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Hansen’s Diet Red Energy Drink (Big Lots)

I know what you’re thinking: “Oh no, not more energy drink reviews! Haven’t you reviewed enough lately?” To that, I will only scoff in your general direction. Then I will start the review.

This one I had ignored at Big Lots for several trips before getting it out of pure desperation.
Over the last couple of months, many wonderful energy beverages came and went, and I purchased and tried (and reviewed) several of them. I noticed Hansen’s offering multiple times, but for some reason, my mind equates Hansen’s with Jones Soda, and I don’t ever think I’ve ever tasted anything good that’s come out of a Jones bottle. Maybe that’s unfair, considering neither of them really have anything to do with one another (aside from making “natural sodas”) but hey, it’s these little intricacies that make the human mind such a fascinating thing.

Part of the reason I passed up on this, is the vague packaging, which seems to be a recurring theme with Big Lots energy beverages (future food/drink producers, walk through a Big Lots before you go into production, for a perfect example of how not to package your products). For starters, look no further than the name. “Diet red”. Okay…what the hell does “red” taste like? I was also put off by the word “diet” on the label. I hate diet drinks. The aftertaste and fake sugar taste are absolutely disgusting to me, to speak nothing of the watered-down flavor. So I kept putting it off.

Until I went in there, in a desperate quest for energy (slight exaggeration), only to discover that other people had, over the course of several weeks, bought every other energy drink in there, save for this one. Literally, the whole aisle was a barren landscape, and this was the only option left–and there were dozens of them. It was as if everyone else was avoiding this like I was. Since they were only $.50, I grabbed a couple, and finally resolved to give them a chance, though I was definitely not expecting much.

I have to say, I’m pretty impressed. I would never pay more than $.50 for these, but for this price point, they are really good. In fact, only Up-Time (see above) topped these as the best energy drink I’ve had from Big Lots in recent memory. So how does “red” taste? On the unfortunate side, like every other typical energy drink. I was hoping maybe a “red” fruit (cherry, strawberry, etc.), but it’s just a straightforward flavor. So why am I impressed? Because there’s really not much of a fake sugar flavor–it’s nice and tart, with a very minimal diet aftertaste. Going farther, it actually provided me with a rather massive energy kick–I felt my adrenaline pumping after one can. Not long after, I got very paranoid, which is also a side effect of a caffeine boost (or maybe overdose?) for me. My face got warm for a few moments, too. These feelings lasted for a few hours, and I didn’t have a noticeable crash (thanks to the mere two grams of actual sugar per can; most of the sweetness comes from sucralose). Getting a noticeable boost from a pretty tasty energy drink, for only fifty cents? I guess you really can’t judge a drink by its can, after all.

Overall: 7.5/10. Gave me a noticeable increase in energy that lasted a few hours, while the two grams of sugar prevented me from getting sleepy once it inevitably wore off. The taste is pretty standard, with a nice blast of tanginess, and there’s no medicine-y aftertaste, much to my surprise. I had been putting of trying this, but this is an excellent product for the price (a mere $.50 per can). Check it out, if your local Big Lots still offers them.

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