coil in jockey box froze and snapped

Discussion in 'Home Bar' started by GeeL, Jan 7, 2018.

  1. GeeL

    GeeL Initiate (156) Aug 27, 2008 Massachusetts
    Beer Trader

    Hi. Water expands when it freezes. Duh.

    I've stored a 2-tap jockey box in the garage for several years. This is the first year this happened: The Star San in the coil froze and snapped the coils. Both snapped at the place where they connect at the back of the cooler and to the tap. The coil "retracted" a bit, so is now each end is several inches from where it should be.

    My thought is to see if I can replace that section somehow, maybe get a section of tubing and compression fittings.


    I don't know how to upload a picture (the icon says "image URL", whatever that means). If you want a picture let me know how to upload one.
    #1 GeeL, Jan 7, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2018
  2. billandsuz

    billandsuz Disciple (330) Sep 1, 2004 New York

    There is a fairly easy fix for this. Not elegant but it will work pretty well. And since a J-Box is anything but elegant no problem.
    Compression fittings are copper. Do not use copper in your beer system. It is not approved for beer contact. It will leach copper. It will probably not kill you but "probably not kill you" is not something you or I should consider acceptable risk. And of course your friends won't get any choice. Ok, so vinyl beverage tube it is.

    You need to connect the s/s tube to the shank and to the vinyl tubing that goes to the coupler.

    Shank first.
    Without a photo it is impossible to know how the coil was connected to the shank. Hopefully that shank has a tailpiece. Like this.

    Bring the coil to the hardware store.

    The OD of the Tailpiece barb is probably 3/8" on a J Box. So you need to get a length of beverage tube that is 3/8" ID. Easy. Clamp it to the tailpiece. If it's 5/16" use that, etc. The other end will slip over the S/S tube if you are lucky. You may need to use or build a reducer, which the plumber dude at Home Depot will do no problem. Do not use copper. PVC is fine. S/S tube (copper too) will have a OD that slips into vinyl tubing ID. If you carefully clamp the tubing over the S/S tubing it will work. Heat the steel a bit and it will slip right in. Use two clamps.

    Do the same for the tubing that goes from the coupler to the coil. That tube WILL be 3/8" ID. Again, get it to slip over the S/S tubing and clamp it securely.

    All those splices are not great for foam control but a J-Box is not really a well designed system and is not meant to be. Cold beer will pour and people will be happy. If there are no leaks you are back in business. 1 hour. $10.

    #2 billandsuz, Jan 8, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2018
    GeeL and Redrover like this.
  3. GeeL

    GeeL Initiate (156) Aug 27, 2008 Massachusetts
    Beer Trader

    Thanks. This makes sense, and I'll look at the connections and figure out a work around. I don't think there are barbs inside the J-box, but you gave me some ideas.

    Regarding copper contacting beer, I'm wondering about my wort chiller that I use for 40 min or so and probably has more contact with beer than what's flowing through the coils of the J-box. But that's a different forum...
  4. billandsuz

    billandsuz Disciple (330) Sep 1, 2004 New York

    Beer pH is different than wort pH.
    Yeast need trace copper to function properly in fact. Brewers learned early that an all S/S brew house required at least a short copper pipe, fitting or even a strategically placed copper penny for best results. Or later a decent nutrient.

    Copper is in fact specifically not allowed in draft beer dispense systems.
    See FDA Regulation 4.101.14

    There are many draft systems where the chrome has worn off exposing copper to beer but the food police have bigger headaches. And truthfully, the local health inspector is clueless to most everything beyond the basic temperature guidelines.