Originally Posted by shortyjacobs
The key in my mind is consistency.
I agree that consistency and learning your own rig is key. My own strategy is to trust BeerSmith temperature calculations even above my thermometer once the mash has been mixed.
My first couple batches once I mixed I was never happy I'd get a hot spot reading to high and a clump too low and be opening the lid multiple times to add hot or cold water and trying to get the right temperature and reading. Now I:
1. Use BeerSmith enter my recipe, mash volume and goal mash temperature and allow it to calculate the temperature of my mash water.
2. Dump my water into my tun about 5 degrees above that to preheat the cooler.
3. Once my temperature is at the number BeerSmith gave me add my grains and mix really well to get all the grains wet.
4. Close the lid and leave it alone.
With a calibrated thermometer I figure the calculation BeerSmith gives me must be correct in that amount a of water @ b degrees + amount c of grain @ d degrees = mash temperature and in the past I found the more fiddling I did the harder I made it on myself to hit the temperature correctly.