Previously we’ve spoken about oils and some of the additives used in bar, liquid and cream soaps. That conversation was just the beginning. Today I’ll talk about milks and beers (plus all their cousins). For the sake of simplicity, I’ll be henceforth using the term beer though I include all alcoholic beverages I’ve used as full or partial substitutions for the water in boozy bar recipes.
I learned about the adding of beers, ales, lagers, IPA, ITA, stouts and wines by reading then experimentation. It was not copied from others. Just a curiosity to see what the results would be with some of the liquid being replaced with beers or similar liquids. I first wondered about the alcohol because lye is pretty much the bully on the block and does NOT play well with others that have some level or power behind them such as those beautiful meads, ales, etc. The alcohol is best cooked out first, then allow the beverage to cool completely in the fridge before using it. I’ve heard some will freeze theirs and that works very well if using the beer in full substitution for the water.
It can discolor your soap somewhat to do a full substitution with a beer. Depending on the darkness of the beer, of course. If you allow for that discoloration and plan around it by incorporating that color as part of your design, it’s a great way to get a fantastic, bubbly bar with a warm color scheme. If you’re like me and want to call the shots where the color is concerned for your soaps, use only a partial substitution. It gives you a bit more control over how the soap will look in the end.
I also like to use milks in my soaps, or perhaps I should say a milk. I use coconut milk. Yes, I’ve tried others – rice, oat, soy, almond – but none had the qualities I was seeking to add to the bars, so coconut is where I stay. I’d use another if there’s an allergy issue and/or a special request is made.
Coconut milk has a high fat content so using this as a partial sub for some of the water offers superfatting as part of its glorious bonus features. Another is the sugar content also included. Sugars bring more bubbles to bar soaps. When coupled with the sugars that are also in the beer, you’ve got an amazing bar of soap that bubbles richly, dense and creamy with every use and the superfatting from the coconut milk makes the skin feel supremely soft and moisturized.
Again, I can’t tell you that. I CAN say that lush-lathering bar of soap cleans you up after a dirty day’s work. That’s all. But now you know why I use coconut oil in every batch. You know also why I love to make boozy bars so much. Research the ingredients of your bars and find out what you’re using on you skin. If it’s store bought, chances are good you’re using a detergent in bar soap form. Nothing more. It will strip away your skin’s natural oils, leaving your skin, dry, itchy, tight, and prone to problems because it’s no longer protected by that all-important barrier oil layer.
Fig – Orange Mead, shown.