Originally Posted by hoppheadIPA
Good luck with the all-grain!!! It's not as hard as you think, you'll be fine.
And if you do manage to screw it up, then use it as a learning experience. Take a lot of notes so you know what to fix next time.
Things that my brew partner and I messed up on and how we fixed it:
Our initial mash temp was way off because we had no clue on how much temp we were going to lose from heating the strike water to when we closed the lid on our mash tun. Experience taught us that if we pre-heated the tun, then we lost about 15 degrees in the process. If we didn't pre-heat the tun, then we lost about 17 degrees in the process. It was also very helpful to have about 4 quarts of boiling water / 4 quarts of cold water ready in case our mash temps were off.
Our mash tun was too small for the strike water and grains that we were using. We didn't do the calculations right. We fixed this by getting a bigger mash tun, but we could have fixed it by making sure the numbers were right OR by reducing the water-to-grains ratio to a more manageable number.
Our bigger mash tun had a lot of dead air (headspace) on certain batches, and that seemed to severely affect the stability of the mash temp, so we put some aluminum foil over the mash and that helped us out a lot. And a sleeping bag over the mash tun probably didn't hurt either, but we used that from the get-go.