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Catoctin Creek Roundstone Rye


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mgilbertva

Anyone know anything about this? I stopped at a Virginia ABC to get a bottle of EWSB, and saw this on the shelf for $38. I'm assuming it's a very young, boutique whiskey, but for that much money I'd be leery of trying it without some prior input.

There's a little more info here.

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I tend to regard the complete lack of useful information on their web site as a bad sign. I can't even find a big enough bottle shot to read the label. I did see this at ADI this week and apparently it won something. (I was a judge but haven't seen the results yet.)

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barturtle

Distilled and Bottled By

Catoctin Creek Distilling Company, LLC

Purcellville, VA

Aged 5 months

label approval on 1-11-2010

40% abv

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barturtle
$38 for a 5 month old whiskey? :bigeyes:

You are paying for a small scale operation. The large scale of most US whiskey distilleries makes for some exceedingly inexpensive products.

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Scott here, from Catoctin Creek. You guys are obviously more of the "in-the-know" crowd, so maybe I can address some of your questions and concerns here in more detail:

Our Roundstone Rye is aged in 30 gallon barrels with extra wood inserted. We only age long enough to get the color and flavor we desire from the spirit. Obviously, we are a new company and we want to get products to market, so the extra wood helps move things along.

The Roundstone Rye is a nice product. It is organic and kosher, made in small batches entirely by hand. It is 100% rye, with no neutral grain spirits added to dilute the spiciness and crispness of the whisky.

Aging is a tricky subject, but at the core, it is about two factors: The quality of the spirit and the surface area of the wood. For starters, the quality of the raw spirit is very good. With our custom Kothe hybrid still, we are able to produce a very smooth raw spirit with a single run through the system. So there are less "rough edges" to be smoothed out by carbon in the barrel as you might have with spirits produced in a traditional alembic still. Then, the extra surface area of the small barrels and extra wood provides more contact with the spirit to speed up the aging.

We make no apologies for the price of our spirits. They are unique, small batch, organic, hand crafted spirits. We cannot compete with the big guys on price, but they cannot compete with us on flavor. If people are interested in cheaper spirits, I'll be happy to personally show them where they can get them on the shelf.

I hope you'll enjoy the whisky. Feel free to stop by anytime for a tour of the distillery, and CHEERS!

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The Roundstone Rye is a nice product. It is organic and kosher, made in small batches entirely by hand. It is 100% rye, with no neutral grain spirits added to dilute the spiciness and crispness of the whisky.

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bourbon-n00b
Scott here, from Catoctin Creek. You guys are obviously more of the "in-the-know" crowd, so maybe I can address some of your questions and concerns here in more detail:

Our Roundstone Rye is aged in 30 gallon barrels with extra wood inserted. We only age long enough to get the color and flavor we desire from the spirit. Obviously, we are a new company and we want to get products to market, so the extra wood helps move things along.

The Roundstone Rye is a nice product. It is organic and kosher, made in small batches entirely by hand. It is 100% rye, with no neutral grain spirits added to dilute the spiciness and crispness of the whisky.

Aging is a tricky subject, but at the core, it is about two factors: The quality of the spirit and the surface area of the wood. For starters, the quality of the raw spirit is very good. With our custom Kothe hybrid still, we are able to produce a very smooth raw spirit with a single run through the system. So there are less "rough edges" to be smoothed out by carbon in the barrel as you might have with spirits produced in a traditional alembic still. Then, the extra surface area of the small barrels and extra wood provides more contact with the spirit to speed up the aging.

We make no apologies for the price of our spirits. They are unique, small batch, organic, hand crafted spirits. We cannot compete with the big guys on price, but they cannot compete with us on flavor. If people are interested in cheaper spirits, I'll be happy to personally show them where they can get them on the shelf.

I hope you'll enjoy the whisky. Feel free to stop by anytime for a tour of the distillery, and CHEERS!

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Thanks for posting Scott. Is this product a single malt Rye, like Portrero, or is it a Rye Whiskey (more than 51% Rye)? What extra wood is inserted? Toasted or charred? American White Oak or a different Oak - or is it even Oak for that matter?

Thanks again for taking part.

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Thanks for contributing your knowledge of your product.

Ditto. What makes SB.com so awesome? Well, at least one the things is that we get threads like this where makers actually post responses to discussions of their own product.

Thanks scohar70. :grin:

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Hi guys,

Great questions, one and all. Let me address them all here:

  • Grain: We use only rye. Our rye is 100% organic whole-grain rye from Kansas. Each batch uses approximately 700 lbs of rye grain per week, so we're talking VERY small batches. We would like to get locally farmed rye, but getting organic rye in Virginia has been difficult. (Too much humidity = too much fungus.) We continue to look...
  • Malt: We do not use malted rye, but instead use milled whole rye and add malting enzymes during mashing. We find this gives us better control during mashing and fermentation.
  • Proof: We chose 80 proof mostly on taste. Because we're using only rye, and no neutral grain spirits, we find that the crisp and wonderful taste of the rye is more than present in the spirit as compared to spirits of similar proof. Perhaps we'll issue a 120 proof barrel strength somewhere down the line for the die-hards. :-)
  • Wood: We use 30 gallon charred Minnesota white oak barrels (#3 char) with a medium toast infusion spiral. (Looks like a curly-cue french-fry). The spiral goes right in the barrel with the whisky.

Any more questions, please let me know.

Cheers!

Scott

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"Malting enzymes" is an interesting choice of words, suggesting that they cause malting rather than being caused by it.

The use of enzymes in whiskey-making is somewhat controversial but not uncommon. If you see "100%" of anything other than malt, that usually means no malt was used and conversion was done entirely by enzymes. Tuthilltown uses enzymes, for example. So do some of the majors, Tom Moore for example, but they usually use it to supplement the malt, not exclusively. Dave Pickerell reports that his WhistlePig Rye is 100% rye using enzymes rather than malt. Scotland prohibits their use, while the United States does not. Some people denigrate it as a short cut. It's certainly not the traditional way of doing it, but that's not automatically a bad thing.

I do question this harping on "no neutral grain spirits." Okay, so it's not a blend. We wouldn't expect it to be. The point may be that since rye is so flavorful, you should get a lot of flavor even at 80 proof, and since it's not two years old you can't call it a straight, so maybe that's why it seems important to let us know it's not a blend.

Use of the spiral disqualifies this spirit from being labeled "straight," even if it were sufficiently aged. Such use also must be disclosed on the label.

Please don't take any of this as criticism, just pointing out some items of interest.

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"Malting enzymes" is an interesting choice of words, suggesting that they cause malting rather than being caused by it.

Not so. We are not causing malting, we are using the enzymes to sacchrify the starches into fermentable sugars. I didn't mean to imply anything otherwise.

It's certainly not the traditional way of doing it, but that's not automatically a bad thing.

I'll admit we are not a traditional way of doing things, but then sometimes, innovation is a good thing, I think.

I do question this harping on "no neutral grain spirits." Okay, so it's not a blend. We wouldn't expect it to be.

I find it important, because so many of the big boys are using NGS or 51% rye mashes. We do not. Harping over.

Use of the spiral disqualifies this spirit from being labeled "straight," even if it were sufficiently aged. Such use also must be disclosed on the label.

You are correct. And when it is straight, it will be labeled so. Happy to discuss the spirits anytime. Do feel free to come and see our distillery if you're ever in the area.

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ErichPryde

Scott, I have another question: You said that perhaps you would release a 120 proof "barrel proof" for the diehards. That combined with the statement that you only run it through your still once, leads me to believe that the proof from the still is "relatively" low. is this correct, or do you cut it with water, and then barrel it? Of course, a low proof from the still would further increase flavor, and that would be a good thing.

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Scott

Thanks for coming on here and discussing your whiskey with us. I think you have answered any questions I have at this point. Please feel free to stick around as a regular member we can always use someone with your knowledge on our site. We would most welcome you to join us in chat anytime time.

Paul

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I find it important, because so many of the big boys are using NGS or 51% rye mashes. We do not.

There's a huge difference between "using NGS" (i.e., making a blended whiskey) and using a "51% rye mash" (i.e., making a traditional straight rye). Certainly the "big boys" do both, and your product is clearly differentiated from a 51% straight rye, but blends are in a completely different ball park.

I certainly endorse innovation but you don't have to take shots at other producers to justify it. I share your disdain for blends, but there is nothing wrong with making a straight rye on a 51% rye mash. That is, in fact, the flavor most people associate with an American straight rye.

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ErichPryde
...the flavor most people associate with an American straight rye.

agreed. What I really like about the american whiskey industry (when it comes to straights) Is that there can be so many high-quality bourbons and ryes out there with so many different mashbill combinations.

I keep hoping to try Old Potrero Hotaling's Whiskey, as I don't really want to spend seventy bucks on a 2-3 year old whiskey. Catoctin is going to be a bit different, and I'd be interested in trying it as well.., ESPECIALLY if it were barrel-proof.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I just wonder why so many small distillers think that enzymes are easier to use? I do not like them, and they are very expensive, way more so than malt, and they are hard to use in my opinion. I think malt is the only way to go.

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I just wonder why so many small distillers think that enzymes are easier to use? I do not like them, and they are very expensive, way more so than malt, and they are hard to use in my opinion. I think malt is the only way to go.

I'm just guessing (or TOMA), but I don't know if malted rye is available commercially. Malted barley is big business, so it's plentiful and cheap. If they use malted barley, though, then they aren't making the 100% rye they want.

Why don't you like the enzymes? And what makes them harder to use than adding enzymes wrapped in barley malt? The idea is to convert the starches in the rye into sugar. Don't they both do it?

Now, my questions about the Roundstone Rye:

I think we can deduce that the barrel entry proof is 120 from a previous comment. The angels aren't getting much of a shot at this whiskey; I don't think it's likely that the proof is going to change much in so sort a time.

At what proof does it come off the still?

Is the "hybrid" stills one of those that looks like a pot still with a cute little column sticking out the top? Here's an example (used for brandy in this case).

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I'm just guessing (or TOMA), but I don't know if malted rye is available commercially.
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For what its worth, ours is a pot still with a column attached on top. It has three "bubble caps" which can be selectively engaged or disengaged, but the dephlegmator at the top gives us the greatest control over the rectification of the spirit.

Scott out.

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I do not like enzymes because of the very reason Chuck stated. Malted rye is very available. In fact it is a little cheaper than barley malt the last I checked. There is a malting company in canada that produces malted rye for distilling. Briess in Wisconsin, produces it too, but it is very roasted, it is for beer. I think that anchor uses this for their rye.

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