Ok, you need to add either spray malt (crystal malt) or brewing sugar (corn/maize sugar) to the wort when you first make it. Unless you've got a really expensive premium kit which is pure malt.
BanjoMan - finally got round to having a go at my first homebrew kit last night \o/
My girlfriend's brother and I decided to use a branded kit that we picked up last weekend. I know you said it might be a bit complex for a beginner, but my girlfriend's bro has done homebrewing before and we thought we'd have a bash at it.
I've got incredibly low expectations, but it would be great if it turned out okay.
Any advice on adding sugar? I know that white sugar is a no-no, but what effect do other types to sugar actually have? When should we add it - the guidelines say 4-6 days. Also, do you recommend adding sugar to the fermenting bin or to each bottle separately?
You want to leave it to ferment, sealed, with an airlock, for about two weeks. Forget the instructions that say 4-6 days - you want to let the wort clear, and around 10-14 days will give you a more refined end result. Your environment needs to be about 18-21 degrees celsius.
Once you're bottling, you need 3/4 cup of brewing sugar (corn sugar), diluted in a pint of water. Boil that on the stove, then tip it into your tub. Give it a very gentle stir for a minute, being careful not to disturb the sediment on the bottom. Re-cover the tub, leave it for about an hour to settle and integrate, then rack your beer into bottles/barrels.