Friday, December 4, 2015

Sweater Weather

A new soap sprang into being today, inspired by the ale my daughter brought me last week. It's another BNA Brewing product; this one is called Sweater Weather, an oatmeal stout. According to their website it's, "jet black with a coffee coloured head. Has aromas of chocolate, espresso and roasted malts".

I've been contemplating what I should do with this one. Because it's a different variety, I didn't want it to look the same as the Blackstrap Ale soap. This is the hard part. Today, it finally came together. I started thinking about sweater weather, when the weather turns cold. That's when the hot cereal comes out, so I decided to add colloidal oatmeal to the soap. Oatmeal is also very good for your skin, mild and emollient.

Skin gets dry in the colder weather and exfoliation is important when the weather turns chilly. Once exfoliated, your skin can more readily absorb a good cream or body lotion. For that purpose, I chose to add some finely ground hops, which also ties in to the whole beer making process. The hops are only in part of the batter, not the entire loaf.

Then came scent. I really like the cedarwood base that I've been using in the Blackstrap Ale soap but I'm out of the cedarwood essential oil, so I chose to go with vetiver instead. It is also, a woodsy, deep scent. To lighten it up a little, I added some lavender essential oil.

Colouring this soap was the next challenge. Again, I didn't want it to be the same as the Blackstrap Ale soap. I decided I would try a reverse swirl, leaving the base of the soap however it came out with just the stout. I think it will be a light tan. To about one third of the batter, I added some cocoa to darken it. I poured it over the top and spoon swirled it into the lower layer, bringing some of the lighter batter to the top and the darker batter to the bottom.  On the top, I sprinkled some oatmeal.

Tomorrow, I will unmold and, likely, cut the soap. Between the scent of the soap (I can really smell the vetiver and the beer) and my dinner (pork chops with sauerkraut and tomatoes, sprinkled with brown sugar), my house smells amazing!

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