Joseph Formanek

Joseph Formanek's picture
Beer Judge

​Joe Formanek started homebrewing nearly 30 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 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

C’mon Sunshine

C’mon Sunshine, Birds Fly South Ale Project
Judges Rating:
92
Appearance:
5 / 6
Aroma:
23 / 24
Flavor:
37 / 40
Mouthfeel:
9 / 10
Overall Impression:
18 / 20

C’mon Sunshine by Birds Fly South Ale Project is labeled as a Farmhouse Ale, but technically should be evaluated as a BJCP Category 29A Brett Beer with a Cat 25B Saison base. As such, it is a nice marriage of characters of the two styles that works quite well! 

The typical horse blanket... Read More

Rhymes With Purple

Rhymes With Purple
Judges Rating:
95
Appearance:
6 / 6
Aroma:
23 / 24
Flavor:
38 / 40
Mouthfeel:
9 / 10
Overall Impression:
19 / 20

Rhymes With Purple by Bhramari Brewing Co. is a delicious and refreshing take on a fruited Berliner Weisse. While the strength of the beer takes it above the expected range for the style, the berry character of the presentation complements the character of the base beer very well.  This beer is... Read More

Holy Simcoe, Batman!

Holy Simcoe, Batman!, Bhramari Brewing Co.
Judges Rating:
93
Appearance:
3 / 6
Aroma:
24 / 24
Flavor:
39 / 40
Mouthfeel:
9 / 10
Overall Impression:
18 / 20

Holy Simcoe, Batman! by Bhramari Brewing Co. is something rather unusual for commercial offerings – a SMaSH IPA (Single Malt and Single Hop). As such, it is an excellent way to evaluate the character of a particular hop in a brew – in this instance, Simcoe. This is being evaluated as a 21A... 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

Maui Waui IPA

Maui Waui IPA, Altamont Beer Works
Judges Rating:
93
Appearance:
6 / 6
Aroma:
23 / 24
Flavor:
37 / 40
Mouthfeel:
9 / 10
Overall Impression:
18 / 20

Maui Waui IPA by Altamont Beer Works is a quite dank rendition of the BJCP 21A American IPA style, with the hop character being perhaps a bit on the high end of the style. Nonetheless, this is still a well-crafted and enjoyable brew.

Dank hop aromas (Citra, Mosaic) are well noted upon the... Read More

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