+1 on Denny's method. Just did my 7th AG batch sparge his way. Getting consistently 75% efficiency which I'm happy with. This is my algorithm:
--From recipe, calculate estimated amt of strike and sparge water to
get as close to 50/50 1st/2nd runnings ratio (without mashout or
infusion) taking into account grain absorption (0.1gal/lb) and
mashtun dead space (approx 0.25gal) for my system.
--Crush all grains in barley crusher-- hell yeah, do it.
--Take grain temperature and using recipe info, calculate strike water
temperature to get correct mash temp. I add 8 deg for transfer loss from kettle to MT
--Heat strike water and at same time warm up mashtun with hot
--Add strike water to empty mashtun, then add crushed grain in
several stages while stirring well to break up doughballs.
When recipe mash temp is established, close lid and mash for
--While mashing, heat sparge water (minimally more than calculated)
--At end of 60min mash, Vorlauf slowly with valve barely open to set
grain bed. Add back to mashtun gently. Vorlauf until there is no
particulate matter then drain mashtun into bucket as fast as
possible = 1st runnings.
--Use paddle (I burned volumes into my mash paddle) to measure volume in bucket, then subtract this from desired preboil volume. This is the sparge volume. Adjust sparge volume in kettle, then add to mashtun and stir well.
--Vorlauf as above, then drain into bucket as fast as possible=2nd
--Measure total preboil volume with paddle and preboil gravity.
Calculate OG (and later efficiency). Can adjust gravity up or down
at this point.
--Transfer sweet wort to brew kettle and start the boil. Hell yeah, do it.
Hope this helps