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  • Jockey Box question

    ok, so after a lot of reading on this website i bought the parts to build a jockey box with a 50' coil. on Friday we iced down the box and keg and tapped it. let it settle and came back a few hours later to find my co2 bottle had bled out. my mistake for not leak checking. got a new co2 bottle and set the pressure at 12 psi. the first few beers were ok with some foam but all was ok. tried to increase the pressure to 15 psi and this didn't seem to change the foam amount. tried to decrease the pressure to 7 psi and the foam changed but not really an improvement. we did wait awhile between pressure changes to see how things changed and settled out. finally looked up on the charts and needed to take more temperature readings. my beer was flowing well and coming out at 37 degrees. the keg was in a water bath at 54 degrees. the chart i found online said 21 psi was required for miller lite at 54 degrees keg temp. set my regulator to this and had very little foam, this seemed to be the perfect pressure / temperature setting. by the time we changed to 21 psi the keg was less than half full.
    we tried the flashlight test at all of the pressures and still had little bubbles of gas coming out of solution at the lower pressures, at 21 psi we had no bubbles.

    my question is for a jockey box set up, should i be running such a high pressure if i cant keep the keg cool? i have the keg in an ice chest but after a day the ice is gone and just a water bath is left. i am trying to use the jockey box over a long 3 day weekend, will i need to keep the keg iced down as well as the jockey box? should i be basing my co2 pressure setting on the keg temp or the beer temp?

    thanks for any tips you can give me.
    Last edited by KillianBoy; 02-11-2013, 02:59 PM. Reason: spelling errors

  • #2
    In a jockey box you need to run at a higher pressure to force the beer through the coil. That is why it poured better at 21 psi vs 12 and 7 psi. You have to use a higher pressure to overcome the resistance in the 50 of coil. Keeping the keg iced will help but it is the coil that is most important. You have 50 ft of beer that you need to keep at temp. 20 -22 psi should be good for this set up. Just a side note, always run beer through the coil before icing. This will ensure that any water left over from cleaning is out of the system and will not freeze when you ice.
    Colin Harrison
    Dbi Beverage Chico


    • #3
      Did you just use ice in the jockey box or mix of water and ice?


      • #4
        the jockey box was full of ice and had some water in the bottom. the slim quarter keg was in another ice chest. i had ice on the keg the first day but it was more like chilled water the 2nd day.

        do you need to keep ice on the keg as well with this type of system? i am trying to use this set up this summer and it will be 90 degrees outside. want to keep a keg going for a long weekend.


        • #5
          I've been trying to learn as much as I can about jockey boxes since I need to do it for a wedding in August.
          So, from what I have read you need ice and water (to the top of the coil) in the box. If only ice just touches the coil you will have extreme temperature changes where it touches the coil, you have to drain water and add ice as it melts for everything to work right. You really don't have to ice down kegs, it may in fact may cause more problems. From what it says in the product section on jockey boxes, fill box with ice, then fill with water to top of coil, set PSI Colin says and you should be good.
          I was looking for this in resource section, finally found it:
          "Kegs when used with a Jockey Box system should never be stored in direct sunlight and in the heat of the summer it is wise to place the keg in an ice water bath in a tub. This way, the beer in the keg stays cold and the performance of the Jockey Box remains optimum."
          Since it's winter, you should be good, if you want just throw the excess water from jockey box into tub the keg is in but I don't think it is necessary.
          Last edited by KillianBoy; 02-15-2013, 07:27 PM.


          • #6
            If you are not going to finish the keg in 1 day, you will need to bleed off the pressure. If you leave the keg pressurized overnight at over 20psi – 22psi the beer will get over carbonated. You should also try to keep the keg as cold as possible. Warm beer flowing into the coils will cause foam, especially if you are pouring a large volume at once.
            "If you tap it, they will come."


            • #7
              HELP. HELP. HELP.
              so I tried my jockey box again. I had the keg iced down and I had the jockey box iced down. I tried every pressure setting possible and allowed each to settle down. I tried 15 psi, 20 psi, 30 psi all with no luck. I can produce ice cold foam with each one. just before using it I cleaned the unit.
              one problem I have is that the ambient temp is 90 degrees and I can not keep the ice on the keg to last. it starts icy cold and then 2-3 hours later I have cool water. I don't know how I can keep the keg cold.
              one question I have is that at the higher pressures 20+ the beer and foam flies out the spigot. I timed it and it was less than 2 seconds to fill a cup.

              do I need to add some type of restriction on my lines after the 50' coil? I have 50' of 5/16" stainless tubing and then a short section of about 6-8" tubing to the spigot. should I make a restriction here to keep the beer from flying out?

              I tried the flash light test and could not get any combination to keep the bubbles from coming out of solution?

              is there any way I can keep the keg in a water bath and cool and not need to keep it fully iced 24 hours a day? I want to have a keg last for 3-4 days.


              • #8
                If you want to serve cold beer for 24 hours a day for 3 days, jockey boxes are the wrong medium. JB are meant for short term, high traffic event (1 beer a minute/3-5 hours). No matter what after a couple of hours you have to add ice, as others have said it is a ice in water cooling and not just ice, ice will cause foam (because beer will get too cold), if pressure is maintained at 20+ PSI too long the beer will get over-carbonated and cause problems. If you want to drink beer the next day, there is a point that you need to de-gas and take pressure off beer, then re-apply gas when you want to serve beer.
                Flashlight test is for beer you need to balance, JB beer will always be off balance and see bubbles, because it is only a short term beer dispensing medium and you have to set the PSI higher than the balance PSI vs. temperature method since it has a lot of length to overcome but not worried about beer going flat.
                If you want a 72 hour instant beer tap without maintaining ice bath and beer not getting foamy and fast, I'd find another medium.


                • #9
                  thanks for your help on this.

                  we did get better results when we took pressure off the keg and ran the co2 at 9 psi. this made for a very slow pour with a small amount of foam and a good head.

                  i do have an event coming up in September where i need to serve a keg in a few hours. if i set my psi in the 30 range, the beer will fly out too fast and foamy. do i need some type of restriction?
                  i should be able to keep the keg on ice for the time we will be serving beer, even though it will be 90 degrees outside.

                  also, do kegs come overpressured or do you need to release pressure off from shaking it during transport when you first tap a keg?

                  my set up is as follows: 8' of 1/4" ID hose, 3" x 1/4" ID jumper hose, 50' x 5/16" ss coil, 6" x 1/4" ID jumper hose to spigot.

                  once again, i thank all for this forum and help.


                  • #10
                    Colin noted you should be 20-22 PSI, I think that would be a better start point than 30 (though this is what most say to start with).
                    I'm not an expert on restriction but normally you restrict the the beer line near end of line, normally a "choker", but I can't see why you have so much hoses. Normally you have jumper hose from keg to jockey and nothing between coil and spigot (shank/faucet). Are you using a standard faucet/shank (spigot) or are you using a 6 foot party tap from coil to spigot (end of party tap)?
                    Can you post pictures of the set-up and include box (cooler itself) and describe why you have so much extra line and how this line is cooled? Your setup might be causing your fast flow.
                    No matter what, you will have to add ice as it melts to make sure everything is cold (target of 32 degrees) and make sure you have a good mixture of ice and water, you will have to pull water from mixture as you add ice. And by starting off with just ice to begin with, without water you will have serious foam problems.
                    If you acclimate keg, there shouldn't be any problems with rough transport.
                    Last edited by KillianBoy; 07-06-2013, 08:47 PM.


                    • #11
                      attached are a couple of pics20130210_170919.jpg20130707_172739.jpg

                      this is an old pic of my rig. i had it full of ice, to the top of the ice chest when using it this past weekend. i do agree that i need more ice on the keg but i will need another means to keep it cold as it melts very fast.

                      also found out i have a S coupler in lieu of a D coupler. i was getting a small splash of beer when hooking up to a keg of Miller Lite. will be buying a new coupler.

                      when i run at high pressures 20+ it comes out like a fire hose with alot of foam. we had better results at 7-10 psi with moderate foam and a very slow pour.


                      • #12
                        Yeah, mismatched couplers may cause the fast flow, I think all you hose attachments should be fine, I think 1/4 is basically the same resistance. I don't think I said you need more ice at the start, at start you need a mix of water and ice, as the ice melts, remove water and then add ice. This is from the JB section:

                        Coil jockey box coolers are recommended over cold plate jockey box coolers when it is impossible to keep internal keg temperature colder then 55


                        • #13
                          This will ensure that any water left over from cleaning is out of the system and will not freeze when you ice.