Wanted to update the thread, since I dislike so many brilliant threads that die young without conclusions or updates on HBT.
I have finally gotten a mini fridge with a controller for primary fermentations. Since not doing the swamp cooler with frozen soda bottles method I could switch to buckets with spigots. I have been keeping most beers only for 2 weeks in primary, healthy dry yeast pitches with re-hydration (ya i switched back for a bit to rule out starters)(mr malty liquid starters) then transfer to the purged keg.
I have had 7 successful batches, no dumping, drink every last drop with friends batches. 3 Session IPAs (to test my repeatability http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f37/ston...8/#post6360876 , one Wee Heavy aged on Hungarian oak in the keg for 2 months, a great english dark mild, pumpkin beer, and a breakfast stout clone thats still in the keg on heavy toast french oak cubes at room temp, tapping on my birthday in late December, the sample was incredible finished at 1.022 from 1.083.
The over all trend is going back to the basics, no more cold crashing with gelatin to rack into a keg to warm back up on hops with a messy racking cane splashing procedure. Going back to buckets with spigots, true temperature control. I have also switched to brew in a bag full boil partial mashes for most of my recipes of late. Take OG and FG readings for every batch! I only add a tiny bit of CaCl or CaS04 for my partial mashes, other wise I just filter my SF tap water with a carbon filter.
For the hoppy beers I really think spigots and careful racking (no racking in my case) are key. I also only dry hop 7 days into primary fermentation with loose pellets (keg 5 days later into keezer) for session ipas/pales, tilt bucket and turn the spigot off when you reach the floating hop layer near the end. I have bright incredible aroma doing this technique. I do think the storage and quality of hops are also a big factor in making Heady Topper/Pliny like beers. For Double IPAs I will do a secondary dry hop in the keg, but never cold crashing then warming backup, I think the risk of suck back of oxygen (unless you have a closed system or can hook up c02 at a low psi to a ported better bottle) is not worth the risk. Keeping the yeast alive and some in suspension helps protect against oxidation (so relevant for hoppy oily rich beers) in my experience. There are also sugars in hops which can only be released by yeast activity freeing up aromatic compounds that normally would not decouple.
Brewing beer is such a rewarding hobby, thank you all for this thread and the larger HBT community.
/me Drinks a sip of my 3rd re-brew incredible Galaxy Session IPA