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 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

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

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

Pacer IPA

Pacer IPA, Avery Brewing Co.
Judges Rating:
90
Appearance:
6 / 6
Aroma:
24 / 24
Flavor:
34 / 40
Mouthfeel:
8 / 10
Overall Impression:
18 / 20

Pacer IPA by Avery Brewing Co. is a quite dank rendition of the BJCP 21B Specialty IPA style, with the offering being session strength. The hop character satisfies very well, though the malt components are a bit wanting, as is seen rather often in sessionable IPAs.

Big dank sulfur hop... Read More

Puff Puff Pastry Stout

Puff Puff Pastry Stout, Gnarly Barley Brewing
Judges Rating:
96
Appearance:
5 / 6
Aroma:
24 / 24
Flavor:
39 / 40
Mouthfeel:
9 / 10
Overall Impression:
19 / 20

Puff Puff Pastry Stout by Gnarly Barley Brewing Co. is an amazingly complex rendition of the current pastry stout fad. There is a lot of goodness going on in this brew, with much complexity and a surprising level of balance that really makes this one quite the treat. This brew is being evaluated... Read More

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