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First of all, I currently use a copper immersion chiller to cool my wort. It works, but takes at least 30 minutes to get below 100 and then i transfer and put it in my fermentation chamber till i reach pitching temp.

I am hoping to get a March Pump (like this but open to other recomendations http://goo.gl/Uo3pS) with the idea that i would pair this with a plate chiller in order to reduce the cooling time. I've never seen one in action, so my question is this: Do i need more equipment (other than hoses) beyond the plate chiller and pump to chill my wort? I already have a 1/2" ball valve off my keggle with a false bottom, so i expect all i need to do is get a hose from this valve down to the pump, out of the pump into the chiller, out of the chiller to the carboy. Am I missing anything? A Hopback? Any sage advice would be appreciated.

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

You will want something to strain your hop material before going into the pump and chiller … either a hop spider or a hopback-like device.

You could conceivably use gravity to run the wort from the kettle through the chiller, but … this is slow (not necessarily a problem, as you'll want a relatively slow wort flow) and (somewhat) assumes you will chill in a single pass.

For completeness: you will also need some way to move cold water through the plate chiller … standard water pressure is fine, of course.

You should compare the surface area of the chiller you intend to get with your IC … if they're comparable, while the plate might be more efficient, you can get a long way by just using the pump to recirculate wort to keep it moving against the coils. And then you don't need to buy anything new, and don't need to deal with filtering and cleaning a plate chiller.

(EDIT: just noticed you said you have a false bottom. if this is sufficient at filtering hop material, you're probably fine with that alone. I've been mostly happy with my paint-strainer-bag hop spider, but will be upgrading to a stainless model in the next brew-year.)

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Interesting comment on the surface area of the immersion chiller... I've read about creating a recirculating immersion chiller, but assumed the plates were superior in some way. –  Jason V Nov 30 '12 at 21:20
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