REVIEW: Reign Total Body Fuel by Monster Energy

In the world of performance energy drinks, there’s one leader — Bang. In the world of energy drinks, there is one leader — I don’t know who that is and I’m too lazy to look it up. If only there were drinks I could consume to give me some energy to do so.

It could be Red Bull. It could be Monster. Maybe Rockstar. Maybe Cocaine Energy Drink? But Monster is one of the heavy hitters in the energy drink universe.

So what are “performance energy drinks”? From what I can gather, they’re made for athletes to give them big boosts of energy that allow them to do things at a higher level. In order to do that, they have 300 milligrams of caffeine per can and contain supplements like coenzyme Q10 and branched-chain-amino acids.

While Bang is in the lead, Monster hopes to gain market share with its new Reign Total Body Fuel line. Yes, it’s not Monster Total Body Fuel, because who wants to use a well-recognized trademark over a name that sounds like a mobile game with lots of in-app purchases.

So Monster could have dipped its toes in the category, but it decided to make a splash by offering SIX flavors of Reign — Carnival Candy, Melon Mania, Lemon HDZ, Peach Fizz, Sour Apple, and Razzle Berry. They all have 300 milligrams of caffeine, 0 grams of sugar, 0 calories, no artificial colors (yes, they’re all clear), and no artificial flavors.

Carnival Candy

Reign Total Body Fuel Carnival Candy

When I took the first sip, I got a lot of cotton candy flavor, but that went away with the sips right after. Those had more of a general sweetness. There’s a little cotton candy in the aftertaste, but I want it whenever I’m drinking it because when it’s there, it’s quite lovely.

Now if you let your taste buds reset and not sip on it for a while, the cotton candy flavor will return briefly for that one sip and then go back to not tasting like the carnival treat. I have to say this was the one variety I was most looking forward to and it ended up being a little disappointing.

Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (8 ounces) 0 calories, 0 grams of fat, 100 milligrams of sodium, 35 milligrams of potassium, 1 gram of carbohydrates, 0 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein.

Sour Apple

Reign Total Body Fuel Sour Apple

This flavor has the same issue that Carnival Candy has. The first sip tastes like sour apple, but subsequent sips lose most of the apple flavoring, leaving a sweet and tart taste. But, again, let your taste buds rest a little, and the full fruity and sourness comes back for one sip. The sour apple flavor is good, but I wish it’s around for every sip.

Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (8 ounces) 0 calories, 0 grams of fat, 100 milligrams of sodium, 35 milligrams of potassium, 1 gram of carbohydrates, 0 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein.

Melon Mania

Reign Total Body Fuel Melon Mania

I was hoping this would be flavored like either a cantaloupe or honeydew melon because the world needs more of those, but the can’s color scheme makes it obvious it’s going to be watermelon. If you’re expecting it to taste similar to a Jolly Rancher hard candy, it’s not like that says my taste buds who are currently enjoying a watermelon Jolly Rancher because we just so happen to have some in our house. It’s better tasting than that. It’s like an enhanced version of watermelon flavoring.

Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (8 ounces) 0 calories, 0 grams of fat, 100 milligrams of sodium, 35 milligrams of potassium, 1 gram of carbohydrates, 0 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein.

Lemon HDZ

Reign Total Body Fuel Lemon HDZ

Because I’m uncool, I wasn’t sure what HDZ was, but I asked our Twitter followers, and they came up with the obvious answer — Heads. (Full disclosure: I thought it was Hards.) I thought this one would be like a lemonade, but it’s not quite that because there isn’t a noticeable sourness to it. I want to say lemon meringue because there’s something else to the flavor that I can’t quite put my finger on. Despite not knowing what it exactly tastes like, I enjoyed it.

Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (8 ounces) 0 calories, 0 grams of fat, 100 milligrams of sodium, 35 milligrams of potassium, 1 gram of carbohydrates, 0 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein.

Peach Fizz

Reign Total Body Fuel Peach Fizz

If you enjoy peach-flavored gummies, then you’ll like this. It’s not overly flowery tasting like some peach products are. Its flavor reminded me of the Red Bull Peach Edition I had recently. Peach Fizz is my favorite of the bunch, but not by a lot over Melon Mania.

Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (8 ounces) 0 calories, 0 grams of fat, 100 milligrams of sodium, 35 milligrams of potassium, 1 gram of carbohydrates, 0 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein.

Razzle Berry

Reign Total Body Fuel Razzle Berry

This one tastes similar to other blue raspberry-flavored beverages I’ve had in that it’s fruity and slightly sour. It also reminds me of Carnival Candy, so some of the same natural flavors might’ve been used. Fortunately, unlike Carnival Candy, Razzle Berry’s flavor doesn’t fade with the second sip. As someone who enjoys Louie-Bloo Raspberry Otter Pops, it’s not surprising I liked the taste of this.

Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (8 ounces) 0 calories, 0 grams of fat, 100 milligrams of sodium, 35 milligrams of potassium, 1 gram of carbohydrates, 0 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein.

Even with the issues I experienced with some of the flavors, I have to say these were surprisingly good for drinks with zero sugar and calories. As someone who has consumed a lot of beverages sweetened with sucralose and ace-K, I could tell they have no sugar, but the flavors do great at hiding that fact.

Some of you might be wondering how these help with performance. I did not test that because the most laborious physical activity I do is an exercise called finger push-downs, which is otherwise known as typing.

Purchased Price: $2.99 each
Size: 16 fl. oz. cans
Purchased at: Target

REVIEW: Monster Energy Ultra Paradise

Monster Energy Ultra Paradise

What is Monster Energy Ultra Paradise?

Monster Energy just released “Paradise” as the newest addition to its sugar-free Ultra line of energy drinks. According to the back of the can, Monster Ultra Paradise delivers “Pure, Crisp, Invigorating Island Flavors.” The question is, what exactly is an island flavor?

Monster Energy Ultra Paradise 2

How is it?

I’m a frequent consumer of Monster Ultra, so I know the flavors can be difficult to place. Sure, Ultra Red kind of tastes like fruit punch, and Ultra Sunrise tastes vaguely orangish, but what flavor is Ultra Blue? Ultra Zero? Ultra Paradise at least gives us a hint that it’ll be tropically flavored.

Monster Energy Ultra Paradise 3

Upon opening, Ultra Paradise is a hazy light green color. The island flavor is… nondescript. Pineapple, maybe? Or maybe Pina Colada? Is the green color supposed to be a hint? It’s definitely tropical, but I still have no idea what that means exactly. You could tell me it was passion fruit flavored, and I’d believe you. (Full disclosure: those weird purple Starburst are the complete extent of my experience with passion fruit.)

Is there anything else you need to know?

Some varieties of Monster Ultra can be too sweet for my tastes, so I appreciate this one keeps it more subdued. It allows the citric acid tang to add a bit of a kick, which is appreciated when I’m looking for a pick-me-up.

Conclusion:

When imbibing a caffeinated beverage, I’m mostly interested in its pharmacological effect. Most of the time that means coffee, but if I’m at a convenience store of questionable quality, with a pot of coffee that’s been there longer than the clerk, I may reach for an energy drink instead. Monster always gets the job done with 140 milligrams of caffeine, and Paradise fits in well with the rest of the Ultra options.

Purchased Price: $2.00
Size: 16 fl. oz. can
Purchased at: Festival Foods
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 0 calories, 0 grams of fat, 160 milligrams of sodium, 1 gram of carbohydrates, 0 grams of sugar, and 0 gram of protein, 100% Niacin, 100% Vitamin B6, 100%, Vitamin B12, 100% Vitamin B5, and 140 mg of caffeine.

Click here to read our previous energy drink reviews.

REVIEW: Java Monster Swiss Chocolate

Java Monster Swiss Chocolate

What is the Java Monster Swiss Chocolate?

It promises “the taste of Swiss chocolate paired with premium coffee and cream and supercharged with our Monster Energy Blend.” It’s currently a Dollar General exclusive flavor.

How is it?

Java Monster Swiss Chocolate 2

When poured, the color is the same as heavily creamed coffee, with a scent to match. The java flavor is strong without being overpowering. It’s not as tooth-cracklingly sweet as some other pre-made coffee beverages I’ve had, though it still has a “syrupy” character.

As a regular energy drink consumer, I’m on the lookout for that medicinal energy drink aftertaste, the one that makes it seem like the manufacturer crushed up a multivitamin into your drink. I detect some, but it’s so small that it could easily be a sense memory of the hundreds of other energy drinks I’ve had.

Java Monster Swiss Chocolate 3

The chocolate flavor is very slight. I don’t want to alarm you, but it’s possible the chocolate element in this beverage actually has no connection at all to Switzerland, and “Swiss” was added to the name in an attempt to brand the product as more exotic and exciting than it really is. Shocking, I know. There’s so little of it here that I don’t think it deserves top billing, naming-wise.

Is there anything else you need to know?

I usually drink my coffee hot, so I was curious what would happen if I heated this in the microwave for a few seconds. I’m secretly hoping the added thermal energy will have some strange alchemical effect and transmute the Monster Energy Blend into a Jekyll/Hyde concoction, allowing me to unleash the beast within.

Alas, the beast must remain chained, as heating only has the effect of making it hotter. If anything, the heat distracts from the already very slight Monster Energy Blend flavor, turning this into a plain hot cup of joe.

Conclusion:

Java Monster Swiss Chocolate delivers a decent coffee flavor with a slight chocolate note. It’s not bad but doesn’t separate itself from a hundred other options.

Purchased Price: $2.10
Size: 15 fl. oz.
Purchased at: Dollar General
Rating: 5 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 210 calories, 4.5 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 15 milligrams of cholesterol, 440 milligrams of sodium, 500 milligrams of potassium, 36 grams of carbohydrates, 35 of sugar, and 8 grams of protein.

QUICK REVIEW: Monster Pacific Punch Energy Juice

Monster Pacific Punch Energy Juice

What is the Monster Pacific Punch Energy Juice?

It’s a tropical fruit punch-flavored Monster Energy Juice that comes in a can that looks like the textbook margins of that person in the back of the class who’s great at drawing, but not good at paying attention in class.

It has more fruit than a Carmen Miranda hat (Google her). There’s orange juice concentrate, apple juice concentrate, raspberry juice concentrate, guava puree, cherry juice concentrate, pineapple juice concentrate, and passionfruit juice concentrate.

How is it?

I wondered how similar this would taste to Monster’s Pipeline Punch – one of my favorite Monster Energy flavors – because they both are tropical fruit punch. After drinking both, Pacific Punch leans more towards what most taste buds would associate with fruit punch. Think of it as carbonated Hawaiian Punch that’ll punch your heart with 160 milligrams of sweet, sweet caffeine per can.

Monster Pacific Punch Energy Juice 2

Pipeline Punch tastes more “tropical” to me than Pacific Punch, but I enjoy both equally. I don’t know if this is a permanent addition to the Monster Juice lineup, but I hope it is because it’s really tasty.

Is there anything else I need to know?

It smells like a red popsicle.

I said it before, and I’ll say it again. Energy drink companies are getting really good at making their energy drinks not taste like energy drinks. And Pacific Punch is no exception. It was super easy to drink.

Conclusion:

Another great job by Monster Energy. If you want a fruit punch with a caffeinated kick, Monster Pacific Punch is what you should be drinking.

Purchased Price: $1.99
Size: 16 oz. can
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (16 oz.) 220 calories, 0 grams of fat, 80 milligrams of sodium, 54 grams of carbohydrates, 52 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Monster Energy Mutant Super Sodas

Monster Mutant Super Sodas

I wonder if internally at Monster Energy Headquarters, which I imagine is a radioactive green building with giant ramps on its sides that allow action sports stars to jump over the building, they called their new Super Sodas, Monster Dew.

In the world of radioactive colored sodas, Mountain Dew is far and away the most popular, and probably the most radioactive colored. So I understand why Monster decided to go after Mountain Dew’s marketshare. It could be successful or it could end up like Coca-Cola’s Surge, discontinued until a rabid following helps bring it back in limited markets

The new soda line is available in two varieties — Original and Red Dawn. If you Dew the Dew, you probably figured out Red Dawn is Monster’s version of Mountain Dew’s cherry-flavored Code Red.

The green one is good, but it’s slightly different than Mountain Dew. To be more exact it tastes like it’s missing something. And that something is orange juice concentrate. The lack of it leans the soda more into lime territory. You might think Monster decided not to use it in case Pepsi decided to Mountain Sue them, but that’s unlikely because Red Dawn has it.

While the Hulk green Monster Super Soda kind of tastes like original Dew, Red Dawn tastes exactly like Mountain Dew Code Red. If you secretly replaced my stash of it with Monster’s version, I don’t think I’d be able to tell. And if you did that, how dare you sneak into my home and you will be getting a bill for all the locks I have to change.

They have the same amount of calories and slightly less sugar than Mountain Dew. But the number many of you care about when it comes to radioactive colored sodas is the caffeine amount. While 20 ounces of Dew has 91 milligrams of caffeine, a 20-ounce bottle of Monster Super Soda has 115 milligrams. I think that’s a difference most drinkers won’t notice. And that’s a number without Monster’s proprietary energy blend, which if used would’ve upped the caffeine content significantly, but the bitterness from it might’ve made the beverage taste more like Mountain Ew than Mountain Dew.

Another significant number was the price. At my local 7-Eleven, the Monster Super Soda was $2.29, while a 20-ounce bottle of Mountain Dew was $1.89. So they taste similar and have slightly more caffeine, but are more expensive.

The two are fine Mountain Dew alternatives, but, for me, price negates the fact they have slightly more caffeine. If they were the same price, I’d definitely pick them up more often.

(Nutrition Facts – Original – 290 calories, 0 grams of fat, 90 milligrams of sodium, 74 grams of carbohydrates, 70 grams of sugar, 0 grams of protein, 100% niacin, and 100% vitamin B6. Red Dawn – 290 calories, 0 grams of fat, 60 milligrams of sodium, 72 grams of carbohydrates, 72 grams of sugar, 0 grams of protein, 100% niacin, and 100% vitamin B6..)

Purchased Price: $2.29
Size: 20 oz bottles
Purchased at: 7-Eleven
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Fine Mtn Dew alternatives. Red Dawn tastes like Code Red. Slightly more caffeine than Mtn Dew.
Cons: Pricer than Mtn Dew. Why does Red Dawn have orange juice concentrate, but the green one doesn’t? Using Mountain Sue and Mountain Ew in a review.

*Because I live on a rock in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, things are a bit pricier here. You’ll probably pay less than I did.

REVIEW: Java Monster Salted Caramel

Java Monster Salted Caramel

Java Monster flavors are like Ben & Jerry’s flavors in that you could blindfold me in front of the store’s display case that holds them, spin me around multiple times while Dead or Alive’s “You Spin Me ‘Round” plays on the store’s P.A. system, allow me to randomly select a flavor, slap that flavor out of my hand, yell “bad doggie” at me, hand me a different flavor, and whatever that is it’ll be tasty.

I’ve never had a horrible Ben & Jerry’s flavor, and after drinking the new Java Monster Salted Caramel, I still haven’t had a bad Java Monster flavor.

Speaking of flavors, Monster Energy, maybe we could see a Pumpkin Spice Java Monster in the fall?

Each can has 170 milligrams of caffeine that gets my heart pumpkin. I mean, pumpin’. Geez, I really want a Java Monster Pumpkin Spice. That sounds like a lot, and it is, but it’s slightly lower than other flavors. Loca Moca and Mean Bean Java Monster has 188 milligrams and Kona Blend Java Monster has 189 milligrams.

Java Monster Salted Caramel 2

The best way I can describe the coffee drink’s flavor is to say it’s caramel bookended by bursts of saltiness. Now when I write “saltiness” I’m not saying my mouth got slapped by the Morton’s Salt Girl. It’s faint and easy to miss, which I guess is a good thing because I wouldn’t want my mouth to think I’m swimming in the Dead Sea. But the saltiness is so light that if it was called Java Monster Caramel, I wouldn’t think otherwise. As for the caramel flavor, it’s as if Monster melted down Werther’s Original and added it to their coffee, milk, and sugar mixture. Overall, it’s pretty damn good.

But is it better than the other Java Monster flavors?

No.

I like them all equally. But it’s nice to have another flavor, because, I’ll be honest, I was getting a little tired of the vanilla and chocolate flavored ones.

(Nutrition Facts – 15 ounces – 180 calories, 45 calories from fat, 5 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 20 milligrams of cholesterol, 550 milligrams of sodium, 330 milligrams of potassium, 28 grams of carbohydrates, 25 grams of sugar, and 7 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $2.79
Size: 15 oz. can
Purchased at: 7-Eleven
Rating: 9 out of 10
Pros: Werther’s-like caramel flavor. Easy to drink. Never had a bad Java Monster flavor. Never had a bad Ben & Jerry’s flavor. Pumpkin Spice Java Monster?
Cons: Slightly less caffeine than other Java Monster flavors. “You Spin Me ‘Round” being the default soundtrack to being spun around. Pumpkin Spice Java Monster?