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4 faucet jockey box build

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dmob29

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Seen a lot of posts about this, but wanted to share a build my friend and I just finished.

My friends and I go to brewfest, camping, softball tourneys and stuff and pretty much got tired of burnin through so much ice in trash cans. So we decided to build a jockey box.

The first question was cold plate or coils. Been looking on here and found all sorts of things about the two but I managed to find a 6 pass cold plate fairly cheap and 4 50 ft coils is pretty expensive, so we went with the cold plate.

Here are the parts and where I found em:
My friend supplied the cooler
I found a used 6 pass cold plate on ebay for 120 shipped
Found faucet and shank combo kits with a 1/4" OD 3/16" ID barb fitting on an ebay store www.homebrewstuff.com for about 29 bucks ea

The cold plate was missing a couple of connectors so I figured to get all new connectors with barbed connections.
Also got clamps and a length of 50' 3/16" ID hose for about 32 bucks which was cheaper than getting 25' and paying by the ft. Got all of this stuff from www.micromatic.com

All total including shipping charges - about $340

Here are some pics...


Everything But the cooler...

Drilled 4 holes for the shanks and 1 in the back for the beer lines in from the kegs

Coated the holes with silicone to prevent the insulation from disintegrating

We used the plexy glass as a backing plate because the hole saw we
used was a little too big and there was slop with the shanks in the hole.

Shanks installed

Look of the plexy glass backing plate

6 pass cold plate... this thing is no joke... 10" x 15" and about 40 lbs!!!

all hooked up in the cooler

Just a little bit of ice to test.....
 
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dmob29

dmob29

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Not a great pic but works great!!!

We had a keg of warm/hot water we used to flush out the cold plate and also hooked that up to see
how it works... worked great!! With just the little ice we put on the plate, it chilled the warm
water down to, just guessing, 45-50 degrees.

All in all this is much cheaper than buying it pre-built and it is pretty easy. You need to make
sure that you do a little research about fittings and sizing (all the stuff I got was using a 1/4"
barb fitting with 3/16" ID.) so you can throw it together.

I also learned that Home Depot, Lowes and so on, do not carry fittings for cold plates.
You have to get those from a soda or homebrew store.

This is great presentation as well. I think everyone enjoys pulling a beer from a faucet instead
of a picnic tap from a trash can!

I think the cold plate is the way to go with the limited testing we did.
 

freudhawk

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Not a great pic but works great!!!

We had a keg of warm/hot water we used to flush out the cold plate and also hooked that up to see
how it works... worked great!! With just the little ice we put on the plate, it chilled the warm
water down to, just guessing, 45-50 degrees.

All in all this is much cheaper than buying it pre-built and it is pretty easy. You need to make
sure that you do a little research about fittings and sizing (all the stuff I got was using a 1/4"
barb fitting with 3/16" ID.) so you can throw it together.

I also learned that Home Depot, Lowes and so on, do not carry fittings for cold plates.
You have to get those from a soda or homebrew store.

This is great presentation as well. I think everyone enjoys pulling a beer from a faucet instead
of a picnic tap from a trash can!

I think the cold plate is the way to go with the limited testing we did.
Awesome job. I'm about to build the exact same setup as you. Any suggestions or changes that you would make now that it's been in operation for a while?
 
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dmob29

dmob29

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Everything works great. The only issue, not really an issue though, is that it is pretty big and heavy. Could have used a smaller cooler, but my buddy had that one lyin around so we save cost there.

Still think cold plate is the way to go.

There is 1 thing. The holes you drill will make a mess with the styrofoam bustin loose. The holes for the shanks/faucets are fine using silicone (unless you plan on taking the shanks out), but the hole in the back for the beer lines comin into the cooler the silicone really isn't enough. We haven't yet, but might look into using a pvc pipe or something more solid to prevent the foam from the cooler falling out of the hole.

Other than that, its been great!

Best of luck!!
 

freudhawk

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Everything works great. The only issue, not really an issue though, is that it is pretty big and heavy. Could have used a smaller cooler, but my buddy had that one lyin around so we save cost there.

Still think cold plate is the way to go.

There is 1 thing. The holes you drill will make a mess with the styrofoam bustin loose. The holes for the shanks/faucets are fine using silicone (unless you plan on taking the shanks out), but the hole in the back for the beer lines comin into the cooler the silicone really isn't enough. We haven't yet, but might look into using a pvc pipe or something more solid to prevent the foam from the cooler falling out of the hole.

Other than that, its been great!

Best of luck!!

Good to know, thanks!
 

dragonlor20

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Where did you get the plexiglass and what size holesaw did you use? Also how did you deal with the lines cOming out of the back?
 

JRems

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You won't need the plexi if you get the proper size shanks and use a rubber jockey box washer and a metal jockey box washer on the inside. Use a 7/8" hole saw for a tight fit with no slop. It should not make a mess if you drill slowly. I used mfl bulkhead fitting to bring the beer into the cooler on mine. This way all the lines can be removed to clean, without pulling them through a hole that could leak.
 
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dmob29

dmob29

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Very true JRems, that was the one size we didn't have and instead of getting the correct size, we forged ahead to get it done.
"This way all the lines can be removed to clean, without pulling them through a hole that could leak." -- confused about what would be leaking...?

Hey Egg... ya, that chiller was a huge find on ebay for like $160 shipped! How do I move a thread? I realized there is a DIY section too, thanks!
 

JRems

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I was talking about if the cooler is full of ice and water, if there is a hole in the back it can leak out. I used bulkhead fitting thru the top so the cooler can be filled to the brim without leaking. I can also remove the coils( I have ss coils not cold plate) to clean or to reuse as a prechiller for Cooling wort.
 
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dmob29

dmob29

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Ahhh, right on. Wasn't thinking about coils ;) I think that's a great idea about using it as a pre chiller... I think I might try that.
 

dragonlor20

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Very true JRems, that was the one size we didn't have and instead of getting the correct size, we forged ahead to get it done.
"This way all the lines can be removed to clean, without pulling them through a hole that could leak." -- confused about what would be leaking...?

Hey Egg... ya, that chiller was a huge find on ebay for like $160 shipped! How do I move a thread? I realized there is a DIY section too, thanks!
If you wait it out, chillers can go for 90 shipped...
 

dragonlor20

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You won't need the plexi if you get the proper size shanks and use a rubber jockey box washer and a metal jockey box washer on the inside. Use a 7/8" hole saw for a tight fit with no slop. It should not make a mess if you drill slowly. I used mfl bulkhead fitting to bring the beer into the cooler on mine. This way all the lines can be removed to clean, without pulling them through a hole that could leak.
A few questions:

Where would one get a jockey box washer?
I am a little fuzzy as to how the bulkhead fitting would work... Would you mind posting a few pics?

Thanks!
-Scott

Edit: Nevermind, found the jockey box washers with a quick search, though I am still interested in the bulkhead on your setup.
 

JRems

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bucfanmike

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for the back of mine i drilled a fairly large hole in the back. I then epoxied in a piece of pvc. Mine is a 7 pass plate, with 6 currently hooked up. The pvc keeps the styrofoam in place and allows me to only pull through the amount of lines I need. I keep some small cuts of that tube insulation that I wrap around the lines to take up any extra space. For those worried about spilling or leaking, the hole is near the top and you never need that much ice in there. You should also never worry about water when using a coldplate, it is different than coils in that you only want ice, keep the water drained.
 
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I'd love to revive this thread!!! I am considering building a jockey box for my upcoming wedding so I can serve my homebrew... I can see a lot of advantages to using a cold plate, such as cost and not having to push beer through huge lengths of coils at high PSI. However, I am reading lots of conflicting comments about using a coldplate vs. coils, and I've read that coldplates do not cool the beer adequately if the beer is kept at room temperature. For my wedding, the kegs would just be sitting underneath a table with the jockey box sitting on top of the table. What are people's experience using a cold plate with room-temp beer?
 
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dmob29

dmob29

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I can say that this thing has been working great for us! We have used it at a few camping trips (CHA fest at Lake Casitas) where day time temps are getting up to mid-high 80's and the kegs are sitting out under a tree. We never actually measured it, but it dispenses fairly cold.
One thing we learned is we started using that cooler for bottles too and the opening and closing of it warms it up a bit, something to be aware of.
 
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I can say that this thing has been working great for us! We have used it at a few camping trips (CHA fest at Lake Casitas) where day time temps are getting up to mid-high 80's and the kegs are sitting out under a tree. We never actually measured it, but it dispenses fairly cold.
One thing we learned is we started using that cooler for bottles too and the opening and closing of it warms it up a bit, something to be aware of.
Good to know! Did you use jumpers on your cold plate, or just run it straight through?
 
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dmob29

dmob29

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Good to know! Did you use jumpers on your cold plate, or just run it straight through?
By jumpers are meaning run it through one line then directly into a second before going out to the faucet? If it is, no... went through only one circuit and seems to work well. I guess if you are dispensing fairly often you could double it up to get more chilled beer in the lines.
 
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By jumpers are meaning run it through one line then directly into a second before going out to the faucet? If it is, no... went through only one circuit and seems to work well. I guess if you are dispensing fairly often you could double it up to get more chilled beer in the lines.
Yeah, that's what I was talking about exactly. Okay, well I think I'm going to go ahead and use a coldplate to build my box.

Another question.... do chill plates have copper tubing in cast aluminum, or is it aluminum all the way through?
 
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dmob29

dmob29

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Yeah, that's what I was talking about exactly. Okay, well I think I'm going to go ahead and use a coldplate to build my box.

Another question.... do chill plates have copper tubing in cast aluminum, or is it aluminum all the way through?
All of them that I have seen are cast alum blocks with 1/4 ID stainless tubing inside.

I was just poking around and found an ebay item pretty much exactly what I got... cold plate
 

ercousin

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homebrewbeliever, how did this work out for you? I am thinking of doing the same thing for my wedding.

The kegs would start cold but warm up over a few hours as they are served. I am looking at a 7 pass cold plate and doing a 4 tap jockey box. 3 of the taps would be doubled up, and 1 of them single.

http://sodadispenserdepot.com/pics/Coldplate7.htm

How did the beer at your wedding go with the cold plate box?
 
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