>> Wednesday, November 25, 2015
If you're not familiar with jockey boxes, they're essentially a portable kegerators. Rather than keeping kegs at serving temp, room temp beer is chilled on the fly as it's poured. This is accomplished by passing the beer through a cold plate or stainless coil packed in ice. It's basically a heat exchanger, pulling heat out of the beer as it passes through the cold plate.
Fast forward a few months and I finally have my hands on everything needed to complete my build. I wanted something more interesting than you're standard plastic ice chest, so I kept my eyes open for a vintage metal cooler. I finally got my hands on a nice vintage Coleman cooler a couple weeks ago. This cooler is from the 70's, so it's not 100% metal, but I dig it. It definitely has more character than an all plastic cooler.
As for faucets, I found a member selling brand new ones on homebrewtalk a while back. These are standard chrome rear sealing faucets. I wouldn't recommend these on a home kegerator because they tend to dry out and stick between uses. However, they should work fine on a jockey box where they won't have time to dry out between pours.
For chilling I'm using a seven circuit cold plate. Since we have seven circuits and only four taps, three of the taps are plumbed to do a double pass through the cold plate, and one tap will do a single pass. The single pass tap will be used for beers that will benefit from a slightly warmer serving temp.
|Cooler wall cross-section|
I spent a lot of time trying to figure out how the best solution for the supply lines. I wanted a clean look, but didn't want to break the bank. I ended up going with stainless panel mount 1/4" MFL union/bulkheads. I'm really happy with the way these turned out, and they can even be disassembled fairly easily for cleaning, replacing lines, etc.
It's said the cold plates perform better when they're kept out of the water from the melting ice. You can buy cold plate holders, but I figured I could make a rust-proof holder out of PVC for cheap. I attached the holder to the cold plate using zip ties (not pictured).
That's about all there is to it. I just barely finished it so I haven't had a chance to test it out yet. I imagine I'll have to do a little fine tuning so I'll post an update once I have everything dialed in. In the meantime, here are a few pics of my build. Hopefully anyone planning a similar project will find them helpful.