Last Saturday (9-11) I brewed my first bath of beer, an extract APA with a recipe I came up with on my own (We will see how that works out).
I have taken pictures of the process and plan to post those soon, but so far everything has gone well, aside from the first time blunders you can read about but never truly prepare for until they happen.
Some things I have learned:
1) Yes, StarSan does foam! DO NOT shake this stuff in your carboy, unless you want it totally filled with bubbles. I know you can rack on top of those, but they were flowing out of the bottle. Waited on them to go down, then syphoned star san back in and gently swriled and capped until ready to use. Worked much better.
2) Boil overs happen very fast. Plenty of empty room in the 7.5g turkey fryer lost quickly with hop and extract additions. 3 boilovers... 2 put out my burner, make a mess. Figured out that using the turkey fryer lid as a fan prevents boil overs
3) Steeping crystal smells fantastic, and the aroma of fresh hops is awesome.
4) Hop bags help with hop pellets... still gets sludgy.
Aside from the newby blunders, all has gone quite well. My DIY IC worked MUCH better than I expected. It dropped my wort from 200+ to about 75 in 10 minutes. Very happy with those results.
I rehydrated my yeast, and fed it a little boiled DME as suggested by John Palmer.
Placed better bottle in my DIY fermentation cooler (Thanks Yooper!) and at 70 pitched my yeast, then chilled down to 66 degrees. This thing has worked so well that so far I need only add 2 20oz bottles of ice twice a day to keep the temp at 66. Took an OG reading - 1.050, exactly what I was shooting for, and pleasantly suprised since I did all the math myself. (The software engineer side of me has to know how to do these things)
At +7 hours I was getting occasional bubbles in the blow off bucket filled with starsan. The next morning fermentation was going strong. Right now I have 1.5 inches of krausen and still steady bubbling.
Plan to wait 2-3 weeks, then dry hop, wait a week and bottle. I am very excited that things have gone so well at this point. Already trying to plan my second brew... thinking a brown ale or porter.
Hope to have some pics up soon of the process...