Recently another soapmaker gave a challenge to create a soap using an alcohol
based drink. Well it got my interest and I have been reading everything I can
find on using beer as an ingredient in soap.
I am not a beer drinker and had no knowledge of what makes one beer better
than another beer, so I did a little investigation. I found there are two basic categories for beer, ales and lagers, and there are many different types. Ales include stouts, brown and pale ales, wheat beers and the lagers includes bocks and pilsner, and then these get broken into more categories. I am not going to go too deep researching specific beers but I needed to learn enough so I could make a beer soap and use oils, additives and scents that will work together. I asked a few of my beer drinking friends what they liked about specific beers and found that helpful as well.
But why beer in soap in the first place? Beer is made with hops. Hops is known as a relaxing and calming herb, and has polyphenols which may account for its anti-bacterial and preservative qualities in beer. It has amino acids that contribute to its skin softening properties. Beer has often been used as a hair rinse as the hops and wheat contributes conditioning effects and shine. The beneficial properties in beer are carried over into the soap and creates additional lather.
To use beer in soap it needs to be flat and the alcohol boiled out or the beer will react to the lye mixture and volcano, according to other season soapmakers. Since I am not knowledgable about chemistry I carefully took in this information to be properly prepared.
I recently made a trip to Missouri with friends who are wine drinkers and we stopped at winery on the way. As I was looking over the little store I found they produced a special line of beers. We all agreed that the cocoa stout sounded very interesting so a bottle came home with me. I made a small sample batch and added cocoa butter, cocoa powder and coffee grounds to add interest as well as a chocolate fragrance oil to enhance the subtle hint of chocolate and coffee. I am very pleased with the results and will be creating more beer soaps in the near future.
UPDATE on BEER SOAPS - originally posted June 13, 2012
Well I have certainly been having fun creating soaps with beer! I had no idea there
were so many choices when it came to beer! For Mother's Day one of my daughters and her husband got me beer (pretty funny since I don't drink beer!). They had a lot of fun picking out some very different beers... including a milk stout! Last week another friend left a six pack on my table of some fruity beers. What fun
to scout out the online fragrances and try to match scents with the flavors for each of these beers to create some new soaps. Can't wait to make some more!