Skip to main content

How to make soap with beer (and tallow)

I may have mentioned this before.... soap making is addictive!  Once you start, you just want to keep making more soap.  And not the same soap, you want to try all sorts of different soaps.  I made the mistake of joining a facebook group called Saponification Nation and now my facebook newsfeed is full of glorious soaps, in all colours and shapes, which makes it even harder to resist the urge to experiment.  One soap that kept popping up a few weeks ago was soap made with beer.




I generally prefer not to use ingredients just for the sake of it, I like to know that they are adding something to the properties of the finished soap.  As you know, I don't like to use artificial ingredients either (colours or fragrances).  When I read about beer in soap I found out that beer adds sugar to the mixture, which increases lather.  I use tallow in my soap, which has limited lather, so anything that adds lather could improve the soap.  It also contributes a tan or brown colour to the soap depending on the beer and the concentration.

For this soap I used Coopers stout, which is a rich dark beer.  Before making soap, the beer must have no bubbles left, so you can either leave it in an open vessel for a few hours or boil it and let it cool - this also increases the concentration of sugars and colour.  I chose to boil the stout for about an hour, which reduced it to around half the original volume.  

I didn't add any fragrance to this soap as I wanted to try using oil infused with hops.  I had some hops in the fridge from our beer-making hobby (I also had some toasted barley, which I used on top of the soap).  I infused the hops in olive oil using the waterbath method, and the oil smelt very hoppy before making the soap, however the fragrance did not transfer to the finished soap, or only a very subtle whiff anyway. It mostly just smells faintly like scorched beer.




To use the beer in the soap, you replace the water in the lye solution with beer.  As the caustic soda dissolves in the beer, the sugars scorch, which causes the smell.  Next time I will use an essential oil to cover this (the same thing happens with my coffee soap).

Tallow Beer Soap Recipe
This is the recipe I used, but you can just substitute beer for water in your favourite soap recipe if you want to use different oils.

900 g beef tallow
100 g olive oil infused with hops
131 g caustic soda
300-330 mL flat beer - I used a dark stout, which I also concentrated
Roasted barley to top

Follow instructions in this post or wait for my tallow soap ebook coming VERY soon....  it includes information about working with tallow and a beginners guide to making soap at home, plus 10 tallow soap recipes with step by step instructions.



The results of this experiment were interesting.  I love the colour.  As I said above, the hops smell didn't really come out in the soap.  The lather is no different from plain tallow soap I think.  I'm not sure if its worth the effort of preparing the beer, but it is a nice gimmick for a gift, particularly for men (although some may prefer to have the beer separately).

What do you think?  Have you tried making soap with beer or other weird ingredients?




Comments

  1. I love all of your soap concoctions Liz. That reminds me, I must stock up on our soap and use up some of the tallow in my freezer.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Amazing, first that I have heard of that recipe. I grow hops and really love the smell so the soap must be wonderful with a hint of hops.

    ReplyDelete
  3. wow that soap looks deliciously edible!
    lovely colour
    thanx for sharing

    ReplyDelete
  4. I just observe in awe Liz. I think I am in more awe of how you find the time to do all this stuff as much as anything!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Liz it looks great. I can't wait to try tallow soap this year sometime.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I had to share this with everyone! We're a big homebrewers so now we're even more excited to brew beer!

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Thanks, I appreciate all your comments, suggestions and questions, but I don't always get time to reply right away. If you need me to reply personally to a question, please leave your email address in the comment or in your profile, or email me directly on eight.acres.liz at gmail.com

Popular posts from this blog

What to do with eight acres

Behind the scenes of my blog I can see the search terms that led people to find my blog.  It can be quite interesting to look through them occasionally and see what people are looking for.  Most of them involve chicken tractors, but another question that comes up regularly is “what can you do with eight acres?” or “how much land is eight acres?”.  Today I will try to answer this question.

Of course it is a very broad question, there are lots and lots of things you can do with eight acres, but I’m going to assume that you want to live there, feed your family and maybe make a little extra money.  I make that assumption because that’s what I know about, if you want to do something else with your eight acres, you will need to look somewhere else.

If you haven’t chosen your land yet, here a few things to look for.  Focus on the things you can’t change and try to choose the best property you can find in your price range.  Look for clean water in dams, bores or wells, either on the property …

Growing and eating chokos (chayotes)

** Sign up for my weekly email updates here, you will find out more about my garden, soap and our farmlife, straight to your inbox, never miss a post!  New soap website and shop opening soon....

Cooking chokos (not be confused with another post about cooking chooks) has been the subject of a few questions on my blog lately, so here's some more information for you.
Chokos - also known as Chayote, christophene or christophine, cho-cho, mirliton or merleton, chuchu, Cidra, Guatila, Centinarja, Pipinola, pear squash, vegetable pear, chouchoute, güisquil, Labu Siam, Ishkus or Chowchow, Pataste, Tayota, Sayote - is a vine belonging to the Cucurbitaceae family, along with pumpkins, squash and melons, with the botanical name Sechium edule.


The choko contains a large seed, like a mango, but if you pick them small enough it is soft enough to eat.  If you leave the choko for long enough it will sprout from one end and start to grow a vine.  To grow the choko, just plant the sprouted choko a…

How to make coconut yoghurt

Lately I have been cutting back on eating dairy.  I know, I know, we own two house cows!  But I am trying to heal inflammation (bad skin) and dairy is one of the possible triggers, so as a last resort and after much resistance, I decided I had better try to cut back.  Its been hard because I eat a LOT of cheese, and cook with butter, and love to eat yoghurt (and have written extensively about making yoghurt).  I had to just give up cheese completely, switch to macadamia oil and the only yoghurt alternative was coconut yoghurt.  I tried it and I like it, but only a spoonful on some fruit here and there because it is expensive!





The brand I can get here is $3 for 200 mL containers.  I was making yoghurt from powdered milk for about 50c/L.  So I was thinking there must be a way to make coconut yoghurt, but I didn't feel like mucking around and wasting heaps of coconut milk trying to get it right....  and then Biome Eco Store sent me a Mad Millie Coconut Yoghurt Kit to try.  The kit is…