What is a Jockey Box?
So you bought a keg. Now what? Beer drinkers are most familiar with the old pump style keg dispersers. These pumps force oxygen into the keg to maintain the pressure it needs to force the beer out. The result? Every person that pours themselves a beer pumps the handle and gets a half a cup of foam.
What most people do not know is that oxygen and beer do not get along. Beer contains many substances that react upon exposure to oxygen. This is why brewers go to great lengths to keep oxygen from coming into contact with it during every stage of the packaging process. Once oxidation occurs noticeable changes take place in the flavor and aroma of your beer.
So what is your alternative? A jockey box.
A jockey box is a cooler that has been modified to chill and dispense beer in temporary locations. They are a standard in the bar/restaurant/brewery industry and come in different sizes and materials. Chances are you've see one at a festival or any outdoor event serving beer.
How it works
Stainless steel coils and faucet shanks are installed inside a normal cooler, which is then filled with ice and water. Carbon Dioxide (CO2) is used to pressurize the keg and pushes the beer from the keg to the jockey box. Once it reaches the jockey box, the beer travels through the stainless steel coil and is chilled to the proper serving temperature. Faucets mounted to the front of the jockey box allow you to dispense the beer.
Setting up and using jockey box can seem intimidating at first, but rest assured it's not that complicated once you break it down into its components. Dispensing kits are available on our site that come with everything you will need to get started.
- A jockey box
- A small CO2 tank
- Keg couplers (depending on the type of kegs you purchased)
- Air and beverage line for dispensing
Do I need to keep the keg cold?
Jockey boxes are designed to chill the beer as it enters the cooler so refrigeration and icing of the kegs is not necessary but on extremely hot days placing ice around your kegs can help minimize the ice melt inside the jockey box. A keg at room temperature will exit through a jockey box under 40ºf depending on your pouring scenario. See our temperature testing article for examples.