Here's a shot of me recirculating some wort. It ran off quite clear after vorlaufing about 5 liters or so.
I concluded that I achieved an extract efficiency of about 67%. It isn't exactly what I'd wanted, but I think that I can improve it by sparging more. As things are, I usually end up on the low side for volume in the fermeter. This would seem to indicate that I should probably continue to collect wort. I recently invested in some high tech pH measuring equipment (okay, it's actually just litmus paper), so I can periodically check the pH of the runoff to ensure that I don't take it down too low.
Speaking of extract efficiency, you may be wondering how I calculated this number. It just so happens that I'll be explaning what extract efficiency is, how to calculate it, and how to put it into a spreadsheet tomorrow for Technical Tuesday.
Finally, I got some awesome birthday gifts from the lovely Vivian as well! Not only did she bring back some very delicious and very interesting beers from her recent trip to Scotland, she gave me a shirt from Valhalla Brewery, a copy of The Homebrewer's Garden (now I can now when to harvest all those Centennial hops growing in my backyard!), and a copy of Sacred Herbal and Healing Beers: The Secrets of Ancient Fermentation. I started reading the latter last night and am enjoying it already. Needless to say, I always appreciate it when I have more to read, especially about beer! Thanks Viv!