Brewed up my first batch Saturday night. It is the Honey Nut Brown Ale from Midwest Supplies. The process seemed to go reasonably well with a few minor errors to learn from. My first mistake was steeping the grains in the full boil volume (around 6 gal). For some reason I had a brain fart and forgot to steep in a smaller volume. I'm hoping to just condition a few weeks longer to hopefully smooth it out. The boil went well, only 1 minor boil-over, but I boiled out side, so no worries about the small mess. After the boil, I cooled by putting the pot in a snow bank (that and the 0*F weather in MN) which cooled to 75*f in about 30 min. My OG was right on par with the reccomendations at 1.054 (the receipe calls for 1.052-1.056). I transfered the batch to my plastic 6.5gal bucket for fermentation. Before pitching, I violently shook the bucket for about 10 minutes, hopefully aerating enough. I used Wyeast 1098 Activator. It was late when I started fermantation, about 11 or so. When I checked the airlock the next morning, it was bubbling about twice per second, so thats a good sign.
Overall, I'm pretty excited to get back into this great hobby. I used to help some buddies back in college, but never by myself. I'm hoping for a good first batch, hopefully I didn't wreck it with the steeping, but I'll remain optimistic. I tasted the sample that I measured the OG from, it tasted decent, flat ans sweet, with a very minor tea taste (probably from the steeping).
I just wanted to share my story and to say thanks to the HBT community for sharing so much information with each other.