of sulfur but its putting out a steady bubble. I'm on day two of fermentation at 50 degrees and things seem to be going well, but now I think I'll need a d-rest because my pitch was good but not quite what a 1.063 beer probably should have.
I know my issues with this... most likely the boiloff was the major contributer to the higher FG, and I got slightly better efficiency than normal... I think it may be attributable to a better thermometer so I had a better idea of temps than in the past.
So, this may turn out to be more of a maibock if it gets down to 1.011 or 1.013, and kick out 6.5% abv. We'll see how it goes, I can lager it for a long time if needed and this is just the beginning of the process... so here's to a learning experience. Cheers.