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Need some advice...jockey box. Scott?

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  • Need some advice...jockey box. Scott?

    Hey y'all. First time poster with a question that's probably been asked and answered a 100 times.

    I need to build, or buy, a jockey box for two products. I'm thinking of going with two singles rather than a double.

    These will be used for catering events in the HOT desert climate. Keeping the kegs cool, 36-38 degrees, is simply impossible considering the locations.

    I'll do my best to keep the kegs iced down, but, when it's 110 degrees outside you can only cool things so much.

    My question is, what's the best set-up as far as.............size of coils and fitting, length of tubing, pressure etc.

    I'll be using these at damn near sea level and most likely be using plastic cups.

    I see the coolers for sale here on the website, but, I'm not sure the route to go. Lots of choices when it comes to length and size combo's.

    Best case scenario?...................................Give me a complete list of what I need to buy to make a single box work fairly well in the desert heat. Like I said, not sure if I'm gonna make my own custom cooler(s) or buy a plain one.

    Thanks in advance.

    Last edited by ROCSFIREHOUSE; 08-17-2008, 11:54 PM.

  • #2
    Hi there, first off - welcome to the forums!

    Congratulations on your desire to serve proper draft beer, few care enough to be sure that it's done right and by posting here you've already shown that you have what it takes!

    For your situation and climate, there is no substitute for the two tap high-capacity, 120' coil, dual tap jockey-box.

    I have used several of these built by MM and others, and also build many myself.

    If you have the hole saw and appropriate measuring and assembly skills, then you can save a little dough if you get your cooler locally and assemble the box yourself, the shopping list is easy, buy all the parts you need (MM lists "replacement parts" as a tab on the item). If not, buy it directly from MM, when you price it all out, you only save about $40 or so, depending on what parts you decide to go with...

    I now build out all jockey boxes with stainless steel faucet shanks and SS faucets as well. I'm sure that MM would add these to your order for the difference in price if you want to buy a pre-assembled unit.

    You will save money on ice by having the dual tap, as you don't have to feed ice to two coolers, and the 120' coils never disappoint. Going with anything less, in the heat that you face, will just be cause for aggravation.

    Good luck!

    Also, if you know what temperature your kegs will average, you can build some nice LONG jumper lines of 3/16" to restrict the flow down from the high amount of pressure you will need to keep your beer properly carbonated...though at temps that high, quick consumption is probably a must!

    BTW - a cold plate style jockey box, though cheaper, will NEVER be suitable to cool beer for the environs you describe. Cold plates are only suitable for achieving proper dispense temp when you can keep the keg under 55 deg. F and your dispense needs are sporadic.

    If you absolutely must build two separate boxes, go with the 120', one in each cooler, this will only cost you the price of the additional cooler and time, and I would suggest mounting one cooler with a left hand coil and one with a right hand coil in case you decide in the future to make a single cooler dual-tap unit.

    I really recommend if you've never done this before that you you buy the pre-assembled unit, however, if you want to get industrious...

    You will need the following:

    1 48qt cooler, think carefully about whether to purchase a cooler with a bottom mounted plug drain or not - these are notorious for leaking, which is fine on the sidelines of the soccer field, but is not fine over the 100% ginkgo hardwood floor at an upscale venue... recommend you build boxes from 48qt Coleman or Igloo coolers with no bottom drain, and then cart off and drain at teardown.

    Two 120' Stainless steel Coils
    Ice-Box Shanks for the back (where beer goes in)
    SS Faucet Shanks
    SS Faucets
    2 x Jumper Hoses
    2 x SS Beer couplers (7485E-S are economical)
    12 feet of Gas line (2 x 6' CO2 Line - I make all gas lines for boxes 6' now...)
    1 CO2 Regulator (642-2 or equivalent - single reg with two way manifold, etc...)
    1 5lb (or larger?) CO2 bottle.
    Appropriate Oetiker stepless clamps to ensure all connections are tight.
    Last edited by BrewGuru; 08-18-2008, 12:41 AM.


    • #3
      Wow, thanks for the welcome and quick reply.

      Is there a specific ID size for the tubing and fittings I should get? For sure it's gonna be 120' for each product, thanks for clearing that part up. As far as ice.........I'm not that worried about it. When I cater, the customer will buy the ice.

      Being the way I am, I'm probably gonna make my own. I'm thinking of a stainless Coleman with some nice graphics painted on it. Can't be that hard right? the right parts, take some measurements, cut a few holes and screw things together. That's the easy part for me. The hard part is knowing which parts to buy

      Thanks again.


      • #4
        Nevermind on the diameter of the tubing. Looking at the parts, it seems it only comes in 3/8. Perfect.

        Thanks for all your help


        • #5
          If you build your own, attempt to use the "Five Day" coolers. Be certain to use ice water bath - mostly ice and add ice while the event is ongoing. Dispense a slight amount of beer first and then add the ice to prevent water from the cleaning process from freezing. Keep the system in the shade if possible.

          These systems operate at approx. 35 PSIG to acquire a decent flow speed. The 120' coil already has built in restriction and there will not be any requirement for 3/16". They are effective in high volume events up to the mid 50's beer temperature in the keg. After this, the heat transfer is not capable in keeping gas in the beer - foam. Attempt to keep back up kegs refrigerated.

          These coils were designed for high volume / short duration events. With the high pressure required, you will need to manage any partials remaining at the end of the event. Turn off the gas supply to the coupler which is still in on position. Pull safety relief valve on the coupler relieving the head pressure in the keg. Adjust your regulator to PSIG based on gas volumes prescribed by brewer and temperature you will be storing the keg (14 PSIG?). You will be able to use this partial at another event.

          Note - some plastic cups can have a reaction to the beer where it will flash upon dispensing. Test the cups you will be using to assure that the cups are beer friendly.
          Scott Zuhse, Instructor Micro Matic Dispense Institute


          • #6
            The "beer" info on this sight blows me away, I love it.

            Thanks for all the tips. What are these 5 day coolers? Are the ones on this site 5 day coolers?

            Just curious, how do you come up with 35 psi? It will most likely be an American lager/light beer at most events.

            Any recommendations on plastic cups? I know foam cups are terrible and will never use them.

            Thanks again


            • #7
              Many special event experiences as well as conversations with numerous personnel at the wholesale level who utilize this equipment day in day out verify the 35 PSIG. Remember, this system is not designed for long term use. When you have high volume and short duration of time, you can throw out the rules of CO2 use. If you attempted to use this equipment for dispensing long term, you will over carbonate the beer.

              When you visit you favorite store, look for a decal on the cooler that stated it was designed to cool up to five days. Not certain what cooler box specs MM has.

              Most wholesalers use Solo or Boelter brand. They will test these cups as well from time to time. There is no better procedure than to test them yourself.
              Scott Zuhse, Instructor Micro Matic Dispense Institute


              • #8
                Igloo makes 5 day coolers, I think the call them 'Extreme'. It means that after 5 days they will still have ice, unlike regular coolers that only last about a day or so. The first time you use the boxes you can start the pressure at 25-30psi and adjust up to 35 if needed. Don't forget equipment to clean the lines and coils. In that kind of heat it won't take long to foul up the system.

                Scott, what is it about the cups that make the beer foam? Several times I have encountered loads of foam at a party that I could not figure. I am now wondering if it was the cups because it lasted for the whole keg(s).
                "If you tap it, they will come."


                • #9
                  Originally posted by CoreyD View Post
                  Scott, what is it about the cups that make the beer foam? Several times I have encountered loads of foam at a party that I could not figure. I am now wondering if it was the cups because it lasted for the whole keg(s).

                  Imperfections on the surface of the material. Glass is preferred because it's smooth. Obviously glass is a poor choice for a party for a few obvious reasons such as breakage and cleanup, so I would go with a plastic cup that I have tested before the party to be sure it works OK. At home, for party's, I have a giant stack of plastic Anhueser Busch beer cups that you can buy at most party stores and/or the brewery here in St. Louis. I'm pretty sure they're Solo, and they work great. If those were out, the red/blue Solo cups have always worked for me as well. That's generally what I see at partys.
                  Our beer, which commeth in barrels, hallowed be thy drink
                  Thy will be drunk, I will be drunk, at home as it is in the tavern

                  Home Brew IPA


                  • #10
                    If I remember correctly, the times I had problems we were using the cheap translucent cups. I don't think that I have ever had a problem with the Solo cups. I built the box and bring it to every party and BBQ but not the cups. This year we had one BBQ with a keg of Yuengling and every cup was 1/2 - 3/4 foam and I have never had that in the 15 years I've been using my box.
                    "If you tap it, they will come."


                    • #11
                      Surface tension and release agents that are used to release cups from the extruder. The reaction is similar to that with frosted mugs. Most breweries had or still have programs which test the vendors' beer ware on a random basis to determine their acceptance with the brewers' product. Over the years, numerous special events have had issues due to unapproved vendors' containers.
                      Scott Zuhse, Instructor Micro Matic Dispense Institute


                      • #12
                        I will have to stock up on Solo cups!
                        "If you tap it, they will come."