Managed to get my hands on some Bog Myrtle ( Myrica Gale ) the other day and have decided to try a gruit beer.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myrica_gale#Cautions please read the cautions on this page.
The story is well documented for those who wish to read about it, the short version being that before hops were wildly popular ales and beers were bittered using a herb mix known as gruit, with the church of one form or another collecting a tax on it.
As usual the tax on gruit continually went up leaving brewers looking for a substitute and finding hops. Hops while still taxed could be grown by anyone so were more easily available.
Its been estimated that by changing over to hops that brewers could achieve 40% better effiecency from their brew days, this was due to the hops having a preservative effect, meaning the alcohol percentage could be brought right down. ( For the Love of Hops, Stan Hieronymus pg 55 )
So anyway to the brew day, I was making a Rye beer and before adding any hops to the boil, removed 5L of wort to a separate pot. Once this was boiling, I placed 12g of bog myrtle into a hop sock ( they keep the boil cleaned and allow you to remove the waste without staining the wort )
and boiled for 35 minutes.
Once cooled I placed another 12g into a hop sock covered it with boiling water and allow that to cool before adding the wort.
It is now fermenting using US - 05 as this is one of the cleanest fermenting yeasts I have found.