I brewed a dark strong about 3 weeks ago and used similar methods to what has been discussed. I used WLP500 and made a starter that I stepped up a couple times. It was probably about 1 liter when I pitched it. I used 1.5 lbs of dark candi syrup (from AHS) that I added at the start of the 90 minute boil. I cooled the wort to about 70-ish and areated with my aquarium pump for about 30 minutes or so, then shook the hell out of the carboy, and repeated. I pitched the starter and attached the blow off tube. I covered the carboy with a towel and let it sit in my living room to free rise. I checked gravity last weekend and it was at 1.016 and tasted great. I was actually a little worried becasue there was never more than an inch of krauzen, no where near needing a blow off tube, but it worked. I'm gonna let it drop a little more (hoping for 1.014), then rack to secondary for a couple months. Then its into bottles until next Nov/Dec.