How Many Beers are in a Keg?

How Many Beers Are In A Keg

Kegs Come In Many Sizes

A keg may be your favorite way to keep everyone satisfied at parties, but do you know how many beers are in a keg? If you’re a beer aficionado, you probably know the exact dimensions of your favorite kegs and how much they hold, but thanks to the sheer amount of kegs available, there are probably a lot of kegs that you’re less knowledgeable about.

There are 3 different standard keg sizes, and each company puts their own spin on their kegs. That changes how many beers a keg can hold pretty drastically. There are also some different kegs from Cornelius and Sanke that we’re going to cover for brewing at home. Here, we’re going to talk about the different keg sizes, and we’ll tell you the exact amount of beers each one can hold. Unless you pick up a weird model, you’ll know exactly how many beers you have stowed away in your favorite keg.

Commercial Kegs

Commercial kegs are the ones that you pick up from the store or order online, and they have a specific brand of beer in them. Nearly every mainstream beer company sells kegs commercially, and most of them sell at least two different size options.

These tend to stick to industry standards a lot better than kegs that are made for brewing your own beer, but there are some manufacturers that make their kegs in an abnormal way, and that can make their kegs have a slightly different capacity than what will be listed here.

Half-Barrel Kegs

Half-barrel kegs are the largest standard kegs you can get, and they can easily supply a party for the entire night.

The industry standard for a half-barrel keg is a capacity of 15.5 gallons. That’s roughly the equivalent of 165 beers if you pour them into 12-oz glasses.

Half-barrel kegs are also pretty heavy because of their large capacity. Unless the manufacturer has deviated from a standard design, you can expect a half-barrel keg to weigh just shy of 130 pounds.

Weight: 130 pounds
Capacity Measured In Gallons: 15.5
Capacity Measured In 12-oz Beers: 165

Quarter-Barrel Kegs

A quarter-barrel keg is roughly half the size of a half-barrel keg, and you can expect one to hold about half as much, too. However, they’re a lot lighter, and it’s a lot easier to drink all of the beer inside of them.

A standard quarter-barrel keg will hold roughly 82 beers or 7.75 gallons of beer. Their weight is a lot more manageable. If you’re dealing with the standard model used by most commercial brewers, you can expect it to weigh about 65 pounds.

Weight: 65 pounds
Capacity Measured In Gallons: 7.75
Capacity Measured In 12-oz Beers: 82

Sixth-Barrel Kegs

A sixth-barrel keg is the smallest type of standard keg. However, sixth-barrel beer kegs aren’t that much smaller than quarter-barrels. They can typically hold about 56 beers, and they weigh about 43 pounds. When you compare the difference between a sixth-barrel and a quarter-barrel to the difference between a quarter-barrel and a half-barrel, you’ll see that the differences are a lot smaller between the two smaller varieties.

Weight: 43 pounds
Capacity Measured In Gallons: 5.16
Capacity Measured In 12-oz Beers: 56

Size Breakdown

Here’s a quick comparison of the standard beer keg sizes.

Sixth-Barrel: 43 pounds/ 56 beers/ 5.16 gallons/ AKA 1/6 keg
Quarter-Barrel: 65 pounds/ 82 beers/ 7.75 gallons/ AKA 1/4 keg
Half-Barrel: 130 pounds/ 165 beers/ 15.5 gallons/ AKA 1/2 keg

Kegs For Brewing At Home

Do you want to make your own custom keg of beer? We don’t blame you. It’s a fascinating process, and it allows you to experiment with different flavor profiles and alcohol contents.

However, the keg sizes for brewing at home are a bit weird. There are 3 types that practically mirror their commercial equivalent, but there are also 2 oddly-shaped options that are pretty popular.

The Cornelius Keg

The Cornelius beer keg is a 5 gallon keg. That makes it slightly smaller than a sixth-barrel keg, but the capacity difference between the two is nearly unnoticeable. A Cornelius keg only holds 3 less beers than a 1/6 keg. You can buy these with two different locking mechanisms, but neither option affects their capacity.

If you go to search for these online, you might want to call them Corny kegs. The name has picked up a lot of steam in the brewing community, and a lot of online markets label them as such.

They can all hold 53 beers worth of fluid, and they’re a little more squashed-looking than other small kegs. That allows them to be stored more easily in a home environment.

Capacity In Ounces: 640
Capacity In Liters: 18.93
Capacity In Beers: 53
Capacity In Gallons: 5

Sixth-Barrel Keg

This has the same dimensions as its commercial equivalent. So, its specs are the same, too. It holds 56 beers, and it weighs 43 pounds. The only difference is that you won’t get any delicious beer inside of this version. You’re supposed to fill it with your own handcrafted beer.

Capacity In Ounces: 672
Capacity In Liters: 19.55
Capacity In Beers: 56
Capacity In Gallons: 5.16

Quarter-Barrel

This is another standard keg designed for brewing at home. As such, it mirrors its commercial equivalent perfectly. However, there are more measurements available for these. So you can see a few different specs if you look at the specifications beneath this paragraph.

Capacity In Ounces: 992
Capacity In Liters: 29.34
Capacity In Beers: 82
Capacity In Gallons: 7.75

Slim Quarter-Barrel

The slim quarter-barrel keg is pretty much exclusive to the craft beer community. They’re rarely available from commercial retailers, and they’re mostly designed to give brewing enthusiasts a quarter-barrel keg that can be stored easily in a home environment where space is limited.

Despite being shaped oddly, they have the same specifications as normal quarter-barrel beer kegs. They’re just skinnier and taller.

Capacity In Ounces: 992
Capacity In Liters: 29.34
Capacity In Beers: 82
Capacity In Gallons: 7.75

Half-Barrel

The half-barrel keg for home brewing purposes is another type of empty keg that mirrors its commercial equivalent perfectly. However, you’ll usually find this type of keg without as many variations because brands aren’t trying to differentiate themselves from one another.

Capacity In Ounces: 1984
Capacity In Liters: 58.67
Capacity In Beers: 165
Capacity In Gallons: 15.5

Size Breakdown

Cornelius Keg: 5 gallons/ 640 ounces/ 18.93 liters/ 53 beers
Sixth-Barrel Keg: 5.16 gallons/ 672 ounces/ 19.55 liters/ 56 beers
Quarter-Barrel Keg: 7.75 gallons/ 992 ounces/ 29.34 liters/ 82 beers
Slim Quarter-Barrel Keg: 7.75 gallons/ 992 ounces/ 29.34 liters/ 82 beers
Half-Barrel Keg: 15.5 gallons/ 1984 ounces/ 58.67 liters/ 165 beers

Popular Non-Standard Kegs

Heineken Mini Keg

Heineken has their own keg for home use. It’s not very large, and it’s probably not enough for a large party, but it gives you the experience of drinking a freshly poured draft beer at home, and it doesn’t take up a ton of space.

The Heineken Mini Keg holds about 14 standard cans of beer. That’s a lot smaller than any of the kegs we talked about earlier, and it’s just enough for you to enjoy a couple of beers after work each week.

Capacity In Ounces: 169
Capacity In Beers: 14

Coors Light Lager Mini Keg

Like Heineken, Coors saw the potential of supplying consumers with a miniature keg option. The Coors version only holds their light lager, but it can hold a little more beer than the Heineken version. The difference isn’t too drastic, though.

Capacity In Ounces: 192
Capacity In Beers: 16

Craft Beer Mini Kegs

While Heineken and Coors dominate the miniature keg market for commercial brands, you’ll find a lot of different miniature kegs being sold by craft beer companies. That’s because they usually make their beer in small batches, and people are more likely to want a smaller amount to try before committing to larger kegs. The specifications for these are about the same as what you’ll see with Heineken kegs.

Conclusion

There are a ton of different kegs on the market, and as the craft beer scene grows in popularity, more are being added to that list at a rapid rate. However, the models we covered today are the industry’s standard. They’re the types of kegs that you’re most likely to encounter, and they fit in the majority of taps and keg refrigerators.

If you’re looking for something extremely small, you can look at the miniature kegs that Heineken and Coors make. A few other mainstream brands have their own miniature kegs, and there are a lot of craft beer brands that use them. So, feel free to look around and try out different versions of those.

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