Beer Soaps: Pumpkin Lager & Raspberry Porter

It’s that time of the year when I make some Beer soaps from Homemade Beer. (I only make them once a year.) The very first soap I made after taking two soaping classes was with beer – I scoured the internet to find as much information I could, which wasn’t much. My soap was very plain – with a few uncolored chunks. I used a round PVC tube, and I had to pry it out of the pipe – not very pretty, but usable.

The progression of my beer soap has not been linear:


2013 Beer Soaps: Oatmeal Stout and Indian Pale Ale:

I then started to use Red Palm Oil – for the great stuff in it – but it caused a lot of acceleration problems and then of course, there is the discolor to work with. I also switched to home made beer – yum!


2014 Beer Soaps: Pumpkin Lager and Oatmeal Stout:


2015 Beer Soaps: Orange Amber Ale (which turned out the best),
Oatmeal Stout, and Raspberry Porter:

Beer of course naturally discolors the soap and it’s been difficult fighting that. Most beer fragrances cause a discolor too, so even though some of the soap photos above have a nice, pumpkin color to them, a couple discolored very badly after the photos were taken (the 2015 Oatmeal Stout turned completely brown on both sides, and ate up the orange color in the middle).

I have since given up on the Red Palm oil and decided to change my tactics. This time I made two batches of soap – one using beer as the liquid and one with distilled water. For the areas I wanted to color, I used the water based soap and the brown areas have beer based soap (with most of the FO).


2016 Beer Soaps: Pumpkin Lager and Raspberry Porter.


Some not too Technical Science Stuff:

I had taken a 22 oz bottle of homemade Octoberfest Beer and cooked out the carbonation and alcohol, reducing it to 15.7 oz. I put that in a 1 gallon freezer bag, laid it flat on a cookie sheet and froze it.

I immediately ran into problems with my soaping plan, as beer is supposed to be measured by volume instead of weight. I have forgotten that in the past and wonder if that has caused some of my acceleration issues.

The easiest thing to do would be to use a hydrometer and check the specific gravity of my cooked beer. (Yes, we have one of those – for making wine & beer.) However, that doesn’t work with frozen beer!

So I came up with a plan B: cook another beer (I see more beer soap in my future.) Of course, I am out of 22 oz bottles of Octoberfest, so I used 2 – 12 oz bottles of homemade Chocolate Oatmeal Stout beer. By weight, that gave me 24.25 oz. I cooked that down to 17.4 oz (by weight) – which was the same percentage as the first beer. I poured it into my most accurate measuring cup, and that gave me 18 oz by volume.

The weight of the beer turned out to be about 96% of the volume of the beer. My recipe below calls for 14.52 of liquid by weight, so by volume I needed 15.12 oz of beer. I had 15.7 oz of frozen beer by weight which would have been 16.35 oz by volume.

In doing this little experiment I realized that my previous acceleration issues were not caused by the differences between weight & volume of beer, as the calculations are too small to worry about. But now I know!

Of course this was not very scientific, as Octoberfest and Oatmeal Stout are not exactly the same – they may have a different specific gravity and weight. And you can continue to cook down your beer to a very concentrated consistency too.

On to soaping….

The Plan:

First Batch:
Master Batch Oils #4; 44 oz Oils – 64 oz batter
(August 1, 2016 Blog recipe)
Oils: 44 oz/ 1247 grams
5% Lye: 6.24 oz/ 177 grams
Distilled Water: 14.52 oz/ 412 grams
Sodium Lactate: 13 grams

Second Batch:
Master Batch Oils #4; 44 oz Oils –  64 oz batter
Oils: 44 oz/ 1247 grams
5% Lye: 6.24 oz/ 177 grams
Frozen Beer (by volume): 14.52/ 412 grams
Sodium Lactate: 13 grams

I planned out my soap recipes and made both batches the same size, as I would be using an equivalent amount of beer soap and water-based soap for my designs, with a few ounces extra – just in case.

I lined up all my containers, colors, & FO’s for both batches. I mixed up the lye-water for the first batch. When it cooled to 125 degrees, I started on my lye-beer, which only reached 73 degrees.

I made the first batch of soap – the lye-water was at 110 degrees and the oils were at 105 degrees. I stick-blended till emulsified and poured into all the containers for coloring (with about 6 oz left over).

I then strained the lye-beer liquid into the oils and I was left with a few tiny pieces of undissolved lye in the sieve. I then blended the second batch to emulsification, but I think I mixed this one just a little bit past that (it’s harder to eyeball milk/beer etc, as it’s not as translucent as the water-based soap).


First Soap – Pumpkin Lager

BB Pumpkin Lager: This is a discontinued scent, but is wonderful: pumpkin, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, vanilla sugar, rum. 6% Vanilla. Accelerates trace; discolors to dark brown.

Batter/ Colors/ Scent; 52 oz in 3 lb mold; 3 oz of FO:
15 oz brown (CC Brown Sparkle mica) using beer batter & 1.5 oz FO
Dust with BB Copper Sparkle mica line
5 oz orange (BB Nuclear Orange) with .15 oz Vanilla Stabilizer (VS)
5 oz yellow (TKB #10 Lake Yellow) with .15 oz VS
Dust with Copper mica line
15 oz brown (CC Brown Sparkle mica) using beer batter & 1.5 oz FO
Dust with Copper mica line
5 oz red (BB Merlot Mica & Electric Bubblegum) with .15 oz VS
5 oz orange (BB Nuclear Orange) with .15 oz VS
Top swirled with Gold, Cappuccino & Copper mica oil

I added color to all my containers and Vanilla Stabilizer to the ones that I wanted to prevent the brown migrating into. (I know that in CP this only will last for 4-9 months and will not guarantee bleeding of vanilla. But I think it helps).

I added half my scent to the first cup of brown, poured it into the mold, dusted on a copper mica line (using a fine mesh tea ball). I then continued with subsequent layers, finishing with orange on top and decorating with a few dots of brown batter and gold, brown, & copper mica oil – all swirled together.

I think this is the first time I have made serious mica lines, although I did not get them too heavy, for fear of the soap breaking apart at the demarcations when using it.

I haven’t done much layering in the past, but the 5 oz of each color was very slim. I knew this would be the case and thought it would look fine if the two colors merged a little.

Sadly the red seemed to turn into a vibrant pink, which was not what I was going for. In hindsight, I should have taken the time to mix in more Merlot mica…I felt the need to work quickly to get both soap batches done, which was foremost on my mind.

Version 2


Version 3

Close Up


The Un-molding:


You can see the distinct layer of pink (which was supposed to be red)


The top has gotten lighter and a more pumpkin color


Close up – nice gold, copper, & brown mica swirls. It’s more beautiful in person!


The Cut:



If you look closely, you can see the Copper mica lines.




Second Soap – Raspberry Porter

BB Raspberry Porter: This is also a discontinued scent and I just bought more on clearance to be able to continue making this soap. This fruity beer fragrance is a combination of Sun Ripened Raspberry, squeezed Lemon, and a winey fruit scent with hints of Green Leaf and Rose. Behaves wonderfully in cold process soap but loses some of the sweet notes leaving you with a spicy raspberry scent. No A. Discolors Tan.

Batter/ Colors/ Scent; 64 oz in 4 lb Vertical mold with 4 dividers; 4 oz of FO:
16 oz brown (CC Brown Sparkle mica) with 1.5 oz FO using beer batter
16 oz red (BB Merlot mica & Electric Bubblegum) with .5 oz FO
16 oz Natural (light brown beer color) with 1.5 oz FO using beer batter
16 oz Pink (BB Radiant Plum) with .5 oz FO

I added extra dividers in my vertical mold to give me four sections. By now the beer soap batter was a bit stiff, and past medium trace (that extra stir at emulsification made a difference and it shows me that the beer batter sets up a little bit quicker too). The distilled water batter was still at a light trace.

I had hoped to swirl all the sections with a gear tie, but doing two batches and the first one taking so long, I knew it would be a miracle if the soap was still thin enough. The colored soap easily was, but the beer soap was not, so instead of risk air pockets after swirling, I left it as is, in four sections/squares.

I did swirl the top and last bar, just for fun (you can see the thickness of the brown batter):


If only the red would have stayed red!

I had some of the raspberry porter batter left over – enough to make 2 single soaps.

I put both batches in the fridge, although in hindsight, I don’t think it would have been an issue if the soap heated up and gelled.


The Un-molding:
Once again, I should have taken the time to add some merlot mica to my “red,” as it turned very pink – the soap reminds me of Neapolitan ice cream (not the look I was going for in a manly Beer Soap!):


The dividers did not stay in place, making the soap very wonky:



The Cut:


The swirl on the end piece was a bit of a disappointment, even after planing it.

img_0193  img_0202



I like this method of two batches of soap (one regular, one beer batter), as I have so much control over the colors. It would be better to make smaller batches and only one soap, as this was too ambitious.

I did learn something very important: next time I will mix the Merlot mica and Electric Bubblegum pigment separately and add them each to the soap until getting the color I want. (I blended the two micas until I got the color I wanted in the oils, but that did not translate to the color I wanted in the soap.) Big lesson learned….as pink beer soap is probably not a winner!

Also, I could have skipped coloring the Pumpkin Lager soap brown, as that in combination with the discolor has turned it almost black. Plus, the colored layers would have been better if I continued with alternating orange & yellow (no red/pink) and having more of those colors for thicker layers.

I suppose one could say these are not true beer soaps, but most recipes I have seen, the beer is combined with equal amounts of water, which in a sense I have done, just in a different way. Hopefully they will be more enticing than the ones I have made in the past.


An Aside:


  • 2 Raspberry Porter in SW Bear

Beer Bear Bars – dusted with Gold Sparkle mica.


  • 1 Lavender Bouquet in Eye of Horus mold (white ITP swirl with BA Purple & BB Queens Mica Purple) – love these purples together.

Lavender Bouquet in Eye of Horus mold – look closely and you can see some writings.

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