Boil size

I was researching an imperial red IPA and The boil size is usually around 6.5 gallons and I only have my 5 gallon pot. What is the point of boil sizes? I’ve rarely had a wort over 3 gallons when I’m done brewing and most of my beers have been fine…

There are a few advantages to full boils. One is better hop utilization. With a smaller boil you need to use more hops to get the same IBU that you’d get from a full boil. Second, sanitation. When you boil your sanitizing the water/wort. Adding fresh water after the boil is ok, but there’s less risk involved when boiling all the water that goes into your wort. With a full boil you can take accurate gravity readings. You don’t have to worry about a smaller boil size, then factoring in top off water. You can also take a more accurate gravity reading when you rack to primary. You don’t have to worry about your wort and fresh water being properly mixed.

So, there’s nothing wrong with partial boils and topping off, but full boils have some advantages.

Thanks dobe that one’s been plaguing me.

You also get more darkening of color with a more concentrated boil.

You can combat some of these concerns by saving about half to 2/3 of your extract and adding it with about 15 minutes left in the boil.