During the holidays there is an influx of new Mr. Beer brewers, which is great. In January, many rush to make their first brew, and many follow - or not - Mr. Beer's instructions. Most never find this forum. You did.
Fact - the drop out rate, i.e. the number of people that brew a batch and quit, is quite high.
Why? Top reasons:
1) Not following directions - Like anything else you do, if you deviate from the instructions you'll get a different result, sometimes a bad tasting result.
2) Going all mad scientist - "What if I add an ear of corn and an allen wrench"? Answer - crappy beer with a corn and metallic taste. Advice - Make the basic recipe before you make it with alterations. When you do alterations, start with simple ones that you can compare, side by side, with the base refill. Like adding malt extract (LME/DME). Or fruit. Or make some of the Mr. Beer recipes listed on their site.
3) Impatience, tasting before it's ready - Mr. beer recommends less time than those of us that have brewed many batches. 3 - 4 is the general rule of thumb for a reason. It works. 3 weeks fermenting and at least 4 weeks in the bottle (at room temp) generally makes much better beer than a week in the fermenter and/or 2 weeks in the bottle. Fact - green beer tastes like crap. As the Rolling Stones sing, "Time is on my side, yes it is". If you want a hobby where everything is perfect quickly, find another one.
4) Unwillingness to learn from others - The forum has thousands of posts, and it can be quite overwhelming. Some don't attempt it. The best advice I can give is spend HOURS reading the forum. Read the stickies at the top, like these two, which answer many of the questions new brewers ask:
The best advice? SLOW DOWN. READ. FOLLOW DIRECTIONS. If you do, you'll likely be using this forum in July. If not, you'll leave before April and never return.
If the search function doesn't work well for you, then try this (it works on every site in the world):
Site:SITE NAME GOES HERE (space) SEARCH TERMS GO HERE
Example: site:community.mrbeer.com/community/discussion-forums what temp should I ferment at?
This example yields 1,840 results on the Mr. Beer forum. Go ahead, try it.
Also, remember that the internet is a vast repository of knowledge. Google your question. Read the possible answers. When 1/2 dozen say the same thing, it's probably right. And, when everyone says that doing something is a bad idea, when you do it don't be surprised.
Last piece of advice is regarding use of the forum. If you've never used a forum before, there are some basic guidelines:
Read the forum rules and guidelines before posting for the first time.
Don't post new problems on someone else's thread and interrupt a topic of discussion. Start your own thread.
Search the forum to see if your topic is already covered.
Use a meaningful title for your thread.
Wait a reasonable time for an answer. We're all customers like you, no one is paid to respond. "Bumping" your thread or posting numerous times all over the forum is not proper forum use.
Take the time to use proper spelling and punctuation so you don't have long run on sentences that are hard for people to understand what you are asking and respond to when they read them - like this one...
Don't ask your questions in private messages. Forums are for info sharing.
Hope this helps someone. All of us were "noobs" once, my first brew was started in July 2012. After brewing 33 LBK-sized batches, I have a tremendous amount to still learn. And, so do you.