After 6 extract batches I convinced myself there was no use tooling around when I could still be learning and getting better. So I built FlyGuy's round cooler MLT and immersion chiller, bought a Bayou Classic on craigslist, and got started. Naturally my first recipe was EdWort's Haus Pale.
Overall everything went nicely. Here were a few worrysome key points:
I mashed at 151, I don't think this was an issue. I was shooting for 152 but I guess I just didn't make it there. Following EdWort's instructions I sparged with 3.25 gal of 175 water. It took me a minute to get my steel braid to start flowing properly but when it did I had about 6-6.5 gallons of wort.
The boil went nicely, had a small boil over in my 30-qt pot but no damage done because I was outside. My immersion chiller worked beautifully, I can't believe I ever lived without it!
But here is my #1 concern- I slipped a little on the wood floor when I was walking over to rehydrate my Nottingham, about 1/3 of the yeast spilled on the floor. I know Notty is a strong yeast and there is probably more in one package than you actually neer per 5 gallon batch, but with only 2/3 of the Nottingham in my primary I'm concerned I won't be able to ferment as dry as I'd like... something like 1.008.
Should I consider pitching some more? Or wait and see what some hydrometer readings are like in the next few days? In the end my SG was 1.040, wah wah wah. I guess that means my efficency wasn't so great, but it's my first AG so I won't let it bother me.