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Make Your Own Beer Soap from Homebrew

Make Your Own Beer Soap from Homebrew

Posted by Janet Thomas on

Don’t dump your beer out...put it to good use and make your own beer soap! Besides, beer is supposed to be a great conditioner for your skin, so we’ve heard! Regardless the reason, this is a fun recipe to get creative with! 

So, what is beer soap anyways!? It’s just soap that is made with beer as the liquid instead of water. It can be a little challenging  to make because of the high sugar content. You will also need to work very quickly when making beer soap as it hardens fast.

A couple things to note with this recipe before you begin:

    • The beer should be as cold as possible and be completely non carbonated. You can boil the beer ahead of time for 10 minutes to remove any alcohol
    • You may want to prepare the beer and oils the day before to allow for enough cooling time
    • Ground hops and crushed barley, wheat bran, ground orange, etc. can be added to the soap mixture for aroma, exfoliation and a nice finishing touch
    • Only use plastic pitchers, you will not want to use glass for this
    • Wear protective gear over face, hands, etc. and work in a well ventilated area
    • Always pour the Lye into the liquid, not the other way around - this is very important

Melt the solid oils and butters that your recipe calls for and combine them with the liquid oils in a soap pot. You will want to let them cool down to room temperature overnight for best results - we want to do everything possible to slow down saponification.

Now, let’s begin making soap...using your  soap recipe, start by pouring your beer of choice into a plastic pitcher and letting it get flat; it should be completely non carbonated. You can also add some ground hops for aroma (this is optional). You want to make sure there are no bubbles  or you will have lyle bubbles, and this can be unsafe. The beer ratio should be about 40% of your oil mixture.

The next step is to add the lye very, very slowly into the beer, pouring over the stick blender to help smooth it out. Remember to pour the Lye into the beer mixture, not the other way around. The beer will heat up when lye is added to it, so it is extremely important to add the lye as slowly as possible to avoid having a volcanic eruption. It is also very important to have your safety gear on at this point, and working in a well ventilated area. Through this chemical process of combining the lye with the liquid, there will be no remaining lye in the soap. Once mixed, the solution will reach almost boiling point so be very careful working with it. The solution will change from light to dark in color as it heats up. You can add color to your soaps by mixing in activated charcoal to color your soap black, for a more manly look. To color soaps white, you can use a titanium dioxide (mixed with essential oils). You will want to add these to the mixture once it is blended, before pouring into the molds.  

When the temperature of the lye solution reaches about 90 degrees (no more than 110 degrees) it is ready to be mixed. Use a stick blender to mix the solution just until it has traced. You can check for trace by pulling your mixer out of the solution and if it leaves trails on top, it has traced. You will want to move very quickly now to get the soap poured into the mold(s) before it hardens. If you are adding any crushed barley or wheat bran, ground orange, etc.  to the batch, you can add it now, along with any essential oils.

The mixture is now ready to pour into the soap mold(s). Once poured into the mold you will want to tap the bottom of it on the counter to remove any bubbles and then cover with plastic and a towel. If you are adding any crushed grains to the top, you will want to sprinkle them on before covering.

Your soap will continue to saponify. Leave in the molds for 24- 48 hours before cutting the soap. This recipe will gel so it shouldn’t need to be insulated. Once cut, it will need to cure for at least 6 weeks before use. During the curing process, excess moisture evaporates from the soap bars leaving a harder and longer-lasting soap.