Keg Sizes


By Joshua Rosenthal

Keg Sizes


Ready to start Kegging?

Sounds like you are ready to begin kegging your beer, but may not have an idea of which keg to use. Well you have come to the right article! We are going to cover the different types of kegs and couplers needed. Not all kegs below are for homebrew use, but you will be armed with uber keg knowledge to impress your friends.
So, you have been brewing 5 gallons of homebrew and bottling close to 53 twelve-ounce beers or 29 twenty-two ounce beers. Are you ready to pour 53 twelve-ounce beers or 40 pints from your kegerator? It is a great move to make, having fresh beer on tap and not worrying about conditioning in bottles or making space in a packed refrigerator.

Homebrewer: Keg Styles/Types

Homebrewers typically choose between three styles to keg their beer: Ball Lock, Pin Lock, and Sankey kegs. Ball and Pin lock are “brothers” as they are similar but there are subtle differences between them. Commercial brewers usually use Sankey kegs, but homebrewers can use them as well.
The Pin and Ball Lock kegs are both considered Cornelius (“Corny”) kegs. The Ball Lock kegs are the more popular (based on availability to homrebrewers) of the two that homebrewers use. They use a “ball lock” to connect the gas and liquid lines to the keg. When shopping for disconnects, you just need to look for the word “ball lock” in the description. The Ball Lock kegs are taller and usually slimmer than the Pin Lock Keg. Pin Lock kegs are alike to the Ball Lock Kegs, but have subtle differences: 1. Their lids do not have a manual pressure release relief valve (PRV). 2. They use different connections for gas and liquid where you won’t be confused on which connect goes where, gas or liquid. 
The Sankey Kegs are different altogether from the Ball and Pin Lock Kegs. Sankey Kegs only have one port (center of the keg), where the connection will have gas coming in and liquid going out all in the same unit, ie: coupler. A small downside to the Sankey Keg is it takes time to dismantle to clean, but the upside is they are less prone for gas leaks due to less escape points. The Sankey Keg is also larger, as in 1/7 barrel and half barrel, a major reason why commercial brewers use the Sankey keg.

Corny Keg Set-Up

If you do decide to use a Pin or Ball Lock Keg, then you will want to purchase a C02 tank, which would be connected to a regulator. Regulators manage the amount of pressure inside the keg, which will sustain carbonation in the beer, push the beer out of the keg, into the lines, through the tap when pulled. You will run a gas line from the regulator to the gas disconnect  (specific style is needed for the Pin and Ball Lock Kegs) to your keg’s “in” post. On the other side of your keg, you will have a liquid (beer) disconnect. You will have a liquid line connected to the “out” post either connected to your tap, or to a picnic tap.

Ball Lock Kegs

Ball Lock Kegs

Pin Lock Kegs

Pin Lock Kegs

Sankey Keg Set-Up

As you can imagine, in order for beer to be dispensed from any key you will need C02, no exception with the Sankey keg. You will need a gas line and a liquid line, this is a different set up then above. Remember, with a Sankey; you will need a coupler, which contains the gas in line (located on the side of the coupler) and the beer out line (located on top of the coupler) all in one unit. The coupler aligns with the spear or dip-tube, allowing gas to enter into the keg. Using a Sankey keg also requires having the right coupler. The majority of Sankey kegs in the U.S. require the D-Coupler. The only hassle of the Sankey keg is disassembly, as it can be a hassle compared to the Corny kegs. One keynote to remember; make sure to remove the metal ring to get the spear out of the keg for cleaning. You will need a keg wrench to remove the ring.

Sankey Keg

Sankey Keg

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Keg Size Chart:

Below, the chart shows eight "common" types of kegs, including how much beer they hold, their overall size, shape, dimensions, as well as their most common uses and nicknames you may hear them referred too as.
Type Capacity (gal / oz) Cans / Bottles (12oz) Pints (16oz) Height / Weight Width (Diameter)
Mini Keg 1.32 / 169 14 10.6 9⅞” / 13lbs 6¾”
Cornelius Keg 5.0 / 640 53 40 23″ / 49lbs 9″
Sixth Barrel 5.16 / 661 56 42 23⅜” / 58lbs 9¼”
Quarter Barrel 7.75 / 992 82 62 13⅞” / 87lbs 16⅛”
Slim Quarter 7.75 / 992 82 62 23⅜” / 87lbs 11⅛”
Half Barrel 15.5 / 1984 165 124 23⅜” / 161lbs 16⅛”

Mini Keg:

A great size keg for one-time use and/or portable purposes; think Heineken mini keg. You would show up to your friend’s house during a party, sporting event, or any type of celebration. The downside of mini-kegs, is they are limited to specific beers you want. 
  • Common Name:  Bubba Keg
  • Common Uses:  One-time Use, Portable Applications


Cornelius Keg (Corny): 

Used by homebrewers instead of bottling beer. They are simple to use, fill, and clean. There are two types of connectors that are available for the Cornelius keg, including ball-lock and pin-lock. Both have different connectors that you would need to become familiar with.
  • Common names:  Corny Keg, Homebrew Keg, 
  • Common Uses:  Home Brewing, Wine, Coffee, and Kombucha


Sixth Barrel Keg:

Mostly use for personal use in dual or triple-tap kegerators. It is just about the same size as the Corny Keg, maybe slightly bigger. It functions just like their “cousins” with the one major difference being that it holds less beer than other types of kegs. If space is an issue, but selection is the goal, then this keg is perfect to solve the problem. 
  • Common names:  Sixtel, Torpedo, Log
  • Common Uses:  Dual-Tap Kegerators, Home Brewing, Individual Use


Quarter Barrel Keg:

If height is an issue, the Quarter barrel keg is the solution. It has the same width (16⅛”) as a full barrel, but it is 10″ shorter in height.
Individuals call it “Pony Keg” or a “Stubby Keg,” a very popular keg size because it will hold the equivalent of sixty-two pints or eighty-two bottles off beer.
  • Common names:  Pony Keg, Stubby Quarter
  • Common Uses:  Small Parties


Slim Quarter Keg:

The Slim Quarter holds the exact amount of beer as the Quarter barrel. However, the uniqueness is in its shape and size, as it resembles the sixth barrel keg. This size makes it a popular choice for anyone with a dual-tap kegerator. Having a tall and skinny build, the Slim Quarter is the same height as the Sixth barrel, but has a slightly larger width. This extra width allows it to hold an extra two gallons, which equates to an extra 27.5 bottles of beer. Who doesn’t like that! 
  • Common names:  Tall Quarter, The Slim
  • Common Uses:  Dual-Tap Kegerators; Small Parties


Half Barrel Keg:

When you think of your traditional beer keg, the Half barrel size is probably what you are thinking of. If you have grabbed beers at a party, you’ve probably seen this size keg size in a garbage can, beverage tub, or buried in the sand at the beach. This is the largest keg that is available to you, and is used in bars and restaurants across the world. Most home kegerators will fit this size keg, however, the smaller versions are typically more popular amongst craft beer drinkers.
  • Common names:  Full Size Keg, Barrel of Beer, Full Keg
  • Common Uses:  Home Bar, Large Events, Business, Parties


Click Here To Start Kegging Today!

So, what do you think? Are you ready to keg? Kegging is perfect, nothing beats having a fresh beer on tap and impressing your friends with single, double, or even quintuple taps!! Kegs are perfect for mass quantity and storage space. As you increase in production size, your can compensate your production with different size kegs. You just need a CO2 tank, tubing, tap, couplers/disconnects, and a keg. You will be on your way!

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