Well, I now officially have 10 batches of soap under my belt! This week’s Great Cakes Soapworks challenge was to use alcohol in our soap, so I decided to go with beer for my first attempts. I watched Amy’s video at around 1am, so needless to say, I think I forgot some of the things she said… And when I was planning out my recipe, my internet was down, so I couldn’t refresh my memory! I went for it anyway. Why not?! I’m finding that I’m much braver than I thought.
For my first try, I replaced the water with cold, flat light beer that I had on hand and used my normal recipe with a 33% lye solution. Other than the beer causing the lye solution to smell, there really was not much difference at all between this batch and the others I’ve made. It may have traced a little bit sooner, but certainly not much. Maybe this is because it was light beer with fewer sugars? I even separated a bit out to whiten, then layer and swirl for contrast. It was thicker than I’d like when I poured, but the final product turned out smooth and creamy. I used the cold process oven process method with this one, cooking the soap at 170 degrees for a full 2 hours and watching it closely to make sure it didn’t volcano. I left it overnight, then cut into it the next morning. Success!
Here’s the only problem: I didn’t have any fragrances on hand that I thought lent themselves well to a beer smell, so I decided to make my own essential oil blend (another first) using peppermint, spearmint, and lemon eucalyptus oils. BIG MISTAKE! I thought that the lemon would bring out the beer smell, not realizing that the beer smell completely disappears! Plus I didn’t have straight lemon, so I chose lemon eucalyptus, thinking it would be mellow. SO. NOT. MELLOW. I only used about one part lemon eucalyptus to two parts each of the mints, but it is so much stronger than the mints. It actually makes my stomach turn! It might even repel bugs! After a few days of curing, the lemon eucalyptus is dissipating. Maybe I’ll be able to use this after all.
Since I was so disappointed with the smell of my first beer soap and feeling a bit dejected, I had to try again! My internet was back up and running, so I reviewed the video and other posts about alcohol soaping. Realizing that I’d done a few things that weren’t recommended, I changed up my recipe a bit and increased my liquids to 38% beer as a percentage of oils (especially since I was doing hot process). Now knowing that the beer smell goes away, I chose a lovely strawberries and champagne fragrance. Looking back, I wish I’d tried using champagne instead! Maybe next time!
Hot processing the beer batter was fun! It certainly didn’t have to cook very long. I watched carefully to make sure I didn’t get a crock volcano, but never had any signs of one. After the cook, I added red mica to part of the soap and glopped the two colors in the mold. There are a few small air pockets, but I like the final result! Smells lovely and has a creamy, bubbly lather.
Now I’ll have to venture into making some other alcohol soaps! This, like all of the other challenges, was super fun! I love seeing the beautiful creations of everyone else involved in the challenge. Check out the other participants’ results here!