Well, I came in low... 70% efficiency instead of a planned 80%. I don't think that's too bad. I let the mash go for 90 minutes, and then fly sparged. This was my first herms, first 20 gallon on a brand new system, and the first batch in my new conical. There were several catastrophes:
First, the ToP and the mash tun thermometer didn't agree by almost 15 degrees. I tried my thermometer in the boil and it was spot on 212. It is, however, only a 2" thermowell in a 21" diameter mash tun.
Second, my kettle screen got smashed by my chiller, and clogged up with the 30 oz of hops I put in there... Yeah... I know. Should have see. That one coming a mile away. Wound up siphoning through a strainer.
Third, as I had been at assembling my stand, cleaning, sanitizing, blah blah blah all day, at 10:30 I called it quits at trying to cool the wort and I pitched at 79 degrees (gasp).
It seems to me that my problems can all be solved. Blichmann hopblocker, prechilling. The one thing that's getting away from me is this stupid ToP. Maybe a March pump isn't enough for 20 gallons? Maybe I need to insulate? Maybe the ToP needs to be hooked up differently. Any input would be appreciated.
Sorry for the long post. I'm tired, tipsy, and presumably just made 20 gallons of beer. Cheers!