Young defender George Cooper scored his first Stags goal to put the visitors ahead, but Cole Stockton and Thomas Hamer did the damage with efforts either side of half-time under the lights at the Pirelli.
Boss Nigel Clough named a starting line-up with three former Burton boys included against a very strong Burton line-up with starts after injury for Lucas Akins and Stephen Quinn.
It was the Brewers who had the first huge chance as captain Adedeji Oshilaja’s header from close range hit the bar on its way overon 13 minutes.
But Cooper opened the scoring in the 21st minute as he coolly slotted home after George Maris’ long free kick fell towards him inside the box.
But summer signing Stockton opened his Brewers’ account at the ninth attempt as he bared down on goal one-on-one and neatly tucked home the equaliser in the 34th minute after Mason Bennett had led a breakaway charge.
Four minutes later Stags’ stopper Scott Flinders produced a super double save to first keep out Joe Powell and then deny Mark Helm from close range, the first with his hands and the second his feet.
After an even, entertaining first half the momentum was now with the hosts heading into half-time and the game was truly turned on its head early in the second period as they went ahead.
Hamer was in the right place at the right time as the ball bobbled in the box as ex-Stag Ryan Sweeney knocked Joe Powell’s corner into his path on 53 minutes.
Down the other end, James Gale and Aaron Lewis both had chances around the hour mark but barely troubled Jamal Blackman, the former Chelsea youngster.
Stockton then did well to hold up a ball into his feet and spin his man, but could only fire his 25-yard effort wide of the mark.
The Stags huffed and puffed but ultimately failed to force the game to penalties, with Aden Flint, who had been thrown on to play up front on the hour, volleying over from 18 yards in stoppage-time, as they bowed out.
But there were vital minutes for many of the Stags squad, including a first appearance of the campaign after injury for John-Joe O'Toole for the last 16 minutes.
BURTON: Blackman, Seddon, Oshilaja (Walker, 65), Lubala, Helm, Caprice, Sweeney, Powell, Stockton, Hamer, Bennett (Harper, 65). SUBS NOT USED: Gilligan, Tamen, Carayol, Kamwa.
STAGS: Flinders, Johnson (Cargill, HT), Williams, Cooper, MacDonald, Maris (Lewis, HT), Boateng, Quinn (Flint, 63), Akins, Swan (Bowery, HT), Gale (O’Toole, 74). SUBS NOT USED: Pym, Flanagan.
REFEREE: Paul Howard
Stags have now sold out their allocation of 604 tickets for Saturday’s match away at Swindon Town.
Supporters will now only be able to purchase tickets on matchday from the County Ground (card payment only).