A photo of a beer keg

How Many Beers Are in a Keg? Your Beer Keg Questions Answered

How many beers are in a keg? How long does beer in a keg last? As draft beer experts at Stuever & Sons, we’re accustomed to these kinds of questions. It’s our job to know the ins and outs of kegs so that our clients can know the exact equipment they need to pour a perfect pint. In this guide, we’ll answer some of the most common questions people have about kegs to spread beer knowledge and help beer enthusiasts and business owners become keg experts themselves.

How Many Beers Are in a Keg?

To find out how many beers are in a keg, you’ll need to first determine the size of the keg you have. There are several different keg sizes, ranging from small to large, but we’ll go through each type of beer keg and tell you approximately how many 12-ounce beers are contained within.

Mini Keg: Mini kegs are used in mini kegerators and are typically seen at small gatherings due to their portability and convenient size. Mini kegs produce up to 14 twelve-ounce pours.

Cornelius Keg: Cornelius kegs, also known as the home brew keg or Corny keg, are typically used in home and microbrewing. They can hold up to 53 twelve-ounce pours.

Sixth-Barrel: Sixth-barrel kegs have gained popularity among microbreweries and bars aiming to offer diverse beer options within a limited space. With its compact size, the sixth-barrel keg is a favorite for dual tap kegerators, holding up to 56 twelve-ounce pours.

Quarter-Barrel: Also called a pony keg, the quarter-barrel keg suits small to medium-sized gatherings with its manageable weight and footprint. Quarter-barrel kegs contain around 82 twelve-ounce pours.

Slim Quarter: Also known as tall quarter kegs, slim quarter kegs have the same capacity as a quarter barrel while occupying less space. They can accommodate 82 twelve-ounce pours and are often integrated into dual tap kegerators.

Half-Barrel: Half-barrel kegs are full-size kegs. Half-barrel kegs are the standard choice, versatile enough for college parties, restaurants, bars, or large events, holding up to 165 twelve-ounce pours.

How Long Does Beer Last in a Keg?

Now we know how many beers are in a beer keg, but how long does beer last in a keg? Draft beer is at its peak freshness on the day it’s filled at the brewery. Over time, its quality gradually declines.

Generally, the fresher the draft beer from your keg, the better it will taste. To maintain freshness, it’s important to dispense keg beer with CO2 while regulating the beer temperature and pressure. For non-pasteurized draft beer, this freshness can last around 45-60 days, while pasteurized draft beer can stay fresh for approximately 90-120 days.

It’s important to note that when dispensing keg beer with a party pump (air), its freshness is significantly reduced, lasting no more than 8-12 hours.

To ensure quality, most breweries now label each keg with a freshness date, either indicating the “born on” (filled) date or the “expiration” date. Make sure to check the label carefully, as shelf life can vary among brewers and the time it spends in inventory before reaching you affects its overall freshness.

For example, non-pasteurized beer typically has a shelf life of 45-60 days. Here’s a breakdown of a keg’s life cycle:

Days 0-10: Transit/Satellite Warehousing
Days 10-20: Distributor Warehouse/Retail Delivery
Days 20-60: At Retail/Home

Therefore, the average keg has around 25-40 days of shelf life at retail or in a home setting.

How Much is a Keg of Beer?

All of this information about beer keg sizes and longevity is helpful, but how much is a keg of beer? If you’re hoping to start your own bar or are looking to buy a keg for a party, it’s helpful to know how different factors can impact the price of kegs.

Keg Size: Larger kegs cost more per ounce than smaller ones.
Type of Beer: Craft or specialty beers are pricier than mainstream options.
Brewery and Brand: Established brands may charge more than local breweries.
Domestic vs. International: Imported beers tend to be more expensive.
Seasonal and Special Releases: Limited editions or seasonal beers may have higher prices.
Local Regulations and Taxes: Taxes and fees can vary by location, impacting the final cost.

Keeping all of the above factors in mind, the average cost of a half-barrel beer keg can range from $130 to $1000, according to NYC Kegs. If you’re opting for a popular domestic beer, such as a national brand’s lager, you will likely save much more. However, supporting local brewers is a passion of ours at Stuever, so maybe opt for a local keg instead! You may pay slightly more, but the taste will be much greater. Plus, you’re supporting a local business! That’s a beer win-win.

Contact Stuever & Sons for all Your Beer Keg and Draft System Questions

Stuever & Sons is proud to be a leading supplier of draft beer systems in the Chicago area and beyond. We’ve been supplying bars and businesses in the region with exceptional draft systems and beverage dispensing equipment for over 40 years, and nothing makes us happier than helping a local business get the best quality dispensing equipment available.

We hope this guide to beer kegs has been useful in your beer journey. If you have any additional questions about kegs, draft beer systems for your home or business, or any other beverage dispensing questions, give us a call. As beer enthusiasts and draft system experts, we’re always excited to talk about beer and beer equipment and we’d love to help get you the equipment you need for a successful dispensing experience.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top