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 reviews

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

Takeout Rye IPA

Squatters Takeout Rye IPA beer
Judges Rating:
84
Appearance:
5 / 6
Aroma:
20 / 24
Flavor:
35 / 40
Mouthfeel:
7 / 10
Overall Impression:
17 / 20

Takeout Rye IPA is a well-crafted example of a mild rye-based ale, but is a bit too subtle to be considered a truly exemplary Rye IPA.

This brilliantly clear, amber-colored brew with a somewhat fleeting white head starts out with a touch of woody hop aroma with a background rye spicy note... Read More

Upslope Brown Ale

Upslope Brown Ale, Upslope Brewing Co.
Judges Rating:
91
Appearance:
6 / 6
Aroma:
22 / 24
Flavor:
36 / 40
Mouthfeel:
9 / 10
Overall Impression:
18 / 20

Upslope Brown Ale by Upslope Brewing Co. is a delicious malt-forward rendition of the BJCP Category 19C American Brown Ale, though the hop character of this offering is perhaps a bit more representative of a 13B British Brown Ale.

Deep rich toffee, caramel, coffee and roast malt notes... Read More

Judges Rating:
91
Appearance:
5 / 6
Aroma:
22 / 24
Flavor:
36 / 40
Mouthfeel:
9 / 10
Overall Impression:
19 / 20

Upland’s Barrel Chested Barleywine is a big exuberant brew that isn’t afraid to make its presence known. The aroma of this clear, brown-black brew with a solid, cream-colored head is loaded with bourbon and wood character, melded with a moderate level of toffee and molasses-aged malt notes. At... Read More

Upland Harvest Ale

Upland Harvest Ale Beer
Judges Rating:
86
Appearance:
6 / 6
Aroma:
21 / 24
Flavor:
35 / 40
Mouthfeel:
7 / 10
Overall Impression:
17 / 20

Upland Harvest Ale is a very dank brew. The aroma has strong dank notes dominated by a Simcoe-like hop character. A few fruity esters are noted, as is a light grassiness presumably from the wet-hopping used in this brew. Visually, this moderately carbonated, very clear, golden-colored brew has a... Read More

Easy Chair

Easy Chair Upland Beer
Judges Rating:
85
Appearance:
4 / 6
Aroma:
21 / 24
Flavor:
35 / 40
Mouthfeel:
8 / 10
Overall Impression:
17 / 20

Upland’s Easy Chair Amber Ale is an example of a subtle, well-balanced brew. However, by having that subtleness and balance, it lacks aroma or flavor characteristics that jump out to allow this brew to stand out amongst its peers. Aroma-wise, this clear, amber-brown brew with a rather fleeting... Read More

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