Keg Tap Guide Blog

Beer Keg Facts


Beer Keg Sizes

In the U.S., common keg sizes are the 1/6 barrel,  1/4  barrel, and  1/2  barrel. The 1/6 barrel is often called a "torpedo" keg,  1/4  barrel is also called a "pony keg" and the  1/2  barrel is most often referred to as a "full keg". When full, the  1/2  barrel will weigh some where around 160 pounds, only 30 pounds when empty. Full kegs are typically 23 to 24 inches tall, 16 to 17 inches in diameter and generally hold 15  1/2  gallons of beer or approximately 165 12-ounce glasses. The standard keg size in Europe is 50 liters, but 20 and 30-liter keg options are also available.


Keg Construction

Aluminum and occasionally stainless steel are the primary metals used to manufacture draft beer kegs. From the opening in the top, a tube extends to the bottom of the keg. At the top of the tube, a self-closing value is opened when the tapping key is inserted. A small opening allows the carbon dioxide to drive the beer out of the keg. The coupling fitting has valves that control the flow of beer out of and the flow of gas into a keg. Learn more about beer kegs at


The Life of a Keg

A brewery will receive large quantities of empty kegs each day. Each keg at is first pressure washed with a water and detergent mixture and then completely rinsed with fresh water. Before the keg is refilled, it is sanitized to kill all bacteria that maybe present. Each full keg is then filled, sealed and the exterior is again rinsed off. The kegs are loaded on racks and moved to a cold storage room for a few days before they are ready to ship. The entire process from the initial cleaning to the distribution to retail and home customers could take as long as 15 to 20 days. Because the vast majority of draft beer is unpasteurized, keg beers will usually only stay good for a total of 45 to 60 days after filling. It is important to know that once you purchase a keg for your use that generally means it had better be used in about 30 to 40 days. You must subtract the time spent refilling and distributing the kegs from the total keg beer life. Kegs are usually stamped with a "use before" date that will make it easy to track.


Draught Beer Equipment Needed

If you really like draft beer, you will need the right equipment to keep it fresh as long as possible. Draft beer must be kept refrigerated between 35 and 44 degrees F. If the temperature gets above 50 degrees, the beer will start to turn sour and cloudy in a matter of a few days as bacteria starts to grow. The fresh brewery taste and aroma will be lost, go here to know more!