Burton striker Justin Richards's brace on his debut was not enough as Torquay fought back from 2-0 down.
Richards, who recently signed from Port Vale, had a number of opportunities in the first half before finishing calmly just before the interval.
He doubled his tally four minutes later with a header from cross by Tom Parkes - who saw red for a second booking.
But Rene Howe pulled one back following good work from Lee Mansell, who then equalised from close range late on.
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Burton Albion boss Paul Peschisolido told BBC Radio Derby:
"I'm a bit disappointed having been 2-0 up, but would I have taken a draw before the game? Probably yes, but it does leave a bit of a bitter taste in your mouth.
"But there are lots of positives to take out of it. We've brought a lot of new players into the squad. I thought we created a lot of chances; we created numerous better chances than they did and overall, if we'd put them away, we could have been done and dusted, but it wasn't that way.
"I think we gave them a bit too much respect and if you give good players time and space on the ball, they're going to punish you, but we've learnt our lesson from it and there's plenty of positives to take out of it."