Originally Posted by Meadiator
will the flavor of added spices be affected by whether you put them in when clear or cloudy?
No, because ultimately, the flavour tends to be extracted by the alcohol, and any cloudiness is most likely yeast debris.
Now if a batch that's had fruit as an ingredient somewhere didn't clear but stopped dropping sediment, it'd most likely need the pectic enzyme/pectolase to deal with that, as it would most likely be a pectin issue.
When using honey for back sweetening, I tend to add it to whatever my desired sweetness level is before it clears naturally. This is because there's a third type of possible hazing, that comes from proteins, often found in raw or unfiltered honey (but sometimes in filtered honey too). So rather than getting a batch clear and then getting a haze from the back sweetening honey, I prefer to stabilise a finished ferment, then back sweeten to my level (often in the 1.010 to 1.015 area) then just let it clear naturally. The proteins seem to be easily pulled out by the yeast sediment (yes there's probably some scientific reason for that, I just found that's how it seems to work by trial and error).
After all, cleared meads are basically clear for aesthetic reasons more than anything else. Yes, there would be some possible "yeasty" taste issues if there's too much sediment still in the brew, but not with pectins or proteins, it's just more pleasing to look at (which equally is probably an evolutionary thing i.e. clean/clear water is likely safer to drink than something that is cloudy etc).