I've been lurking on here for some time, but not really posting. I've been making extract and partial mash recipes for about 8 months now. I decided to step into all-grain brewing mainly because it's a heck of a lot easier finding grains locally than extract or partial mash kits. I wish I did this a lot sooner. It was kind of raining out for most of the brew day, but it was a heck of a lot of fun.
I bought a cheap cooler to use as a mash tun, and fitted it with a ball valve and ss braid, took my plasma cutter to an old keg for a boil kettle, and re-purposed a turkey fryer to heat it all. I made a wert chiller out of 25ft of 3/8" copper pipe and some hose. Total cost wasn't terribly expensive.
I tried out beersmith to calculate my temps and water volumes, and I'm very impresses with the software. Definitely worth a purchase.
I decided to make a fat tire clone recipe that I pieced together. All said and done I ended up with 6.5gal of 1.046. I was aiming for 5gal, I think I made some mistakes in beersmith estimating dead-space in the mash tun, or in the boil-off volume. I'm still pretty happy with the outcome though. Racked it into two 6gal carboys and pitched in a 1qt jar of washed yeast from my last batch. 4 hours later, there was already activity in the airlocks.
Brewhouse efficiency was around 72%.
I've got another two batches of grains milled up for another few beers, and there's a long weekend coming up. I'm looking forward to making some more beer!