The battle is done (for now anyway). It would seem that the decoction is what was needed all along. I finally came close enough to my predicted OG to make me happy. Of course, now I know I need to add at least 2 to 3 hours to my brew day when working with lager malts.
Aside from that, the brew session went pretty good. I did have a minor slip up or two with the decoction, but it was to be expected considering it is still in learning zone. I got some good notes and saw a new dimension of brewing. All in all, I dare say a victory for me.
With that settled (of course more time spent working on it is in order as well) I realize I do need to work on my sparging technique. It would be nice to have a higher efficiency now that I am working on more advanced mashes.
And now, time for a pint…