beer kegs

Some U.S. states permit only certain sizes of beer kegs. Most sizes, but not all, are fractions of the 31-gallon beer barrel.

photo of pile of beer kegs

© James Brown /

The first metal kegs were barrel-shaped and had bungs. The most popular kegs today are cylindrical, made of stainless steel, and have no bungs. They are cleaned and filled through a two-passage valve.

Some American Keg Sizes
in barrels in U.S. gallons
1/2 15.5
1/4 7.75
1/6 5.16

In addition, the European sizes of 50 liters, 20 liters, and 10 liters are in use.


Jason Parker.
Roll out the barrel: Tips on purchasing and caring for kegs.
Brewing Techniques, May/June 1999.

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