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

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

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

Chariot

Chariot, Urban Artifact
Judges Rating:
91
Appearance:
4 / 6
Aroma:
23 / 24
Flavor:
38 / 40
Mouthfeel:
8 / 10
Overall Impression:
18 / 20

Chariot by Urban Artifact is an assertively cherry fruit-forward offering that demonstrates a well-crafted solid marriage of tart cherry and Gose beer character. This beer is being evaluated as a Category 29A Fruit Beer with a Category 27 Historical Beer – Gose base as per the 2015 BJCP Style... Read More

Tart Ten

Victory Brewing Tart Ten sour beer
Judges Rating:
84
Appearance:
4 / 6
Aroma:
23 / 24
Flavor:
33 / 40
Mouthfeel:
8 / 10
Overall Impression:
16 / 20

The aroma of this brew is quite fruity with a considerable amount of cherry and berry character, along with a light barnyard funk and aromatic sourness. The base dubbel makes itself known with an evident brown malt and light raisin aroma. Visually, this somewhat lightly carbonated, quite clear,... Read More

Entwined

Entwined, Upland Brewing Co.
Judges Rating:
94
Appearance:
6 / 6
Aroma:
23 / 24
Flavor:
37 / 40
Mouthfeel:
9 / 10
Overall Impression:
19 / 20

Entwined by Upland Brewing Co. is a Barrel-aged fruited sour Brown Ale, with the fruit being grapes. As such, this is an extremely complex offering, with a cornucopia of flavors that actually come together very well. This is being evaluated as a Cat 28C Wild Specialty beer in the American Wild... Read More

Bent Hop

Bent Hop, Bent Paddle Brewing Co.
Judges Rating:
89
Appearance:
6 / 6
Aroma:
22 / 24
Flavor:
35 / 40
Mouthfeel:
9 / 10
Overall Impression:
17 / 20

Bent Hop Golden IPA by Bent Paddle Brewing Co is a rather subtle yet clean IPA. This one goes against the grain when it comes to most recent IPAs as it will not knock you over the head with over-the-top hop character. However, hops are still the star of the show in this one, due to the malt... Read More

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