Recipe: Ace in the Hole Porter

A great winter warmer with vanilla aromas

It’s winter time here in the southern hemisphere and that means it time to curl up somewhere warm and relax, preferably with a dark beer in hand. Darker beers can range vastly in style as much as their pale cousins – from darker porters through to rich full-bodied Russian Imperial stouts.

In this post I’m going to give you a recipe for a great American-style porter. This beer should be a nice roasty toasty malt flavour with a good level of bitterness. Using a good UK Marris Otter will give you lots of great biscuity notes and the munich malt will give you biscuity and bready notes. The hops we’re using in this recipe are a bit of a world tour. Noble bittering hops from Germany (Magnum), aromatic and spicy hops from the UK (East Kent Goldings)  for flavour and aroma, and a bit of a twist – hops from Japan. Sorachi Ace hops are synonymous with big lemony flavours in lighter coloured pale ales and IPAs. However, when you lend them towards darker beers like stouts and porters the flavours tend towards vanilla and coconut.

So here it is:

Ace in the Hole Porter

Beer Profile

Batch volume: 23L
Pre-boil volume: 32 L
Pre-boil gravity: 1.044
OG: 1.055
FG: 1.013
ABV: 5.5%
Bitterness: 37 IBUs
Colour: 24.6 SRM
Efficiency: 80%


Grains % of Fermentables
3.18 kg Marris Otter Pale Ale 61.4%
600 g Munich Light (6°L) 11.6%
500 g Crystal 40°L 9.7%
300 g Chocolate Malt (425°L) 5.8%
300 g Flaked Barley 5.8%
300 g Flaked Wheat 5.8%
Kettle Hops IBUs
14.2 g Magnum [11.7 AA] – 60 mins 20.7
35.5 g East Kent Goldings [5 AA] – 20 mins 3.1
35.5 g East Kent Goldings [5 AA] – Whirlpool 7
35.5 g Sorachi Ace [14.1 AA] – Whirlpool 7.1
Dry Hop 1(Optional)
20 g Sorachi Ace [14.1 AA] – 7 Days
Other Ingredients
0.5 tablet Whirfloc (Boil 10 minutes)
1 tsp Gelatin (2 days before packaging)
1 Packet Wyeast American Ale II 1272 or Safale US-05


Mash the grains at 66ºC for 60 minutes with a liquor/grist ratio of 3:1. Fly or batch sparge at 75ºC until you have reached the pre-boil volume. Bring the collected wort to boil and wait for the hot break to form. Boil for 60 minutes adding hops at 60, and 20 minutes.Add a half a tablet of whirfloc tablet in the last 10 minutes of the boil. For whirlpool hops, take the wort off the heat and allow wort temperature to reach 87ºC. Stir vigourously to get a whirlpool happening and add the whirlpool hops. The lower temperature will help prevent the alpha acids in the hops from isomerising and also prevent the volatile oils and resins from dispersing, leaving an awesome aroma. After whirlpool hopping, either cool quickly using a chilling device or hot can into a no-chill cube and let it cool naturally. Aerate and pitch yeast. Ferment at 19ºC

If you want to dry hop, add the hop charge a few points before the ferment reaches terminal gravity. Leave the beer to dry hop for no more than 7 days – unless you enjoy the herbaceous grassy notes that come with long dry-hopping regimes. Rack into a secondary fermentor or into a keg (if you’re lazy like me). Clarify your beer if you so choose (see here on how to do it).

Carbonation and Storage

Carbonate to 2.3 volumes and if bottling store for at least 30 days prior to drinking.

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