Octoberfest Beer Soap Recipe & Directions! Natural Homemade Soap With Cedarwood and Spices
Mr. V. brought home some craft beer the other day, and it was perfect for the harvest season! Dark, with caramel overtones, it was a wonderful-smelling brew. I asked him for two bottles so I could make a new hot process soap recipe with it to see how it turns out. (I'm not much of a beer drinker, so he could spare two of these lovely bottles. I just enjoy smelling it! :-) Here's how to make handmade soap using beer, perfect for the Fall season!
This handmade soap recipe is for the hot process method, although I'm sure you could convert it to cold process just fine. It's got a 5% superfat, and feels and smells perfect for Fall and holiday gifting! The oils I used in this recipe combine to create a wonderful lather with a great balance between conditioning and cleansing. It's a really nice soap that you and your man will enjoy using! You can run it through the soap calculator at SoapCalc to see how wonderful it is!
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How to Make a Fall Soap Using Beer: Perfect for Octoberfest & Holiday Gift Giving
The method for making hot process soap is identical to cold process, except you heat the soap. Heating the soap helps the saponification (the chemical reaction between the oils and lye solution) happen quickly and eliminates any lye so the soap can be used right away. With cold process, the soap must cure for around six weeks before it can be safely used.
This is the main reason I like the hot process method. But...the cold process way has some wonderful benefits too. You can find out more in this article, Cold Process vs. Hot Process: Which is Better? so you can decide which style you'd like to use. For this article, I'm going to show you the steps for making hot process soap.
For a very complete tutorial with pictures of the entire hot process method, you'll want to read through these articles if you are new to making soap and working with lye. Make Your Own Hot Process Soap in 12 Easy Steps and Lavender-Rosemary Vanilla Pink Clay Hot Process Soap.
This Fall soap recipe makes approximately three pounds of soap, so be sure you use a mold large enough. I like a mold that is about 10 (long) x 3 1/2 (wide) x 2 1/4 (high). This gives my loaves a little "bread top," which I like to cut up to make Soap Balls. Plus, if I cut off the top, it leaves a very smooth top, similar to a regular bar of soap---very nice.
More Tools You'll Need to Make Hot Process Soap
** A large crockpot with a manual setting. You don't need anything fancy.
** A kitchen scale, digital---this is a MUST because ingredients need to be measured with accuracy.
** A hand blender--another MUST, or you'll find yourself stirring for hours, literally.
** Wooden spoons for stirring your soap down
** Heat resistant measuring containers. I'm in love with Pyrex pitchers.
** Safety gloves & glasses. I just use an old pair of rubber gardening gloves, and you can pick up safety glasses at your nearby hardware store.
** Soap Mold
Ingredients for Your Fall Beer Soap
The Lye Solution:
** 15 ounces Beer, flat and reduced with no alcohol (directions below)
** 7.2 ounces Sodium Hydroxide (lye)
The Oil Mixture:
** 15 ounces organic Olive Oil (best prices I've found is from Costco, and same for the Coconut Oil)
** 15 ounces Coconut Oil
** 12 ounces Almond Oil
** 6 ounces Shea Butter
** 1.5 ounces Castor Oil
Scent & Color:
The color will come from the dark beer. This soap turns out a lovely amberish brown, and the caramel scent of the beer adds to the essential oils I used.
For the scent, I used:
** 1 ounce Cinnamon Essential Oil
** 1 ounce Cedarwood Essential Oil (Use Texas or Virginia species, NOT Atlas)
** .5 ounce Clove Essential Oil
** .5 ounce Patchouli Essential Oil to ground the scents
NOTE: Mr. V. recommends changing the essential oil blend to 1.5 ounces Cedarwood and no Patchouli. He LOVES Cedarwood essential oil and is not so fond of Patchouli, although half an ounce is not much in this soap. We both like the way it turned out as above, but you might want to make your own adjustments.
ANOTHER NOTE: The essential oil links above are for Amazon, and mostly for the NOW brand, which I've heard from others is good for making soap because you can get a bit of quantity without the high price tag.
My favorite place to buy my soap making essential oils, though is through Starwest Botanicals. They have quality essential oils I trust, and the prices are good, too.
AND ONE FINAL NOTE: I like highly scented soap, so feel free to cut the essential oil amounts in half if you would like a lighter scented soap. You'll also save a bit of money this way, too.
Directions for Making Octoberfest Beer Soap
You'll need your two bottles of dark beer. Open them up and pour them into a saucepan. Cook them gently for about 10-15 minutes to release the alcohol. Then, leave them overnight to go all the way flat.
I just placed my pan on our wood stove for a few hours, and the next day, I had a perfect 16 ounces of flat beer. You'll need 15 ounces for this recipe!
Pour your lye into the beer. Stir well, and let sit while you measure out your oils. NOTE: Never pour liquid into the lye, as you may end up with a volcano. Always pour the dry lye into the liquid.
Now, measure out the oils from the Oil Mixture section above into your crock pot. Set the temperature on LOW and allow the oils to melt together.
Once the oils are melted, pour your lye solution into the crockpot with the oils. Using your hand blender, stir until trace is reached. Refer to How to Make Hot Process Soap if you're not sure what trace should look like. When trace is reached, put your lid on the crock pot, and let it cook!
You may see your soap "climbing" up the sides of the crock pot. No worries! Just put on your safety gloves and using your wooden spoon, stir it down really well. You may need to do this two or three times during the cooking phase.
I've heard some soap makers don't stir their soap, however, I think stirring speeds up the process, and you definitely don't want your caustic soap climbing out of the crock pot. It's a dangerous, hot mess.
Once your soap is translucent and waxy, it's done. Refer to the articles above for more specific directions on how to know for sure when it's finished.
How long does the hot process soap need to cook?
I get this question a lot, and honestly, it depends on a number of factors. The size and heat capability of the crock pot, the actual soap recipe itself, and the temperatures of the oil and lye at the initial mix are just some of the factors.
This recipe takes about 45 minutes to 1 hour and 15 minutes to fully cook.
When your soap is done, it's time to turn off the crock pot, and let it sit for about 5 minutes. Then stir in your essential oils really well. Turning off the crock pot lets your soap cool just a little before your pour in your essential oils. I don't always do this and it's not ever been a problem. But the essential oils do break down somewhat with the extreme heat. Don't worry--you'll still have wonderfully scented soap.
Now it's time to scoop your soap into the soap mold. Be sure to press it down REALLY well to eliminate air pockets. These air pockets will create ugly holes in your soap you don't want.
Now just let your soap cool down for several hours until it is easy to release from the soap mold. I like to let it sit overnight.
If you want to cut off your bread top, you can do that after about an hour of cooling (if you want to form it into cute soap balls) or you can cut it off before you release it from the mold. OR you can just leave it alone, and you'll have beautiful large rustic soap bars.
With hot process soap loaves, you can leave your block intact and just cut it as you need to use it. Or, if you want, you can cut all your bars right away.
Although hot process soap doesn't require a curing time like cold process soap, you'll find your soap will harden up over the next few days.
Final Thoughts on This Fall Beer Soap Recipe
This was a great experiment, and I'm glad I tried it! I'll definitely be making more of this soap as Fall comes along. Mr. V. and I both love it, as do several of my neighbors who have given their opinions. Now that I've used beer with my tried and true recipe, I'll be using it with some of my other good recipes, too, like my Meadowfoam & Shea Butter Hot Process Soap or my Mango-Avocado Anti-Aging Soap.
Beer soap made with a dark lager or Fall flavor is wonderful to use for this seasonal soap. I love the color and the scent. The scent is a little on the manly side because of the Cedarwood, but I think the addition of the Cinnamon & Clove essential oils sweeten it just right.
What are your favorite Fall scents to use in soap? And have you ever tried making soap made with beer before? I'd love your thoughts, so leave a comment in the comments section!
You may also enjoy these articles:
* Spearmint & Frankincense (I call this "Third Eye" soap) Hot Process Soap Recipe
Also---if you want to get started making your own hot process soaps with confidence, you'll love my eBook: Creating Hot Process Soaps. You'll learn everything you need to customize and create your own hot process soaps!
Hugs, Health, & Self-Reliance,
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