I first want to say that I do not drink energy drinks, nor have I ever drank an energy drink that I can remember. I have had small tastes of Red Bull here or sips of Amp there, but I hadn’t drank an entire serving until now. I decided that since I’ve been hearing so much about energy drinks on various media and from my various friends who are addicted *cough* I mean drink them I should write up a review based on a non-biased an non-experienced energy drink drinker’s (which is surprisingly easy to say really fast 5 times) perspective.
I headed out to select 5 energy drinks randomly from the selection at local convenience and grocery stores. After hitting a few spots I was surprised at the overall quantity of selection of energy drinks in each store (some had over 20 choices). I picked up the following 5: Red Bull, Rockstar, BooKoo Shot, Full Throttle, and Amp Energy. Each of the energy drinks cost around $2.50, which was surprising to someone used to (relatively) cheap Coca Cola and unfamiliar with this price point.
1. Red Bull
Ingredients: Carbonated water, sucrose, glucose, sodium citrate, taurine, glucuronolactone, inositol, niacin, D-pantothenol, pyridoxine HCL, vitamin B12, natural and artificial flavors, colors
Nutrition Facts: Serving Size: 1 can; Amount per serving: Calories: 160; Total Fat: 0g; Sodium: 290mg; Protein: less than 1g; Total Carbohydrates: 40g; Sugars: 39g; Niacin: 140%; Vitamin B6: 360%; Vitamin B12: 120%; Pantothenic acid: 70%
I figured I might as well start with the energy drink that I have heard the most about and that I see all over the place on TV, in magazine and online sponsoring events and advertising their “wings” campaign.
First Impressions: I popped the cap and the first thing I notice is the aroma coming from the energy drink. It smells almost cough syrup in that is smells very fruity and syrupy (I’m not really looking forward to the first taste at this point). Well, here goes! … … Yow! carbonated liquid lifesavers comes to mind.
Energy Diary: 10:45am and I’ve begun drinking the Red Bull.
Just to give you some info while I’m waiting for my “wings” , the Red Bull can states that “Red Bull energy drink improves performance….and increases concentration”. I guess only time will tell how true that statement is as I feel nothing right away. I do find it hard to drink because it is so syrupy and candy flavored but I’ll press on, I have a feeling there’s more of this in my future with 4 left to test.
11:10: I have been drinking the the Red Bull now for about 20 minutes and I seem to be about done. I just cannot get past the taste and consistency of this drink. I might as well take some lifesavers put them in a bowl, take them outside and let them melt in the sun and then drink them up. It would be cheaper and would probably give the same results.
Well it has been about 1 hour since I finished my Red Bull energy drink and I feel like I got a “little” boost. But mid afternoon on a hot July sort of takes any energy from you.
Final Conclusion & Rating: I waited another couple hours to see both the immediate effects and after effects of the energy drink and I have to say I didn’t feel that much different. 2 out of 5 stars.
2. Amp Energy Drink Tall Boy
Ingredients: Carbonated water, high fructose corn syrup, citric acid, natural flavor, orange juice from concentrate, guarana, sodium benzoate, sodium polyphosphates, maltodextrin, caffeine, gum arabic, erythoric acid, taurine, panax ginseng, calcium disodium edta (to product flavor), potassium benzoate, brominated vegetable oil, yellow 5
Nutrition Facts: Serving size: 1 can (8.4oz); calories 120; total fat 0g; saturated fat 0g; cholesterol 0mg; sodium 75mg; total carb. 32g; dietary fiber 0g; sugars 30g; protein 0g; riboflavin 20%; vitamin B6 10%; vitamin B12 10%; niacin 10%; pantothenic acid 10%
Amp is a Mountain Dew related product, and comes in a rather large 16 OZ can which contains 2 servings. Which brings up a good point. Some manufacturers offer a smaller “shot” style packaging which contains 1 serving (6-8 oz.) However others offer tall and wide cans that typically contain 2 servings. For this review I’m drinking the entire can, regardless of serving size as I feel that’s how most consumers… consume these products (who splits a can of anything with someone?).
First Impressions: Amp tastes like a cousin of Mountain Dew, a cousin who lives the fast life and may or may not be on some sort of mind enhancing cocktail of drugs. This is probably a good thing for Pepsi as it’s most likely what they were shooting for when they designed the flavor of this go juice. I can’t say I like the taste of Amp, but it is slightly better than Red Bull and closer to a typical soda experience.
Energy Diary: 12:30 I feel a slightly more powerful boost this afternoon after drinking Amp with my lunch. I feel slightly more alert but nothing that couldn’t be explained by a better night’s sleep or daily variation in mood. I’m going to guess if I only drank 8 oz’s I wouldn’t notice a difference.
Final Conclusion & Rating: Better tasting than Red Bull but still not a very effective energy producer, 3 out of 5 stars.
3. Full Throttle Energy Drink
Ingredients: carbonated water, high fructose corn syrup and/or sucrose, citric acid, taurine, natural and artificial flavors, sodium citrate, sodium benzoate (to protect taste), ginseng extract, caffeine, carnitine fumarate, maltodextrin, niacinamide (vitamin B3), yellow 5, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), guarana extract, cyanocobalamin (vitamin B12).
Nutrition Facts: serving size 8fl oz; servings per container 2; calories 100; total fat 0g; sodium 70mg; total carbs 28g; sugars 29g; protein 0g; niacin 205; vitamin b6 20%; vitamin B12 10%
I noticed Full Throttle was made by Coca Cola, and I immediately thought of my previous experience with Amp and wondered if Coca Cola could win me over like it has with it’s Cola. Regardless, it won’t garner any brownie points from me just for the parent company no matter how addicted I am to it’s sugary Cola cousin.
First Impressions: My first taste went surprisingly well, although I was still greeted with the common ingredient; ultimate sweetness I was also greeted with a milder carbonation than the others and a slight lime flavor which was a fairly pleasant aftertaste experience.
Energy Diary: I haven’t even left the house to go back to the office and I’m already feeling the effects of the Full Throttle experience. Full speed ahead indeed! It’s a weird feeling though, I’m slightly nervous, a little anxious and starting to feel a little antsy, all the tell-tale signs of excess energy but without the pure boundless energy you get on a brilliant Saturday morning or maybe the day after a big promotion.
Final Conclusion & Rating: It’s been almost 2 hours and I’ve come down considerably from the initial energy rush I experienced. I’d say this drink does the job, and doesn’t taste half bad either, I’d give it 5/5 but I can hear the whining now, so it’ll rank in at 4 out of 5 stars.
4. BooKoo Shot Wild Berry
Ingredients: caronated water, sucrose, high fructose corn syrup, citric acid, sodium citrate, potassium benzoate (as a preservative), natural flavor, taurine, caffeine, glucuronoloctone, insitol, niacin, d-pantothenol, pyridoxine HCL, red 40, blue 1, vitamin B12
Nutrition Facts: serving size: 5.75 fl oz; servings per container: 1; calories 80; total fat 0g; sodium 150mg; total carbohydrate 19g; sugars 19g; niacin 65%; vitamin B6 164%; vitamin B12 54%; pantothenic acid 33%; taurine 1000mg
BooKoo comes in a mini shot container (under 6 oz’s), and has the impression that it delivers an explosion in every can.
First Impressions: The first thing I noticed when I opened the BooKoo Shot was the color. It is a dark pink color and it smells like candy. With my first taste I noticed it was very carbonated and tasted like a candy flavored soda.
Energy Diary: About 15 minutes after I started drinking the BooKoo shot I noticed my body starting to twitch. I was kind of jittery and I did feel a little burst of energy. I felt the need to get stuff done, which I did very fast.
Final Conclusion & Rating: It has been 8 hours since I had my BooKoo shot and I still feel a little antsy. I did get a slight headache about 3 hours after I had the shot. As far as an overall rating this energy drink does give you energy and the taste ok OK so I would give the BooKoo shot a 4 out of 5 stars .
5. Rockstar Energy Drink
Ingredients: carbonated water, high fructose corn syrup, dextrose, citric acid, taurine, natural and artificial flavors, guarana seed extract, ascorbic acid, caramel color, sodium benzoate (preservative), potassium sorbate (preservative), caffeine, niacinamide, inositol, l-carnitine, milk thistle extract, ginkgo biloba leaf extract, calcium pantothenate, siberian ginseng root extract, cyanocobalamin, riboflavin, pyridoxine hydrochloride
Nutrition Facts: serving size 8 fl oz; servings per container 2; calories 110; fat 0g; sodium 35mg; total carb 29g; sugars 27g; protein 0g; vitamin b2 200%; vitamin b3 50%; vitamin b5 50%; vitamin b6 50%; vitamin b12 50%; vitamin c 100%; taurine 946mg; guarana 200mg; inositol 25mg; carnitine 25mg; siberian ginseng 25mg; milk thistle 20mg; ginkgo 15mg
After having a good experience the previous day with Full Throttle, I was looking forward to the next entry in the review. Rockstar wasn’t at all what I was expecting and turned out to be the best tasting and most peculiar of the 6 I reviewed.
First Impressions: The first thing you’ll notice when drinking Rockstar is that it taste’s somewhat like grapefruit juice. Instead of the candy/soda effect the other had, Rockstar has a pleasant and almost fruit juice taste to it, making the overall experience not one of ultimate sweetness (although saying Rockstar isn’t sweet isn’t at all accurate either).
Energy Diary: I did notice a nice boost in energy from Rockstar, but not the same effect I experienced with Full Throttle.
Final Conclusion & Rating: I’d pick Rockstar up again if I needed a small pick me up, and a pleasant fruit-like drink to quench my thirst, I’ll give it a 4 out of 5 stars.
Credits: Props to BevNet.com for providing Ingredient and Nutrition data on each drink (it made composing this article slightly less time consuming).