How Much Does A Keg Of Beer Weigh? (Answered for all kegs)

In short, If the keg is full of beer, a half keg weighs 160 pounds., a pony keg weighs 90 pounds., a 1/4 barrel weighs 87 pounds., and a sixth barrel (corny keg) weighs 55 pounds. 

It makes me think about how strong I was as a teenager, carrying a full keg of beer a mile into the woods for the classic kegger party back in the day!

I couldn’t imagine doing that now that I’m 40, it’s hard enough trying to lift a 1/6 barrel into my keezer!

Does beer weigh the same as water?

Alcohol, in general, is lighter than water, but beer is about 90 percent water and a mix of alcohol, proteins, and carbohydrates which does make it heavier than water.

The final product is about 2% heavier than a lite beer but overall equal to the same weight as water.

How much does an empty keg weigh?

A beer keg is made of stainless steel which isn’t the lightest metal, but it’s the best material for pressurized liquid.

Here are the most common sizes of kegs and how much they weigh when they are empty:

  • 1/2 barrel weighs 30 pounds. Empty
  • 1/4 barrel weighs 22 pounds. Empty
  • 1/6 barrel weighs 16.5 pounds. Empty
  • Cornelius Keg weighs 9pounds. Empty

That’s a lot of steel, and you can understand why most places charge $30 to $50 dollars for a keg deposit.

But an empty keg is not as interesting as a full keg, have you ever wondered how many beers are in a keg?  I have done the research and below I am going to list 6 common barrels and all the information you need.

Keg size Information

Depending on your needs, whether it’s the size of your kegerator or keezer or if you are just trying to figure how many beers will supply your wedding or party the list of kegs below will help you.

Cornelious “Corny” Keg

How much does a corny keg weigh?
9 pounds Empty

55 pounds Full

Dimensions:23″ x 9″

How many beers are in a Corny Keg?
40 – 16oz Beers
53 – 12oz. Beers

How many gallons does a Corny keg hold?
5 gallons

The corny keg is the easiest way to keg home-brewed beer and other beverages like soda, carbonated flavored water, wine, coffee, and kombucha.

Most homebrewers get started using corny’s because they are cheap refurbished old soda kegs.

The large top opening is great for adding your fresh-made beer, it seals tightly and is easy to clean.

There are two different fitting setups you can get, pin lock or ball lock, I find the pin lock to work the best.

I have a few of these and they are hands down the best way to keg beer at home.  Yes, you can make beer from home, read my article about how easy and cheap it is.

1/6 “sixth” Barrel

How much does a sixth keg weigh?
15.5 pounds Empty

58 pounds Full

Dimensions: 23⅜” x 9¼”

How many beers are in a sixth Keg?
41 – 16oz Beers
55 – 12oz. Beers

How many gallons does a sixth keg hold?
5.16 gallons

Also known as a torpedo keg because of its similar profile, the 1/6 keg is very popular in the craft beer world.

Craft beer is brewed and smaller batches and this size just seems to be the idlest for the beer enthusiast.

The slim profile makes this easy to transport and store in your keezer or kegerator.  Because it is slightly slimmer, you can fit two of these or one 1/4 barrel and the 1/6 in a kegerator with two faucets.

It’s similar to the corny in regards to gallons it holds, but the industry standard is the 1/6 keg.

I’ve only seen craft beer in these, pricing will vary by state, but for example, it cost anywhere from $60 to over $100.

Pony Keg

How much does a pony keg weigh?
22 pounds Empty

87 pounds Full

Dimensions: 13⅞” x 16⅛”

How many beers are in a pony keg?
62 – 16oz Beers
82 – 12oz. Beers

How many gallons does a pony keg hold?
7.75 gallons

The pony keg is a 1/4 barrel but super inconvenient because of its size.  This is just a stubby version of the 1/2 barrel.

I rarely see these anymore, the last one I ordered had Sprecher Root Beer in it.

Putting a pony keg in a keezer or kegerator isn’t going to work, it would take up all the space of two or three slimmer kegs.

The pony keg is perfect for backyard parties, weddings, etc.  Its design is easy for two people to move it around.

You might only find the big beers (Miller, Bud, Busch) in it.

1/4 “quarter” Barrel

How much does a 1/4 barrel weigh?
22 pounds Empty
87 pounds Full

  Dimensions: 23⅜” x 11⅛”

How many beers are in a 1/4 barrel?
62 – 16oz Beers
82 – 12oz. Beers

How many gallons does a 1/4 barrel hold?
7.75 gallons

This is the tall version of the pony keg, it has the same amount of beer in it.

A 1/4 barrel is half the size of the 1/2 barrel and still holds an impressive amount of beer.

This is ideal for a medium-size gathering, it’s easy enough to haul and you would likely be able to get your favorite beer in this size.

Two of these are easier than one 1/2 barrel in my opinion.  You could also switch it up and get a variety of beer.

Fitting two of these in a two faucet kegerator is tight, check ahead to make sure your compartment is large enough to accommodate it.

1/2 “half” Barrel

How much does a 1/2 barrel weigh?
30 pounds Empty
160 pounds Full

Dimensions: 23⅜” x 16⅛”

How many beers are in a 1/2 barrel?
124 – 16oz Beers
165 – 12oz. Beers

How many gallons does a 1/2 barrel hold?
15.5 gallons

A 1/2 barrel is a tank, it’s big, it’s heavy and it’s full of beer.

This is the most common barrel used in the hospitality industry, bars, restaurants use them for the cost advantage of buying in bulk.  And granted they probably have the room in their walk-in coolers for them.

Have you ever wondered how much bars make on a 1/2 barrel of beer?

Depending on where you live you might pay $3 to $8 dollars for a pint of beer.  At an average cost of a $1.50 for 16 ounces of beer, the profit is really good.

Bars aim to have a 20 percent liquor cost, and if all goes well with the keg, meaning you’re not throwing foam which is a beer down the drain, the profits are really good.  Taprooms are different and just might be more profitable, you can read all about numbers over here if that tickles your fancy.

50 Litre “Import” Keg

How much does a 50 litre weigh?
28 pounds Empty
130 pounds Full

Dimensions: 20.94″ x 16.06″

How many beers are in a 50 litre?
105 – 16oz Beers
140 – 12oz. Beers

How many gallons does a 50 litre hold?
13.2 gallons

A 50 Litre is the most common keg in Europe.  The keg is similar to the 1/2 barrel but has a different coupler than the standard Sankey D coupler.

To see what beer and size coupler you will need, check out this beer coupler guide.

What Kind Of Keg Should I get For A Party?

This will depend on who’s coming to the party and age.

I’ve hosted several parties with kegs one of the biggest ones I did was my own wedding.  I built a rustic bar, that had 5 craft beers on tap.  I thought I had all my bases covered, I was sadly disappointed.

I had a lite beer, a dark beer, a sweet fruity beer, an IPA, and a German lager.  When I found out people were bringing in their own lite beer, I was thinking are you serious?  Doesn’t all lite beer taste the same?  Yes and No.

People are very brand loyal, if you drink bud lite, you won’t drink Miller lite and vice versa.  And that’s why I went with a local lite beer, Leinenkugel’s Original.  A simple pilsner.

I still recommend you get a pilsner that is neutral but makes that very clear to people.

If you can go with a variety even if it’s two-quarter barrels of a pilsner and an IPA.

How many Kegs Do I Need?

It is a huge guess, but you can get a ballpark figure using our keg information up above.  One thing you don’t want to do is buy too much or run out!

It sounds scary, but I think it’s fair to say 2 12oz beers per person.  You take into consideration, people who don’t drink, people who drink wine or hard liquor and people who drink socially.

Some people won’t have 2, some might have 5, It’s fair to come to an average of 2 or 3 12 oz beers person.

How Much Is A Keg Of Beer

A half barrel of beer will cost anywhere from $125 to over $200, depending on your state and the type of beer you choose.  A quarter barrel is around $70 to $150, mostly craft beer is served in a 1/4 barrel so it’s always pricer.

You are also going to need to put down a deposit that is usually $30 per keg.  That is refundable assuming you return the equipment.

A tapper or kegerator that you can rent from where you purchase beer.  I recommend going with a kegerator that will be pre-set up for you.

What Else Will You Need For A Keg Party

You will need cups, I recommend going with the 12 oz cups vs the 16 oz.

A container to hold the beer, a large tub is recommended but a garbage can works well too.

Ice is needed, and depending on the weather, you might need a lot or very little.

Cocktail napkins and a few rolls of paper towels to clean up spills.

Keg Information Conclusion

If you’ve made it this far, you are now full of useful information you can impress your friends with.  When they ask you how much does a keg of beer weigh, you can now hit’em up with some stats!

Thanks for stopping by!

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