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Old 05-19-2013, 09:04 PM   #1
rev1000
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Default Jockey Cooler

Does the coil have to be stainless or will copper work, and what is the best size to use and how long of a coil is needed? Will 3/8 od do?

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Old 05-19-2013, 11:26 PM   #2
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1. Copper will work fine.

2. 3/8" OD should be fine

3. Depends on how cold your incoming beer will be. If the keg is in an ice bath you could probably get away with 50 ft or so. Otherwise, you'll want something more like 100-150 ft depending on the size of your cooler.

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Old 05-20-2013, 01:18 PM   #3
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Copper lines should never be used for finished beer. The low pH of finished beer will cause copper and possible other metals to be leached into your beer.

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Old 05-20-2013, 01:45 PM   #4
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Copper lines should never be used for finished beer. The low pH of finished beer will cause copper and possible other metals to be leached into your beer.
Copper is a "non-reactive" metal, and will only react to concentrated nitric acid... even then, all that really does is oxidize the copper, since it is a powerful oxidizer. Something as strong as Hydrochloric acid won't even touch copper.

Source: http://www.uncp.edu/home/mcclurem/ptable/copper/cu.htm
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Old 05-20-2013, 03:36 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brewmcq

Copper is a "non-reactive" metal, and will only react to concentrated nitric acid... even then, all that really does is oxidize the copper, since it is a powerful oxidizer. Something as strong as Hydrochloric acid won't even touch copper.

Source: http://www.uncp.edu/home/mcclurem/ptable/copper/cu.htm
Also, with the short period of time the beer would be in contact it should be fine. Yes, stainless is preferred, but copper should work.

I would be less comfortable fermenting beer in a vessel with copper fittings where contact is over an extended period of time.
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Old 05-20-2013, 04:47 PM   #6
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From everything I have read you will "probably be OK" with copper as long as you clean it regularly. If you do not clean it well between uses you risk having a poisonous blue-green oxide (think the Statue of Liberty) forming.

See excerpt from this link below (also very good source for other materials pertaining to brewing): http://byo.com/stories/projects-and-...or-homebrewers

"However, you need to be aware that copper can develop a toxic blue-green oxide called verdigris. Verdigris includes several chemical compounds — cupric acetate, copper sulfate, cupric chloride, etc. — and these blue-green compounds should not be allowed to contact your beer or any other food item because they are readily soluble in weakly acidic solutions (like beer), and can lead to copper poisoning (i.e., nausea, vomiting). To clean heavy oxidation (black) and verdigris, use vinegar or oxalic acid-based cleansers like Revereware Copper and Stainless Steel cleanser."

So you probably can get away with copper as long as all the proper precautions are taken, but why risk it?

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Old 05-20-2013, 05:45 PM   #7
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Also, with the short period of time the beer would be in contact it should be fine. Yes, stainless is preferred, but copper should work.

I would be less comfortable fermenting beer in a vessel with copper fittings where contact is over an extended period of time.
Stainless doesn't transfer heat as well. Copper would result in a much colder beer, quicker.
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Old 05-20-2013, 05:47 PM   #8
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So you probably can get away with copper as long as all the proper precautions are taken, but why risk it?
The greater the risk, the greater the reward.

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Old 05-20-2013, 06:03 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stack View Post

"However, you need to be aware that copper can develop a toxic blue-green oxide called verdigris. Verdigris includes several chemical compounds — cupric acetate, copper sulfate, cupric chloride, etc. — and these blue-green compounds should not be allowed to contact your beer or any other food item because they are readily soluble in weakly acidic solutions (like beer), and can lead to copper poisoning (i.e., nausea, vomiting). To clean heavy oxidation (black) and verdigris, use vinegar or oxalic acid-based cleansers like Revereware Copper and Stainless Steel cleanser."

So you probably can get away with copper as long as all the proper precautions are taken, but why risk it?
Agreed. There is no reward commensurate with that risk in this application IMHO. Stainless coil or plate chillers are the only things I would use in a jockey box application. The differences between copper and stainless as far as thermal transfer is negligible in HERMS coils (thanks to Kal who recently taught me this!), so it stands to reason that a stainless coil immersed in ice will cool the beer just as well as a copper coil immersed in ice.

You'd have to be very anal in cleaning the inside surface of a copper coil (which...btw, you can't inspect) in order to make sure you don't get verdigris and oxidation in the line...stainless on the other hand will clean more easily and not present these dangers.

There's a reason you won't find a commercial business anywhere building jockey boxes with copper coils.
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Old 05-20-2013, 07:59 PM   #10
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Given the space and cost associated with coils of tubing why not get a cold plate and serve more beers?

For instance if you wanted to serve 6 beers you are looking a anywhere from 300 to 750 feet of tubing (going off stated lengths above) I'm just guessing at the pricing, but I'd think the tubing alone would be around $300 or more.

I just bought a 6 pass cold plate for $135, all the fittings and hoses for $120, an ice chest for $20... The only thing I have left are the Tap Handles... I could have bought the cheap $2 ones, but I wanted to make some custom handles at least.



So serve 6 beers for under $300 or hassle with a crap load of tubing??? You see what I chose to do!

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