Aston Villa's Tammy Abraham (left).
After Forest went 2-0 up inside six minutes, Abraham struck with a header from the centre of the box to the bottom-left corner to bring Villa back into the match.
The 30-year-old Grabban scored eight times in 15 appearances for Villa during a loan spell last season but his second of the night in a riveting contest denied his old club the unlikeliest of wins.
Then Abraham had his hat-trick by the 36th minute!
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After the break, Dean Smith's men fell behind for the third time in the game after Joe Lolley's 51st-minute strike but Abraham and Anwar El-Ghazi's strikes in quick successions - after their oppositions were reduced to 10 men as Tobias Figueiredo received a straight red - saw the hosts in driving seat for the first time in the game.
Yet by the 14th minute it was 2-2, Abraham heading home a cross from Yannick Bolasie - on his first start for Villa - before bundling the ball over the line after John McGinn's shot had been blocked.
A point apiece in action-packed encounter was probably the least both sides both deserved and it was one that took Forest into the top six, with Villa up to eighth.
Bristol City came from a goal down twice before prevailing 3-2 at Ipswich.