My first all grain brew day. (I still made beer, but what a day...)
I got a late start (in the afternoon) because of a family commitment. This made me feel rushed up front, which is important when realizing that I had never brewed an all-grain process before, and hadn't even done a grain-free dry run of the whole process to make sure I knew what I was doing. So here's the day...
I get home, and I put some water on the burner to pre-heat the MashTun (I knew I wanted to do that, recipes said to get it about 10° higher than my mash temp). This is a 20 gallon mash tun, but since it was my first all-grain foray, I was only making a 5 gallon batch. Well, I pre-heated the MashTun, but my grains had been resting all night and day in a lovely 62° room in my basement. Added the grains and the strike water and poof, I'm starting out with a mash temperature 5° below my planned temp, and falling (since I had only about 3.5 gallons of liquid in the 20+ gallon tank). I scramble, trying to figure out what to do, and start heating some more water. I keep adding water that's in the 160°+/- range and all I manage to do is maintain my mash temp at about 143° (now 9 degrees below my planned mash temp and 8 gallons in the tun). So what do I do? I mash in for 3 hours instead of 1. I finally pull wort off the grain bed and end up with my pre-boil 7.5 gallons of wort (after a haphazard fly sparge).
So it's not my first rodeo, but I'm so out of sorts after the mash-in mess, that I freak out when, 30 minutes into my boil, the thermometer built into my (new, 20 gallon) brew kettle is now above the level of the wort and I can't get a boil temperature. Before you say "you don't need a boil temperature, it's boiling which is somewhere around 200-212° or more" I know that, but as frazzled as I was, I start to freak out that I don't know my boil temperature. A friend firmly reminds me that boiling point is a standard temperature (duh) and basically smacks me down to reality. This is also the moment I realize I didn't do a yeast starter (or even warm my liquid yeast packet by taking it out of the refrigerator) so I rush to try and wake up yeast, with only about 30 minutes until pitching time. I try to mix up a starter quickly and get it on with my stir plate, instead getting DME all over my workspace (that's fun to clean up!).
Finally, 6+ hours into a 4-hour all-grain brew day I have chilled wort going into fermentation, and I forget to take an OG reading (heck, I haven't taken a gravity reading at all this day, why start now!). I realize this but with the wort all pitched with yeast, I no longer have a clean source to get OG (or an easy, sanitary way to draw wort and test at this point since I'm using a 6 gallon carboy with just about 5.5 gallons of wort in there. Oh well, no idea what the ABV/Gravity will be when done, I put it off to ferment for two weeks since I can't even guess to gravity readings.
Rush forward now, about 4-6 weeks later, and I finally crack open a bottle of this (supposed to be American Pale Ale) beer aptly named "Disaster Pale Ale" - it's really DRY, almost pucker-worthy, and a really muddy gray-brown color for an APA, but sure enough, it's drinkable (but not in high volumes) and beer, nonetheless.