How to Make Beer Soap

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How to Make Beer Soap

I love that my husband and I share several interests together. Camping and hiking are at the top, but also simple living and the desire to be off-grid homesteaders one day. I also love that some of our independent hobbies overlap.

If you’ve followed me for any length of time you know I love DIY projects, such as soap-making. It seems to have rubbed off on my hubby a little bit because he has a few DIY hobbies, one of which is brewing beer. And we found a way to combine soap and beer! Beer soap!

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I won’t get into how to homebrew because I’m sure I’ll forget some important step and it’s actually quite lengthy but part of the process uses crushed grain. It is soaked in hot water for a specific amount of time allowing the water to pull the sugars from the grains. After it is soaked and “spent” there is a lot of crushed grain left over.

Instead of wasting the spent grain, we like to find creative uses for it. One way we use is to dry it in a dehydrator and then add to breads and baked goods for a unique texture. When we had chickens they would love to nibble on spent grains. I like to use a bit of it in soap.

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Using my basic Hot Process Soap making technique, I adjusted my recipe to include beer and spent grains. It turned out amazing! Very soft and soothing, with a slight soapy scent. The spent grain foliates to soften the skin even more. SO without anymore introductions here’s the beer soap recipe:

How to Make Beer Soap



  1. Wearing proper protective gear, measure beer by weight into a heat proof bowl. In a well ventilated area (I go outside), add lye to the beer (NEVER pour liquid into lye). Stir carefully to incorporate the lye into the beer. It will get very hot. Let rest while you work on the oils.
  2. Measure each oil and add to a large slow cooker. (Sometimes I will melt the hard oils/butters in the microwave to speed up the process.) Once the oil is melted, carefully add lye/beer mixture. Stir to combine.
  3. Using an immersion blender, mix soap together until it reaches trace, a pudding-like texture. Cover and cook on low for at least an hour. It will thicken and bubble strangely. At this point you can stir in the spent grains. This will add an exfoliating texture. Add more or less depending on your preference. You could also grind the grains into a finer texture if desired.
  4. Pour soap into a mold lined with parchment paper, a loaf pan works great as a mold! Nestle the mold into a cardboard box and cover with a towel. Place in a safe location to set. After a day or two, remove from mold and slice into desired size bars. The bars store best standing up without touching in a cardboard box.

You can find a photo tutorial of the hot process method on my original soap making post here. You can also add scent to this recipe at trace. I like to add scent with essential oils.

Beer soap is very gentle on the skin. If you leave out the spent grains it would make a great shaving soap.  Pair this soap with an old fashioned shave kit and you have an excellent gift for the man in your life.

beer soap

Have you ever made beer soap?

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How To Make Hot Process Soap

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How to Make Hot Process Soap in your Crock Pot

It’s no secret that handcrafted soap is amazing!

Handcrafted soap, also known as Castile soap, is moisturizing, nourishing, cleansing, and all-natural. It suds well and doesn’t leave your skin dried out. There are many recipes available online for hot process soap and a lot of room for creativity!

I love hot process soap because it is easy to make and ready to use right away. Sometimes I go for a basic recipe like I’m going to share with you here and sometimes I like to make herbal, coffee, or coconut milk soap!

Basic Hot Process Soap:



Note: It is very important to wear protective gear when handling lye. It is a caustic substance and will burn the skin! This is not a good DIY to do with the kids around.

To start your hot process soap, measure your oils by weight and add them to your crock pot. Melt the oils on low.

Measure out your water by weight in a heat proof bowl.

Wearing your protective gear measure your lye into another bowl.

Carefully add the lye to the water (you may want to step outside, it can put off some strong fumes). Stirring as you pour. Note: Never add water to lye, it will cause an overflowing chemical reaction!

Once your oils are melted, add the lye mixture to the crock-pot.

Continuing to wear your protective gear, use your hand blender to mix your soap to “trace”. Trace is when your soap appears like pudding.

soap at trace

Cover your crock-pot and let the soap cook for about an hour to reach neutrality. If you desire you can test the soap to be sure it is between 7 and 10 pH. This is the neutral zone for soap. (You can find test strips here.)

At this point your soap should be starting to bubble over itself. (See the photo, it’s hard to explain!) Add in your essential oils if using and stir well. Your kitchen will smell fantastic for the rest of the day.

hot process soap cooked to neutral

Line your soap mold with parchment paper. Carefully scoop your soap into the mold, it’s hot so don’t get it on your hands! (I speak from experience…)

Place your mold in a cardboard box and cover with a towel. Set it where it won’t be disturbed for 24 hours.

hot process soap in mold

Once your soap is set, remove it from the mold and cut into bars. Hot process soap cooks to neutrality so it is safe to use right away!

For the remaining bars, place them in a cool dry place slightly spaced out from each other. (I use a cardboard box.) This helps the soap to continue drying. Fully dried soap will last longer once you start using it in the bath or shower.

And now you have handcrafted soap!

hot process soap bars

Additional soapmaking tips:

If you’d like to create an herbal soap, simply replace the water in the above recipe with herbal infused water. I like to steep lavender in water to make a skin soothing soap.

For an exfoliating coffee soap, replace your water with strong brewed coffee. Instead of adding essential oils, mix in fine ground coffee to create an exfoliating texture.

Making coconut milk soap is a little trickier. Cut your water amount in half and sub coconut milk for the rest of the liquid. The trick is that you wait to add the coconut milk until the soap is at trace. Mix your half amount of water and lye, add to the oil mixture, blend until trace, and then add the coconut milk before cooking.

The coconut milk adds a nice nourishing softness to hot process soap. It doesn’t smell much like coconut, although that would be nice with a little lime essential oil!

There is some upfront cost to soapmaking, but in the end you are saving quite a bit per bar of soap compared to purchasing handcrafted soaps from shops like mine. If you are a little leery to get started you are more than welcome to try a bar of hot process soap from my shop Southern Vines Soap Company.

Green Tea and Lemongrass

Don’t hesitate to ask me any questions! I love making soap and I make a lot of it. My friends and family are always asking me to bring them soap!

Have you tried hot process soap making?

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What is Castile Soap?

 (This post contains affiliate links.)

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I was recently asked what the difference is between Castile Soap and Lye Soap. And that question actually doesn’t work. Castile soap is named based on the type of ingredients, one of which is lye. Most all soaps contain lye because this is what make soap…well soap.

True Castile soap is made solely from olive oil.  It gets its name from the region in Spain called Castile, where olives are prevalent. Original Castile soap was made from Olive Oil and Laurel Oil. As the Castile process for soap making spread (through various conquests and wars in middle age Europe), it changed to a primarily Olive Oil based soap since Laurel Oil was not very common in other areas.

Now, you will find many Castile soaps that use various vegetable oils. Olive oil, palm oil, and coconut oil are a few of my favorites. As long as it does not have any animal fats, Castile can be applied to the name. Before Castile soap spread to other regions, soap was made using tallow or lard. Even today, some prefer tallow in their soap because it is an excellent hardening agent. If you were to use straight Olive Oil, you will have to let the soap age for quite a long time in order for it to harden into a useable bar.

castile soap bars

Simply stated, you need an oil or fat mixed with lye to create soap. Refreshing your High School Chemistry, the oil or fat is the acidic component and the lye is the base component. Mixing the two creates a chemical reaction that neutralizes them into soap. If made correctly you will not have any issues with the lye being a caustic material. It will burn the skin if not neutralized!

As I pointed out above, lye is essential to soap making. There are two types of lye that can be used for soap. Potassium Hydroxide is used more often in liquid Castile soaps, like Dr. Bronner’s . I use a ready-to-go powder of Sodium Hydroxide in my soaps. Both will create equally good soap.

You can also make your own lye. The process of making lye doesn’t seem too difficult, but it is definitely for the hard core DIY-er. The main component of making lye is ashes. Since I don’t usually have a pile of nice hardwood ashes lying about, I have not attempted making lye myself. There are good instructions on how to make it here.

One thing that makes homemade soaps more beneficial to use than commercial soaps, is that they retain glycerin. Glycerin is a byproduct of the lye/oil reaction. This byproduct is what creates the soft, soothing effect of homemade soaps. Many commercial soap makers remove the glycerin. They sell this glycerin separately for additional profits. (My theory is that they purposefully make their soap to dry out your skin so that you also have to buy the lotion that they make. Just my tin foil showing through.)

hibiscus facial soap bar
So now that you know a little bit more about soap and what it is made out of, you can make an educated decision in what kind of soap you buy. Of course I would LOVE if you always bought my handcrafted soaps. But I’m not writing this to ask you to do that. There are plenty of wonderful soaps made by small soap makers like me that you can support. Many that make much better soap than I do, as I am still learning.

Choosing a handcrafted Castile soap will be better for your skin and body in general. Most handcrafted soaps will not contain any of the unnecessary harsh chemicals that commercial soaps use. Making them truly moisturizing and refreshing. Your skin is your largest organ and what you put on it does end up in your body. Be choosy in what you apply on the outside so that it doesn’t negatively effect the inside!

Do you use Castile soap?

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Fall Giveaway!

I say we kick off Fall with a giveaway!

As many of you know I am a fan of doing things myself. One of those things is making soap and beauty products. I have recently created Southern Vines Soap Company to share my luxurious soaps with you! I make my soap with natural oils and pure essential oils to bring you a chemical-free experience that will leave you feeling clean and moisturized.

I have a new product to feature in my shop and I would like one of my wonderful readers to get it first!


This gift basket includes the new Avocado Mango Luxury Soap Bar, Two Patchouli Lotion Bars, and One Mild Peppermint Lip Balm. It comes with the basket and is wrapped as a gift for you!

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I really enjoy making soap and benefitting from a natural way to get clean. The soap lathers really well and doesn’t leave you dried out. I even use it in my hair if I’m out of shampoo or traveling.

Lotion bars are also amazing for travel. They are light and compact and won’t make a mess in your bag. Simply hold the bar for a few seconds between your hands to warm the oils and then rub on. It’s that simple! I used to have chapped lips all the time, but now that I use my moisturizing lip balm I am much better off. The natural oils keep my lips soft and moist without needing to frequently re-apply.

If you want more information on the ingredients I use in my soap and body products you can find it in my Etsy shop here.

To try at winning the gift basket, enter in the Rafflecopter giveaway listed below. Winner will be announced on Monday.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you for participating and spreading the word about Southern Vines Soap Company!


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Open For Business!

I’d like to announce my new Etsy shop Southern Vines Soap Company is now open for business!

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I make handcrafted soaps using natural ingredients and pure essential oils. Most of my soaps are unscented or are very mild in scent. I’ve used quite a few samples and each soap lathers up amazingly well and leaves my skin nice and moisturized!

Also available are lotion bars and lip balm. I love the lotion bars as an alternative to liquid lotion. The scent stays strong and they are super moisturizing. They are also excellent for traveling.


Take a peek and visit often! I will be busy making and adding new product frequently!

You can visit the shop by clicking here.

DIY Foaming Hand Soap

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DIY Foaming Hand Soap

If you are like me and are trying to remove chemical laden products from your home, and want to save some money, make your own hand soap! The process takes less than a minute and you only need a few ingredients.

DIY Foaming Hand Soap



  1. Simply fill your clean foaming soap dispenser with water, leaving about an inch or so of room.
  2. Add the castile soap, carrier oil, and essential oils.
  3. Replace the lid and gently swirl to mix the contents. You will need to swirl occasionally to keep the ingredients from separating.



This soap is gentle on hands and the scent from the essential oils is refreshing. Other good oils to use are Lavender, Melaleuca, and Lemon. Or you could use a mix!

It keeps the harmful chemicals off your skin and gives you a natural way to keep your hands clean. Plus the foam is just fun!

Have you switched to natural hand soap?

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