How Many Ounces In A Half Barrel Keg? A Guide to Beer Keg Sizes and Dimensions

Beer in a half-barrel keg container has several advantages. Thanks to the containers, beer can maintain its freshness because the container can block sunlight away. In some situations, the keg barrel can be economical to transport and store beer.

The big question, however, is:

How many ounces come in a half-barrel keg? 

Let’s find out about that right now.

How Many Ounces in a Half Barrel Keg?

No question, measurements of fluid varies, depending on your location. This causes confusion when you’re trying to work out how much fluid is in a certain container. You might need to convert the volume to a measurement you understand.

The  half-barrel keg is the standard-size beer keg found in most bars and restaurants across US, Canada, and Europe. The volume of a half-barrel keg is about 1,984 fluid ounces of beer in US Standard measurements, which equates to 15.5 gallons or 58.67 liters.

For serving measurements, a full half barrel can supply 165 twelve-ounce glasses or 124 16-ounce pints of beer—ideal for throwing large gatherings or outdoor parties.

How Many Beer Drinks Are in A Half-Barrel Keg?

The half-barrel keg is large and perfect for commercial uses (e.g., bars, festivals, and restaurants) and at home for large parties where drinks will be sold or served generously. The volume is half the standard US beer barrel. The half barrel keg is also calle a full sized keg.

A common serving size for a beer drink is 12 fluid ounces. To calculate te the number of beer drinks in a half-barrel, you need to divide the total volume  of the keg by the serving size to get 165 standard beer drinks..

However, the number of servings you can get from a half barrel might vary depending on:

  • How much foam drinkers leave
  • Transportation time, which increases loss rates before the beer reaches its destination within their proper carbonation levels
  •  Incorrect tapping methods when pouring—producing even smaller yields

These conditions often produce less yield than the volume than 165 standard beer drinks. However, if all factors remains constant and you have a serving professional using tap equipment properly, you can get 156 12oz US glasses & 125 UK pints/20oz imperial glasses per half barrel serve.

Comparing a half barrel keg to other keg sizes

Understanding the variation in keg sizes is crucial for beer enthusiasts. It lets you estimate the beer you can expect from different keg types. 

The table below compares eight common keg types, including their beer holding capacity, dimensions, and volume in U.S. gallons.

Keg TypeVolume (U.S. gallons)Beer Holding Capacity (12oz beers)Dimensions
Half Barrel Keg15.5165Standard size
Quarter Barrel Keg7.7582Smaller size
Sixth Barrel Keg5.2356Smaller size
Cornelius Keg5.053Small and portable

Comparing the half-barrel keg to other keg sizes helps you decide on the appropriate keg size you need to maximize your beer consumption experience. It also clarifies why a half-barrel keg has emerged as a benchmark in the U.S. beer market.

Why is a keg called a half barrel?

A keg is traditionally called a “half barrel” because it holds half the volume of an actual beer barrel. For many years, breweries used wooden barrels made in standard sizes and units, such as half-barrels (15.5 gallons) or quarter-barrels (7.75 gallons).

Besides their size and purpose for storing beer, half barrels are today the “standard” measure for kegs too. Today, most kegs are stainless steel and have a standard capacity of 15.5 U.S. gallons — equal to 169 12-ounce beers or 124 16-ounce pints.

The half barrel small option is called longnecks or pony cases because their traditional shape is much longer than regular brewery barrels were back in the day. The pony keg, also known as a mini keg or slim quarter keg, is a quarter barrel containing approximately 7.75 US gallons of liquids, equal to 29.33 liters of beer.

Half-barrel stands for ‘1/2 bbl’, indicating its capacity. Compared to other drinking containers like soda cans at 12 ounces or wine bottles at 25 ounces per bottle, a full half-barrel can provide nearly 165 servings of draft beer.

The difference between modern Beer Kegs and traditional brewery barrels is that today’s kegs have valves. The valves allow users to easily dispense draught directly from them into glasses without moving the container. Initially, bar staff had no such technology associated with brewing equipment until recently.

Hand pumps remain popular amongst small bars & homebrewers thanks to this inventive history behind why we still refer so proudly call our beloved Beverage Jugs ‘Half Barrel’ Kegs.

Tips for handling and storing a half-barrel keg

• Always use caution when handling a full half-barrel keg and seek help for extra support if necessary, as the keg’s weight can easily exceed 160 pounds.


How many ounces are in a half-barrel keg?

A half-barrel keg contains 15.5 gallons of beer, equal to 1,984 ounces.

What is the size of a full-sized keg?

Full-sized barrels typically hold 15½ gallons or 1,984 ounces (124 pints). The most common type of large barrel used in America has either pixels or half barrels that measure 16⅛” wide and 23¼” tall with various neck/diameter sizes ranging from 14″ – 18″.

How much does a keg cost?

The cost of a keg varies, depending on your location and the type of beer. However,  expect to pay around $120–$180 for a full-sized barrel. 
Prices may increase for specialty beer, such as craft brews. Such beers are scarce due to higher production costs associated with rare or limited edition flavors. As a result, the beer commands premium rates.  

How long will beer stay fresh after being tapped from the keg?

Beer should remain good quality for about two weeks after tapping if you refrigerate it. However, the lifespan can shorten if you don’t provide proper storage conditions. For instance, improper temperatures could lead to spoilage & ruin the batch prematurely.

Dan Smullen Beer is my life profile

Hi, I'm Dan, founder of BeerIsMyLife. I've been an avid homebrewer for over ten years, and beer is my true passion. I've traveled all over the world, visiting breweries, tasting beer, as well as making my own batches. I set up this blog to share that experience with you.