This week’s challenge is going to be fun! We are making soap with alcoholic beverages. The sugars and alcohol create loads of lather, but they also create challenges when you put them in soap! If you’ve never made a soap with alcohol before, I suggest starting with beer. It will still be a challenge – trust me! Besides, beer soaps have great label appeal. I’ve had LOTS of people make comments on my Patchouli Beer Bars at the farmer’s market and other events.
Here are a couple things to expect when you make soap with alcohol:
1. Your lye solution is going to STINK and heat up fast. Be sure to add the lye to completely FLAT beer. I have even started boiling the alcohol out of the beer before cooling it down. And that’s the other thing – make sure the beer is REALLY cold. You might even use an ice bath while pouring in the lye – and pour SLOWLY while stirring. This is a serious safety precaution. If your lye solution heats up too fast, it will bubble up and OUT of the container. Yes, it has happened to me! Fortunately, it was contained to my glass cook-top stove.
2. Your soap is going to SET UP FAST. Use the full liquid amount and cooler temps (80-90°F/27-32°C max) to help slow it down. You will also want to add any (well-behaved) fragrance to the oils before adding the lye solution to make sure they get fully incorporated. There have been times when I didn’t even use a stick blender in my beer soap because it set up so fast. Do NOT expect to add any fancy swirls to your beer or alcohol soap.
I have a photo tutorial on how to make beer soap here, if you’d like to check it out. I’ve changed my methods just a bit since then, but the photos are pretty good.
Wine soaps are also pretty popular, and can be made using the same method as the beer soap. Since I make beer soaps on a regular basis, I decided to try something new for the challenge – and it’s not wine. Check out my video. Seriously, if you are going to try something other than beer or wine, please watch the video:
Wishing you all a very blessed Easter Sunday!!