Questions RE: Nitro and Jockey Box

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Well-Known Member
Jan 22, 2008
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Maryland, USA
Two questions today that I just want to straighten out.

First I'll go with putting in a nitro setup. I already have a keezer up and running. I've recently come into posession of a dry nitrogen tank which I will be exchanging at the local gas distributor for a full one later this week. I have a regulator that will function properly in the 10-40psig range. I have a batch of amazing smoked oatmeal stout bubbling away in primary and I want to serve it right.

The question is this: I was planning on using priming sugar in the keg at a rate of 1/4 cup of corn sugar for the 5 gallons. After conditioning, I'll chill it down and then use the relief valve to purge the keg. I'll have to purge it a few times over a day or two to make sure most of the gas bubbles out, which should leave me with about 1.25-1.5 volumes or so. Then hook up the nitrogen at 35psig +/- (I'll fine tune after pouring) and leave it for a few days to equalize.

Now I do NOT have a stout faucet but I was planning on using a picnic tap and just cracking it to allow good expansion (I can "feel" the picnic taps better than I can the faucet taps, I think). I'll also use a longer beer line to balance the higher serving pressure.

Is everything correct? I've read that I could fill my nitrogen tank with CO2/N2 "beergas" mixture but I'd really rather just prime and serve on 100% N2 if that'll work just as well. I'll get a stout faucet eventually, but I just want to get a nitro batch under my belt before I invest in specialty gear.

EDIT: I found this article which claims that you can use pure nitrogen in a pre-carbed beer with good results (even preferable in some cases). Obviously, you'll have some CO2 loss by the end of the keg and I'm OK with that.

It also says to use a diffuser stone. I'd rather not do that, so I think the "press up and shake" method is it for me.

Second question is a simple one.

I'd like to build a cold plate jockey box to take camping. Well, it's a cabin, so it's not really "camping" in the authentic sense, but you know what I mean. I'd like a 2-product setup and there's no electricity, so I figure jockey box, right? It's got to be better than bottling everything for the weekend and keeping it in an ice chest.

Anyhow, what I read about the cold plates indicates that they can really only handle about a 20*F decrease in serving temp from keg temp and that you should only ask them to pour one pint every few minutes or so. I don't mind the pour rate since there will only be a few people at the cabin at once, but in the Summer it can get up into the 80's in the shade. I can keep the kegs in a trash can full of ice, but the real concern I have is with foaming as they warm up.

We've had commercial kegs in the past and as the temperature creeps up there, we start to get a lot of foam even with the keg in a tub of ice. We're using a proper CO2 dispensing system, BTW, it's just the temperature gets a little high and commercial beer tends to be pretty heavily carbonated.

So the hope is that we can use the jockey box both to dispense the odd commercial keg from time to time and help cut down on foam as well as use it to serve homebrew.

Will a 2-product cold plate jockey box knock the temp down to control foam and will it be effective for a medium demand level (say 15-20 people drinking at a moderate pace)?

Sorry for the long read and thanks in advance for the help.