Since I’ve been making, and selling, soap with beer, I’ve had people ask me how do you do that? It’s definitely a special process from a usual soap, and it’s not a last-minute project. You gotta plan ahead if you want to make beer soap. Gotta have flat beer.
I start with a 12 ounce bottle of beer, pour it into a small saucepan, and bring it to a boil. Then I simmer it for about three minutes. After that, I pour the beer into an open container and place it in the refrigerator for at least one day (uncovered) until using. This process is all about first burning off the alcohol in the simmering, then releasing the carbonation by leaving it sitting in an open container for at least 24 hours. (The reason I place the open container in the refrigerator is because of those little bugs that love yeasty things! We don’t want beer-bug soap, just beer soap!) Releasing the alcohol and carbonation makes the subsequent combination with lye a safe thing to do. You don’t want to mix an alcoholic carbonated liquid with lye.
Of course, you lose some of the beer to the simmering and the evaporation, so don’t expect to have 12 ounces of beer when you’re done. Depending on your recipe, you’ll have to add some amount of water back to add up to the required amount of liquid. You’ll lose about 30-40% of the beer. OR you could use a beer and a half (and drink the other half, if you like beer). OR you could do what I do, which is rather than adding water, I add goat’s milk to make a combination beer and goat’s milk soap.
Will the soap end up smelling like beer? Not really, but they sell ale-scented fragrance oils, so you could try that. I think beer goes great with citrus, so I use orange and patchouli essential oils in mine.
Why use beer in soap at all? Beer adds lather and conditioning to soap.
By the way, you can use this same simmer-evaporation process to make soaps using other types of alcohol, such as wine. Though I think this is a misuse of wine personally. (Ha ha.)
If you want to learn how in person, I have two upcoming all-day soapmaking workshops, November 19 and December 10. (The November 19 date is nearly filled, but I have a number of openings for December 10.) We’ll be making both hot and cold process soaps, including goat’s milk, beer, green tea, and liquid soap, plus homemade aloe vera body lotion, and you’ll learn how to use a soap calculator to create your own recipes. You can find out more about the soapmaking workshops here.
Or, visit my Soap Store if you just want to buy some!