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January 31, 2022

How to Keep a Keg Cold For Dispensing Draft Beer Without a Walk-In and Kegerator

How to keep a keg cold in a warm environment can be challenging sometimes. Luckily with a few supplies and some work, you can keep your keg cold all day without the use of electricity. If you are looking to tap draft beer at a BBQ, Tailgate, or House and don't have use of electricity read this.

Throughout the course of a day, a keg that's stored in warm surroundings will get warmer and warmer. To maintain the right dispense temperature of 38 degrees for your beer. You need to keep it in an environment where this is possible. Ultimately keep the beer cold.

Here are the 2 best methods to keep a keg cold, and maximize keg yield if you don't have a kegerator or beer walk-in cooler.

Use a Jockey Box to Keep Beer From the Keg Cold

Jockey Boxes are best for festivals, tailgates, bbq's, or wanting to dispense draft beer without a kegerator. There are many different types out there. But it consists of a cooler, beer faucet, beer shank, and stainless steel coil to cool the beer. Read more about Jockey Boxes here

The keg's gas line goes into the cooler and dispenses beer through the steel coil. Submerged in ice water. The CO2 pushes the beer out of the keg and through the stainless tubing where it's chilled properly. It has a beer faucet at one end so you can dispense your beer right from the cooler.

Here's a video below talking about setting up a jockey box and the equipment needed.

The Jockey Box is a simple, portable way to dispense draft beer from a keg and keep the beer cold. Made from an ordinary cooler with the use of stainless steel coils or an aluminum cold plate. The best way to dispense beer without the use of a kegerator or walk-in cooler.

Keeping a Keg Cold using a Plastic Bucket Filled with Ice

Many people keep a keg cold by filling large plastic bucket with ice and cold water, placing the keg inside. This does work to keep your keg cool for longer but there are some disadvantages to this method. 

First, off this method will take a good amount of ice to keep the beer cold. Initially, it's smart to pour a little bit of ice into the bottom of the trash can you are using. Put your 1/2 Barrel Keg, 1/4 barrel or 1/6 barrel keg in and continue to fill the bucket with ice until it's covered. Make sure to leave room so you can tap your keg with a party pump. Now you will be using a party pump with air so the keg will only last hours. So drink up!!!

It's important to keep the keg cool and covered with ice to maximize keg yield and keep the foaming down to a minimum. However, if you are on a budget and only using one keg for a little while this method is really tough to beat. It won't pour as well as a jockey box, but you aren't spending nearly the amount of money. Ultimately, you are using ice, cold water to keep the beer keg cold.

One trick to keep the beer keg cold longer is to keep it in a refrigerator or at temp as long as possible then put it on ice. This will keep the beer foam down, and allow you to pour cold beer.

Summary

A Jockey Box is a mini refrigeration unit designed to keep a keg cold. Ice is added to cool the cold plate, or steel coil being used. This method is more efficient because it cools like flash chiller. Which delivers cold, crisp and fresh draft beer.

Putting a keg in a plastic bucket and give it an ice bath is something we are all familiar with. If you are on a budget it doesn't get much better than this. You will be out the cost of a keg, ice, and party pump. Compare that to the cost of using a jockey box, getting the added equipment , Co2 cylinder and the cost of a keg.

Just remember to cover the keg with ice and continue to add ice as it melts to get the best yield from the keg if using a plastic bucket and party pump. This will also mitigate warm beer.

I hope this article was helpful about serving cold beer with out a beer cooler. Let me know what you think by adding your comments or questions below! As always, please feel free to share this blog with a friend who may also benefit from the information.

If you have further questions reach out to me here. Check out other useful draft beer dispensing information on my blog.

Until next time, cheers!

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About the author

I've been a draft beer technician for over 10 years  building, designing, and installing large commercial beer systems. Through the years I've worked on breweries, tap houses, casinos and stadiums around the country.

I enjoy sharing my passion for draft beer dispensing by talking about it, recommending dispensing equipment I've used in commercial installs, or private settings. 

Cheers!

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