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How many pints does a keg really yield?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by paulys55, Apr 19, 2012.

  1. paulys55

    paulys55 Zealot (587) Aug 2, 2010 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    Hoping someone in the industry will chime in here.
    Standard 1/2 barrel = 15.5gal = 1984oz
    Ok, no argument here. And I can divide that by 16oz to get 124 pints.
    But what I really want to know is how head translates into liquid. What I mean is this. Let's say for argument's sake that 3 of those 16oz of beer is head (I realize that this will vary). I know I can't just say, "ok, just divide 1984 by 13 and get 153" because some percentage of that foam translates into beer. So how many "pints" do you really get out of a keg? I was thinking the 3oz of head translates to maybe an ounce of beer so somewhere around 140, maybe. Would love to hear from you bar owners and brewers. Thanks for looking.
  2. evilc

    evilc Initiate (0) Jan 27, 2012 California


    Moose90 likes this.
  3. jesskidden

    jesskidden Meyvn (1,277) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey

  4. emannths

    emannths Initiate (193) Sep 21, 2007 Massachusetts

    Here you go, courtesy of micromatic. They say 132 pours, assuming 16oz glasses, 3/4" head, and 93% keg yield (due to cleaning and operator error).
    djbreezy, LiquidTable and VonZipper like this.
  5. VonZipper

    VonZipper Disciple (398) Feb 9, 2011 New York
    Beer Trader

    no chance it's in the two hundreds, about ~130
  6. marquis

    marquis Crusader (738) Nov 20, 2005 United Kingdom (England)

    Question is-does the head form part of the pint? This was debated here long ago because of course you can't go round selling froth as beer.A pint is supposed to be at least 95% liquid as some allowance is reasonable.A decent pub will top you up to ensure good measure.
    In fact, speaking to pub owners with high reputations for their beer they say that a 9 gallon cask gives about 65 pints of saleable beer as some is lost when the lines are pulled off , spillage, giving generous measure and of course it isn't possible to serve down to the last drop.But less reputable pub owners expect to sell 72 "pints" or even more from the same casks. It's called giving short measure and it does happen.
  7. paulys55

    paulys55 Zealot (587) Aug 2, 2010 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    Thanks for all the input guys.
  8. yemenmocha

    yemenmocha Poo-Bah (2,459) Jun 18, 2002 Arizona

    what about wasting the nightwatchman's pour that comes out first pour of the day? how many ounces is that?
  9. leedorham

    leedorham Crusader (701) Apr 27, 2006 Washington

    That's usually figured in to wastage. With a half barrel you lose as little as ~5% provided you have well balanced lines and a competent staff. Most places will lose a little bit more but anything approaching 10% and you're doing something wrong. The smaller the keg gets, the higher the percentage gets just because what you lose is more in relation to the overall volume of the keg.

    Edit: My grandmother owned a bar up until a few years ago. She ran a tight ship.
  10. Dweedlebug

    Dweedlebug Disciple (371) Feb 28, 2012 Pennsylvania

    Then there's Imperial or English Pints, which are 20 ounces.
    nogoa likes this.
  11. patfoley17

    patfoley17 Initiate (0) Mar 30, 2011 Massachusetts

    My bar pours anything under 7.5% in 16 and 20oz glasses. I assume that a 15.5 gallon keg will pour 124 16oz glasses and 99 20oz glasses. I also assume 165 12oz pours of anything over 7.5%. I don't count "head." I don't think it's fair to assume how much foam will come out of each barrel as they are all pressurized differently and some will pour more head than others. Seems, to me, the most fair way to set prices.
  12. patfoley17

    patfoley17 Initiate (0) Mar 30, 2011 Massachusetts

    Also, when you pour "head" you aren't pouring a full 16oz glass full. So I guess the answer is... there is no exact answer.
  13. bubbleguts83

    bubbleguts83 Initiate (0) Aug 23, 2011 Texas

    the biggest variable is how big of a dumbass is the bartender. somw wille straight pour to the bottom of the glass making it half foam, waiting for it to disperse then fill a little more. most bars blame the line cleaners when it is really their dumb staff that waste most the keg.
  14. beertunes

    beertunes Poo-Bah (4,747) Sep 24, 2007 Washington
    Beer Trader

    And don't forget the "tasters". If you give away 20 - 3oz samples, that's almost 4 pints. Between the first pour, spillage and mistakes, my WAG is that bars get in the area of 110-115 pints out of a 1/2bbl.
  15. beerismysavior

    beerismysavior Initiate (0) Mar 29, 2011 Virginia

    Real world numbers...

    If you're a bar, you're ecstatic to have 120 pints accounted for in your POS (point of sale system). That is about as good as it gets in a practical environment. Even yielding this number will require a great deal of attention, training and honesty on the part of your staff with a no-budge attitude. It is hard for most people to believe this, but my experience has taught me that your average bar (not a beer haven) manages to account for 70-80 pints/keg. I usually try to encourage bars to account for 100 pints/keg number to start. Once they've successfully achieved that, 110 is attainable for most people who put some concentrated effort into optimizing their system and properly training staff. Cheers.
    beertunes likes this.
  16. beerismysavior

    beerismysavior Initiate (0) Mar 29, 2011 Virginia

    Part of the 70-80 pints/keg number stems from "staff drinks". Most places encourage bartenders to ring in drinks for post-shift staff drinks, but in reality it just doesn't happen all that often.
    beertunes likes this.
  17. dsal89

    dsal89 Disciple (331) Jul 6, 2008 Indiana
    Beer Trader

    On a semi related note, i was at FFF the other day. Had Alpha King on cask...imperial pint served to the (pretty much) tip top.

    Twas glorious
  18. jacewg

    jacewg Defender (609) Jan 7, 2012 District of Columbia

    After foam, right around 120. This is the figure I have calculated and use when figuring prices in my bar.
  19. elgiacomo

    elgiacomo Meyvn (1,149) Jun 28, 2007 Georgia

    And all of these numbers are assuming that those 15.5 gallon containers actually have 15.5 gallons of liquid inside. From my experience it seems this is not always the case.
  20. Keffa

    Keffa Defender (634) Jan 8, 2009 Ohio
    Beer Trader

    1/6 barrels are 40 pints, give or take.
  21. T100Mark

    T100Mark Disciple (375) Apr 25, 2012 California

    Not enough.
    djbreezy likes this.
  22. marquis

    marquis Crusader (738) Nov 20, 2005 United Kingdom (England)

    At one time here it was routine for a brewery to overfill the casks so that it was possible to actually serve 9 gallons from them.New tax and revenue regulations mean that this is now uneconomic with the bizarre result that tax/duty has to be paid on beer which can't be sold.And in a pub this is around $1.50 a pint.
  23. djbreezy

    djbreezy Crusader (742) Dec 16, 2008 Washington

    Related to this, I feel awful for bars/pubs that have bar staff who think they have to spoon or dump the head on the beer to serve people a proper pint when they're often pouring the beer improperly to begin with.

    Complete waste of beer when it will eventually settle...although I know that in a fast-paced environment you have customer perception, etc. going on but that "head' is all money down the drain.
  24. TheBoog013

    TheBoog013 Aspirant (240) Feb 24, 2011 California

    At my bar I shoot for 120 pints but I'm pretty realistic about the limitations of my staff. Unfortunately A LOT of beer is wasted when a bar is busy. Bartenders for the most part lose pouring technique when they are weeded and you can only beat someone down before they revert or begin to despise you. Just part of the trade off for honestly and loyalty. I'll take an honest, not so careful employee any day over the skilled wily veteran who will rob me blind the minute I turn my back. Just my two cents.
    beertunes likes this.
  25. Knownfactor

    Knownfactor Initiate (99) Feb 20, 2010 Colorado

    I've been told that foam to beer ratio is 3:1. 3 parts foam turns into 1 part beer.
  26. marquis

    marquis Crusader (738) Nov 20, 2005 United Kingdom (England)

    If a keg is 124 pints then with wastage and what remains in the lines 120 "pints" mean the customers would be short changed.
  27. morimech

    morimech Poo-Bah (2,940) Nov 6, 2006 Minnesota

    There is a show on SpikeTV that I do not remember what it is called, that is like Restaurant Impossible but dealing with bars. The host keeps telling the bar owners that only 70% of the keg gets sold. The rest is waste. He does seem to be a shill for the TurboTap system that he says gets 90-95% of the keg to glass.
  28. diesel59

    diesel59 Initiate (0) Jan 3, 2012 New York

    best just be on the safe side and buy 2 kegs.... win,win:grinning:
  29. Hopposum

    Hopposum Initiate (0) Feb 7, 2012 Wisconsin

    I realize every business owner wants to maximize profit, but I'd be more concerned with keeping happy customers AND happy staff than trying to squeeze every last pint out of a keg. Especially when you're selling BMC bottles/cans for the same price as a pint of craft and selling at least 100 times as much. At least that's the way it is around these parts.
  30. GrowlerGreen

    GrowlerGreen Initiate (0) Mar 16, 2013 New York

    Wow. A lot of people here have chimed in who have never been a bartender or worked in the restaurant biz. From the research I've done, it seems as though the average yield is 73%. Meaning about 90 pints. The rest is foam, tastings, spillage, beer left in keg (it never gets totally empty), over pouring. Even when I ran my growler store I would lose 2-3 growlers per keg. A nitro tap will have no spillage. Any other keg will have some. If you get 100 -110 pints out of a keg you should be happy.
    beertunes likes this.

    ODYSEYY Aspirant (211) Jul 30, 2013 Ohio
    Beer Trader

    That's Bar Rescue. Entertaining show, but he also advocates for beer to be served at 32 degrees.

    If I remember correctly, they once sent some of the bar staff to Ireland to learn how to serve a "perfect pint" of Guinness, then forced a system on them that served it at that freezing temperature.
    afrokaze likes this.
  32. maltmaster420

    maltmaster420 Aspirant (291) Aug 17, 2005 Oregon
    Beer Trader

    We average 110 pints per 1/2bbl, but there are several variables in play.
    • We have very short lines, so when the keg blows we aren't wasting several pints that would be trapped in a longer system.
    • We serve "16oz pints" in 20oz glasses, and the bartenders tend to fill the glasses to the point where the liquid reaches the 16oz mark, which means we're probably giving away 1.5-2oz of foam in each glass.
    • If the keg is over-carbed or otherwise acting finicky we'll lose more.
    • If it's something we're offering in growlers the efficiency goes way down because it's almost impossible to properly fill a growler without wasting close to a pint.
    • We pull roughly 1/2 a pint from each line every morning to get rid of whatever was trapped near the tap over night. It's not a huge deal on something like Pliny that only lasts 2 days, but it can add up to a significant amount of beer if it's a slow mover that takes 10-14 days to kick.
    sharpski, beertunes and CleanFiend like this.
  33. Grouse1

    Grouse1 Initiate (0) Nov 8, 2012 Pennsylvania

    I can relate to this post. It's difficult to train bartenders to pour correctly and not waste beer, and you are so right about how sensitive these young bartenders are. At first they start to learn, but then they just don't care how much foam/beer they dump. Any critique causes these precious flowers to resent you. One thing that has helped a lot is installing faucet extensions I picked up on Amazon. They add about 3" inches which allows you to get the beer down further in the glass. It's sanitary as we always pour into clean glasses. They only cost about 9 bucks each and pop on to a standard beer faucet. They are also easy to remove and clean. My yield has increased dramatically since adding these to the faucets.
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