I'll be brewing my first gruit ale experiment this week. I am looking for any useful info and especially advice from people who have tried this before. My current plan is to try introducing alcohol extracts I made with 100prook vodka of sweet gale, marsh rosemary, yarrow, heather... into a small beer ill be producing from the sparge runnings of a belgian strong ale mash. The reasons for this first experiment are as follows: I don't want to ruin a great brew by overdoing it with an herb I haven't brewed with before; I believe the weak malt profile of the small beer will not overwhelm the character of the various herbs when combined; I do not know the relative volatility of each herb and do not want to waste any, so a relatively efficient alcohol extraction seems like a good idea, and can be measured out in several different specific quantities to be mixed with the beer in the bottles.
So, thoughts, advice? Tried this and hate it? What works well, stick to light malts, or get dark and full-bodied? Try a little hops, or forsake them altogether? I'll be working on this for a while, trying to hammer out an effective and well-balanced recipe, and consulting a few books, forums, etc., but I'll post the final recipe when completed. Thanks, and cheers!