Whistle Buoy Brewing Co: Desolate Bourbon Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout


Whistle Buoy Brewing Co: Desolate Bourbon Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout Review

Whistle Buoy Brewing in Victoria’s Market Square released Desolate in mid-November, a bourbon barrel-aged Imperial Stout. According to the label and website, it is the “first-ever release of our barrel program and is extremely limited”. My bottle was number 177 of 800. It’s encouraging to see that even such a small-scale brewery as Whistle Buoy can still find the money, time, and motivation to get their hands on some bourbon barrels and brew a huge stout to fill them with.

Desolate pours black with a medium-sized, tan coloured head that lingers. The aroma is raisin, rum, and dark chocolate with hints of charred oak and molasses. It is full-bodied with a viscous creamy texture. The flavour is definitely bourbon barrel forward but without withering tannins. There is a moderate alcohol note throughout with bourbon, cherry, creamy coffee, and milk chocolate notes. There is also a perceived vanilla sweetness but dryer than you would think. The finish is endless belly-warming bourbon.

Available at the brewery or in their online shop until they are gone!


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  • (4.5)
    Overall Enjoyment

About This Beverage

  • Colour: Black
  • Head Size & Retention: Normal head + retention
  • Carbonation: Mild Carbonation
  • Clarity: Opaque
  • Balance: Very Malty
  • Drinkability: For Sipping/Challenging to drink
  • Enjoyment: I would definitely seek this beer out again
  • Malt Characteristics: Rich/Sweet, Coffee or Chocolate, Dark Fruit (raisins, prunes, figs, black currants)
  • Palate: Full Bodied


Even little breweries can make exceptional big barrel aged stouts as Desolate from Whistle Buoy proves.

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