Grand Guignol: Act Two
Pipeworks Brewing Company

Grand Guignol: Act TwoGrand Guignol: Act Two
Write a Review
Beer Geek Stats: | Print Shelf Talker
Stout - Oatmeal
Ranked #52
Ranked #5,305
4.12 | pDev: 7.77%
Pipeworks Brewing Company
Illinois, United States
Grand Guignol: Act TwoGrand Guignol: Act Two
Notes: Imperial Stout brewed with blueberries and coffee added.

The lights are flickering on and off. Return to your seat. Act II in this macabre pantomime is about to begin with you or without you. It's always easy to act brave until Act II opens in front of you...
Reviews: 12 | Ratings: 86 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Stevedore
Stevedore from Oregon

4.05/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Strong blueberry jam on the aroma, good chocolate and roasted coffee beans on the background. That's a sweet, fruity but reasonably balanced stout. This makes me think of how well integrated Backyard Rye, Jam the Radar, etc. came out, and this is in that similar vein. If you enjoy fruit flavours in your big stouts, this will hit the spot. Coffee helps balance out the fruit and malt sweetness.

Dec 28, 2017
Photo of joe1510
joe1510 from Illinois

4.05/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz Bomber
Binny's - Mokena

Grand Guignol Act II is black as coal while it produces a little gug from the bottle. There's a coffee brown ring around the surface of the glass when backlit but besides that, it's nightime in there. A crackling khaki head grows to a finger in height on a rather aggressive pour but quickly fades to a mere ring. It's a good looking beer but that foam dissipates rather quickly.

The nose on this guy is pretty smooth and inviting for such an alcoholic concoction. Soft, even raostiness gets things started with an undercurrent of macerated dark berries. Coffee and a splash of cream kick up in the middle. The blueberry comes through on the backend. I have to say, Pipeworks really achieved a natural, ripe blueberry presence. A little sweet, a little not. I feel like I can smell the oats in this beer, which is odd, since there's no way I usually can. It has a blueberry stone ground oatmeal thing going on that I really enjoy all wrapped up in a whisper of clean booziness.

The flavor follows the nose fairly closely but there are some separate twists and turns. The blueberry pops at the front before the softly roasted malt realizes that it's up to bat. Dark berries weave an undercurrent before the coffee (quality) and cream step in stride with the nose. The oatmeal quality isn;t quite as noticeable as the nose suggested but it is a bit oaty with a quality blueberry presence. The blueberry takes on a little sweeter note than the nose suggested but it works as the alcohol cuts it a bit on the swallow.

The body and mouthfeel are in a good place. The weight sits evenly between moderate and heavy. The carbonation is soft which provides a slick mouthfeel. There's a little sugary stick but it's in no way cloying. The booziness helps dry it out a bit on the swallow and there is a touch of roasty bitter left in its wake. Surprisingly drinkable for such a bruiser.

This is a solid beer adjunct laden imperial stout from the folks at Pipeworks. They did a fine job at pulling out natural blueberry essence. The coffee is even handed while the roast is soft and inviting. A nice balance of stoutiness overall. I would probably pick this one up again in the future.

Nov 12, 2016
Photo of kojevergas
kojevergas from Louisiana

2.81/5  rDev -31.8%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

BOTTLE: Purchased at a beer store in Brooklyn. 1 pint 7 fl oz. Brown glass. Paper label depicting an evil rabbit with the name of the beer drifting towards the Three Floyds model of "let's make it as illegible as fucking possible." Branded red pry-off crown cap.

"Imperial oatmeal stout brewed with blueberries and coffee." 11.0% ABV.

HEAD: Tan colour head. Somewhat soft, somewhat creamy. Has a nice somewhat thick consistency and a good complexion. Not the softest, creamiest, silkiest head I've seen on a stout, but well executed in terms of retention (sticking around for a good 3-4 minutes, which isn't bad at 11% ABV). No lacing adheres to the sides of the glass as the head recedes.

BODY: Opaque black. No yeast or sediment is visible within.

It's a pretty typical appearance for an imperial stout. Not unique or special.

AROMA: Muted coffee roast is the first thing I notice, but it doesn't suggest a particularly vivid or expressive coffee character. I search for blueberries and I do find them. Dark malt sweetness. Chocolate malts. No roasted barley, burnt sugars/char, hazelnut, etc. This aroma suggests a somewhat simplistic imperial stout with a nice but not dazzling blueberry and coffee presence.

Aromatic intensity is quite mild for an imperial stout. No booziness or detectable off-notes. True to form, there's no overt hop presence.

TASTE: The blueberry is much more vivid in the taste than it was in the aroma, bursting a bit but in a manner distinct from that observed from mosaic hops; it's juicier and more forward instead of coming off subtle and seamlessly integrated. On the flipside, the coffee - which was the first thing I noticed in the aroma - is strangely reticent in the taste, barely offering up any java character or roast. It's quite muted, lacking the vividness and expressiveness you'd find in the coffee character of the best coffee (imperial) stouts.

Dark malt sweetness provides the backbone, joined by some mild specialty chocolate malt sweetness. There's no roast (either from roasted barley or coffee) to balance out the sweetness with some bitterness. The build feels imbalanced as a result. Depth of flavour is limited. Flavour duration and intensity are average.

Quite simplistic for the style, though not unenjoyable. I find no off-flavours or overt booziness. I do like it for what it is; it's just reticent and somewhat muted.

TEXTURE: Oats do smoothen it out, bringing it nearer to the smoothness and wetness you'd expect in an imperial porter than the dryness and coarseness you'd expect of an imperial stout. That suits the blueberry better than it suits the coffee; maybe this mouthfeel is partially to blame for the coffee's faintness. Medium-bodied and a little thick given its relative lack of flavour. Flirts with syrupy.

Well-carbonated. Unrefreshing (true to style).

OVERALL: A bit of a shrug of an imperial stout from Pipeworks, failing to deliver as a coffee stout, oatmeal stout, or imperial stout. The blueberry is the highlight for me, but it isn't enough to make this memorable. Act Two is infamously where many literary efforts fall apart; in that sense, I guess Pipeworks has been true to this beer's premise. The kind of beer that would be at home as part of a Sam Adams seasonal variety box.

Low C (2.81) / AVERAGE

Nov 08, 2016
Photo of strohme2
strohme2 from Michigan

4.39/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Black pour with mocha head that looked pillowy soft. If only it lasted longer. Smooth coffee, blueberry pie, smoke on the nose. Chocolate, vanilla, rich coffee without being bitter, subtle blueberry, hits of smoke. Huge, silky, chewy mouthfeel. Maybe my favorite part of the beer. Well done beer.

Oct 28, 2016
Photo of snaotheus
snaotheus from Washington

3.87/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

22oz bottle split between three shaker pints.

Pours black with no head in my glass. Smell is roasty and coffee.

Taste is roasty and coffee, but with a surprisingly gentle fruity sweetness. Blueberries are clearly evident (as long as you're thinking about blueberries). It actually works quite nicely.

Mouthfeel is smeeth, a little dry, surprisingly effervescent (considering the appearance). Overall, nice beer.

Oct 13, 2016
Photo of Bartleby91
Bartleby91 from Wisconsin

4.28/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

The appearance is pitch black with a tan head that disappeared quickly.
The aroma is a nice mix of chocolate, blueberry, and maybe a little coffee.
The taste is big chocolate, tart blueberry and roasted coffee bitterness.
The palate is full with a lingering sweetness and tartness that mingles well. Also a nice malty sweetness that lingers smoothly on the palate.
Overall this a really good imperial oatmeal stout that I would love to try and age. I hope they release the other acts so I can try them too.

Oct 13, 2016
Photo of mfnmbvp
mfnmbvp from Illinois

4.25/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 oz. bottle, with Batch #648 printed on the label. "Imperial oatmeal stout with blueberries and coffee", brewed in collaboration with Dark Matter Coffee. Expectations are very high, considering how well I enjoyed Act One.

Poured into a clear balloon snifter.

A - Pours thick, dark, silky, and inky. Jet black in the glass with about a finger of some of the darkest mocha chocolate head I've ever seen.

S - The aroma is very dark - dark chocolate / roast melds nicely with the roasted coffee. Very mild notes of blueberry tartness.

T - The taste follows the nose: chocolate, vanilla, coffee, cream, minor alcohol warmth, and a subtle blueberry tartness. Sweet & sugary. Everything melds together wonderfully, I just wish the coffee beans were amped up just a tad.

M - Ridiculously silky smooth, creamy mouthfeel. Probably the best part about this beer.

Overall, ridiculously good. Very glad I was able to acquire a bottle. I look forward to Act Three, or whatever else the future holds.

Pipeworks Grand Guignol Act Two -----4/5.

Apr 18, 2015
Photo of larryarms847
larryarms847 from Illinois

4.08/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours jet black and slightly oily with a solid two finger head of light brown frothy foam.

Dark chocolate, blueberries, earthy coffee notes, and some herbal hop resin.

Huge roasted coffee flavor and abundant blueberry, but the blueberry is a bit too sweet. Chocolate is also very noticeable, but the hops are no where to be found.

Heavy-bodied, light-medium carbonation, slick, sweet, could use a firmer body.

Overall, I certainly enjoyed Act One more than this one, but it's good either way. Just a bit too sweet for my taste.

Apr 12, 2015
Photo of ChWRoCk
ChWRoCk from Illinois

4.02/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

L - Beer pours typical to a stout, dark with almost a brown hue. Good head retention while drinking it, towards the end, the head starts to pick up the color of the blueberries and appears to take on a red hue.

S - Smell is full of coffee with a hint of chocolate, slight smell of the tart from the blueberry.

T - On the initial sip, very noticeable coffee taste to it, then at the end of the sip you get a tart blueberry that really helps complement the bitter coffee taste. Do let this beer warm, as suggested on the bottle, took a sip both when cold and lukewarm, blueberry more noticeable after letting it settle.

F - One of the heavier and thicker stouts I've had. Very smooth finish, even though the taste at the end is a bit tart.

O - Never disappointed with Pipeworks. Didn't feel like an imperial stout, I didn't feel it was overly strong, but a nice balance of the strong coffee flavors and the tart blueberry to complement the end taste. An enjoyable stout.

Apr 10, 2015
Photo of stortore
stortore from Illinois

4.25/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

22 ounce bomber into a Pipeworks snifter.

Pours a deep, dark brown, thick looking. Small, foamy brown head with some clinging throughout. Smell does indeed give up the blueberries, along with malts and chocolate. Not picking up any coffee, but there is a very perfumey type aroma to this. It's a pleasant aroma, but different. Taste is really nice- fairly malt forward, although a little roastier than I would expect in an oatmeal stout. Picking up a solid blueberry taste, chocolate, still not feelin' the coffee. Very solid body, smooth, hides the high ABV well.

I really liked this- much better than when I had it at the Goose Island Stout Fest (maybe I had a few BBA's right before it). I have a bottle of the Act I, and am looking forward to the contrast. While I didn't reduce my rating, I didn't get the coffee at all.

Mar 29, 2015
Photo of OneEye78
OneEye78 from Texas

4.28/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours dark black with a healthy light khaki head. Smell leads with tart blueberry, roasted coffee and a hint of milk chocolate. Taste leads with coffee and chocolate, with a tart blueberry finish. As it warms the coffee and blueberry meld together into a very nice combination. Very hearty in the mouth, almost coating with its thinkness. Overall this is a very interesting and enjoyable stout. The blueberries add a nice finish at room temperature to a classic coffee/oatmeal profile.

Mar 21, 2015
Photo of Tex_hex
Tex_hex from Illinois

4.34/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This is everything I want in a coffee stout. A very complex brew indeed. It's definitely thicker than a regular oatmeal stout. I got all coffee aroma and coffee is dominant on the nose but the finish is incredible. You get the sweetness of the blueberry married perfectly with the bitterness of the coffee and the silky oatmeal stout character to boot. I think I'll pick another one up on the way home tomorrow.

Mar 04, 2015
Grand Guignol: Act Two from Pipeworks Brewing Company
Beer rating: 90 out of 100 with 86 ratings