Introduction: 3 in 1 Brewing Cooler
Here I will show you how to build a Jockey Box and a Wort Chiller in your mash tun(if you already have a mash tun). If you don't, you can use this as a jockey box/wort chiller.
Step 1: The Jist
I already had built my Mash Tun for All Grain brewing, and really wanted a way to bring my home brew to parties with out the hassle of bottling my beer from a keg. Also, my home brew club is participating at the local farmers market by demonstrating how to brew. So we needed a way to cool the wort with out running water.
My solution to these problems came quite clear to me after a couple of delicious home brews. Why not build a multi-purpose cooler.
So heres how I did it.
Step 2: The Parts
My Mash Tun $85 usd
60 Feet 3/8th Inch Outer Diameter Soft Copper Coil $53
2 each 1/4 inch by 2 1/2 inch Brass Nipple $6
4 each 1/4 inch Quick Disconnect Coupler Set $12
4 each 3/8th inch Inner Diameter Hose Barb $6
6 each Hose Worm Clamps $6
There are ways to do this for less. I just bought everything new since I didn't have a surplus of, well, any of this stuff.
Step 3: The Coil
This is going to be the hardest part. Making this coil is going to test your patients, test your dexterity, and in the end, completely frustrate you. Well, at least it did for me.
What you are going to need for this is, a soup can, and, a coffee can or small metal garbage can. Emphasis on metal. You need something solid to wrap the copper around.
Since copper is a soft metal it is easy to work with and bend by hand. This is also one of its weakest points. When bending the tubing you have to be careful not to kink it. If you do, its almost impossible to get it back to the original shape by hand. I know. I tried.
You have to take the tubing and wrap it around the the soup can. To do this, you have to take one end of the tubing and roll it around the soup can. The easiest way I found to do this is to, leave the tubing in the box, press the tubing round the can with the palm of your hand, and rotate the can, firmly pressing the tubing against the can.
Once you get about 6 wraps, you'll have to push the can down so you can do more wraps. Once you have about 8-12 inches of wraps you can move on to the garbage can wraps. This is much easier than the soup can. Use the same technique as the can but this time you need to wrap in the opposite direction. This way you'll have both ends of the tubing end at the same place.
Why did I do it this way? Well, I wanted more surface to ice exposure. If you do it in one big coil, you are wasting a lot of ice surface in the middle.
Step 4: Finish the Coil
Now that you're done with the coil it's time to finish it off.
Use some plastic or rubber beverage tubing(you can get this at a Home Brew Shop) and slide it on to the copper tubing. If you're having trouble sliding it on because it's too tight, put the beverage tube in some hot water. This will soften it up, making it easier to slide on.
Now clamp it down so it wont leak or come off.
Attach the Hose Barb to the other end of the beverage tubing, clamp it down also.
That's it! The hardest part of this build is done. Pat yourself on the back, have a beverage of your choice. Or some celebratory bacon.
Step 5: Customizing Your Cooler
First thing you are going to need to do is decide where you want to outlets to go. I wanted my to come out of the lid so I wouldn't compromise the basin part of the cooler.
You however, can put it were you want. I know a lot of people who have put theirs through the side. That's fine if your NOT using the cooler for a Mash Tun. I do use my cooler as a Mash Tun so the lid was the best logical place to put connections.
Step 6: Time to Drill
So now that you have decided where to put your connections at. It's time to drill the holes.
Take your Brass Nipples and find a drill bit that just barely fits inside it. If you are building your to my specifications then you will need a 3/8th bit.
Once you drill the hole, you are going to have to wiggle the drill while its running to widen the hole just enough to barely squeeze the nipple through.
Step 7: Time to Pound
Now you'll have to put the nipple in place.
If you drilled your hole correctly, you should barely be able to push the tip in. This is where you'll need to pound it down to where just the threads are showing.
I got a nipple that matched the thickness of my cooler lid. You need to do the same. This way you wont have excess nipple surface area.
Step 8: Quick Disconnects
We are almost done. A few quick disconnects are all that separate us and a finished product.
So the connection won't leak you need to use teflon tape to seal the threads. Wrap it around the threads at least two times and no more than 4 times. This will ensure that there will be no leakage of beer or soda if that's your thing.
Next attach the quick disconnects. You'll need two pair of pliers for this. One to hold the nipple in place, the other to tighten the quick disconnect.
Step 9: Decision Time
Here is where you can make the inside connections permanent or not.
If you are only using this as a Jockey Box(Beer dispenser) then I say leave it like I have pictured. Don't forget to put teflon tape on this side of the nipple also. I would hate for you to loose precious beer because of poor planning.
If you are going to be using this like I am, I suggest doing quick disconnects on the inside also. This will let you take out the coil and use the cooler for a Mash Tun, or as a regular cooler with out having a coil of copper taking up valuable cooler space.
The quick disconnects give you the freedom of quickly taking off a piece of the system without taking it completely apart.
Step 10: Options
A picnic tap has always been tried and true. Use a Hose Barb and a male quick disconnect on one end of the hose, a picnic tap on the other. Plug it into the cold side. Push in button. Enjoy the glorious beverage of your choice ice cold.
Step 11: Some Action Shots!!!
Here are a few action shots of the cooling in process. Don't forget to move the ice around at about the half way point. Otherwise you'll end up with a coil with no ice touching it.
It took 40lbs of ice to cool the wort to around 40ish degrees F. So much less water than it would have taken if we would have done it any other way.
I'll post an action shot of some beer coming out when I've got beer to use.
6 years ago
I made this replaced the copper with 20' beer line . I also put disconnects in the front and back so I could use it more as a jockey box with a picnic tap.
9 years ago on Introduction
one tip so that you dont kink the copper tube is to fill it with sand or salt and then bend the copper.
Reply 9 years ago on Introduction
You are absolutely right.
10 years ago on Step 10
Hello my dear Cowstick,
I have a picnic faucet (tap) I wish to use for beverage dispensing . But unfortunately when I fit a hose to the tap, the beverage does not flow at all. Could you please instruct me on how to let the beverage flows normally ? I will be very very gratefull and thankfull.
Reply 10 years ago on Step 10
Sorry it took me so long to get back to you. First get a new tap, they're cheap. If that doesnt work, work your way back to the keg. Check your lines, see if anyrhing is clogged by running water through them by filling the line up with water and pushing the tap open.
If that doesnt work, check to see if the gas is working correctly, after that see if you have a clogged keg. To check the keg, you need to hook it up to something you know can despense your beer. If its not your keg, get a new picnic tap.
I hope this helps even though is almost a month later.
10 years ago on Introduction
So I've now done about 16 batches through this now. The only thing I've noticed is that after each use ii need to blow out the coil with air or else what comes out is not pleasant.
I've not noticed a difference in flavor using it as a jockey box since the beer isn't in contact with the copper long enough to each out any flavors.
To answer the question of adding a blanket of co2, it is not necessary since I still need to aerate every batch.
10 years ago on Introduction
I'm curious about your use of copper when using this as a Jockey Box - using copper is counter to most recommendations I've read, because of acidity and carbonating leading to leaching and off-flavors. Have you noticed any difference between your beer pushed through copper vs just using a chilled keg?
10 years ago on Step 11
CO2 to push hot wort? Hmmmm. Just so I understand, you boil the wort in your kettle, then you are running your wort into a corny keg (I'm assuming you put a blanket of CO2 at the bottom first), then hooking up your jockey box and using CO2 to the corny keg to push that hot wort through your jockey box and back into another keg?
Reply 10 years ago on Introduction
Looks like that was his system, with the exception of the blanket of CO2, since it's unnecessary - unwanted, actually, since aeration is *desired* prior to fermentation.
There's no harm pushing it through with gas, beyond having to clean the first keg afterwards. I'd think that if he was home, he might use a pump, but since the picture was taken on location, he went with the electricity-free method.