Sunday, March 4, 2012

Saponification Sunday

I call this composition "The Beauty of Pale Ale"
You might call it " Beer on the Kitchen Floor"

First of all, The Midlife Farmwife Academy would like to thank those of you who made recommendations for a new camera. I took the advice of several who steered me towards the Nikon Coolpix, specifically the S9100 series with "Backside Illumination." It's been decades since having my backside illuminated has given me so much pleasure and harmed so few.

Today's soap was a aromatic blend of clove powder, cedar wood oil and a mild ale from  the artistic folk over at Three Floyd's Brewing Company in Munster Indiana. I love beer soap as it makes an amazing lather and the guys who shop at our farm store always "clean" me out in the first few days. I swear I could make the soap out of road kill but as long as I put "BEER" on the label, they'd buy it!

Don't let the Jester Face scare ya.
We met the folks at 3Floyds last year
and they are nice as pie.

I let the beer sit in a bowl for 24 hrs before using, and then add the lye in a tardy fashion. Too fast and you'll get a volcano effect. Not only is that unsafe, it is also a waste of excellent brew. I make this soap in the hot process manner, via the pot of crock, since the beer mixed with lye always starts things off with a great amount of bubbles anyway so might as well finish with lots of bubbling .

Lye plus Beer equals many fumes.

After mixing in just 1/2 teaspoon of Clove powder and 3 Tablespoons (45 cc's) of Cedarwood Essential oil to the oil/lard confabulation, I add the beer/lye solution.  I mix with my hand mixer just to light trace and then I let the pot of crock do the rest of the work.

After approximately 10 minutes on high, my soap starts to lighten up in a cafe o'lait manner.
You want to dip your finger in there, don't you?
Well don't.

I let it cook for another 30 minutes while I continue reading Anne Enright's The Wig My Father Wore. A fabulously funny book, if you like novels about noose wearing angels who stalk young women. I know I do. Stay close though. HP soap is known to lose its top at times and bubble over on your counter...onto the floor...through the gap under the cabinet...into your basement...into your septic...and into the Celtic Sea.

Soon enough it will begin to look like this:

Like caramel from caramel heaven.

At this point you can stir it down, or not. Beer soap is laid back and doesn't really care what you do to it. Just don't get your illuminated backside between it and the TV on a Sunday afternoon. When the whole thing looks all gellular like this:

Who needs artificial lighting when you have
natural sunshine and a brand new camera?!?

You can commence with the soap plopping, cause no way is this stuff pourable. Just grab a big glob with your spoon and plop it in the mold. (No, I will not tell you the maker of my soap mold. It's one of a kind and a secret I will take to my death bed, because when I am on my death bed you know I'll be needing some diaper wipes.) Be careful when you "plop" as soap can jump up into your eyes. Wear the safety glasses whether they come in your color or not)

Soon, your mold will be filled. Now SLAM it down on the counter to get it all settled and drive out any air holes or bad mojo. Slam it again and again because it is fun. I let mine sit on the counter to cool a couple hours and then cut it. Hot process soap can be used right away but I still like to let it cure a week or two.

Here is the final product, freshly cut and still warm ! No trimming done yet, just pure soap. Now, I need a catchy name. Got one? If I pick your suggestion you'll get a free bar of this brew. Sure, I'll ship overseas, now send me those name suggestions.


  1. Beer suds cedar and clove soap

  2. Beer, lager, and ale, soap maybe?

  3. Ooh, call it Bottle o'Suds!
    It looks wonderful Donna and your pictures ROCK!!! Love the light you found and thank you for the mini HP tute. I really must try out my 'pot of crock' again and see if I can get my bars as smooth as yours :)

  4. Fine soap. And comparing the colour of the soap with that of the Red Wattles in the side bar it looks not that different. Why not call the soap Red Wattle Beer soap?

  5. Hi Donna, Don't know why but my beer soap doesn't sell well although I love the soap. So I am changing the name (and labels) to say Man's Bar. The last time I called a soap Man's Bar, it flew off the shelf. Silly eh? So, if you want, you could try it too. just a thought. xo Jen

  6. Hi Call it the Spice of life soap. I am sure it would spice up your life to use it.
    Hugs Mary xx

  7. 'Your very own bar in the bathroom, and the beer comes free'.

  8. Hillbilly Heaven......Redneck Delight.....Betcha Can't Have Just One....Sudsylager......Free Foam....Saturday Night....Vat O Bubbles.... okay, I'll quit now.

  9. You got a lovely smooth texture there for a hp soap, Donna, and congrats on the muchly improved photography! I think its time to dedicate a bar to Monsieur Cro, for his soapy dedication. I mean..he did start out on a different note, when it comes to handmade
    CroBar / Le Bar (a lil' french there..) / 3Floyds Cro / Pale Ale Cro / Savon Cro / Bière Bar

  10. Hm. Drunken Wattle (get it?), The Pig that Fell Off the Wagon (sounds more like a book), Bacon & Beer. Oh wait, this is me assuming that there is red wattle lard in the soap. If not, Spiced Ale, Cedar Brew, Beer Bubbles.

    I really like the new pictures, Donna! Good camera choice.

  11. South Pork Pale Ale Brew Bar, Wattle Brothers Brew Bar, Red's Pale Ale Bar, Farmer's Brew, Beer Bar Brew, Brewers Best Bar... Okay, I'll quit now. Love your new camera! Great lighting on your pics.

  12. Love the look of that soap!! And so happy you guys made a profit last year and can see the bright side of your .96 cent hourly earnings!! Such good name suggestions. I can only think of Lather Lager but I really liked a bunch of the other ones, I can't even name my own pets LoL

  13. It's a lovely beer soap, no matter what you call it!

  14. Oh YOU PEOPLE!!!! Are so hysterical. So many great names. How will I choose?

    I'm going to let this contest run another 24 hours and then will make my decision Tuesday eve. 3/6/12. So keep those name suggestions coming!!

    And thanks for the nice things you've said about my new camera. Also special thanks to daughter Raven for showing me some lighting tricks whcih mean I have to thank son Colton for giving his sister the light reflector for Christmas.

  15. How about 'No Dope Soap'? Or 'Just soap? Nope'. 'Gosh, Let's Wash'! 'Been Clean'? Yeah. It's time for me to go to bed . . .

  16. Hello Donna, please, contact with Soap Artist to see your international soap swap.
    My email is

  17. Sorry, one more, can't help myself... SUDZ

  18. This little piggy went to the bar...

  19. Ohhhh boy!!! Did I get an awesome package in the mail this morning!! Everything smells so wonderful, I don't know how I'm going to make it until the littles go to bed so I can take a bath with those puppies! I used the little samples to wash my hands and the lather is amazing, it smells great, and my hands feel really nice now (And they were getting scratchy from our epic well water lately). Thank you so much for sending so many fabulous bars, except now I will become addicted and will be ordering them from you through the site ;) LOVE that your soap is made from your red waddles :)

  20. your soap looks good! beer on the floor made me laugh! as did having your backside illuminated. :)

  21. Love it,looks smooth,for me is just simple,I will call it Ooh! Beer!....

  22. THANKS everyone ! Contest is officially over. See todays post 3/6/12 for the winner. I'm writing it now. Will be up in a few minutes

  23. Oh, My Stinkin' Heck! I almost never come across another hot process soapmaker Yay! It looks like you already have the soap named and stuff, but I just wanted to share my glee at finding someone else who makes HP soaps! I like how you leave the tops all natural too - I'm a little too OCD to manage that, so I made a mold with a lid and make tidy little bars, hee hee.

    Your soap is beautiful!
    -Laura at TenThingsFarm