Well, I now have one home brew under my belt and all was fairly sucessful. I've decided to make exactly the same brew again, but with some improvements so that I can compare any difference easily.
I made a list of things that I think will make the final product better:
1. Use ice to cool the wort (put water I've boiled in a sanitised bottle and then freeze).
2. Get some proper boiling pans. Saucepans just don't cut it!!!
3. Wait for the priming sugar to cool down this time before syphoning on the brew, hopefully this will ensure proper carbonation this time around! Think I killed my yeast last time as carbonation very light after 3 weeks in bottle. I might up the level of priming sugar from 2.5oz to 4-5oz as well.
4. Get a bottling wand.
5. Maybe use a higher ratio of malt extract to sugar/glucose to get a bit more body into the bitter.
Regarding point 5, could anybody recommend any other non-fermentables that may give this biter a better body? I have heard of people adding oatmeal to stout, but not sure if this would work for a bitter...
Also, the kit contains a 'hop and grain' muslin bag, which it instructs me to just add to the boiling malt extract once this has dissolved in the pan. Is this the best method? I have read some advice about steeping grains etc, but I don't really know anything about how to prepare them. Do you think following the instructions exactly is best?
The brew first time around tastes very nice, with my only complaints being the 'thin' beer and low carbonation, which is why I'm happy doing the same brew again and trying to perfect it. Any tips/suggestions will be appreciated.