I visited Austin Home Brew Supply last Sunday while I was in Austin (nice folks) and picked up their Holiday Ale kit. I am an all extract kinda brewer for 6 years running, but decided to dip my toe into partial mashing as this batch is for friends and family and I want a better brew for them. Long story short, my OG is a bit off from their target range of 1.051. Mine ended up 1.044 at 70 degrees when I took the reading. I am not complaining one bit - I just want to get better at this as it was not as hard as I imagined a partial mash would be and I want to continue down this path.
My setup - 5 gallon igloo round water cooler (it actually holds temps very stable for the 45 minutes needed), 2 lbs. 2-row, 1 lb crystal 40, 1/2 lb. white wheat, 1/4 lb. chocolate, and 5 lbs. of extra pale LME. I heated the 2 gallons of mash water (bottled spring water) up to 170 thinking the cooler would drop that some, but in checking my sterilized floating thermometer I left in there I was sitting at 168 after a 45 minute soak. Is this too high? I added about 2 tbs. of phosphoric acid to the mash water per AHBS recommendation. Sparged with 2 quarts of 170 degree water and let the grains drain in a strainer over the pot. Added the 5 lbs. of LME and proceeded as normal.
Any tips to why my OG was a tad low and how to increase efficiency with my setup? It was actually pretty fun and more painless than I imagined. Not sure why I waited 6 years before I tried it.