I understand regarding the ph meter....I was almost going to return it after reading all the instructions etc. but I found a you tube video from the company explaining it all and so I decided to give it a try. I was done with the mash by the time I tested the sample.
For efficiency.... I brewed the Dead Ringer IPA kit, target OG was 1.064, I got 1.060 on the refractometer and I think I started with about 7 gal in the boil kettle. Oh wait.... I took the reading after the boil..... So I can't really calculate, no wonder it was showing 90+%....... I will have to remember to take two readings next time, pre and post boil.
I have to make a little cheat sheet to reference during the brew frenzy so I don't forget these things.
The first brewing got a little crazy, I had my foot operated on a few weeks ago ( big toe cartilage implant) so I had just gotten the stitches out, trying to get moving on it. Still painful when flexing it, so I am pouring my heated sparge water into the cooler on my deck, my foot experiences a searing pain .....thinking I am just stressing it too much, I look down and the ball valve on the sparge cooler is open and shooting a thin stream of hot water onto and into my shoe.... So I had surgery on one side and a second degree burn on the other side of the same foot. I spent the rest of the day limping around my brew deck like Igor. Won't make that mistake again anytime soon.