So I brewed this recipe last Thursday and everything went great. I mashed a little higher than the recipe recommended (start: 155F, finish: 154F), so I would make sure to have a good mouth feel. Many of my beers have been lacking in that dept.
I made a 2L starter with the Wyeast 1084 (Irish ale) 2 days before brew day, and decanted off half the liquid and pitched the yeast when the wort had cooled to 69F. Luckily, I went and bought a length of tubing for a blow off tube just in case, because by the next morning the fermentation was going crazy and had backwashed quite a bit of trub and wort into the jar at the end of the blow off tube. So I would definitely recommend a blow off tube with this recipe. I should have put the fermentor in a water bath, because by the next morning the temp was up at about 71F. So I put the bucket in a container of water and put some ice packs in there. It has been steady at 162F for the last few days and still bubbling away.
My OG came out a little high at 1.062 and I didn't boil off as much as I had planned so my volume in the fermentor was about 5.5gal, not the 5gal I had anticipated. Oh well, just means more of this delicious brew in the end. My efficiency is usually around 65%, so I had planned for that, but ended up being around 72% per BeerSmith's calculations.
The wort was black as night and tasted great going into the fermentor. Maybe a little more bitter than I would have guessed, but still great. Can't wait for this one to finish, so I can keg it and have it available for family on Thanksgiving.
Some pics from brew day: