What is a jockey box?
Jockey box is a complete beer dispensing system, very popular for outdoor picnics and parties.
The beer is chilled with the ice you fill inside the box. The highly insulated box keeps the beer at the right temperature even with continuous pours.
Where and when is it most useful or best suited?
Jockey boxes are extremely portable and easy to set up too. It is a step up from the picnic taps and combines the functionality of a kegerator which is bulky to carry around everywhere.
Dispensing from the jockey box is through the CO2 tank attached to the keg itself. It doesn’t need electricity or any other device to function. So that’s zero manual pumping.
The beer keg you connect should be cool (warm kegs lead to foaming) but needn’t be chilled since that is taken care of inside the box itself. This and the fact that you can connect multiple kegs and pour different styles in a multi-tap jockey box, makes it a great choice for gatherings of every size.
TYPE OF JOCKEY BOXES
Cold Plate and Coil Type Jockey Boxes
Cold plate and Coil type are the two main types of Jockey boxes.
A Cold Plate Jockey box has an aluminum plate at the bottom and the rest of the box is filled with ice. The beer gets cooled while flowing through the plate to the faucet. This system needs a cooler keg to begin with. Using ice blankets or keg jackets help in keeping the temperatures lower, minimizing heat gain from the surroundings.
Coil Type Jockey Box or the coil cooler – gets its name from the stainless steel coils visible inside the box. The remaining space is filled with ice and water and the beer flows the entire length of the coil and gets cooled in the process.
So longer the coil length, better chilled is your beer!
Plastic and Stainless Steel Jockey Boxes
The Jockey box is made up of a thick multi-layered insulating box but for the look on the outside, you have a choice of plastic or steel belting.
While there would be no difference in their function, we’ll spill some beans about what to expect with each of these outer boxes.
Steel Belted Jockey box has a polished finish and a bright reflective surface. This gives a very sophisticated look to the whole system.
May not be suited for rough use since any scratches are easily visible affecting the aesthetics.
Plastic Jockey boxes are good at not showing any scratches and wears. They are also available in many colors that could go well with the peppy atmosphere of parties.
How to setup and use a jockey box
Setting up a jockey box is simple and below is the sequence for getting your party started with a coil cooler jockey box.
Things you need:
- Jockey box
- CO2 gas cylinder/tank with regulator
- Beer keg with the same system coupler
- Beer and Gas hoses with connectors
- Make sure the Faucets are in close position and connect beer and gas lines to the keg coupler.
- Attach the CO2 regulator to the other end of the gas hose and connect to the CO2 tank. Tighten the nut with a wrench.
- Connect the free end of the beer hose to the Jockey box inlet at the back. Tighten this nut too with a wrench.
- Fill the space inside and outside the coil with adequate ice. Add water to fill out gaps between the coils and ice.
- Tap the keg using the coupler.
- Set the desired gas output pressure using the knob on the regulator and slowly open CO2 valves – on the tank and regulator.
- Remove the spout plug from the faucet. Now open the tap and discard sanitizer and initial foam.
The Jockey Box is all ready to serve delicious chilled draft beer!
So here is a brief about Jockey boxes and how to use it.
This knowledge about the types and varieties helps you to choose better according to your needs.