In this post, we offer some fun ways to recycle empty kegs into useful objects. Learn more about how to empty beer keg ideas.
A friend recently turned an old keg into a smoker. We thought this was a brilliant idea, but we weren’t sure that it would work. So we were quite surprised that this recycled keg, found at a garage sale, actually worked so well as a smoker.
It got us thinking about the other ways that an old beer keg can be recycled or “upcycled” into a cool new object.
It turns out, if you do just a few minutes of searching on Pinterest or the internet, you’ll find loads of creative ways that people have turned old kegs into neat and sometimes strange new and useful objects.
There are even internet forums dedicated to information on how to build objects with empty beer kegs.
Most beer kegs are made from stainless steel, making them an ideal base for lots of neat objects. In addition, stainless steel is quite durable, cleans up to a nice shine, and is excellent for indoor or outdoor use.
If you’re interested in some of these ideas, a helpful bit of advice about acquiring a beer keg. It is never cool to snag an empty beer keg from a restaurant or brewery without asking.
So, if you’re ready to break out your DIY skills and make some cool stuff from empty kegs, please ask your local restaurant or brewery if they have kegs that are at the end of their life. You can also check with your local craft beer or liquor retailer for old kegs.
This seems to be one of the most popular ideas out there for reusing beer kegs. It is also a straightforward DIY project, so you go from empty keg to planters in no time at all.
The nice thing about beer keg planters is that you can use full-size kegs, empty beer barrels, or even those little Heineken mini-kegs, depending on the look you’re going for.
Making a homemade planter from empty kegs is pretty simple. Using a circular saw or angle grinder, simply cut your keg in half, fill it with dirt, and you’re ready to plant.
Beer keg tables are another simple way to reuse an empty beer keg. These industrial-looking tables are perfect for your man cave or a homebrewer who wants to add some durable and unique tables in their backyard or garage brewing area.
One of the nice things about beer keg tables is that they can be simple or elaborate, depending on the look you want. In our search, we found some that had simple glass tops, while others had nice wood tops.
Of course, if you’re going for that rustic look and want to make wood tops for your keg tables, it is helpful to have some woodworking skills.
Chairs or Bar Stools
Our DIY projects are getting more complex now. If you have a bar in your house and don’t want to spend a ton of money on bar stools, empty kegs can be an excellent base for some funky, beer-themed stools.
You can purchase parts to build your bar stools from Amazon or other online stores. Or, if you are committed to using recycled items, find bar stools at your local thrift store to use for parts.
Bar stools aren’t a furniture need for many people, so building outdoor chairs with an empty keg is another option. These take a bit more work, and you’ll want to consult with online forums and websites for instructions. But if done right, you can purchase round chair cushions that will fit perfectly, and you’ll have a durable set of chairs for your patio or deck.
Now, depending on how complicated you want to get, a DIY fire pit built from empty kegs can be either a straightforward project or a more complex one. For example, the simplest fire pits that we saw in our research were made by cutting a keg in half and filling it with wood.
However, we also found some that were much more complex, with doors, grates for setting the wood upon, and lids. Depending on your comfort level with power tools and some basic welding, these more complex fire pits may require some extra time or assistance from friends that are willing to help.
BBQ or Smoker
Lots of backyard grill masters swear that the best way to cook outdoors is with a charcoal grill. Unfortunately, over the last few years, charcoal grills have become a lot more expensive.
We found plenty of online forums that have instructions for building a beer keg bbq, as it seems that this is one of the most popular ways to reuse empty or old beer kegs. And there are some pretty elaborate ways to build a BBQ from a keg.
A beer keg BBQ is easy to make (the process is the same for a smoker). First, you’ll cut the keg in half, length-wise. Then, attach a couple of door hinges for opening and closing. And a couple of lengths of chain to keep the lid from opening too far.
For the grate, you can use a grate from an old grill or oven. If you want to get fancy, you can even add a rotisserie motor to your beer keg bbq or smoker for perfectly cooked chickens and roasts.
If you’ve got some electrical skills that you want to use, another great purpose for empty kegs is light fixtures and lamps. When cleaned up well, the stainless steel of an empty keg is an excellent reflector of light.
They also create a cool, industrial look for your garage or man cave.
This was probably the most unique (ok, strange) way we found for kegs to be reused and is an excellent idea if you are thinking about opening a craft beer taproom or brewery.
This option does require some plumbing skills. You may want to enlist the assistance of a professional plumber to ensure that your “industrial chic” urinals don’t leak and are correctly installed.
Another simple way to reuse an empty beer keg is as a cooler for beverages. We like the idea of cutting a large keg in half lengthwise and filling it with ice to chill your drinks when you’re entertaining. Mini-kegs, especially the ones from Heineken, are perfect for a wine bottle chiller or for holding a beer bottle or two at your table.
We also found a deconstructed, large keg was the perfect beer cooler for Corny kegs filled with homebrew. This is a great way to serve homebrew to your friends at a cookout or party if you don’t have a kegerator or beer fridge.
Finally, for the homebrew setup on a budget, full-size kegs make perfect brew kettles. This is a simple DIY project, and a beer keg brew kettle can be ready to use in just a few hours.
If you don’t want to get fancy, the top from a keg can be cut off, and you have a perfectly sized pot. However, you can add spigots and thermometers to your empty keg brew kettle for easy wort and beer transfer and monitor your mash temperature more easily.