Joseph Formanek

Joseph Formanek's picture
Beer Judge

​Joe Formanek started homebrewing nearly 35 years ago as an undergraduate in Microbiology at the University of Minnesota. He was bitten by the brewing bug after taking a tour of Summit Brewing Company within a year after they had opened in St. Paul in 1987, and he has been going ever since. Joe later went to Graduate School at the University of Illinois and helped found the Boneyard Union of Zymurgical Zealots (BUZZ) Homebrew Club. He currently resides in Bolingbrook, IL, is a Director for a food ingredient company in Itasca, IL, and is a proud member of the Urban Knaves of Grain Homebrew Club. Joe holds a National Judge ranking with the BJCP, and is a previous Midwest Regional Rep and Vice President of the organization.

Over the years, Joe has received many honors related to homebrewing. He has won numerous BOS awards at local and regional competitions, is a 6 time winner of the Midwest Homebrewer of the Year award (1999, 2001-2004, 2007) and won the American Homebrewers Association Meadmaker of the Year award in 2004.  Joe is a 2 time winner of the American Homebrewers Association Ninkasi Award (2000, 2006) for winningest brewer in the final round of judging, and was honored as being named one of the two homebrewer winners of the 2011 Sam Adams Longshot American Homebrewing Competition with his Russian Imperial Stout, which was distributed nationally in the 2012 Longshot multipack.

My articles

The Truth About Brewing Beer with Corn Syrup
AB InBev unveiled a commercial during Super Bowl LIII that focused on the differences between its Bud Light and MillerCoors's Miller Lite and Coors...
PicoBrew Pico Model C
In the more than 30 years I have been a homebrewer, I’ve seen remarkable progress in both the homebrewing knowledge base as well as available...

My reviews

Judges Rating:
97
Appearance:
5 / 6
Aroma:
24 / 24
Flavor:
39 / 40
Mouthfeel:
10 / 10
Overall Impression:
19 / 20

Barrel Aged Imperial Korova by Gnarly Barley Brewing Co. is an amazingly rich, complex and delicious concoction! This bourbon barrel-aged milk porter is being evaluated as a 33B Specialty Wood-Aged Beer with Baltic Porter as the base beer.

The aroma has an incredible complexity of bourbon... Read More

Witkist White

Witkist White, Odell Brewing
Judges Rating:
90
Appearance:
5 / 6
Aroma:
22 / 24
Flavor:
36 / 40
Mouthfeel:
9 / 10
Overall Impression:
18 / 20

Witkist White by Odell Brewing Co. is a fruited Wit-style beer. Wheat, Spice, Citrus – yup, all there, as expected for a Wit. However, the fruit character marries so well with the base beer character that it really doesn’t stand out as would be expected for a BJCP Category 29A Fruit Beer. It is... Read More

The Bluprint

The Bluprint, Birds Fly South Ale Project
Judges Rating:
89
Appearance:
6 / 6
Aroma:
24 / 24
Flavor:
34 / 40
Mouthfeel:
8 / 10
Overall Impression:
17 / 20

The Bluprint by Birds Fly South Ale Project is an extremely dank rendition of the BJCP 21A American IPA style. There is an indication that guava is being used to a certain level in this recipe, however as it might be at background level, it will not be evaluated as a Cat. 29A Fruit Beer. While... Read More

Table Of Contents

Table Of Contents, Monday Night Brewing
Judges Rating:
82
Appearance:
5 / 6
Aroma:
21 / 24
Flavor:
33 / 40
Mouthfeel:
8 / 10
Overall Impression:
15 / 20

Table Of Contents by Monday Night Brewing is an interesting concept, being a small Brett beer that is actually fermented in red wine barrels, not just aged. However, the promise of the concept does not seem fully realized. This is being evaluated as a Category 28C Wild Specialty Beer as per the... Read More

Terry's Big Adventure

Photo unavailable
Judges Rating:
82
Appearance:
4 / 6
Aroma:
21 / 24
Flavor:
33 / 40
Mouthfeel:
8 / 10
Overall Impression:
16 / 20

Terry’s Big Adventure by Bhramari Brewing Company is an experiment in the BJCP 32B Classic Style Smoke Beer, with the base being a Helles, but with the grain having been smoked using fig wood instead of the traditional beechwood. It seems that this choice of wood has delivered a somewhat... Read More

Gold Belt Golden Ale

Gold Belt, Social Fox Brewing
Judges Rating:
86
Appearance:
5 / 6
Aroma:
20 / 24
Flavor:
35 / 40
Mouthfeel:
9 / 10
Overall Impression:
17 / 20

Gold Belt Golden Ale by Social Fox Brewing is a relatively simple beer, as would be expected from a beer advertised as tasting like beer! This beer is being evaluated as a BJCP Category 18A American Blonde Ale. This is typically an entry-level style for those first... Read More

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