Beer concentrate to make beer soap.

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You bet they die
Jul 28, 2018
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Perth, Western Australia
Hi all

I went to our local brewing suppliers today to see if there was anything I could add to beer soap that might enhance the aroma of beer that is left after saponification and curing. The short answer is probably not, although I did purchase a tea bag sort of thing of the hops that Guinness use in their brew and was going to infuse some oil with it and then use the grain as a mild exfoliant, although I diverge.

The young man who served me was very interested in what I wanted to do do and agreed that there was probably not much I could do to enhance the aroma but questioned if, given that I had to leave the beer to go flat and then boil off the alcohol, had I considered using a concentrate. Apparently some people like to purchase these tubs of concentrate (very reasonable price), add the yeast, add water and then ferment. Basically it is like a beer syrup. I wondered if anyone had any thoughts or experience with these concentrates and adding water to them and making the soap. It is certainly cheaper than going and buying the bottles of beer with the added benefit that you do not need to worry about the carbonation or removing the alcohol. The young man tells me that it has the same sort of shelf life as honey.

You could likely use the concentrate by mixing it with some of your water. Depending on the sugar content it could be a real heater so I would watch it. I simmer my beer to a syrup consistency then add to my liquid amount.
That image looks like it might be a malt extract, which isn't exactly a beer concentrate.

When you brew beer using grains, you control your water, time, and temperatures during the grain extraction to pull out as much sugar as possible. The resulting "sugar water" (separated from the grains) is called wort, and you boil it for a bit. You add hops at different times during the boil. You cool the wort, then add yeast and then give the yeast time to grow. The yeast eats the sugar and makes alcohol and carbonation (fermentation). You can put hops in the container with this as well as in the boil. I'm simplifying it a bunch here, but want you to understand the basics of the process so you understand how what's in the can (the "beer concentrate") is different.

Malt extract is all of the things before the purple text in the paragraph above. Beer is all of the things including the purple text. If you remove some of the water in beer (boil or simmer it, let it evaporate, etc.) you would have a beer concentrate like @shunt2011 's simmered beer.

Some home brewers like malt extract because it saves some time and allows you to brew with less equipment. You add the extract to water, heat it to boil, and do all of the purple things above.

Part of the aroma of beer is a result of the hops and aromatic compounds created by the yeast during fermentation. Since malt extract hasn't gone through the entire process, the aroma will be quite different. More like a malty sugary grain aroma...which is yummy (IMHO), but might not be what you are looking for.

Also, just something to be aware of, hops can be toxic to some pets. I have to be careful when handling fresh hops because the amount of oil present on the hops irritates my skin.

You might be able to get a good beer-like aroma doing some combination of the malt extract and a hop extraction (in oil or water - would give you different results...also not sure if the aromatic compounds will survive the saponification). It might take more time and effort trying to figure out the best method than just simmering beer to create an actual concentrate.

Simmering beer...just seems like a waste...unless you are drinking some while you simmer some ;)

RDWHAHB (relax, don't worry, have a home brew)!
(edited to fix the things I cannot spell)
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I agree with what Shari said regarding the syrup. Although, I don't boil my beer to a syrup consistency, just 10 minutes to burn off 70-80% of the alcohol.

What type of beer are you using? Lighter beers such as ales or IPA's won't leave any scent. Some stouts do hold some of the malty scent, but it fades as the soap ages, and it isn't strong to begin with. This may vary depending on your nose, much like being able to smell certain types of saponified oils/butters/fats. I'm one that can pick out lard and cocoa butter (oddly, I usually can't detect tallow which is one of the reasons that I switched from lard).

If you want a beer smell, you're probably going to have to use an FO.
I do not boil my beer down to syrup either. Using hops for gentle exfoliant does not make a gentle exfoliant. The hops I have used in the past are very similar to the feel of ground loofa in soap, quite scratchy. I have tried infusing hops various ways and no scent has ever survived. Since I am not a home brewer, I do not know all the terminology, but a brewery used to give me what was left in the bottom of the tanks (I think) to play with. It was thick smelled yummy but never survived in soap
Try non-alcoholic beer.... no need to boil.
A friend who brews his own beer suggested using hops oil for the aroma. Haven't tried it yet, but it's on my 'To Do' list.
I don't boil my beer. Period. Not to get a syrup, not to remove the alcohol. I let it go flat, and add a pinch of salt, freeze and soap as normal, using the frozen beer exactly the way I would a milk soap, and at 100% of my liquid. Gets a bit thick, but nothing unmanageable, and quite honestly I've had regular FO's misbehave more than any time I've ever used beer. My milk soaps are also harder to work with than my full alcohol beer soaps are.

However, no matter how strong the beer scent is before making the soap, it never ever remains after saponification.
@jcandleattic , @Saffron , @cmzaha , @amd , @dndlyon , @shunt2011 WOW and thank you, thank you, thank you. You have all given me so much to think about and @dndlyon the explanation about brewing was beyond useful, thank you again. I had no idea that hops could be a skin irritant and possibly toxic to some animals. I will need to check that out as I always have a houseful of dogs as I foster dogs as well as have my own. As for non-al beer, I didn't realise there was such a thing. Silly really as there is non-al wine so it would seem obvious there is a non-al beer.

Once again, thank you all.

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