A branch prediction unit apparatus and method uses an instruction buffer (20), a completion unit (24), and a branch prediction unit (BPU) (28). The instruction buffer (20) and/or the completion unit (24) contain a plurality of instruction entries that contain valid bits and stream identifier (SID) bits. The branch prediction unit contains a plurality of branch prediction buffers (28a-28c). The SID bits are used to associate the pending and executing instructions in the units (20 and 24) into instruction streams related to predicted branches located in the buffers (28a-28c). The SID bits as well as age bits associated with the buffers (28a-28c) are used to perform efficient branch prediction, branch resolution/retirement, and branch misprediction recovery.