Your Guide to Beer Keg Sizes

You’re either curious about beer kegs or are planning on getting one. Either way, you’ve heard that beer kegs come in different sizes and need to know all the details. 

The short answer to this is that there are a lot of sizes and names that go with them. Don’t worry, as this article will provide you with all the details you need for the different beer keg sizes.

Beer Keg Sizes - kegs in the room

Beer Keg Sizes

There are several standard sizes for beer kegs, depending on how, where, and who will use them. Knowing the variations between keg sizes can help you choose the best keg for your draft beer distribution system.

Even though beer kegs exist in numerous sizes currently, they always come from the US “barrel.” This barrel was equal to 31 US gallons, and the half, quarter, and sixth of a barrel are all based on it.

For your convenience, you can easily convert these keg sizes into liters, fluid ounces, or just beer bottles or cans. You’ve probably heard of the Cornelius keg, which is a non-standard size keg.

So, to answer “What size is a keg of beer?” you must first say what kind of keg it is, and only you can tell how much beer it can hold. Now, let’s look at the different sizes of kegs in more depth.

Cornelius Keg

Other Aliases: Corny Keg, Homebrew Keg, Soda Keg

The tall, cylindrical Cornelius Keg was developed to store, package, and serve beverages like Pepsi and Coke.

Corny Kegs hold five gallons, the size of a typical homebrew batch, and are easy to fill, clean, and maintain. Because of this, they’re popular with homebrewers who don’t want to bottle their beer.

Most Cornelius Kegs have connections with a ball-lock style, but some older models still have connections with a pin-lock style.

Here are some typical Cornelius kegs:

  • 1.5 gal (6 liters) (6 liters)
  • 2.378 gal (9 liters) (9 liters)
  • Three gals (11.355 liters) (11.355 liters)
  • The most common size is five gals (18.925 liters).
  • Ten gals (37.85 liters) (37.85 liters)

Corny kegs are great because they have a safety relief valve that lets you clean the inside by hand. Also, it’s very easy to take apart any Corny-size keg when you need to clean it.

Mini Keg

This size keg only holds 5 liters, or 169.07 ounces, of beer. It is made for mini kegerators.

This is the right size for a keg that will only be used once or moved around. This could mean going to a game with a few friends, going camping over the weekend, or having a small dinner party with family. The bad thing about mini-kegs is that you might not be able to find the beer you want in them.

Nicknames: Bubba Keg

Common uses include one-time use and portable apps.

Dimensions: 9⅞” x 6¾”

Capacity: 1.32 gallons or 169 ounces

Sixth Barrel Keg Size

Even though the Cornelius keg and the sixth barrel keg look the same, the sixth barrel keg can hold more beer. The size of a 1/6 barrel keg is 5.16 gallons (just 0.16 gal more than a Corny keg). 

The standard size of a sixth barrel keg is 238″ x 94″, weighing 58 lbs when full and 16.5 lbs when empty.

The traditional keg valve system is another difference between this keg and the Corny keg (instead of a ball-lock or pin-lock connection). This means you’ll need a keg coupler to pour the beer correctly.

The sixth barrel keg is great for restaurants, bars, and homes with little space because it is small and round.

Quarter Barrel Keg Size

Unlike the full-size (half-barrel) keg, this type of keg comes in two different sizes: regular quarter and slim quarter. Both types have the same size, which is 7.75 gal for a 1/4 barrel keg (29.3 liters). 

This is the same as about 62 pints of beer.

The standard size of a quarter barrel keg is 1378″ by 1618″, making it the shorter and shorter of the two. Don’t be fooled by its small size. 

This type of keg is great for small parties and places with limited storage space because you can stack these kegs to store them in one kegerator or fridge. But you can only tap one keg at a time when they are stacked.

Slim Quarter Keg

The Slim Quarter contains as much beer as the Quarter barrel but appears like a sixth barrel keg. Because of the different sizes, it is popular for people with a kegerator with two taps.

The Sixth barrel and the Slim Quarter are the same height, but the Sixth barrel is a little bit wider. Because it is wider, it can hold an extra two gallons or 27.5 more beer bottles.

Half Barrel Keg Size

Most of the kegs out there are probably half-barrel kegs. They may also be called full-size kegs (which is slightly confusing). 

How many ounces are there in a half-barrel keg? To be exact, 1,84 (roughly 124 pints).

A half-barrel keg is usually a little over 23 inches tall and about 16 inches in diameter. It weighs about 160 pounds (when full).

One half-barrel keg is 58.67 liters, which is about 15.5 gallons. This is enough beer for 165 12-ounce glasses. 

You should be able to store one regular half-barrel keg in a full-size kegerator. This is helpful for restaurants and bars that use this type of keg often.

50 Litre Keg

50 Litre Keg - large silver kegs

Other names for this item are Import Keg, European Barrel, and 50 Liter.

European breweries use a 50 Litre Keg. Like its American relative, the Half Barrel Keg, it is roughly the same size. 

This is the most common size of a keg in the UK and most of Europe. Heineken, Newcastle, Hoegaarden, and Stella Artois are popular import brands in the United States.

Don’t forget that kegs from other countries don’t use the standard US Sankey D coupler. You should consult with your supplier to guarantee that you have the appropriate coupler for your keg.

Pints (16oz) of beer per keg: Approximately 105 12-ounce cans or bottles per keg. 140

It can hold 13.2 gallons, 50 liters, or 1,690 ounces.

Dimensions: 20.94″ x 16.06″

Related Reading: Keezer vs Kegerator: What’s The Difference? – Check Them out Here

Final Thoughts

Keg sizes can be a little tricky, but learning this or keeping a list around is good for the long run. This is especially true if you’re planning on diving deeper or investing in a keg.