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

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

Juice Above the Clouds

Juice Above the Clouds, Altamont Beer Works
Judges Rating:
95
Appearance:
6 / 6
Aroma:
23 / 24
Flavor:
38 / 40
Mouthfeel:
9 / 10
Overall Impression:
19 / 20

Juice Above the Clouds by Altamont Beer Works is an in-your-face Mosaic rendition of the BJCP 22A Double IPA style. That said, the complete package comes through as a very enjoyable and quaffable version of a style that typically does not exhibit this level of drinkability. 

A very strong... Read More

Judges Rating:
93
Appearance:
6 / 6
Aroma:
24 / 24
Flavor:
36 / 40
Mouthfeel:
9 / 10
Overall Impression:
18 / 20

Double Barreled Maple Stout by Avery Brewing Co. is a monster of a brew, weighing in at over 15 percent ABV. While there is a lot going for this extremely complex concoction, there is a bit of an issue with sweetness, as is seen many times in a huge Imperial Stout type such as this. This beer is... Read More

White Rascal

White Rascal, Avery Brewing Co.
Judges Rating:
94
Appearance:
6 / 6
Aroma:
24 / 24
Flavor:
37 / 40
Mouthfeel:
9 / 10
Overall Impression:
18 / 20

White Rascal by Avery Brewing Co. is a classical interpretation of the BJCP 24A Witbier style. Wheat, Spice, Citrus – yup, all there, without any additional complexities, which is a perfectly fine way of brewing this style. Though there are minor quibbles, Avery did a great job with this one! ... 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

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