Hey everyone...first time long time. This board has been beyond helpful in getting up to speed and quickly looking up stressful newby questions mid-brew day, so thanks a ton for that!
I've done about 12 extract brews...by the last one I had the process down great, and over the couple years I was doing them I had amassed quite the equipment collection - multiple primaries, better bottle secondary, immersion cooler, flask for doing starters, iBrewmaster, 3 kegs, dedicated mini-fridge that fits 2, etc... I even built a MAME arcade cabinet around the fridge I'll post some pictures of at some point - nothing beats playing Donkey Kong with real arcade controls and simply reaching down to refill my beer.
Around batch 8 I started tweaking the NB recipes, and by the 12th batch I decided it was time to partial as I wanted more control. I decided on the Speckled Heifer from NB, which looked pretty straightforward. I found it to be a complete PITA trying to keep the temperature steady doing the mash in the brew pot. I tried doing it on the stove, but then the pot had uneven temperatures in it even when stirring, and it was hard to maintain the temp. I tried putting it in the oven on low and had the same issue. Obviously you cant stir while it's in the oven, so I actually found that to be worse. It was quite stressful and if I was forced to do it again, I'm not even sure I learned enough to combat the issues.
Luckily the beer is pretty good - just a bit dry, which from my research is due to the mash temperature being low, which was what I noted during the mash. I hit the OG from iBrewmaster, but the FG was about .002 lower than expected, so the dryness could be due to the increased .3% alcohol. Regardless, I know I hosed the mash temp.
In any case, I decided the stress of partial wasn't for me, grabbed a 10gal igloo team cooler and stainless ball valve with the mesh attachment, and did NB's all-grain American Wheat. I used iBrewmaster to calc the temperatures, which were dead on, and it was infinitely easier than doing the partial mash. Very excited to try it in a couple weeks - planning on kegging it tomorrow.
Between the 2 brews, I found that it takes just as long to do partial vs AG, and you don't get the benefits of the cooler maintaining a steady temperature, which is a huge stress reliever.
I've seen a few random posts where people say they almost exclusively partial. So I'm curious...besides initial cost and the space required to store equipment (they are certainly understandable reasons), why would anyone do partial mash rather than all-grain?