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

Leviathan

Leviathan Harpoon IPA
Judges Rating:
90
Appearance:
6 / 6
Aroma:
22 / 24
Flavor:
36 / 40
Mouthfeel:
9 / 10
Overall Impression:
17 / 20

Harpoon’s Leviathan IPA is a monster! This aroma of this massive brew is loaded with melon and citrus character with a light resinous background combined with substantial base malt notes. The appearance is outstanding, with very light carbonation delivering a fine, lingering, creamy, lacy head... Read More

Bad Elmer's Porter

Upland Beer Bad Elmer's Porter
Judges Rating:
86
Appearance:
5 / 6
Aroma:
23 / 24
Flavor:
34 / 40
Mouthfeel:
7 / 10
Overall Impression:
17 / 20

Upland’s Bad Elmer’s Porter is an approachable example of an American Porter with a few minor problems. This brown-black brew with a medium cream-colored stand of head and moderate carbonation has an aroma of black malt sharpness with a background of chocolate. The flavor has an evident base... Read More

Persimmon

Persimmon by Upland Brewing Co.
Judges Rating:
86
Appearance:
5 / 6
Aroma:
21 / 24
Flavor:
34 / 40
Mouthfeel:
8 / 10
Overall Impression:
18 / 20

Upland Persimmon is an interesting attempt at using a rather obscure fruit in an American Sour application, though it is an offering that might improve with age. The sample was evaluated as a 28C Wild Specialty Beer (according to the 2015 BJCP guidelines), and was bottled on January 2017... Read More

Osiris Pale Ale

Osiris by Sun King Brewery
Judges Rating:
94
Appearance:
6 / 6
Aroma:
23 / 24
Flavor:
38 / 40
Mouthfeel:
9 / 10
Overall Impression:
18 / 20

Osiris Pale Ale by Sun King is a very well-crafted APA (2015 BJCP Category 18b).  In a time where hop bomb IPA’s rule the roost, it’s nice to have a flavorful and well balanced option that still satisfies the lust for hops yet delivers a certain level of harmony and drinkability.

You are... Read More

Heirloom Ale

Lazy Magnolia beer heirloom ale
Judges Rating:
90
Appearance:
5 / 6
Aroma:
22 / 24
Flavor:
37 / 40
Mouthfeel:
8 / 10
Overall Impression:
18 / 20

Lazy Magnolia’s Heirloom Ale is a complex American Sour ale aged on Pinot Noir oak chips. The wine character delivered by this aging is quite assertive, tending to overwhelm the base beer in some aspects.

This brew pours a clear reddish-amber, with a head stand that dissipates rather... Read More

Twisted Monkey

Twisted Monkey, Victory Brewing Co.
Judges Rating:
82
Appearance:
4 / 6
Aroma:
22 / 24
Flavor:
32 / 40
Mouthfeel:
8 / 10
Overall Impression:
16 / 20

Twisted Monkey by Victory Brewing Co. is a variant of their Golden Monkey Belgian-style Blond ale which is then fruited with mango. As such, the idea of mango in a Belgian base beer sounds quite attractive. While the mango does marry well with the overall Belgian character of this base beer,... Read More

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