Today I had the day off from the dryer vents, and I decided to pursue my passion and brew that otameal stout that's been waiting for me for a month or two now.
I had some initial mash temperature problems, but got them adjusted just as I ran out of space for more water. I did some sort of decoction (kind of) a few times and added some cool water a few times. But in the end I hit 150°F and let it sit for around an hour. I skipped mash out (I didn't have any room to add more water). I sparged as slowly as I could. I had the valve just barely open, and let it take a long time. Instead of continuously adding water to the top, I added it a gallon at a time. I'd let it go from 20 quarts to 16 quarts (still being above the 11.5 lbs grain bed) then gently add in a gallon from the hot liquor tank.
This all worked out great. I got just as much as I could out of it - I'm expecting a good five gallons. I also got slightly better than expected efficiency. I expected 67% eff. to give me OG of 1.055. I got OG of 1.058, which is a 70% efficiency. I am happy for now. I have also been having good FG luck lately, so I am really optimistic about it!
I will update in a few weeks when I check it out to see if it is done yet. I will skip secondary and bottle it ASAP.