I’ve been wanting to make beer soap for ages, and I’m pleased to say I finally got around to doing it! A friend of mine makes beer (and great beer, at that!) and had some mostly flat stuff that he passed off to me for soaping purposes. And it worked brilliantly! I’m hooked—all my friends now have open invitations to dispose of their flat beer with me.
I scented it with essential oils of orange, lime, and pink grapefruit, with just a hint of cloves. Then, I toasted up some pearl barley (because beer is made from barley, of course!) and ground it up to add to the soap for a bit of exfoliation.
To start with, I made sure the beer was super, super flat. I froze half of it into ice cubes, and left the rest out at room temperature. I also melted the fats ahead of time and let them cool all the way to room temperature—no matching 120°F temperature points here, you want everything to be as cool as possible as soap containing beer reaches trace extremely quickly, so you’ll be matching the lye water and melted fats around room temperature instead.
When it came to making the lye solution, I used about 60% beer ice cubes, and 40% liquid beer. For the first time ever, I made the mixture outside to ensure I had great ventilation, since beer + lye = big chemical stink. I added the lye very, very slowly—sprinkle, stir, dissolve, repeat. Even with all that ice I ended up having to chill the mixture even further in an ice water bath to get it down to room temperature (~70–80°F).
When it came time to add the lye water to the fats, things moved very quickly, so I was glad I had the essential oils, clay, and toasted barley all sitting there, ready to add. I reached trace in less than two minutes without using my immersion blender, and then quickly stirred in the essential oils, the clay, and the barley, and then poured everything into the mould.
Beer soap doesn’t need to be insulated, so the mould just sat out on my counter for the next day while it saponified. In the end I had a slightly greenish, citrus scented (with a hint of root beer, oddly enough), creamy soap with wee flecks of barley. Brilliant!
Citrussy Beer Soap
40% olive oil (pomace) (USA / Canada)
25% refined coconut oil (USA / Canada)
15% unrefined shea butter (USA / Canada)
15% lard or beef tallow
5% castor oil (USA / Canada)
Per 500g (1.1lbs) oils:
- 1 tbsp rhassoul clay (or any other beige/brown clay)
- 2 tbsp toasted, ground barley
- 30g citrus essential oils of choice, with a tiny hint of clove EO
Instead of water, use very flat beer (I used a lighter wheat ale here)
If you’re not familiar with soap making, review my basic instructions and work in what I discussed above. Above all; go slowly and keep things cool!
Aaaahhh! You are so awesome-again!
Awww, shucks 🙂 Thanks!
I think these would make good Father’s day gifts too! Does it make you smell like beer though? I imagine not but I could see how that wouldn’t be appealing. I could see how alcohol could be used as a gentle cleanser and help dissolve oils. I would love to try some. I’ve never seen or heard of it before!
Have you ever thought about a kombucha soap? I know that can be used as an astringent.
It doesn’t make you smell like beer! The final product actually smells kind of like root beer, but that’s more the blend of the citrus and clove essential oils than the beer—it really just vanishes in the scent department (meaning you are safe for your morning drive to work, lol). I haven’t thought of trying kombucha soap, but I’m keen now! First I have to start making my own…
I first thought to do this as a DIY with my daughter to give her dad but decided it’s a bit more than what I’d like to take on with her but would love to order some- do you have this for sale?
I don’t sell anything I make, sorry! Maybe someday…
I will definitely try this recipe. By the way, I think that if you put the barley into a coffee grinder rather than the food processor, it might just work better. I had a problem with flax seed in the processor, but the coffee grinder had the job done in a jiffy. Thanks for all your great articles!
Just wanted to say hello and Im so happy that Ive found you : ) A few months back I became interested in making my own body products, and started out with soap. Since then, Ive made a few deodorants and facial cleansers. Looking forward to continuing this journey, and your blog is going to be a huge help to me. Love the simplicity and passion you have for your craftiness. I think this beer soap is next on my list! Thanks again!!
Yay! Thanks for reading, Rachel 🙂 Let me know how the beer soap turns out for you, I had a lot of fun with it (minus the stink of the lye beer… ick lol).
Yeah… I destroyed my DIY things coffee maker 🙁 Boooo. This wee little food processor is all Value Village had when I went to replace it. I’ll keep looking, apparently second hand coffee makers are popular for more, err, nefarious hobbies.
I love this idea. I haven’t made soap before, but I have your tutorial and everything I need except the lye, which I’ve ordered. First, I’ll make a couple batches of plain old scented soap to get practiced up. I’m going to wait until my hops are ready so I can dry some to incorporate into this particular recipe. I’m not a beer maker so I’m excited to be able to use the hops in something like this. I’m new to DIY. As a baker who no longer bakes (much) because of health concerns, this gives my my measure-and-mix fix!
Awesome! I really wanted to work hops into mine as well, but I didn’t have any. I found some, though, so they will be in the next batch! I, too, have ended up diluting my baking with other (non-edible) DIY endeavours—I think it has been very good for my waist line 😛
Speaking of using hops in beer…I found a soap company that used hops oil in their beer. http://www.hoptech.com has several varieties o hops oil. However at $15.95 per 2 oz. bottle, it’s a bit expensive. However, I know that some enterprising reader will surely attempt to use hops oil in their beer soap and let us all know about it…right 🙂
Ooooh! Very cool. My parents grow hops in their garden so I’m hoping to kidnap some to add to a beer soap in the future, but I’ve never heard of the oil before. I wonder what it smells like… hmmm.
I made this soap today and as I was making it I have a question about what you do once you put the soap in the mold. Do you insulate your beer soaps? I’ve read some pros/cons regarding this method for beer soaps and since I am using your recipe I would like to know your opinion on this.
BTW, are you still holding the monthly drawing for one bar of soap?
I don’t believe I insulated this, though I did leave it upstairs (rather than taking it to my colder basement) as the mould was so full, so it may have basically ended up being the same. That said, I never really do a big insulation with towels and hot mitts and what not, I just wrap the mould in a folded up sheet.
When I first started my blog back in the fall of 2011 I was doing some monthly draws to try and drum up interest, so a few of my earlier entries still have mentions of the giveaways. They are, however, well and truly over, with the prizes having been awarded and sent off well over 2 years ago now 🙂
How do you cover your soap while it saponifies? Do you have any issues with soda ash? There are so many solutions online but mostly people recommend soaping hotter, which obviously you don’t want to do with beer soap, or spraying with alcohol.
I generally do cover my soap while it saponifies, though I don’t remember if I did for this one. Some of my batches end up going a bit ashy, though most don’t… and I really don’t care that much 😛 I don’t sell anything, and I sort of like the way the ash looks on the top of bars.
I’d love to try to make something like this for my husband but I’m sure it’s too late to order on line, do you know where I could find tallow or lye in stores? I’m in Red Deer…
Hi Melanie! Thank you so much for telling me where you live, it makes it so much easier to recommend places—especially since we’re in the same province! Home Hardware sells lye in 1kg and 4kg jugs, and they’ve never made me fill out a release or anything when buying it, which is nice. As for tallow, try asking at a local butcher. It’s often a waste product, and they are usually happy to get rid of it. Do be sure to bargain a good price ($1/lb or lower) as there’s often quite a lot of waste, and that can really raise the cost after you toss out the waste. If you can’t get tallow, pure lard (from the baking aisle at the grocery store) is a good alternative 🙂
Groovy site, I just love it thanks.
May I ask what super fatting is and/or what lye reduction is?
I have searched on the internet and can’t find a single answer.
I’m a newbie, I’ve tried about 6 times to make soap and haven’t had any success yet. Woe is me, lol. Thanks, Kim
Hi Kim! I chat about superfatting in this post 🙂 You should also check out this and this for starter soaping 🙂 Also, I always recommend my all in one bar as a great starter bar—many readers have made it as their first batch and had great success!
I was so thrilled to remember seeing you’d done a post on beer soap! I’ve found my face likes beer bars even better than goat soap, so the idea of making my own is very appealing. I ended up trying an idea I saw in the comments on the cinnamon swirl soap about the room temperature process – prep lye solution the night before, let cool overnight. Measure the oils in the am and let the lye do the work of melting everything together. I figured since the beer gets so hot this would be a good mix to try it with. It worked really well! (Using your all-in-one formula minus the clay) I chopped up the tallow really small and made sure to mash up the Shea butter a bit. I did have to use my immersion blender to blitz in the Shea as it didn’t want to melt and gave me a good scare. But, all went well! Woohoo! You weren’t kidding about trace thickening quickly either. Extra bonus to doing everything cool method.
I used some old home brew that my bf’s buddy made ages ago and tasted awful – it’s really dark – and left out the eo’s and all the extras (as none of those are listed on the beer bars I’ve been using). It came out a really awesome caramelly color, or like maple candy (don’t lick the soap!)
And, because I saw other comments wondering, if you leave out the eo’s, etc, it does smell like beer. It gets very mild as it cures though and is a very kind of warm scent, not at all unpleasant. It took me a short time using beer bars to get used to it, but now I’m in love with them!
Thank you so much Marie for sharing this recipe and it’s steps with us!
Hi KM! Thanks so much for sharing your lye-melting soaping experience, I’ll definitely have to give that a try in the future 🙂 And your final soap sounds fantastic!
They smell amazing! Very mild and warm and smooth. Almost creamy smelling. I can’t wait to get to use them! *bounces excitedly* (They’re still curing :/ )
And yes, try out that melting method. It’s cuts the time down even more since you don’t have to wait for the oils to cool. I still can’t believe how slick it worked out. 😀
It occurs to me that I have a bottle of dark looking (somewhat dodgy) beer in my fridge… perhaps this should be its fate!