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

14° ESB

14° ESB, Bent Paddle Brewing Co.
Judges Rating:
93
Appearance:
6 / 6
Aroma:
22 / 24
Flavor:
38 / 40
Mouthfeel:
9 / 10
Overall Impression:
18 / 20

14 Degree ESB by Bent Paddle Brewing Co. is a well-crafted rendition of the Extra Special Bitter (ESB) style with a bit of an American twist. The balanced use of American-style hops in the hop bill to support the typical ESB style malt complexity works very well in this offering. This is being... Read More

Nordic Saison

Harpoon Nordic Saison Beer
Judges Rating:
92
Appearance:
5 / 6
Aroma:
22 / 24
Flavor:
38 / 40
Mouthfeel:
9 / 10
Overall Impression:
18 / 20

Harpoon Brewing Co, in collaboration with Kissmeyer Beer and Brewing, and Cambridge Brewing Company, has successfully brewed a fine Saison upon which they have then added their own stamp. 

Harpoon’s 100 Barrel Series #54 Nordic Saison is a very approachable Saison perfect for summer... Read More

Picture of Nectar

Southbound Beer Picture of Nectar
Judges Rating:
92
Appearance:
5 / 6
Aroma:
22 / 24
Flavor:
38 / 40
Mouthfeel:
9 / 10
Overall Impression:
18 / 20

Southbound Brewing Co’s. Picture of Nectar could either be considered a big Fruit Beer with very assertive, dank hopping, or as a Double IPA with fruit. Either way, it's a Specialty beer, and it is also quite special. This golden-colored, slightly hazy ale with an assertive stand of head... Read More

Soul Shakedown Party

Soul Shakedown Party by Sun King Brewing
Judges Rating:
90
Appearance:
5 / 6
Aroma:
23 / 24
Flavor:
36 / 40
Mouthfeel:
8 / 10
Overall Impression:
18 / 20

Soul Shakedown Party by Sun King is a Rum Barrel Aged Scotch Ale, and is being evaluated as a wood aged (2015 BJCP Category 22C) offering according to BJCP guidelines. For this style, characteristics from both the barrel as well as from what the barrel originally contained (Rum) should be... Read More

Judges Rating:
87
Appearance:
5 / 6
Aroma:
22 / 24
Flavor:
35 / 40
Mouthfeel:
8 / 10
Overall Impression:
17 / 20

Elgoods Coolship Sour Mango Ale is very straightforward in that it delivers what is on the label.  It is sour, and it has a Mango flavor, and it does these things quite well.  There is not a lot of complexity beyond this, but depth of flavor might not be necessary in this offering.  Though this... Read More

Judges Rating:
92
Appearance:
5 / 6
Aroma:
23 / 24
Flavor:
37 / 40
Mouthfeel:
9 / 10
Overall Impression:
18 / 20

Upland Dantalion Dark Wild Ale is a well-crafted American Sour that has the potential to improve with age.

The aroma of this brew is very complex with cherry, apple, sour fruit and spicy notes. There is a strong Lacto character along with some brown sherry aromas. Visually, this well-... Read More

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