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How To Choose A Keg - A Comparison of Sizes

Size doesn't always matter but when you're talking about kegs, it definitely matters and bigger isn't always better. It's all about what keg suits your every need and desire. Maybe we're a little too passionate about kegs, but as a team of passionate brewers and beverage drinkers, we want to spread the passion and the knowledge we have on to you.

From the common keg to the smaller sized kegs for homebrewing, kegs vary so much and finding the right one for you can be a daunting task. This brief guide comparing keg types will help you understand the various sizes, dimensions, shapes, capacity, and even commonly used keg nicknames. Don't be intimidated because we will help you through the process of how to choose a keg, so you can sit back and enjoy your beer, cold brew coffee, kombucha or whatever you're drinking.

Check out this chart below for a quick reference guide to the most common types of kegs and their sizes:

Keg Size Comparison Chart

Depending on your kegerator, you may have the option to choose from a variety of keg sizes. To determine the right keg for your needs and kegerator, read on.

Mini Keg

Nicknames: Bubba Keg

Designed for mini kegerators but can be compatible with larger kegerators, this is the smallest kegerator size often available.

This keg contains 5 liters or 169.07 ounces. This size keg is perfect for one-time use or portable purposes, from tailgating or camping to small parties and events. The downside of a mini keg is that there are often limited options for beverages. 

Common Uses: One Time-Use, Travel &  Portable Applications, Small Batches, Single Tap Kegerators

Dimensions: 9⅞" x 6¾"

Capacity: 1.75 gallons / 224 ounces

Pints (16oz) per keg: approx.14 pints

Cornelius Keg

Nicknames: Corny Keg, Homebrew Keg, Soda Keg

Originally developed for soft drinks, it allowed the soft drinks to have the ideal proportions of flavoring and carbonation. Now, commonly used by homebrewers as an alternative to bottling beer because this keg size is the typical size of a homebrew batch, 5 gallons. The friend of the homebrewer, good old Corney is easy for homebrewers to fill, clean, and maintain than individual bottles. The top of a Cornelius Keg opens up completely, making it very easy for a homebrewer to easily clean the interior of the keg without special equipment. 

There are two types of connectors available for the Cornelius Keg, ball-lock for more modern kegs and pin-lock for older models. 

Common Uses: Homebrewing, Small Batches, Single Tap Kegerators, Dual Tap Kegerators, Triple Tap Kegerators 

Dimensions: 23″ x 9″

Capacity: 5.0 gallons / 640 ounces

Pints (16oz) per keg: approx. 40 pints

Sixth Barrel Keg

Nicknames: Sixtel, Torpedo, Log, 1/6 Barrel, 1/6 BBL 

While this keg may look similar to the Corneilus Keg, the Sixth Barrel Keg actually holds slightly more (5.16 gallon capacity vs. 5.0 in a Corny Keg). Sounds like there's more to drink and more to love! Also, instead of using a ball-lock or pin-lock connection, this keg uses a traditional keg valve system that requires a coupler for dispensing. 

This slightly larger keg is commonly used in dual or triple tap kegerators to provide a variety of options without the need for multiple kegerators because two or three of these kegs will fit into one standard kegerator cabinet. This is ideal for restaurants, bars, and homes with limited space. For homebrewing, the Cornelius Keg is still ideal because Sixth Barrel Kegs don't open without special equipment and cannot be cleaned easily without special equipment. 

Common Uses: Single Tap Kegerators, Dual Tap Kegerators, Triple Tap Kegerators, Commercial Use, Limited Storage Space

Dimensions: 23⅜" x 9¼"

Capacity: 5.16 gallons / 661 ounces

Pints (16oz) per keg: approx. 41 pints

Quarter Barrel Keg

Nicknames: Pony Keg, Stubby Quarter,1/4 BBL 

The short and stubby sibling of the kegs, the Quarter Barrel Keg is ideal for small parties and limited storage spaces. Don't underestimate this keg because of its size, the short and stubby shape of this keg allows you to stack kegs for storage in one kegerator cabinet or refrigeration system. Unfortunately, when stacked, only one can be tapped at a time but when you have limited space, this little guy will serve you well. 

Common Uses: Small Parties, Limited Spaces, Single Tap Kegerators, Dual Tap Kegerators

Dimensions: 16⅛" x 13⅞"

Capacity: 7.75 gallons / 992 ounces

Pints (16oz) per keg: approx.62 pints

Slim Quarter Keg

Nicknames: Tall Quarter, The Slim, Slim 1/4 BBL 

The slimmer twin of the Quarter Barrel Keg, this Slim Quarter Keg holds the exact same amount but has the benefits of the Sixth Barrel Keg's slim shape. This keg is ideal for dual and triple tap kegerators allowing you to serve a variety of beverages with one kegerator. Some single tap kegerators with large cabinets can also store multiple Slim Quarter Kegs.  

Common Uses: Small Parties, Limited Spaces, Single Tap Kegerators, Dual Tap Kegerators, Triple Tap Kegerators 

Dimensions: 11⅛" x 23⅜"

Capacity: 7.75 gallons / 992 ounces

Pints (16oz) per keg: approx. 62 pints

Half Barrel Keg 

Nicknames: Full-Size Keg, Barrel of Beer, Full Keg, 1/2 BBL 

This is your standard and traditional full-sized keg. This king of keg parties is ideal for large parties or gatherings, commercial use, and large homebrew batches. Most commonly used at restaurants and bars, this large keg can also fit into most standard-sized home kegerators. For homebrewers who brew large batches, this easy to clean Half Barrel Keg with a Ball Lock is perfect for storing large beverage batches instead of splitting your batch into 5-gallon Corny Kegs. 

Common Uses: Commercial, Homebrewing, Large Events, Business, Frat Parties, Single Tap Kegerators 

Dimensions: 16⅛" x 23⅜"

Capacity: 15.5 gallons / 1984 ounces

Pints (16oz) per keg: approx. 124 pints

50 Litre Keg 

Nicknames: Import Keg, European Barrel, 50 Liter

The European cousin to the American Half Barrel Keg, this keg size is most commonly found at European Breweries but can also be found when purchasing popular import beer brands in the US. These import kegs do not use a standard US Sankey D coupler so before purchasing this size, refer to your kegerator to determine compatible kegs and equipment.

Common Uses: European Commercial, Large Events, Business, Single Tap Kegarators 

Dimensions: 20.94″ x 16.06″

Capacity: 13.2 gallons / 1,690 ounces

Pints (16oz) per keg: approx. 105 pints


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