Early this morning I brewed a Chocolate Oatmeal Stout. This is the first 12 Gallon batch on 'my' system. I possess a 14.5 gallon conical fermenter, so why not fill it! Since it was a first big batch, it was not without problems and lots of learning. I learned a valuable lesson about combing 24.75lbs of grain along with 8 gallons of water into a 10 gallon mash tun, it worked but just barely. Surprisingly, I achieved 86% efficiency, as compared to my usual 74%. This is fantastic, except the beer is now not within style, oh well. I also learned that multi batch sparging (more than my usual 5 gallon 1 batch sparge - due to the mush tun volume), when you only have 1 burner, means having to lift a very heavy brew kettle onto the burner, something I thought I was finished with after I began using a pump about 6 months ago. Lastly, I discovered something I have been a victim of before, and I thought I had learned my lesson, temperature control.
3 years ago, when I really got into brewing beer, I used two separate digital thermometers. One was a Taylor brand from Walmart, and the other an Oneida brand. I had problems early on with my beer coming out very thin and without body. It turns out the Taylor was completely off at almost any temperature, while the Oneida was off at higher temperatures and the probe had gotten wet. The probes are not designed to have the cable submurged, because the cable/probe junction is not watertight. I had been scratching my head trying to figure out the what why how until I purchased the Cole-Parmer Workhorse Thermocouple.