Good News, Everyone!
I have made for you: beer soap. What, you say? Soap with beer!?! Indeed. It's true: soap with beer. Unfortunately, though, the alcohol has been boiled out. Sorry, you won't get drunk through your pores on this soap.
Beer soap is an interesting beast. The beer contains a great amount of sugars, and thusly it can be difficult to work with. Many natural sugars react with the soap batter and cause it to overheat - this is especially true if the proportion of those sugars is large (eg: all of your water has been replaced with beer). In addition, anything carbonated (looking at you, beer) can cause caustic bubbles due to the carbon dioxide reacting with lye. Does not sound like fun, right? Right.
As such, beer soap is one of those things that you probably shouldn't try to make without feeling comfortable with the CP soap making process and several batches confidently under your belt. I am pretty confident, and even I had a tough time with this one - be prepared, beer moves FAST. And it gets HOT. Have your freezer ready to go.
I made Soap Queen's Black and Tan beer soap recipe with a bit of modification because I don't have the exact mold she does. My beer soap got very hot and very hard very quickly, and I almost didn't get my dividers out of the mold. (Make sure you soap at room temperature or damn near it! I made the mistake of soaping too hot - lesson learned.) In the end, though, it all worked out, and I got some pretty awesome beer soap. Mine isn't black and tan like hers - it's more just tan and darker tan. I think this is because of the beer I used - DuClaw's "Rye One On" rye IPA. I did not have a dark lager to use (well, I had one...but it was destined for Irish beef stew), but I did have an abundance of rye beer. Our landlord came over to help us out with HOA Inspections and showed up with two six packs like, "Here, have this beer we got at DuClaw." Thanks, landlord and landlord girlfriend! Landlord's girlfriend pointedly said, "Make some beer soap" when they handed it over. Girlboo - I've got a couple bars set aside for you. ;)
So what did I learn while making beer soap? Well first, I learned that, as I previously mentioned, carbonation = bad. Because of this, it's imperative to flatten the beer somehow before venturing forth into soap making territory. Many people have different methods they use to flatten the beer. I used Soap Queen's suggested method of boiling the beer, however I think for my next beer soap, I may open it and let it flatten in the fridge for several days before boiling - just to be sure. Some people only let it flatten, others just let it boil, others do some combination. Choose what you think works best for you.
In addition, since beer undoubtedly has sugars in it, you will need to get it cold before you add lye to it. How cold is up to you - I've seen some people only refrigerate it, and others who freeze it. I chose to freeze the beer. Some people use an ice bath for the beer pitcher when adding lye to keep the temperature down, however I did not do this because my beer was frozen. It's up to you how you choose to do so - just keep in mind that you'll need to keep your beer cool and work fast. Again, I can't stress it enough: soap at low temps. I didn't do this, and I believe it's part of why my soap ran off so quickly without me.
When I got my soap into the mold it started to harden pretty damn immediately, especially the part of the soap with the majority of the fragrance in it (as an aside, I used Bramble Berry's "Honey Ale" fragrance, not the recommended fragrance in the recipe, because my beer was lighter with different notes). I could see it starting to get very hot, and since I was nervous about it cracking or even exploding, I dropped it into my chest freezer and left it there overnight. I came home from work the next day, took it out, unmolded it, and let it warm up on a well ventilated shelf until the next day when I cut it. It isn't the most beautiful thing you've ever seen, but it smells awesome and it's really cool to know that I used beer to make it.
I am really looking forward to using this soap - it will be ready in a week or so for pH testing and general giving away - just in time for 4th of July! I have read that beer soap has a bunch of good, skin-loving things in it, as well as a creamy lather, so it should be a hit to anyone who loves beer and personal hygiene! Or just beer!
Bring on the next batch!
Hello, hello, everyone!
My apologies to all of thee for going a bit MIA the last few weeks. As you know, I am a student and work full time, so my schedule is a bit full at times. Not to worry, though, I've been able to slow down enough lately to make more soapy cupcakes and some regular ol' bars. Just not enough to sit down and write this stuff out! If you follow my Instagram or Twitter, though, you will definitely see a lot of what I've been up to. :) I am also trying to work on my photography skills a bit. They're pretty lacking, but I will learn!
The soapy cupcakes that I've made for my Sister In Law's baby shower have been a huge hit with the family. I hope they are an equal hit with the guests. I've finally had a chance to sit down and start wrapping them, and I gotta say - I'm proud of my handiwork. :) And as an aside - tying bows is basically the most annoying crafty thing I can possibly think of, apart from trying to use glitter in any meaningful way without making a mess. Still - it's totally worth it. I love how they came out!
In other news, these little guys have totally inspired me to make more cupcakes! I got a new bottle of Blueberry Jam fragrance oil from Bramble Berry and I decided to go ahead and try my hand at blueberry cupcakes. I used my normal recipe (which I'm still working on perfecting) for the base of the cupcakes, and did Soap Queen's cupcake frosting recipe for the top. I fragranced the bottom with Bramble Berry's "Blueberry Delight" (which I bought a huge bottle of because I absolutely love it and they're discontinuing it), and the top with blueberry jam, which I colored a nice light blue color. Then I topped the cupcakes with jojoba bead "sprinkles." They came out adorably, I love them. The bottom part is discoloring, but I planned for that. Light blue and amber brown look nice together, and they just smell fantastic. I also made orange cupcakes that same week, with Bramble Berry's "Turkish Mocha" for the base and "Orange 10x" for the icing. I also topped those with jojoba bead "sprinkles" but my orange beads were much smaller than my blue ones, and it's tough to even see them on top of the orange icing. Next time I think I'll nix the beads. You can see pictures of my recent projects, including the cupcakes in the gallery below.
I am starting to mess with melt and pour embeds - I like the notion of melt and pour, though glycerin soap and I are not friends. It dries out my skin and leaves it wanting. It's not my jam, but I can't help but loooooooove the way embeds look on/in a lot of soaps. What's more, I had surgery this past Monday (6/13), and have been laid up in my bed for most of the week. What's a girl to do when she's laying in bed (and not in a Percocet induced coma)? Watch soaping YouTube videos, of course!
I have recently found Stacey (I think is her name?) at Yellow Cottage Soapery, based somewhere near Myrtle Beach, SC. I adore her work so much, and I have been binge watching her channel all week. She is super creative with her soaps, there is so much detail that goes into them and I love how she mixes her own colors and all of her cute creative little piping. By the way, this is totally not paid/promoted, I just found her channel last week and have been watching it and catching up on everything ever since. I love her work and she has inspired me to try embeds and piping on my regular soap bars. Between her and Katie at Royalty Soaps, I am really inspired (and totally intimidated!) to take my soaps to the next level. I am still trying to work out the "kinks" in my "Master Batch" recipe, but I really like it. The biggest challenge for me right now is finding the best temperature to soap at. I am planning to give room temperature a go for my next batch.
My upcoming batch is going to try a new fragrance oil from Nature's Garden - I have only ordered two fragrances from them and never used them, so I am looking forward to trying them out. I know a lot of people have NG fragrances (Clyde has pretty much exclusively NG fragrances), but I've never tried them. I did spend a lot of time this week pinning a whole metric butt ton of them that I want to eventually order. I think I'm going to need more cabinet space soon. Guess my goal of cleaning out the house some this summer is going to be for a good cause. :) Woot!
So, that is it for now - stay tuned, I've got a few other soaps I want to write about making, and a small announcement or two for you guys. In the mean time, enjoy my most recent creations, and have a wonderful soapy day!
Elizabeth is a new to soap making, and wishes to share her journey in learning to make cold process soap with the hope that it will help other newbies who may stumble upon this site as a resource. From swirl techniques, choosing colors, combining fragrances, embeds, toppers, and textures, she chronicles her lessons and stories here.