It sounds like several of you have just started your own first batch. Mazel tov! I hope that my last thread had something to do with it.
In lieu of a recipe thread, here is the one bit of advice that most improved my beers since I started with my current mixed grain/extract strategy. Instead of adding hops in two big doses, try adding it as close to constantly through the boil as you can manage. I normally split my hops pellets into 8-10 wells of an ice cube tray and toss each well into the pot at ten minute increments. Throughout a long boil hops gradually loses its flavor and leaves bitterness, so adding hops in many stages leaves you with a complex mix of hops that have boiled for various lengths of time.
As far as I have read Sam Caligione figured this out first when he created his iconic 60 minute IPA, which is named after the 60 minutes that fresh ground hops flowers shake onto the boil in a home-made sifter. Caligione’s “continuous hopping” is what gives his 60, 90 and celestial 120 minute IPAs their unique depth.
Are you brewing anything right now? Enjoying anything for the weekend? I’m off to wine and cheese country in an hour, so for now all you beer lovers are on your own.