Ounces to Pints to Gallons: A Primer on Craft Beer Containers and Volumes

Ounces to Pints to Gallons: A Primer on Craft Beer Containers and Volumes

by Mark E. Lasbury for Indiana On Tap

Details are things I often have a hard time holding on to for any length of time. So when somebody says they went through 3 kegs last night at the taproom, or that everyone is being asked to bring two bombers or the equivalent volume to a bottle share, I often have to sit down and do the math each time.

I was thinking that it might be helpful to have a primer on craft beer containers, both for names and volumes, so that everyone can get on the same page and start to estimate just how many pints they may be talking about in a pin or a corny keg. I put this together for myself, but figured there may be other memory- or math-impaired drinkers out there – certainly more at the end of the night than the beginning – who might find this useful. Have at it:



Taster glass – This is most often used for flights and at festivals. They vary in volume, but average is 3-5 oz.

Short pour – This is sometimes called a half pour. It is only possible to do this with some draft beers – buying a shorter volume. They can be anywhere from 5-8 oz., but usually aren’t available for beers that already come in smaller pour sizes (rare beers, expensive beers, high alcohol beers).

Pint – This is the standard craft beer. In the US, this is 16 oz., but people may want to argue whether that means with or without the head.

Imperial pint – This is a UK measurement, and runs from 19.2 oz. to 20 oz., again whether you’re talking with head or without.


image credit: bottle your brand


Nip or Pony – These are usually for mega beers, like Rolling Rock or Little Kings, 7 oz. = just under 0.5 US pint

12 oz. – These are standard for six packs and some four packs. Come in stubby, regular, and longneck versions

16 oz. – Pint cans are more common with craft beers 16 oz. = 1 US pint

Belgian – Commonly used for Belgian beers, duh. 12.7 oz. = 375 ml = 0.8 pints.

500 ml – Some craft beers use these, but they are more popular in England and with homebrewers. 500 ml = 16.9 oz. = 1.1 US pints

Bomber – The star of the bottle share, these are often used for special releases. 22 oz. = 650 ml = 1.375 US pints

Caged bomber – Very similar to other bombers, these versions are just a bit bigger. They are most often corked and caged. 25.4 oz. = 750 ml = 1.58 US pints

Howler – These are most often filled on demand at the brewery or taproom (or gas station or bar if you don’t live in Indiana). Howler is short for “half-growler.” 32 oz. = 2 US pints

Forty – Often used with mass made malt liquors, or Coors Light. 40 oz. = 2.5 US pints

Magnum – A double bomber. 48 oz. = 1500 ml = 3 US pints,

Growler – Stone does some. most often filled on demand, name is disputed, with several candidates. 64 oz. = US pints

Double Magnum – St. Bernardus does one – that’s the only one I know of. 96 oz. = 3000 ml = 6 US pints,


image credit: cask brewing systems


8 oz. – a few craft beers done this way, first and most famously by Flat12 Bierwerks for the Pinko RIS. 8 oz. = 0.5 US pint

12 oz. – typical for both 4 and 6-packs, 12 oz. = 0.75 US pint

16 oz./Tallboy – used more and more often for craft beers. 16 oz. = 1 US pint

Stovepipe – This is named for Abe Lincoln’s style of hat, or maybe just for a stovepipe. It’s becoming more popular – some say that stovepipes are contributing to a demise of the howler and crowler. 19.2 oz. = 1.2 US pints.

Crowler –Younger than growlers or howlers, these are most often filled and sealed on demand. However, they sometimes are pre-filled because they can last a bit longer than howlers and growler, and since people are most often bringing in howlers and growlers because they are reusable containers. The name comes from a mash-up of howler and can. 32 oz. = 2 US pints


image credit: tap trail

Kegs and wooden containers:

Mini-keg – You see these at the liquor store. Usually housing things like Heineken or some such, 1.32 US gallons = 10.6 US pints

Cornelius Keg – Most often called a Corny keg, this is a keg commonly used by homebrewers. 5.0 US gallons = 40 US pints

Sixth Barrel – These are often the kegs you see breweries using at festivals. Also called a sixtel, torpedo, or log. 5.16 US gallons = 41 US pints

Pin – This is a smaller size of a cask (see below), 5.4 US gallons = US pints

Quarter Barrel – Also called a pony keg, a short keg, or stubby keg. 7.75 US gallons, 62 US pints

Slim quarter barrel – This is a taller, narrower version of the quarter barrel. 7.75 US gallons, 62 US pints

Firkin – These are often used for beers being aged on fruit or other (cask aging, with the casks coming in several sizes). They are used for real ales as well. 10.8 US gallons = 86 US pints

Half barrel – A standard keg in the US, it can also be called full keg. 15.5 US gallons = 124 US pints

Kilderkin – A term used much more in England. It is one of the sizes of cask. 18 Imperial gallons = 21.6 US gallons = 173 US pints

Barrel – It’s not a keg, so you really don’t buy beer in these volumes. 31 US gallons = 248 US pints

UK barrel – This is equal to 36 Imperial gallons = 43 US gallons = 344 US pints


banner image credit: Le Malt

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