Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Review for Monster Energy--Ultra Red


140 mg


Another Monster beverage found absolutely nowhere for the first few months after I heard about it, then suddenly showed up everywhere overnight.  If you’re having a hard time finding it—check the same place tomorrow.


Ultra Red follows in the footsteps of the original Zero Ultra in terms of aesthetic appeal; I only wish Ultra Blue hadn’t had those cheesy M’s integrated into that otherwise brilliant frost pattern…three 10/10’s would look nice on the shelf next to each other.  Anyway, this can features the same familiar texture as the other two, this time with a deep red an a paisley pattern to the side—which somehow works exceptionally well with the red.  I don’t know how that works…something about red and paisley just looks elegant.  Now I’m just waiting for Monster to introduce an “Ultra Green” with a green apple flavor—then 1) I could really look forward to enjoying a green apple energy drink, and 2) I could use cases of all four flavors as decorations when Christmas rolled around.


Something that I’ve discovered with repeated indulgences of Monster’s Ultra line is that repeated drinking makes good energy drinks better and bad energy drinks worse.  The same holds true here—my first experience with this drink was good, but not the best; the cranberry flavor of the namesake “Ultra Red” is mellowed out to about the level of the base citrus flavor profile familiar to those who have tried Zero Ultra, and at first the homogeny seemed incomplete, and that the cranberry had taken a back seat to the citrus and was not allowed to reach its potential.  Well, I’ve had it a number of times sense (every opportunity I’ve had to buy an energy drink, actually) and I can safely say that I love Ultra Red.  The discrepancies between the two flavors mellow out with repeated drinkings, and before I was wondering if this wondrously balanced beverage was the same one I had drank that first night heading home from Twin Falls.  Bottom line—buy this drink, and do it multiple times.  Chances are by the third time you won’t be able to get enough.


Monster has kicked back on the caffeine a little bit in their Ultra line, and it shows—this isn’t as potent as, say, Lo-Carb or the Rehab line.  One can should be enough to wake you up and put some spring in your step, but to be perfectly honest, I don’t actually buy just one when I’m buying an Ultra beverage—and two of these back-to-back makes for a heckuva fun ride, an easy 9/10 that will suffice for virtually any energy-requiring situation and on top of all that be a joy to guzzle.


One can: around three hours.  Two: five hours, easily.  No crash in either case!


As if you can’t tell, I love this drink—enough that I will be reworking my top 10 list soon to accommodate this and the other Ultra beverages.  I’m exceptionally pleased, and don’t doubt other consumers, be they Monster loyalists or newcomers to the energy scene, will be as well.

KEYWORDS: Monster Energy Ultra Red energy drink review, zero carbs, zero calories, zero sugar, diet

Review for Great Value Energy--Blueberry Acai


120 mg/packet


It’s the Wal-Mart brand, so unless you live in, say, West Yellowstone, Montana, you should be golden.


Great Value Energy doesn’t look all that great—but who cares?  People that go for this sort of thing are going to look for the word “Energy” on the box, and then their eyes will go right down to the price tag—which will ultimately determine whether they will buy it or not.  So is it aesthetically appealing?  No.  Does it matter?  No.


In contrast to the other Great Value energy mixes, this one is exceptionally finicky.  Too much water and you wind up with something like bland Gatorade, devoid of any real nuance of flavor.  Too little, and it’s foul—bitter and pungent and overwhelming (don’t even think about mixing in two packets at once).  Get it just right, though, and it is, in fact, very good—you can actually discern the flavors of both the blueberry and the açaí, something that you rarely get with either flavor, and what’s more, Wal-Mart actually nails them pretty good.  My advice: fill up a mason jar most of the way with water, mix it in, add six ice cubes.  Add more water if there’s room left in the jar.  It’s taken me almost all ten packets to figure that out, but now that I’ve nailed it, I’m happy to pass on the knowledge.


This’ll give you an average boost without too many jitters—fairly run-of-the-mill stuff.


Three hours.


Even though the kick’s nothing worth getting enthused about (can you tell that’s how I feel about it?) it tastes pretty good as long as you can get the quantity of water right, and I suspect it will do for about 99% of the general caffeine-consuming population.


KEYWORDS: Great Value Blueberry Açaí energy mix review, zero carbs, zero calories, zero sugar, diet

Monday, November 4, 2013

Review for Xtreme Shock--Fruit Punch


200 mg


Best bet is to buy this online or check out your local nutrition centers (the GNC kind, not the natural/whole foods kind).  The supply is otherwise spread pretty thin.


I don’t feel the need to go over this four more times with the other flavors, so I’m just going to copy and paste my evaluation (with a few edits) from the first review below.  If you’ve read that already, just move on to the flavor evaulation.

I’m not really sure what to make of this one.  First off, the label is energy drink to the core—bold font and colors, lots of lightning, etc.  But the label really isn’t the first thing that catches your attention—it’s more the fact that there’s a bottle sitting on the shelf which looks uncannily like the one my favorite teriyaki sauce comes in, only filled with a liquid that looks like a translucent version of that dreadful Hog Wash garbage my son likes from time to time (I usually get him the sugar free stuff).  The result is a generally befuddled look that grabs your attention quicker than any aesthetic appeal it might have, and I’m not sure that inducing perplexity in consumers is really the way to go when selling your product.


I’m not sure what it is—I’ve hated the fruit punch flavor for years, but in the last couple of months, I’ve found not one but three that were done in such a way that I quite enjoyed them (I’m behind on my reviews…hopefully I’ll be able to catch up on those soon, but don’t count on it too much).  In the case of this drink here, you get a triple threat to trump all other crap fruit punch drinks—1) it’s not sickeningly sweet, owing to the sparing use of artificial sweeteners, 2) it’s plenty sour, balancing the sweetness nicely, and 3) the flavors are actually distinct—cherry, mango, etc.—rather than the indistinct homogeny of fruity flavors that most fruit punch beverages settle for.  Still might not drink it for the flavor alone, but if you’re into energy/beta alanine supplements and like a good fruit punch, this might very well be a drink for you.


As far as a pre-workout boost, this drink is excellent—the initial energy jolt is impressive, and I did notice that my fatigue levels were considerably lower over the course of my workout.  Still, my favorite use of this energy drink is as a workout recovery beverage—courtesy of the beta alanine (if the article I read is not mistaken), which has been shown in clinical trials to decrease fatigue in athletes (I’m paraphrasing here).  Unfortunately, it’s also the reason I don’t think I’ll ever go back to these beverages now that I’ve tried out all the flavors—the beta alanine makes me really freaking itchy.  Sometimes it’s just the hands and forearms, but gets extremely noxious extremely quick once it spreads to my trunk and scalp (the last of which is particularly maddening).  So if you need a boost and have had beta alanine supplements before and don’t mind the high price, this might be the way to go.  Otherwise, I’d shy away.  It’s just not worth the itch, especially when I’m already satisfied with my current pre-workout supplement (Cellucor C4—review coming soon, I hope).


Just shy of four hours, no crash.


I like this drink—don’t get me wrong—but like I said, it’s not something I’ll be revisiting.  If you’re the sort that’s been longing for a caffeine and beta alanine-loaded fruit punch for your workout, then congratulations—this is absolutely your beverage.  I’ll be sticking with my C4, though.

KEYWORDS: Xtreme Shock Fruit Punch energy drink review, beta alanine supplement, zero carbs, zero sugar, zero calories
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