Thursday, November 15, 2012

Beer Soap = Success !

I've always had trouble making beer soaps. They come out rough looking, and spotty. Stearic spots. From the beer. I would use the beer as my liquid for mixing with the lye. I would freeze the beer until it was slushy, then slowly mix in my lye stirring stirring stirring. Then line my molds, and mix my oils. But as soon as I would add my beery lye mix to the oils, it would start ricing. I would beat it down with my stick blender, and for a while it would look fine, the ricing smoothed out. Pour it into my molds, at which point I would see the start of more ricing. *sigh* The soap would always be perfectly usable with wonderful beery lather, but not very pretty to look at. I was always disappointed.

This is one of the soaps that have the "stearic spots".  They are the white spots. There is also oatmeal in this soap, so it's a bit hard to see them. Some of the other beer soaps I made were even worse looking and I didn't even take pics of them.


So, taking the cue from soapers on The Dish Forum (a forum for soap makers) I went about a slightly different way. First, I made a concentrate of the beer by boiling it down - well, actually simmered it down. 24 ounces of beer simmered down to 8 ounces. Two hours of simmering beer.  Let cooled down to room temp. I mixed my lye with distilled water, about a 47% solution meaning I used just a little more water then lye. Blended my oils together (olive oil, coconut oil, rice bran oil, grapeseed oil, wheat germ oil). Then, I poured the lye solution into the oils. Stirred a bit, then hit it with the stick blender for about 20 seconds. Now I was ready for the beer concentrate. I very slowly poured the beer into the soap pot, stirring stirring stirring. So far so good. Got all the beer into the pot, kept hand stirring for a while. Hit it with the stick blender a couple of times for 10 seconds at a time. Got it to a medium-thick trace, and poured it into the mold. Again, so far so good! No ricing, no lumping.

Here it is after pouring into the mold. I just used my little 12 inch mold instead of one of my larger 20 inch ones.

This small mold sometimes doesn't insulate and encourage gelling as well as the larger molds do, so I preheated the oven, shut it off and popped the soap in. It gelled wonderfully. Sorry I didn't get a pic of that.

Next day, ready for the cut!

Look at that! Isn't that lovely! Nice and smooth, no spots! I'm a happy camper! :)


LatherBeSoaping said...

Your beer soap looks lovely, Nancy! So creamy! When I use beer in soap, I usually boil the beer for about 5-10 minutes the day before and then chill it in the fridge overnight. (I use chilled distilled water to make up any difference due to evaporation.) Then I gradually add the lye to it and stir the solution in an ice bath to keep the temps low. That technique has worked out well for me so far, knock on wood. Congrats again on your beer batch! It looks beautiful.

Aunt Nancy said...

Thanks, Jenny! :) Whenever I try using the method you use, it just doesn't work for me. Maybe I don't go slow enough when adding the lye to the beer. Somewhere in that process I don't do something right! I made another small batch today, just to make sure it wasn't just a fluke. LOL