2004 Menu 9: Beef Stew MRE Review... LONG & PIC HEAVY!!

Reviews and taste-tests of any MREs from 1981-present
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Xan_Man85
Posts: 34
Joined: Mon Dec 09, 2019 7:49 pm
Location: Indiana, USA

2004 Menu 9: Beef Stew MRE Review... LONG & PIC HEAVY!!

Post by Xan_Man85 » Mon Jan 06, 2020 1:07 pm

So this MRE brings me back. 2004 was my first experience in eating an MRE. It was at Camp Atterbury with my ROTC unit. The first one I had was Menu 13: Cheese Tortellini. From what I heard, most people did not like that one. It actually ended up being one of my favorites! Anyway, here we have a 2004 Menu 9: Beef Stew. The date code on the tan package is "4268" (September 25th, 2004). I do not know how this case was stored, so I had no idea what to expect with this one. It actually ended up being a bit of a surprise. So lets dive in!
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Upon opening the bag and examining it's contents, everything appeared to be in good shape. No leakage or compromised components. The only thing I could see right off the bat was that the bottle of Tabasco sauce had dried slightly. No big deal. I was also a bit surprised to see the beef snack component. That's one I've never had before, so I was looking forward to giving it a try.
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Let's break out the main. I remember having beef stew back in the day and I thought it was pretty good back then. Opening the box, I could see that the retort pouch looked just fine. I put it in the FRH and let it do its thing. A few minutes in and the FRH seemed to be a dud, so I added a little salt to help get things going. That did the trick, but it was still not very energetic. It took around 25 minutes to get the main heated to perfection. I opened the pouch and gave it a quick smell. I was pleasantly surprised... it smelled perfect! I poured it into a bowl and gave it a taste. It was really good! Just a little bland, but nothing that a shot of Tabasco couldn't fix. The meat and veggies tasted just like I remembered. It definitely had that typical processed taste that we all know and love. Also, the potatoes were still firm, like you'd expect from a fresh MRE. Anyway, I polished off the rest of the main and went on to the Beef Snack.
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Xan_Man85
Posts: 34
Joined: Mon Dec 09, 2019 7:49 pm
Location: Indiana, USA

Re: 2004 Menu 9: Beef Stew MRE Review... LONG & PIC HEAVY!!

Post by Xan_Man85 » Mon Jan 06, 2020 1:09 pm

This was the one component of this MRE that I was really looking forward to trying. Of all the rations I've eaten, I've never had it! The package was not vacuum sealed, but I wasn't sure if it was supposed to be. I opened it up and found another package inside with two small sticks of beef jerky. Looking at them closely through the package, I could see a good amount of fat that had come out of the meat. Maybe from excessive heat? Again, I had no idea how this case of MREs was stored. Opening the packet, I could smell stale meat. It wasn't bad, but just like an old package of jerky that you might find left in your camping gear for a year. Snapping one in half, I could see that they were very dry. I know, I know... Beef jerky is dried meat! Well this was so dry that it was brittle. I could have crumbled it into powder without too much effort. Hesitantly, I gave it a bite... it was just meh. Not really good, but it's edible in a pinch. I couldn't give this one a thumbs up or down. Just... meh.
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Next was the crackers and apple jelly. Both appeared fine on the outside, so I was hopeful. Apple jelly is one of my favorite ration components! I opened the crackers and they smelled good. Maybe just a hint of staleness, but that's just the nature of unsalted MRE crackers. The apple jelly needed a bit of kneading. I opened it and gave it a smell... not bad! I squeezed some onto the cracker and took a taste. It was absolutely perfect! There was no hint of fermentation or anything that would tell me that it wasn't fresh. The crackers were still firm and crunchy. I ate the rest and went onto dessert.
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Xan_Man85
Posts: 34
Joined: Mon Dec 09, 2019 7:49 pm
Location: Indiana, USA

Re: 2004 Menu 9: Beef Stew MRE Review... LONG & PIC HEAVY!!

Post by Xan_Man85 » Mon Jan 06, 2020 1:12 pm

So the next components were a bit of a surprise. Starting with the Kreamsicle Cookie. Opening the package, I was greeted with a very delicious smelling orange cream scent. It was actually one of the most aromatic and delicious smelling MRE components I've ever smelled! I took a small bite out of one of the smaller pieces of the cookie, and was actually quite disappointed. The taste was nothing like it smelled. It really tasted like I had taken a bit of orange peel. It was very bitter and slightly sweet. Don't get me wrong though, it was probably fine, but just not what I was expecting. This one gets a thumbs up only because it was still good. It was edible, but just not very tasty.
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Next was by far the most surprising component of this MRE... the Chocolate Dairyshake Powder. I went into this review fully expecting this to be the worst component. Well, I was very wrong! Upon opening the packet, it had a strange smell. I really can't explain it. It was neither good or bad, just strange. I guess like smelling milk that has sat for a bit, but had not yet gone bad. You know the smell. I poured some water in the pouch and gave it a vigorous shake. I poured it into a cup and gave it a smell. The smell was a lot like before. Not good or bad. I dipped the spoon into it and it looked a bit like chunky milk. Hesitantly, I gave it a taste. I was not expecting it, but it was great! It tasted like a chocolate shake! It was gritty and thick, but there were absolutely no problems with it. I finished it off and waited for the ill effects from what I had just done to myself. Well you'll be pleased to know that I was just fine!
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Well there you have it. This has been my review of a 2004 Menu 9: Beef Stew MRE. Though not as old as some I have tried, it was surprisingly good for the most part. Especially the main and the chocolate shake. I wouldn't hesitate to try another MRE from this particular case. Anyway, if you've made it to the end, I thank you! I plan on doing more of these reviews in the near future.

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EasyMre
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Re: 2004 Menu 9: Beef Stew MRE Review... LONG & PIC HEAVY!!

Post by EasyMre » Sun May 24, 2020 10:56 pm

This is an excellent review. It was almost like I was there to watch you go through step by step. Thanks for taking the time! :D
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Xan_Man85
Posts: 34
Joined: Mon Dec 09, 2019 7:49 pm
Location: Indiana, USA

Re: 2004 Menu 9: Beef Stew MRE Review... LONG & PIC HEAVY!!

Post by Xan_Man85 » Thu Jun 11, 2020 6:40 pm

Thank you EasyMRE! My written reviews seem to be much better than my videos :lol: . I definitely plan on doing more reviews as I have time. I have about 15 cases of MREs ranging from 1982 to 2017. Anyway, thank you again for the compliments!

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