How to Use a Mini Keg

Updated February 21, 2017

Keeping mini kegs is an economical way to enjoy fresh beer other than using bottles. Enjoy mini kegs at home or at parties and picnics; they are effective and portable. Containing 5 litres, mini kegs are made of tin-plates and gold lacquered interior surfaces electrolytically treated. Before filling a mini keg, be sure the beer has completed full fermentation. Check the beer with a hydrometer and check the mini keg of any deformities before use.

Siphon beer into the mini keg using the bottling wand. Fill the keg leaving one inch of head space allowing for proper carbonation of the beer.

Close the mini keg with the rubber bung. Press the two piece bung into the hole; the flat part of the bung should be facing down into the keg.

Store the keg in a dry, room-temperature place for two to three weeks to allow for proper carbonation to take place. After three weeks the keg is able to be chilled and tapped when you are ready.

Chill the mini keg. Keeping your mini keg in the same, constant cool temperature will minimise any fluctuations in carbonation level.

Screw the plastic dip tube into the tap base. Do not over-tighten the threads, as they can break.

Hold the dip tube firmly with your left hand and hold the tap with your right hand. Push the tube through the bung gently. Use your right hand to guide the tube through the bung pushing downward. Do not try to jam the tube into the hole; this could cause the tube to break.

Push the tube completely into the mini keg. Clip the plastic holders to the can's rim.

Draw beer using natural pressure with your first one or two glasses (there will be enough natural pressure for the beer to be dispensed) Once the flow of beer stops, turn the CO2 regulator to off (the narrow point on the scale).

Unscrew the CO2 housing and insert a new CO2 cartridge.

Screw the CO2 housing back on. You will hear a hiss once a pin pierces the CO2 cartridge.

Turn the regulator on for a moment to add a little CO2 with each glass of beer; use less CO2 if the beer is too foamy. Push the dispensing lever down completely to dispense beer; a half open dispensing valve will cause too much foam.

Turn the regulator off once you are finished serving for the day, alleviating any chance of gas leakage. If you are not using the mini keg for a few days, fill the head space with CO2 by turning the regulator on for a moment until the keg is properly pressurised for storage.


16 gram CO2 chargers are usually enough to finish one mini keg.


Do not turn the CO2 off and drain the keg; this will cause a vacuum effect and damage the keg. Use only the correct size CO2 chargers for your mini keg. There are three main sizes of chargers, 8 gram, 12 gram and 16 gram. A wrong size could cause an explosion from pressure and cause bodily harm. Never block the small hole at the end of the CO2 charger housing; it releases excess pressure. Never screw out a CO2 charger that is not completely empty. It can shoot out of the holder causing bodily harm. To safely unscrew the CO2 charger, loosen it by giving it two turns and listen for the sound of gas releasing. Once the gas flow stops completely, then it is safe to unscrew the charger and remove. Always be aware of any damages to the mini keg. Replace any damaged or broken parts. Never carry the mini keg by the tap handle.

Things You'll Need

  • 5 Liter mini keg
  • Rubber bung
  • Carbon dioxide cartridge
  • Carbon dioxide tapper
  • Homebrewed beer
  • Bottling wand
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About the Author

Nina Strange began her writing career in 1994 while attending the Illinois Young Author’s Conference. Since then, she has written short stories and poems and earned a Best Poet Award for several poems written and published in "The Scriblerian." Strange has a Bachelor of Arts in interdisciplinary arts from Columbia College Chicago.