How to use advanced search
The vBulletin "Advanced Search" is most helpful to users who have a little bit of familiarity with both the subject matter and the community. Besides keyword search, the Advanced Search feature allows users to specify userids, subforums, adnd some date ranges.
Using more constraints limits the number of hits returned. Using this tool can reduce the number of hits to a manageable total in some instances.
Thus the more you already know, the quicker you can find a little more. If you are looking for specific information without a specific thread in mind the most powerful tool on the advanced search page is knowing the userid of someone who definitely knows the answer you seek.
For instance, typing "mash out" in the basic search window here will return 500 hits (vB max) with the oldest thread returned perhaps three weeks old. Moving to "mash out temperature" as key words still returns 500 hits, but now the oldest thread is seven months old.
Now knowledge and experience of the community begin to pay off.
Was there a thread you vaguely remember from "summer time" that you are looking for now? By using the threads "three months ago" and "older than" along with "mash out temperature", we still have 500 hits to wade through, but we are no longer looking at threads from the last three months.
Now think about "search forums" briefly. Also consider the mods here are pretty good about moving threads to the sub-forum in which the thread fits best. If you are wanting to know the mash out temperature of a brew you received in a brew swap this summer, you might want to search in the community sections only. If you can't find a recipe, you might try limiting your search to the recipe section only. Selecting the "home brewing beer forums" still returns 500 hits, but now they reach back 15 months. Conceivably you might surf page by page looking for threads started in the summer time.
Alternatively, you might remember who said what it is you are trying to find, or you might be able to think of a couple users who would definitely know the answer you seek. Popping in "userC", with "mash out temperature" as key words, more than three months ago only, and the "home brewing beer" section only, you are now down to 20 threads in your search results. Note that all of these threads contain responses by someone who knows what they are doing.