Beer soap has been on my “to do” list for a while, but I wanted to wait until I had perfected my standard soap recipe since beer soap is a more advanced project. For beer soap, you need to make sure it is flat – any carbonation in the beer could create a volcano effect when you add the lye. Additionally, adding lye to room temperature beer heats up the beer, creating an unpleasant smell. To retain the wonderful properties in the beer and to keep it’s nice aroma, I made beer ice cubes once all the carbonation was removed.
Both Josh and I are beer drinkers, and we are lucky to have a lot of great local breweries nearby. I selected a dark stout for this soap and chose not to add any essential oils. Instead, I complimented the stout by adding cocoa butter. Cocoa butter has a wonderful chocolaty smell, plus it creates a hard bar of soap with moisturizing lather.
I didn’t add any natural colors to the soap, either, since the beer already has a warm brown color after saponification. The only additive I used was a dusting of cocoa powder on the bottom of the mold. When I poured the batter over this, it created neat splotches of darker brown on the surface of the soap. I think it turned out really great! Keep in mind that beer will cause your batch to reach trace quickly, so if you do want to add essential oils or color, you’ll need to work fast.
I can’t wait to make more batches of beer soap with different beers – maybe a citra hopped pale ale or a sour beer? Here’s a crazy idea: wine soap! That could be a fun experiment with some local Afton wine.