V.K. Joshi and associates assessed the impacts of juice clarity on hard cider. They found that similarly to wine, clarifying juice by filtering and pectic enzyme treatment resulted in higher quality cider(1). Quality was defined by a panel of five trained judges assessing 14 flavor characteristics using a scale of 1-9 with 9 representing the most intense flavor. The trial included four yeasts with and without pectic enzyme treatment and three levels of suspended solids.
The results were similar to experiments with grape wine. The clearer juice had a slower and less aggressive fermentation rate and produced esters that were fruitier. Cloudier juices with more suspended solids had faster and more aggressive fermentations that resulted in more higher alcohols and vegetable aromas. The clearer juice was more likely to stall the fermentation resulting in residual sweetness. This demonstrates the reduction in nutrients by the removal of the suspended solids. I tested this myself and had similar results, though my friends were not the highly trained judges used by Joshi and his associates.
If you want to increase fruity aromas and reduce sour or bitterness, consider clarifying your juice prior to fermentation.
(1) V.K. Joshi and associates, Influence of Addition of Apple Insoluble Solids, Different Wine Yeast Strains and Pectinolytic Enzymes on the Flavour Profile of Apple Wine, Intl. J. of Food. Ferment. Technol. 3(1): 57-64, June, 2013
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