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Thread: Energy Drinks

  1. #1
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    Energy Drinks

    Ever heard somebody say: "I can't live without coffee"? Yeah, me too. A number of times actually. But if you said "I can't live without energy drinks" you'd probably get the stink-eye from many people. This is despite the fact that energy drinks are often lower-sugar (certainly when compared to the popular Starbucks that's in many cases packed with calories, but obviously I don't mean the full-sugar energy drinks) and don't necessarily contain a lot more caffeine, and people (usually) don't drink them all day long unlike coffee.

    I talked about this before so I won't go in-depth, but because of medical reasons (that have become far less of a factor) I avoided energy drinks for many years but used to drink them very often at uni. I have had a lot of trouble with my sleep these days and they do help a lot, so I've decided to start drinking them again. (Besides, I hate coffee.) So we can use this thread to share our thoughts on various energy drinks.

    I know I already ranted about this, but in the UK we've have this "sugary drinks levy" since a few years back and 95% of soft drinks have been reformulated. And most of them in my humble opinion taste like crap. For a genuine sugary taste (as opposed to often-yucky artificial sweeteners) we're limited to Coke and Pepsi. And Red Bull. I decided I'd just give in and try the various sugar-free or lower-sugar (10g+ per 100ml is taxed) energy drinks because I don't want to only drink Red Bull. I'll include Red Bull anyway.

    So I'm going to write some mini reviews on the drinks I've been trying over the past few days and beyond. Of course, UK varieties of the same drinks will likely taste different to the US counterparts.

    First up, may as well go with Red Bull...

    Energy Drinks-mqvncp3-png

    Red Bull is the best and I ain't bullshitting you. There is a reason why it's the "default" energy drink flavour and the formula many, many imitation energy drinks try (usually unsuccessfully) to replicate. It's the Coca-Cola of energy drinks and if you think it isn't tasty as hell, you're in denial matey. I only bought one of these. Mostly because I wanted to try more other drinks. That and the fact Red Bull is known for its high price.

    That's the only reason I'm knocking Red Bull down one point. Otherwise I really do think it's a 10/10 drink. I am reviewing the original sugary version of course. The sugar-free one? They didn't get that right.

    Score: 9/10


    Energy Drinks-zzodb1t-png

    Carabao is an energy drink from Thailand that I only noticed a few days back and it really piqued my curiosity. Apparently the name is Thai for "red water buffalo". While that does sound like a knock-off Red Bull name it does seem to be doing its own thing with a variety of flavours. I had this "Green Apple" variety the other day. Unfortunately I can't recommend this. You can definitely taste the apple in it but that's accompanied by a rather strong chemical taste which does tend to linger. It's not a drink I'd refuse but is very much mediocre. Nutritionally it's not so bad at only 63 calories per can. The best part is probably that these Carabao drinks are inexpensive. You also get 330ml per can—much more than Red Bull's 250ml.

    Score: 6/10


    Energy Drinks-58nq1pv-png

    I noticed a lot of people going on about how good Reign is in energy drink communities. (Yes, these exist.) It did sometimes come across as shilling. But surely the drinks must be pretty good at the least, right? Unfortunately I was only able to get a few cans of the "Melon Mania" variety from the store. From the can logo it does seem like it's meant to be watermelon. Well, I have bad news: it isn't very good. There's definitely some watermelon flavour in there but it strongly tastes like economy strawberry jelly which I'm not a big fan of to begin with. I don't get what's with the hype, but maybe the other flavours are a lot better. It's not completely disastrous though. Despite the strawberry jelly taste there isn't any bad chemical taste that often comes with sugar-free drinks. That's another positive; sugar-free and only ten calories per can. Cans are 500ml.

    It's worth noting that Reign is owned by Monster. I guess that makes it more disappointing that they really dropped the ball on this. I'd expect more. This also means (at least in my country) that they aren't an economic option.

    Score: 5/10


    Energy Drinks-mixed-berry_1png-1-131x300-png

    Carabao returns! I have great news. This drink is delicious. After the disappointment from their apple variety (typically one of my favourite flavours) this was a welcome surprise. The mixed berry flavour really is delicious. Unlike green apple I'm not noticing any bad chemical taste. The aftertaste is still pleasant. It really does taste just like a normal soda. So, we have a winner here and I'll definitely buy more of these in the future. There's the same modest amount of calories as last time: 63 is nothing to complain about. At the low cost I cannot recommend this more. It's due to the value for money that I'm rating it on par with Red Bull. I'm drinking my first one right now, actually.

    Score: 9/10


    That's the lot of them for this post. I got a lot of different energy drinks from the local supermarket. There are many varieties of Monster Ultra and more Carabao as well as some different Rockstars. Obviously, it'd be criminal for a 30-year-old (eh, sadly almost 32) boomer to not review the Monster Ultra ones. Though I should let you know that I won't be reviewing the original Monster Ultra. I'm going against the grain here but I find the original extremely bland with a strong chemical taste. It isn't disgusting and I would have it without anything else available, but at best it's a 4/10 drink in my opinion. Let's hope the other Monster Ultras I own can live up to their good name.

    Your thoughts on various energy drinks are welcome. I'm not creating this to be just my own thread.

  2. #2
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    I'm right with you when it comes to coffee, Mantis. I love coffee. I'll get the rare Starbucks, since we have a place that sells it at my hospital, but I usually just drink the coffee I have at home (which I actually get delivered from Angelinos. I love their coffee and recommend them if you have a Keurig and like coffee. Theres a ton of flavors in normal and decaf, and the price is better than most K Cup brands.)
    And my hospitals coffee is actually good. Its 100% columbian and good quality, especially for a hospital. I know you had that complaint before, Mantis lol.

    Energy drinks, on the other hand, I don't really like them. I've tried Red Bull once when I was out with mynolder brother and his friends bar hopping years ago for the first and only time in my life. I didnt hate it, but I wouldn't buy it again.

    Energy Drinks-coca_cola_energy_lead-rendition-407-226-0-jpg
    I've tried Coke Energy and it's alright. It's exactly what you would expect. Coke taste with a bit of a guarana taste. If you like coke and energy drinks, it's perfect. But I'm not a big fan of either so...
    6/10.

    There is an energy drink my friend really likes that I enjoyed as well.
    Energy Drinks-71emfxczidl-_sl1500_-jpg
    Sunshine energy tastes really good, especially the Go
    Inger Berry. It's not overly guarana tasting and isn't super suvary either. If I ever want an energy drink, it's my go to. But that's pretty rare.
    8/10.

    I've learned I just don't like that guarana taste. So I probably won't like most energy drinks.

    One thing I want to kinda rant about though: I hate when parents buy their young kids energy drinks. It makes me mad when I see a young teenager walking out of a store with an energy drink. No. Just...no. they're way too young to be needing energy drinks. And they can be dangerous for kids that young.


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    I liked Monster energy drinks when I was in my teens. I can't stomach them anymore. Redbull has always tasted good to me. I would get them now and then when I needed the energy boost because of lack of sleep. I haven't had one in like 8 years though because I can't tolerate high levels of caffiene anymore. I either have a panic attack or just get very sick to my stomach from it. I enjoy coffee now and then still but I can't have it more than a few times a week and it has to be weak on the caffine side. I usually go with one of those instant coffee mixes or some heavily watered down coffee drink from Starbucks.

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    Now HERE'S something I'm passionate about. I think I've had 2 per day since I was 15. Monster wasn't the powerhouse it is today, but it was already quite popular at the time, I know that the basic bitch lineup of big brands was: Full Throttle, No Fear, Monster, Red Bull, Vault (sort of. "drinks like a soda, kicks like an energy drink", it filled the same position that Surge used to). I've tried every one I can get my hands on, even ones that are just unsweetened tea with caffeine/guarana/taurine added. Of course I've gone through the weird ones you find at the those little shopping mall stands run by Armenians as well: Cocaine, Pussy, etc.

    Since I've traveled a lot, I've tried at least 50 brands and well over 125/150 flavors or varieties. I've ingested some dicey shit in turkey, Croatia, Malta, and so on but it's a virtue of mine that if I find an energy drink I will try it!!! I think one of the most extreme in terms of caffeine content is Redline because it isn't really an energy drink at all but rather a health supplement that is marketed and looks like an energy drink but is sold in a different part of the store. Think 5 Hour Energy, but a full 16oz can. I don't know about these days, but Redline used to be like drinking 5 or 6 Monsters and there were urban rumors about teen guys going to the hospital over it.

    I've tried all the modern brands as well and I'm getting increasingly disappointed that they all go for a similar flavor these days. The CocaCola one has to be my least favorite, but Bang & Reign are just awful as well. My all-time favorite is the Killer Taipan flavor of Venom (yellow can).

    Energy Drinks-venomkillertaipan-jpg

    2nd place goes to one that's obscure as hell but I always buy them when I find them in a rural gas station in the middle of nowhere: Joker.

    Here's what they looked like back when I used to see them at the gas station:
    Energy Drinks-unnamed-jpg

    And after their re-branding/re-release:
    Energy Drinks-joker-energy-jpg

    Not sure what the deal is with those since there is scarce information online but they seem to be available in a few mid-western states with rare availability in the Northeast seemingly at random. If any of you see this where you live I will buy them from you (at 2x price) & pay shipping. PM me.

    My bread & butter daily energy drink is Monster Rehab - Raspberry Tea. Sweet & tangy but no excessive sweetness and no carbonation, makes it really easy to drink in the morning.
    Energy Drinks-11723e0b-de0e-47dd-b0e8-e54bef1d40b4-__cr0-0-150-300_pt0_sx150_v1___-jpg

    After that, I usually keep a few cases of Mountain Dew Kickstart around because it's cheap, Amazon will deliver them, and the sugar/calories/caffeine are half that of a Monster so it's a good 2nd can for the day.
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  6. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by pseudohippie View Post
    One thing I want to kinda rant about though: I hate when parents buy their young kids energy drinks. It makes me mad when I see a young teenager walking out of a store with an energy drink. No. Just...no. they're way too young to be needing energy drinks. And they can be dangerous for kids that young.
    I agree with this. Young teenagers, at least, should be getting good enough bedtimes that energy drinks shouldn't be a factor in their lives. If a kid feels a need for energy drink for a boost and they're not getting adequate sleep... the parents are doing it wrong. I think it's at later adolescence that children should have the full freedom to enjoy energy drinks or coffee as they please. It was at about seventeen years old that I introduced energy drinks into my life. I kind of needed the caffeine there. I had full-time college, a 20-hour per week job, lots of coursework and a rather needy girlfriend too. But as a young teen? I was getting pretty decent amounts of sleep so I didn't need anything like that anyways. I really enjoyed Powerade (our Gatorade counterpart) but that was more of an non-carbonated sports drink.

    Well, I have had a few more different drinks over the past day or two so I'll get to those first. Though before that I'll say that I've had Coke Energy too. I think it's very pleasant. It doesn't really taste like cola to me though. It's too different for me to identify as cola in a hypothetical taste test. I'd probably give it a 7/10. So, next up...


    Energy Drinks-1899cherry-mask-transparent-downscale-png

    Nobody in the USA will know 1899. That's because it's a UK supermarket brand. Previously I had tasted the regular 1899 flavour. From what I remember it's a knock-off Red Bull but since I bought some now I'll try another in the near future. This however is the cherry one which I'd never tried before. It's really good. Did any of you used to have cherryade? That's a drink I was often given as a kid (my sister was the bigger fan) but I feel cherryade usually isn't as good as it used to be. This drink strongly reminds me of the cherryade I used to have. It doesn't taste like an energy drink. It's just a really pleasant cherry soda taste. Since it's a supermarket brand, naturally this gets top marks for price. It is also a sugar-free drink. 250ml in a can. While it isn't the best energy drink ever it's certainly earned its place amongst my current favourites. If any Americans are considering importing from the UK at any point for that energy drink bucket list I'd pick one of these up given the opportunity.

    Score: 8/10


    Energy Drinks-yvjqbc2-png

    Rockstar Punched Guava is a pretty popular one here in the UK. It used to be my favourite after Red Bull. After the sugar tax there was a reformulation. It was really bad. Gone was that delicious taste in favour of a bad combination of sweeteners. I'm pretty sure they got a lot of bad feedback from customers. Well, I decided to retry it. It now says "more taste" and a 25% caffeine boost. While I don't really care for a small caffeine increase they weren't lying about the taste. It is massively improved from the early reformulation after the tax. I'd say it's close to the original drink. Not completely there but nearly. This does have a chemical taste but it's more of a kick and isn't bad. Really fruity and I recommend it. Slightly decreased score due to a slight degrade in taste but the fact it now isn't super-super-sugary is a pro too.

    Score: 8/10


    Energy Drinks-hbzeura-png

    A real battle against two reigning (no pun intended, Reign from what I've tried kinda sucks) brands here. They both have the same idea but I'm not sure exactly what Monster had in mind with this drink. Keep in mind that this isn't a Monster Ultra, but as explained in this country it likely isn't be as sugary as Monster's USA varieties. Monster did try their best with the sugar without getting hit with the tax as this almost teeters over the limit; it has 10g of sugar. They did accomplish a good amount of sweetness. It's sweeter than the above Rockstar attempt (also lacking Rockstar's kick) but unfortunately I must say that in my opinion it doesn't quite make the cut.

    The sweetness is pretty decent but there's no kind of moreish tang that Rockstar and some of the other high-quality drinks have. I don't feel an urge to drink this at any real pace which in some ways can be considered a good thing. It's just a somewhat above average punch-flavoured drink. It's carbonated, of course. I'm giving this Monster a...

    Score: 6/10


    Quote Originally Posted by KorinKitty View Post
    I haven't had one in like 8 years though because I can't tolerate high levels of caffiene anymore. I either have a panic attack or just get very sick to my stomach from it. I enjoy coffee now and then still but I can't have it more than a few times a week and it has to be weak on the caffine side. I usually go with one of those instant coffee mixes or some heavily watered down coffee drink from Starbucks.
    I can relate to this. During the near-decade I was strongly advised to avoid these drinks I did come to realise the problems they were causing for me and how they could lead to things like panic attacks in some people, or something else in my case. So I can understand that 100%. While you're vulnerable to something like that, moderation is the best idea. (And in retrospect I'd say with the amount of sugar you get in the high-sugar energy drinks or coffee, moderation should be mandatory.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Zemekis View Post
    I know that the basic bitch lineup of big brands was: Full Throttle, No Fear, Monster, Red Bull, Vault.
    So No Fear was very much a thing in the US? We got it in the UK but you didn't see it all that often so I assumed it was never a particularly popular energy drink brand. Come to think of it, there's actually a No Fear game in this forum's arcade. (A feature I'll sadly be shutting down in the fairly close future.) The drink itself was kinda above average, but the sealable can design seemed absolutely genius to me. I'd never and never have since seen anything like that. I don't know if No Fear came up with it, but damn, that alone made No Fear a worthwhile purchase for me. It reminds me of other innovations like Ramune's marble bottle.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zemekis View Post
    Cocaine, Pussy, etc.
    I remember reading about the Pussy drink. I heard it wasn't very good at all, more of a novelty thing. It's kind of like why people would seek out Tentacle Grape. Perhaps the Pussy drink was smarter than meets the eye. Perhaps a lot of guys bought it, because at the end of the day who wants to say they haven't tried pussy?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zemekis View Post
    Redline used to be like drinking 5 or 6 Monsters and there were urban rumors about teen guys going to the hospital over it.
    This doesn't surprise me at all.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zemekis View Post
    The CocaCola one has to be my least favorite, but Bang & Reign are just awful as well.
    Despite my underwhelming experience with Reign so far I'm probably going to end up trying more to see if it really is the most overrated energy drink out there. And a bit of Bang because it seems to be Reign's leading competitor.

  7. #6
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    There was one that I've always wanted to try but it has sadly been discontinued...

    Energy Drinks-canz-jpg

    Honestly, it's more for the novelty of it. That, and I wanted to see if it made me profecient in Aikido.

    Beyond that, I stick to the tried and true...


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