Follow up to my original post:
First, thanks to everyone here helping me make my first batch of (Irish Red Ale) beer!
Since my original post, my 1 gallon of red ale sat for 2.5 weeks in the fermenter (around 70 degrees), then I bottled and let it sit for another 2-3 weeks before storing it in the fridge.
I drank the first bottle after about 12 hours in the fridge. It tasted 'ok' but had a slight bite to it and highly carbonated like a cola drink. After 2-3 days in the fridge, I drank the second beer and the carbonation was acceptable and the taste had mellowed out. I used the Fizz Drops that came with the kit, I'm not sure if that had a part in the carbonation.
Overall, I'm happy with the batch and have learned quite a bit!
I've already started my second batch, this time it's 2 gallons of Dry Irish Stout in a 3 gallon carboy (with blow off tube!). After learning that temperature is key, I went with a swamp cooler and have successfully kept the temps between 60-65 degrees for a week now.
Which brings up a question: Is it better to keep the carboy around 60-65 degrees for the duration of being in the fermenter (2-3 weeks), or is it just critical for the first few days; After which, sitting at 70 degrees would suffice?
On deck, is 2 gallons of the White House Honey Ale, brew day to come...
Thanks for everything!