How many cups is a full keg?

A full keg contains around 165 12 oz. cups of beer. The exact amount can vary slightly depending on the size of the keg and cups being used. Most full-size kegs like those used for parties hold around 15.5 gallons of beer. When divided into 12 oz. servings, this equals about 124 16 oz. pint cups or 165 12 oz. cups. Read on for more details on keg sizes, how to calculate the cups per keg, and tips for getting the most out of your keg.

Typical Keg Sizes

There are a few standard keg sizes used for beer in the United States:

  • Full-Size (Half Barrel) – 15.5 gallons
  • Pony – 7.75 gallons
  • Quarter/Sixth Barrel – 5.23 gallons
  • Corny Keg – 5 gallons

The full-size, half barrel keg is the most common for parties and events. It holds 15.5 gallons of beer. Pony kegs are popular for smaller gatherings. Quarter and sixth barrel kegs are convenient for personal use. Corny kegs are used by homebrewers.

Full-Size Keg

A full-size, half barrel keg stands about 23 inches tall and has a diameter of 17 inches. It weighs over 160 pounds when full. With a capacity of 15.5 gallons, this keg size is perfect for large parties, events, and tailgates. It will provide 165 twelve ounce servings.

Pony Keg

A pony keg is smaller than a full size keg. It is shaped wider and squatter, standing at 20 inches high with a 20 inch diameter. Pony kegs weigh around 85 pounds when filled with 7.75 gallons of beer. This amount gives you about 82 twelve ounce servings.

Quarter and Sixth Barrel

As the names suggest, quarter and sixth barrel kegs have capacities of one quarter and one sixth the volume of a full size keg. Sixth barrel kegs contain 5.23 gallons. You can expect around 55 twelve ounce cups from a sixth barrel. Quarter barrel kegs are sometimes easier to find than sixth barrels. They hold the same 5.23 gallon volume.

Corny Keg

Corny kegs are stainless steel kegs originally designed to store soft drinks. Today they are popular with homebrewers. Corny kegs hold 5 gallons of beer. This volume will fill around 52 twelve ounce cups.

Calculating Cups Per Keg

Figuring out the number of cups in a full keg requires a simple calculation:

  1. Determine the keg size in gallons.
  2. Decide on the cup size, such as 12 oz. or 16 oz.
  3. Divide the keg volume by the cup size.

For example, a standard full size, half barrel keg contains 15.5 gallons. To calculate the 12 oz cups:

15.5 gallons x 128 oz/gallon = 1984 oz
1984 oz / 12 oz per cup = 165 cups

For a pony keg filled with 7.75 gallons:

7.75 gallons x 128 oz/gallon = 992 oz

992 oz / 12 oz per cup = 82 cups

You can modify the cup size in the calculation as needed. For pint cups, divide the total ounces by 16 instead of 12. Here’s the math for pints in a full size keg:

15.5 gallons x 128 oz/gallon = 1984 oz
1984 oz / 16 oz per pint cup = 124 pints

Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Keg

To help a keg last longer at your party or event, keep these tips in mind:

  • Store kegs cold before tapping. Keep full kegs refrigerated or on ice until you are ready to tap and serve.
  • Chill glasses before pouring. Foam forms more easily in warm cups.
  • Add extra pressure when tapping. Set the regulator to 30 psi initially when connecting to propel the beer through the lines.
  • Reduce pressure after pouring starts. Cut back down to 12-14 psi once pour starts to decrease foaming.
  • Keep the keg cold while tapped. Use refrigeration, a jungle cooler, or chilled tub filled with ice.
  • Clean lines after each keg. Flush out beer stone residue and bacteria in lines.
  • Store and seal unused beer. Replace the CO2 line on partially used kegs to preserve carbonation.

Following these best practices will help minimize foaming issues and wasted beer. Taking good care of your keg will ensure your beverage supply lasts throughout any party.

Choosing the Right Keg Size

Determining what keg size to get depends on a few factors:

  • Number of people attending – More attendees = bigger keg.
  • Length of the event – A longer party may need multiple kegs.
  • Popularity of the beer – Popular beers go faster.
  • Cup size – 16 oz pints drain a keg faster than 12 oz cups.

In general, here are some keg size guidelines for events:

  • Quarter keg or sixth barrel = 20-30 people
  • Half barrel/full size = 50-100 people
  • Pony keg = 30-75 people
  • Multiple kegs may be needed for big groups

Also factor in the length of the party. For long gatherings or all day affairs, go bigger on the keg volumes to prevent running out too quickly. Or have backup kegs chilled and ready.

Keg Beer Math Formulas

Here are some handy formulas for keg beer math calculations:

Gallons = Keg Volume / 128 oz per gallon

Ounces = Gallons x 128 oz per gallon

12 oz Cups = Total Ounces / 12

16 oz Pints = Total Ounces / 16

Beers Per Gallon = 124 (12 oz beers) or approximately 80 (16 oz pints)

Gallons = Number of Beers / 124 (12 oz) or 80 (16 oz)

Keg Volume Examples

Full size keg volume / 128 oz per gallon = 15.5 gallons

Pony keg volume / 128 oz per gallon = 7.75 gallons

Sixth barrel volume / 128 oz per gallon = 5.23 gallons

Gallons to Ounces Examples

15.5 gallons x 128 oz per gallon = 1984 oz

7.75 gallons x 128 oz per gallon = 992 oz

5.23 gallons x 128 oz per gallon = 669 oz

Ounces to Cups Examples

1984 oz / 12 oz per cup = 165 twelve oz cups

992 oz / 16 oz per pint = 62 sixteen oz pints

669 oz / 12 oz per cup = 55 twelve oz cups

Number of Beers to Keg Volume

165 beers / 124 beers per gallon = 1.33 gallons needed

82 beers / 124 beers per gallon = 0.66 gallons needed

55 beers / 124 beers per gallon = 0.44 gallons needed

Frequently Asked Questions

How many 12 ounce beers are in a keg?

A full size 15.5 gallon keg contains about 165 twelve ounce servings. Smaller keg sizes produce fewer 12 ounce beers. A pony keg contains around 82 twelve ounce beers. A sixth barrel has about 55 twelve ounce beers.

How many 16 oz beers are in a keg?

In a 15.5 gallon full size keg, you can expect approximately 124 sixteen ounce pint servings. A pony keg will pour around 62 pints. You can get roughly 34 sixteen ounce pint cups from a typical fifth barrel or sixth barrel keg.

How much beer is in a keg?

Full size kegs contain 15.5 gallons of beer. A pony keg holds 7.75 gallons. Sixth barrel and quarter barrel kegs contain 5.23 gallons of beer. Corny kegs used by homebrewers typically hold 5 gallons.

How many 5 oz beer servings in a keg?

From a 15.5 gallon full size keg, you can expect around 496 five ounce beer servings. A pony keg will give approximately 248 five ounce pours. You get around 165 five ounce services from a standard sixth barrel keg.

How many people will a keg serve?

A full size keg will serve 50-100 people. A pony keg will serve 30-75 people. A quarter or sixth barrel keg will serve 20-30 people. Actual servings can vary based on cup size and how much people drink.

How much does a keg of beer cost?

Keg prices can range from $100-$200 depending on brand, type of beer, size, and retailer. Mainstream beers like Budweiser may cost $125-$150 for a full size keg. Craft and import kegs typically cost more in the $175-$200 range. Smaller keg sizes are priced proportionately lower.


Knowing how many cups are in a keg allows you to properly plan for any party or event. A full size keg will give you approximately 165 twelve ounce servings. Smaller keg sizes produce fewer cups but are easier to transport and store. Remember that cups per keg can vary based on the specific keg size and cup ounces. Use basic formulas to calculate the exact cups per keg and enjoy pouring the perfect amount of beer for any occasion!

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