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:
37 / 40
Mouthfeel:
9 / 10
Overall Impression:
18 / 20

Full Suspension Pale Ale is a bit of a misnomer – not so much a traditional American Pale Ale, but more of what you could call an American Best Bitter due to the hop flavor impact in a quite small beer being similar to what you’d see in an English Bitter, but with a distinctly American spin on... Read More

Clusterflies

Southbound Clusterflies Beer
Judges Rating:
92
Appearance:
5 / 6
Aroma:
24 / 24
Flavor:
36 / 40
Mouthfeel:
9 / 10
Overall Impression:
18 / 20

Southbound Brewing Co’s. Clusterflies is a well-crafted example of a soured, wine barrel-aged Saison. 

Clusterflies has a complex tart aroma loaded with cherry, apricot, lemon and red wine characters with underlying Brettanomyces barnyard notes. Very inviting! This hazy, golden-colored... Read More

Malefactor

Upland Malefactor Sour
Judges Rating:
96
Appearance:
5 / 6
Aroma:
24 / 24
Flavor:
39 / 40
Mouthfeel:
9 / 10
Overall Impression:
19 / 20

Upland Malefactor is a monster of an American Sour! This brew, promoted as an “Epic Flanders Style Red Ale," delivers quite the impact to the senses in all aspects, delivering a memorable and epic experience indeed.

The aroma of this brew is very complex with intense cherry, lactic and... Read More

Brooklyn East IPA

Brooklyn East IPA Beer
Judges Rating:
81
Appearance:
5 / 6
Aroma:
20 / 24
Flavor:
33 / 40
Mouthfeel:
8 / 10
Overall Impression:
15 / 20

Nearly all of the IPAs in the market today are American-style, with huge expressions of a wide range of different hops in the aroma and flavor of the brew. In many cases, the hop character overwhelms the base malt backbone. Brooklyn East IPA is certainly not one of those. It is somewhat... Read More

Transilience

Southbound Transilience Beer
Judges Rating:
91
Appearance:
5 / 6
Aroma:
23 / 24
Flavor:
35 / 40
Mouthfeel:
10 / 10
Overall Impression:
18 / 20

Transilience is an “Imperial Berliner Weisse” fruited with Mango and Pomegranate. While the term Imperial has become quite commonplace for a number of typically moderate-alcohol beer styles, Southbound did an outstanding job delivering an “IBW” that still retains the refreshing drinkability of... Read More

Sweet Child of Vine

fulton beer sweet child of vine ipa
Judges Rating:
89
Appearance:
6 / 6
Aroma:
22 / 24
Flavor:
35 / 40
Mouthfeel:
9 / 10
Overall Impression:
17 / 20

A rich, sweet, caramel malt nose shares the aroma with a complex blend of earthy, citrusy and piney hop characteristics. There is also some light fruity esters evident. The beer is a light copper with great clarity and a solid, rocky, off-white head of small, white bubbles that leaves lacing on... Read More

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