# Beer/Alcohol Soaps

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#### Rusti

##### Well-Known Member
So, living where I do the people around me would get a big kick out of beer soaps and I've been thinking about making an attempt or two. I've been reading some articles/tutorials about preparing the beer (letting it go flat, boiling it for 30-40 minutes and then adding the lye slooowly when it's time to soap finally), but for you experienced beer users, what thoughts have you about what I should be aware of?

Also, can you use any alcohol the same way? Like, hard cider for instance.

I've made several beer soaps and have even used mead so hard cider should work fine. I usually cook off the alcohol until the liquid reduces by half and then let it cool. This liquid will contain more natural sugars than just plain water so I usually freeze it before adding my lye or put it in a water bath before adding the lye. Also be prepared . . . some alternative liquids can smell funky once the lye hits it.

Oh, another question. I see the Soap Queen has said to measure your beer or alcohol by volume (fl oz measurements on a measuring cup) but that doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me. Does it matter?

I boil/simmer the beer until it has reduced by more than half by weight. I master batch my lye and the use the reduced beer as the remainder of the liquid. Generally, I try to start with the weight of the beer being approximately equal to the total weight of the liquid.

So, if I need 100 gm water and 60 gm lye (totally made up numbers), I simmer the beer until it is roughly 40 gm. I mix the lye with an equal amount of water and then add the reduction to the oils.

I do the same thing - weigh out my beer as though it's the entire liquid portion of my solution. Then gently simmer until reduced by half. I freeze into beer cubes. Then lye gets added to beer cubes along with enough water to bring my liquid to the right portion. I like to do this in my sink with my container sitting in an ice bath. Keeping things really cool keeps down the funky scent and beer sugars from scorching.

I like doing it that since I often borrow some water from my lye solution to premix in various additives like EDTA.

Always weigh your liquid by weight, never by volume. Not sure why soap queen would have it like that but then again, I don't care much for most of her instructions.

I reduce my beer but by a lot more then other people. I will take a 16 oz bottle down to 2-3 oz, take that amount from the water and use what water is left for the lye. The beer "syrup" is added to either the oils or mixed in a trace. That way I never have to bother with mixing the lye into the beer so I don't worry about the smell or burned sugars.

The boiling point of ethanol is about 174 F so don't bring it to a full boil. If you get the temp too hot it'll start to smell like burned grains and your soap will probably have some of that smell too. I usually bring the beer or wine up to a simmer at about 180 F and maintain that for about 15 min. By then it'll be reduced by about a third. If you're using a beer/wine/whiskey with a high ABV, simmer longer to make sure you have all the alcohol cooked off. I've had one lye volcano and it was with beer, I think it was a hard cider. Since that scared the crap out of me and took a while to safely clean up, I always put my container into the sink basin before I add lye.

I've had one lye volcano and it was with beer, I think it was a hard cider. Since that scared the crap out of me and took a while to safely clean up, I always put my container into the sink basin before I add lye.

Thanks for the heads up Krista. I always mix my lye water in the sink to begin with, but this is still good to know!

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