I've been reading posts for many days. Still feel like a nOOb, and don't want to piss anyone off .. but can't find quick answers to obvious questions about best ways to brew the Black Cat Ale recipe to achieve optimum results. I'm another of the crowd that received the Mr. Beer Kit for Christmas, and jumped right in with both feet cooking the WCPA following the directions in the MRB 'comic book' ... (after one week if it has stopped bubbling and tastes like beer, bottle it, then after one week in the bottle it's ready) ... uh, no it wasn't. So after that two week debacle I searched out and found this forum. Wish I had found it before, and ditched the comic book for the WCPA. I would have altered the recipe with at least an added 1 lb bag of Breiss DME, and for my taste, possibly dry-hopped a little and used corn sugar for priming the bottles. Now I've got the ingredients for the Black Cat Ale on the way, and will commence cooking when I feel confident. What say you all to adding any DME to the wort? is it necessary? What if I use all the hops and not just 2/3? What if I substitute molasses or sorghum for the 'called for' cup of honey? I plan on letting this sit in the LBK for at least two weeks, and possibly even getting a hydrometer before i cook so I can get an OG and a FG. And then, I could also go for the 3 week ferment, 3 week (at least) bottle ... before even thinking about tasting. As for the WCPA from the initial kit, the remaining bottles have yet to be touched and they are coming up on 3 weeks in the bottle. Can I expect them to be any better than a Leaping Leprechaun Ale from Weston Brewing Company in Weston MO? (not to be a troll, but don't buy that beer.) I'm thinking seriously about moving on to bigger things within a few days, we have two very well stocked home brew outlets here. I'm sure a five-gallon batch is in my very near future .. of course it will be an all-extract most likely "non-boil" ... my taste swings toward a balanced malty-hoppy-cinamonny ale and I've talked to store reps about their HME's in stock and I'm convinced I can do it. What I'm looking for from here is help to assure my Black Cat Ale is the best it can be. Thank you all, you've been a great help so far without even knowing.