I'll be brewing a batch of the Brewer's Best English Brown Ale tomorrow. This is my third batch, but my first using one of the Home Depot paint strainer bags for steeping the grains. I've heard the less water (within reason) the better for steeping. Last time I steeped in 1.5 gallons and it was a bit hard to maintain the temp. Would you guys recommend steeping in 2.5 (that's what you're supposed to do according to the recipe for all of the boil, then add another 2.5 post-boil).
Also, do I need to do anything (other than soaking in Star San) to prepare the bag for the steeping process?
Since I was planning on doing a full boil, I think I'll scale back the bittering hops a bit (maybe do 0.75 oz instead of 1 oz of the Brewer's Gold).
Also, I'd like to add most of the extract toward the end of the boil. Since this kit uses both dry and liquid, which one should I put in at the beginning, and which should I hold off on until the end? It calls for 3.3 lbs Amber LME and 2 lbs Amber DME.
How's all this sound? Any other changes you'd recommend for those who have brewed this kit or just have much more knowledge about brewing than me?