Okay, just ordered How to Brew. Thanks for the recommendation, all.
In the meantime, still trying to figure out where we've got astray.
It sounds likely that the well water is the problem. Our water is very good for drinking, but I suspect high in minerals. That might well be the culprit. Too bad, I was hoping it might be something fixable (like temp, which perhaps we could up in the hopes of reactivating the yeast).
If water was the problem, there's no fix, is there?
About the kits: I don't believe they're extract kits (since I don't know what that is, I'm assuming that's not what they are). The ingredients are all dry, except the yeast, which is a liquid pack.
Any other thoughts on possible fixes, or should I just throw out these two batches and try a third using distilled water? I hate to do that, since it's about $70 of ingredients down the drain -- but that may just be the way it is.