Overview of Sparta Nutrition Kraken Black
Once upon a time there was this brand called Sparta Nutrition that made our #1 rated pre-workout Kraken (featuring DMAA). Unfortunately, due to government regulations, they had to pull it from the marketplace. They have sense released a new version that is still good, just not quite as impactful as the OG. Kraken Black was supposed to be their “throwback” to the OG.
Sadly, Kraken Black is not close to the OG in terms of effectiveness. It is not a bad pre-workout, but it just isn’t as good as promised. It still is a stim based pre-workout that provides some energy but lacks on pump and strength outputs. Focus comes with the stims but in today’s pre-workout environment we look for more.
Testing Results and Ratings
We reviewed Sparta Nutrition Kraken Black on five categories. We first start by looking at it’s ingredient profile. This portion of the review looks at the different ingredients used in the pre-workout, what their intention is and how effectively dosed are each ingredient.
We then look at effectiveness. An effective pre-workout will use high quality, proven ingredients, at clinically backed dosages. This is generally an extension of the profile section. The higher quality ingredients used at proper dosages, the more effective that product will be.
Then we move into the taste of the different flavors we’ve tried. We grade each flavor separately and average the scores for their overall taste rating. We were able to test out the following flavors: Rainbow Candy.
Mixability refers to how well the powder mixes in 12oz of water. We use the shaker bottle test. This would be your typical Blender Bottle with the spiral chrome ball.
Finally, we talk about value. Value is the combination of profile, effectiveness, taste and mixability in relation to cost. Another part of value are the competitors and other versions of pre-workout products on the market.
Sparta Nutrition is a great brand, with plenty of great products featuring great ingredients. Kraken Black does feature a couple unique ingredients, but nothing too over-the-top.
We start with 4g of L-Citrulline. The clinical dosage of pure L-Citrulline is 3-5g so we are sufficiently dosed. Citrulline is going to help blood flow and ultimately help to provide a pump. We do couple Citrulline with 2g of HydroMax. HydroMax is a stable form of Glycerol that essentially turns your muscles into a sponge. The combination of Citrulline and HydroMax is supposed to provide a decent pump.
We get the clinical dosage of Beta-Alanine at 3.2g. This is for strength output and endurance. This also can provide that “tingly” feeling people either love or hate. Sadly, this is really the only “strength” ingredient included in this formula.
This is where the stim junkies like this formula. We get 350mg of Caffeine. By now you should know what Caffeine does. They also include 300mg of Phenylethylamine HCL (PEA), a good dosage. This is known as the “happy hormone.” The problem with Phenylethylamine is the half-life is 5-10 minutes when consumed orally. This means that they ingredient is 50% effective at only 10 minutes. It doesn’t last throughout the lift.
Higenamine and Hordenine are both used and dosed at 50mg. These are two stimulates used in fat burners that provide that “stim” experience. They stimulate the central nervous system and allow your body to burn calories to be used as energy. When combined with caffeine you can get a good effect from these. The dosage of 50mg is sufficient.
Lastly, we get 25mg of Cocoa Seed Extract. This is also used in fat burning to provide more energy. There has not been sufficient studies done on humans to determine the effectiveness of this ingredient.
Overall, there isn’t anything that stands out too much in this formula. It is not bad by any means, just not special. I would love to see innovative ingredients used if this was truly to be a throwback to the OG Kraken.
If you’re looking for a stim high, you can kind of get it with this, but it’s not nearly as effective as the OG Kraken once was. I actually prefer the reformulated Kraken to this version of Kraken Black.
You get a subtle pump with the Citrulline and HydroMax, but you may still want to supplement with additional pump products (although the stims can be counter-intuitive to them).
Strength and power are essentially non-existent. You do get your clinical dosage of Beta-Alanine, but outside of that there are no other contributing ingredients on this pillar.
The area where you get some effectiveness is energy. At 350mg of caffeine combined with stims you get a solid energy boost. This does slightly contribute to focus as anytime you have ingredients that stimulate your CNS you will get increased focus. The focus are is lacking something. PEA is OK but the half-life is so short it wears off rather quickly. The addition of Huperzine or Alpha GPC would be nice.
Overall, it is still a decent pre-workout, just not touching the OG version of Kraken which is what they say it is supposed to do.
Rainbow Candy from Sparta Nutrition sure has changed. It is not a bad tasting pre-workout, it just doesn’t taste anything like Rainbow Candy to us. Their OG version was also Rainbow Candy, and that tasted more like Skittles than this does. It is a sweet flavor, but I woudn’t say it matches what Rainbow Candy is.
Mixability can vary depending on if you use one scoop (8g) vs. two scoops (16g). Because most people are going to use 2-scoops, and that’s how we rated the profile section, we will stick with 2-scoops. We mix it in your typically 6oz of water and didn’t have a lot of issues. You get some particles floating in the water, and some residue that sits on the bottom of the shaker. Overall, to be expected.
See video for demonstration of mixability.
Had they priced Kraken Black at $40 for 20-servings I would have told you it is lacking a lot of value. However, it is priced at $35 for 20-servings which makes it more attractive from a consumer stand-point. There are a lot of bad PWOs on the market that retail for the mid-$30s. This is not a bad PWO. The price tag is about right on something of this nature.