I was listening to one of the recent Q&A Brew Strong podcasts and Palmer offhandedly mentioned leaving the lid of your kettle off while chilling wort to prevent condensate (with DMS in it) from dripping back into your wort.

Does anyone out there actually leave the lid off your pot while chilling? I've always been far more concerned with infection than a little DMS, but I'm considering leaving the top off while chilling my next batch that is heavy in pils malt.

  • 2
    I can't speak to the DMS, but I always chill with the lid off. I'm not very concerned about infection because I'm about to pitch a big, fat colony of healthy yeast into the wort. At least that's what I tell myself to help me sleep at night ;)
    – JoeFish
    Commented Jan 19, 2012 at 1:26
  • FWIW, I do No Chill, which is an entirely different beast, but a hard 75-90 min boil seems to boil away all the DMS of the Pilsner malts I use, and I've done several lagers with Pilsner as the base.
    – GHP
    Commented Jan 19, 2012 at 14:03

2 Answers 2


Well in theory you've driven off most of the SMM by the time you start chilling so the issue should be fairly minimal at that point. I usually chill with the lid off, but when I do with the lid on I can't say I've ever noticed a difference or an issue with DMS. I use pilsner quite a bit and I do a 75 minute boil when I use it.

  • +1. I always chill with the lid off. I use an immersion chiller, so the lid wouldn't be able to fully cover the kettle. And I stir frequently, so I'd have to keep taking the lid off to do that. I just leave it off. Having the lid off for the 20 minutes it takes to chill the wort does not bother me.
    – JackSmith
    Commented Jan 19, 2012 at 13:29
  • Yeah I leave my lid off because I am using a pump to aid in chilling and the tubing for that as well as the chiller make the lid half on anyway. I avoid brewing when its windy though.
    – brewchez
    Commented Jan 19, 2012 at 22:45
  • You don't really "drive off" the SMM, you convert it to DMS and drive THAT off. And all of the research I've seen says that there is always an excess of SMM in the malt and that a 90min boil will never be able to diminish it. If you are not getting noticeable DMS in you final beers, then you seem to be doing fine chilling your wort in an timely manner.
    – BeerSensor
    Commented Jan 23, 2012 at 14:36

I heard the same podcast (I think it was the BeerSmith homebrewer round table with Gordon Strong and Denny Conn) and was surprised by that comment as well.

Having said that, I've just started chilling with the lid off (my wife got rid of the lid that was big enough to cover the keggle) and haven't noticed any perceptible difference in flavor. Prior to this I was concerned with airborne bacteria, but as long as you are pitching a good healthy portion of yeast (preferably with a starter), I don't think you have much to worry about.

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