Thanks so much for the feedback- I do have a quick question. The equipment kit came with small packets of CBrite cleanser (which I'm assuming is for cleanup). I'd like to start the sanitizing process today...is there a product you'd recommend for the stainless steel brew kettle and plastic fermenters?
no need to sanitize your kettle. plastic fermenters get star san or idophore or similar. don't sanitize too far in advance of brew day because it doesn't stay sanitary for long.
I'm not familiar with CBrite but if you look at the package instructions it should be fairly clear. you will need that after the brew day to clean up your kettle and after the batch is fermented to clean out your fermenters. It's like oxiclean so you mix it with hot water and soak/scrub. Be gentle with plastic because it scratches and becomes difficult to sanitize in the future.
all that being said, I am of the somewhat heretical opinion that, short of blatant disregard for common sense, sanitation is less important than temperature control. Figure that part out now.
Sanitation is easy, clean everything so it LOOKS clean, hit with a good cleanser CBRite, PBW, oxi-clean, whatever. and a good sanitizer and your done. but even without these steps, you can make great beer. it just might not stay great for long.
Without good temp control it's hard to make great beer. So look at your home environment. Where will you be keeping this beer while it ferments? It wants to be dark and the temp wants to be steady. If the temp is steady in the low-mid 60's then you are golden. if it's in the 70's you can still be okay with a big tub of water and some ice or even a simple swamp cooler (little tray of water with a cotton towel or shirt that covers the fermenter and sits in the water).
If, like me you live somewhere with stupid hot summers and no AC, and have ambient temps that swing wildly from the low 100's to the mid 50s day to night, you use a fridge with a temp controller or you ferment saisons exclusively.