A rousing fight back wasn't quite enough for Carlisle as a disappointing first half left them with too much to do as Burton showed clinical finishing to establish a three goal cushion.
United burst forward from the kick off when Iliev intercepted in the centre circle and found Dempsey. His touch released Potts and he suddenly had time and space on his side when Taft pulled up with a hamstring problem. The midfielder took a touch but his shot was wild and always wide of the mark.
A good touch from MacDonald, as Carlisle lost possession in the middle of the park, put Burton on the attack and Akins took over as he probed on the edge of the box. It eventually spun out to the left hand side and substitute Damien McCrory, a second minute replacement for Taft, made his first touch of the game count when he rifled an unstoppable thunderbolt past Hanford and into the back of the net.
The Brewers looked lively but the Cumbrians dug deep and got themselves back on level terms when a touch and turn from Potts left him with options. His back post dink was met on the full by Sweeney but the post stopped his header with the keeper rooted to the spot. Yellow shirts converged to try to complete the clearance but Kyle Dempsey made it five for the season when he took a touch before stabbing it over the line.
The action moved to midfield as both sides worked hard to close the gaps but Lee Bell was allowed to run from deep as he went on a surge from just inside his own half. The challenge didn't come and a delicate touch was followed by a crunching effort which zipped into the top corner as the visitors restored their lead.
Paul Thirlwell had to block as MacDonald arrived late to meet another reverse pass from Akins and the captain was in action again as MacDonald recovered a blocked cross to send the ball into the danger area. A diving header was just about enough to clear the danger as Beavon waited for a mistake.
Carlisle had to be patient but they almost unlocked the door when Potts ran onto a one-two from Iliev. He made it into the area but Edwards did enough to get in the way as he tried to pick out Dempsey with his pass.
United were architects of their own downfall on 39 minutes when Dicker hesitated as he came under pressure. Beavon was onto him quickly and he skipped away to leave the home side three against three. Jacob Blyth called for it and he didn't disappoint as he kept his eye on the slide rule pass before he picked his spot with another very good finish.
Determination from MacDonald in time added on for the half dealt the hosts another blow as he bundled his way past Grainger tight by the byline. It was a very tight angle but he was able to celebrate as his firm touch hit Hanford on the shoulder on its way into the roof of the net.
The home side gave themselves a lifeline with the last kick of the half when Brad Potts sat deep for a ball into the box. A half clearance sat up in front of him and he kept his head over the ball to leave McLaughlin with no chance.
Carlisle were bright after the break and a flick from Asamoah brought an early cross from Potts. Grainger picked it up and sent Robson past his man and Beck was unlucky when his volley dipped over the bar.
Hanford had to watch a header from Blyth as it dropped beneath his bar as Burton tried to slow the game down but United kept battling and Asamoah made a difference as he spread the ball around. Potts was almost a beneficiary of one such pass but McLaughlin scampered off his line to smother it.
A string of crosses followed, with Beck and O'Hanlon just an inch away, but it was new arrival Derek Asamoah who made things really interesting when he beat McLaughlin to a flick on over the top. The deftest of touches took the keeper out of the game and all that was left was the relatively simple task of rolling the ball into the empty net.
MacDonald went close at the other end when he curled an Akins pass over the angle of post and bar and slick interplay between Asamoah and Dempsey gave Potts a chance to cross across the face of goal. A touch from Palmer stopped Beck from getting his toe to it.
Asamoah drilled a long range shot over the target as United continued to push on and he had a near post cross blocked moments later as he stood out as a second half star performer.
Crosses and corners peppered the Albion box but the visitors stood strong and they almost killed the game off when McGurk went clean through in time added on. He dinked it over the bar with just Hanford to beat.
And United wasted a good opportunity at the other end when Elliott received the ball in acres of space when McLaughlin spilled a cross. He tried to lift it back in to the six yard box but succeeded only in lifting it into the grateful keeper's hands.
Potts had a late difficult volley which he couldn't keep down and there was more late drama as Beavon was shown a second yellow card with just seconds left to play.
United - Dempsey (12), Potts (45), Asamoah (65)
Burton - McCrory (5), Bell (27), Blyth (39), MacDonald (45)
United - White (51)
Burton - MacDonald (51), Beavon (58 & 90 - sent off)
Carlisle United - Hanford, White, O'Hanlon, Thirlwell, Grainger, Potts, Dicker (Asamoah 46), Sweeney, Robson (Elliott 74), Dempsey, Iliev (Beck 46). Subs - Eccles, Marrow, Meppen-Walter, Brough.
Burton Albion - McLaughlin, Edwards, Cansdell-Sherriff, Taft (McCrory 3), Sharps, Bell, Beavon, Akins, MacDonald, Blyth (McGurk 86), Palmer. Subs - Weir, Lyness, Knowles, Lenihan, Harness.
Referee - Mr Scott Duncan
Attendance - 4,266 (66 away fans)