Homemade yogurt is the best. The flavour is just as you explained. I've been making it on and off for years similar to how you did it. A few years ago I found a brand new, still in the box yogurt maker at the local Goodwill for only $2. It makes 1 litre (1 quart) and I've never had a failure since I started using the maker. I guess it's the consistent regulated heat. This is the recipe I use, except I incubate it in the yogurt maker: http://www.hillbillyhousewife.com/yogurt.htm
As your yogurt sits in the frig the whey will collect on the top. I usually drain that off each time I serve it and in a few days the yogurt is thick enough to stand on. LOL When it gets really thick it makes a lovely spread in place of cream cheese
My grandmother used to make yogurt years before I was born. She used to incubate it overnight on the back of the wood/coal burning range. My uncle was reminiscing how when he was a boy he would eat the warm yogurt right from the crock on the stove.