How Much Does a Full Keg of Beer Weigh: The Complete Keg Size Guide

Picture the scene: it’s party time, and you’ve decided to go all out with a full keg of beer. It’s a brilliant plan until you realize you have no idea how much this behemoth beverage weighs. Could you carry it alone, or should you rally the troops? 

Get ready for some heavy lifting as we dive into the surprisingly weighty question: “How much does a full keg of beer weigh?”

How Many Beers Are In A Keg?

A keg is a cylindrical container that stores and dispenses beer. In the US, the standard size of a full keg or half a barrel contains 15.5 gallons (57.8 litres) of beer which amounts to around 661 ounces, 41 pints, or 55 cans or bottles (12 oz).

You can also find smaller-capacity kegs. For instance, a sixth barrel holds 5.16 gallons (19.5 litres), while pony and slim quarter kegs can carry 7-7.75 gallons (26-29 litres). All these kegs can carry different numbers of beers. However, a typical keg’s capacity is 165, 12 fluid ounces of beer.

Some manufacturers produce other keg sizes, such as 50-litre / 13-gallon barrels that you’ll often find in commercial brewers. 

How Much Does a Full Keg of Beer Weigh, and what are the beers in each?

A full keg of beer typically weighs around 160 pounds or 72 kilograms and can contain between 14-15 gallons or 165 12oz servings of beer. The keg’s weight determines how you transport, handle, and store it. 

However, the weight can vary from brand to brand and type of beer, but you can expect almost similar keg weight for most beers.

The number of beers in a full keg can range between 165-198 depending on the size and type of beer. For example:

  • An Anchor Steam Beer has about 16 gallons or 150 12-ounce glasses in one full half-barrel keg
  • Heineken Lager has slightly more weight, with 14.5 gallons or 169 10 ounces per glass
  • Guinness has fewer at 13 gallons per 174 than ounce glasses.

The variation means that when tapping a keg, you must consider how much alcohol you provide guests based on size and volume so they don’t overindulge.

The Sixth Barrel Keg: How Does It Weigh and What’s The Number of Beer in It?

A sixth-barrel keg is a smaller-sized beer container than the half-barrel keg commonly seen in pubs and bars. Holding 5.2 gallons of beer with standard 12-ounce pints, this size of keg typically contains 82 beers or 62 pints when filled.

Weighing 97 pounds when full and 30 to 45 pounds when empty, this keg is relatively lightweight compared to the half-barrel, which weighs around 160 lbs total and 120 lbs empty.

The sixth barrel keg is also known as Torpedo Keg because its shape is slimmer than most other barrels. However, its smaller size and light weight make it ideal for transportation.

The Quarter Barrel Keg: How Much Does Weigh and What’s The Number of Beer in It?

A quarter barrel keg, commonly called a pony keg, Cornelius Keg, or stubby quarter, typically weighs 80 pounds when total and 15 pounds when empty. The barrel can hold 82 12-ounce cans or bottles of beer.

The quarter barrel keg has a capacity of 7.75 gallons or 30 litres. Its small size makes it transportable and an ideal choice for events with fewer people attending, such as birthday parties or smaller gatherings.

The light weight also makes handling easier than larger kegs. Due to their compact design, you’ll appreciate their weight if you have limited labour but want to haul beer from one place to another without taking up too much space on vehicles.

The Slim Quarter Keg: How Much Does It Weigh and What’s The Number of Beer in It?

The slim quarter keg, or torpedo keg, is a space-saving and cost-effective beer storage option. An empty slim quarter keg weighs approximately 19 pounds and 90 pounds when full of beer.

It has a capacity of 7.75 gallons, or 40 pints in 16 ounces each, when serving beers via a pint glass. You can get 53 12-ounce beercans or bottles from a full slim quarter keg. Its medium makes it exceptionally versatile for smaller events or establishments requiring fewer beer quantities.

Half Barrel Keg: How Much Does It Weigh and What’s The Number of Beer In It?

A half-barrel keg, or 1/2 BBL, is a large cylindrical container for storing and dispensing beer. These kegs typically contain up to 15.5 gallons of liquid—equivalent to 165 12-ounce beers or 124 pints—and weigh around 159 pounds when full.

Although the keg size can vary due to manufacturer differences, a standard size measures 16 inches wide by 23½ inches tall (including feet). When empty, a half-barrel keg will typically weigh around 30 pounds.

While the half-barrel keg is excellent for large parties or events, you might face inefficiencies during transportation or storage because of its heavy weight.

50 Litre Keg: How Much Does It Weigh and What’s The Number of Beer In It?

The 50 Litre keg is a popular size for beer in the hospitality industry and has become one of the go-to sizes used. Standing about 23.3 inches (59.2 centimetres) tall, the 50-litre keg holds up to 103 pounds of beer or 50 litres, which equates to around 13.2 gallons or 268 U.S. pints.

This capacity makes it an excellent option for events such as festivals or large parties, as it allows for an abundant supply that caters to many people.

An empty 50L keg weighs approximately 27 pounds, while a full-size keg weighs 130 pounds (the majority being beer).

Mini Keg: How Much Does It Weigh and What’s The Number of Beer In It?

Mini kegs are an excellent option for reducing waste and keeping beer fresh. These smaller kegs, usually holding 5 litres, can hold up to 14 bottles (12 ounces each) of beer or 10 pints (16 ounces).

Mini kegs are much more compact and portable than full-size ones like the half barrel. However, mini kegs have low capacity making them less cost-effective if you expect a large turnout at your event. The container can only carry 103 pounds of beer.

Given their small-size nature, portability factor, and good storage capabilities, mini kegs are the ideal choice for events with limited space, such as camping trips or home parties.

How Much Does a Keg Weigh in Different Countries

Keg sizes can vary significantly from country to country. For instance, you’ll typically find the sixth, half, and full barrel kegs in the United States. Meanwhile, European countries may have larger kegs like the Dolium keg.

CountryKeg TypeCapacity (Liters)Total Weight (Pounds)
USSixth Barrel Keg2058
USHalf Barrel Keg58.7160
EuropeDolium Keg50Varies

A standard sixth barrel keg in the US holds 20 litres of beer and weighs 58 lbs. The half-barrel keg, the most significant type of keg typically found in the US, holds 58.7 litres and weighs about 160 lbs.

On the other hand, the Dolium keg from Europe has a capacity of 50 litres. The weight of these kegs can vary greatly, but it’s important to note that they usually weigh significantly more than US kegs. This is primarily due to the difference in materials used to construct the kegs.

Practical Implications of Keg Weight

There are many reasons to consider the weight of a keg. However, we want to focus only on the two most important ones.

Transport and Handling

The weight of a keg determines how easy or difficult it’s to handle and transport it. Heavier kegs require more physical effort to lift and move, impacting the efficiency and safety of those handling them. 

Lifting and manoeuvring heavier barrels may require specialized equipment or multiple individuals.

Consequently, moving heavier kegs may require more robust packaging and palletizing to withstand the rigours of shipping, leading to a higher shipping cost.

Storage and Space

A keg’s weight influences space and storage requirements. Heavier barrels demand sturdier shelving or storage racks to support their weight. Besides, stacking multiple kegs can be more challenging if heavy, requiring careful weight distribution and stability consideration.

Serving and Dispensing

The weight of a keg can influence how you’ll handle it during serving and dispensing. Heavier kegs may require more robust dispensing equipment or assistance to connect and tap them. The weight can also affect the ease of pouring and manoeuvring the keg during service.

Final Take

We’ve tapped into the truth, and it’s clear: a full beer keg carries quite the heft! Its weight is a testament to the plentiful liquid joy it holds. 

Whether hosting a grand gathering or stocking a commercial bar, remember that moving these colossal containers is best shared. So, raise a glass (or a keg, if you’re feeling powerful) to the power of knowledge and team effort. Cheers to that weighty revelation!


What is a full keg of beer?

A full keg of beer is a traditional draft beer brewed in small batches that typically holds 50 litres (132 U.S. gallons) of liquid, although sizes may vary slightly from one brewery to another.

How much does a full keg of beer weigh?

A full beer keg typically weighs around 160 pounds (72 kilograms). This can vary based on the type and size of the individual container and any accessories added, such as ice or foam systems for chilling the liquid contents within it.

Are there other sizes available for purchase?

Yes! Many breweries offer different-size containers, sometimes called ‘slim’ or ‘half-barrel’ versions, slightly smaller than typical 50-litre units.

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.