You are currently viewing Summit Red Thunder 4-Pack (Aldi) (Re-Review)

Summit Red Thunder 4-Pack (Aldi) (Re-Review)

In my original review, I’d harped on how this was the perfect energy drink knockoff, and at one time long ago, it was. It even won over my wife, who’s a name-brand energy drink connoisseur and couldn’t tell the difference between the two. Things were looking good for Red Thunder; but just like the prom queen turned drug addict, time can do a lot to a person–or, in this case, a much-loved energy providing beverage.

A single can of Summit Red Thunder Energy Drink, from Aldi
What an individual can looks like, when removed from the box.

The original version, which had a smooth flavor that went down easy, has been replaced with a Grade-Z knockoff that misses the mark entirely. We’re not just talking a minor tweak of the flavor: we’re talking a major overhaul that puts it almost on the same plane as their own godawful Gridlock energy drink series. It has a hideously metallic taste that just begs to be spit out…it’s so bad, that anyone who buys it should just be automatically refunded, and issued a statement of apology.

Although the change is so severe that nothing can save it, the smart thing for Summit to do would have at least been to completely redesign the packaging, so that it didn’t carry a single shred of similarity with the name brand that it’s so miserably imitating. While that wouldn’t alter the fact it’s a terrible product that should never be purchased by anyone, it would at least make it slightly less of a bomb by not inviting comparisons between the two; likewise, it might have lead to lessened expectations from unsuspecting folk suckered into purchasing it.

The only thing saving it is the price: I haven’t actually checked them in a while, but they used to be $1.99 for the 4-pack. The price of Summit’s other sodas have gone up since then, so I would guess these probably would have, too, probably somewhere in the $2.29 – $2.49 range. Even on the high end, a $2.49 price point would still make it a mere $.62 per can, which is an insane deal compared to the national brand, and a pretty good deal for an energy drink in general. In other words, if you do fall for it, and are too lazy to request a refund, at least you aren’t out a whole lot of money.

Bottom line: avoid at all costs. If you head to Aldi looking for a drinkable energy beverage, their extra strength energy shots are an excellent combo of price versus performance; for those deadset on larger cans, I’d recommend Gridlock Ultra White, which goes down smooth, and comes in 16 oz. cans that retail for $.99.

Overall 10/10. 3/10 (-7 pts.)  A once flawless recreation of a popular energy beverage has been ruined thanks to a changed formula: one that has resulted in a hideously deformed metallic taste that borders on the undrinkable. This used to be one of the best deals within Aldi’s four walls; now it’s on the list of things that should be avoided at virtually all costs. If you really need a caffeine boost, Red Thunder energy shots are a great-tasting, fully functional alternative.

This Post Has 17 Comments

  1. Unknown

    I agree that the Red Thunder formula used to be much better. Now it seems "harsher," more chemical like, burns more going down. I may still buy now and again but nothing like the real thing.

  2. atom

    I'm glad I'm not the only one…I thought I was going crazy for a bit there! I guess the downside to private labels is that the formulas can change at any given time. I've noticed this happens quite a bit with some of their products (like the ranch dip), but I can usually adapt to those changes.

    But this took it from grade A to grade D. Like you said, I might buy it from time to time, because the price is still pretty good and I still got a nice little energy boost, but not sure if the taste trade-off is worth it.

  3. Paul D.

    Ugh, I didn't scroll down far enough after reading your original review and thought you were just had horrible taste.

    Now I see you posted an update, maybe you can move that update to the top so people don't get fooled by the original review.

  4. atom

    Yeah, good call. I'll try sliding the update to the top and see how that looks. I'm mad that I literally put off reviewing Red Thunder for YEARS, and right after I do, they screw everything up.

  5. Anonymous

    They just changed the taste again, they added fruit and vegetable juice for coloring. It now tastes horrible!!

  6. atom

    Sad how far this has fallen. It was really one of the best Red Bull knockoffs for a very long time. I've had it fairly recently (within the last month), so not sure if it was after they made this change, but that does not sound promising at all.

    I applaud the whole initiative from Aldi to get rid of certain ingredients, but not if it's going to change the entire makeup of the product.

  7. Jimbo41042

    I wonder if coconut is an ingredient I slightly broke out on my arms

  8. atom

    I looked it up and coconut isn't listed as an ingredient outright (I'm assuming you were referring to Red Thunder), but there are a few hard-to-pronounce ingredients that I know nothing about…maybe one of those caused it?

  9. Unknown

    I like Red Thunders taste heck I love the taste especially when its $2.49 a 4 pack. But hell if it tastes so "horrible", head on over and go back to purchasing red bull for $9.00(+/-)…. More for the rest of us then!

  10. atom

    Or I could just buy other private label energy drinks, or load up on regular brands when they're on sale…

  11. Anonymous

    So what's another private label knockoff red bull? Still give it a B+ it's $2.50.

  12. atom

    It used to be A+, but now it's not even drinkable to me. A bad knockoff is bad no matter the cost. If you only like the taste of Red Bull, then I guess this might be as good as it gets.

    I stick to their energy shots ($.69 for about 3x the caffeine), or see what Big Lots has going on.

  13. Unknown

    Just bought a new case last week and the formula has obviously changed again. The SF Red Thunder is horrible.

  14. atom

    I've unfortunately stayed far away from all of their energy drinks lately, save for their shots. Unfortunately, even those went up in price (to $.79, up from $.69) but at least they don't tinker with the formulas on those.

    But yeah, most of their drinks are just awful. The Ultra White Gridlock is easily their best, but even that gets old after a short while. I'm really disappointed they rarely have any energy drink special buys. That way they could test out some new flavors or styles.

    Oh well, maybe someday.

  15. atom

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  16. VirLoA

    I personally am glad so many don,t like them anymore because I love them and they are the closest to Red bull as u can get.More for me.Ha reminds me I need to go stock back up.

  17. atom

    I'm happy for you, bud. I really wish I could say the same.

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