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

Concrete Dinosaur

Concrete Dinosaur by Right Brain Brewery
Judges Rating:
94
Appearance:
6 / 6
Aroma:
23 / 24
Flavor:
38 / 40
Mouthfeel:
9 / 10
Overall Impression:
18 / 20

Concrete Dinosaur Brown Rye IPA by Right Brain Brewery is a great example of a well-crafted very flavorful Rye IPA with amazing balance and drinkability, and should be a definite go-to brew if available in your area. Due to it being a Brown Rye IPA (combination of Brown IPA and Rye IPA), this is... Read More

Better Life Choices

Better Life Choices by Atwater Brewery
Judges Rating:
94
Appearance:
6 / 6
Aroma:
23 / 24
Flavor:
38 / 40
Mouthfeel:
9 / 10
Overall Impression:
18 / 20

Better Life Choices IPA by Atwater Brewery is a great example of a well-crafted IPA that clearly bucks the trend against the typical “hop smackdown” IPA offerings.  This is a very flavorful IPA that still delivers great balance and drinkability, and should be a definite go to brew if available... Read More

Phantasmagoria

Prairie Phantasmagoria Double IPA beer
Judges Rating:
93
Appearance:
5 / 6
Aroma:
23 / 24
Flavor:
38 / 40
Mouthfeel:
9 / 10
Overall Impression:
18 / 20

Phantasmagoria is a delicious and approachable take on a Double IPA. This slightly hazy, deep golden-colored brew has a solid white-colored head of fine bubbles that lingers. The aroma delivers an intense level of dank hop character with a touch of citrus, melon and pineapple, and the malt... Read More

Oatsmobile Ale

Bell's Oatsmobile Ale Beer
Judges Rating:
93
Appearance:
5 / 6
Aroma:
22 / 24
Flavor:
38 / 40
Mouthfeel:
9 / 10
Overall Impression:
19 / 20

Oatsmobile Ale is a good example of a Session IPA with enough body and flavor to satisfy and compensate for the style's hallmark – a lack of alcohol.

Moderately complex dank hop characteristics dominate the aroma, with the earthy dankness augmented by roasted onion and garlic notes up... Read More

Pawpaw

Pawpaw by Upland Brewing Co.
Judges Rating:
95
Appearance:
5 / 6
Aroma:
23 / 24
Flavor:
39 / 40
Mouthfeel:
9 / 10
Overall Impression:
19 / 20

Upland Pawpaw is a delicious well crafted American Sour that has the potential to improve with age, though is fantastic as is. The sample was evaluated as a 28C Wild Specialty Beer (according to the 2015 BJCP guidelines), and was bottled on January, 2017 according to the label. 

The aroma... Read More

Hop Rising Double IPA

Squatters Hop Rising Double IPA Beer
Judges Rating:
83
Appearance:
6 / 6
Aroma:
20 / 24
Flavor:
32 / 40
Mouthfeel:
8 / 10
Overall Impression:
17 / 20

Hop Rising Double IPA is a good effort, though it is lacking in certain aspects that would make it great. The aroma has a light to moderate level of woody and citrus hop aroma with a touch of background spiciness. This brilliantly clear, amber-colored brew has a solid lingering white head, but... Read More

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