Had my first AG brew on the new E-build. Other than taking me from 1530 until after midnight (9ish hrs) I would say everything went well.
I wanted 8 gal of strike water, but I didn't want my HLT to be completely empty (or freshly-filled with cold water) just as I was starting to recirc my mash, so I went with this technique:
Filled MLT to 8gal (+ a bit that doesn't drain from the very bottom)
Filled HLT to 15 gal (absolutely full... 15.5 gal? whatever)
Pumped MLT to Water Pump input, Water Pump output to HERMS coil, coil to top of MLT
Heated HLT to strike temp (154).
I should have probably gone to 160 because adding the grains and having the lid off of my MLT really dropped the temp (142ish) and it took awhile to get back to 154. Also, having the HLT set for a target of 154 was idiotic... I eventually changed it to 165 and then just paid attention. When the MLT temp got to 150, I turned changed the HLT target temp to 156 and left it alone... wasted a lot of time creeping up on the target temp instead of just getting there. This makes sense in my head but if it was not English, let me know and I'll try again.
After the mash (60min), I increased to mash-out temp of 169. I'm still fuzzy on why people do this, but I did it anyway.
I pumped the sweet wort out of the MLT and into the BK at the same (very slow) rate that I pumped hot water from the HLT to the top of the MLT, maintaining the water level at about 1.5-2" above the grain bed. (This was cool--I used a flashlight through the lid of the MLT and could see the water level from the outside... who needs sight gauges!) Once I matched the rates, I let that run until I hit the target Pre-Boil Volume of 13.5 gal in the BK.
I drained the rest of the liquid from the MLT and used the leftover hot water for cleaning it up while the boil was going. The boil was mostly unremarkable...almost had a boil over but caught it in time. Ultimately, the target temp of 213 helped me maintain a nice healthy rolling boil without undue cleanup.
A note about boil-off.... I estimated 1.5 gal per hour (90min boil) so 2.25 gal. I probably should have stuck with Kal's estimate of 1.9 gal/hr. Needless to say, my garage was getting VERY foggy....I finally opened the garage door to air things out a bit (no, I never installed ventilation/fans---cutting corners to save cost hah).
I quickly realized that having lights on inside the garage when it was dark outside would invite bugs, so I turned off the garage lights, then went inside the house to turn on the outside lights (wanted outside brighter than the control panel). When I came back into the dark garage, I heard scuffing sounds in the driveway and thought it might be the neighbor. I walked towards the garage and saw... an adult black bear at the opposite end of my car, about 20' away..... I backed away slowly and hit the garage door button--didn't look back again as I jumped inside the house and told the wife. haha Kinda' backfired though--she doesn't want me to brew for a month, to give the bear time to move-on. lol
Sorry no pictures of the bear, but here are some brewing pics. Enjoy!