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

Funky Gold Simcoe

Prairie Funky Gold Simcoe Beer
Judges Rating:
95
Appearance:
5 / 6
Aroma:
23 / 24
Flavor:
39 / 40
Mouthfeel:
9 / 10
Overall Impression:
19 / 20

This very hazy, golden-colored brew has a small head of white-colored bubbles that dissipates rather quickly, which is expected for the style. Brett dominates the fermentation character of the aroma, delivering a complex woody, corky, leathery and earthy funkiness alongside a lemony tartness,... Read More

Looping Owl

Looping Owl by Right Brain Brewery
Judges Rating:
79
Appearance:
4 / 6
Aroma:
21 / 24
Flavor:
33 / 40
Mouthfeel:
7 / 10
Overall Impression:
14 / 20

Looping Owl by Right Brain Brewery is labeled as being an Amber ale aged in Bourbon Barrel. Unfortunately, it comes through more as whiskey-diluted with a somewhat mild amber colored beer. This is being evaluated as a Category 33B Specialty Wood Aged beer as per the 2015 BJCP Beer Style... Read More

Iron Maiden TROOPER

Iron Maiden TROOPER by Robinsons Brewery
Judges Rating:
86
Appearance:
6 / 6
Aroma:
22 / 24
Flavor:
34 / 40
Mouthfeel:
9 / 10
Overall Impression:
15 / 20

Trooper by Robinson’s Family Brewers in the UK is a somewhat non-descript rendition of the Extra Special Bitter (ESB) style.  While there is not much that makes it stand out from its competition, this offering is quite clean and approachable, which is fortunately a critical aspect for a beer of... Read More

Judges Rating:
93
Appearance:
6 / 6
Aroma:
24 / 24
Flavor:
37 / 40
Mouthfeel:
8 / 10
Overall Impression:
18 / 20

Upland’s Komodo Dragonfly is an impressive example of a very drinkable Black IPA. A massive hit of dank hop character (presumably Simcoe) greets you upon opening the bottle, and this hop character explodes from the glass upon pouring. There is a touch of a chocolate or black malt aroma also... Read More

Vital IPA

Victory Beer Vital IPA
Judges Rating:
89
Appearance:
6 / 6
Aroma:
21 / 24
Flavor:
35 / 40
Mouthfeel:
9 / 10
Overall Impression:
18 / 20

The first impression that arrives in the aroma is that of a somewhat sweet, lightly caramelized pilsner malt backed by light piney and citrus hop notes. In a way, the aroma is similar to the few domestically produced IPAs that were available in the 1970s before the Craft Beer Revolution. Very... Read More

Hop'lin IPA

Hop'lin IPA Southbound Beer
Judges Rating:
93
Appearance:
5 / 6
Aroma:
24 / 24
Flavor:
37 / 40
Mouthfeel:
9 / 10
Overall Impression:
18 / 20

Southbound Brewing Company's Hop’lin IPA is a very well-crafted, balanced IPA that delivers the goods. This slightly hazy golden-colored brew with a solid lacy head has an absolutely fantastic aroma. An amazing marriage of fresh citrus, woody and dank hop characters deliver a very strong... Read More

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