I used my first AHS mini-mash kit over the weekend and, while I followed their directions rather closely, I ended up with a slightly lower SG than I had anticipated. I'm planning on doing another one next weekend, and was hoping someone could give me some input on a couple changes I am planning on trying.
1.) Skip using grain bag. I have a couple additional stainless steel pots (8quarts) that I want to use to mash the grains (and heat up sparge water). If I do this, should I just put the grains and water (using ~1.5q per pound of grain) in a pot and bring them up to the appropriate temperature, or heat the water up and then pour the grains in?
2.) Sparge with 170F water. In their instructions, they do not mention doing this at all. My plan is to first drain the grains into my brew kettle, and then pour the sparge water over the top of them into the brew kettle as well.
3.) Full-boil instead of the partial boil they use. I've been doing full boil extracts since I started, and I tried the same method on my first attempt. Basically, I'm hoping to have the water already heating when I drain the mash and sparge into the same kettle, shooting for ~5.5 gallons total. I'll also do a late extract addition (1lb at 60 mins, the rest at 10 mins).
Does this sound like a good plan? Thanks for any advice; I'm sure my first attempt (their lemongrass wheat recipe) will turn out fine, I'm just looking for ways to further increase my utilization and efficiency.