I am going to do my 2nd AG batch this weekend and was wondering when the best time was to take the 1st Hydrometer reading. With my 1st batch I took one off the 1st sparge runnings and it was higher that it should have been. I did the full sparge and and took another before the boil. It was lower than it should have been.
I just want to get an accurate reading prior to boil in case I need to add DME or thin to hit my target OG.
One other related question. I was shooting for a 6.5 gallon pres boil volume. The last half gallon coming off my sparge was almost as clear as water (I was brewing a pale ale so it was light anyway but it was very clear). I think this lowered my OG. Is it better to shoot for your volume or OG target?