Workshop Notes: Beer Soap
We hope you enjoyed today's
Cold Process Beer Soap workshop!
Your soap block should be removed from the mold within 24-72 hours and then cut it into bars.
You might decide on 8 chunky, 10 regular or 12 slim bars, or a combination of all three. Use a ruler for best results, and as mentioned in the workshop, use a sharp, non-serrated knife. If you have a purpose-built soap cutter, that's great for making smooth, uniform soap bars but you could also use an inexpensive carpenter's mitre-cutter, or just a keen eye!
Set your soap bars aside to cure in a ventilated space for three or four weeks to for best results. This will allow for complete saponification and the evaporation of excess water.
We would love to see your work!
If you enjoyed the workshop, we encourage you to tell friends and family, share your experience and photographs on Starlite Soap Studio’s social media, and tag us!
Please sign up for our other soap, lotion, bath bomb and candle workshops. They are always informative, interactive, and tons of fun!
We recapped the basics of cold process soap making, as discussed in our Beginner's Soap Making Workshop. Every oil lends its own unique qualities to a bar of soap, and will optimize a bar's hardness, conditioning qualities, lather and cleansing qualities.
Each oil has its own saponification factor, which requires a different quantity of sodium hydroxide to properly saponify it into soap. If you use too much sodium hydroxide, you will be left with a block of harsh, skin-irritating soap, if you use too little you could be left with an oily, partly unsaponified soap that is prone to rancidity. Measure carefully for perfect results.
If you decide to adjust your soap recipe, be sure to use a Lye Calculator. Our preferred lye calculator can be found here.
A basic equipment and materials list
Digital weight scale
Fats & Oils for your specific recipe
Hand and eye protection
Heat-resistant mixing bowls or jugs
Whisk and spatula
Essential oils or fragrance oils
Additives (optional exfoliants)
Your choice of beer!
- Don’t get sodium hydroxide into contact with skin
- Keep sodium hydroxide properly labelled, in a child-proof container and location.
- First aid - rinse splashed skin with cold water for 30 seconds. If splashed into eyes or mucus membranes, seek medical advice immediately.
- Look out for spinning blades! You can't use a bar of soap if you don't have fingers.
Beer Soap Notes
You can add all kinds of things to soap bars to make them feel better, look better, smell better, clean better, nourish the skin better or lather better.
You can pumpkins, avocados, charcoal, oatmeal, seaweed, goat milk, all kinds of weird and wonderful things, including alcoholic beverages like champagne, cider, mead, wine and beer.
There are a number of reasons why beer is a great additive:
- Moisturizing: hops contain skin softening amino acids that can soothe irritated and inflamed skin.
- Yeast in beer acts as antibacterial agent, great for combating acne.
- Colour. You can get by without using any other colourants. The beer does the job. Try a lager and a stout in two seperate batches to create a great looking two-tone effect.
- Scent. Don’t worry, your soap will not smell like a bartender’s slop bucket - but if your beer has undertones of chocolate or hops or berries, those scents will lend their subtle qualities to your soap, and might just need a little bit of help from a complementary scent.
- Sugars help give your soap a nice fluffy lather
- Marketing. Anything out of the ordinary, especially if it can lend extra value to your product, will help your product stand out from the crowd.
Making beer soap is pretty much the same process as regular soap.
The difference is that instead of using distilled water in our sodium hydroxide solution, we will be using beer.
If we just poured a beer and then added in our pre-measured sodium hydroxide to it, a few things would happen.
- It could froth up like lava and overflow, making a mess and throwing off our measurements.
- The alcohol could interfere with the saponification process
- The sugars in the beer could burn, causing a real stink.
Making our Beer Soap
We chose 10 - 20ml of essential oil or fragrance oil.
Colour is not essential, because the beer naturally transforms colours our bar, but it's good to add a couple of pinches of colourant to enhance the natural, earthy tones of this type of soap. You be the judge!
3. Sodium hydroxide & beer solution
First up, gloves and goggles!
One of the keys to making a successful batch of beer soap is NOT TO BURN THE SUGARS, HOPS, BARLEY AND YEASTS IN THE BEER! We added our pre-measured sodium hydroxide to our beer cubes 25% at a time, while stirring.
4. Soap Oils
Our palm-free soap recipe included the following oils:
250g Coconut Oil
250g Olive Oil
250g Sunflower Oil
100g Castor Oil
50g Cocoa Butter
We warmed these oils up to about 45 celsius. Combined, our soap making temperature will be about 40 celsius.
5. Mix and pour!
With our sodium hydroxide / goat milk solution at an average temperature of about 40 Celcius, we combined them and mixed until they were well emulsified, then we added our scent and mixed again, to fully disperse.
Then, for those of us doing a two-colour soap effect, we divided our soap batter into two containers, added the colourants to each, and mixed some more, until we reached a light or medium trace level - the consistency of a light pancake batter.
We then did swirls, or sandwich effects, or spoon plops, or other creative two colour effects!
Our beer soap is complete!
- We spritzed our soap with isopropyl alcohol to help prevent SODA ASH
- You should cut your soap into bars after 24-72 hours
- LET CURE FOR AT LEAST THREE TO FOUR WEEKS
If you want to repeat this recipe at home, we sell refill kits for $35 which will make the same amount of beer soap that you are making here, re-using the soap mold that you used in the workshop.
The kit contains powdered beer (who knew there was such a thing?!), but you can replace it with real beer if you wish.
Perhaps you could sneakily replace the beer that you use for soap making with some re-constituted powdered beer and then see what the the owner of the beer says when s/he takes a gulp. It could be very entertaining.
Please share your experience with your friends on social media!