Beer soap

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SumaqSipas

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This will be my first time making beer soap. I got the recipe from http://www.annelwatson.com/soapmaking/creative/october/beerwinesoap.html I don't know how the beer (sugar, trace alcohol) will affect the recipe, so I would appreciate some feedback on that. The recipe is attached to the post.

My last soap came out kind of soft (hoping it will harden as it cures) with a hardness of 30 in soapcalc. This recipe's hardness is 34. Should I increase the coconut oil a bit to make it a little harder? What do you typically do to increase hardness? Would you add anything to increase bubbly and creamy lather?

At what temperature do you typically mix lye & oil when making beer soap? I don't want to end up with soap on a stick.

Plan with the beer: local brewery dark stout, will let it go flat, and will gently heat to evaporate as much alcohol as possible. Then will freeze in cube tray for later lye mixing. Will add patchouli and clove, and might add wheat bran for looks with the warm oils.

Please, weigh in! :bunny:

BeerRecipe1.jpg


BeerRecipe1too.jpg
 

BrewerGeorge

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That is an unusual recipe at 70% soft oils. On the plus side, with that mix there's no way you'll end with soap on a stick without actively trying to do so. On the minus side, it will be relatively soft and will take longer to get to its best hardness. Conventional wisdom is also going to tell you that is too much coconut oil; the result will be too stripping.

With your goals of increased hardness and more bubbly/creamy lather I would change the recipe rather significantly, adding more hard oils. Something like 50% lard, tallow or palm oil, 30% olive oil, 20% coconut oil.

As for handling the beer, no need to be gentle with it or waste time letting it go flat. It's fine to bring it to a gentle boil which will drive out both the carbonation and most of the alcohol. I also wouldn't let it freeze hard; it's difficult to work with that way. Instead, pour it into a shallow pan with lots of surface area and let it freeze into a slush that's still easy to scrape up with a fork. Weigh the slush and add the lye. This process is most likely going to smell really bad, principally of ammonia. Just ignore that smell and persevere, it will go away during the cure.
 

Susie

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^^^What BrewerGeorge said!

Wheat germ goes rancid quickly. I would not add it.
 

TeresaT

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For me personally, this would be a terrible bar of soap because the cleansing number is way too high for my skin type. I never have it higher than 10. Cleansing equals stripping in that it will strip the natural oils from your skin and it takes time for your skin to recover. HOWEVER, others do not have any issues whatsoever with high cleansing numbers. It is an individual thing. The second reason I wouldn't use this recipe is there are too many soft oils. You have 70% soft oils with 30% coconut as your only hard oil. This will probably take a long time to trace and a long time to cure. However, after a long cure, I'll bet it will be a great bar of soap for people that can deal with a high cleansing number like that. (And I am a true lardite. I love lard based soaps. They make a nice hard bar. But some people are opposed to animal fats for various reasons and I respect that.)

How many batches of soap have you made? You say your last batch came out soft. What oils did you use in that? Why not use one of your previously tried recipes (one that you like) and just substitute some or all of the liquid in that recipe for the beer? There is no difference to using beer or any other alcohol in your soap other than to make sure it is completely flat and the alcohol has been burned off. You can achieve both by bringing it to a boil then cooling it down. You don't even need to freeze it as long as the alcohol has been removed. I just leave mine in the fridge (so it doesn't grow mold). Once I'm ready to use it, I weigh it like I would any other liquid and add it to my pre-mixed (master batched) lye solution. If you are adding NaOH directly to the beer, (not using a master batched lye solution) then do so a little at a time and stir well between each addition to ensure it dissolves well. I'm actually going to be using Kambucha for the first time this week. (I bought some to try and decided it was disgusting, so into the soaping pot it goes!!) I boiled it down to get rid of the carbonation and trace alcohol. I know some folks here soap with it, so I thought I give it a go instead of wasting it.

As far as adding things to harden the bar, salt is a good option if you don't have sodium lactate on hand. However, keep in mind that it will only harden the bar to help unmold. You can also use less liquid. Changing the concentration to 2:1 will reduce the liquid by 1.4 oz on my calculator. That will harden the soap and make it easier to unmold quicker -- less water to initially evaporate. It's not really meant to harden the bar as a means of longevity. (Although, I did recently discover that sodium lactate actually helps reduce shrinkage during the cure and helps maintain a smoother texture to the soap because of its humectant properties.)

Since you are using beer, the sugars in it should increase the bubbles, however, you could also add sugar (or honey) to the pot to help boost the bubbles as well. However, this may also cause overheating. Soaping cold or at room temperature will help reduce overheating. I've never experienced soap on a stick (yet) but I have had really thick pudding (far too often). With me it is more about stick blending too much more than temperature, since I soap at room temp or refrigerator temps. I would suggest you mix your lye solution and let that cool down. It will be the best temperature when you can comfortable put your hands around the container and it just feels warm, not hot. Heat your coconut oil until half of it is dissolved and then let the residual heat dissolve the rest and add it to your liquid oils when it is completely dissolved. Combine your warm lye solution with your oils and have fun. It shouldn't take long to emulsify and then you can do whatever colors and fragrances you want by hand before pouring into your molds. If you want to blend a bit more until it's at a medium trace, just use slight bursts.
 

BrewerGeorge

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One caveat to Teresa's post about adding sugar. Stout is a very wide style that encompasses a wide range of residual sugars - from draft Guiness in America that's almost as dry as Miller Lite to big, sugary milk stouts with added lactose. On average, a typical craft stout will have enough residual sugar that you won't want to add more for risk of overheating or volcanoing during saponification. Not to mention that what's in the beer should be enough to accomplish the goal of adding sugar in the first place - more bubbles.

One final thought about stouts: If your particular stout tastes slightly sour (like Irish bottled Guiness, for example) that is because of lactic acid in the beer. If you soap with it, it will raise your superfat by some small amount. If you're looking for a repeatable, predictable recipe to compare with other soaps, I'd suggest you use a different stout so as to remove that variable. But if that's not the case you can safely go ahead and use it, just knowing that superfat will be a little higher than calculated.
 

Obsidian

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I use beer a bit different. I boil it down into a thick syrup like consistency and add 2 oz PPO directly to the oils before the lye solution. That way I never have to worry about weird lye reactions when mixing with sugary beer and there isn't the terrible scent that you get from beer + lye.

Also agree on a more balanced recipe. The one you posted would dry me up like a old piece of leather. Coconut might make a hard bar but it also makes a soap that dissolves away quicker. Lard is amazing in soap, I use it at 50%, always. Adds creaminess and makes a hard, long lasting bar.
 

SumaqSipas

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Thanks so much for the replies and insight!!

I forgot to mention in my original post that I don't use animal products and palm oil. :headbanging: It makes soaping so hard! I just have to learn to substitute I guess. Aside from coconut and palm, what other hard oils are there? I've used shea butter, but it's not really hardening.

BrewerGeorge, thanks so much for your input! I love the part about persevering through the stench. :mrgreen: The slush idea is brilliant! And I'm getting a growler, so I'll be sure to check for hint of sour. ;-)

Susie, thanks for the wheat tip!!

TeresaT, I have only made 1 batch prior to this one. So I don't have a "favorite" recipe just yet. I'm attaching the recipe for the one that came out soft/moist at almost 48hrs. We are going on almost a week of curing, and even though it's dry, it still feels a little soft (feels like it gives when I squeeze it, though no indentations are visible). I used a silicone mold, if that matters. Would superfatting at a higher percentage counteract the stripping/cleansing? I have super sensitive skin, and don't want to end up with a drying bar...especially in the middle of winter when skin is already getting beat up by the weather.

Obsidian, when you make the "beer syrup," do you just mix the lye with distilled water?

1SoapRecipe5too.jpg
 

cmzaha

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One caveat to Teresa's post about adding sugar. Stout is a very wide style that encompasses a wide range of residual sugars - from draft Guiness in America that's almost as dry as Miller Lite to big, sugary milk stouts with added lactose. On average, a typical craft stout will have enough residual sugar that you won't want to add more for risk of overheating or volcanoing during saponification. Not to mention that what's in the beer should be enough to accomplish the goal of adding sugar in the first place - more bubbles.

One final thought about stouts: If your particular stout tastes slightly sour (like Irish bottled Guiness, for example) that is because of lactic acid in the beer. If you soap with it, it will raise your superfat by some small amount. If you're looking for a repeatable, predictable recipe to compare with other soaps, I'd suggest you use a different stout so as to remove that variable. But if that's not the case you can safely go ahead and use it, just knowing that superfat will be a little higher than calculated.
I have certainly had craft beers volcanoes figured it was a high sugar problem. This was after simmering and freezing it. Thank you for the clarification and the info about the lactic acid. I use a tart wheat, beer, stout or whichever it is. Maybe an ale. I add my beer directly to my oils since I master batch 50/50 lye. Just made 4 batches of DB beer soap yesterday
 

Obsidian

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Yes, I mix the lye with plain water when I use beer syrup. I reduce the water by the amount of beer used.
 

snappyllama

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If you're looking for more hard oils but lard/tallow/palm are off the table, look for ones with similar fatty acids that those would bring to your soaping party: palmitic and stearic. Think butters in 10% or so (too much will kill your lather). I like Shea or Cocoa Butter. Mango bothers my skin in soap, but some folks love it. Those are all fairly inexpensive as an addition.

I haven't really experimented with other butters due to cost and not wanting to waste nice butters on the lye monster, but I think some folks here like Illipe, Kokum, and Sal.

You could also try adding Beeswax (1% - 3%) to up your hardness.

Those changes would work in every recipe. Honestly, most water substitutions are fine with any core recipe. The only thing to remember with beer is not to add other sugars.
 

SumaqSipas

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cmzaha, when you say you master batch 50/50 lye...do you mean you do 50% of water with the lye, and the other 50% of beer with the oils?

Obsidian, thanks for the clarification!

Snappyllama, thanks so much for the suggestions! I do have some cocoa butter on hand. I am excited to try beeswax! I never thought of using that before in soaps. How does it affect the cleansing and moisturizing aspects of the soap? I would probably use about 1 oz, which is between 2 and 3%.

I brought the microbrew home today. It's quite sweet, so I'm guessing it will beed to go in the freezer after pouring it in the mold.
 

cmzaha

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cmzaha, when you say you master batch 50/50 lye...do you mean you do 50% of water with the lye, and the other 50% of beer with the oils?

Obsidian, thanks for the clarification!

Snappyllama, thanks so much for the suggestions! I do have some cocoa butter on hand. I am excited to try beeswax! I never thought of using that before in soaps. How does it affect the cleansing and moisturizing aspects of the soap? I would probably use about 1 oz, which is between 2 and 3%.

I brought the microbrew home today. It's quite sweet, so I'm guessing it will beed to go in the freezer after pouring it in the mold.
Yes, but I add my beer directly to my oils and pour in my lye solution slowly. I do add extra sugar to my beer soap but I know with the beer I use it does not cause severe overheating and I use a 34% Lye Concentration. My sugar rate is .5oz ppo in my soap
 

kchaystack

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cmzaha, when you say you master batch 50/50 lye...do you mean you do 50% of water with the lye, and the other 50% of beer with the oils?
Master batched lye is making your lye before hand.

You add equal weight water and NaOH or KOH together, this makes a 50% strength lye solution.

There are several threads on how to use masterbatched lye on the forum, but it is not something I would suggest for beginners.
 

HowieRoll

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I've been soaping since March 2016 and have only made about 60 batches, which is by far and away not nearly as many as many esteemed contributors to this forum. There is still so much I have to learn, and honestly I don't think the learning curve will ever plateau.

That said, I've never used palm oil. I DO use beef tallow in some of my batches, and feel it does make a more creamy lather as well as slightly boosts longevity in the shower, but I'm also really happy with the all vegetarian soaps and most of them are really high in soft oils. I've found that the longer they cure the less "gloppy" they will get in the shower as they get toward the end of the bar, and, of course, it's important to keep them as dry as possible between uses and kept a well-draining dish out of direct water contact.

Here is an example of one I'm using now (made in March 2016), and I have been excited to note that this is the first winter I've been using handmade soaps and also the first winter my legs have not been dry and itchy. This bar, in particular, has been so nice on my skin and is holding up very well in use (i.e. not getting gloppy):

Olive Oil 50%
Coconut Oil 25%
Sunflower Oil (high oleic) 14%
Almond Oil 6%
Castor Oil 5% (I've never tried a soap using more than 5% castor oil)

Powdered goat milk and honey were also added (along with oats that I didn't grind down nearly enough - ouch!).

Here is another one I made in October for Christmas gifts, and the recipients have reported loving it (although I wish I had made it in September just to give it a bit of a longer cure. A friend took hers on a trip to Norway and said for skin feel it was some of the best soap she's ever used, but it didn't fare well in her travel soap dish that didn't allow for it to dry out. I did not have the same issues under a more "controlled" environment in my shower, but it's something I thought should be noted):

Olive Oil 40%
Coconut Oil 25%
Avocado Oil 15%
Almond Oil 15%
Castor Oil 5%

I have one curing right now that I'm excited to try, as it involves Olive Oil (45%), Coconut Oil (20%), Shea Butter (16%), Avocado Oil (14%), and Castor Oil (5%).

Depending on design, sometimes I like to use less water/liquid when making an all vegetable oil soap. Normally I will use 30-33% lye concentration, but lately I've been playing around with 36-40% lye concentration and it seems to make unmolding faster and easier. I also CPOP most of my soaps, and find that also helps greatly in making a bar that will initially become harder faster. To understand the effect liquid amounts have in soapmaking, Auntie Clara has some incredible experiments/information that she has generously shared on her blog.

The point of all this wordiness is that I've been really happy with the high soft oil soaps that I've made, and would encourage you to experiment. I just try to remember that my urge for instant gratification has to be put into check with soaping, as it is truly an "only time will tell" endeavor and demands patience. But it's fun to look back now months later and be able to compare recipes (and acknowledge mistakes/things to change), and I suspect this thrill will not wane for a very long time.

Good luck and wishing you much fun in your newfound hobby!
 

SumaqSipas

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Well...I think something went wrong. I mixed the lye/beer and the oils at 112F, it went to trace, but it was a very weird consistency, and it still had an ammonia smell. I kept going, and added cocoa powder for color and essential oils. I mixed and mixed some more to see if the ammonia smell would go away, but no luck. I went ahead and poured it in the mold. Washing the soap making equipment was very weird...the left over soap in my mixing bowl and equipment was not rinsing off like soap does. Instead, it was still very oily (though it had hardened).

What in the world happened?

BeerSoap.jpg
 

BattleGnome

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26% is not a lot of hard oils. If the rest of the soap turns out fine then that's probably the issue. Do you use plastic bowls/utensils? I always have an oily film on my plastic stuff as opposed to the silicone or stainless steel especially if I have a significant amount of liquid oils.
 

SumaqSipas

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I use all glass containers. Silicone spatula for the oils, and stainless steel for the lye. I used the same containers with me previous recipe and this didn't happen...
 

cmzaha

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I use all glass containers. Silicone spatula for the oils, and stainless steel for the lye. I used the same containers with me previous recipe and this didn't happen...
Hopefully you are not using glass to mix your soap. It really is not safe since you are still working with active lye that can make fine etching in the glass, causing it to eventually break. All my buckets have a little oil film from use even washing with degreaser and hot water. You can let them sit for a few days, letting all the oils saponify so you end up with soap and not oil. If you washed your containers just after making soap, even though it had thickened you will still have unsaponified oils in the container.

The ammonia smell will go away after cure. This is why I do not mix lye into my beer, I do not get any smell from the beer in my soap by adding the beer to my oils first.
 

BrewerGeorge

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Well...I think something went wrong. I mixed the lye/beer and the oils at 112F, it went to trace, but it was a very weird consistency, and it still had an ammonia smell. I kept going, and added cocoa powder for color and essential oils. I mixed and mixed some more to see if the ammonia smell would go away, but no luck. I went ahead and poured it in the mold. W...

What in the world happened?
The ammonia will take a couple of weeks to dissipate.
 

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