Both the cold plate cooler and coil cooler are used in a party/special event environment to quickly chill warm beer to the ideal dispense temperature of 36-38° F.
In a cold plate cooler, the beer is run through a aluminum cold plate that is covered with ice. The ice coming in contact with the plate causes the plate to become cold, which in turn causes the beer running through the plate to become cold. It is important to continuously drain the melted ice water from the cooler, and periodically push the ice down on the cold plate surface as it will occasionally bridge up and lose contact with the plate. The typical 10" x 15" cold plate has 18’ of stainless steel tubing within the plate that beer goes through.
Cold plate coolers are only recommended for use when the internal keg temperature can be kept colder then 55° F. In such a case, beer can be continuously dispensed from the faucet at 36-38° F.
In a coil cooler, the beer is run through a length stainless steel coil that is covered with ice and water. The ice water coming in contact with the coil causes the coil to become cold, which in turn causes the beer running through the coil to become cold. The coils vary in length from 50’ to 120’ depending on the model of coil cooler.
The advantage of a coil cooler over a cold plate cooler, is that the coils are longer than the tubing in the cold plate. This allows the beer a longer contact time in which to become cold. Therefore, coil coolers are recommended over cold plate coolers when it is impossible to keep internal keg temperature colder than 55° F. With a 120’ coil cooler, beer can be continuously dispensed from the faucet at 36-38° F even if the keg is at room temperature.
For cold plate and coil coolers 30-35 lbs. of applied pressure is recommended for dispensing beer that has an internal keg temperature of 50-55° F. A keg that is kept cold requires less applied pressure for dispensing. A keg that is being dispensed at room temperature or greater has a recommended applied pressure of 35-40 lbs. Cold plate coolers are not recommended for dispensing beer that has an internal temperature greater than 55° F.