Beers in a Keg: Breaking Down the Numbers

Kegs, the small barrels that you use to hold, transport, and store carbonated or non-carbonated drinks, is what you are sure to love as a beer aficionado.

Quick Summary: How Many Beers are in a Half Barrel Keg? 

The most common keg size for a party (the one that you would get for an event from a local beer store) is the Half Barrel.

At 15.5 gallons (1984 ounces), this equals 165 beers at 12 oz. servings.

A full half-barrel weighs in at 160 pounds! (30lbs empty + 130lbs of liquid). This is why the half barrel is more common than a “Full Barrel,” as the weight is too high to safely transport.

The Half-Barrel is commonly referred to as a full size keg for this reason.

Choosing the right keg before the party is an important step.

Full Comparison of All Keg Sizes

Capacity (gal / oz)
Cans / Bottles (12oz)Pints (16oz)Height / WeightWidth (Diameter)
Mini Keg
1.32 / 1691410.69⅞” / 13lbs.6¾”
Cornelius Keg
5.0 / 640534023″ / 49lbs.9″
Sixth Barrel
5.16 / 661564223⅜” / 58lbs.9¼”
Quarter Barrel
7.75 / 992826213⅞” / 87lbs.16⅛”
Slim Quarter
7.75 / 992826223⅜” / 87lbs.11⅛”
Half Barrel
15.5 / 198416512423⅜” / 161lbs.16⅛”
Rubber Barrel
7.75 / 992826213⅞” / 87lbs.17″
Beveled Barrel
7.75 / 992826213⅞” / 87lbs.17″
How Many Beers Are In all the Keg sizes? Homebrew Academy

Why Do You Need a Keg Anyway?

Carbonated drinks like a beer require pressurized storage, to keep the carbon dioxide in the drinks intact. A Kegerator is a refrigerator specially designed to store these kegs.

Unfortunately, normal refrigerators that you find in homes are not designed to store kegs. You need a kegerator conversion kit to convert your conventional refrigerator into a kegerator.

Knowing what’s the right size of the Keg though can be a confusing topic. There is no official standardized size of kegs. The size of the keg differs from one region to another.

Thankfully, there seem to be some acceptable references in the measurement of kegs. So as you are going to see the sizes of Kegs as per US standards. The number of beers in a keg differs with the size of the Keg (duh).

So when asking the question how many beers are in a keg, you really need to know what keg we are talking about.

There are eight common types of keg, categorized based on shape, size and number of beers it can hold. The Keg, also referred to as a small barrel, is a tiny portion of one barrel. In the United States, a barrel size is equal to 31 gallons. A standard keg is equal to half of the barrel and can hold around 15.5 gallons.

These are categorized into two basic types depending on the components present in assembling the keg. We shall discuss each and every type in detail:

Corny Kegs:

On one side of a keg, there is a gas disconnect. This gas disconnect is then connected to the regulator of a carbon dioxide tank. This carbon dioxide tank regulates the pressure of the drink inside the keg. On the other side of the keg, there is a liquid disconnect.

The liquid disconnect releases beer to the tap handle or picnic tap through the liquid line. There are clamps all over the gas and liquid lines. Also called by it’s full name: Cornelius Keg.

Depending on the lock systems used in gas connect; the corny kegs are categorized into:

  • Ball lock kegs
  • Pin lock kegs

Sankey Kegs:

The Sankey Kegs also have a carbon dioxide tank, gas line, and a liquid line. The only difference between Sankey kegs and Cornelius kegs is the setup of these components.

Unlike Corny kegs, the Sankey kegs have a coupler that combines both gas-in and beer-out line. The coupler acts as an entrance to the gas and releases beer to the tap handle.

In the United States, people use ‘D’ shaped couplers. The major drawback is the difficulty in setting up this keg.

Comparison of Different types of Keg based on the Components:

  • Ball Lock Kegs: The ball lock kegs have a ball lock specific gas and liquid disconnects. This keg is slimmer and taller than the pin lock kegs.
  • Pin Lock Kegs: The pin lock kegs have a pin-specific lock for gas and liquid disconnects. This keg is shorter and fatter than ball lock kegs. However, you need to replace the pin-lock more often. The older pin lock kegs do not possess manual pressure relief valves.
  • Sankey Kegs: It requires coupler to regulate gas and liquid lines. It does not have different gas and liquid disconnects. The coupler is usually in ‘D’ representation in the United States. The setup of these kegs is sophisticated than the Corny Kegs.

Types of Kegs based on Size:

Based on the size and number of beers that a keg can hold, the kegs can be categorized into different types. The standard Keg or a half-barrel can store up to 15.5 gallons of beer.

Let’s discuss each and every type of keg in detail, this will really answer the question “how many beers in a keg?” 

Mini Keg:

Specifications: Capacity: 1.32 Gallons/ 169 Ounces. Dimensions: 97/8’’ Dia. X 63/4’’ Height

As the name suggests, this keg is designed to hold small quantities of beer. 5 litres of beer or to be exact, 169 ounces (oz.) can be stored in the mini keg. These mini-kegs are designed to fit inside the mini kegerators. As a mini keg, it can hold up to 

The mini kegs can be suitable for a small outing or partying with the closest of friends. It is for a one-time purpose. Since it is small, they can be easily portable. You can use it while going on a trip or during camping.

The major drawback of this type of keg is that you cannot find your favourite beer in this container sometimes. It is difficult to find a specific kind of beer in this keg.

The mini-keg also called as bubba keg has advantages like one-time usage and portability.

Cornelius Keg:

Specifications: Capacity: 5.0 gallons/ 640 ounces. Dimensions: 23’’ Dia. X 9’’Height

The Cornelius Keg differs from other kinds of Kegs in the setup of the components. They do not have different gas and liquid disconnects. Instead, a ‘D’ coupler (commonly used in the United States), is used to regulate the gas and liquid line. The Cornelius keg can hold up to 53 – 12oz beers.

The Cornelius Kegs originally were developed to store soft-drinkers. But the homebrewers now use it to store beers. Since it is easy to clean and maintain, the Cornelius kegs are mostly preferred. You must be familiar with the coupler to regulate the gas and liquid line.

The Cornelius Keg is commonly called as Corny Keg, Soda keg or Homebrew Keg. Because of its easy installation, easy filling up and drawing out, this keg is preferred for home brewing purposes. This keg can also be used to store wine, coffee, and kombucha.

Sixth (1/6) Barrel Keg:

Specifications: Capacity: 5.16 gallons/ 661 ounces. Dimensions: 9-1/4” Dia. X 23-3/8” Height

The sixth barrel keg is the same size or slightly larger than the Corny keg. This keg does not hold much but is designed specifically for dual or triple-tap kegerators. The restaurants or bars that do not have so much space can use this keg. This keg can hold up to 55, 12oz beers.

These kegs can store 661 ounces or 19 liters of beer. The smaller restaurants or bars can use this type of keg, to display varieties of beer for customers. This keg can also be used for home brewing purposes. The Sixth barrel keg is also commonly called as Sixtel, torpedo and Log.

This is an excellent option for those who decide to travel in a pack and take adventure trips. It is also a great choice if you decide to party with 15 people. Home brewers prefer this keg for its simplicity and easy options.

Quarter Barrel Keg:

Specifications: Capacity: 7.75 gallons/ 992 ounces. Dimensions: 16⅛” Dia. X 13⅞ Height

The quarter barrel keg is shorter and fatter in appearance, storing 992 ounces or 30 litres of beer. It can store approximately 82 beers at 12 oz. If you compare, this barrel has the same diameter as the standard full keg barrel; but the height is 10 inches shorter.

The Quarter Barrel Keg is also called as Pony keg or Stubby Quarter. This barrel can be used when you choose to party harder with a small group of friends. But you can also choose to determine if at least half of the people in the party are beer lovers. Else, you would have to return it half-empty. It is a perfect choice for a party of 30 members.

Slim Quarter Keg:

Specifications: Capacity: 7.75 gallons/ 992 ounces. Diameter: 11⅛” Dia. X 23⅜” Height

The capacity of the slim quarter keg is similar to that of the pony keg. But the diameter variations give a different appearance to the slim quarter keg. As the name suggests, the diameter of the slim quarter keg is smaller than the pony keg. This feature makes it look slimmer and taller than the pony keg.

The diameter is similar to that of the sixth barrel keg. The slim feature of this keg makes it more suitable for the dual-tap kegerators. You can store two of these in the kegerator as it occupies little space compared to the pony keg. Though the diameter is similar to the sixth barrel, this keg has a larger width slightly. Therefore, it can store 7.75 gallons, two gallons more than the sixth barrel keg.

It can hold upto 992 ounces of beer, which is equivalent to 82 beers at 12 oz. servings. This keg is again preferable for small parties that involve 10-15 members. The Slim Quarter Keg is also called as Tall quarter or The Slim keg.

Half Barrel Keg:

Specifications: Capacity: 15.5 gallons/ 1984 ounces. Dimensions: 16⅛” Dia. X 23⅜” Height

The half-barrel keg, also called as standard full size keg, can hold half of the full barrel. The full barrel can hold 31 gallons of beer; and therefore, a half-barrel can hold up to 15.5 gallons of beer. You must be careful before choosing the keg.

Do not choose this keg if you do not have 100 members in your party. Even if there are 100 members, make sure at least half of the crowd loves beer. These kegs are returned half-full often.

Having said that this keg is preferred for large parties, you could have seen it in meetings, events or business parties. This keg, more commonly seen in bars and restaurants all around the world, holds 1984 ounces of beer, which equals to 165 beers at 12 oz. servings. The half-barrel is also called as full keg, full-sized keg or barrel of beer commonly.

Mostly, the home kegerators are designed to fit this keg. But you can see only smaller versions of kegs at home. This type of keg is reserved for large events and frat parties. But if you own a bar at home, then you would definitely need this keg.

There are plenty of ways to keep a keg this size cold without the use of a kegerator also.

Import Keg:

Specifications: Capacity: 13.2 gallons/ 1690.7 ounces. Diameter: 16” Dia. X 21” Height

The import keg, also commonly called a European barrel, holds 13.2 gallons of beer. The diameter of the import keg is similar to the full keg. The height and the width specifications of import keg are slightly lesser than the full keg. Since the width is slightly lesser, the import keg can store 2 gallons lesser than the full keg.

The import keg can hold up to 140 beers at 12 oz. servings. Again, these kinds of kegs can be seen only on larger parties or business meetings.

European Half Barrel:

Specifications: Capacity: 6.6 gallons/ 845.4 ounces. Diameter: 16” Dia. X 10.5” Height

The European half barrel, as the name suggests, is a half barrel of the import barrel. This barrel can hold half of the import barrel, that is, 6.6 gallons. This barrel has a diameter similar to the quarter barrel. The width of the European half barrel is slightly smaller than the quarter barrel. Therefore, this barrel can store 1.2 gallons lesser than that of the Quarter barrel.

Since this barrel can store 70 beers at 12 oz, this keg can be used for smaller parties involving 15 to 20 members. This barrel can store varieties of beers, and so is useful for smaller restaurants and bars.

Wall Keg:

Specifications: Capacity: 9.2 gallons/ 1188 ounces. Diameter: 17” Dia. X 13-7/8” Height

The Wall Keg, as the name implies, is the stoutest of the kegs in this list. The width of this keg is 17 inches; it is wider than the full keg. But the height of this keg is smaller than the full keg. This barrel is 10 inches smaller in height than the wall keg. So the difference in the storage of these two barrels varies up to 6 gallons.

The Wall Keg, which can store up to 9.2 gallons, looks stouter and fatter compared to a full keg. The wall keg can store up to 1188 ounces, which equals to 99, 12 oz. beer servings. The Wall keg can be found in considerably larger parties involving 60-75 members.

Home-Brew Kegs:

Corny Kegs, used mostly while brewing the beer at home, is easy to install and you can store up to 5 gallons at home. The two types of kegs that you commonly find at home are:

Ball Lock Corny Kegs:

Specifications: Capacity: 5 gallons/ 640 ounces. Diameter: 8.5” Dia. X 25″ Height

The Ball lock corny kegs use a ball lock to regulate the gas disconnects in the keg. The carbon dioxide tank that is connected to the gas disconnect in the keg through gas line is regulated using a ball lock. This ball lock corny keg can store up to 5 gallons, which equals 640 ounces of beer.

This barrel is the tallest of all the other barrels in this list. The width of this barrel is the smallest when compared to other barrels. Therefore, it looks slimmer and thinner in comparison. It can store up to 53 beers at 12 oz. servings. For the same reason, this keg is more suitable for home brewing.

Pin Lock Corny Kegs:

Specifications: Capacity: 5 gallons/ 640 ounces. Diameter: 9” Dia. X 23” Height

The Pin Lock Corny Kegs, also the common form of Cornelius Kegs, have the same diameter as that of the normal Corny kegs. The difference between the ball lock and the pin lock is that the pin lock regulates the gas.

The storage of pin lock, for one, is the same as that of the ball lock and can store up to 53 beers at 12 oz. servings. Therefore, this barrel can be used in small gatherings or while gaming between friends.

Knowing about the types of kegs depending on the size and the number of beers it can hold can help you prepare for your next party. Do not forget to share us with your experience in comments.

Similar Posts