Good Value but far From Perfect
First off, this kit really is a great value. You'd be hard pressed to throw together half of the useful items in this kit for less than $99. Also, I didn't find the instructions to be particularly vague or misleading, and I really had no trouble with any of the steps in the process from brew day to opening the finished beer. The kit really does include everything you need (emphasis on NEED) to brew a batch of drinkable beer.That said, the kit has some notable drawbacks and flaws. The thing that immediately struck me is that the kit doesn't include enough sanitizer for the entire process. In fact, the little packet of sanitizer included with the kit only makes about two gallons of effective solution, while it would have been nice to have had five gallons on hand for brew day. Furthermore, the sanitizer is a simple percarbonate cleanser (like OxiClean), it would have been nice if NB included a more effective chemical like Star San or Iodophor.While most of the items in the kit are good quality and will be useful in the future, the bottle filler that comes with the kit is an absolute piece of garbage. Why NB includes that leaky piece of junk instead of the spring loaded model (which only costs about $3) is beyond me. In addition to the bad bottle filler, the kit is also missing a few items which, while not essential to brewing, are extremely helpful. The most notable missing item is a thermometer, as the instructions tell you to keep your steeping grains within a certain temperature range; luckily, I already had a probe thermometer on hand. A hydrometer, while not strictly necessary, would also have been a useful addition to the kit. The kit also doesn't include any bottles, which, while understandable for shipping reasons, is a also a ding on the product.Last and definitely least is the beer itself. Let's just say that now I totally understand why you won't find the Block Party Amber Ale for sale as a standalone kit on this site. The kit produces a beer which is drinkable, and that's about the nicest thing I can say about it. It would be nice if NB introduced an option to purchase one of their better kits for $10 or $20 more, as currently, the only way to get one of NB's retail kits is to either purchase one separately or to purchase the deluxe starter kit, which costs nearly TWICE as much as this one.All in all, I'd recommend the kit if, like me, you're running into this homebrewing thing without really having any idea what you're doing. However, I'd also suggest spending another $50 or $60 for a probe thermometer, bottle of sanitizer, bottle filler, and one of NB's better extract beer kits.