50' vs 120' - Does coil length matter?

50' vs 120' - Does coil length matter?

We’ve already settled the debate between coils vs. cold plates in another blog post. And, while we have over 1,000 satisfied customers nationwide using our jockey boxes—all with 50’ coils, we still get a few old dogs hesitant to learn a new trick who ask: “But don’t I need to use 120’ coils?” For all but the rarest occasions, the answer is, “No.”

Below, we compare the temperature results of beer dispensed through a 50' coil and a 120' coil during different pouring scenarios.

Liquid volume in coils

Coil Length Outer Diameter (OD) Inner Diameter (ID) oz/ft Total Volume Ideal Setting
50' 5/16" 1/4" 1/3oz 17 oz Pouring pints of craft beer at an outdoor beer festival
120' 3/8" 100'
1/4" 20'
5/16"
3/16"
1/2oz
1/6oz
53 oz Pouring pitchers of a macro lager at the Daytona 500

 

PROPER BEER TEMPERATURE

Unless recommended otherwise the producer, most beverages should be served between 38º-55º F, depending on the style.

You won’t be able to control your beverage’s temperature with the same precision using a jockey box as you do in your establishment, but it will be close.

Generally speaking, pouring from a keg at room temperature (~ 70º F) through a COLDBREAK® jockey box with 50’ coils will deliver your first (and each subsequent) pour between 34º-42º F.

For beer specifically, craftbeer.com lists recommended serving temperature for most styles.

FULL PINT READY TO POUR

When you pour liquid through a jockey box, as soon as the liquid enters the coil and comes into contact with the chilled stainless steel, it will immediately decrease the liquid’s temperature as it flows towards the faucet.

This heat exchange will take place until the liquid reaches the same temperature as the coils. A 50' coil will drop the temperature in a matter of seconds, and with a full 17 oz held inside the coil, you will always have a full cold pint ready to pour.

SERVING PSI

To overcome the resistance of the coils and to get a proper pour, the serving pressure must be increased. 50' coils allow you to keep the pressure increase to a minimum, and lowers the risk of over-carbonation during longer events.

For quick comparison:

  • 50' coils require approx. 25-30 PSI
  • 120' coils require approx. 35-40 PSI

TAP MORE KEGS

As far as practicality is concerned, simple math will tell you that 50’ coils also add the benefit of being lighter than 120’ coils and take up less space, which has allowed us perfect our 4-tap jockey boxes in 54 qt coolers.

And, being able to pour more than two taps as compared to yesterday’s jockey boxes also makes ours ideal for any establishment that needs to showcase a wider product portfolio.

POURING SCENARIOS

To further debunk the reliance on 120’ coils, we tested them. For science!

The findings below account for pouring from a keg at room temperature (~ 70º F) at the time of testing.

If the ambient temperature will be above 70º F, kegs can be iced to help minimize the ice melt inside the jockey box. With any outdoor event, it’s important to keep the coils completely covered in ice and the kegs out of direct sunlight.

 Coil Length Pour Size Pour Type # of Pours Temperature
50' 12 oz Control 1 34.1ºf
120' 12 oz Control 1 34.1ºf
50' 5 oz Continuous 6 37.4ºf
50' 12 oz Pause (30 sec) 2 37.7ºf
50' 12 oz Continuous 4 43.8ºf
120' 12 oz Continuous 4 42.8ºf

 

 

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