I would soak everything for a day or two. Also scrubbing your fermenter with harsh utensils can cause scaring on the inside, leaving cracks for organisms to grow and breed.
Helpful hint would be to soak everything while your wort is boiling. Fill the fermenter all the way to the top. Drop all...
pull the airlock and take a wiff, bet it smells like fermented wort. If so put it back on and wait a couple weeks and then bottle. A hydrometer reading would confirm it, but your nose is a good tool too.
Congrats on your first brew! A thought the secondary, if you have the option, cold crash it. It will clear it up a lot. Let it sit in 34° for week or so.
looks like you did your research and are well on your way to a rehab center! (most homebrewers are addicted whether they admit it or not! )
I buy a 1 pound bag of light DME and use 4Oz of that to make my starters. Don't know about simple sugars and all that. Let you guys argue over it.
It smells and tastes like beer when I dump it in and that's good enough for me.
Hope you find the answers your looking for.
Pitching at a higher temp is not a big deal, I pitch at 75° for ales on a regular basis. Gives them a good start. But, it goes directly into the ferm chamber to get cooled down to the target temp. Like yooper said higher temps can cause off flavors and other things you do not want.
this is hilarious! Let me get this strait, your out processing some crime at a house or whatever, body parts, shell casings, fingerprints and various what nots. And you see a carboy and think "can I use this for beer? "