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Old 10-25-2006, 03:33 AM   #1
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Default Stainless Coil Questions

Here's the situation: I'm thankfully equiped with a small family of Corrnies and a keg fridge. It's only a single tower, but it packs a triple manifold/3 keg setup inside with two in-fridge dispensing lines....all lines balanced off so that we can regulate overall system pressure OR individual pressures for kegs.

At the beginning of the summer, I bough a jockey box kit (hardware w/o the cooler itself) and had immediate intentions of wiring up the "portable" keg system. However, I had trouble finding (what I deemed) reasonable deals on a SS coil so I put the project on the back burner. Now I'm revisiting the issue and have found only a few helpful places to order the coils online.

I had purchased this kick-bung mini-cooler that has a clear interior 8"x8"x8" space for the coil. REALLY tight, I know. But this was purchased without the current understand of the issue. The system would be used as an occasional party-type dispensing system. One cornie, 3-4 hours. Nothing special.

The questions are:

1 - I have done the math and can fit a 1/4" x 50' coil in this tiny cooler. By volume, that gives me a pint in the coil, which was the 'sweet spot' I was trying to hit. However, it this cooler just too tight to properly cool the coil? 8" cube, 6" coil.....not enough ice/water?

2 - Should I only trust "extruded" tubing and avoid "welded" tubing? I have heard whispers that you are begging for nasties at locations of notches/nooks along the imperfections of the weld. But if I am only using this in one-off situation couldn't I alleviate this concern by blowing the coil clean then forcing Idophor though after each use?

3 - It seems like everyone reccomends 3/8" coils. There seems to be concern that smaller tubing would create excessive head/carbonation in the beer and that you would be left with suds moreso than beer. My thinking, though, goes such that if I calculate the correct PSI correction for the smaller tubing vs. existing keg normalized pressure, shouldn't I be able to achieve a "calm" pour? Just the fact that the coil tubing is smaller than 3/8" would create more force needed to squeeze the beer through the coil, so the pressure would have to be adjusted with some thought-out equation anyway.

simplified version of 3 - Is 1/4" tubing too small? Will is result in foamy beer?

4 - Anyone know of any good deal on coils? MoreBeer has a 3/8" 50'r for $75, I found some 1/4" on Ebay for $2/foot. Any surprise vendors??


Thanks in advance for your thoughts!!!

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Old 10-25-2006, 06:06 AM   #2
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I think 1/4" tubing would be fine. Most keg dispensing systems use about 6 feet of 1/4" tubing to achieve a "normalized" pour. I doubt you'll have a pressure/foam issue with 50 feet.

I also wouldn't get excited about the sanitation of welded tubing. Certainly you can invite "nasties" to the party with poor cleaning practices. The same is true for perfectly smooth extruded tubing. I would suggest running sanitizer through it after each keg and perhaps occasionally boiling it to kill any persistent funk.

My biggest concern is that you won't have enough ice to sustain the operation for an entire keg. Picture the amount of ice it takes to cool a pint sized mixed drink. You won't have more than a few pints-worth of ice in the cooler, so I imagine it will warm quickly. The same length tubing in a cheap 5 gallon round cooler full of ice/water/rock salt would probably keep you going all day long.

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Old 10-25-2006, 06:23 AM   #3
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I have a jockey box set up with a small cooler. It's a Gott 12L that is 16" h with an 8" radius. It was purchased on ebay so I can't tell you much about how it was built. Each time that I have used it, my keg was still fairly cold and so the serving temp was fine.

Is it likely that your beer will be cold to start or at room temp?

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Old 10-25-2006, 01:46 PM   #4
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I am also worried about the size of the cooler. That exact ice/shaker/mixed drink comparison was what I had in my head. However, the keg would almost always be cold to begin with. If I was planning on taking it out with the jockey box I'd have it sit around the keg fridge for a few days and even ice-bath the keg during use to try to stay ahead of the game.

Perhaps it would be best for me to look for a slightly larger cooler to allow for more ice though. THIS is the once I've got. Perhaps THIS would be more appropriate. It would have been nice to squeeze an 8" coil nto the "Ice Cube" but I think it is just too tight.

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Old 10-25-2006, 03:06 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fiery Sword
Perhaps it would be best for me to look for a slightly larger cooler to allow for more ice though. THIS is the once I've got. Perhaps THIS would be more appropriate. It would have been nice to squeeze an 8" coil nto the "Ice Cube" but I think it is just too tight.
Yup, that looks about right in comparison with other jockey boxes I've seen.
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