Beer Soap

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BattleGnome

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I'm jumping into making my first beer soap. I plan on using my usual soap recipe and upping the sf a bit. My question is about the beer prep.

I plan on using Dragon's Milk, a stout from New Holland Brewing Co, and my husband keeps critiquing my explinations of getting the beer to go flat. I was planning on leaving it on the counter in a pitcher for a few days and hitting it with my sb a few times but I'm being told that will ruin some of the scent and make it go bitter.

Does anyone have any expirence with soaping with stout? Should I use the boil method instead?
 

Misschief

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I've used both methods. With my first, I boiled it down. With the second, I let it go flat on it's own by leaving it open for a few days. As long as it's flat, it doesn't matter how it got there.

You can tell your husband that the scent doesn't come through in the final product and you won't be eating the soap so the taste of the beer isn't an issue either. I found that the only thing that came through in the final product was some of the colour.

Here's a pic of my oatmeal stout. The light colour is the natural colour; I added cocoa to the darker part.

Sweater Weather3.jpg
 

lsg

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I just let the beer set opened in the refrigerator for a couple of days. I use oatmeal stout FO from Wholesale Supplies Plus to fragrance the soap.
 

BrewerGeorge

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The CO2 isn't as big a problem as the alcohol. Use the boil (simmer, actually) method to drive out most of the alcohol. Ethanol boils at 172F, so if you really care you can take the temp and see the temp rise plateau around there as the alcohol boils away (assuming you're not applying so much heat that you overdrive that plateau). When temp starts rising above 175-ish, you should have most of the alcohol out and you can stop and freeze the beer.

I must say, though, that I think that beer is wasted on soap. The bourbon and vanilla character won't make it into the finished soap and the 11% alcohol is just going to be wasted into the air. Considering it's price, I humbly suggest that you make your first attempt with a more pedestrian, lower alcohol, cheaper stout or porter.

Also, be prepared that beer soap smells terrible when you're making it. Don't worry; that goes away with the cure.

ETA: To those saying to just let it go flat, this beer is twice as strong as a "typical" 5%-ish beer. That much alcohol has a good chance to make the soap seize. I really would not soap with it unless I drove off the alcohol first.
 
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lsg

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I have not had that problem BG, but thanks for clarifying why beer is boiled down.
 

DeeAnna

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There can be a bit of a hoppy scent from the soap right after the soap is made, but that pretty much fades with cure, so there's no point in worrying about what happens to the taste or smell.

In the end, beer basically boosts lather, adds color, and has great label appeal. Other than that, don't expect too much.

I personally wouldn't leave beer out at room temperature for days to go flat. I'm not too keen on adding something to my soap that might be actively growing bacteria or fungi. I usually simmer my beer and reduce it to about half its original volume.
 

shunt2011

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I too just let it sit out for a few days in the fridge. I don't freeze it either. I just add the lye to my beer slowly and go from there. I've use quite a lot of beers and never had an issue even more potent beers. I've also simmered them down to a syrupy mix and then added it to my oils before my lye mixture.
 

BrewerGeorge

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I too just let it sit out for a few days in the fridge. I don't freeze it either. I just add the lye to my beer slowly and go from there. I've use quite a lot of beers and never had an issue even more potent beers. I've also simmered them down to a syrupy mix and then added it to my oils before my lye mixture.
Well, if you've simmered them down like that, then you've automatically driven out the alcohol in the process.

BTW, I'm not saying that Dragon's Milk won't make soap. I'm saying it's a waste of a $4 bottle of beer because none of the "top shelf" qualities of the beer will survive in the soap. You'll get the same finished soap just using a Sam Adams Cream Stout or similar.
 

TheDragonGirl

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I actually used dragon's milk in my beer/malta/wheat beer comparison test!

I did boil them just enough to take out the alcohol then froze them into cubes

I actually can smell the beer still in my little bars, but that may just be my nose being sensitive to the smell
 

BrewerGeorge

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I actually used dragon's milk in my beer/malta/wheat beer comparison test!

I did boil them just enough to take out the alcohol then froze them into cubes

I actually can smell the beer still in my little bars, but that may just be my nose being sensitive to the smell
IME, the roasted qualities can carry through, so stouts and porters work. But hops don't unless you get into ridiculous amounts of actual hops as an additive. (Most hop compounds are acids and get destroyed by the lye.)
 

Obsidian

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I boil my beer so I can get more into the soap. I typically use a 16 oz bottle for a 2 pound batch of soap. I boil the beer down to 2 oz or so of thick beer syrup. This is mixed into the oils, this way I never have to mix the lye directly into the beer.
 

kchaystack

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Hey BattleGnome, I like to use Nevermore from the same brewery! Are you from Michigan as well?

I am the BrewerGeorge as to the prep. Simmer and reduce, freeze and use that as my liquid. Alcohol will accelerate the trace if there is too much. I have also found that the scent does not last - but I used a mix of lavender and cedar and peppermint in mine.
 

CaraBou

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I'm on board with Brewer George; a little precaution is worth the hassle. And like DragonGirl, I smell beer in the final product (at least when most of the water is coming from it). So consider how much beer you need in your soap to get an effect you are pleased with. I would go with no more than half of the total water, especially if you have not evaporated out the alcohol.
 

BrewerGeorge

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I actually used dragon's milk in my beer/malta/wheat beer comparison test!

I did boil them just enough to take out the alcohol then froze them into cubes

I actually can smell the beer still in my little bars, but that may just be my nose being sensitive to the smell
That's interesting. What were the results of your comparison?

Since I started I've always assumed that unfermented wort would be the best option - although because of the high amounts of sugar it would have to be treated more like a honey addition than a water replacement. Since malta is basically carbonated wort, I'd love to know your findings.
 

TheDragonGirl

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That's interesting. What were the results of your comparison?

Since I started I've always assumed that unfermented wort would be the best option - although because of the high amounts of sugar it would have to be treated more like a honey addition than a water replacement. Since malta is basically carbonated wort, I'd love to know your findings.
Here you go! http://www.soapmakingforum.com/showthread.php?t=55078
 

cmzaha

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The CO2 isn't as big a problem as the alcohol. Use the boil (simmer, actually) method to drive out most of the alcohol. Ethanol boils at 172F, so if you really care you can take the temp and see the temp rise plateau around there as the alcohol boils away (assuming you're not applying so much heat that you overdrive that plateau). When temp starts rising above 175-ish, you should have most of the alcohol out and you can stop and freeze the beer.

I must say, though, that I think that beer is wasted on soap. The bourbon and vanilla character won't make it into the finished soap and the 11% alcohol is just going to be wasted into the air. Considering it's price, I humbly suggest that you make your first attempt with a more pedestrian, lower alcohol, cheaper stout or porter.

Also, be prepared that beer soap smells terrible when you're making it. Don't worry; that goes away with the cure.

ETA: To those saying to just let it go flat, this beer is twice as strong as a "typical" 5%-ish beer. That much alcohol has a good chance to make the soap seize. I really would not soap with it unless I drove off the alcohol first.
I have to agree with the just letting it go flat. I know I have posted this before but I have had craft beer that still caused a volcano after it had been sitting out in the fridge for a week, brought to temp to drive off the alcohol and froze it. I now cook off the alcohol, not down to a syrup, and do not mix it with my lye. I also use the cheapest beer I can find so I can add beer to the label. I would much rather drink the good stuff, since I cannot stand to drink run of the mill beer
 

KristaY

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I'm also in BG's camp on the ethanol issue. I simmer mine (not boil) so I know the ethanol is completely gone. Because the boiling point of ethanol is 172, I don't allow the temp to rise above 180. I learned the hard way not to bring to full boil as it starts to smell burned and this scent did make it's way to my soap which wasn't pleasant. I also experimented with many different brands and flavors of beer and in the end, I couldn't tell the difference in quality of the bars. Basically label appeal was the only difference. Now I use inexpensive beer with low alcohol % and all is good. :)
 

MySoapyHeart

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I am intrigued by making soap using beer. We have some good Norwegian ones, but the alcohol level of many of them is around 4.5 & up to 8%, so perhaps wise to let them simmer carefully first. Anyone used beer without alcohol in soap?? Would love to try this some time, so taking notes of what is said here, very informative!
Now if I only can sneak a bottle of beer into the kitchen that my husband may not drink.

Hmm *plotting*:think:
 

BrewerGeorge

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One other point toward not simply letting the beer go flat that I just thought of:

Beer allowed to go "flat" by just sitting out will still have 1 atmosphere's worth (brewers call it "volume") of CO2 still dissolved in solution. (This effect is increased if the beer is "flattened" in the fridge as colder solutions hold onto more CO2 by definition.) The way that CO2 dissolves in water is by creating carbonic acid. So if you simply let the beer go flat on its own, there will be residual carbonic acid in the liquid to neutralize some of your lye and thereby raise the superfat.

OTOH, heating the beer to boiling to drive off the alcohol will also drive off essentially all of the CO2. Freezing it quickly afterward (especially in a sealed jar - lots of headroom please!) will minimize the amount of CO2 that the cooling beer reabsorbes from the air. But even if you let it cool on the counter, the end result will still be better since room air is only 20-some percent CO2 compared to 100% CO2 in packaged beer. So simmering will reduce by a factor of at least 5 - if not completely eliminate - any unintended effects of the carbonic acid on superfat.

Obviously, increased superfat isn't the end of the world, but the net effect will be a soap that is not what your calculations predicted it would be. I'm not going to take the time to try to calculate the magnitude of the impact, especially because the temperature of the "flat" beer has such a big impact on exactly how much CO2 is left in solution and temperature can vary wildly. I'm just going to do my best to remove that variable entirely by simmering the beer first.
 

galaxyMLP

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I used a cider in my first "beer" soap. Yes, apple cider isnt beer but the idea is the same. I read that I could just let it go flat in the fridge for a few days. It volcanoed when I added the lye. Thankfully it was in a VERY tall container and in the sink! I did not get any spillage but man, that was scary!

I boil all of my alcohols now. Wine, beer, cider, ect. to drive off the alcohol. Beers and ciders fizz quite a bit when you first apply heat. That goes back to what BG was saying about the dissolved CO2.
 

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