Saturday, June 21, 2008

YJ Stinger Chronic Cola

Back at Big Lots! I found all of the Stinger energy drinks. They come in 8.4oz cans in flavors like Punch, Lime, and Raspberry, and sport a fierce hornet on the cover. They looked good to me, so I got a few. Out here, where it's 100 degrees, you crave something chilled and refreshing, so I took this baby out of the cooler and decided to give it a try. I recently learned how Cola is made and what's in it, and I'm becoming a bit more critical of every Cola I try. I learned that, contrary to what you may think, the Kola nut, which Cola is named after, contributes to very little to none of the Cola taste. It's actually very bitter, not something you want to drink. Cola flavoring is made up of stuff like vanilla, cinnamon, lime and orange oil. It shocked me to know that it was so easy to make and I'm looking forward to spotting these extracts in the Chronic Cola.

Pop goes the can and immediately I am taken by surprise. This is some unique cola, all right. The smell is very strong which allows me to spot every little flavor individually. First, I smell a little lime peel, which reminds me quite a lot of Pepsi Cola, the way it's got that bit of citrus flavor. In the background linger a smooth vanilla and a muted cinnamon, without the bite you usually attribute to cinnamon. Tasting it, it's very much the same, but the bitterness of the lime is subdued and it's much more delectable. If you didn't know it was cola, you might be a little puzzled about the taste. No, the first sip and smell don't make you immediately think "Cola!" Rather, you've got to delve deeper. On the rocks, it's even better, getting rid of more of that lime and making it seem more robust. The carbonation and sweetness are also toned down on the rocks, turning it into the most refreshing cola I've had in a long time. If you try this, you've got to have it warm and on ice. I realize after the can is empty that this is one of those rare drinks that says "Lightly Carbonated" and actually is. With no gumminess, this drink's got some great flavor to offer if you're up for trying something new.

Out in devastating heat like this, it's so hot, you don't feel like moving a muscle. Well, with the Stinger, I'm up and about regardless of the temperature. The energy ingredients are pretty strong as Caffeine comes in at number 4, right after water, HFCS, and Citric Acid. Taurine is next, followed by Ascorbic Acid and A mess of B Vitamins. Then, Yerba Mate, which had to contribute to the earthiness and herbalness of the drink. Toward the end reside Guarana and Ginseng, which tells you they're there in very small amounts. What gives colas their brown color, if you didn't know, is the caramel color, which comes next. Overall, the ingredients list doesn't look bad, and it's very nice in comparison to regular sodas. There's much less aggravating acidity because of the lack of phosphoric acid, which I've come to dislike. Per serving, which here is 8.4oz, there are 32 grams of sugar, which sounds like a lot, but if you figure out how much is in 8oz - a standard serving for an energy drink - you get close to 30 and a half grams. Still quite a lot of sugar, but look at Shasta Cola. It's that large amount of sugar that makes it still very tasty on ice. A minuscule amount of 20g, close to what's in Coca Cola will make the drink taste terribly diluted over ice, which I definitely don't like. Stinger did a good job creating a tasty and unique cola that provides a superb kick. I would definitely buy this again.

Taste: 8.5 - Unique, complex cola
Kick: 7.5 - Energy ingredients are solid and kick was great

Overall: 8.5 - Good if you're up to trying something new

Reviewed by: Jeff

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Jeffery "Jeff," Chandler "Chan"