So my first AG brew is done. I did the Irish Red Ale from NB. I added an extra lb of the 2 row malt to compensate for the possibility of a low efficiency. I used Beersmith to calc the strike and sparge temps/amounts. I mashed for 60 min at 154°...loosing 3° in the hour long mash. I then sparged with 168°, stirred, and let sit for 10 minutes. I had just about 6.5 gal of nice looking wort. Took my SG reading of 1.032 @ 110°( I let it cool a bit in my sample tube). Then used this calculator to convert it.
According to this calculator, I had 77.67% efficiency.
Did my 60 minute boil, cleaned the MLT during the boil, cooled the wort, and transferred to my carboy, pitched the yeast, and then cleaned everything up.
It really didn't take too much longer than doing an extract beer with steeping specialty grains.
Pretty satisfying to take a sack of grain and make beer from it.
I'm going to shoot for more stable temps from my 48qt cooler. I think I'll try some insulation board under the cooler. I had it sitting on a metal table in the 40° garage. I ended up putting some carpet under the cooler, and a blanket over it. I may cut a peice of ins board to fit in the cooler as well. Less headspace might make a difference.