I picked up all the ingredients at Vegas Home Brew (www.vegashomebrew.com) and got a hydrometer so I could check the gravity, having learned the need for that from the book. Besides the 3 gallon brew kettle, that was my first additon to the original kit. I had been scrounging stuff from the kitchen - a measuring cup, a scale, funnel, spoon, strainer, pots for heating water, lautering and starting yeast, a pair of hemostats that I used to use for clamping soldering projects, now used for clamping the siphon hose (the clamp that came with the kit was worthless), and a cup for catching the kreusen when it blew out the hose.
Everything seemed to go fine. Of course I had not done any calculations on the expected gravity or IBUs, since I hadn't gotten that far in my studies. Miller didn't cover those little technicalities, and I'm not so sure I was ready for them anyway.
The first gallon came out very bitter and low in ABV - 3.9%. I eventually managed to finish all 10 bottles, but surely didn't share it with anyone. So I tried again and increased the crystal malt to .4 ounces. This time the ABV only made it to 1.3% and tasted so nasty that I managed to down two bottles and dumped the rest. This after babying it through reracking into a secondary, adding isinglass finings to get more stuff to settle out, carefully racking into bottles and controlling the temperature.
Seriously, I needed to do some more studying, so I got the Kindle version of "The Complete Joy of Home Brewing" by Charles Papazian. I also needed a more forgiving recipe.