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:
88
Appearance:
5 / 6
Aroma:
21 / 24
Flavor:
36 / 40
Mouthfeel:
8 / 10
Overall Impression:
18 / 20

Intensified Coffee Porter is a collaboration between Brooklyn Brewery, El Salvadoran coffee growers, an East Coast coffee roaster and a Kentucky bourbon distillery. All of their efforts are evident in this monstrously large porter, clocking in at 11.8 percent ABV. 

The powerful aroma has... Read More

Ape Snake

Ape Snake Prairie Artisan Ales Beer
Judges Rating:
88
Appearance:
5 / 6
Aroma:
22 / 24
Flavor:
35 / 40
Mouthfeel:
9 / 10
Overall Impression:
17 / 20

Prairie Artisan is renowned for brews with amazing complexity. Ape Snake, their dry-hopped Dark Farmhouse Ale, delivers on this promise to a certain extent, but less so than with other offerings. This deep brown-colored brew has a huge tan-colored head of small bubbles that maintains its... Read More

Rockin' Chair

Rockin Chair Southbound Beer
Judges Rating:
81
Appearance:
5 / 6
Aroma:
20 / 24
Flavor:
33 / 40
Mouthfeel:
8 / 10
Overall Impression:
15 / 20

Southbound Brewing Company’s Rockin' Chair is an interpretation of a Double British Brown ale, a style that is quite difficult to find commercially.  

This ale has a deep brown color with a fair, off-white stand of head. The aroma exhibits a toasted brown, caramel and roasty malt... Read More

Jeez Louise

Lazy magnolia beer jeez louise
Judges Rating:
89
Appearance:
5 / 6
Aroma:
21 / 24
Flavor:
36 / 40
Mouthfeel:
9 / 10
Overall Impression:
18 / 20

Lazy Magnolia’s Jeez Louise is a multi-dimensional spice beer that fits the style quite well. This golden-colored, slightly hazy brew with a solid, fine bubble stand has a spicy peppery aroma with evident citrus notes. The flavor of this brew is a fascinating fusion of citrus and jalapeño... Read More

Moonlight Drive

Southbound beer Moonlight Drive
Judges Rating:
87
Appearance:
5 / 6
Aroma:
22 / 24
Flavor:
34 / 40
Mouthfeel:
9 / 10
Overall Impression:
17 / 20

Southbound Brewing Company’s Moonlight Drive is an Imperial Coffee Stout, according to the label. Imperial and Coffee, in that order, are the key words here.    

The first thing noted with this brew is the impact of the coffee aroma immediately upon opening the bottle. The intensity rises... Read More

Cold Press Black

Cold Press Black, Bent Paddle Brewing Co.
Judges Rating:
91
Appearance:
6 / 6
Aroma:
22 / 24
Flavor:
36 / 40
Mouthfeel:
9 / 10
Overall Impression:
18 / 20

Cold Press Black by Bent Paddle Brewing Co is a bit of an anachronism. While having the strength of an IPA and comes off similar to a Black IPA, it is actually a Coffee Ale due to the addition of locally-sourced cold pressed coffee. Due to this, this beer is being evaluated as a Category 30A... Read More

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