In this study, the microbial properties of ayran made from different starter cultures were investigated during refrigerated storage for 1, 8 or 15 days. Microbiological, physicochemical and also sensory properties of ayran were examined. It was determined that the different starter cultures had a significant effect on the numbers of lactic acid bacteria (p < 0.05),total aerobic mesophilic bacteria (p < 0.05) and yeast counts (p < 0.01). The storage time had a significant effect on the lactic acid bacteria (p < 0.05). The use of various starter cultures significantly influenced acetaldehyde contents (p < 0.05), viscosity (p < 0.01), whey separation (p < 0.01), appearance (p < 0.05) as well as body and texture (p < 0.01). The storage time affected volatile fatty acids (p < 0.01), whey separation (p < 0.01) and appearance (p < 0.01). Addition of exopolysaccharide producing cultures decreased whey separation and caused an increase in viscosity and sensory scores in ayran samples. It is recommended that precautions should be taken to decrease whey separation to prevent the negative effect of storage time.