I asked this general question in the ingredients forum, but I'm not sure the underlying question was heard. I thought the brew chemists in here might tackle this.
The way I understand it, the hop oils are insoluable in the natural state. The purpose of boiling is to convert them to the form that provides the bittering, but this is at the expense of driving off the aromatics. Hence the late additions and dry hopping. The late additions, since there is little to no boiling (in the case of dry hopping) don't have the bittering, but the aromatics are there.
I gather that in order for the aroma to be released, there has to be extraction by the alcohol in the fermented beer. The question then, was whether hops or hop pellets could be steeped in a neutral spirit, ie vodka, then either filtered or washed with some hot water in a french press, then the extract added to taste in the secondary bucket. (in another thread there is a discussion of how much the ABV is changed by 4 oz of vodka - only about 0.2%)
I know that a purist would say just add the hops to the bucket like they always did, but I was trying to think of ways to reduce sediment, and so wondered if this would work. Is there anything wrong with the concept?