How to Use a Keg

Michael C. Upton

Things You'll Need

  • Keg of beer
  • At-home dispenser with attached CO2

Operating a keg of beer is tough the first time. But after you know a few straightforward steps, the toughest decision you will have to make is what type of beer you want to drink. Beer kegs come in three standard sizes, the half-barrel, the quarter barrel, and the relatively new sixtel (1/6 of a keg). The advantage of the sixtel is that it is lightweight. Conversely, it is easy to empty with a couple friends. Check with your local distributor for availability and selection. The simple instructions on how to use a keg of beer that follow are for household beer dispensers. The keg used in this demonstration is a quarter barrel.

Beer is released from the keg at this point.

Locate the bunghole on the top of the keg.

The bottom of coupler connects to the keg.

Locate the coupler. This piece connects the keg with the CO2 line and releases the beer to the beer line.

White handle is up, in disengaged position.

Place the coupler into the corresponding slots on the keg bunghole. Twist it clockwise. The handle must be in the upright position.

Locked and loaded.

Pull the handle outward to free it from the locked position and lower it completely. Slight resistance will be felt as the coupler penetrates the keg. Make sure to engage the locking mechanism by pushing the handle in toward center of the coupler.

Once the coupler and keg are secure, and there are no leaks, engage the CO2 by turning the knob to the open position.


  • Sixtels and quarter kegs allow for more than one keg to be stored in a traditional at-home system. Try not to shake the keg while transporting it from the distributor to your home.


  • Beer will shoot out from keg if it is not installed correctly. Drink responsibly. This product is not intended for persons under the age of 21.