Whether you are a professional brewer or homebrewer Jockey Boxes are a great delivery system that keeps your beer at the perfect temperature while helping to reduce foaming, allowing you to serve your beer on draft at events. Proper maintenance and operation are essential when using Jockey Boxes to ensure you’re pouring the best homebrew possible.
This article will give you a step-by-step guide on how to clean, sanitize, and operate your Jockey Box as well as help you troubleshoot any problems that may occur.
How To Use a Jockey Box
Prior to operation, you want to make sure that the keg is chilled before you set up the Jockey Box; if not, your beer will be foamy. Next, make sure your C02 tank is filled and properly working. After this you can connect your draft line to the cooler coupling, making sure the opposite end is connected to the threads of the coupler. Make sure the faucet is closed prior to setting up the system.
Chill the coils of the Jockey Box. Start by putting 2/3 ice in the cooler. Then, pour cold water over the ice, completely submerging the coils in your cooler. Do not use only ice, as this may freeze the coils and create problems when pouring.
Once the coils have been cooled, connect your keg and C02. You want to start off at a lower PSI–between 25-30–then adjust the regulator to a higher setting to ensure proper flow of beer. Next, check all the fittings to make sure there are no leaks.
Place your keg in an insulated keg jacket or ice bath. Keeping your keg at the proper temperature will ensure you are using the appropriate amount of pressure to push the beer through the line; warm kegs require an increase in pressure to dispense your beer properly. Once everything is working, start running beer through the system to make sure no problems arise prior to service.
Cleaning & Sanitizing
Make sure all beer is removed from your coils and lines. You can use a pressurized cleaning kit to ensure everything is removed.
Fill the coils with a solution of hot water and PBW and let everything soak for a minimum of 20 minutes. PBW is an alkaline cleaner specifically designed to be safe, non-caustic, and environmentally friendly. Make sure to use hot water during this process, as hot water will dissolve PBW fully and quickly. Remove and clean the faucet using PBW as well.
Flush your system with Star San sanitizer. Star San is an acid anionic sanitizer that works in both hot and cold water. After this step, rinse the entire system with water.
Purge the coils and draft lines with compressed air to ensure everything is dry. When storing your Jockey Box, make sure to leave the lid open, as closing it may cause mold to develop if not fully dry.
Taking the time to properly clean and sanitize your Jockey Box will ensure your friends are able to enjoy your beer at its best. With all the hard work you put into making your homebrew, following these simple steps can help make your next event or gathering a success. Cheers!
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