I don't need to reduce. But if I do I would only reduce to the amount of water I would need for the batch. So if I make a 1 gallon batch start off with 2 gallons of water. The reduction is to concentrate the flavors. So I don't need to but if I want it to be bacony and it to be strong then I feel the reduction is necessary. Again, not needed. But in the end I think it would give a better end result. But that's also why I'm testing it. To find what does work.
Also the cooling and skimming the fat is a good idea. I was already thinking of that. But it's nice that others had the same idea I did.