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A Visit to Glenn's Creek Distillery

Posted on by Eric Burke

If you read the last post, You've already seen what the outside of this small distillery looks like. Located in the old bottling and shipping building of the former Old Crow Distillery, Glenn's Creek Distillery is surrounded by history. Outside is the place to be inspired by what came before, but inside is the time to focus on what is yet to come.

Glenn's Creek Distillery is much smaller than the former occupant of the property. In this one shot you can see almost the entire production area. Off to the right is the aging area. Beyond that (in the Lowes wrapping) is the yeast growing and storage area. Grain storage is beyond that. On the right right of the photo you see fermenters with a cooker peaking up behind them. All the way to the back are their four stills. The only thing you don't see is the bottling area. Which is behind us.

Here it is. Four bottles at a time. And their initials underneath.

The aging portion of the distillery was interesting. On these racks are barrels of two kinds of Bourbon, Rye, and Rum. Two distilled on site and two sourced from MGP in Indiana, but aged on site. The racks themselves are made from reclaimed wood from the Old Crow warehouses outside. If they get big enough there is hope to use one of those to put their own barrels in one day.

They are small-time and hands on. In this case the agitation on the cooker comes from a person holding a drill with a long paddle on the end. The man stirring was our tour guide for the day. Dane is the Lead Distiller at Glenn's Creek.

This is Tiny Tim, the 12 gallon experimental still. It was the first still they had made and they survived using it as the only one for a while. Now it is kept around to run experimental batches.

This is Double D. Named so because it has two doublers, not for any other reason you might think of. It is a 34 gallon still.

This still is Rumsfeld. Rumsfeld is where the rum is distilled. It is a 600 gallon still. They currently run it at 450 gallons but this gives them some room to expand as needed. 

This is Dr. Crow. Named for the man who lent his name to the former occupants of the property, Dr. Crow is where the whiskey is made. The still was originally set up to be heated by a steam boiler, but that portion was too expensive to buy so they converted it to direct heat with the use of the burners from some heaters found around the old distillery.

And this is the current Glenn's Creek Distillery product line-up. From left to right, the Ryskey Rye and the Stave + Barrel bourbon are purchased from MGP and delivered in the barrel to be aged on site. Skipping one, Prohibition Kentucky Rum is the rum distilled in Rumsfeld and aged in barrels that formerly held bourbon.

OCD #5 is an interesting one. It is a bourbon fermented using yeast that was recovered from the sealed Old Crow fermenter number 5 (a photo of it is shown in the Old Crow post). The story goes that since the fermenters were mostly sealed, one day they had the idea to see if there was anything living in there. Yeast can survive a long time in spore form, but 20-30 years is a bit past it's best by date. Most of the fermenters didn't do anything and the mash was spoiled. All but fermenter #5. That one was happily fermenting away when they checked on it. So they pulled it out in buckets, grew it up some and used it to create OCD #5. Did they really catch a yeast that had been previously used by Old Crow? No idea, it may have just been a wild yeast that they caught. Either way, no one else has it and it is a pretty interesting story.

Before I left, I had the chance to take a taste of each of these. As we weren't tasting in the ideal conditions, these aren't real tasting notes, only impressions.

Ryskey Rye Whiskey

Details: 59% ABV. 95% Rye whiskey sourced from MGP in Indiana. Aged on site in full-size barrels with toasted staves added to each barrel. This is a single barrel product.

Thoughts: Spicy with a nice finish.

Prohibition Kentucky Rum

Details: 58.5% ABV. Distilled on site. Made from fermented molasses. 

Thoughts: Hot, molasses, maple syrup, rock candy. Has a rum funk to it. It was quite tasty in a Rum-mosa cocktail (Rum, OJ and cinnamon sticks).

OCD #5

Details: 53.8% ABV. Fermented using yeast caught on site. Aged in full-size barrels with added staves. Staves were smoked.

Thoughts: Slight smoke, herbal. Some corn flake notes. There is a cinnamon note at the tip of the tongue and a slight rum funk. He asked how old we thought this was, we knew it was young, so we guessed 2-3 years. It turns out that it was only six months old. Pretty tasty for that.

Stave + Barrel

Details: 59.4% ABV. Bourbon whiskey sourced from MGP in Indiana. Aged on site in full-size barrels with toasted staves added to each barrel. This is a single barrel product. Six months old.

Thoughts: This is a high-rye recipe MGP bourbon. It's tasty, though young. The added staves make it taste older than the six months it is.

UPDATE: Since I initially wrote this I've noticed that Glenn's Creek Distillery have started a GoFundMe project to help fund the restoration of the Old Crow distillery ruins. If you have the means, think about helping save a piece of history.


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