Saturday, August 13, 2005

Jockey Box Chiller

UPDATE: I don't use this setup anymore. It seemed like the copper diameter was too small. I'll have to give it another shot. If I do I'll probably use larger diameter copper and neatly wrap the copper around a coffee can and bundle it together permanently like my wort chiller. With summer coming I'll have to get on the ball. After kegging the Altbier I needed to find a way to serve it cold. There are a bunch of ways to do this, but, I had to have something by the end of the day. A bunch of friends were coming over to play pool. You can buy chillers called jockey boxes or you can use a kegerator. Heck you can even put the whole keg on ice if you want, but, changing the temp on the unused beer every tiime you want to drink it is not supposed to be good. I was going to go to the Wine & Beer Emporium to pickup one of those modified beer cooler jockey boxes (who came up with name anyway?), but, I really didn't have time for the drive after work in rush hour. I honestly don't even know if they carry them. So I started searching the internet for do it yourself solutions. I knew this needed to be a quick solution so I tried to cut corners where ever I could. I found some instructions on the internet that were perfect. The more I thought about it the more I decided to really simplify it. Here is what I used.
  • One picnic style tap that I disassembled
  • 20 feet of 1/4 inch outside diameter copper tubing
  • 10 feet of 3/8 inch outside diameter plastic tubing
  • two hose clamps
  • our picnic cooler (medium to large size)
  • 3 small bags of ice
  • water
  • one step cleaner
Jeremy was over at the house for dinner so he decided to ride with me to Home Depot and get the stuff we needed. We spent a while trying to determine what size tubing to use and how to put it all together. Once Jeremy convinced me we didn't need to be perfect it didn't take long. When we came home we put it all together, hooked it up to the keg. Poured a glass....and...blech....what was that taste? I thought it was the beer, but, that was only half the story ;-). We realized that it must have been the tubing. We didn't clean it before using. In retrospect that seems like a really dumb thing, but, hey we really wanted to try it out. So we siphoned some one step solution through the setup and tasted again. Whoohoo...cold home brew with no strange chemical taste! Thanks for the help Jeremy! Our next project is to make a nicer setup.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The problem isn't cleanliness, it's the copper tubing. You need to switch over to stainless steel. Copper + alcohol = BAD.