Keep it Simple, Keep it Clean
Kits normally come with a beginner’s recipe. Use it. Don’t worry about adding additional ingredients to make your beer more exotic. If you don’t know what your doing there is a chance of ruining the batch. Learn a good form and routine first.
Unfortunately the best conditions for yeast to grow and ferment the wort are also the best conditions for bacteria to grow. Clean and sanitize everything the wort will come in contact with including thermometers, buckets, tubing…EVERYTHING. Also remember to clean what the final product will be stored in. Acid-based sanitizers and iodine-based sanitizer are recommended.
Chill Fast After Boil
There are various methods to chill your wort. For beginners a simple ice bath will do. Bacteria can infect your wort at temperatures above 80 degrees so you need to drop the temperature quickly. This will also reduce the haziness in the finished beer by causing proteins to coagulate and drop out.
Aerate the Wort
Boiling causes the wort to loose oxygen, which is important for proper yeast production. If the yeast doesn’t get the oxygen back it can lead to strange flavors. A good simple method to aerate the wort is shake it after it is placed in a sealed sanitized carboy or bucket. Place the container on the ground and rock it back and forth until it is frothy.
Pitching the Yeast and Controlling Temperature
Healthy yeast is crucial to a good brew. Pitching rate calculators can help determine the amount of yeast you need in your batch. Liquid yeast is a good way to achieve the appropriate amount, but is expensive. Other options include creating a yeast starter or using dry yeast. All three methods have their pros and cons so it is a good idea to research and figure out which method is best for you.
After pitching you’ll need to control the fermentation temperature. This is what helps the yeast turn the sugar in to alcohol. Each strain of yeast will vary slightly in the fermentation temperature so it is a good idea to check with the manufacturer for the proper temperature.
Take notes throughout the home brew process. They can come in handy next time and may give insight on how to improve your next batch.