Originally Posted by binkman
If I were to try adding to the brew directly, should I boil the additions or dry hop them?
I bumped into the people who started Brooklyn Soda Works ( http://brooklynsodaworks.blogspot.com/
) at a homebrew club meeting. Their root beer was the best Ive tried, herbal and complex without being grating or heavy handed. They mentioned that they tried each of their ingredients steeped, boiled, hot/cold to figure out how each one worked best. That is the problem, for each of your spices the answer is different.
I know licorice is supposed to be boiled for 15-20 minutes to extract the flavor (I used a small amount to good effect in a Baltic Porter). Ive had fine luck adding star-anise towards the end of the boil. Never used sassafras. If you go that route use half of your best guess, you can always add more, but it is impossible to take it out.