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December 12, 2011

Honey Stinger Waffles, Energy Bars, Energy Chews and Gels: Product Review and Giveaway

Without going too far out on a limb, I predict that the winners of today’s contest will be at least 75% satisfied.

That’s because the prizes in question come from Honey Stinger, and of the four products I had the opportunity to sample, three of them were delightful; the fourth one, not so much. Then again, your tastes may vary from mine, and you could get 100% enjoyment out of them - but we’re getting a little ahead of ourselves here. First let’s get to the review.


Honey Stinger is a sports nutrition company based in Steamboat Springs, Colo, that has developed a fairly diverse line of honey-based products using all-natural and organic ingredients. Since their inception they’ve sponsored cyclists, runners, and triathletes, and in early 2010, they turned quite a few heads by welcoming Lance Armstrong to their ownership team.

Armstrong’s influence is evident in Honey Stinger’s most distinctive product: an organic energy waffle inspired by a traditional Dutch pastry enjoyed by cyclists throughout Europe for many years. The stroopwafel originated in the Netherlands over 200 years ago, and consists of two thin layers of baked batter with a syrup filling. They’re sold by sidewalk vendors and are a longtime favorite of touring cyclists looking for a quick boost of energy.


Honey Stinger’s version comes in three flavors: original, vanilla, and a new strawberry flavor released this fall. I received a batch of vanilla and strawberry waffles for family sampling during a couple of long geocache hikes, and my kids absolutely went wild for them. I really like the taste as well; they remind me of a softer, sweeter Pop Tart, which used to be one of my favorite cheap breakfasts back in college (I liked the unfrosted kind, and didn’t bother to heat them). They make a nice diversion from traditional energy bars – and if that isn’t enough to impress you, rumor has it that Lance rides with these in his back pocket. In case that matters.


I was also impressed with Honey Stinger’s Rocket Chocolate energy bars, which are made with 30% honey and contain 10g of protein each, along with 22 vitamins and minerals, antioxidants, and calcium. These are great for the middle of a long bike ride, but I also used them as a post-run snack. They have a nice chewy texture and a very pleasant chocolate taste – certainly more than I expected from a honey-based product. I suspect my kids would have agreed also … except that I didn’t share these items with them. Being the blog owner has its privileges.



Before you feel too sorry for them, the family also got to sample two varieties of organic energy chews, in lime-ade and pink lemonade flavors. These are the Honey Stinger equivalent of CLIF Bloks or GU Chomps, but they are slightly smaller and their texture is much softer, making them easier to chew than those other brands. Our family’s consensus was that the lime-ade flavor is decent, but the real star is the pink lemonade. It’s a unique variety among any other energy chews we’ve tried – Honey Stinger also has other unusual flavors like fruit smoothie and pomegranate passion fruit - and the taste is a nice balance of tart and sweet. They were voted a close second behind the strawberry waffles as our favorite Honey Stinger product.




The only disappointment in the group was Honey Stinger energy gels, but that may be partially due to the fact that I only tested one flavor. I sampled the ginseng flavor, and found it to have a strongly bitter aftertaste that was very unpalatable. I first tested these on a long run with my wife, and just to confirm my initial reaction, I asked her to taste the same pack I had just opened. She hated it as well; honestly, the taste was so bad that we squirted the rest of the gel pack onto the ground.

Honey Stinger gels come in five flavors, and I suspect that the banana or strawberry flavors might not have as strong an aftertaste as the ginseng ones we tested, but that’s just a hypothesis. These honey-based gels have a thinner consistency than regular energy gels, so they would be easy to dissolve in a bottle of water as some runners and cyclists like to do – that would probably dilute the aftertaste as well.

So there’s the lineup, and here’s the contest: in conjunction with this review, Honey Stinger will provide three winners with a sample pack of the products I’ve described here. Quantities and flavors may vary depending on availability, but you’ll get a good cross-section of what the company has to offer – and obviously, I highly recommend the waffles. Leave a comment below this post to enter, and three winners will be chosen at random and announced on Saturday.

If you can’t wait that long, here are product links for purchase from Amazon.com:

Honey Stinger organic strawberry energy waffle - 16-pack for $22.50.

Honey Stinger Rocket Chocolate energy bars - 15-pack for $20.

Honey Stinger pink lemonade organic energy chews - 12-pack for $17.

Honey Stinger energy gel assortment pack - 24-pack for $27.

Big thanks to Honey Stinger for sponsoring this contest, and good luck to everybody!

*Products provided by Honey Stinger. Affiliate sales support Running and Rambling.
**See other product reviews on sidebar at right. If you have a product you’d like reviewed, contact me at info@runningandrambling.com.




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103 comments:

Karien 12/12/11, 9:54 PM  

I'd love to give these a try!

mweston 12/12/11, 10:37 PM  

I'm a big fan of the fruit smoothie energy chews (pretty much the only calories I carry with me on long runs), but strangely enough I've never had any of the other products or even the other flavors.

krystyna47 12/12/11, 11:12 PM  

Oooh do count me in!! I've tried pretty much every energy gel, bar etc out there but, for no reason at all, have never actually tried the Honey Stinger products! :)

jonnyb 12/13/11, 1:55 AM  

I would even eat the gels, just to have some variation.

jonathan 12/13/11, 3:28 AM  

These sound great. I'm definitely gonna try them even if I don't win. I have been using Hammer gels, but they no longer seem to agree with me after a long run, so was looking around to see what alternatives were available anyway, so I was glad to see this post.

Keep up the great work on the blog!

Chris 12/13/11, 4:16 AM  

Count me in. Thanks.

Love the waffles. Look forward to trying the strawberry flavor out.

David 12/13/11, 4:42 AM  

I'd definitely love to try these!

Adam B. 12/13/11, 4:57 AM  

Count me in, the waffles and energy bar sound fantastic!

wes 12/13/11, 4:57 AM  

I love everything honey, so count me in :)

Derrick 12/13/11, 4:58 AM  

I love stroopwafels, but would like to try Honey Stinger version. The chews are the best on the market, but would like to try the rest of their products too.

Hall 12/13/11, 5:34 AM  

Those waffles are great. I'd love to win some.

Guigou,  12/13/11, 5:34 AM  

hooooooneeeeeeeyyyyyyy

Anna 12/13/11, 5:48 AM  

I've always wanted to try them!

Jeff Lisson 12/13/11, 5:59 AM  

After trying about every gel or chew on the market, and failing to find one that I could stomach, I found the Honey Stinger chews. I eat about 1 1/2 packages during a marathon. They provide all the energy and electrolytes I need. I even eat them during ultras, although I have to pace myself due to the sweetness of the fruit punch flavor. Never any stomach upset. Heartily recommend!

MJP 12/13/11, 5:59 AM  

Thanks for the reviews, they sound like solid products. How did they sit in your stomach during runs?

jen 12/13/11, 6:02 AM  

When I was training for my first marathon in 2005, my fuel strategy was completely honey-based. As in those tiny packets you get at the coffee shop. This is definitely a major improvement over that (those packets were only like 25 calories!).

I've tried the "golden honey" flavor of gel and it's pretty good actually! Zach loves the waffles and uses them in his ultras. :)

Count me in!

Al D. 12/13/11, 6:06 AM  

Man, I would kill for some Honey Stinger Waffles. I mean it. I'm serious. Please, oh please, pick me, pick me. Yes, I'm begging!

JonathanD,  12/13/11, 6:20 AM  

I'd like to give the Honey Stingers a try

Casey 12/13/11, 6:21 AM  

I tried these once and never found them locally, so it would be great to try more of a selection to see what works.
~C

The Running Bran 12/13/11, 6:27 AM  

Count me in, I'd love to try them!

Meg 12/13/11, 6:33 AM  

These products sound interesting and I'd love to try them. Now that I'm beginning my distance trianing, I'm looking for some good, healthy, and "cross-your-fingers-tastey" -- Thanks for the info!

BE 12/13/11, 6:37 AM  

As a long-time GU user, I have moved to also using the less viscus "Accel gel" by Accelerade for xc skiing. I am always looking for something new and would be happy to try the Honey Stinger.

Chu 12/13/11, 6:40 AM  

Yum. Love the waffles!

Richard 12/13/11, 6:52 AM  

Count me in! I agree, the waffles are delicious and great on a long run. Haven't tried the rest.

JimDog 12/13/11, 6:55 AM  

I've heard of them but didn't realize it was a local CO company. Shame on me for not giving them a try sooner! Count me in for the contest! Thanks!

TK 12/13/11, 7:07 AM  

It would be awesome to get to give these a try!

Eddie 12/13/11, 7:25 AM  

I'd love to try them!

paiNn3ck 12/13/11, 7:32 AM  

Love the Honey Stinger waffles! Tried the gel by accident once and loved it too.

Benjammin' 12/13/11, 7:37 AM  

I would love an opportunity to try these products as I continue to train for Goruck challange in Febuary.

ajones 12/13/11, 7:38 AM  

I keep thinking I should try the Honey Stinger products...

qrtrmiler 12/13/11, 7:39 AM  

Would love to get "Stung"! Please count me in!

Mike E.,  12/13/11, 7:52 AM  

I just started using Honey Stingers this year...love the boost they give me while out on the trail!

Fred Garderes 12/13/11, 8:19 AM  

I ABSOLUTELY LOVE THE HONEY STINGER PRODUCTS!!!
I prefer the plain-jane gels...I am a little bit of a bear here. There is no aftertaste with that flavor. I do feel it goes faster in my blood stream than other gels, with the kick coming within 1 mile. It might just be the "mind" effect, as I love honey, and always look forward to my refuel time for getting my fix.
My wife doesn't like to eat much before long runs...EXCEPT for the waffles!
Thanks for the review of the full range of their products. I didn't know they were doing bars. I'll have to try these.
Cheers,
Fred

Graham,  12/13/11, 8:20 AM  

I used the Lemonaide Chews & Ginseng Gels (I like'em) for fuel during my first 50k. I'm a big fan.

Theo 12/13/11, 8:21 AM  

Count me in. Love these

Weimerunner 12/13/11, 8:28 AM  

The waffles are awesome... I will have to try the other products.

bf in az 12/13/11, 9:04 AM  

So do the gels have caffeine in them?

Jesse 12/13/11, 9:11 AM  

I would love to try the Honey Stinger products.

Sarah 12/13/11, 9:23 AM  

Would love to try them!

Jobu007 12/13/11, 9:43 AM  

Always looking to try something new!

baby olive 12/13/11, 9:50 AM  

I've been eating the chews for some time and would love to try the waffles!

jeff 12/13/11, 9:55 AM  

now here's a product i can throw my hat in the ring for. i've been a big fan of stinger for years now. flipperhead even bought me a stinger jersey to ride in back in 2006.

love the gels [the banana is really quite good] and the chews are phenomenal. glad you're giving them some press and such a good review!

gregoryboytos 12/13/11, 10:34 AM  

those waffles sound amazing. i need them in my life.

51feetunder 12/13/11, 10:40 AM  

I added the waffles to my race kit a few months ago! The chews are good too

William 12/13/11, 10:44 AM  

Um Yeah, hook me up!

jbg,  12/13/11, 10:56 AM  

I've read about them, but never seen them. Hope to win! Thanks for contest.

Marc Meyer 12/13/11, 11:58 AM  

Sting me with some honey!

dave c. 12/13/11, 12:35 PM  

Enter me in the contest please. Thanks!

Mike 12/13/11, 1:07 PM  

I'd like to try them... I'm always looking for new treats for long runs.

Rory dela Paz 12/13/11, 1:07 PM  

I'm willing to give these a shot!

andy 12/13/11, 1:40 PM  

my kids love these.

Blair 12/13/11, 2:06 PM  

Thanks for another giveaway.

Blair 12/13/11, 2:08 PM  

Thanks for another giveaway opportunity.

John Nguyen 12/13/11, 3:08 PM  

Those waffles sound good! I saw you got into Miwok! See you there!

Jcollins76 12/13/11, 3:58 PM  

The waffles are very good. Havent tried the bars or chews but would love too...

C-Dog 12/13/11, 4:00 PM  

I do like honey, so these would probably work well for me.

Andrew @ One Step Further 12/13/11, 4:03 PM  

I love the Honey Stinger Waffles, but have not been brave enough to try out the others as of yet.

Maggie Wolff 12/13/11, 4:52 PM  

I've tried the honey stinger waffle and the chews (pomegranate) and loved both, so I'd love to try more!

Ryan J,  12/13/11, 5:43 PM  

These sound great, I would love to try them.

Chris 12/13/11, 5:49 PM  

Count me in. These look awesome.

-Chris

komickid 12/13/11, 5:57 PM  

I'd love to sample some of these!

Adam212 12/13/11, 6:41 PM  

hit me- these sound great.

altorresusc 12/13/11, 7:24 PM  

I love Honey Stinger products...feed me Donald. Cheers!

mo 12/13/11, 7:45 PM  

I've tried the chews and I like them- what a great opportunity to try the rest!

Colin S.,  12/13/11, 7:55 PM  

Count me in, please!

Also, I've tried straight-up honey in place of gels before. It worked for about two gels-worth, but then the honey didn't sit well in my stomach and I had to go to something else. Seeing this makes me want to experiment more with honey.

ken 12/13/11, 8:51 PM  

Pick me. I buy the waffles by the case now.

mindy 12/13/11, 10:21 PM  

I LOVE the waffles and would love to try the strawberry - I'd be thrilled if they are better than the vanilla and honey, both of which I won't run without!

the Dread Pirate Rackham 12/13/11, 10:27 PM  

Omg they have pink lemonade flavor? *gasp*

Joe M 12/14/11, 6:20 AM  

I'm certainly interested in trying some Honey Stinger products!

Tomislav 12/14/11, 7:07 AM  

I would love to try this.

Jeff 12/14/11, 10:05 AM  

Oooo, waffles... Sign me up please

Anonymous,  12/14/11, 10:08 AM  

Don,

Please include me in this drawing

Alex R

Scotty,  12/14/11, 11:28 AM  

Count me in!

Kelly 12/14/11, 11:39 AM  

Please count me in too -thanks!

46 12/14/11, 12:10 PM  

Just send me the waffles.

AC

Carrie 12/14/11, 3:29 PM  

I would love some honey stinger products!

Andy 12/14/11, 7:15 PM  

Hi Donald!

Please include me in this giveaway.

Thanks and keep up the great writing!

Peace and Love,

Andy

stephan.uzzell 12/14/11, 7:19 PM  

Love the chews, love the waffles, would love to try the rocket chocolate...

Greg from madison,  12/14/11, 7:40 PM  

Look good.

Mikey 12/14/11, 7:51 PM  

Love the Honey Stingers!!! Living in Colorado we tend to see all of the cool stuff they are sending out, and it is awesome.

Cody r.,  12/14/11, 7:58 PM  

I want it!

eddie batman,  12/14/11, 7:59 PM  

gimme!

Jason 12/15/11, 6:24 AM  

Love the regular and vanilla flavored waffles, would love to try the other products

RunningLaur 12/15/11, 8:38 AM  

I've heard such good things about the waffles but have yet to try myself.

Erik J. Barzeski 12/15/11, 8:38 AM  

A friend turned me on to Honey Stingers awhile ago. I've loved every flavor I've tried so far and look forward to trying out some of these new products.

shel 12/15/11, 9:46 AM  

cripes, 98 comments? well...make it 99

kd 12/15/11, 12:59 PM  

i love stroop wafels but I havent tried these. heres hoping I get to try them...:-)

a1sauce3 12/15/11, 11:42 PM  

I've seen these in stores and been hesitant in trying something new while training. But a free sample I can't refuse!

Unknown 12/16/11, 4:42 PM  

I love my Lance Waffles. Both Whole Foods and REI sell them. REI is almost always out.

I used to love the gels. The Chocolate flavor is like brownie batter. Unfortunately, I had too many hard lessons about hydration/electrolytes with the gels :(

Jonathan F,  12/16/11, 5:37 PM  

The waffles are the bomb! Great on trails races and for a quick snack when you're on the go. Count me in!

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