How Many Beers Are in a Keg

It is very important to know exactly how many beers are in a keg when trying to decide how many kegs or how big of a keg you will need for your event. Estimate about 2 beers per person for those who are just looking for a taste, 4 for those looking to get buzzed, and 8 for those looking to get drunk. Now, compare that to the “How Many Beers Are in a Keg” chart below which shows the total ounces, gallons, and servings in a particular keg, and decide what is needed for your event. The chart below is also a better description of each keg type.

The table below shows the total ounces, gallons, and number of beers that can be contained in kegs of various sizes. It also shows the weight and dimensions of each of those keg sizes.

Beers in a Keg


Mini Keg

Home Brew

Sixth Barrel

Quarter Barrel

Slim Quarter

Full Size Keg



Corny Keg or Soda Keg

Torpedo Keg

Pony Keg

Half Barrel















Number of 12oz beers







Number of 16oz beers







Number of 30 packs







Weight Empty

9 Pounds

15 Pounds

22 Pounds

22 Pounds

30 Pounds

Weight Full

49 Pounds

58 Pounds

87 Pounds

87 Pounds

161 Pounds


Keg availability varies by the brand of beer and location. Call the local beer suppliers to find out which brands of draft beer are available in your area and where to find the best price. Find out which ones are available for immediate pick-up, which ones need to be special ordered, and what sizes are available.

In general, at least 5″ to 6″ of clearance needs to be allowed above the keg for the keg coupler and beer hose. If you have limited space, an elbow fitting can be used to reduce the clearance to 4″. In applications where there is hardly any clearance available, a low profile keg coupler that requires only 1″ above the keg can be used.

When you contact the local draft beer supplier, remember that they usually only stock the most popular brands of beer and keg sizes for immediate pick-up. However, local draft beer suppliers usually get deliveries from the beer distributors or breweries once or twice a week. If the brand and keg size in which you are interested is available, and you give the supplier a few days notice, they should be able to add it to the next delivery.

Keg Types in Detail

Cornelius Keg (Home Brew Keg)

A Cornelius keg (also known as a Corny or soda keg) was originally used by the soft drink industry. It is now commonly used to store and dispense beer, especially homebrewed.

Cornelius kegs were originally made by the IMI Cornelius Company. Since the arrival of newer technology, such as Bag-In-Box (BIB) packages, soft drink bottlers have mostly abandoned their Cornelius kegs, often making them available to hobbyists.

Sixth Barrel

A sixth barrel keg is becoming the choice for many establishments and breweries that wish to use kegs smaller than a half barrel. The sixth barrel kegs are the same size and volume as a Cornelius keg. The small footprint of a sixth barrel allows retailers to have a greater variety of beer in a small space. This size keg is quickly replacing the quarter barrel size which has the same footprint as a half barrel keg. Other than their size, the sixth barrel kegs are very similar to their full-sized counterparts. A stainless Micromatic brand sixth barrel keg weighs approximately 14-15 pounds (6.3-6.8kg) when empty, and approximately 58-60 pounds (26.3-27.2kg) when full.

Quarter Barrel (Pony Keg)

A quarter barrel, more commonly known as a pony keg, is a beer vessel containing approximately 7.75 U.S. gallons (29.33 liters) of fluid. It is half the size of the standard beer keg and equivalent to a quarter of a barrel. It will serve roughly 82 twelve ounce cups. The shape of a pony keg resembles that of a full-sized keg, while being much easier to move manually. However, it shares many inconveniences with the bigger kegs, such as: often requiring a deposit when purchased; needing a tap to serve the contents; and posing difficulties in determining the amount of beer remaining (weighing the keg or observing its buoyancy are common techniques). Despite this, a pony keg can be a cheap way to provide beer for a medium-sized party, between 10 and 20 people depending on how they drink.

Mini Keg

The mini keg is a 5-liter keg produced for retail sales. Some brands come with a spout and pour from the bottom via gravity, while others may use a low cost pressurized tap. Mini kegs are typically not returned to the manufacturer for cleaning and refilling. The kegs, being made of aluminum, may be recycled.

In Canada, Molson Brewery dubbed the mini keg “Bubba”. This name has now been generalized to apply to all 5-liter mini kegs in Canada. This might cause confusion, as a company called Bubba Keg is established in the U.S., and appears not to be associated with Molson. It has a height of 14.75 inches, a width of 15.25 inches, and a depth of 10.25 inches.


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