Monday, 11 April 2016

Beer Soap (well, why not?)

Beer SoapBeer Soap

There has been a decidedly yeasty fragrance wafting through the beautiful Derwent Valley in recent weeks, not unlike the smell of bread rising. This is the result of the hops being harvested in one of the oldest operating hop farms in Australia.

I love it! I drive through Bushy Park with my windows down sniffing it up and wondering how I could combine this fabulous fragrance and soap! I still haven't worked that out, but I do know that adding beer to soap is very do-able and, in fact, has the effect of adding lovely bubbles. So I decided to whip up a special bar incorporating a popular local brew ... well, why not?

Making the Soap

The first thing about making beer soap, apparently, is that the beer must be flat and alcohol-free. So I poured my two 375ml cans of beer into a saucepan and let it sit for 24 hours, then boiled it for 5 mins to get rid of the alcohol.

I refrigerated it until cool then added the sodium hydroxide to 330 grams of the beer and froze the rest for another time. As the chemical and beer react with each other a rather powerful smell is given off which I've heard others describe as being unpleasant, but I have to admit I love it - it smells kind of malty or "caramelly", quite edible. The mixture goes quite dark and produces a froth on the top.

Beer SoapBeer SoapBeer Soap

After warming my oils, adding the beer and bringing the mixture to a thin trace, I poured off about 300 mls into a jug and lightened it with a wee bit of titanium dioxide. TD and I have a love/hate relationship so I try not to overuse it - when it works for me it's brilliant, when it doesn't I end up with soft chalky soap which I hate. 

I added the fragrance oil (Brambleberry's Oatmeal Stout) to the rest of the batter in the main soap pot. This FO discolours to brown which I want for the bottom of my soap so that hopefully it will resemble the colour of beer. The top (coloured with the TD) is supposed to resemble beer froth. At least this is my intention!

I poured the main batter into a silicone loaf mould at reasonably thick trace, then carefully poured the white portion over a spatula as a top layer and swirled it up a bit with a kebab stick to try and make it look kind of "frothy". Then I put it to "bed" under a box piled with blankets to encourage a full gel. (The sign says, "Soap saponifying, please do not disturb"), although my family doesn't really need reminding what's underneath all those strange piles of blankets on tables all over the house.
Night night ...

Beer Soap 

The following morning my baby had firmed up beautifully and came out of its mould easily. Looks pretty good to me! 
Beer Soap

RECIPE: Beer Soap

400 grams olive oil
250 grams coconut oil
250 grams palm oil
100 grams cocoa butter
330 grams flat, boiled beer
142 grams sodium hydroxide

Beer Soap

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