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

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

Pan a Flores

Pan a Flores, SouthNorte Beer Co.
Judges Rating:
92
Appearance:
6 / 6
Aroma:
24 / 24
Flavor:
36 / 40
Mouthfeel:
8 / 10
Overall Impression:
18 / 20

Pan a Flores by SouthNorte Beer Co is a full-flavored holiday treat for your senses. While there are a few quibbles, this brew delivers Holiday cheer quite admirably. This beer is being evaluated as a Category 30A Spice Herb and Vegetable beer as per the 2015 BJCP Style Guidelines with “Porter”... Read More

Found

Found, Upland Brewing Co.
Judges Rating:
94
Appearance:
5 / 6
Aroma:
24 / 24
Flavor:
37 / 40
Mouthfeel:
9 / 10
Overall Impression:
19 / 20

Found by Upland Brewing Co. is a very straightforward, uncomplicated American Wild Ale (Cat 28B – Mixed Fermentation Wild Ale as per the 2015 BJCP Style Guidelines) that is a bit “wilder” than most, using a culture isolated from the Smoky Mountain wilds for fermentation. It appears that this... Read More

Keypunch

Keypunch, Urban Artifact
Judges Rating:
85
Appearance:
4 / 6
Aroma:
22 / 24
Flavor:
35 / 40
Mouthfeel:
7 / 10
Overall Impression:
17 / 20

Keypunch by Urban Artifact is an interesting, quite refreshing offering that delivers very well on the aroma of key lime, but is a little weaker on the presentation for the flavor. This beer is being evaluated as a Category 29A Fruit Beer with a Category 27 Historical Beer – Gose base as per the... Read More

Black Circle

Southbound Black Circle Double Black IPA Beer
Judges Rating:
89
Appearance:
5 / 6
Aroma:
23 / 24
Flavor:
35 / 40
Mouthfeel:
8 / 10
Overall Impression:
18 / 20

Southbound Brewing's Black Circle Double Cascadian Dark Ale is a well-balanced, approachable brew that should find fans even amongst those beer connoisseurs who do not prefer this particular style. This deep brown to opaque brew with ruby highlights has a solid tan creamy head along with an... Read More

Stoaked

Stoaked Upland Beer
Judges Rating:
86
Appearance:
5 / 6
Aroma:
22 / 24
Flavor:
34 / 40
Mouthfeel:
9 / 10
Overall Impression:
16 / 20

Upland’s Stoaked is promoted as an Oak-aged Belgian Quadrupel. While the Quad character is quite evident, the wood notes that would be expected from beers of this style are quite subtle. The aroma of this moderately carbonated, clear, deep amber-colored brew with a fleeting white head is quite... Read More

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