I just bottled my fourth batch yesterday, a jalapeņo cream ale and the first using a swamp cooler.
The difference in the quality of the beer is striking! Compared to this batch, which was dry and crisp and clean, my others, while perfectly drinkable, were hot messes of banana and pear esters.
To all you other noob's out there trying to improve your process, trust the veterans when they say temp control is huge. Best return on $5 I've ever spent.
Bottled: Stratford Ale (English Bitter), FestivAle (Holiday Ale), Dunkelweisen, Katherina (Jalapeno) Cream Ale
Primary: Little Jack Red (Irish Red)
On Deck: Black IPA, 60 Schilling