I was hoping this beer wouldn’t be too sweet, as vanilla bean, vanilla anything really, is most often used in desserts and sweet foods and drinks. Beer that’s too sweet is just not good. But the balance of flavors in Stone’s Smoked Porter (w/ Vanilla Bean) is done well overall. There’s an aroma of slightly syrupy vanilla bean and this extends to the first flavor that hits the taste buds. But make no mistake, this is vanilla BEAN, not vanilla extract or synthetic vanilla. There’s a mostly natural taste here though comparisons to cream soda can be made. The next flavor to emerge is the smoky flavor but this is less pronounced than in Stone’s other smoked porter, the one with chipotle peppers. The toasted, bready flavor, with hints of chocolate and hops, that characterize the porter style overall, provide a foundation for everything else. This is a medium-bodied beer like most porters too. There is an odd acidic quality though that manifests while swallowing and lingers a bit on the tongue. I have to say, while the vanilla flavor is handled as well as it probably can be, it’s still an uncommon flavor for beer and I found myself getting turned off halfway through the bottle. But maybe this would be good for beer ice cream floats. Overall, I prefer Stone’s Smoked Porter (w/ Chipotle Peppers) as I tend to prefer savory/spicy over sweet in general.