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Draft boxes (Jockey boxes) are portable dispensing systems used to cool beer as it travels inline from the keg to the faucet.
For five years we have rented 10 different draft boxes to the local public in our Northern California store. These boxes have had different coil diameters and lengths so we have been able to experiment and see the results of serving every style of beer imaginable in every different situation. The unique difference between MoreBeer and other draft product retailers is that we have both an R&D department that does actual testing of data, as well as a manufacturing shop that can make whatever we want.
Our draft box design works well for anyone, but is especially effective for the homebrewer. The innovation in our draft box design is that we use larger 3/8" OD stainless steel tubing. This has two advantages over designs offered by other companies:
1) Our system cools a greater volume of beer, and cools it faster. The coil will hold approximately 33 oz of beer at a time.
2) The second advantage is that the larger diameter line offers less resistance, which lets you push the beer with less applied pressure. Our boxes require about 10-15 psi of applied pressure from the CO2 tank to push the beer from the keg to the faucet (same pressure you use to dispense at home). Because the vast majority of beer lovers that we have talked with and rented to opt to keep their beer cool at all times to protect flavor ( especially a homebrewer who is going to retap the same kegs at home!) and also reduce foaming issues, most people opt to also ice the keg. The low applied pressure of 10-15 psi means that if you leave the system hooked up overnight, the beer will not over carbonate. If you do not plan on keeping the keg cold, which is perfectly fine, our system still works great because you can disconnect the line (if left for days) to keep the beer from losing carbonation.
Note: It is much easier to overcarbonate a beer left at a high psi (foamy beer) than to lose carbonation of a kegged beer left at a low psi. The reason is that gas will always keep coming from the regulator until the gas/beer pressure have reached an equilibrium (based on temperature). For a beer to lose carbonation it has to come out of solution. Because the headspace is limited, only so much CO2 can come out of solution. This is the reason that if you have overcarbonated a beer you have to repeatedly release pressure to bring the level of CO2 in solution down.
We do not use shanks on the back side of our boxes. We drill holes slightly smaller than the line size so that a tight seal is created but you can still pull the line in when not in use, without having a wrench on hand. This makes transport extremely easy. For anyone who has not used a draft box you will appreciate not having lines flopping everywhere. This is how our personal draft boxes are set-up where cost is not an issue. The bonus is that it does save money and allows us to sell this draft box, with a more expensive coil, for the same price as others. You will need to purchase the appropriate tap for your needs, be it commercial or homebrew quick disconnects. You will also need a CO2 system, comprised of a CO2 tank and regulator.
MoreTip!: For the best performance when using a draft box, tests have shown that ice water is actually the most effective cooling medium. DO NOT OPEN THE VALVE ON THE COOLER. Cooling plates (stainless coil embedded in aluminum) are designed to work with the valve open.