When planning an event or managing a bar, understanding the weight of a full beer keg isn’t just trivia—it’s essential. Kegs, those cylindrical containers that promise a flowing stream of beer, come in various sizes and materials. Knowing their weight ensures safe transport, storage, and efficient event planning.

The Basics Of A Beer Keg

A beer keg is essentially a sealed drum that contains beer under pressure, dispensed usually with the help of CO2. The majority of kegs are constructed from stainless steel, chosen for its durability, corrosion resistance, and ability to maintain the beer’s flavor.

Types of Kegs Based on Volume

Different keg sizes cater to various needs, from a small gathering to a grand party.

Half Barrel (U.S. Keg)

The U.S. Keg, or the half-barrel, is the most recognized size, especially in the United States. It typically holds 15.5 gallons (or 58.67 liters) of beer. When full, it weighs approximately 160-170 lbs.

Quarter Barrel (Pony Keg)

Smaller events might opt for the pony keg, holding half of its bigger counterpart at 7.75 gallons (or 29.34 liters). A full pony keg weighs in the ballpark of 85-90 lbs.

Sixth Barrel (Sixtel)

Specialty beers often find their home in the sixtel, which carries 5.16 gallons (or 19.53 liters) of beer. It weighs around 60 lbs when filled.

European Standard Keg

Popular in European locales, this keg has a capacity of 50 liters, equivalent to 13.2 gallons. When filled, it weighs roughly 130-140 lbs.

Calculating the Weight of a Full Beer Keg

Let’s deconstruct a keg’s weight:

  • Beer: Beer generally weighs around 8 lbs per gallon.
  • CO2: Though its contribution is minimal, CO2 adds to the keg’s total weight.
  • Keg itself: Depending on its construction and material, an empty keg can weigh anywhere between 20 to 30 lbs.

Factors Affecting the Weight of a Full Beer Keg

Several nuances affect a keg’s weight:

  • Type of Beer: Some craft or specialty beers may have added ingredients, making them slightly denser.
  • Temperature: Cold beer can be denser, adding a tad more weight.
  • Additives: Any additional elements in the beer can also play a role.

Practical Implications of Knowing Keg Weight


Understanding a keg’s weight ensures safe transport, preventing vehicle overloading and ensuring the keg remains stable during transit.


Knowing the weight helps in deciding where the keg can be stored, ensuring shelves or platforms can bear the load without risk.

Event Planning

For event planners, this knowledge helps in estimating the space required and the number of potential servings.

Safety Tips for Handling Full Kegs

Safety should never be compromised:

  • Always lift with the knees, not the back.
  • Store kegs in a stable position to avoid rolling.
  • Ensure kegs are secured during transportation, preventing shifts that could cause accidents.


The humble beer keg, often the life of a party or a staple in a bar, has dimensions and weights that play a pivotal role in its transport and storage. By understanding these aspects, one ensures safety, efficiency, and the seamless flow of that golden brew. Here’s to raising a glass to informed decisions!

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