I think the only time I have had gel phase is the first batch that I ever did. I was in my kitchen, which is much warmer than my basement, and I used a Pringles can. It was a palm free vegan recipe, no scent and no color. When I cut it there was the obvious partial gel ring in the middle.That looks awesome! And I hear you on soaps not wanting to gel. I struggle with that myself...I can use known accelerators/heaters, soap on a warm day, and/or place it on a heating pad... and no gel. I think I've only had two soaps actually gel on me, and most of the time I'm trying to encourage it.